PROMOTION: Local experts who can help you create a kitchen you’ll want to linger in.

Maybe it's time for a change for your kitchen.
PROMOTION: Local experts who can help you create a kitchen you’ll want to linger in.

Jerry Schmidt, Dream Team sales director at DreamHouse DreamKitchens has a wealth of experience creating high-end kitchens for clients, in a variety of styles. With a staff of knowledgeable in-house designers and an eye on the latest product offerings, Schmidt is confident his company can help consumers find elegant, extraordinary solutions for their kitchen needs.

Design trends that Schmidt sees this year in kitchen design include:

Cabinets and color
White cabinets continue to be the most popular choice, perhaps because of their clean simplicity and timelessness, but grays and dark stains are becoming more prevalent. “Some people opt for more of a gray stain on wood cabinet doors so that the look will be warmer,” he says. “Clean-line doors, like the Shaker style, are also very popular.”

Ergonomic storage
“Leading kitchen designs right now can be summed up in three words; drawers, drawers, drawers,” Schmidt says, with a laugh. “People love to use big, full-depth drawers for storage since it’s a one-step function to pull out a drawer, rather than digging through a full shelf on an upper cabinet or bending over to search in lower storage areas.” This trend underlines the importance of analyzing unique customer needs when creating a design, and understanding how the client will use the space. “Some people want specialized storage for all their spices while others need more tray storage for baking,” he says. Large pantries remain very popular for items that overflow from cabinet storage.

Stylish sinks
According to Schmidt, the apron sink–also known as the farm sink–is very popular in this area. Customers are gravitating toward one large bowl sink rather than a divided model. DreamHouse DreamKitchens recently installed the new Kohler Prolific sink in their showroom, offering the multi-level functionality of a cutting board, drying rack and strainer in a sleek and chic design.

Bold and big lights
More and more, customers are using light fixtures to make a statement in the kitchen. “Having a funky fixture or two over your island can add some bling to a clean-line kitchen,” Schmidt says.

Cool counters
Quartz and granite counter surfaces continue atop preferred styles. Granite offers a unique, one-of-a-kind slab molded by the earth, which is often used as the feature piece of the kitchen. Quartz has a more consistent look and is available in a greater variety of colors. “We’re also seeing consumers mixing wood and stone tops,” Schmidt says. “For a kitchen island more than ten feet long, adding a butcher block to one end is a good solution, in order to avoid seaming a granite or quartz top. Black walnut is the favorite choice for wood for tops right now.”

For a more eclectic take on the latest kitchen furnishings visit Brown & Beam, a new furniture store owned and operated by Lora Brown. “We provide furniture for every room, but have an especially good supply of kitchen islands, dining tables, chairs and bar carts,” she says. “We also have a host of unique rugs, wall art, accessories and lighting.” Brown is excited to work with all potential clients, including remodelers, designers, contractors and homeowners.

“The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house,” Brown explains. “It’s a gathering spot to eat, communicate and hang out. The furniture you place there is critical to making that space work.”

PROMOTION: Local experts who can help you create a kitchen you’ll want to linger in.

Brown is seeing a lot of reclaimed wood and iron products gaining popularity, as well as designs that feature natural products like stone, marble and concrete. Shiplap, a kind of wooden board that’s often used for constructing sheds, barns and other rustic buildings, is also hot right now.

In Brown’s Middleton showroom, kitchen islands, counter stools and barstools that swivel, and kitchen tables with metal tops, are very big sellers. “There is a trend in low-back furniture like dining chairs. Slipcovering is on the rise too. It’s easy to care for and has a relaxed feel,” Brown says. “And I love all kinds of reclaimed pieces; furniture that can tell a story. It’s eco-friendly and it’s so unique, while also being very versatile. The reclaimed look can go in a modern space or a classic home.”

So, what does Brown’s own kitchen look like? “I love big-scale anything and statement pieces,” she says, “whether it’s large artwork, oversized pendants, or unique dining tables or chairs. I love having conversation pieces that draw people in to look at, talk about and remember. For example, in my kitchen at home I have an extra-long dining table. It’s big, we fit lots of people around it and my guests are always amazed at the size.”

While she has her own personal preferences, Brown notes that Brown & Beam is not limited to one style, but blends many: industrial, farm house, shabby chic, urban modern, vintage and whatever is next. “We think your style should be uniquely yours and not necessarily fit into one category,”
Brown says.

To begin the process of finding pieces that are perfect for your kitchen, or any other room, Brown usually has clients fill out a questionnaire. “It’s not always easy for people to describe what they are looking for. If we can get a sense of their needs and preferences ahead of time, we can provide lots of options when meeting one on one,” she says. “Together we consider budget, style, timeframe and materials. Then I try and source the most unique, high quality products I can find to fit the bill. We also offer a price match guarantee to ensure you get the most aggressive prices.” —