THE REFACING OF KITCHEN DESIGN

ADD SOME COLOR TO YOUR CABINETS AND COUNTERTOPS

BY DEAN ROWLAND

Kitchen designs have gone in and out of style for years. Neutral colors, nondescript space, bland subway tiles, overhanging cabinets on counters, generic features and depersonalization once occupied the must-have niches in kitchen design a decade or two ago in the Lowcountry.

The times have changed in today’s remodeling plans. It’s not a change of heart; it’s a change in lifestyle and a nod to the home’s resale value.

“We’re starting to see a lot more people starting to gravitate toward color on their cabinets, countertops, maybe with blue and green veining so we think people are going to depart from the all-white kitchen and embrace a little bit of color this year,” said sales consultant Sydney Egnor at StoneWorks in Bluffton.

“We’re going to be seeing some darker greens, hunter greens, things that are very neutral and relaxing and people going back and embracing the warm tones, the stained cabinets and hardwood floors…natural blues, greens and browns,” she said.

“The solid colors have really been dominant the last few years,” said Bruce Zaidman, owner of American Wood Reface in Bluffton. “Eighty to 90 percent of what we’ve been doing has been white and off-white with blues for accents. We’re starting to see a little bit of a trend in natural wood tones. We see a lot of woods on the island with some people mixing it up with solid colors.”

While colors have begun to stretch their palette, there’s a flurry of movement to push entire rooms to new boundaries.

“It’s a very unprecedented time as far as the industry, no doubt,” Egnor said. “We are seeing crazy things that we have never seen before in the design world. Full-height splashes that go all the way up to the ceiling. shelves made out of quartz, marble sconces…Now more than ever people are thinking outside the box.”

While custom cabinets and countertops constitute the bulk of work orders of American Wood Reface, the company has expanded its reach to complement its reputation.

“If we’re doing new countertops, then we can do anything,” said Zaidman, who opened his Hilton Head location in 2009. “We can modify the kitchen, change the layout, move cabinets, whatever. We can build a new island or pantry or move the refrigerator.”

The big swing for American Wood Reface came about five years ago when homeowners began replacing their granite countertops with quartz.

Not much has changed since then. If anything, its popularity has grown enormously in the Lowcountry. Granite gave way to Corian, which gave way to quartz, a strong, durable, heat- and stain-resistant material.

“Quartz is still king in countertops,” he said. “We don’t even fool with granite anymore. I’ve been selling quartz for 21 years and it was a hard sell; people didn’t understand it.”

They do now.

They also install quartz in bathrooms, on walls and for flooring.

“Granite sales have gone down, quartz sales have gone straight up,” he said.

“We’re doing about 80 percent quartz,” Egnor said. “We’ve been installing stone quartz for the past 15 years…It’s very versatile and non-porous, anti-bacterial, and there are way more choices in this market than natural stone.”

White with gray veining with a marble look is emerging as a favorite.

“We’re seeing a ton of wet/dry bars…In bathrooms we’re dabbling into porcelain and porcelain slabs in showers,” she said. “People are going all out in the master bath.

“We’re seeing extensive renovations, not just knocking out a wall. They’re changing cabinets or refinishing them, complete brand new backsplashes, new appliances. Everyone who is remodeling their kitchen right now is sparing no expense to completely transform it. In some cases the transformation is unrecognizable.”