Doing business in one of the most famous zip codes in the world, Beverly Hills, is very exciting. However, it can also be a challenge. The residents of 90210 always want the “next big thing.” When it comes to interiors, they want something new and entirely different…something with a real “wow” factor…something their neighbors haven’t seen in person or in glossy magazines.
Most of our projects at Arch-Interiors Design Group are remodels, and the biggest request we’re getting is for size. Homeowners want it bigger physically, visually and conceptually. They want to make an impact and create an illusion of space even in tight quarters. Other design movements in “The Hills” include:
The Great Room Is Here to Stay
Everyone wants a great room, and the kitchen has now blended into this requested space. We typically create an enlarged space by opening up several rooms or even by sacrificing other small spaces such as pantries, breakfast nooks, working desks or, in more contemporary designs, removing the butler’s pantry. Surprisingly for many, the dining room is actually more used for full family meals because of this.
Stainless Fatigue Is a Real Thing
We’ve finally reached the point with appliances where our high-end clientele have “stainless fatigue.” We’re covering all of the appliances with panels, which also help make the room feel larger. Even with double ovens, manufacturers such as Miele are doing the fronts in tinted glass that blends in with the cabinetry. One project we’re currently working on will incorporate this, and the sink will be the only item in the kitchen with a stainless finish.
Miele’s Obsidian Black finish
Use Your Hands for More Than Cooking
In more contemporary kitchens, we’re using finger pulls versus hardware because your eye is not interrupted by the dimensional contrast from hardware allowing for a sleek and smooth surface. We’re also using zero glass front doors in contemporary styles. Hardware, glass fronts and open shelving are still very much an important part of the design in our more traditional kitchen projects.
And the freedom to customize faucets with vendors like California Faucets (there are more than 30 artisan finishes available), one can further create an individual look instead of what people consider to be a “pedestrian faucet” they see everywhere (even if it’s actually only the maid or chef that uses the touch the majority of the time!) For homeowners who do enjoy cooking and desire a more professionally styled faucet, their culinary faucets feature a uniquely flexible stainless steel spring and an industry-first ability to customize the spring in any of the company’s 15 PVD finishes.
California Faucets’ Corsano faucet
Simple sliding doors to the outside simply will not do. Oversized stacking or accordion doors have become “it.” They give the impression that the usable space of the room has doubled. We’re seeing this not only in Southern California, but also all over the country thanks to vast improvements in glazing technology and, unfortunately, climate changes.
When closets and pantries are sacrificed for one larger space, organization becomes much more of a priority. To combat these storage issues, we’re using more tall cabinetry to take the place of full pantries. This all makes the interior fittings much more of a functional focus. When storage is reduced, clients need the interior storage fittings to be as “tricked out” as possible. We have a Pinterest page specifically dedicated to fittings and accessories that can be incorporated into one’s design.
Natural Stone – Not Necessarily the Natural Choice
For countertops, natural stone is still very popular and it’s usually part of most initial design discussions. However, homeowners have started to recognize quartz as a viable alternative thanks to its functional durability. We also try and do special detailing to counter edges – be it larger in scale, with a small reveal or a different unexpected detail. It does not cost much more, and the client feels you are conscious of doing something unique for their project. Granite has pretty much fallen by the wayside unless it has a very unique motion to it for an island that is meant to be a focal point.
The kitchen island is no longer an item to be incorporated “only” if space allows; it’s now a requirement. Today’s kitchen island works harder than those of the past, serving as much more than an area for meal prep. It’s truly a multi-purpose area that adapts to a family’s intense variety of schedules and activities. An element we’re incorporating more and more is charging areas in the form of USB ports and HDMI outlets. Everyone wants access for the myriad electronics so they’re always plugged-in.
Another interesting note about islands…for a time, multi-level islands were very common. They incorporated lower food prep areas and higher areas for bar stool seating. Now, clients are happy with the island all on one level since it’s now used frequently when entertaining and serving buffet style meals.
In today’s larger, more open spaces, it takes a lot of thought to create a kitchen that is functional both physically and visually. But when the result is an airy and welcoming family space suitable for virtually any activity, the extra effort is well worth it.
By Christopher Grubb, NKBA, IIDA, President/Founder, Arch-Interiors Design Group