October 2019

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OCTOBER 2019 | 35 Kitchens Kitchen trends offer everything from rustic-modern cabinets to high-tech countertops by STACEY MCLACHLAN A ccording to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), kitchen and bath market spending is up seven per- cent over the last three years. This means that today it's a $158-billion industry. But really, is that any surprise, given the pivotal role a kitchen plays in the home? It's the centre of the action, the heart of family meals and get togethers, and a place for gathering and transition throughout the day. Today's design trends and technological developments take the kitchen's important role in our lives into account with looks that create a sense of warmth and welcome, products that make installation and maintenance a breeze, and layouts that make us want to stay a while. N AT U R E C A L L S Oak returns to the forefront of kitchen design for 2020, with oak graining as the backbone for a variety of moody stains – think black, ebony, navy, and grey – and creamy, washed-out finishes. Sometimes, both looks are being paired together for a bold combination that's just right for modern- casual designs. Mix in some metallics like bronze or brass, and you've got a look that's right on trend. "That raw look, mixed with dark cabinetry, is big for us right now," says Joseph Primucci, president of NIICO Millwork Group. "A transitional to contemporary style is very much in style. Where I probably did 10 tradi- tional kitchens in 2017, today I'm doing about two." "Raw, bleached woods are being used as the new white, as Scandi-influenced modern cabinetry and countertops blend 'clean' with the warmth of wood, giving a cozier modern feel," explains Gerri Chmiel, senior design manager for the Formica Corporation. It's part of a new, softer modernism that embraces warmth and organic forms. "Countertops featuring white with subtle veining still celebrates white, but with a soft movement to make surfaces less sterile looking," says Chmiel. All the while, the popularity of matte finished countertops continues as a more sophisticated and elegant option that still works for casual environments, reflecting the way we live now. "We call this livable luxury," says Chmiel. In addition to fresh shades of classic whites, Caesarstone has dark and dreamy shades of coun- tertops launching soon as well: Black Tempal and Oxidian. Concrete continues to be an inspiration for kitchen finishes, too – like Caesarstone's newest From The Heart colour 4043 Primordia – thanks to its organic appearance reflecting topological strata. Its cool grey complexion echoes the character of concrete, evoking a contemporary feel. Silestone's Loft Series follows this industrial trend with a new raw finish of its own. "This surface reflects the imperfections and irregularities of concrete with the best properties of Silestone," says Jesus Carreno Carrillo, general manager for Cosentino in B.C. The company's Dekton Industrial Series similarly pays tribute to the beautiful imperfections of the metals and stone in all their different stages of aging. Of course, there are always different tastes to con- sider. "Bright colours seem to be popular this year, in combination with white cabinets," says Joe Capone, VP of sales and marketing for Cartier Kitchens, noting that he's encountered white kitchens with dark blue, dove grey, or bright green islands, or even mixed cabinetry. "That seems to be the one big trend that I have noticed, and the look is bright, refreshing, and eye catching." Whatever the style, there are reasons that "honed and matte finishes are becoming popular," says Monica D'Agostino, channel marketing manager for Caesarstone. Caesarstone's Metropolitan collection has a wide selection of colours in this popular finish, inspired by the rough touch and unpolished colours, textures and patinas found in industrial architecture. Q U A R T Z C R A Z E Quartz countertops continue to be a best-selling surface. In fact Caesarstone is even set to launch an outdoor quartz product in 2020. Capone adds that he is also seeing Quartz leading the pack in terms of where consumers are looking, "due to the outstand- ing colour selections and availability, the endurance of the product, and the overall look." "The combination of stylish beauty and low main- tenance for quartz is hard to beat," adds Derek MacDonald, marketing manager for FloForm. What is new in quartz are the colour and finish options. MacDonald points to HanStone's newest colours, which include a dramatic black marble. "While white kitchens will always remain timeless, increasingly we are see- ing designers and homeowners using the cabinets or countertops to add a splash of colour to an otherwise neutral space," he says. "This adds a personal flair to a space without taking too big a design risk." "The technological advancements for quartz coun- tertops can be seen in the surface finish options," MacDonald continues. Apart from the traditionally standard gloss finish, quartz designs are increas- ing being offered in matte or textured finishes: "It's a simple way to add another design element to a func- tional style." Hari Stones is one company embracing the quartz boom. Its large selection of natural stone means the team is ready to meet the growing demand. And as more projects require quartz, the cheaper it gets. "We're seeing it go into lower to mid-range houses," says Alok Kansal, president of Hari Stones. Quartz, made from 95 percent ground stone and five percent polymer resins is "nearly indestructible," says Kansal. Overall, it's part of a larger trend towards tile and countertop choices that embrace the raw, rugged, and natural world. Formica's Living Impressions col- lection is inspired by striking stones from across the world, each with a story behind them, like the Marmara series from Turkish islands of the same name, or the Nero Marquina laminate, black marble originally from the region of Markina in the north of Spain, with crisp white veining, reminiscent of a painter's brushstroke. Of course, stone isn't the only countertop material on the market. SSC Countertops has embraced ther- moformed Solid Surface (Corian is one example) for many of its notable projects, from the Surrey Civic Centre to Vancouver condo developments. Meanwhile, Cosentino is pushing the technologi- cal limits and slimming right down. Its Dekton Slim is just four-millimetres thick, but still ultra-durable, making it an excellent option for kitchen walls, doors, or drawers. Stain-resistant, scratch-resistant, and Wood finished cabinets paired with white from Cartier Kitchens.

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