White cabinetry remains popular, accented with natural elements like wood countertops. Photograph courtesy of Harmoni Designs + Build.

The desire to establish a personal and peaceful feel in the main gathering spaces of the home is key in current design plans. Recent statistics show the vast majority of homeowners remodeling their kitchens and baths are focused on personal choices and colors rather than trends that boost resale value, according to Linda Hilbig of Somrak Kitchens in Bedford Heights. A customized kitchen or bath that reflects the personality and needs of the homeowner is the primary goal in present-day redesigns.
White and cream cabinetry remain a favorite, especially in traditional homes. But designers are seeing a demand for grey and greyish-blue cabinets as clients are looking for more transitional and modern aesthetics in their kitchens.
White oak woodwork and cabinetry for mudrooms with either a clear finish or fairly light stain that shows off the natural beauty of the wood is a great durable alternative to painted woodwork, says Martin Johannessen, founder of Harmoni Designs + Build, Creative Design and Green Building Advisors in Cleveland Heights. Johannessen maintains it’s a good option for complimenting a number of older adjacent finishes such as (oak) woods or a variety of paint colors.

Grey cabinetry gains popularity, as well as hardware pulls. Photograph courtesy of Lutes Custom Cabinetry.

“We often try to add warmth and natural beauty by introducing natural wood countertops, floating shelves, etc. to kitchens to soften the painted cabinetry,” said Johannessen, award-winning architect and Denmark native. “We are seeing more stone slab backsplashes in kitchens that match or complement the stone countertops. It is often a higher cost alternative to tile, but we like to think of it as hanging beautiful artwork on the wall. A natural stone slab is a one of a kind, so it’s a great place to add a personal touch.”
Rick Lutes of Lutes Custom Cabinetry, based in Navarre, agrees that white and grey have dominated the market for his clients looking to remodel kitchens and baths.
“Homeowners want simplistic, crisp, clean and simple designs,” said Lutes, who has been handcrafting quality cabinetry for over 34 years. After several years as a “freelancer” working on client projects from the I-X Center Home & Garden Show, he opened his own small shop on eight acres in the countryside about 25 years ago.
During the pandemic, demand was high for custom cabinetry. “Last year was absolutely my best year yet,” said Lutes. He continues to offer frameless, framed, inlet and overlay cabinetry to customers in Stark, Summit and surrounding counties.
Hilbig claims that clients are also opting for a bold or bright pop of color on a featured section of cabinets, such as just the uppers, lowers, or a center island. Nature continues to have a big influence on the choices homeowners are making for colors and finishes. Wood grains and earth tones help to bring a sense of the outdoors inside the home.
“Color coordination is appearing in tile backsplashes and marbled countertops,” adds Hilbig. “The sink can even be a source of color.” Standard and farmhouse sinks are now available in black, blue, copper, and dark gray.
For cabinet hardware, Lutes says his clients prefer pulls over knobs because they’re easier to use. Gunmetal finishes are popular, as are black matte, solid brass, mixed metals and those with natural finishes.
For mudrooms, Johannessen counsels clients to keep seasonal clothing and footwear in mind when designing the space.
“As summer transitions into fall and winter, the mudroom changes color as well. It’s time to put the flip-flops away and make room for the warm gear. There needs to be space for sandals and baseball caps as well as winter boots, hats and gloves,” added Johannessen.
Customers demand quality that lasts for years to come, including selecting durable materials that will not go out of style, and require minimal maintenance.
In addition to built-in millwork, the mudroom floor is a place to add interest and make a beautiful accent area.
“We think that the floor is to the mudroom as the backsplash is to the kitchen – a place to have some fun and make the space unique,” said Diana Johannessen, chief operating officer of Harmoni Designs. “We’re seeing a lot of tile shapes, patterns and colors used.”