Contractors talk K&B trends

February 28, 2010


Smaller budgets, green products and traditional styles will dominate 2010

The National Kitchen and Bath Association predicts 2010 won't see any dramatic or sweeping changes in terms of consumer tastes; traditional styles, dark colors and flexible faucets round out the top picks for remodeling projects. Remodelers can expect homeowners to be prudent, experts say.

“My sense of trends is that people are looking to do more with less money,” says Ilyce R. Glink, home improvement author, blogger and talk radio host. “They're thinking about inlaying different tiles in order to maximize their bang for the buck rather than going with inlaid marbles. People are building smaller, cheaper, greener and more thoughtfully.” People are looking to express themselves more through their choices than by subscribing to any fad, she adds — so no avocado-colored appliances or shag carpeting this year.

Job sizes, types

“The only trend I see is more requests for bath projects than ever. I think it is because people have less to spend or are only willing to spend so much and they think a bath project will be cheap,” says Darius Baker, CEO of D&J Kitchens & Baths. “People think you can get an entire gut and replace everything 5 by 9 bath done for $10,000 or less.” Baker says homeowners think that because the space in a typical bathroom is so much smaller than a kitchen it should be proportionately less costly. According to the company's latest figures, a 5- by 9-foot bathroom with mid-range priced products, tile surrounds and tile flooring will land in the low to mid-$20,000s.


According to the Freedonia Group's “World Residential Countertops” study, laminate options will lead demand, but solid surface and natural stone countertops will each account for one-fifth of global demand. Nearly 70 percent of solid surface countertops were sold in the Asia/Pacific region, where they are an especially low-cost option, because of limited color offerings and a competitive local production base. Engineered stone, which is primarily used in the more developed countries such as the U.S. due to its high cost, is expected to achieve the most rapid gains through 2013.

“Clients are leaning toward more renewable, recyclable resources for countertops, such as recycled paper, concrete and stainless steel, which are now running neck in neck with marble and granite,” says Steve Lazar of Lazar Homes. He says accenting any kitchen with an enormous “green” butcher block table is still desirable and a nice effective way to break up the kitchen with a different countertop.

Green materials for cabinets

“Economical and sustainable kitchens are absolutely key to moving ahead in this world,” says Corey Klassen, interior designer and kitchen and bathroom specialist. Klassen points to flat-panel doors in Bamboo, Kieri board or reclaimed lumber that are clear-coated in a semi-gloss low-VOC finish as products that have become popular.

“Ply-woods and particle board frames are moving toward formaldehyde-free, and even soy and hemp boards are finding their way to the marketplace. People are asking for them, and the industry is responding,” he says.


Christine Jurs, vice president and senior designer of advance design studio, says natural and distressed elements will be a big trend for 2010. “From distressed cabinetry to dark hardwood floors or stone flooring replacing carpet, imperfections are another way to add character to design elements in the home,” she says.

Wood floors in kitchens are very popular with Lazar's clients. “As an example, I selected a more rustic distressed floor with an antique patina for our latest residence in Hermosa Beach, which will only look better over time,” says Lazar. The company chose wide-planked Eastern White Pine floors for another residence, and the look is simultaneously warm, and at the same time, artfully distressed.


In the bathroom, Jurs says the comfort of the classic farmhouse is being incorporated into the bathroom with dynamic retro elements such as freestanding clawfoot bathtubs; furniture-style, distressed cabinetry; and vanity pieces.

Klassen sees more technology and eco-friendly options in the bathroom, such as low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets and integrated bathroom tech.

“Small LCD televisions and vanity spaces that are simple and clean will be built in,” he says. More to come: “Color pallets will mirror kitchens with white, turquoise and grays being predominantly mixed with bamboo and low-impact woods.”

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