From the December 2022/January 2023 Issue  

Christopher Peacock on Luxury Kitchen Trends

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Designer Christopher Peacock

Christopher Peacock New Jersey Showroom in Millburn | 973-376-7070 |

Christopher Peacock understands the value of a beautiful kitchen — and the way that value has risen exponentially in the past two years. Peacock, an internationally renowned master craftsman and founder of the New York City-headquartered custom cabinetry brand that bears his name, is ideally placed to observe and respond to societal shifts that affect our relationship with the most-used room in the house. Of course, the most seismic shift in recent memory has been the pandemic, which transformed the way many people viewed their kitchens. “Cooking was certainly magnified,” Peacock says. “Many of our clients would call us with questions about their kitchens because they were using them for the first time. They had beautiful kitchens, but they had never cooked big meals. Additionally, the kitchen became the command central of the house in a bigger way than it ever was before. It became this multifunctional gathering space that is sometimes used to cook.”

“Because we’re cooking more,” Christopher Peacock says, “we’re storing more food.” In this kitchen, an island and perimeter cabinetry and two refrigerators provide ample storage space.| Interior by Linherr Hollingsworth / Photo by George Ross

Design NJ: What trends have you seen in kitchen design that seem to have been pandemic-driven?
Christopher Peacock: The net result of the pandemic, I think, is that people have rediscovered the joys of preparing food at home. There’s a greater interest in appliances large and small and the features those appliances offer. And because we’re cooking more, we’re storing more food, so large pantries and refrigerators are in high demand now as well. In addition, in the construction of high-end homes, we’ve seen a change from the days when people wanted a big, open-plan kitchen and family room. Now we find many people building kitchens in enclosed spaces. There’s a focus on the kitchen as a gathering space in its own right rather than as an adjunct to a living room.

The kitchen as a gathering space offers seating options to accommodate a wide variety of activities. | Photo by Joshua McHugh

DNJ: What’s involved in planning for a kitchen that’s also a gathering space?
CP: The relationship between areas of work has always been important, but now it involves consolidating the process of everything that happens in the space these days — cooking, cleaning, entertaining, schoolwork, holiday meals. We want to have a place to sit with a laptop and be in the room, but not necessarily in the way of the cooking process. So the layout must be able to accommodate all of these things and also be visually pleasing. I also feel that a kitchen should not be too big, an island should not be too overwhelming and no one design element should overpower the room. Balance and attention to detail make for a successful space.

Combining neutral cabinetry with calibrated hits of color creates a kitchen that’s both calming and captivating. | Interior by Jessie D. Miller / Photo by Megan Lorenz

Using cabinetry with varied textures and materials creates a striking effect. | Courtesy of Christopher Peacock

DNJ: What recent cabinet-style trends set the tone for a successful space?
CP: One trend is the measured use of color. Many of our clients still opt for neutral cabinetry in general. However, they’re willing to take a color risk with their island cabinetry or in their butler’s pantry. The use of color in smaller doses allows homeowners to keep most of their space very calm and relaxed, while simultaneously introducing a stronger element for a bit of interest. Cabinetry crafted with varied materials and textures is another popular choice. The eclectic, organic feel of mixed textures and materials is very welcoming and bistro-like. I love to mix metals as well as wood finishes and leather, if appropriate to the space, as well as color. It depends on the overall aesthetic, but I believe you can still create a cohesive palette if the materials are used with restraint. There are so many wonderful options; you can create an individual look.

A kitchen that’s well-designed and uncluttered, Peacock says, can be “a space that’s easy on the eye…pleasing and simple and calming.” |  Photo by Landino Photo

Eye-catching hardware can elevate the look of cabinetry. “We take a jewelry-like approach to using hardware,” Peacock says. | Courtesy of Christopher Peacock

DNJ: What accent pieces enhance the look of a kitchen?
CP: Three stand out to me: Lighting: Tiny LED lights have taken accent lighting to new heights. LEDs allow for very specific lighting placement — we can accent cabinetry and provide better task lighting in more areas than before. They’re easy to install, can be adjusted for the warmth or coolness of the light and can be controlled by phone. They look fantastic and allow for more creativity and drama. Hardware: Though it’s often an afterthought, hardware is one of the most important elements in creating a luxury kitchen. In fact, when I design a new line of cabinetry, I design hardware first and build off that. For me, the analogy is having a simple, beautiful black dress that’s elevated by the right earrings, bag and shoes. Backsplash: The backsplash doesn’t get the attention it deserves, but you can get inspiration for a whole room from the backsplash. You can have a very simple kitchen with a very powerful backsplash and that becomes the character of the space. Homeowners should make sure they’re giving attention to all these elements. It’s not any one element, but the combination that can make the kitchen a “wow” space.

Don’t let the backsplash be an afterthought when designing your kitchen. In this kitchen, Peacock says, “The marble backsplash was an early and integral part of the decision-making process. We wanted harmony with the color and textures, and I think we achieved that balance. The goal was to avoid a single focal point that dominated the room, hence the tone-on-tone color scheme.” | Photo by George Ross, Interiors by Linherr Hollingsworth

DNJ: What does the future of the luxury kitchen look like?
CP: My theory is that our lives are more stressed than they have ever been. It seems to be that way for a lot of people, no matter how old they are. Our brains are cluttered, so we want less clutter in our world. We’re looking for simple, practical kitchen furnishings and fixtures that allow us to do what we want and not have to work hard in our homes. But people also want beautiful things. There’s a real appreciation for quality, for things that are going to last. We’re thinking less about disposable elements and more about treasuring things. Kitchens can be an escape in a way. You can come home, relax and, hopefully, leave your stress at the door. Having a room that allows you to do that visually, a space that’s easy on the eye, pleasing and calming — that is what’s driving kitchen design.