The kitchen is, and will probably always be, the heart of any home. This is where everyone gathers to talk about daily happenings. It's a location to sit with kids when helping with homework, and it's a place where meals are shared and for socializing with friends.
“It’s probably the most used room of any one and people want it to be welcoming, clean and inviting,” says Realtor Gabrielle Dodson, with Keller Williams in Franklin. “It’s also definitely one that if you’re going to put money into your home, that’s the place to put it for the best return on investment.”
Working in the real estate industry for 14 years, Gabrielle says she's seen many incarnations of kitchens over the years and understands what people are looking for today.
Most popular by far, she says, is the white-on-white kitchen.
“I call it light, bright and white. It’s such a clean, inviting look and just pulls people in. I get clients all the time who say they don’t want a white kitchen, that they don’t want that modern look, and then they walk into a home that has it and they love it," she says. “The great thing about a white kitchen is it’s a lot easier to make your own. We used to have very heavy traditional kitchens with lots of crown molding and darker colors which were harder to transform into your own style.”
For countertops, quartz is the way to go, but some people like using Carrara marble, although it does stain fairly easily. Stainless steel appliances are still as popular as ever, but in some high-end homes, Gabrielle is seeing a new trend.
“There are some different types of ranges that come in navy blue, or are white with gold trim,” she shares.
These custom and expensive appliances from Europe, such as those made by ILVE, add a pop of color into a kitchen.
For flooring, many homeowners are choosing the newer synthetic engineered materials that look like tile or wood, and they’re going for a light oak or gray here as well to keep that clean and bright feel.
Farmhouse sinks and hidden pantries are still in demand. “Of course, the chef’s dream is the kitchen that stays unused and therefore extremely clean because there is a prep kitchen hidden behind it,” she says. “But those are few and far between.”
When it comes to the ever-popular island, she often asks people if they want an island or a continent because some are so large. Homeowners who have many kids or who entertain a lot desire space for multiple seating. These large islands also can fit many amenities, such as dual dishwashers, an ice maker and a small sink.
“People are now gravitating to waterfall islands, which is where the quartz wraps all the way around the sides,” says Gabrielle. "Many of these islands also have cabinetry for storage, which is a big asset in any kitchen. And one-level islands are in, whereas tiered islands are out."
Other popular choices in the kitchen include pull-out drawers for pots and pans, as well as appliances garages. “These garages can hide your coffee maker or blender behind your cabinetry, and many times the outlet is right there, so you never have to take them out,” she says. This way, appliances are not visible or taking up space on countertops.
Light fixtures also underwent a drastic change. “We’re moving away from a lot of the heavier fixtures and using more that you can see through, such as smaller pendants with glass features,” says Gabrielle.
People are always surprised, she adds, how much bigger their kitchens look when they take out these bulky fixtures. It’s the same thing with pot racks. “We used to see those a lot more, but when you take them down your kitchen looks much more open.”