The 2016 Kitchen and Bathroom Handbook

Local building and design professionals weigh in on the most important rooms in the house.

Today’s kitchens and baths are no longer stations that serve a single purpose. The kitchen is, after all, the heart of the home—a gathering place for conversation, cocktails, and yes, cooking. The thinking behind the culinary center has evolved, becoming an extension of a home’s living spaces. No longer must the kitchen have to look so much like a kitchen. Similarly, the master bathroom has become more than a utilitarian wet room for showering and grooming. With all manner of innovations and amenities, the modern bath is an inviting haven for pampering. And the powder bath? It has been reimagined, too, from bland half bath to jewel box, where creativity is encouraged to run wild. Our featured kitchens and bathrooms demonstrate how builders and designers are rethinking these most-utilized rooms of the home for the way you live-—and it’s a beautiful thing. 

How to Build the Perfect Kitchen

What’s new in finishes? 

“Custom prefinished cabinets, whether they are from Poggenpohl, Bulthaup or local cabinet shops,  are becoming very popular in both kitchens and baths.”
–Michael Munir, Sharif & Munir

“We are doing a lot of kitchens with mixed finishes—a combination of painted cabinets and stain-grade wood. Recently, we did a house with navy blue accent cabinets in the kitchen. It’s bold but still very neutral. Large islands are extremely popular, especially with a waterfall edge.”
Mark Danuser, Tatum Brown Custom Homes

“For so long, everything has been gray and white. We’re seeing a return to lighter finishes and warmer colors. With people going for a more transitional look, we’re seeing less trim, and in some cases, no trim at all.”
–Rob Leonard, Creekview Custom Homes

Any new features becoming popular? 

“We have seen a resurgence of the scullery or catering kitchen. People like to have an area that is separate from the open kitchen so that when they are entertaining, prep and cleanup can be out of sight of guests. As for appliances, I really like under-counter herb gardens, salamanders for grilling steaks, kegerators, and stainless steel sinks with sliding cutting boards and colanders.”
–Tricy Magadini, Bernbaum/Magadini Architects

How are you handling kitchen storage?

“I have been through many new and older homes, and when I take a quick peek in upper cabinets, I would often find them empty. If the space isn’t used, I would much rather have natural light in its place. We need storage, but we have found that a large well-placed pantry/dish pantry is a better way to get all the ‘stuff’ stored away for the next holiday or dinner party. ”
–David Stocker, Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro

“We look at a client’s existing drawers and cabinets to see what’s not working. We’ll create plasticware storage so there’s a designated space for every lid. To keep old cooking utinsels off the counter, we have drawers made to keep them out of site. For sink cabinets, we line the bottom in stainless steel so cleaning products don’t attack the finish.”
–Bill Algier, Bentwood of Dallas

How to Build the Perfect Bathroom

How do you handle storage in the bath?

“For vanities, I’ve been designing drawers based on all the items my client needs. There are stainless-steel-lined slots for hair dryers and curling irons. I’ve also been installing drawers that telescop e out like a tackle box. They have been popular for storing makeup.”
–Mark Molthan, Platinum Series Homes

What are your clients asking for these days?  

“The freestanding tub is really popular, but it’s not the most practical. So for many of our clients, we’ve built shelves that run behind the bathtub. They are lower, so you aren’t able to see bottles of shampoo, soap, etc. People don’t want anything on their counters, so we are building more pullout cabinets for toothbrushes, hair dryers, and other everyday items.”
–Rob Leonard, Creekview Custom Homes

“Granite has gone by the wayside, with homeowners selecting marble or durable man-made stones for the kitchen and bath. There’s been a trend toward European interiors, even in more traditional homes. We’re seeing clean, lighter colors, floating cabinets, and in-wall toilets. Overall, we see a trend toward customization of the entire master suite.”
–Mark Danuser, Tatum Brown Custom Homes

What are some of your favorite bells and whistles? 

“One of my favorite bathroom amenities is a fog-proof  TV with a shave mirror attachment. And it’s  not the size of an iPad; it has a 27-inch screen. I also like the new shower heads. The body jet, human car wash is dead. Clients want a single head with really good water pressure.  I’m also a fan of the infrared-powered no-touch toilets with  a wash- and-dry feature. They’re perfect for the germophobe.”
–Mark Molthan, Platinum Series Homes

“I’m seeing hidden medicine cabinets built into the cabinetry, frameless shower doors in secondary bathrooms instead of shower curtains, brass and Lucite hardware, heated floors, and wallpaper.”
–Leslie Jenkins, Jenkins Interiors

“In the shower, we are using recessed rain heads along with wall-mounted heads. We’re installing elongated drains in order to keep the shower clean.”
–Marci Barnes, M. Barnes & Co.

“A sliding barn-door-style glass shower enclosure is something we love. The rolling hardware mounted on the glass is a very cool look.” 
–Susan Bednar Long, S.B. Long Interiors

What’s new in the powder bath? 

There are many options for funky sinks in powder baths, and floating counters are always popular. There are also linear sinks with drains that aren’t visible, units that include the sink and open shelves for storage, and even bright-colored rubber cabinets. You can really go crazy in a powder bath because you don’t have a lot of practical requirements other than the toilet and sink. 
–Tricy Magadini, Bernbaum/Magadini Architects

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