Higher-end appliances are also in big demand, Lapides said. Remodelers may not spend $6,000 on commercial-grade appliances, but they certainly want an upgrade from the entry level.
Stone countertops are still popular of course, but more homeowners are becoming wary of the drawbacks, said Vince Butler, chairman of the Remodelors Council. (Granite and other natural stones can be permanently stained by cooking oils and etched by common cleaners.) Butler said he is installing more synthetic or engineered stone countertops and seeing renewed interest in "solid surfaces" like Corian.
"It may not have the eye appeal [of granite] but I think as people live with it, it may be easier to take care of," Butler said.
Some, though, wonder if the monster/gourmet kitchen trend might begin to peter out, particularly among homes designed to appeal to older boomers.
"I think in the future people are going to be tired of cooking," said syndicated columnist and former builder Tim Carter, whose AsktheBuilder.com site focuses on remodeling as well as new construction issues.
"It doesn't make much sense to invest $100,000 in a (kitchen remodel) if you don't cook that much."