Purposeful Design

Emily Butler, kitchen designer at Baygents Company, dishes on the latest in kitchen design.

Edited by Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


Baygents Company is St. Louis’ oldest kitchen and bath firm specializing in attention to quality, form and function.

SLHL: What is the latest trend in kitchen design?
Emily: In recent months, I am finding that clients want a classic design for their kitchen. We are seeing more all-white kitchens and matte finishes on countertop surfaces. We are also seeing more interest in wood countertops.

SLHL: Do you always follow the "triangle" rule in kitchen layout? Why or why not?
Emily: With the open floor plans in today’s homes, the kitchen must have many functions. I find that most families like to spend time together in the kitchen and prepare meals as a team. For this reason, we sometimes design two or more workstations in a single kitchen. A single “work triangle” doesn’t always seem to work for the modern family.

SLHL: What are some unique storage options you have seen?
Emily: Clients are starting to ask about large pantries for storage, but want them “hidden” within the kitchen design itself. Since the pantry is hidden behind cabinetry, the aesthetic is more pleasing and you have plenty of storage that can be uniquely designed for your family’s needs.

SLHL: What about ways to hide appliances?
Emily: Fully-integrated appliances, once found only in higher-end kitchens, are becoming more mainstream. You can completely hide your dishwasher or refrigerator behind cabinet fronts for a more consistent overall look in the kitchen.

SLHL: What are the advantages/disadvantages to drawers vs. cabinets?
Emily: Utilizing drawer storage has come a long way in the past few years. Instead of opening a door and pulling out a roll-out, you can skip a step by just pulling out a drawer. Also, with all of the drawer organizers available today, you can put just about anything in a drawer, including your dishes. Roll-out shelves are still useful for large items and we like to use them in base cabinets and tall cabinets for adjustable height storage.

SLHL: What's new in kitchen islands?
Emily: We are seeing a shift away from overly large islands and have started to design islands with sinks and concealed refrigerator drawers to use as a second work zone. Seating at the island is also a popular and convenient way to utilize the space.

SLHL: What elements in your kitchen should match, and what elements don’t need to match?
I believe that the finish on any exposed appliances should always match. However, as long as the total look is achieved, I see no problem with light fixtures, faucets or even cabinet hardware not matching.