Trends for kitck­ens: tke busiest room in tke Kouse

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As fam­i­lies con­gre­gate to cook, do home­work and watch Ts, the kitchen has be­come the busiest room in the house. vet the hottest kitchen trends are ev­ery­thing but busy — cleaner lines, sleek two- tone ap­pli­ances and in­no­va­tive stor­age so­lu­tions.

“The kitchen is the cen­ter of ac­tiv­ity for fam­i­lies,” said Jan­ice Jones, vice pres­i­dent of mer­chan­diz­ing for na­tional home­builder Pul­teGroup. tith the pop­u­lar­ity of open floor plan de­signs, Jones said the kitchen — more than ever be­fore — has evolved into the most im­por­tant part of the fam­ily’s com­mu­nal space.

“In the past, home de­sign was driven by prac­ti­cal­ity, but now home­own­ers want func­tion and de­sign to meet — and it starts in the kitchen.”

Jones heads a team of 20 de­sign pro­fes­sion­als who over­see in­te­rior mer­chan­dis­ing and spec­i­fi­ca­tions for ap­prox­i­mately 1,100 Pulte Homes, Cen­tex and Del tebb­model homes across the na­tion. Jones’s team will over­see the in­te­rior de­sign and mer­chan­dis­ing of more than 1 mil­lion square feet of model homes and ameni­ties in 2012 alone, ef­fec­tively mak­ing it one of the largest de­sign shops in the na­tion.

“Most home­build­ing com­pa­nies don’t have an in­ter­nal de­sign voice like we do. It’s usu­ally very con­struc­tion driven,” Jones said. “te talk with home­buy­ers and learn what they want and where they want it to hap­pen.

“te talk with our home­own­ers about what they love and what they would change in their cur­rent homes — and we use those ideas when de­sign­ing new homes.”

Mean­while, Jones said the kitchen as “an aes­thetic im­pres­sion” has evolved with clean lines, am­ple stor­age, easy to clean and un­clut­tered spa­ces. “The kitchen is now a driv­ing force in defin­ing the decor of the home over­all.”

See­ing Is Believ­ingW Jones said that Pul­teGroup’s 700- plus new home com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try fea­ture fully fur­nished model homes be­cause the ma­jor­ity of home­buy­ers pre­fer to see the de­sign ideas “in ac­tion.” Pulte also al­lows home­buy­ers to de­sign their dream kitchen with a click of a mouse with its new in­ter­ac­tive Kitchen Stu­dio. Im­ages on www. pulte. com al­low users to visu­al­ize a cus­tom kitchen space by se­lect­ing from a va­ri­ety of col­ors and fin­ishes — from floor­ing to wall color.

“Only 20 per­cent of home­buy­ers have the con­fi­dence to visu­al­ize and col­orize the space. Most home­buy­ers we talk with tell us they want help in de­sign­ing their home be­cause go­ing through all the op­tions them­selves is a lot of work and stress,” Jones said. “This is why show­ing the lat­est trends and demon­strat­ing what’s pos­si­ble is so im­por­tant.”

Kitchen trend high­lights

• Is­lands: New kitchen lay­outs and de­signs are open and is­land- cen­tric, us­ing multi- func­tional spa­ces that al­low ev­ery­thing from home­work, to craft and work projects to din­ner and en­ter­tain­ing. To keep the clut­ter off the is­land, but near the kitchen, Pulte has also in­tro­duced new home de­signs that fea­ture Pulte Plan­ning Cen­ters for the fam­ily. This multi- func­tional space is close to the kitchen — the main liv­ing area of the home — and gives fam­i­lies the room they need to man­age their busy lives and stay or­ga­nized. The de­signs are the re­sult of con­sid­er­able con­sumer re­search and feed­back.

• Color and ap­pli­ances: Two- tone col­ors and con­trast­ing col­ors on cab­i­nets, coun­ters and ap­pli­ances are an emerg­ing trend in kitchen de­sign. Pul­teGroup is rolling out new Black Ice and thite Ice ap­pli­ances of­fered by na­tional part­ner thirlpool. The new ap­pli­ance de­signs are the out­come of ex­ten­sive con­sumer re­search show­ing kitchens are trend­ing to­ward more time­less, con­tem­po­rary styling.

“This is the big­gest vis­i­ble news in the ap­pli­ance world in years,” Jones said, adding that the new look was in­spired by pop­u­lar cut­ting- edge, high- tech gad­gets like Smart­phones.

• Stor­age: The trend in homes is smarter use of space where fam­i­lies spend the most time. For smaller spa­ces, in­no­va­tive stor­age so­lu­tions are im­por­tant, such asW larger deeper draw­ers in lieu of cab­i­nets on the lower sur­faces; pop- up cab­i­nets for heav­ier kitchen ap­pli­ances like mix­ers; ver­ti­cal pull- out draw­ers for large trays; shal­low stor­age com­part­ments in pre­vi­ously wasted ar­eas un­der the sink or stove­top.

“Right now it’s all about style and se­lec­tions meet­ing con­ve­nience and multi-

func­tion­al­ity in the kitchen,” Jones said. • Ad­di­tional KitcKen Trends: oOil rubbed bronze fix­tures oTile with nat­u­ral- look­ing and larger for­mat­ted de­signs oGlazed cream col­ored cab­i­nets o Painted cab­i­netry in grey tones o Con­trast­ing wood floors o iarger is­lands that serve nook spa­ces

o Space in the kitchen that al­lows for con­nec­tiv­ity o Con­tem­po­rary cab­i­net hard­ware o nuartz solid sur­face man­u­fac­tured sur­faces — “they are be­com­ing fa­vored as much as gran­ite and are expected to continue to gain pop­u­lar­ity.” About Pul­teGroup Pul­teGroup Inc., based in Bloom­field

ma­te­ri­als

as Hills, Mich., is one of Amer­ica’s largest home­build­ing com­pa­nies with op­er­a­tions in ap­prox­i­mately S0 mar­kets throughout the coun­try. Through its brand port­fo­lio that in­cludes

Cen­tex, Pulte Homes and Del tebb, the com­pany is one of the in­dus­try’s most ver­sa­tile home­builders. Pul­teGroup con­ducts ex­ten­sive re­search to pro­vide home­buy­ers with in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions and new homes de­signed for the way peo­ple ac­tu­ally live to­day.

As the most awarded home­builder in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, Pul­teGroup brands have con­sis­tently ranked among top home­builders in third- party cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion stud­ies.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Pul­teGroup, Inc. and Pul­teGroup brands, go to pul­te­groupinc. com; www. pulte. com; www. cen­tex. com; www. del­webb. com.

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