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Updating or renovating your kitchen is one of the most valuable changes you can make to your home. Lake Country designers offer tips for homeowners who may be considering anything from a investing in complete kitchen renovation to purchasing new appliances to changing a few odds and ends.

Smart appliances 

Your phone isn't the only "smart" technology available. Technology can make your life easier in the kitchen, too. "Appliances are getting very smart," says Casey Carney, a designer at Kowalske Kitchen & Bath in Delafield. "We are seeing remote-start ovens, docking stations, chargers under counters, as well as bluetooth speakers — anything that works with your smartphone."

Mary Sweet a designer at Bartelt agrees and says the smart devices offer convenience. "In-drawer outlets for charging iPads and phones keeps these devices off the counters and keeps your counters clean."

Homeowners can find a lot new in the appliance world as well. Michael John Weber of Collaborative Design says drawer refrigerators and microwaves are becoming more popular. Weber says of the microwave, "You can reach down and stir your food instead of reaching in and wondering if it's bubbling or not."

Old materials made new 

They say fashion recycles, and so does home design, but always with a fresh take. Textiles like brass and wood paneling are making a comeback, says Carney. "I'm not talking about wood paneling from your grandparents' 1970s basement. I'm talking about natural barnwood panels. Something where the woodgrain stands out."

Weber says "The black stainless steal has become very popular." Now it's possible to get a refrigerator in a multitude of colors and finishes. Both designers say to look for matte finish on stainless steal appliances instead of the typical silver.

Weber and Carney both talk about the benefits of quartz countertops. "Granite is getting phased out," says Carney. "Quartz is the way to go. It's denser, doesn't stain as much. It has come down in price dramatically."

Carney suggests mixing materials as well. For example, you could use a combination of quartz and a butcher block surfaces. Think about incorporating new materials in small ways as well. For example, you  changing your cabinet handles and knobs or add a backsplash.

All about you 

All three designers agree that the most important thing to consider when renovating your kitchen is what you want.

Weber says, "We take time to get to know how people use their houses, how they prepare their meals so we can create something that is uniquely designed for them, something more timeless." Weber describes a beautiful custom copper backsplash the Collaborative Design team created for a client. Anything is possible.

Carney agrees, "I ask what they (clients) are looking for as far as design and function. Everyone is a little different. Whether it's one person getting dinner ready or if your kitchen is your entertaining area."

Making a beautiful, comfortable and functional space for you is something that will never go out of style.

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