The Professional, the Polished, and the Precise: New Trends in Kitchen Faucets

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Motion sensor-equipped. Multi-functional. Highly maneuverable. Capable of magnetic docking.

…If you think these high-tech capabilities sound almost as if they could be the specs for a spacecraft, think again. In reality, they are some of the features that you can expect to find in many of the chic new kitchen faucets.

It seems that faucets have come a long, long way from the humble, no-frills, utilitarian fixtures that graced Grandma's kitchen sink last century. In the past few years, a dizzying variety of shapes, styles and features have become readily available. Some have already emerged at the front of the pack as the "must-have" kitchen accessories of 2014.

Whether you are in the midst of a kitchen renovation — or just looking to replace an outdated or leaking faucet — it pays to take a look at some of the exciting new trends.

Stepping Things Up a Notch

There are several cultural factors behind the new attention given to kitchen faucets, and the heightened expectations for their performance.

The overwhelming popularity of open-plan kitchensmeans that fixtures are increasingly visible to family members and visitors alike; hence, the new emphasis on form and beauty. New respect for the environment has led to a demand for faucets that are eco-friendly, efficient and minimize waste, while the relentless pace of modern-day life has caused an appreciation for ease of use, multi-functionality and convenience.

Sleek Architectural Design

The result of these new demands is the sleek, streamlined design of the "architectural" faucet: minimal, elegant and highly functional.Many feature high, swooping arches to afford more efficient cleaning of large pots and pans; other, more angular designs comprise a simple upside-down "L" shape, but still feature a high-set spout to provide ample clearance.

When it comes to their levers, these new faucets owe a debt to video-game ergonomics: simple, well-designed joysticks are positioned for optimal comfort of use, and swivel in all directions to accommodate both left- and right-handed users.

Despite their dramatic styling, contemporary architectural faucets can fit in beautifully with almost any kitchen décor - including rustic and vintage themes — especially when they feature a warm or matte finish, such as oil-rubbed bronze or antique pewter.

Precision Control

Faucets with flexible wands and pull-down spray heads –which help direct water exactly where it is needed — are currently soaring in popularity. Many feature variable spray settings, as well as a pause button; convenient magnetic docks help the wands click effortlessly back into their proper place. Unlike traditional side sprayers located beside the faucet, the new pull-down sprayers are mounted directly to the faucet spout, and can have flexible hoses up to 52 inches long, a feature which allows cooks to fill pots on the cooktop rather transporting them back and forth. Experts recommend opting for models that contain long-lasting ceramic disc valves.

Commercial/Industrial Vibe

For people who take their cooking seriously, oversized and industrial-looking faucets - some exceeding two feet in height — are presently au courant. With a businesslike-looking spring faucet, a swivel spout is paired with a highly visible "spring" pull-down spray head. In addition to its intriguing, textural appearance, a spring faucet offers pinpoint precision and focus that makes rinsing pots and cleaning the sink a breeze.

Articulating faucets have a slender, multi-jointed appearance and feature 360 degrees of spout swivel and five different pivot points, resulting in convenient hands-free operation. The faucet can extend from a tightly-focused 2-inch reach to a generous 13-inch expansion, and can be folded up when not in use. Most feature at least 18 inches of clearance, making them a match for the most oversized pots.

Bar faucets, sometimes called prep faucets, are a popular choice at kitchen island sinks. With a high arc and abbreviated spout, these convenient faucets can perform back-up duty for larger faucets at main sinks.

Touch-free Convenience

Possibly the biggest trend in faucets is the movement towards hands-free fixtures. No, we are not referring to those ugly gizmos in highway rest stops that occasionally provide a grudging trickle; rather, truetouchless faucets that can be effectively turned on and off with a wave of your hand overtop the arch. Many of the newer touchless faucets are designed in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and can be conveniently activated with a tap of the wrist,as well. In addition to wasting less water, touchless faucets allow cooks to avoid contacting the faucet in the midst of preparation of foods such as raw meat, resulting in less possibility of the transfer of E.coli, salmonella, and other common foodborne pathogens.

Fresh and FIltered

According to Moen.com, Americans spent $7 billion on bottled water in 2013 alone —a staggering sum. So it's not surprising that water filtration faucets — which can remove chemicals, rust, and unpleasant taste and odors — are quickly becoming a standard option in many kitchens. These faucets feature a multi-stage water filtering system integrated directly into the faucet, allowing for the delivery of pure water straight from the tap. Some have internal systems that will even give a "heads-up" when the filter needs to be replaced.

Gone are the days when all that was expected of a kitchen faucet was that it provide a simple stream of water directly underneath its spout. Today's faucets not only purify water, but direct it where it is most needed — many by the mere wave of a hand. Available in polished steel, glittering chrome, antique bronze and even sophisticated satin black, the new kitchen faucets also make dramatic design statements and serve as eye-catching accessories to unify your kitchen's décor.

Now that you've seen some of the popular trends and available styles, you'll want to get out there and select that perfect faucet for your kitchen. Enjoy!

Molly Hilton is the owner of Renaissance Painters in Toronto and has devoted more than 30 years to home renovation, painting, and custom home building. Her unique design concepts bring homes to life with colours and unique pieces that are artfully placed to draw attention to the most powerful and distinctive features of a home.

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