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Luxury Kitchen Trends

Jim Mallery | Improvement Center Columnist | September 16, 2013

Top trending items in high-end kitchens

You've heard it before: kitchens are the heart of the home. So how much are homeowners willing to spend to make their kitchens an ideal place to spend time? Forbes reports that an average minor kitchen remodel comes in at $18,527. However, those with the budget and the desire for a luxury kitchen spent almost three-times that much: $53,931 on average for a high-end kitchen remodel.

The usual suspects - cabinets, countertops, and flooring - almost certainly make up a large part of that budget. But high-end kitchens also sport some unexpected luxuries. Below are a few of the top trending items in these chic spaces.

Food:

New appliances can quickly eat up a budget - but they can also give kitchens the ease-of-use and efficiency factors that make cooking more enjoyable. One of the desired features for high-end kitchen appliances? Steam.

  • Dishwashers: With such a wide variety of dishware in the average home, many remodelers choose to spend some extra money on dishwashers. At around the $400 mark, dishwashers may start featuring steam cycles. Steam can be used for prewash cycles, heavy-duty and gentle washes, and even sterilization. Steam is included in some of the most respected names in dishwashers, and models can run into the four-figure range at the top-of-the-line.

  • Ovens: Steam ovens - which start at around $900 - seem to be the ticket to quick, tasty, healthy meals, and high-end brand names have taken notice and created sleek, functional designs for remodelers looking to step up their cooking game. Some ovens use steam jets while other create steam from manually-filled reservoirs.

Add-on options can quickly make an appliance like the refrigerator the most expensive one in the kitchen. A variety of trendy additions have hit the market to make both the exterior and interior of a fridge functional and appealing.

  • Refrigerators: While you may not notice bacteria-resistant interior finishes or air filters to reduce odors and remove contaminants, they can keep foods fresher and healthier. Some other elements are immediately noticeable, like fridges with glass doors, an extra-large capacity, or an extra compartment that can be used as either additional fridge or freezer space. Door-in-door is another eye-catching option gaining popularity. It allows you to view and use shelves without exposing the entire interior of the fridge. Ice and water features also remain popular in fridges, though they've seen some upgrades: fridges that dispense ice and water into a glass at the same time; shaved, cubed or crushed ice; double ice makers with extra-fast ice-making cycles; and fizzy, carbonated water right from the door dispenser.

Beverages:

Looking to sit down with a drink in the most stylish way possible? Remodelers are becoming more interested in having easy-access beverages on hand throughout the kitchen.

  • Coffee: Ever dreamed of having an espresso machine at home? How about one built right into the cabinets? This addition can start at around $1,800 and may run over $3,000. Depending on the model, these built-ins can require electrical or plumbing. The obvious benefit of a clutter-free counter is appealing to many homeowners, especially when the alternative to keeping an espresso machine out of the way may be stashing it in valuable cabinet-space. Apart from wanting the machine built-in, coffee-loving remodelers are looking for machines that are self-cleaning, have variable settings, an integrated burr grinder, and a timer for the added luxury of having a warm drink waiting the moment the alarm goes off in the morning.
  • Beverage Centers: While the built-in door dispenser included in the fridge may cover every possible water need, high-end kitchen remodels also boast solutions for other favorite beverages. Jumbo under-counter ice makers ($350 to $1,500) keep busy households stocked. Under-counter beverage fridges ($250 to $2,500) are also popular, and they have shelves designed specifically for cans and bottles, which not only keep drinks safely stored, but also keep them out of the main fridge, freeing up more space there. Finally, wine is kept pristine in wine cellars (either under-counter or full height, running $200 all the way up to $7,000) while beer-drinkers rejoice in having their favorite beer on tap ($400 to $1,200).

Regardless of price range, many kitchen remodels focus on the same thing: a place for everything and everything in its place. When storage is running low, the layout isn't efficient, and counter-space is tight, it may be time to remodel. Higher-end kitchens provide creative solutions to common storage space problems, but there are answers for every budget. Homeowners frustrated with their kitchens can find a contractor to help them figure out how to create a functional, clean space within a comfortable price range.

About the Author

Jim Mallery, a semi-retired journalist and onetime registered contractor, has extensive experience remodeling, repairing, and rebuilding homes.