The latest in kitchen trends

Jillian Span Hofbauer

Central Ohio Architect John Behal shares popular trends in kitchen design and advice on making your kitchen renovation function well with your lifestyle.

What are the biggest trends you're seeing in kitchen design as we get closer to 2017?

In Columbus, which has been a fairly traditional city through my career, we are seeing a strong trend toward a modern,clean look, and not only with younger people. This trend seems to have captured the imaginations of all age groups.

Major kitchen renovations can sometimes scare people off because of the cost. Are there affordable updates people can make to improve their space without breaking the bank?

If a kitchen has an awkward plan or is really too small for the size of the house,I'd recommend that any work be really minimal;maybe just painting,replacing a laminate topor updating the lighting. If the kitchen has a reasonably good layout, then projects such as removing a peninsula and adding an island can make a big impact.Continuing wood flooring from adjoining rooms into the kitchen and painting dated wood cabinets a handsome solid color are other ways to make moderate changes without a complete renovation.

When it comes to function, what's your best advice for making a kitchen renovation work well with someone's lifestyle?

An important question to ask yourself is:How many people cook in this kitchen? If two people often work together, then the placement, for example, of the cooktop and the sink should be thought through so no one is bumping into the other cook.

If you entertain in the kitchen,it's important to design good places to prep the meal and simultaneously allow for guests to be comfortable AND out of your way.

Are there any popular design trends in kitchens from the last few years that are really starting to fade out?

Stainless steel appliances have been popular in the marketplace for a while, and there will always be a segment for pro-style stainless appliances. However, many companies are coming out with gray finishes which can be more subtle. And especially in a small kitchen, a large stainless refrigerator can totally dominate the space. This is where wood panel appliances are really worth the effort to give the kitchen as large of a feel as possible. If these are too costly, gray appliances with gray cabinets are subtle and are trending forward.

What should people who entertain frequently, especially at the holidays, consider when updating their kitchen spaces?

For today's gathering kitchen, my rule is this:Make sure the work triangle does not intersect any circulation path or crosses the gathering space for guests. This waythe host can accomplish what is needed and the guests can relax and not feel they are in the way.

(Photo by Ray LaVoie)