Design trend: the growing field of the kitchen


Pantries, spice kitchens, pops of bright color, and built-in appliances are in demand

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Much like the proverbial cliché in detective novels, it all revolves around the “butler”.


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In this case, there’s no smoking gun or not-so-new ending that points to the butler as the culprit. Rather, we’re talking about creating ultimate kitchens and it’s the butler – like in the butler’s pantry – that steals the show.

“The pantry is definitely getting more attention and love these days, and the introduction of more butler pantry is definitely increasing,” said Kara Murray, partner, Alair Homes. “The name of the game is having more in the kitchen, while still being able to hide or camouflage all of those items to keep things minimalist and stylish, while still providing full functionality.”

Adding catering kitchens and spice kitchens is becoming quite common, giving homeowners a separate prep space away from the main kitchen, adds Michelle Dolan, vice president, Legacy Signature Homes.

“A catering kitchen is a separate kitchen that can be used for behind-the-scenes preparation and storage before serving when hosting a party,” Dolan said. “It will normally have all the amenities of a full kitchen, only a smaller one. In upscale homes they used to be called butler’s kitchens or for some of our ethnic customers they called it their spice kitchen, where they cook aromatic foods away from all of their guests in the main kitchen.

Likewise, Birkholz Homes said that butler’s pantries are also very popular. They’re finished with appliances that may include a microwave drawer, fridge or freezer or both, and the woodwork to match the main kitchen is typical, said Birkholz president Kevin Birkholz.


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However, it’s not just about the pantry. These three Edmonton-area home builders said they are also seeing an increase in demand for larger kitchens, larger or double islands, pops of color, solid backsplashes and hidden appliances.

“We are seeing a trend towards larger islands and gathering spaces in the kitchen,” Dolan said, noting that more and more people are living, working and studying at home and that the kitchen has become the natural place where everything. the world comes together.

“We’re seeing a lot more people eliminating dining rooms to create more space to gather and entertain in the kitchen. “

This echoes a comment from Alair, with Murray noting that many homeowners seek the kitchen to serve as a central gathering point or entertainment space.


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“We are seeing more and more people sacrificing the size of their living space for more space in the kitchen and dining rooms,” said Murray.

But what colors should you go with?

“While white still tends to be popular in kitchens, we are starting to see a trend to introduce more jewelry tones in parts of the cabinetry, and this primarily in the island or lower cabinets,” Murray said. . “Navy blue and hunter green are both trending right now to bring statement features to the kitchen. We even saw bold, bright colors like orange against white cabinetry to create a vibrant statement that shouldn’t be missed in the kitchen.

At Legacy, they’re seeing a return to the trend towards woods and warm tones, as well as high-contrast colors such as rich blacks and blues.


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“The main bodies of the kitchens are a subtle tone,” Birkholz said, in terms of what he sees buyers selecting. “Many are lighter in color. Accents are either a strong color for the island or a section of full-height cabinetry, while high-end laminates are gaining popularity. Wood lookalikes, he said, are extremely strong and durable, but also very realistic compared to wood veneer panels.

Complementing these color palettes, builders have said that solid backsplashes – think the countertop pattern has taken on the wall instead of a more traditional tile finish – are all the rage.

“We are seeing a slight push towards large format countertop and backsplash products such as Dekton and Porcelain Sheets,” Dolan said. “It allows us to go big with less seams and joints and gives a very uniform look.”


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Hidden appliances, on the other hand, are another important consideration when designing kitchens today.

“Hidden appliances to match cabinetry are very trendy right now and we’ll see more of them in 2022,” said Murray, who adds that it helps support demand for that minimalist look their customers are looking for.

Connected kitchen

As 2022 approaches, and with a pandemic continuing to factor in, some builders in the Edmonton area are noticing these tech-driven / smart kitchen features are on homeowner wish lists:

  • The pandemic has really inspired people to switch to touchless faucets, soap dispensers or trash cans – Alair Homes.
  • TVs that can double as computer monitors for recipes or your favorite cooking class are popular – Birkholz Homes.
  • Smart home plans are a standard for most households these days; we see centralized control locations and touch screens added to kitchens as a hub to control the whole house – Legacy Signature Homes.



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About Octavia A. Dorr

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