Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUN 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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also often repeats the same material for the countertop, which was the look desired by a bachelor homeowner who opted for Fusion quartzite as the backsplash/wall covering, perimeter countertops and island. "It's a bachelor pad and he wanted to make a statement," he says. "He wanted to be very bold with choices that generated 'wow' responses from everyone who walked into the room. We went back and forth about several different materials, with the original plan calling for black and white to match the Panda White marble floor that runs throughout the house. But when I took him to the yard, this quartzite spoke to him. It's mascu- line, but warm with a lot of movement…just what he wanted." Tharp also sees a move toward large-scale backsplashes, such as the polished onyx that covers one entire wall, as well as a portion of another, in a recent kitchen she designed. "The clients specified the backsplash first, along with the custom brass range hood and floating shelves," she explains, adding that she complemented the focal-point backsplash with a soft white quartz countertop and waterfall peninsula. "They have modern leanings, and with only one long wall of windows/doors opposite the kitchen, the space demanded the introduction of reflectivity to bounce that precious light around. Short of mirroring the walls, the materials deliver well in terms of light reflectivity and creating drama while a palette of polished materials supports a quiet, sophisticated sensibility for relaxing and entertaining." While these clients opted for natural stone as their back- splash, Tharp has seen a move toward large-scale porcelain 'thin slabs.' "They are tough enough to be used as exterior building cladding, but are just a few millimeters thick," she says. "Their huge size, typically 5'x10', offers endless possibilities for creativity. Some look deceptively like real stone, but they're more affordable and kinder to the planet. I have used them successfully as both backsplashes and to create any thickness of countertop desired. Plus, an increasing number of installers are learning how to miter the edges to create integrated sinks, fireplace surrounds and more." ▪ "They had a really outdated kitchen in a beautiful home [and] they needed a new space with an island that would work better for their kids to do their homework and to eat small meals. "We designed this kitchen – including the countertops, backsplash and shelves – around the fact that they have a busy, young family," she continues. "They enjoy cooking and they spend a lot of time in the kitchen. With the marble-look quartz, they don't have to worry about the countertop material being too soft, or etching or absorbing stains." Carfield emphasized the kitchen's industrial vibe via the porcelain backsplash behind the range. "The large tiles – there are only four of them – have a copper look to them," she says. "They look like metal but are lower in cost. And, they are easy to clean so she doesn't have to worry about spaghetti sauce! They also play off well with the custom wrought iron shelf brackets, made by a local shop, that support the reclaimed wood shelves." For Levy, white marble-look materials with gray veins are popular choices for countertops as well. "I'm including them in probably nine out of 10 kitchens, but they're beautiful every time," he says, citing their clean, exotic look. For backsplashes, it's all about full-height, single-slab de- signs that eliminate grout lines for easy cleaning. The designer Lisa Tharp has seen a move toward large-scale backsplashes, such as the polished onyx used in this kitchen. She complemented the focal-point backsplash with a soft white quartz countertop and waterfall peninsula. The materials deliver well in terms of light reflectivity and creating drama, while a palette of polished materials supports a quiet, sophisticated sensibility. Photos: Michael J. Lee 46 Kitchen & Bath Design News • June 2019 COUNTERTOPS & BACKSPLASHES

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