After spending the last 25 years in the design and remodeling business, we have definitely experienced peaks and valleys. While the beginning of the pandemic was definitely a difficult and uncertain time, as it still is for most businesses, we began to experience a definite uptick in the home improvement business. It took several months of people hunkering down in their home, discontinuing most travel and vacations, thinking they wanted to improve their surroundings given that, for the foreseeable future, they would be looking at it for a long time. They may have been putting it off for years.
Initially, we faced challenges with product fulfillment, as many American factories were closed and not in production for several months. One obstacle to remodeling was that freight in transit was turned around and sent back to its origin since freight companies feared their employees might get stuck in a different state far from home. It took some time to get through this. Factories had to get approval from their Governors in order to get back to work, proving that they would enforce new policies over social distance and proper PPE such as wearing masks. Some were forced to close down temporarily due to positive Covid testing and concerns over sanitation. When people began ordering new appliances and cabinetry from Towne & Country Design all at once, we experienced longer than normal wait times for these items, especially luxury brands which may not have been manufactured for months, but they did arrive.
It seems whenever people experience cultural shifts, their tastes and desires change along with their mood. The late 90's opulent Tuscan style trend requiring expensive stacked moldings of carved wood trended away pretty quickly during the 2008 recession. The mood and color shifted toward greys or the new color which was then termed "greige," a combination of gray and beige. The stress people were experiencing resulted in much more simplistic style cravings. The shaker door style was the least expensive and therefore became the most popular choice, a style and price point indicative of the mood people were experiencing at the time.
When the economy eased up somewhat about 2016, the trend changed toward bright white with gray. While white kitchens are always classic and never go out of style, the demand was huge and no one seemed to go anywhere near the dark colors of the past. Java, dark wood stains and grays were now colors of the past.
This brings us to 2020, certainly a trying year for all. People are gravitating toward a much softer, creamier, and dreamy color trend. The style is still simplistic if not trending toward modern, even in homes that appear very traditional on the exterior. People want the warmth of wood on their floors, the softer colors of creams, and light wood tones in rift-cut oak or natural-looking maple for their cabinetry. Kitchen cabinets are fully loaded with functionality and organization. People still want the lowest maintenance possible, so the door styles are very simple. Manufacturers are meeting that demand with smooth or angled frames on beautifully crafted slab wood doors.
The cabinetry we carry at Towne & Country Design is all made in the United States by artisans and craftsmen working in factories across the country. They offer hand-rubbed and stained applications that are baked into the pores of the wood, resulting in a butter-smooth finish that will last for decades without peeling or cracking.
Countertops are almost always white or gray manufactured quartz with mild to moderate gray veining. For those who can afford natural quartzite, they choose the beautiful creamy undertone with light gold veining. Manufactured quartz and natural quartzite are very popular because they are non-porous surfaces that are a healthier choice for the home as they do not harbor bacteria. Finishes are no longer shiny; everything from faucets to cabinet hardware and appliances is coming in brushed or matte finishes. Matte black and brushed gold are also trending for plumbing fixtures.
One popular feature my clients seem to love and rave about after their kitchens are complete is the addition of the steam oven. This new appliance is replacing the microwave oven in many cases. People often say the food tastes so much better as it is much more succulent and retains nutritional value. I am often thanked for talking people into a second sink in the kitchen. This allows two people to work at one time, to make entertaining and family meals easier to prepare and clean up afterward. It prevents overcrowding at the main sink and keeps the main chef a very happy person.