Kitchens at center of attention


Now more than ever, the kitchen is at the center of the new home. But new fixtures and finishes are giving it even more prominence.

Tour-goers on the Lakewood Ranch Tour of Homes will see new stone counter top materials, lots of glass and a variety of backsplashes made with mosaic tiles, including the linear, horizontal tile, usually in two shades, that has become a 2014 design trend.

“Kitchen design is a lot cleaner,” said T.J. Nutter, of Nutter Custom Construction, “and home design is surrounding kitchen design. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the other spaces are being designed around the kitchen. It is leading the charge.”

Nutter said the designs are cleaner because there are not as many ornate mouldings, and cabinets are simpler, as are the backsplashes.

“It is more for function than for form, as we saw in the boom years,” Nutter said.

He is among the builders whose models are on display in The Lake Club, an upscale community within Lakewood Ranch. It is off University Parkway east of Lorraine Road.

“Natural stone, and not just granite, but marble, is being used on the counter tops,” he said. “They have come out with new sealers that are more durable, and give you an opportunity to use stones that are not as naturally durable as granite.

“A lot of glass is being used in counter tops and backsplashes, as well.”

In The Lake Club, kitchen appliances are at the higher end of the price spectrum.

Wolf gas ranges and Sub-Zero refrigerators are the order of the day. “They have done a great job in separating themselves from the competition,” said Nutter.

Range hoods are becoming more of a design feature — almost a free-standing stainless-steel focal point of the kitchen’s architecture. Nutter custom-designs his kitchens to meet the customer’s desires.

Light blues and browns are popular colors in new-home model kitchens.

Kitchens are still a main factor in making the sale. “But it is very important how it relates to the outdoor kitchen and outdoor space.”

The Lakewood Ranch Tour of Homes continues through Nov. 23 at 31 model homes throughout Lakewood Ranch. The event is free. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Sundays and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: October 20, 2014
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