A Look at Some Really Cool Kitchens

Designers from around the state dish about what’s new and trending when it comes to kitchens.

Although two things about kitchens will never change—they’re places for preparing meals and people love to congregate in them—their appearances do evolve through the years. Here’s what kitchen designers from around New Hampshire say their clients want.  

Linda Cloutier, of Linda Cloutier Kitchens & Baths in Greenland, renovated this Portsmouth kitchen, which she says “now has clean lines, soft colors, and an easy work area for cooking and entertaining.”


“People are going for simple, clean lines,” says Linda Cloutier of Linda Cloutier Kitchens & Baths in Greenland. “The style is more contemporary than I’ve seen in years,” and Cloutier has been designing kitchens for more than thirty.

“I’m seeing see cleaner lines without too much ornamentation,” says Sue Booth of Vintage Kitchens in Concord, who’s been designing kitchens since 1985. “These designs reflect the influence of contemporary, European style, rooted in New England traditions.”

Gerry Roth, owner of G.M. Roth Design Remodeling in Nashua and a designer of kitchens for more than twenty years, says, “We are seeing a lot of desire for transitional-style cabinets that are simpler in design and easier to clean.”


“Although we’re still seeing whites, which are always going to be popular,” says Dianne Willand who’s been designing kitchens for thirty-two years and is now with Fred E. Varney Company in Wolfeboro, “we’re seeing warmer whites instead of bright whites. For colors, people are using antique glazes and rub-throughs, for a more relaxed finish.”

“Homeowners have become more comfortable about committing to color,” says Alice Williams of Alice Williams Interiors in Hanover, who’s been doing residential design for ten years. “People are using painted finishes often with glazes—a milk paint or baked-on paint with a warm glaze for that antique look.”

“We’re doing more blues and grays than we used to,” says Booth, “and darker stains on wood. A gray-brown stain that looks like walnut has been a strong color, and we’re also using a mix of paint and wood, which has always been done historically. In addition I’m seeing monochromatic color schemes, with one wall color and different saturations of that color, such as shades of blue or yellow, throughout the living space.”

“One stain that’s absolutely gorgeous is called java,” Cloutier says. “It’s a dark-brown coffee color, and is popular on cherry or maple cabinets for kitchens and baths.”

Roth says, “Painted white and off-white cabinets have been very popular, and so have the darker stains like espresso maple and cherry.”

Alice Williams, of Alice Williams Interiors in Hanover, transformed this Hanover kitchen, from a tiny, 1970s galley kitchen to a room that’s now the center of family life. The homeowner wanted a white kitchen with Absolute Black honed granite countertops. “The Medallion cabinets have crisp, clean and classic lines, and made this a really affordable kitchen,” Williams says.


“Lots of people are asking for quartz,” Willand says. “It works like granite but doesn’t need sealing. While granite is still popular, quartz has a more consistent pattern, which people seem to like. When going with granite, people like a honed (matte finish) or an antiqued finish, which are not as formal a look as a polished finish.”

“Granite that’s been honed is more popular than ever,” Williams says. “The look is a little less formal and makes the kitchen more casual. The granite appears softer even though the density of the polished stone is unchanged. People are choosing
quieter granites without a lot of movement, for a plainer and more elegant look.”

“Simple quartz countertops are not as busy as some of the other options, like patterned granite or marble,” Cloutier says. “And quartz has lots of color options—if you want a red, blue, green or soft white color, I can provide them. These colors are hard to find in granite. I’m also seeing countertops of 2 or 2½ inches instead of 1¼ inches, which look thicker with the front built up.”

“Homeowners are showing a lot of design flair with their kitchen backsplashes,” Roth says, “and using a variety of materials, like marble, stone and glass tile.”


“On cabinets, I’m seeing flush doors instead of doors with applied details,” Booth says. “Also, there are more flat panels instead of raised panels with beading around the openings.”

“Clients seem to be more interested in cupboards with glass,” Williams says. “And that is either antique glass with bubbles or wavy glass, so you’re not quite seeing through it. This allows more display areas in kitchens, for either glassware or cookbooks, and provides a more decorative, prettier touch to the room.”

“We’re getting away from raised panels,” Willand says, “and going for a more casual look. Door styles using applied moldings continue to be popular. Although inset doors are still a favorite, we’re seeing an increase in frameless and full-overlay styles.”

Fixtures and appliances

“For hardware, the oil-rubbed bronze and pewter are both popular,” Willand says. “Pewter can go with stainless without screaming modern, while the oil-rubbed bronze faucets are one of the newest trends.”

“I’m seeing black fixtures come back,” Booth says, “although polished nickel is a favorite of mine. I like its warm color.”

“I’m seeing more polished fixtures, like chrome and nickel,” Cloutier says. “I love their sparkle and the ‘bling’ factor they give a kitchen.”

“Kitchen faucets have become pieces of sculpture,” Williams says, “and there are so many options that I encourage clients to spend a little more money here. A farmhouse sink with a beautiful faucet becomes a focal point in the design of a kitchen.

“Stoves are chosen by appearance,” Williams continues. ”A Wolf or Aga stove adds a design element to the kitchen because they are so beautiful. I rarely see a stove with only four burners any more, and I’m also seeing more homes with two dishwashers in the kitchen as well as additional smaller appliances, like bread warmers and wine refrigerators.”

“Homeowners are choosing appliances that multitask,” says Pamela Leakeas-Walsh, a designer for more than twenty years and now principal designer at G.M. Roth Design Remodeling. “You see a lot more speed cooking ovens with ‘smart technology,’ and beverage centers with icemakers together in one appliance.”


“What I love is that people are mixing things up, with lots of variation on the same form,” Booth says. “There are so many different kinds of knobs now, so it’s fun to make selections. New trends bring us new options and a broader base of choices, and that helps clients create a kitchen they love and also works with their home.” 

Categories: Architecture and Interiors, Kitchen Designs