Susan Taylor
home style tips

kitchen design that’s classic AND on trend. have it both ways!

The classic saying, “the kitchen is the heart of the home” says it all. Families are spending more time in the kitchen, not only to cook and gather around the table to eat, but to log into Zoom calls, work at a homework station, or bake a double batch of favorite cookies to have along with game night. The kitchen is truly the star of the home, and everyone wants an update.

There are a multitude of considerations to think through when you’re planning a new kitchen. Your plan should have form and function on the top of the list as much as color and style. Working with a professional can save costly mistakes, and make fabulous updates merge with a practical and delightful work flow.

As kitchens play first string in must-have updates, the design team at Black-eyed Susan has years of experience to help plan that space the whole family will flock to, with plenty of design moxie to share!

What are the biggest kitchen trends with staying power? Let’s start with a look at my personal kitchen in Charlotte, NC. It is truly a dream kitchen for me, and I highly recommend several options from this design.

  1.  Drawers, drawers, drawers! You can’t have too many. When designing your kitchen, I simply can’t say enough about the divine use of drawers, and then more drawers! Along this wall, you’ll notice 12 drawers! Around the corner to the right, there are another 6. Drawers are a dream when it comes to ease and function. No bending or stooping, reaching into far corners on the floor, you get the picture! Store everything from pots and pans to stacks of plates. My collection of bowls, baking pans for cakes and pies, specialty mini soufflés and bread pans galore all fit within the many drawers in my kitchen.  I now know I couldn’t live without my precious drawers, and I am the first to implore my clients to choose the same! I’ll never build another kitchen without them.
  2. Tile options to the ceiling are both practical and stylish. I choose an easy to clean and fabulously chic style of simple glass subway tile in a slightly unusual size to mix it up a bit and keep interest. It is both classic and stylish…the glass is reflective and always perfect.
  3. Several ovens make for the perfect baking center. One is better for roasting and one better for baking. Two also makes life easy for holiday baking, and on that (more often than you would think) occasion of churning out 150 mini eclairs, two ovens makes for an easy bakeoff!
  4. Hoods are a big part of kitchen design currently, however here I used a simple, clean look with function and power.


Here is a good view of my preferred hardware length. I sometimes have a hard time getting clients to envision and take the plunge for longer hardware, but this shows the dramatic style of longer pulls (these are 18″) . My advice: use the longest hardware you can fit on drawers and if you look back to the photo above, you’ll see I wasn’t shy on the size of the upper cabinets either! There are so many styles, sizes and finishes to choose from. All you need is the eye of a fine designer to push you just a little! Go for it … you’ll never be sorry to color outside the lines in this area. Really.

You’ll want to include one of our performance rugs for kitchen use, with runners or under the kitchen table. Performance rugs are plentiful, all sizes, all colors, traditional, vintage inspired and modern options abound. This might be the place to add a bit of color into your palette. I rotate between this ombre white to black runner and a hot pink one. The investment is small and the payoff for style and practicality unmatched!

It is a common selection to run the same hardwood throughout the entire first floor, as was the case for me. Your professional may direct you to darker classics, grayed neutrals or whitewashed exotic woods. So many options, so much style.


Let’s take a minute to talk accessories (go back to see a few in my kitchen as well!) I have a huge island. At 12 ft long and 50″ wide, I can afford to leave a good bit of countertop for personal appointments of style, using some of my favorite collections. Here, a centerpiece I put together for a kitchen island or table, using a favorite curved tray, assorted succulents, moss, exotic orchid spray and a few glass orbs. Use a few unexpected things to style your kitchen.


This is another kitchen I designed for a beach rental investment. The classic white finish is accented with brushed gold hardware and lighting accents. Note the size of the hardware once again. There is nothing like this to make a classic stock cabinetry shine like the best of them.

Consider an oversized plant (artificial or real!) for drama and impact. Take a peek at the painted panty door … another personal signature. An ordinary door becomes something special when painted a contrasting color. It’s a design signature I’ve used for the past 25 years and I’m not ready to give it up yet!

Bold lighting is also an important kitchen element. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to “win the fight” for the larger size in my kitchen designs! Although this fixture is available in one size smaller, I wouldn’t dream of downplaying this important feature. You shouldn’t either. Let your light fixture choice be the hero of the room.

Barstools are another area in the kitchen to go big with style. Here, the brushed gold finish is carried throughout. It’s not really easy to see it in this photo, but I selected a matte black faucet here to contrast with the gold. Again, a little outside the box thinking, and why not?!


Talk about striking lighting! Try three of these over a dining/kitchen table. Think architectural interest meets function. Beautiful!


Back to accessories, here you’ll find a dramatic and stunning wall sculpture design for an otherwise neutral kitchen. Ceramic 3 dimensional sculptural art continues the story of the client’s collection of sea colored glass in the upper display cabinets. I always recommend something in like colors, or collections of like items (you’ll see in my first photo, the upper cabinets were filled with oversized ceramic pears in assorted sizes). The finishing touches of a kitchen bring the personality into the room and shouldn’t be left out. Black-eyed Susan has a team of specialists to help with styling and placement, as well as installation professionals if needed.


This @crumbshome kitchen caught my eye from my IG feed as a good example of combining several of these trends the right way:

  1. oversized lighting in strong contrasting finish
  2. contrasting doors
  3. oversized centerpiece using fresh cuttings

This classic kitchen is full of #purestyle and #ohsosusan features. Inspirational and inviting. Come in!


Another great example of these classic but current trends in a kitchen from @whitehorsedesignfirm:

  1.  Solid surface backsplash and countertops. This creates a seamless and finished look. We are specifying more of this look of late, either combined with accent tiles or a continuation of the same throughout the entire kitchen. Lovely.
  2. Architectural, clean and dramatic hood. The continuation of the use of white here is perfect, does not interrupt the eye and keeps the fabulous oven the star of the show. I’m in love with the gold accents.


Trending everywhere: COLOR! Shown here from @houseofjadeinteriors is a deep marine blue contrasted with the clean finish of white.

I’m loving the inset oven, no hood and beam creating the space for the venting to be installed. A nod to classic modern farmhouse, and who wouldn’t want to cook on that fabulously special stove/oven?! This is actually a classic color sure to stand the test of time and style here is speaking up! (And, there’s that cool gold again showing up in hardware accents). Yes, please. Nice work.


This kitchen design by @projectinteriors showcases a few more classic trends:

  1. Note the use of marble paired with natural wood. Delightful!
  2. Solid backsplash/countertop
  3. Drawers, drawers, drawers
  4. Oversized hardware

I’m also loving the niche perfectly styled with a dramatic light. Great style.


While there seems to be a mix of opinions of the trend for open shelving, you’ll find loads of designers are still using this element in stunning designs. Along with the use of open shelving, when bottom storage is sufficient, there is a trend towards not having upper cabinets. This image by @tessaneustadt points to the use of minimally styled open shelving, sleek black windows, gold hardware and rich black lower cabinets. We are noting a good bit of upper white cabinets mixed with dark lower cabinets. (I would love it even more with the use of lots and lots of bottom drawers!)


I came across this genius invention, shown here from @momhouseideas. Now this clever invention makes a corner cabinet workable! So much better than a corner lazy susan, functional and perfect for organizing … and note the deep drawers below! Loving this.


This last one is just a teaser for one of our projects during Covid 2020. We used the fabulous Sherwin Williams Iron Ore … the deepest charcoal, almost black but not! Lots more fabulous design ideas to come in a photo shoot within the next few weeks. You’ll want to stay tuned for sure.

Kitchens bring us home, tie families together and generations live on with recipes, history and loving memories. Make yours something to sing about with our help!

We love creating kitchens with style, and the form and function to bring your living into #purestyle.