While color is starting to come back, kitchen designers say the trend in Wilmington is still white cabinets, clean lines, functionality and pops of fun. This year's kitchens maintain modern aesthetics mixed with finishes that reflect each homeowner's personality. From bright-blue aqua glass tile and an eye-catching island in deep navy, to warm sandy tones only enhanced by oceanfront views, local 2018 design styles show a mix of traditional meets trend.
The open-concept kitchen perseveres, with many new constructions and remodels taking this a step further and accommodating dining, living and kitchen spaces as one large area.
Kitchen islands prevail locally, but now they're getting fun. More than functional, islands serve as a bold heart of the space, from being completely painted in bright colors to including elegant details like a countertop-to-floor marbled waterfall effect. The incorporation of dining nooks built in to the island frees up space for other areas of the home.
With countertops, there's a step away from traditional granite and a transition to marble or quartz resembling marble. Cabinets are still displaying fresh, white finishes, with textured hardware adding a dose of personality. Stainless steel is now utilized for both appliances and trendy farmhouse sinks.
For neutral schemes, bringing the outside in adds color without distracting from the natural beauty. Oceanfront views serve as metaphorical wallpaper, while d?cor color schemes play off large window views of towering trees and outdoor living spaces. Open and airy, functional yet fun, and color and design risks permeate 2018 coastal kitchens.
You can almost feel the sand in your toes and the sun on your skin from inside Jeff and Gina Harrison's home. The unobstructed views from the oceanfront home bring the outside in.
Gina and designer Gigi Sireyjol-Horsley wanted to treat the oceanfront view like a statement wallpaper with the inside color schemes allowing tranquility and a warm, homey feel. Luscious blue hues give way to beige and white, illuminating the comfortable kitchen and living space of their recently remodeled north end home.
"I want people to feel like themselves when they're here and for the interior to reflect that," Gina Harrison says.
There's an understated elegance to each piece of d?cor. The large wooden dining table points to the ocean, while every aspect of the design embraces the natural elements without sabotaging their beauty.
"Gina wanted something super quiet, elegant, gentle and bringing the nature inside," Sireyjol-Horsley says.
After purchasing the home last year, the Harrisons undertook a total renovation on the 1992 construction. Melinda Rider of Kitchen Blueprints, who had worked with the couple on their previous home, remodeled the kitchen and master bath with functionality in mind. The first major project was taking out the closet and building in a double pantry with roll outs.
"We had Asa Worthley Construction tear out a framed pantry with a door, and expanded that space with two big pantry cabinets," Rider says. "The other big change, we got rid of the raised bar, so you could actually see out to the ocean from the kitchen."
Gina liked the original Wood-Mode cabinets, but instead of the natural maple replaced
them with new Wood-Mode in a white with a slightly distressed finish. The traditional Amish cabinetry is completely handmade and each piece individually placed in a dry kiln to prevent fluctuation and warping.
"We wanted something totally different so we did a beautiful finish that's a paint that has several different processes -- paint, glaze, distress crackle, with more of a Mediterranean look," Rider says. "The cabinetry Gina picked, all of us at Kitchen Blueprints were so excited. It's not something we get to sell a lot."
A center island was added, and the original coral and brown granite countertops were replaced with Alpinus granite that features quartz plex, a shimmering subtle design detail that reveals itself from light and perspective. The piano strip travertine wall above the sink features warm monochromatic colors juxtaposed by the breezy palm views just outside the window.
The whitewashed oak wood floors span the entirety of the kitchen, dining and living area and reinstate the feeling of standing on a sandy beach. Notable elements include a chiseled granite edge along the island and two Blanco sinks in the shade of Truffle.
Wood beams spanning above the dining area add a slight nautical feel while the understated elegance of the kitchen enhances the ocean view.
The main theme was "timeless" and Gina says of all the houses she's lived in, this is her favorite.
"When people come into this house they can be themselves," Gina says. "And let the beauty of the beach come into their soul."
While many modern kitchens feature a bright, clean white aesthetic, Dana and Dom Delfino wanted to add a touch of romance and bursts of color for their Kure Beach vacation home. Their mandate for designer Hooper Patterson on the new construction was for the kitchen to reflect the bright homes in the area.
"They wanted it to feel coastal but not too beachy," Patterson says. "Dana showed me some of her favorite pieces of art that she wanted to incorporate. The art had pops of bold color and so that was the inspiration. The house feels serene but you can tell that the people that live there are a lot of fun."
The solid quartz countertop is designed to resemble Calacatta marble with statement veins of gray waterfalling down both sides of the island and visible from the dining room. The light fixtures serve as the "jewelry." Large coral orbs intertwined with shades of white make a declaration while maintaining subtlety.
Dana describes her style as bold, which can be seen in the aqua glass tile backsplash.
"I love to start with tile. It can make such a statement and can set the tone for the rest of the home," Patterson says. "Dana, Dom and I had so much fun working with Michelle at Southeastern Tile to give each space major personality. The kitchen tile is an aqua glass but has a modern pattern so it feels a little edgy."
The white wood cabinets built by Rodney's Cabinets in Danville, Virginia, reflect the slight airiness Dana sought.
"He likes coming to the beach," builder Rob LaVecchia says. "He comes, he measures, and he goes back and builds the cabinets."
Each section of the top and bottom cabinet is built as one unit, allowing for ease of installation.
The large island serves as the heart of the kitchen and a focal point for entertaining. With the dining table and island, Dana says she's able to entertain large groups, which was especially important for her.
The appliances and farmhouse sink, both in stainless steel, seamlessly blend with the Emtek Tribeca hardware that displays textured handles.
Elements of fun and color are incorporated throughout the d?cor, from the bright- blue coffee maker and blender to an eye-catching purple orchid matching the 2018 Pantone color of the year, ultra violet.
Julie and Tim Robey went with a modern-traditional feel for their new construction kitchen in Autumn Hall. Working with builder and kitchen designers David James and Co. and Hollingsworth Cabinets and interior designer Sissy Schoettelkotte, owner of Blue Hydrangea Design, they found a balance between Tim's modern, clean style, and Julie's need for bursts of color and unique aesthetics.
The couple found middle ground with the large center island that doubles as the family's dining table. Topped in Brazilian Arabescatus marble, it serves as both a functional homework station for the couple's young daughter and a focal point of the crisp, modern design. Woven rope barstools in platinum gray add a romantic touch and comfort to the sitting area.
"I knew I wanted clean and crisp but also durable and hardworking," says Schoettelkotte, who worked with the Robeys on many of the design decisions. "Carrera marble has been a big trend but because of the upkeep we wanted something a bit different. We both saw this [marble] and fell in love with it and we knew we wanted mainly an all-white kitchen."
From the Carrera subway tile backsplash to the wall color, gray owl by Benjamin Moore, understated colors flow throughout, allowing the design to speak for itself. The living room and kitchen are more than open concept and essentially one large room. The stainless-steel farmhouse sink seamlessly matches the fireplace directly across from it.
The Robeys worked with Schoettelkotte on their previous home, so they felt a natural ease on this project, even with the stress that comes with building and designing their house.
"It's fun to see your vision come to life and be even better than you thought," Schoettelkotte says.
The kitchen is defined by clean lines. White quartz counters and white all-wood cabinets lend a bright, breezy aesthetic. But there are also pops of fun in the form of cyan blue accent pieces, a built-in wine rack and textured glass cabinets displaying colorful serveware.
Four large windows above the sink allow ample light and the kitchen feels like an extension of the entire downstairs area rather than its own separate entity.
"I just love being in the kitchen, it's so bright," Julie says.
For newlyweds Sarah and Rob Rae, it all started with the island. To be more specific, the color of the island, hale navy. It serves as the centerpiece for the mostly white kitchen in this new-construction home by Jason Akins' 16 Pointe Properties.
"When you come in the main doors, your eye is almost taken to the kitchen," Akins says.
It reflects a mixture of traditional meets trend. The large center island painted in the deep-blue hue pleasantly contrasts with natural rattan bar seats with bows on the back, and a farm-style table that brings in Southern charm. Custom cabinets that extend to the ceiling allow more space and lend a modern touch.
Kitchens still revolve around the island, and this one makes a statement with color.
Kitchen designer Jeff Fuchs started with a basic architect blueprint. From there, he worked with the Raes and interior designer Nicole Massimino to bring the kitchen to life.
"This is a different chapter in their lives," Massimino says. "She wanted to bring the ocean in. She was coming from Chicago, where she lived in a very elegant and modern condo building. She wanted it to feel more coastal, eclectic."
While floor-to-ceiling cabinets are emerging as a design trend, the homeowners still opted for a traditional, clean finish with a white Valspar paint. Character is introduced in distressed mirror paneling on the cabinets above the bar area.
Along with a design for cooking and entertaining, Sarah Rae also needed functional working space. A small desk beside a window was added, allowing her to work from home. Rae said she placed the desk area there because it gives her easy access to everything: the door, to jump up and start dinner, even the mailbox.
"She works from that little desk area in the kitchen. So the kitchen, with the island, is the central hub and feature to the house," Akins says.
The subtle gray tiling throughout plays off the island's navy blue while a large, whitewashed wood dining table adds warm tones.
"The barn door to the pantry brought in a chic rustic element," Massimino says.
Large doors that open to the outdoor living space bring nature inside and flood the kitchen with natural light.
What's hot -- and what should be hot -- in 2018
By Pat Bradford
While technology and organizational options are increasing exponentially, a few kitchen designers bemoan the fact that Wilmington seems to be stuck in a white palate phase, or the most frequent second choice, grays.
Designers say they dream of the person who walks through the door asking for something out of the current color box and finishes.
In other areas, bold, dark colors are the rage: Ocean-inspired blues and greens, or even violets (the Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet).
Most local customers are opting to mix and match color via the island. They keep to the shades of white and gray for cabinetry and find their diversity in counter color and design from concrete, soapstone, marble, slate, quartz and granite. In some of these, high contrast elaborate swirls and large veining are popular.
Backsplash material choices are just as vast. Composite sinks from the same material as the counter tops add to a seamless, more streamlined look.
Wasted space is out. Cabinets are going higher, from floor-to-ceiling with options like glass-fronted, lighted displays in what once was open space where grandmothers stored and displayed their wicker baskets. Open shelves and even mirrored doors can provide a modern touch.
Stainless steel is still big, including stainless farm sinks.
Wood floors continue to reign as king, but the new ceramic -- including ceramic that mimics wood -- is increasingly popular.
Technology has come to the kitchen like never before. Sensor-equipped faucets and lighting controlled by phone or tablet are hot options. Refrigerators warn of milk or eggs going out of date. Interior cameras transmit to smart phone or tablet to let users see what they might need while shopping.
A new color for appliances is called black stainless.
Along with the commercial grade that has almost become de rigueur in the Wilmington-area kitchen, steam ovens are becoming the new must-have appliance. Up and coming are the cool-to-the-touch induction cooktops with separate single wall ovens.