The Puzzle of Kitchen & Bath Design

March 25, 2021

Top 5 Kitchen & Bath Themes

We recently attended the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (which went virtual this year). We were educated on recent data sharing what’s important to the consumer right now, forecasting trends and new product releases. During the show, five key themes identified what will be integral in the future of kitchens and baths – those being a combination of:

  1.  Wellbeing

  2.  Cleanliness

  3.  Smart technology

  4.  Personalized design 

  5.  Timeless design

This pivotal year has taught us to readapt to our homes’ new roles and demands as it is now considered more of a lifestyle hub than its former launching pad.

While kitchens and bathrooms can be the most complicated and spendy rooms of any build, it’s also where you have the most selections to consider, and this allows you to play and mix personalized statements with timeless staples – it’s really where you get to put “jewelry” on your home.

“Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”  —Aldo Gucci

The endless possibilities continue to grow when it comes to styles, finishes, and even integrated smart technology. So, where do you start, and how do you know what is practical for you? That’s where we come in. By having conversations with our in-house interior designer and talking through your vision, we can help you hone in on what your priorities are, what products will serve you the most and where it may be worth it to splurge or not. We take pride in listening to our client’s goals because our goal is to give you your dream home. 


Skinny Shaker Cabinet Door

Photo Credit: Kitchen from Sunset Idea House 2018

Let’s start with cabinetry – a complex selection but the foundation of your kitchen and bathroom. When working through a custom cabinetry package, specifics we like to address first are your preference for painted or stained cabinets, the door panel style (slab, recessed, or raised), and any unique details such as inset glass, reeded wood panels, and decorative pilasters.  Functionality-wise, essential factors to understand are how you plan to use your kitchen or bathroom – that is, knowing your habits when cooking, what hand you curl your hair with, what works for you currently, and what doesn’t? This helps us understand how to arrange the space and what organizational tools or conveniences to integrate, like cabinets with pull-out drawers, working pantries, trash and recycle centers, drawer organizers, and docking stations, to name a few. 

“Everything happens in the kitchen. Life happens in the kitchen.”  —Andrew Zimmern

Decorating with “Home Jewelry”

Brass with Lucite Knob

Photo Credit: Anthropologie

Regarding the “jewelry,” as we like to call it, items such as faucets, cabinet hardware, and lighting can be impactful in blending in or standing out. You can stick with a classic like polished or satin nickel, chrome or oil rubbed bronze, or venture into new territory with matte black (the new classic!), choose from the variety of brass tones now available; even rose gold, gunmetal, graphite, black stainless and ombre (gradually fading from one color to another) are hitting the scene. You can also incorporate mixed materials with your hardware and light fixtures like lucite, leather, wood, and natural stones, which add an unexpected statement or complimentary organic texture. 


The “Work Triangle” for Ultimate Kitchen Efficiency

Appliances and plumbing fixtures will play a big part in your layout due to their size and various combinations in setting up the working triangle. Standard appliances include a refrigerator, freezer, range or wall oven and cooktop, and dishwasher, but don’t forget about your hood, microwave or steam oven, warming drawers, coffee machines, and wine and beverage coolers. Plumbing fixtures you’ll need to think about are your main kitchen sink faucet and the style you’d like to utilize (pull-down vs. bridge, for instance), and your sink (do you prefer under-mount or apron; single or double bowl), as well as bar or prep sinks and faucets or pot fillers. In the bathroom, you’ll have the vanity, shower, bathtub, and toilet to consider. While this combination may seem obvious, we always recommend working with a design professional as there are many valves and connected components within the bathroom plumbing fixture system to coordinate.

Photo Credit: Scout & Nimble

Customizing Your Design

Wondering what areas to step out of the ordinary when designing your kitchen or bath? Think about wrapping your kitchen hood so it’s exposed in a unique material or custom designing it, rather than specifying the standard stainless steel finish. Switch materials up between your perimeter cabinets and your island, or inlay a reeded wood panel to dress up the powder bath vanity.

“I don’t sing in the shower, I perform.” 


Photo Credit: Kohler

Bathrooms | Home Spa

Create some drama in the bathroom with a dark tile in the shower and install it in a vertical pattern to heighten the space. Rethink the shower niche by incorporating illumination or elongating it to span the entire wall width. If your floor plan allows, place your freestanding tub within the shower footprint for an entire spa zone within your bathroom. Are you looking to indulge fully? Dive in with an infinity bathtub – a soaking tub installed with a built-in channel surrounding the tub’s rim to catch the intentional overflow of water. Kohler tops the list with their Stillness® Bathtub complete with integrated steam, aromatherapy, and full-spectrum lighting options. 

Smart Technology

The smart technology we’re seeing has its fun perks, making cleanliness more convenient and healthier homes more accessible. Families are recognizing the importance of air quality and putting the focus on sophisticated filtration systems. Metal finishes can now include antimicrobial coatings, which reduce microbial growth, and some reduce water spots and fingerprints too! Refrigerators have touch screen panels allowing you to build grocery lists on the spot or find a new recipe. You can sync the oven to your phone, so you can preheat before you return home. You can also get a smart range hood that displays a full-size touch screen as the hood’s face and functions as a tablet, so you can stay connected while you simmer and sauté at the cooktop. Voice-activated smart faucets connect to Alexa or Google and allow you to get precise measurements, and exact temperature pours. Now, this feature is rolling into bathtub faucets, too, so you can perfectly fill your bathtub without lifting a finger – the way any pampering should commence. Bidets are growing in popularity, as are touchless flush systems for toilets. Smart mirrors would replace your standard vanity mirror and incorporate a TV or tablet and display the time, weather, calendar, and news so you can stay informed while you get ready. Bluetooth speakers are also a popular installation in bathrooms and essential oil diffusers as bathrooms become even more of the go-to place for a moment to relax.

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”—Mark Black

So the question remains – where do you start? How do you create a kitchen and bathroom that achieves cleanliness with smart technology and merges personalized and timeless design without being too trendy and stays within your budget? Simple – we do it every day. We find excitement in this challenge, and we’re here to collaborate and give you the exceptional results you expect.

Need a quick pick-me-up after all this kitchen and bath talk? Try a new relaxation remedy below, or revive yourself with this DIY sugar scrub for your lips and body – a much-needed therapy as we navigate this seasonal shift from Winter to Spring. Enjoy!


Three ideas to create space for relaxation (aka the “Digital Detox Zone”):

  1. Take an Epsom salt bath and engage the five senses to create an at-home oasis. What experience at the spa can you bring home? Is it the scent of eucalyptus? The silkiness of the essential oils? The soothing sounds of ambient music?

  2. Sip Moon Milk in the evening – a soothing combination of warmed milk (plant-based or dairy-based), honey, agave or maple syrup, coconut oil, and your preference of herbs and spices. This cozy elixir helps with sleeplessness, anxiety and supports the immune system. 

  3. Spend ten mins meditating – we love the Oak meditation app for guided meditation and breathing.

Sugar Scrub Recipe:


  • 2 teaspoons sugar – granulated, brown or raw
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon oil – jojoba, olive, or coconut oil


  • Glass jar with lid – 1 oz / 30 ml 
  • Beauty spatula


  1. Mix all ingredients together and transfer to glass jar
  2. Apply a small amount to lips
  3. Rub gently into lips to exfoliate and moisturize
  4. Wipe off gently with a warm, damp cloth

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