Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Decorating to Stay Home Kitchens and Bathrooms Lend Themselves to Warmer Design Innovations

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Decorating to Stay Home Kitchens and Bathrooms Lend Themselves to Warmer Design Innovations

Article excerpt

Like women's fashion, home building and design are subject to trends. From Palladian windows to great rooms to kitchen islands, change affects the house from top to bottom and year to year.

Today, it's all about making a home warmer and more family friendly. That's the word from Tim Smith, a kitchen and bath designer at Maggie's Building Solutions in Peters.

Everyone is looking for warmer looks, Smith said. With people spending more time at home, the kitchen has become a key gathering place.

To pump up ambience in the kitchen, it could mean installing cabinets in either maple or cherry woods, both of which suggest earthiness. Unusual finishes include taupe and pecan. Recessed lighting, installed beneath the cabinets, is another way to suggest warm and cozy. The warmth of hardwood floors also is winning points over cold tile.

Another material that hits the mark with homeowners is tumbled marble, so named because of its unpolished appearance. It is sometimes used for the kitchen backsplash.

Tom Pollok, architectural designer for the Rob Boram Construction Co., a Peters firm that does upscale remodeling, identified two bathroom trends as bidets as separate bathroom appliances and heated, radiant floors. "Just 10 years ago, these were unheard of," he said.

In the kitchen, people are interested in semiprofessional, stainless steel appliances that not only provide status but provide the chef with more options and speed. These trends require more space, which always is an issue in remodeling 30-year-old kitchens that were not designed for the nuances of the modern kitchen, he said.

Another notable trend is lighting improvements in kitchens and bathrooms. Pollok said kitchens should have general, accent and task lighting to provide sufficient light and make the room look warmer and more inviting.

"Lighting is everything. It brings a room alive," he said. "It is one of the things that you find shortchanged in half-million-dollar houses. Lighting rooms properly is something that's sorely missed."

Homeowners' suggestions frequently are fueled by what they've read in magazines, gleaned from the Internet or seen on television home improvement shows, Smith said.

One avant-garde look in the kitchen involves mixing light and dark cabinet finishes, Smith said. At one time, everyone wanted white laminate cabinets, but that look is pretty much passe. There's also the trend toward varying cabinet height, creating a visually interesting uneven line at the top.

Choices in types of cabinets are becoming wider, too. For instance, apothecary cabinets break up the boredom of a wall of cabinets of the same size and design and offer smaller drawers for storage. …

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