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Our office will be closed Friday August 29, 2014 and Monday, September 1, 2014 for Labor Day. Orders placed after 11:00 AM CST on Thursday, August 28, 2014 will not be processed until Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

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Five Trendy Kitchen Features

If your home is like most American homes, the kitchen in the hub of activity, a gathering place for conversation and food, and it is the place where some indulge in their favorite hobby, cooking. So, whether you love to cook and entertain or just spend a lot of family time there, the kitchen is not to be overlooked. As you shop for the perfect home plan, consider some of these growing and sought after kitchen trends. And if you’ve already found the perfect house plan, you may wish to incorporate some of these ideas into your new home.

Open Up
Many families find the kitchen is command central resulting in a growing trend of opening the kitchen to other living spaces such as the family room and breakfast nook as well as other parts of the house. The reason is simple. Families entertain more than in years past, and more people are interested in cooking now as compared to just the female homemaker of yesteryear. In fact, cooking is becoming a family activity. With an open kitchen, there is room for more than one chef, perhaps you and the kids or you and your spouse. And the absence of walls makes an open kitchen practical in a number of other ways. The family gourmet can hold conversations with those gathering in the family room or supervise a child who is painting at the breakfast table in the nook. Often the open kitchen also enjoys access to a rear deck/screened porch or patio providing a space for grilling outdoors and dining alfresco. Besides using fewer walls, there are other ways to open the kitchen and make it feel roomy and spacious. One strategy is to bring the widows down to countertop level taking advantage of natural light and essentially expanding the space to the outdoors. Another way to add to the openness of your kitchen is to consider a raised or vaulted ceiling, especially one that extends into the adjoining rooms lending to an airy, less crowded feel. Finally, make sure all parts of your open kitchen are functional. You might have a great stretch of countertop in your expansive kitchen, but you may find that it is not very useful because you can’t see well in that area. Remedy this problem by installing task lighting where necessary. Any portion of the open kitchen that is intended to be a workstation should be well lit with proper task lighting.

Expansive Islands
In the past, when a family hosted a social gathering, men congregated in one room of the home and the women in another. Today, everyone likes to congregate in the kitchen, and the island has become the center of socialization as well as a center for other activities. Long and wide islands are one of the most requested kitchen features of today. Here people can sit and talk or grab a quick meal on the go. Children can work on school projects and still have help from a parent while meals are prepared. The family gourmet can whip up a tasty dessert or serve appetizers and meals buffet style. With so many designs and styles to chose from, you can easily find an island that suits your family’s specific needs from a cooking island to a prep island with veggie sink or a work island and snack bar combo, the possibilities are endless ensuring you kitchen island will handle anything thing your family expects it to handle while offering efficiency.

Strive for Efficiency
There is no doubt the kitchen is becoming more things to everyone – a homework space, a planning area, bill paying station and a social center to name a few. American families are trending toward the kitchen as their “do it all” space. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why it is necessary to use the kitchen workspace as efficiently as possible. The kitchen is the one room in the house where you should include all the extras. Incorporate a built-in desk for meal planning and online bill paying. Choose space-savers for your cabinets such as drawer dividers, spice drawers, roll-out shelves and a pull-out trashcan. Free up counter space by installing an under-the-cabinet coffee maker and a wall mounted or built-in microwave. Consider an oven that is built-in to the wall freeing up cabinet space beneath the range. Place recycling storage containers in a handy place. Incorporate an island that accommodates more than one task like meal preparation and after school snacks for the kids. And remember, don’t just think in terms of the kitchen when it comes to efficiency. Think of the rooms in close proximity to the kitchen. Do you like to hold barbecues? You’d find efficiency in having access to a rear deck or porch from your kitchen, as well as a summer kitchen/grilling porch. Do you find yourself multi-tasking all the time? With a utility room just off the kitchen, you’ll be able to throw in a load of clothes while you prepare a meal. Think about positioning of the kitchen/pantry in relation to the garage. Unloading groceries is made easy with a direct route from the garage to the kitchen.

Appliances
Hiding kitchen appliances is a hot new idea. The request is becoming more and more common to tuck appliances behind cabinet doors or inside cabinet drawers where they can’t be seen. Even more, new homeowners are requesting appliances with exterior facings made to look like cabinets. Other popular appliance ideas include those that can perform more than one function like ovens that can act as a chiller and a standard oven, and those that cater to the health conscious such as cooktops with built-in steamers. While it is fun to have the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets and gizmos, only purchase appliances you will actually use. If you are not a coffee drinker, there is no sense in investing in the latest and greatest, previously mentioned, under-the-cabinet coffee maker. Why waste the space and money when you can buy something else your family will use?

Be Environmentally Friendly
Everyone is looking for a way to incorporate green building practices into their new homes. And the kitchen is an easy place to do it. Think about reducing energy consumption. Begin by choosing Energy Star rated appliances such as the refrigerator, dishwasher and oven. Install aerators in the faucets. Consider using recycled materials whenever possible. Use tile backsplashes and countertops made of recycled glass. There are also flooring options made of recycled materials. Cork flooring is growing in popularity because it is earth friendly coming from recycled materials, and it is soft on the feet. These are just a few ways to incorporate the “go green” trend into your kitchen.

New ideas for trendy kitchens are popping up everywhere. You may also want to consider these increasing popular ideas for the kitchen in your new home: a separate refrigerator and freezer, a gas oven and range, pass-thrus, and sleek contemporary styling. Check with your local home improvement store to find out more about any of these growing kitchen trends.

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