From left to right: Suk, Otten, Quinn and Secter
Sub-Zero and Wolf recently revealed the results of their anticipated 2016 Kitchen Design Forecast. The event – Design Pros Call It – was recently held at the company’s Manhattan showroom and featured renowned designer Matthew Quinn, as well as the three first place winners of its 2013-14 Kitchen Design Contest.
The contest consisted of 53 regional winners and eight global winners, all of whom were polled on trends in kitchen design, appliances, materials, the role of the kitchen and kitchen “must-haves.”
Quinn, a previous Kitchen Design Contest winner, served as one of seven judges in the contest in which the three first place winners were William Suk (traditional), Mikal Otten (transitional) and Dovide Secter (contemporary).
When he first sits down with a client, Quinn says he most often takes the 50/50 design approach, which means a 50 percent focus on art and aesthetics and 50 percent on the science of living. The science aspect begins immediately by asking questions like where do they shop and what do they cook. He takes the time to be present and observe actual meals, particularly breakfast and dinner, which allows him to observe such things as food preparation and traffic congestion.
One anecdote he shared was a client who had a tradition of lighting a single candle every night at dinner, which naturally kept electronic devices away from the table. It was a ritual that was clearly important to his client, so Quinn designed a small glass-encased area to showcase the candle.
“The kitchen is often thought of as the hard space of the home with all its hard surfaces,” he said. “We want to bring softness to it.”
All three contest winners and Quinn agreed that one of the primary roles of a kitchen design professional is to help make the client’s life easier and their time in the kitchen more efficient.
“Time is a great luxury. I do everything I can to help clients save time,” said Quinn. “A good designer can save a family 10 minutes every day, which equals up to 61 hours per year. It’s real numbers like these that get people excited.”
Poll Results: What’s In and Out
Quinn discussed a litany of key items derived from the poll of the 53 winners, including the following:
- – Seven of 10 designers say the open floor plan is still in demand.
- – 72 percent of designers agree the formal dining room is a phasing out (almost half of their clients are asking to have it removed).
- – White is still the most popular color in the kitchen, followed by accent colors gray, blue and black.
- – The hottest appliances are the convection steam oven and induction cooktop.
- – Microwaves continue to lose popularity among designers and their clients.
- – Integrated appliances are in demand, with more panels and panel overlays being used.
- – Wood is the No. 1 material of choice, followed by quartz and stainless steel.
- – 82 percent of design pros says the kitchen island is a must-have, and most say a recycling center is important as well.
- – Outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly popular.
- – More clients are incorporating the needs of children as their interest in cooking increases.
- – Aging Americans are looking for “cleaner” designs to showcase their best pieces when downsizing (or right-sizing) from home to condo.
- – Organic design is increasing in popularity, particularly salvaged woods and recycled materials.
- – Vertical gardens are practical for those with limited outdoor space.
Quinn said that while there is growing interest in the modern aesthetic, the most popular and widely categorized style of kitchen design is transitional.
“Timeless is different than classic,” he said. “Most designers start out with function, but that doesn’t mean we completely abandon form. If that was the case, we’d end up with a commercial-looking kitchen.”
After speaking on design trends, Quinn then turned the discussion over to the three 1st place winners.
William Suk – 1st Place Traditional Kitchen for his “Chelsea Townhouse” design
Bill Suk of Suk Design Group LLP (New York City) said he faced the huge obstacle of creating a kitchen where there was none. Other obstacles were falling mortar, unleveled floors and a precarious staircase. They added a second story and built direct access to garden. His Chesea Townhouse design sold at a whopping $16.2 million, a price tag that Suk says is still the highest-priced sold property in the area.
Organic design topped Suk’s design forecast, including salvaged materials and textures and vertical gardening. For color trends, he said gray is the new white.
“I’m seeing more primary grays and black stainless steels, although I’m not necessarily a fan,” he said, adding that for countertops he’s seeing more wood and ceramics. “I am a big fan of stone. I’ve always felt that synthetics simply don’t have enough life in them.”
Mikal Otten – 1st Place Transition Kitchen for his “Mountain Bliss” design
Mikal Otten of Exquisite Kitchen Design (Denver) transformed a vacation home in Vail. Some of the major obstacles in his project included low ceilings, no natural light and relocation of the kitchen to the living area where the fireplace sat. Luckily, he said, the bones of the structure were good because his clients “wanted to bring the outside in.” His parting advice on trend was to not be afraid of using dark colors, especially when there are so many excellent LED options available.
Dovide Secter – 1st Place Contemporary Kitchen for his “Hide and Seek” design
Dov Secter of Secter Design Limited (Winnipeg, Maintoba, Candada) specializes in residential design with an aesthetic lean toward sleek and modern. It should be noted that this was Secter’s first time entering the design contest, and he lives in the prize-winning home with his wife and two young daughters.
“One of the greatest challenges was to build a modern family house,” he said. “Hosting guests, having enough storage and eating healthy are all important elements to me and my wife.”
Secter’s “hide and seek” approach meant he wanted to conceal certain elements of the kitchen. For example, he took common countertop appliances and stored them in floor-to-ceiling cabinets. A design trend that Secter mentioned is taking mainstream designs, like Ikea’s popular cookie-cutter designs, and making them more unique and individualized.
The 2015-2016 contest entry period will open in February 2016 and run through February 2017. Visit subzero-wolf.com/contest for further information.
By Carrie Farley