By Jamie Insul
Remodeling and modernizing home kitchens is all the rage right now. The trend is likely spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic as people are taking advantage of cooking at home more frequently – which has increased as the temperatures get colder and staying home to make soups and stews has become a nice weekend activity.
Refreshing kitchen spaces can take a lot of time and work in order to achieve the ultimate look. To help put your ideas into action, two local professionals discuss the best styles right now, noting homeowners are starting to strategically plan their space and embrace elements of nature.
Molly Machmer-Wessels of Woodland Design Company, an interior and exterior design and construction company based in Shaker Heights, gives insight into the most important things to consider when remodeling a kitchen. Machmer-Wessels is co-owner of the company with her husband, Fritz.
The first step is carefully planning the design and how it will contribute to what you want to accomplish in your cooking and other kitchen activities. Then, let your designer take it from there, giving the project the appropriate amount of time to do it the right way, she says.
“Take your time, and trust your designer,” she says. “We are all about beautiful spaces, but functionality is imperative. We love to design kitchens that are very specific to our clients, how they live, how they eat – all the details of their everyday life. Our goal is always to make life easier, and good design can absolutely do that. Life is hard enough, anything to make it easier is great in our opinion.”
Linda Hilbig, president of Somrak Kitchens in Bedford Heights, says those remodeling their kitchens now often want more storage in case they need to stock up on groceries. This is making pantry space especially important, she says, now involving more organized storage through the use of dividers and containers within cabinets.
Another trend Hilbig notes is that people are increasingly wanting to bring nature and wellness indoors. She explains that trending colors “are more neutral and earthy, like rift-cut oak, twig, bark and smoked gray. Opaque stains and high-pressure laminates that look like real wood are replacing the timeless white look as people move towards natural wood with wood tones.”
Hilbig says another trend revolving around nature is finding ways of bringing pops of color in – “colors of nature such as tangerine, eggplant and artichoke are being used in the form of barstools, sinks or even islands.” Nature has been so important to incorporate into life during the COVID-19 pandemic, people continue to want to utilize the beauty of the outdoors, she adds.
Machmer-Wessels adds that in regard to practical kitchen trends, at Woodland Design Company “we love a classic kitchen that feels true to the home it’s in. We try to let the bones of a home guide our designs. When designing a space, we often add organic elements to prevent a space from feeling dated. It keeps things fresh.”
One last tip Hilbig gave was to use the website houzz.com, which she says “is a great resource for doing your homework.”
“People can look up what they specifically want and find pictures that can be saved and tagged into an idea book.” Those ideas can then be shared with a designer, which will help in saving time and money, she adds.