Culinary spaces shine with contemporary design touches.
By Tanya A. Yacina
In the ever-evolving realm of interior design, the heart of every home is the kitchen—a space where form and function harmonize, where culinary creativity meets contemporary aesthetic. Kitchen design trends are constantly shifting in response to progressing lifestyles, technologies and the desire for spaces that not only serve practical needs but also reflect personal style.
Anissa Swanzy, owner and founder of Newport Beach-based SKD Studios, says that she aims to keep her kitchen designs timeless and adds trendy details to the smaller particulars of the room to allow for growth and change.
“Modern kitchen design, in today’s definition, … means cleaner lines, more simple aesthetics,” Swanzy says. “Cleaner door styles for the cabinets, using the same countertops as the backsplash instead of bringing in a wild color [and] using natural materials and softer colors.”
She adds that current trends are shifting back to natural materials, like wood and linen, even in the kitchen. “We are mixing metals and bringing in lots of natural products,” she explains. “Natural marble is back, wood tones in light Scandinavian colors are hot and neutral backsplashes are coming back.”
The popular design trend known as Japandi—a mix of Japanese elegance and Scandinavian minimalism—contributes to the recent uptick of natural elements used in kitchens, according to Swanzy. The aesthetic is more mellow and soft, relying on the harmony created by wood tones, neutral shades and full-height backsplashes instead of flashy colors and tiles.
“A few of the most important elements … [in] a perfect kitchen space consist of the cabinets, the countertops and the appliances,” she says. “… For cabinets, find a good kitchen designer to help you layout the new cabinet design and make sure that your new cabinets have the room you need for all your organization. For countertops, we encourage the use of natural products for clients that have the understanding that it will patina and will stay in style forever.”
When it comes to appliances, Swanzy is a strong believer in panel-ready units, which are unfinished and can be customized to match the room. She suggests opting for a free-standing range instead of a cooktop and separate ovens to save space. She also recommends not skimping on the appliances, because when you buy quality the first time around, you won’t have to replace them for years to come.
“Hire a kitchen designer. Even if you are using an architect, they are not kitchen designers, just like kitchen designers aren’t architects,” she explains. “It is vital to have someone that understands how a kitchen will be laid out, as well as how to incorporate your appliances and be able to show you the design in 3D.”
In addition, she says homeowners should seek out inspiration from other finished spaces before making any major decisions on design. “Seeing kitchens complete is a good way for clients to portray to a professional designer what they want,” she adds. “It is also a good way to see different styles and home in on their [own personal] style.”