When it comes to kitchen design, BLANCO is always sure to stay ahead of the curve on the most trending products and styles available for the home today. Check out our interview with BLANCO Product Manager, Eric Gundersen to learn all about the latest and greatest in kitchen design.
- What are the biggest trends you are seeing in kitchen sinks and faucets?
For sinks, Apron-front, tight radius and rectangular single bowls are all trending right now. The look is decidedly more design-centric and modern – but also with a “comfort” or transitional feel. Not every sink or faucet is modern to the point of minimalist design. It’s more of a modern feel that goes through every collection with cleaner lines, improved functionality, multi-tasking accessories to save space or improve performance, hygiene and durability.
In addition, the kitchen sink and faucet are not only found in the kitchen. We are seeing expansion to laundry rooms and have taken advantage of this trend to expand our laundry collections. Homeowners with limited space want utility rooms that look good and match the rest of the home’s aesthetic.
In the faucet area, we are seeing pull-down faucets with dual sprays and high arcs. These are livable or organic in design. They have clean lines that fit into modern and classic settings – but with a nod to organic shapes that are softer than professional chef’s faucets and therefore they fit better into furnished great room settings. A pro faucet with its high functionality and high arc are still desirable design elements but we’ve reimagined those features to be more sophisticated and fit in better with the living kitchen home environment. A home and a restaurant kitchen are two different styles entirely.
- What are the most popular finishes and materials for sinks/faucets? What styles are most in demand?
We are really seeing an uptick in demand for smart neutral colors – dual finishes for faucets and color SILGRANIT® sinks. Stainless or Satin Nickel and polished chrome continue to be strong – especially for contemporary kitchens.
SILGRANIT continues to take off – and as more players enter the granite composite marketplace, consumers and designers will have to get upfront and close to these materials. Not all materials are equal in touch – authenticity of stone feel; or equal in durability – scratches, heat, etc. Not every material is nonporous and resistant to bacteria. Each company has its own take/proprietary blend. And sometimes less is more. BLANCO focuses on smart colors that can either blend or stand out with today’s counter surfaces. Flashy colors may not work as well for the lifespan of the kitchen.
- What are the size trends in the sink and faucet market?
With the recession – many lines compressed to the most popular SKUs for sizes. Now we are seeing growth both for smaller and larger sinks as new housing and remodeling comes back. Single bowls continue to trend – and we are seeing a need for smaller and larger bowls. It could also mean double sinks or multiple areas in home for sinks. Matching bar and kitchen sinks for instance. Or laundry, bar and kitchen. Low divides are also expanding as people remodel with one foot in past and one in future. Wanting that single bowl look – but not giving up on 2 bowls completely.
- Are there any must have features for sinks and faucets?
For a sink, easy to clean and maintain would be #1. You cut a countertop to put in a sink so it’s not going to be replaced easily. And it’s one of the most used and abused areas of the kitchen. Also one of the dirtiest. The finish should be easy to maintain – radius corners should be smooth to the touch and easy to wipe clean. Care free. BLANCO SILGRANIT and its stainless steel lines are all easy to maintain. Smooth, nonporous surfaces ensure that dirt and bacteria can’t get inside.
- Grids help to maintain the bottom of the sink and keeps dishes and other items from the surface.
- Multifunctioning accessories like built-in cutting boards and colanders can save space which is a huge concern for homeowners.
On faucets, a single handle is easiest for those aging in place or for multigenerational households. In addition, dual sprays are convenient and give you added performance. A finish that is easy to clean and maintain long term and a replaceable ceramic disk cartridge so the faucet can be maintained versus replaced.
- Are there new technologies impacting sink and faucet trends, and if so how?
New materials are entering the market – but just because they are new – does not mean they are better. With new materials – it’s better to wait and see how they will evolve long term. It took BLANCO decades to innovate and perfect with SILGRANIT. Just like a new iPhone launch – it’s always better to wait for V2 before buying. Technology is not always a word we’d use with sinks and faucets. It’s really ground breaking ideas that are flourishing. More accessories are finding their way into the marketplace adding functionality and saving space for instance. The blending of pro series faucet functionality with more transitional looks for home use. What you are seeing in the market is a result of better production and product development technologies which shortens the cycle of innovation – but not actual technology in the end products.
- How do sinks and faucet trends relate to the overall design style of the kitchen?
Colors, styles are all trending contemporary. Sinks and faucets are also trending in this direction towards transitional and modern looks. Smart neutral colors, organic shapes and clean lines are all taking hold. The living kitchen is driving a lot of these looks as consumers are blending kitchen and furnished home areas into great rooms. Stylized mudrooms, laundry rooms are bringing design out of the kitchen and into other areas of the home as well.