Kitchen Trends

Kitchens are trending more contemporary according to the Kitchen & Bath Business (KBB) research. Some of the trends are great looking, but are they practical for your lifestyle? One hot trend is floating shelves instead of wall cabinets. They look cool if you have attractive coordinating dishes, but, not so cool with peanut butter jars and chip bags. Open shelves also collect dust and grease so there is additional cleaning. Another is no wall cabinets, which works if there is a large pantry close by to house the misplaced items.

Kitchen islands are becoming the focal point in the room. Waterfall countertops are stylish and add drama to the island. Dropped island counters for chairs instead of raised for bar stools is on the rise. A combination of counter materials, such as quartz and wood, is chic.

Some trends are driven by the desire for low maintenance such as slab cabinet doors, large format tile backsplashes and engineered quartz countertops. The flat smooth cabinet doors are easy to clean since they do not have anywhere for dust and dirt to accumulate. Likewise, large tiles have less grout for cleaner lines. Engineered quartz has the beauty of natural stone and is almost indestructible. It is also non-absorbent, so there are no worries about stains.

KBB reports that side-by-side refrigerators are on the decline and French door with bottom freezers are the most popular because of the large width for eyelevel refrigeration. Completely separate refrigerators and freezers are gaining popularity. We have also noted a preference for additional point of use undercounter refrigerators next to salad and bar sinks. French door ovens and side opening ovens are new on the market. They can make the kitchen more accessible when mounted at counter height. Many of the appliance companies are now offering a darker stainless steel, often called slate or black stainless steel, which is perfect for the trend in gray colored kitchens.

Trash compactors are almost obsolete, and warming drawers are on the decline. Built-in coffee stations are “meh” for our clients who think it is just one more built-in item that would need repairs. The hot new appliance is a convection steam oven. They can cook in multiple modes, steam only, convection only, or a combination of steam and convention. The steam oven cooks vegetables to be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is great for defrosting and reheating leftovers. The steam oven cooks more quickly at a lower temperature. The combination setting is perfect for meats by keeping them moist and tender.


Summer in the Lowcountry

Summer is probably my favorite season in the Lowcountry (good thing, since its our longest season). Sure, it's hot, muggy and buggy, but with water all around us, it is easy to find relief from the heat.

Hunting Island State Park reopened earlier this month after significant damages from Hurricane Matthew. Hooray!!! Thanks to everyone involved in cleanup and restoration!!

  Hunting Island sunrise over the ocean. Simply gorgeous!  Hunting Island sunrise over the ocean. Simply gorgeous!  Hunting Island may look different than before the hurricane, but that is the nature of a barrier island. It is still a magical and awesome place to visit. Hunting Island may look different than before the hurricane, but that is the nature of a barrier island. It is still a magical and awesome place to visit.

You can find most of our staff on the beach or on the river most every weekend during summer. Our waterways and barrier islands are surely one of the best things about living in Beaufort.

 Michael takes advantage of a high tide to launch his kayak from the backyard for a quick paddle with his granddaughter. Michael takes advantage of a high tide to launch his kayak from the backyard for a quick paddle with his granddaughter.

Beaufort has a temperate climate (we are in Zone 9 of the USDA map) which means lots tropical plants thrive here. I walked around the garden surrounding our office today, and wow!

 Hibiscus coccineus, native swamp hibiscus Hibiscus coccineus, native swamp hibiscus  Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' aka variegated ginger Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' aka variegated ginger  Strelitzia, aka Bird of Paradise Strelitzia, aka Bird of Paradise

It's so easy for Beaufortonians to love where we live!