Kitchen & Bath Design News

AUG 2017

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is to be the focal point, I might suggest the island be completely different than everything else…like this reclaimed wood top. Many of Norris' clients are choosing quartz or granite, although Norris has also done concrete countertops as well as those crafted from back-painted glass. "I'm still using marble, too, even though it is susceptible to staining," she adds. Leathered and honed finishes for natural stone are current- ly trending as well. "These finishes add texture, which brings another element into the design," she notes. "When combined with smooth cabinets and backsplashes, a textured countertop material will add some contrast." ALISON NORRIS, DESIGNER B&T Kitchens and Baths, Virginia Beach, VA Given their close proximity to water, Alison Norris' clients often gravitate toward a coastal design theme, integrating elements indicative of a beach lifestyle drawn from a palette of the sand, sea and sky. While white Shaker-style cabinetry is often the norm, these clients opted to add a bit of eclectic flair, incorporating a contrasting focal-point island painted in the watery blue hues of Sherwin Williams' Raindrop. Norris added pendants crafted from repurposed oyster baskets above, but the focal point of the space is the island's live-edge, reclaimed wood top. "I wanted to include a special countertop…something that would 'wow' the kitchen," she says, noting the plank boards that were salvaged by Lisa Baird, CP Design (formerly Classy Pickers). "The wood is rich and earthy and it contrasts with the soft colors of the kitchen." Norris admits that a wood countertop at the island, which is often a main prepping zone, may not be the right choice for everyone. "Wood can be more absorbent, so a special seal- ant was added to give it waterproofing characteristics," she explains. "This particular piece also has worm holes. But it works for my clients. It is reclaimed, so if it gets scratched, you can't tell because it's already distressed." Norris complemented the island top with honed soapstone countertops around the perimeter. "Their dark color contrasts nicely with the white cabinets and the wood countertop, which has a lot of black in it," she says. When it comes to helping clients select countertop materials, Norris guides them based on how they live in the space, and whether they want their countertop to play a lead or support role. "If someone likes to drink red wine, I steer them away from marble or light granites and toward quartz that can resemble those natural stones," she states. "If they want a natural piece with a lot of movement, then I suggest granite. Manufacturers are making quartz that looks like granite, but granite still has that wild character." For countertops that are part of a monochromatic design scheme, the designer often chooses a material that will tie all of the elements together. "Countertops can also be a conversation piece for the kitchen," she says, noting they can be the ice break- er for stimulating dialogue at a gathering. "And if a countertop Photos: Ramone Photography Alison Norris' clients added a bit of eclectic flair to their coastal kitchen with a focal-point island painted in a watery blue and topped with a reclaimed wood coun- tertop. The island's live-edge top 'wows' in this kitchen. "The wood is rich and earthy and it contrasts with the soft colors of the kitchen," she says. Dark, honed soapstone perimeter countertops contrast with white cabinetry and coordinate with the island's wood top, which has a lot of black from worm holes. August 2017 • KitchenBathDesign.com 83

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