When it comes to kitchens, East End homebuyers know the typical set ups and brand names. Large center islands, Subzero-Wolf and Viking appliances litter the land. However, as the seasons change from rainy spring to balmy summer days, the style and contents of kitchens are changing, too.
The kitchen is all about bringing friends and family together. Out are formal dining rooms and separated preparation sites; in are open concept kitchens with an emphasis on functionality and flow. It’s all about “seeing the kitchen as the heart of the home,” says Shane Donahue, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Bridgehampton.
This includes flush fixtures, appliances and recessed lighting in order to convey a laid back feel. Brands like La Cornue and Bertazzoni come to the playing field to take a bite out of the general appliance market with their warm colors.
For many homeowners, this desire for open spaces has led them to extend the heart outside the home. Full outdoor kitchens in modern, transitional and traditional styles have been popping up left and right in new properties across the Hamptons.
Outdoor decks and patios, equipped with all things needed for al fresco dining, are now the luxury standard, with many homes having full prep and cook stations outdoors equipped with built-in refrigerators, wine coolers, custom cabinetry, large seating areas and outdoor sinks. Who wants to be stuck inside with the wonderful weather of the summer months?
Some outdoor kitchens even have full pizza ovens. Talk about a great use of space! These fully functional outdoor kitchens extend the capabilities of the home and create even more of an open concept, allowing homeowners to expand their area to entertain.
In order to create the space to make these gatherings, the layout of the kitchen is changing as well. It’s all about sleek lines and flush surfaces that allow the good times to flow seamlessly into living and outdoor spaces. These open concepts and outdoor areas are also changing what owners are putting in their kitchens.
Some things, like consumers wanting the best Calacatta marble slab kitchen countertops, will always be in style on the East End, even as the trends change and more kitchens move outside. Others, like in-drawer dishwashers and microwaves and stylized glass backsplashes come along with the transition to a more uncluttered kitchen, ripe for entertaining.
As enjoyable as having indoor/outdoor kitchens can be, they also demand an extra emphasis on maintenance due to the elements and increased foot traffic. Homeowners are now much more cognizant of the way their kitchen looks over time. Materials such as UV resistant cabinets and Dekton, a solid non-porous UV protected slab that looks just like a stone counter, have become the industry standard.
When it comes to flooring, wood-look porcelain floors are becoming very popular, as wood floors really take a beating in beachfront homes. Porcelain floors are used inside and out in order to create a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor.
With today’s high definition scanner technology most people can’t even tell the difference between the porcelain and wood. With new materials, homeowners look to strike a balance between functionality and style in order to create the best kitchen for their needs.
All of these kitchen trends come together to represent what Hamptons life is all about: easy living and good caretaking inside and out. So the next time you’re out on the East End looking at homes, think family, think friends, think about your wildest dreams, but don’t forget to think about sleek lines, cozy finishes and especially outdoor kitchens, to get a real bang for your buck.