Sophisticated homeowners in the Lowcountry have never been beholden to the latest kitchen and bathroom trends. We know what we like, pure and simple. If it happens to be trendy, so be it.
Interestingly, the Hilton Head area has either been a trend-setter ahead of the national curve or behind it by a few years…if ever. Our trends with sustained traction either originate in Hilton Head or trickle down from Atlanta or other cities up and down the seaboard to our inviting shores.
And besides, there isn’t just one preferred style that typifies kitchens and baths in the Lowcountry. We have as many styles as we do architectural designs, from Lowcountry to Mediterranean to New England shingle to southern coastal and more.
“This area is such a huge melting pot of people from all over the world that no one is matchy-matchy anymore,” said Courtney Potts, president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Georgia/South Carolina Coastal chapter and a designer at Center Point Cabinets in Ridgeland.
Local homeowners certainly personalize the space they use, creating the colors, textures and materials that suit their taste, sensibilities and practical living.
One trend that emerged earlier this year in Las Vegas at the NKBA annual convention was that transitional and contemporary kitchen and bath designs are now the most popular nationwide. Traditional design, the long-time favorite, is still popular but is trending down, according to respondents to the Design Trends Report, collected from among the organization’s 14,000 members.
“Our Design Trends Survey serves as the industry forecast when it comes to kitchen and bath design trends, giving us a comprehensive look at what to expect in the coming year,” said Bill Darcy, the organization’s chief executive officer. “Our members know first-hand what’s trending because they create beautiful and functional kitchens every day. It’s only natural we look to them for insight into the industry.”
The striking clean-lined contemporary design shows a visual and tactile appeal with a layering of major elements into a warm – not cold modern – feel. “Clean lines with no fussy moldings or trims,” cited one survey respondent. “Everything here is very coastal chic, and I think that’s why a lot of the grays and whites have stayed so prevalent,” Potts said. “Because we’re near the beach, we think light and airy. We’re still definitely seeing a consistent trend toward the gray color palette.”
Interior designers from around the country have arrived artistically where Lowcountry designers have been for years, judging from the results of this year’s survey. White and gray painted walls dominate the interior color scheme high atop the ranking. “Whites and grays continue to be a big deal,” Potts said. “We’re in the coastal area where a lot of people want that coastal cottage look so that’s why it stays so strong here.”
Blue and black toned cabinets and high gloss finishes also have gained ground in popularity. “White kitchens are never going away, but I’ve recommended mixed countertop materials, mixed cabinet colors and frequently using lots of light/dark materials for contrast,” said the same survey respondent. In other words, two-toned kitchens sporting a mash of materials across surfaces and in accents.
“People are now less afraid of using an accent color,” said Potts, whose four-year tenure as chapter president ends this year. “We’ve been doing some blues and greens, really any shade of blue or green, a lighter gray on the perimeter and a blue island or something like that.
“We definitely have seen more color lately,” she said. “It’s very rare where I do a kitchen that’s only one color. We’ve seeing a lot of two tone for the last five or so years.”
The Top 10 national kitchen trends this year based on survey results are:
- Clean lines, built-ins, simple door styles and transitional design
- White and gray painted cabinets
- Two-toned kitchens
- Wood cabinets dominate with metal emerging
- Furniture-look pieces, rollouts, pullouts and under cabinet lighting
- Quartz trending up; granite trending down
- Induction cooktops, convection ovens and microwave drawers
- Use of technology; wiring and pathways for future tech integration
- Interior barn and pocket doors
- Accessible and/or universal design features
Painted oak cabinets here and elsewhere remain extremely popular because of their “weathered look, the rough grain showing through the paint,” Potts said. She and her clients also like the manmade quartz on countertops because of its low maintenance and “subtle and relaxed” look.
The Top 10 national bathroom trends this year based on survey results are:
- Contemporary, transitional-styled design
- Whites, off/whites and gray colors; stainless steel emerging
- Linen storage cabinets and wood vanities for storage
- Ceramic tile flooring
- Undermount bathroom sinks
- Downtrending of tubs and Whirlpools
- White fixtures and brass and gold finishes
- Safe heights, shower seats, lighting in showers and no-threshold showers.
- Water-saving toilets and faucets
- Distributed video and audio, and wiring pathways
So this is now. What about tomorrow?
“Brassy gold is coming back, but not the shiny brass from the ‘90s,” Potts said. “It’s more of a satin brushing brass…We’ve been on satin nickel and chrome for what seems like forever…It’s a warmer gold tone with blues and grays.”