Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUN 2019

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To complete the design, Benatar finished the island with a 6" mitered edge. "We love the look of the chunky island," Benatar says. "It gives the island some presence." TRENDING PREFERENCES There's an ever-increasing diversity in surfacing materials, but designers indicate that a few seem to be particularly popular. In general, Cushman notes a preference toward less glossy surfaces, such as honed and leathered finishes for natural, and even engineered, stones. "Polished surfaces, such as granite, are pretty formal for our work and they are reserved for very, very few of our projects," he says. "Instead, our clients have really been appreciating honed and, more recently, leathered finishes. [These] catch the light very softly and offer the slight- est texture that adds depth to the stone. They are a great com- plement to homes where a mountain style comes into play." 'Softer' surfaces came into play in the design of his own home where he used hand-polished, cast-in-place concrete for the perimeter and island tops. "We built the home in 2013, but we were ahead of the curve with the concrete, which offers a natural, more organic feel that is trending currently," he points out, noting the beau- ty of its imperfections. Cushman embedded a custom stainless steel insert next to the sink that functions as a drainboard. He carried stainless steel onto the island, where it serves as a narrow backsplash behind the range. To complement the countertops, the design- er sheathed the perimeter wall with custom high-fire, Spanish red clay tile that offers hues of copper and other metals that are a perfect balance to the stainless steel ventilation hood and other appliances. For countertops, Calus is seeing much greater interest in quartz, in large part because of its durability and mainte- nance-free properties. "The average homeowner finds that very appealing," she notes. "A lot of the quartz coming to the market also has inter- esting patterns and veining." As far as backsplashes, the designer has noticed increased interest in geometric shapes, especially triangles, and brick tile that provides an elongated silhouette that is currently favored over traditional subway tile. "People have seen a lot of subway tile over the last decade and they are interested in seeing something more unique for their spaces," she says. Mixing materials is also popular, as is textured tile, espe- cially those with a crackled finish. Like Calus, Carfield reiterates many of the same trends for her clients. "We're seeing a pretty big uptick in three-dimen- sional tile for backsplashes that actually have a tactile texture," she says, noting wave patterns are popular. "We're also seeing a lot of heavily patterned, high-contrast cement tile. The same look is also being offered in porcelain now, which is more cost effective and less maintenance…and they look amazing." Quartz, especially styles that resemble natural stone like marble, is in high demand as well, she continues, noting that it crosses all age groups from clients with young families to those who are retired. "Quartz has been given a tagline of 'maintenance free,' and people are gravitating toward it for that reason alone," she be- lieves. "But secondary to that is that manufacturers are doing a really good job of duplicating several different veins of marble and other natural stones. It's quite beautiful, with a look that is classic and universal. You can stretch it over a lot of different mediums and styles." In fact, Carfield used PentalQuartz's Statuario as the coun- tertop for the island and perimeters of a recent kitchen she designed for a client with three small boys. Quartz that mimics natural stone, such as marble, has become a frequent request from many of Amber Carfield's clients. These homeowners, who have three young sons, appreciate its aesthetic appeal as well as its maintenance-free properties. The large-format porcelain tile backsplash behind the range was chosen because of its resemblance to copper as well as for its ease of cleaning. Photos: Lister Assister June 2019 • KitchenBathDesign.com 45

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