Design — 31 August 2018
Hot kitchens: the latest design trends

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

City & Shore Magazine

You can follow the crowd and opt for an all-white kitchen. You can take a more courageous path using warm accents of stained wood. Or go for an Arts & Crafts design that would have earned kudos from Gustav Stickley and William Morris. Three South Florida designers provide inspiration on the road not often taken.



Snowbird clients from the United Kingdom requested a bright and light kitchen to reflect their home’s waterfront view on AIA in Delray Beach. The challenge: Although they wanted contemporary design, they still yearned for transitional touches so the design wouldn’t be too stark.

Julie Harris created a look between contemporary and transitional. Maple stained wood accents the front of the first island contrasting with its contemporary waterfall sides. The second island looks more like furniture in the same wood stain. The side of that island and door fronts under the cooktop feature contemporary stainless steel accents. Paneled door fronts also give a nod to contemporary. Countertops are Caesarstone in organic white.

Why two islands?

“If we did one island it would be too big to reach across and/or too small for the kitchen,” she says. “Two islands help with the circulation of navigating the room and creates two work stations. The design makes the kitchen feel different.” 

The wall behind the kitchen features the same maple wood finishes, a mirrored backsplash and soft white Quartzite stone countertops with the contemporary waterfall edge. Modern stools are curved with bronze gold-tone legs.

“We wanted to create the warmth from the darker finish in the main kitchen to tie the two areas together,” she says.



A couple walked into Allied Kitchen & Bath in Fort Lauderdale with a photo that looked like it was ripped from a book on the Arts & Crafts Movement.

 “It is not that often that someone comes in requesting an Arts & Crafts kitchen in South Florida,” says designer Andy Fischman. “This home is in Woodfield Hunt Club in Boca Raton. The style of the kitchen fits with the community. It is an interesting dynamic that works well.”

Three years after the first meeting the clients came back and requested a remodel of the entire living area. The sunken living room, popular on TV shows such as The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s, fell out of favor and was filled in.

 Fischman used the photo as inspiration and created details such as crown moldings with brackets typical of the style, quarter-sawn oak cabinets with a grain pattern that creates a stitch-like effect. He used Vermont soapstone on the island. A marble backsplash coordinated with the Cambria quartz perimeter countertops. The microwave was placed under the island to allow room for a decorative hood over the gas range. A hammered-copper farmhouse sink completed his design.

And he also added a touch of whimsy: Door pulls on one of the cabinets featured a pair of men appearing to climb up the cabinets.

“They are conversation starters,” Fischman says. “We have them on display in our showroom. A lot of people like to incorporate something of a whimsical nature.”




Build it and they will cook.

  “She is young and hip,” Nieves says of her client, an under-30 professional bodybuilder who owns a gym. “This is her first house. She wanted modern and clean. She wasn’t much of a cook but the kitchen inspired her to start cooking.”

   Nieves and her client worked with Kolter Homes on this new construction in Palm Beach Gardens. What makes it special are the details they selected – black front on the island, sculptural hood, backsplash with 3-D wave-like design and display cabinets with lighting and stainless-steel framing. The marble-look quartz on the island matches the marble floors. Black and white bar stools echo the theme. 

   The pop of color in green and orange comes from the owners’ artwork and accessories. 

   “She wanted the design to be fun and playful,” Nieves says. “She didn’t want heavy, boring furniture. She didn’t want the typical boring breakfast area so she selected a glass table with chrome base and chrome legs on the chairs. The light fixture mimics what is going on in the table base. Younger clients don’t want as much stuff. If they are not going to use it, they don’t want it.”


Andy Fischman
Allied Kitchen & Bath, 616 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-564-1611, 

Julie Harris
 P&H Interiors, 475 Ramblewood Drive #200, Coral Springs, 954-341-7335, 

Lisa Nieves
 Clive Daniel Home, 1351 NW Boca Raton Blvd., Boca Raton, 561-440-4663,





Kitchen TRENDS

Kitchen design is ever changing, and a great source for ideas is the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show ( Here are 10 trends easily applied to South Florida that a team from discovered at this year’s show in Orlando.


1 Transitional Style: We’re seeing more of this combination of contemporary lines fused with more traditional elements, such as stained wood accents.

2Apron-front sinks: Although this is a fixture of the farmhouse style popular elsewhere in the country, it can be mixed here with transitional or even some contemporary design.

3 Single-lever faucets: This look, available in many styles, works with any design and is popular in South Florida kitchens.

4 Undermount sinks: This look has been popular for many years, especially in stainless steel. Homeowners prefer it because it avoids catching crumbs and debris.

5 Painted cabinets: Although the all-white kitchen is still popular here, painted cabinets can highlight an island (or just the front of the island) to give the kitchen a pop of color.

6Wood floors: More popular up north than down here (we prefer tile).

7Quartz countertops: Granite has been passé for some time. The new star is engineered quartz, which has grown in popularity. It has the ability to mimic marble, slate and other stones without having too much movement that distracts the eye. It’s also easy to clean and doesn’t require sealing.

8    Appliance columns: Coral Springs Appliances in Coral Springs reports increased interest in this style of appliances because it provides more flexibility for a homeowner’s needs.

9  French door refrigerators:  This option with as many as five drawers is a South Florida favorite. It requires less space to open the top doors, making it a good choice for galley kitchens.

10Functional lighting: The use of three pendants over an island or peninsula continues. Other popular choices include recessed ceiling lights and under-cabinet lighting. 

— Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub



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