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Redefining Kitchen Design

Redefining kitchen design – new world technology and old world values

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Redefining kitchen design – new world technology and old world values

Every day new technology provides us with faster and better ways of impacting all aspects of our lives; we cannot live without these new advances, yet the complexity of it all had made us yearn for the simplicity of what came before.

The “Connected Home” has become a fashionable buzzword. There is a greater connection on so many levels – connection to technology, connection to the earth and connection to one another. And with the kitchen becoming the embraced hub of this connectivity, kitchen design has never been more exciting.

We are utilizing technology and innovation, seamlessly incorporating the most fundamental use of the kitchen; domestic is back in style and kitchens are multi-functional. It’s no longer just a kitchen. It’s a Live-Kitchen, Social-Kitchen, Smart-Kitchen, Working-Kitchen, and Family-Respect-for-Food Kitchen. And most importantly, we are ‘Living’ in the kitchen.

As we all know, the faster life gets, the more important ‘time’ becomes. With clever kitchen design, we are more conscious of how we use this meaningful space. We are returning to the kitchen, and with purpose. Fast food is out, and thoughtful slow cooking is in. We are growing our own produce, whether in gardens, planters, or window pots. We are spending time in this redefined room, sharing conversation, food preparation, cooking and living together.

This year, at the trade show Eurocucina in Milan, evidence of this direction in kitchens was consistently featured by all the industry leaders. Trends supporting kitchens that are adaptable and conducive to socializing were seen throughout. Kitchen islands, expanding into tables or sliding open exposing grills and cooktops with seating around allowing for communal and collaborative cooking. The overarching theme was being able to cook while entertaining and socializing with friends and family within the space. Styles were comfortable, welcoming and uber-functional.

Fresh herbs and micro greens, artfully and organically displayed on decorative shelving, beneath LED lighting, took the gardening trend to a new level by encouraging food preparation of home-grown produce, even if natural light is limited within your space.

And installations of LED lighting was shining its light in expected and unexpected spaces. Strip channel lighting within cabinetry gables and open shelving, illuminating the insides of drawers and activated upon opening, or by remote. Creative lighting to feature transparent shelving that appeared invisible, sporting colour blocked cookware that seemed to be magically floating within the cabinetry. The beauty of this application was that the décor was actually everyday used items; practical and tastefully placed.

The predominant trend, however, was the resourceful use of vertical space within the kitchen, allowing this multi-functional room to remain steam-lined and uncluttered looking, yet filled with all of the necessities of a kitchen. In particular, kitchen backsplashes were being used as stylish storage, with sliding doors, or motorized panels concealing and revealing, dishes, utensils, pantry items and small appliances – all beautifully organized, easily accessible, and out of sight when not in use. While most only used the minimal depth along the back of the counter, other systems retracted down, within the back depth of lower cabinets. An inventive use of space that’s typically difficult to reach.

And lastly, cutting-edge technology is taking the modern kitchen to a whole new level. With the installation of reactors in an over island hood, which automatically interface the countertop below, kitchen islands are being transformed. With the touch of a finger, activate induction cooking, select temperatures, operate small appliances, connect to online resources, read mail, watch cooking videos, charge electronic devices and so much more! Imagine a kitchen island that can cook and chill food, and then when not in use becomes a normal countertop, without any external knobs – innovation at its best… and easy to keep clean!

It’s so inspiring to see this blending of ideology that will enhance lifestyle, our connectivity and allow the next generation of kitchens to be innovatively designed and lived-in organically and purposefully.

JANICE FEDAK is a Designer, Trend Researcher and Speaker. She has a diverse background in Colour & Design and creates impactful and artistic residential, commercial and retail spaces.

She is the owner of Janice Fedak, Colour & Design in Toronto and shares her forecasts and inspiring insight through her training seminars, presentations, and design consultations across North America.

Twitter: @janice_fedak

Instagram: janicefedak


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by Cathy Hetherman

The latest in kitchen designs straight from Milan

A visit to EuroCucina in Milan, Italy is equivalent to stepping into a design time machine. Set the date to two years from today, and you will have a glimpse into the trends that are about to explode into the North American kitchen design market.

Hundreds of thousands of designers, builders and manufacturers from all over the world, merged into what can only be described as a ‘mosh pit’ of innovation frenzy. It was every person for themselves, and no cameras were allowed. Hundreds of people elbowed their way into each booth, and head-set-wearing bouncers often demanded passes to enter. This was the epitome of cool. This IS EuroCucina.

Nothing in North America can compare to the impact of this show. Multi-million dollar booths featured such designers as Scavolini, Stosa, Minacciolo, and Snaidero (to name but a few) — and they were all presenting to the design industry. We’re not talking about builder-grade black granite anymore.

Solid wood cabinetry – gone.

Stone – nope.

Appliances – all undercover, baby!

European kitchen design is going to change the way we think, design and purchase. Consider some of these steadfast trends:

Whites, Woods and Wow!

Not real woods, but fabulous wood and matte laminates (muted and bold) combined with clean white, or non-glossy, tops with eye-popping splashes of greens, oranges, teals or reds. Velvety, pristine solid surfaces and new nano-technology laminates share dual-purpose roles on counters and cabinetry. Imagine blacks that leave no fingerprints.


Appliances are being integrated into cabinet designs like never before. The focus is on linear cabinetry and perfectly hidden appliances. Hardware is optional. Say goodbye to refrigerators, microwaves and coffee makers — they’ll all become a well-kept secret. Even cook tops and stoves often disappear behind a well-designed space. The emphasis is on space and calm — something we can all relate to in our cluttered worlds.


Tomorrow’s kitchens are in motion with hinges, mechanics, louvres and remote controls. Innovative hinging makes for the most accessible kitchens to date. Just a touch will raise and lower upper cabinets. Just a swipe, and the eating bar changes direction. A push of a button goes from counter to bar height. Integrated pantry doors disappear to reveal appliances and work spaces.

EuroCucina is the ultimate wake-up call for kitchen design. The industry is in for an uprising of innovation and technology. The attendance, alone, was the highest in the history of the event. It’s a clear indication that kitchen design is hungry for something fresh. It’s time to educate ourselves and prepare for trends that will catapult us into a season of design madness — where form follows function, and the customer wins.

CATHY HETHERMAN is a contributing writer, and
MIKE HETHERMAN CKD is a Certified Kitchen Designer and respected voice in the industry.Read more about Mike at mikehetherman.com


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