Ah, the days when a top-of-the-line kitchen was merely a few stainless steel appliances and a slab of granite away… From space-age cooking to jewelry-ready countertops, current upgrades for the heart of the home are convenient, beautiful and absolutely unique.

Mark Dysart of Marc Christian Fine Cabinetry

• Automatic opening. Often used for drawers housing trash cans or recycling bins, Dysart says that electronically-assisted drawers are one of the ways technology is being integrated into cabinetry. “You can touch a drawer and it will open automatically.”

• Lovely lighting. Another way to bring electronics into the kitchen? LED lighting inside cabinets or drawers. Dysart says tape lighting is available, which is thin strips of lights with an adhesive back and long lifespan. “They don’t give off any heat, so you don’t have to worry about heating up the inside of the drawer.”

• Above-average glass. Dysart notes that, while glass in the kitchen isn’t new, there are a multitude of ways it can be showcased on cabinetry. Options include sandblasting, etching, colored glass, patterned glass, and wood or metal details or patterns, to name a few.

Adrienne Nienkamp of Mosby Building Arts

Semi-precious countertops. Neinkamp doesn’t speak of standard marble or granite when explaining top-of-the-line upgrades—she mentions Concetto, a countertop by Caesarstone. Available in a variety of options, such as amethyst and blue agate, each stone is placed individually to create the solid piece, which can then be backlit to further highlight every detail. 

Door accessories. “Hardware is always fun—it’s like the jewelry of the cabinets.” Nienkamp recommends brands like DuVerre Hardware and Schaub Hardware for those looking to make a statement with cabinet hardware.

Faux-wood flooring. Looking for a kitchen-appropriate alternative to wood? “More tiles are coming out that look like wood, so you can get the richness of wood with tile.”

Artisan backsplashes. Crushed glass, glazed ceramic, stained glass, three-dimensional… The options for backsplashes are practically limitless, and many bring an excitement to the kitchen. “You can really make a statement—a little bit goes a long way.”

Mike Beye of ABS Solutions

Importance of induction. If stovetop speed is important, induction heat is the answer. Beye explains that gas heating is approximately 50 percent efficient in transferring heat to a cooking vessel, while electric stovetops are at about 65 percent. Clearly the victor, he says that induction heating is more than 90 percent efficient.

Dutiful drawers. Dishwashers aren’t new, but the preferred style may be changing. Beye explains that dishwasher drawers have been very popular because of the cleaning versatility.

The disappearing fridge. “Built-in refrigeration is very popular for a lot of our customers,” says Beye, noting that often, these hidden units have separate compressors between the fridge and freezer, and are available in a variety of sizes up to 72-inches wide.

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