Practicality is the New Trend in Kitchens and Custom Homes

As a custom builder, Lessard can design the kitchen you want.

“Blending your lifestyle with the layout and functionality of a house is more important than ever,” says Christina Lessard, Vice President and 4th generation member of Lessard Builders — the Lessard family’s custom-building business. Modern trends and technological advancements in the home construction industry have ebbed and flowed throughout the years, and as our lives grow with technology and families, so too has the shape, function and form of the modern home.

“We’re seeing the trend in kitchens evolving. As a custom builder, we’re positioned to custom design and build any style or layout into the homes our clients create, and we’re seeing the biggest changes in how people want their kitchen to function and where they want it located,” Lessard said.

“People want their kitchen to be the hub of their home and nearly everyone wants it at the heart of the living space, nowadays.  Gone are the days of our Mom cooking in a small, hot kitchen tucked in the back corner of the house. The kitchen of today and tomorrow is not only for preparing food but for preparing food while entertaining!” The kitchen has for thousands of years been the heart of the home; Now more than ever, the kitchen is almost like the bones and central nervous system. 

Lessard understands these trends considering her family’s custom-building business has been operating since 1951, and in Camden, Delaware, for over three decades. Christina points out that as far as the layout of the kitchen is concerned, many people still favor an open concept where it’s convenient to entertain family and friends.

“Whether it’s having friends come by on a Friday evening for a drink, or weeknights in with your kids, weekends when your grandkids come to visit, people of all ages are creating the perfect entertaining spaces for themselves and their guests.”

As Lessard discussed the trends in kitchens, some common themes came up in every home she recalled: large islands for serving food and seating space around the island. Designated kitchen counter space to prep food and prepare meals that is “out of the way;” lots of integrated tech and goodies to enhance everyday life and entertaining.

As the kitchen has become the focus of the home, it has seen a grand transition from a hidden room in the back of the home to the centerpiece of everything. During this transition, the aesthetics of the kitchen have gained a tremendous amount of importance.

Homeowners want an elegant and clean appearance in view of guests, and they want to maintain that even while they’re entertaining. Items like decorative stove range hoods and appliances which are fully “built-in” and blend in with the kitchen cabinetry are quickly becoming the new norm. The emphasis on entertaining and spending time in the kitchen has evolved the kitchen into a show space that must foremost always be aesthetically pleasing while also staying functional. Color cabinets and bold cabinet features are also becoming popular.

Lessard points out that while stained wood or white cabinets are still popular, many homeowners are going with colors like light gray or navy blue. “Kitchens are in the spotlight nowadays. Bold, beautiful and eye-catching is in! Color is in!”

Christina Lessard and Lessard Builders have seen any bi-products of this move toward the kitchen-centric modern home. “As elegance and functionality have become higher priorities in the kitchen, one of the newer tendencies which are taking off is the growing popularity of the oversized pantry.”

These large pantries allow for homeowners to maintain a clean, elegant appearance in the kitchen in view of guests because, when custom designed as Lessard does, they provide homeowners an incredible secondary “working kitchen space.” These oversized pantries can be built as fully functional secondary food preparation areas with countertops, ovens, and sinks. They also have even more added value because they allow homeowners to tuck away the former appliances that used to clutter our countertops- like toasters or microwaves.

Lessard Builders has custom designed “Butler’s Pantries” of various sizes and forms in the recent past, and as Christina recalls, “When homeowners get into their new homes, the first thing they tell me at their closing is how their new kitchen has them wowed. From Step 1 we design your kitchen to be bold, beautiful and to enhance your everyday life. To us, a big part of that is designing the clutter out of the kitchen so its ease of use and natural elegance stands out. An oversized pantry large enough to store appliances is as valuable a commodity as a large kitchen island while the island enhances the room by addition, space the pantry offers then enhances it by subtraction.”

As the movement toward kitchen elegance and convenience has evolved there has been much debate about the best countertops for the modern kitchen. According to Lessard, “Granite has never gone out of style and with today’s focus on the kitchen; it never will go out of style.”

Natural Granite stands alone because it is a natural product that is excavated from the Earth, so each slab has the potential to be a gorgeous, colorful, one-of-a-kind statement piece, almost like a piece of art. Exotic Granites are often cherished because each slab contains natural colors, features, and designs that will never be replicated. With that said, Granite is a naturally porous stone, so Granite countertops require consistent upkeep. Quartz countertops have grown immensely popular in the kitchen industry because they replicate similar levels of style and class but require far less care than Granite does. Quartz is a manmade product that has a high resistance to heat and comes in an exceptional variety of elegant, chic styles and colors.

Homeowner trends show skyrocketing popularity for functionally easier products that, like Quartz, look exceptional and elegant, yet are easy to maintain or maintenance-free. Another one of the big trends in recent years has been in the flooring industry with the emergence and evolution of luxury vinyl plank flooring. Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring has grown popular in recent years as many LVP flooring companies have created products that now look natural and sophisticated, yet easy to maintain.

“I love LVP. It mimics wood flooring but is scratch resistant unlike wood, and it is waterproof which makes it wonderful for pet owners! LVP does not absorb liquid or require re-sanding and refinishing like real wood either. Our pets are like our kids today; these floors are a stress-free solution for pet owners so we can let our puppies run free around the house without fear of them scratching or dulling your beautiful floors.”

The final component which Christina Lessard pointed out as a crucial aspect of the modern kitchen was the lighting. As the emphasis on function, elegance and lifestyle has grown, the look of lighting fixtures has become an aspect of the home that is now completely coordinated to compliment the specific kitchen or room.

“Lighting has become an art. It sets off your room and absolutely can make or break it. Well-designed lighting and lighting fixtures are critical to accentuate the nicest qualities of your room and gone is the day when lighting is just for function.” Clients are gravitating toward under-counter lighting and inner-cabinetry accent lighting in kitchens, modern, elegant or rustic looking chandeliers and pendant lighting, and energy efficient built-in LED lighting throughout the living spaces. “Lighting like under-counter lighting and pendant lighting creates an ambiance to a room that sets off in a way nothing else can.”

The emphasis on entertaining and practicality has slowly changed how we view the concept and function of a kitchen in the modern home. As the kitchen has transitioned to being ‘the heart of the home’, the emphasis’ on spending social and family time there has prompted many fundamental changes; kitchens of today are conceptualized, designed, and constructed differently than they were in the past.

While a lot has changed over the years, one thing has not; there is nothing better than a night spent enjoying great ambiance, delicious food, and loved ones. For more on how you can design your perfect custom home and outfit your future kitchen with the most elegant and functional solutions, check out the experts at Lessard Builders. You can find them on the web at or you can call them at 302-645-7444.