Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Talk to most new home sales professionals and they will tell you that if a shopper - most often the woman - falls in love with the kitchen in a model, the chances of selling that prospect a house go way, way up.
|No part of the house inspires as much passion as the kitchen. The Farmer's Market Kitchen in Rockefeller Center in New York showcases some of the latest trends in kitchen design. Visual interest is created by varying the height and doors of the cabinets.|
Talk to most new home sales professionals and they will tell you that if a shopper - most often the woman - falls in love with the kitchen in a model, the chances of selling that prospect a house go way, way up. No space in the home serves as many functions or stirs as much passion as the kitchen. The kitchen is the room on which buyers spend more of their option and upgrade money than any other, according to years of data collected in Professional Builder's consumer studies.
To highlight good kitchen design and showcase some of today's new material options, the Reed Residential Group partnered with new home builder D.R. Horton Inc. to create the Farmer's Market Kitchen in the most celebrated of settings - Rockefeller Center in New York. "The Farmer's Market presented an opportunity for us to bring together readers and advertisers with the purpose of doing something extraordinary together," says group publisher Dean Horowitz. "It creates an unusual site among New York City's skyscrapers."
The elaborate, free-standing kitchen is the centerpiece of the weekly Farmer's Market in Rockefeller Center and the site of Friday morning celebrity chef cooking segments on NBC's Today show.
|The free-standing Farmer's Market Kitchen is showcased weekly on the Today show cooking segment. According to data collected by Professional Builder, homeowners spend more money upgrading options in the kitchen than in any other part of the house. Some of that money is spent on solid-surface countertops and industrial-looking stainless steel appliances.|
Designed by Julie Howes of The Strober-Haddonfield Group, the Farmer's Market Kitchen showcases some of the latest trends in kitchens today, including:
- Commercial/industrial look: Today's kitchen fashion borrows from the professional world. Stainless steel, long a standard in restaurants, is the hot finish in kitchen appliances today. While the look of stainless usually drives the homeowner's decision, high efficiency and the easy cleanup and durability of the finish are additional selling features.
- Modified golden triangle: While square footage might vary depending on the overall floor plan, every kitchen has a work triangle defined by the stove, sink and refrigerator. No absolutes dictate the placement of these three stations or the space between them, but Howes says kitchens function better - and are safer - if these appliances are within 6 to 8 feet of each other. Howes also refuses to negotiate with clients on "set-down space" next to the stove or cooktop. "This is the one appliance in the kitchen that must have countertop to the left or to the right. When a hot pan comes off the stove or out of the oven, having an immediate and handy space to set it down is critical."
- Solid surfaces: New material choices and product styles exist for every product in the kitchen, but the greatest number of new options are in countertop materials. "The choices are immense, and today's consumers are much more educated about their material options," says Howes. "The role of the professional is to help match a customer's style preferences with his or her functional needs." The fastest-growing countertop category is solid surfaces, which offer myriad color choices and styles and are durable and easy to maintain.
- Stepped cabinets: In the Farmer's Market Kitchen, Howes created visual interest throughout the space by varying the cabinet height. "The number of choices in stock and custom cabinets has changed the face of the kitchen," she explains. "If we can engineer it on paper, most cabinet companies can build it." More and more often, Howes says, consumers ask for more cabinets in a greater variety of configurations - tall walls, stacked moldings, custom options, specialty cabinets, etc. - to maximize storage space.