Remodels that cook Kitchen updates focus on color, sleek design and convenience

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Like moths attracted to light, people tend to be drawn to the kitchen. More than merely a functional room, the kitchen often serves as the social hub where everyone gathers.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that homeowners target kitchens as one of the more popular rooms to remodel. They’re prime spots to show your flare and likely to be seen by more family and friends than, say, the closet in your guest room.

With so many options and choices, though, where to start?

Like-minded people in the area kick off a kitchen remodel by considering the top three categories – colors, finishes and technology, according to Renée Urbanowicz, senior interior designer at Melton Design Build in Boulder.

And if you’re looking for current trends, consider what other homeowners are looking for – easy maintenance, sleek design and convenience.

“The forecasted color for 2015 is guilford green,” Urbanowicz said. “Benjamin Moore releases a new palette every year, and this is the one for 2015.”

Muted blues and greens stretch the look, and pops of bold colors – such as painting one cabinet or one wall differently from the rest – are in style.

In terms of finishes, stainless steel hardware on cabinets and faucets is leading the way with an eye toward matching the look with light fixtures. “We’re also seeing some warmer tones of brass and bronze,” Urbanowicz said.

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Nate Burger, Eco Handyman owner and licensed general contractor, sees an interest in the sleek and modern look over extensive ornamentation for things such as cabinet doors and knobs. Unembellished, flat cabinet doors and long horizontal bars for handles fill the bill.

Urbanowicz described the look as clean and streamlined, modern and contemporary, and simple.

“People are also interested in making things more accessible so they don’t have to do crazy maneuvers to get something,” Burger said.

An example is choosing drawers that slide open rather than using traditional cabinets that often require an on-the-knees position and stretch to reach a cooking pot.
Both Urbanowicz and Burger see homeowners moving to quartz over granite for countertops.

“Even though granite is beautiful – a piece of artwork, really – quartz is extremely durable, easy to clean and doesn’t require much maintenance,” Urbanowicz said.

“Plus, granite needs to be sealed yearly, and quartz does not,” Burger said.

In terms of technology, homeowners are interested in touchless faucets that enable cooks to bump them with an elbow when their hands are full.

“There’s also a big trend toward smart appliances,” Urbanowicz said. In addition to other household equipment being controlled by smart phones, kitchen appliances are putting homeowners more in charge whether they’re home or not.

The option allows you to preheat the oven on your commute home, having it ready to slide the chicken in when you walk in the front door. Some refrigerators can let you know when it’s time to start grocery shopping for holiday meals or let you scan grocery recipes to keep track of what’s running low.

Top-line refrigerators can let you know when one of its contents is about to expire or recommend recipes based on what’s inside.

“We put USB ports into outlets in kitchen remodels so homeowners can have a charging station handy rather than having to go to a desk or the bedroom,” Urbanowicz said.
Other trends include knocking down walls and adding LED lighting, according to Burger.

“Generally, people want to open the space of their kitchens and flow from the inside to the outside as well as into the living room,” he said.

Adding LED light strips under upper cabinets increases energy efficiency by illuminating the task at hand, such as cutting vegetables.

“In Boulder, people try to use natural materials,” Burger said. “It mixes a slick, modern look with the warmth of nature.”
That can mean adding natural flagstone or natural wood.

“I put a sliding barn door in my own kitchen, for example,” Burger said.

Like most everything, costs depend on budgets. Remodels on which Melton Design Build has worked range from about $60,000 to $125,000, according to Josh Fiester, sales manager.
Eco Handyman has completed small kitchen changes such as moving sinks over or putting in islands. The company also brings in the architect and designer it works with when the job calls for more.
“We’re open to smaller projects,” Burger said. “If someone doesn’t have $50,000, we can implement smaller, more usable designs.”