EYE ON STYLE: THE MODERN KITCHEN

by JEANNE DE LATHOUDER

Taking shape in a multitude of trending styles, the modern kitchen is, today, considered the activity hub of the home. From sleek and streamlined state-of-the-art appeal to traditional old-world elegance with refined classical detailing, this favorite gathering place is the perfect space for homeowners to express their individuality.

“Modern and contemporary kitchens are so exciting to design,” says Dallas interior designer Cristie Schlosser, owner of Schlosser Design Group. “Each one takes on a personality of its own, usually aligning with the client’s aesthetic.”

Among Schlosser’s clientele, notable trends include stunning hoods and statement backsplashes, gourmet cooking centers with easy-to-reach organization, and tech stations where homeowners can charge tablets and phones. Color in the kitchen is also on the rise—bright, cheery hues used throughout and not limited to the island. Additionally, furniture-style cabinetry and brass accents are in vogue. For the past five years, Schlosser has also incorporated sintered slabs—thin, high-pressured porcelain materials that are denser, lighter in weight and more durable than quartz—into her projects.

“We designed 3-millimeter slabs mounted on a substrate to apply to cabinet door fronts, which eliminates maintenance,” she says. “This application was tricky to design and difficult to implement since there was nothing on the market to use at the time. Now there has been an explosion in product development from vendors including Neolith, Dekton and Daltile. Bentwood of Dallas mastered it, and I think this is the best new trend in the marketplace.”

Other Dallas designers are seeing a return to traditionalism, but with a decidedly updated approach. To create an eclectic, modern aesthetic, homeowners are fearlessly mixing classical details, such as brass-accented appliances and cabinetry, with contemporary styles.

“Color and pattern have returned in a big way,” says interior designer Debra Stewart, owner of Debra Stewart Interiors. “The classical details bring some order to the chaos, allowing the interplay of colors and pattern to be seen in a cleaner fashion.”

Stewart’s clients are asking for unique and personalized solutions, comfort, durability, and that right punch of color or style that fits their individual personality. While their questions or requests might be the same, the solutions are extremely varied.

“That is what makes interior design such a unique profession,” says Stewart. “We’re always searching for a new way to exceed the client’s expectations.”

Continuing to gain traction is the open floor plan. No longer a utilitarian space enclosed by walls and separate from the rest of the home, today’s kitchens are airy, spacious and inviting, blending seamlessly with their adjacent rooms.

“My clients want kitchens that are part of the family/living experience,” says interior designer Barbara Elliott Daseke, owner of Barbara Elliott Interiors. “Colors, finishes and materials coordinate to flow with adjoining spaces, and hard-surface counters, like marble and granite, are almost always specified for ease of maintenance.”

Daseke prefers local supplier Il Granito for all her fabrications and installations. She also likes to incorporate eye-catching lighting over kitchen islands to infuse personality into the space.

Innovation is essential to the modern kitchen, and clients want to see it throughout their entire home, starting with 3-D renderings and ending with Alexa-controlled lights, temperature and other convenience features.

“The clients coming in these days are also looking for a natural contrast,” says Jennifer Johns, vice president of operations at The Kitchen Source. “They want modern to feel very natural, so darker colors are making their way into what would have been a typical Texas white kitchen. In Dallas, we are seeing more clients wanting to lean on European influence and move toward transitional and contemporary.”

Valued for their cutting-edge technology and superior design, preferred vendors today include Sub- Zero, Wolf, The Galley Sink, Kesseböhmer, Häfele, Wood-Mode, Brookhaven, Cosentino, Walker Zanger, Stone Collection, and Arizona Tile.

“Clients today are more willing to take risk,” says Johns, “and they are trusting their designers more and more to complete their vision.”

The kitchen has always been the central hub of activity for families as well as when entertaining. Now, maybe more than ever, homeowners are able to express their individual tastes and creativity with the help of professional designers.

Jeanne de Lathouder currently resides in Kansas City, where she works as a freelance writer for books and publications across the country. Contact her at jdelathouder@gmail.com.