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2012 Kitchen Trends

A traditional kitchen with black cabinets and a red island.

A traditional kitchen with black cabinets and a red island.

I spent a fun, informative January talking with some of the most popular names in the design industry about 2012 kitchen trend forecasts. Here are their predictions about what's coming soon to a showroom or home center near you!

Cabinetry Trends
"Dark, rich finishes have been increasing in popularity. This trend will continue into 2012 as homeowners choose darker, warmer colors over more traditional natural and mid-tone finishes. This year, Masco Cabinetry has made soft-close doors standard on its KraftMaid and Merillat Masterpiece lines. New hardware technology incorporates the soft-close feature right into the hinge for a cleaner, simpler look, too."

-Sarah Reep, Director of Designer Relations, Masco Cabinetry
For more 2012 cabinetry trends, please click here.


This kitchen looks like it has hardwood flooring, but those are actually ceramic tile planks.

Wood-look tile from Ceramics of Italy makes a great kitchen floor.


Tile Trends
"The first big trend to come out of Europe and be picked up by manufacturers in North America is tile that looks like stone. Whether it's the look of slate, granite, onyx or the grey-green marble, the same look can be had in tile. In tile, however, you'll get the maintenance-free characteristics of ceramic tile without the hassles of natural stone. One of the other big trends is the idea of tile standing in for wood planks."

-Paul Anater, blogger, Coverings and Kitchen and Residential Design

For more 2012 tile trends, please click here.

A rustic kitchen pairs an apron sink with a bridge faucet in an oil-rubbed bronze finish.

 Clean-lined, large bridge faucets like Grohe's Bridgeford model are on trend for 2012.


Fixture and Faucet Trends
"The rustic look is anything but, and it doesn't have to be limited to country houses. This farmhouse feel gives that nice 'down home' look and warms up a kitchen. Larger, bridge-style faucets add an interesting, yet professional look to the room, and also look very proportional when put in kitchens with many appliances. Water Sense technology helps you save up to 32 percent water use without taking any hits to performance."

-Sarah Fishburne, Director of Trend & Design, Home Depot

For more 2012 fixture and faucet trends, please click here.

This sleek black vent hood resembles an iPad.

Tech-inspired design, seen here in Zephyr's Arc series Horizon vent hood, is hot for 2012.


Appliance Trends

"Smart phones were among the first products to introduce touch-screen technology to the masses. And now you can have that same functionality in the kitchen, with touch-screen interfaces on dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, ovens and microwaves. The new Jenn-Air Pro-Style range even allows cooks to program cooking method, time and temperature of successful recipes and recall them when repeating the recipe. Not only are appliance manufacturers replicating the functionality of high-tech gadgets, they are also replicating the style. Appliances will closely resemble the look of an iPhone or iPad."

 -Fred Minnigerode, Corporate Senior Product Manager of Residential Finished Goods, Ferguson

For more 2012 Appliance Trends, please click here.

The pale blue walls in this kitchen jibe with 2012 color trends.

Watery blues are a cool, sustainable 2012 kitchen color trend.


Color Trends

"In 2012, pairing colors within the same color family will be a dominant trend. Whether it's different shades of red or varying hues of blue, kitchens will display an array of combinations within color families to give a room a fresh look this year. The colors also embrace the sustainable landscape; which has become an enduring influence on all aspects of décor and design."

-Jackie Jordan, Director of Color Marketing, Sherwin-Williams

For more 2012 Color Trends, please click here.



© 2012, Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS. Excerpted from Gold Notes: Nuggets from the World of Residential Design. Jamie is an NKBA-certified designer of kitchens and baths in San Diego, CA. She can be reached at (619) 796-2217 or .



5 Common Kitchen Problems

Large kitchen with two islands

Although large, this kitchen works efficiently, with distinct work zones and an aisle between the dual islands for easy access between them.

Today the Kitchenology blog introduces Sensible Style, a series of guest postings by Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS, a kitchen designer and writer in Tampa, Fla.

Sensible Style is about kitchens that work as hard as you do. It's about materials that are durable and easy to maintain; a work flow that fits your hectic schedule; and creating a kitchen that reflects your priorities, your budget and your lifestyle. Jamie's first topic: the five most common kitchen problems-and how to avoid them.


Problem #1: Poor Work Flow

Too many homes have badly planned kitchens. One I encountered recently had an oversized island (probably 18 feet in length) that awkwardly cut off the sink from the refrigerator and ovens. Preparing a meal in that household involves unnecessary steps that could have been avoided had the architect instead planned for two reasonably sized islands with a work aisle between them.

Another home had the refrigerator at one end of the room and the pantry in the opposite corner, doubling the steps involved with unloading groceries. A proper food storage zone would have put the two together.


Problem #2: Inadequate Ventilation

The average American family generates a gallon of kitchen grease each year. This grease ends up on walls, furniture, pets and clothing, unless it goes where it's supposed to go: outside of the home via effective cooking ventilation. Many systems are under-powered, recirculated or poorly ducted, resulting in lingering food odors and grease dispersal. Be sure to factor in a functioning ventilation system for your kitchen remodel.


SSI - Electrolux

This kitchen blends style and function with a cooking ventilation system by Electrolux.



Problem #3: Poorly Planned Storage

Most clients tell me that they lack sufficient storage in their kitchens. This typically results from two problems:

  1. Failing to take full advantage of the storage space. Replacing base cabinet shelves with roll-out trays and adding drawer organizers, backsplash systems and pot racks can alleviate that problem greatly.
  2. Homeowners want to store items in the kitchen that don't factor into daily meal prep. I recommend storing these elsewhere.


Base cabinet with roll out shelves

Even more affordable cabinets, such as these by American Woodmark, now offer the storage benefit of roll-out trays.



Problem #4: Overly Narrow Work Aisles

A couple was unhappy that their architect hadn't included a kitchen island in their new custom home and insisted there had to be one. In my opinion, though, the architect was right: Even a small island would allow only 3 feet (36 inches) between its sides and the refrigerator and cooktop. Although many regional building codes allow this, the National Kitchen & Bath Association planning guidelines recommend a 42-inch minimum work aisle for one cook and 48-inch minimum for two. These work much better.


A white kitchen with black counters, a large island, and plenty of room to walk around.

 The work aisle in this kitchen from Omega Cabinetry exceeds NKBA planning guidelines and allows ample room for cooking and entertaining.


Problem #5: Insufficient Light

This is a problem I see frequently that's easy to address in a remodel. Older homes often have one light above the sink, a light for the vent hood, and a central light box in the middle of the ceiling. Overall illumination is called for, and can be achieved with well-spaced recessed lights. Task lighting can be improved by adding lights under all the wall cabinets for better-lit countertop work space. Additional task lighting-often stylish pendants-should be factored in for islands, bars and peninsulas where prep, serving, eating and homework are done.


Traditional kitchen in shades of brown with lots of light.

A coordinated lighting plan, featuring task and ambient lights by Kichler, makes this kitchen look bigger and work better.




Kitchen and bath designer Jamie Goldberg

© 2009, Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS. Excerpted from Gold Notes: Nuggets from the World of Residential Design. Jamie is an NKBA-certified designer of kitchens and baths in San Diego, CA, and offers Sensible Style for Home Seller consultations around the country. She can be reached at (619) 796-2217 or




Easy Organization Help

Peg Rail

pegRAIL puts your dishes and cook's tools in easy reach.

To modify the words of H. L. Mencken, no one ever went broke underestimating the desire of the American people to organize their homes. At least that's what a lot of the exhibitors at K/BIS 2008 were thinking. Having just completed the bulk of my spring cleaning, I'm with them.


Kitchen Organization

One significant problem in the kitchen: having storage that is not easily accessible. The folks at pegRAIL addressed this issue with a modular storage system that keeps everything out in the open and at the ready (pictured, above).

Start by installing a 36-, 54- or 72-inch rail capable of holding up to 350 pounds (it comes with the appropriate hardware). Then add a pot rack, shelf, basket, utensil holder or wine rack, or any combination thereof. pegRAIL also makes storage systems for bathrooms, closets, utility rooms and home offices.

Available now through dealers, pegRAIL plans to launch in June 2008 a line of starter kits ranging in price from $175 to $350.


Bathroom Organization

Another genius idea: Taking the storage accessories that have long been available for kitchen cabinets and bringing them into the bathroom. More than one manufacturer did this, but the widest range we saw was at the Diamond Cabinets booth.


Diamond Vanity Cabinet Organization

Diamond Cabinets' Logix organization system now includes this Vanity Cosmetics Cabinet.


Offerings include drawer inserts for toiletries (instead of utensils), linen cabinets (instead of pantry cabinets), hamper pullouts (instead of trash pullouts) and hair dryer/curler racks (instead of spice racks).


Mirror, Mirror on the Cabinet…


A mirrored cabinet insert (to the right of the oven) helps the homeowner's have eye's in the back of their heads.

A recent addition to our contemporary photo gallery is a white kitchen designed by Darren Morgan. The kitchen was made for a family across the pond, but if features a useful idea for parents anywhere: mirrored cabinet inserts.

The mirrored cabinets in this kitchen allow the homeowners to keep an eye on their children even when they aren't facing them. This was something the homeowner's requested, as Darren Morgan outlined in his design statement: "The client wanted to supervise the children's homework while cooking, so the mirrored panels provide a handy reverse angle view of the island when Mum is using the ovens and consumables zone; great for catching mischief when Mum's back is turned!"

Yes, the mirrored cabinets idea might be a little too "big brother" for some, but it's not a bad way to keep an eye on little ones (or mischievous bigger ones) when your back is turned in the kitchen.

Whether you like the mirrors or you don't, the rest of the kitchen has some great design details, which you can see in our contemporary kitchen gallery. To go directly to one of the four photos of this kitchen, click on the links below:



Bold Colors Bloom in Kitchen

red BlueStar range

BlueStar 48" range in ruby red

While cabinet finishes seem to be trending toward whites and creams or blacks and browns, every other item in the kitchen seems to be popping in every shade of the rainbow. Here at the 2007 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in lovely Las Vegas, we're checking out kitchens with more bling than Elvis' jumpsuits.

Just this morning, I checked out BlueStar, a manufacturer of ranges (and now wall ovens and cooktops, too) in 190 colors. That's not a typo. So if stainless steel bores you now that everybody has stainless appliances, pick out a color like "heather violet" or "curry" to make your kitchen unique. I am told, however, that ruby red, steel blue and jet black are the company's most popular color choices.

Instead of hanging a painting on the kitchen wall, the wall itself can be the artwork with the right tile. And if you're paying $450 a square foot for the new Iznik tile from Ann Sacks, you won't want to cover it up. Made primarily from quartz and handpainted in a Turkish tradition dating to the 16th-century, these tiles feature jewel tones and nature themes.


Ann Sacks Iznik tile

Ann Sacks Iznik tile


Avocado. Seriously.

Formica Quartz

The slab-door cabinetry with the horizontal dark wood veneer is very in right now, too.

Like Mark, I too found evidence of designers and manufacturers trying to bring the color avocado back into the kitchen. Personally, I can see it as an accent color, but I would not want to look at large swathes of it during breakfast. This version of avocado is a Formica solid surface countertop and backsplash. Did you know that they make solid surface, quartz and granite products, not just laminate? Well, they do.

Here we have a similarly colored backsplash at the Moen booth. The actual product on display is the black kitchen faucet.


Moen faucet


High-arc faucets with pulldown sprays are definitely hot in the kitchen. Large single-bowl sinks continue to be trendy, too.


Mass Market Zen

If the current economic state of the country has you constantly checking the sky to make sure it's not falling faster than the Dow Jones, you might want to consider welcoming a little Zen into your life (or at least your bathroom)

If the current economic state of the country has you constantly checking the sky to make sure it's not falling faster than the Dow Jones, you might want to consider welcoming a little Zen into your life (or at least your bathroom).

While helping people stay calm in the midst of economic turmoil was probably not Delta's main reason for releasing their new line of Zen-inspired lavatory faucets at this year's International Builders' Show, it did seem like a well-timed product launch. The Delta faucets, called the Rhythm Bath Collection, have a contemporary, tubular shape and certain models have a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute, which earned them the WaterSense label. The Rhythm series is also the first line of Delta faucets that include a wall-mount design for vessel sinks.




Of course, we understand that purchasing a new Zen-inspired bathroom faucet isn't a sure bet to keep you calm during a recession. You can always just shout (or whisper) "serenity now"; it's quite a bit cheaper than retail therapy. Still, as more people strive for a calming, spa-like bathroom, it's nice to see a major manufacture release a mid-priced line of faucets that take a cue from Eastern design.

The Rhythm Bath Collection is available in chrome and Brilliance stainless finishes. The pictured wall-mount faucet (in Brilliance stainless) starts at $455; other models include the pictured single-handle Rhythm lavatory faucet in chrome starting at $206. For the complete collection and pricing, visit Delta's Rhythm Bath Collection Web page.


For more on bathroom products and remodeling information, visit, a sister-site.


Kitchen & Bath Storage Solutions

A Salon Center and Chef Center

Armstrong's Salon Center and Chef Center have a similar design to provide storage solutions for the bathroom and kitchen, respectively.

Kitchen cabinet makers have become pretty creative over the years, as they've done their best to produce functional cabinetry that enables us to store utensils and accessories right where we need them.

Now we are seeing more bathroom cabinets with organizational solutions geared towards those who desire a command-center area for applying makeup, styling hair, etc.



Armstrong recently took its highly functional kitchen cabinet unit, the Chef Center, and put its organizational features into the Salon Center vanity. The Salon Center features storage areas for items like makeup and hair-dryers. It's not quite as handy as having your own stylist, but clearly, even that doesn't prevent fashion miscues.

For more information about Armstrong's Chef Center and Salon Center cabinets, visit For more on bathroom products and remodeling information, visit, a sister site.


Book Review: Dirty Little Secrets of Design

Tabori & Chang | $24.95"

Living Space Debate: Ideal Square Footage

2011 New American Home Exterior

Photo by James F. Wilson

The exterior of The New American Home for 2011.

There were two show homes that caught our attention, and both were a far cry from the average size of new homes built in 2010; 2,377 square feet according to the Wall Street Journal. One of the show houses we couldn't ignore was The New American Home, an 8,500-square-foot boxy behemoth that also manages to be extremely eco-friendly. The other home that gave us pause was the diminutive and green Eco-Cabana, which measured in at 528 square feet.

The floor plans for the first floor of The New American Home, and the entire Eco-Cabana, respectively. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images of the floor plan.


Eco Cabana Home Exterior

 A rendering of the Eco-Cabana home.



Whether you like huge homes or cozy apartments is a matter of personal and lifestyle preference. But there's no denying that with an efficient setup, you can do a great deal with a small space. And when you have an 8,500-square-foot home, you might have a room that's a bit superfluous. Example: the great room in The New American Home measures at 726 square feet, which is bigger than the entire Eco-Cabana. The Eco-Cabana features a kitchen, dining area, living room, bathroom and bedroom.

Great Room 2011 The New American Home

Photo by James F. Wilson

The great room in The New American Home for 2011.


For anyone who has lived in a big city like New York or San Francisco, 528 square feet can seem downright spacious, at least for one or two people. And for those who enjoy design, finding ways to make a small space seem large can be an exciting challenge. The Eco-Cabana does a great job of creating an appealing setup with a small amount of space. And while the vastness of The New American Home was something to behold, it definitely made us wonder: how many people really need an 8,500-square-foot-home with a 726-square-foot great room? Let us know your ideal home size in the comments below.

Small and Efficient Kitchen

The Eco-Cabana's small but efficient kitchen.