East Coast – West Coast Kitchen Trends – Comparing Regional Trends at Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Long Island, New York & Danenberg Design in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.
In a conversation with kitchen designers, Lanny and Dan Danenberg, at Danenberg Design in California, we thought it would be interesting to compare regional kitchen design trends between their West Coast firm and our East Coast showroom. Here’s what they are seeing in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This Guest Post Was Written by Lanny at Danenberg Design:
1. What are the latest trends in kitchen countertop materials?
We don’t see our firm as following current trends, so much as designing functional, classic spaces that are timeless. It is probably also helpful to preface the following thoughts about trends in our area with the fact that, although we have experience with many styles of design, we lean more toward contemporary (often eclectic) design with an Asian influence. It seems that the majority of our kitchen projects in the last couple of years have featured granite countertops. In most cases, this was at the request of our clients. We find ourselves wishing that some of our clients were willing to be more adventuresome. We enjoy experimenting with the latest styles and materials and find that there are more exciting materials to choose from than ever before. A personal favorite is concrete counters. However, when we present this to clients, many seem to shy away from concrete. They either don’t feel the look is right for their space or have concerns about maintenance.
Among the latest materials we present to clients whenever appropriate, are Vetrazzo and IceStone (both sustainable products made largely from recycled glass.) Both are just gorgeous. I am very interested in using Vetrazzo on a future project. The colors are stunning and, in general, a bit more dramatic with larger pieces of recycled glass than those in the IceStone colorways.
On more than one past project, our firm has used one countertop material on the island and another for the balance of the counters. We find combining of complementary materials very appealing. However, most of our recently completed projects have featured the same material on both. We are currently doing a project where the homeowner loves red and wants lots of it in her kitchen. We are using ‘chili pepper’ red painted cabinets for her island and natural maple for the balance of the kitchen. In this case, we are using the same granite on all.
Perhaps our love of a ‘fusion’ style of contemporary design stems from the fact that Dan was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and from living and working in various places over the years before moving to the Bay Area. This has most definitely fueled our passion for the melding of unique materials and design elements. Most of our projects feature elements in glass, stainless steel (or other metals), warm woods, and a complementary palette of natural stone.
2. What are the latest trends in kitchen countertop colors?
We have seen a strong trend among our firm’s clients toward the dark-colored materials. On a current project in Palo Alto, I presented lighter colors of Vetrazzo and IceStone to the client as options I thought would work well. She preferred to go with the much darker Verde Butterfly granite, which is quarried in Brazil and has a similar appearance to Uba Tuba.
When flipping through local lifestyle and design magazines, there appears to be a predominance of black, white, and gray colored countertops in kitchens and bathrooms, whether modern or traditional in design. In speaking with tile showroom managers as well as other designers, we are not alone in noting that, in general, projects in our area seem to be trending toward more contemporary, eclectic styling. This could certainly explain why we are seeing a higher percentage of square or simple edge details on countertops than in the past.
3. What are the latest trends in kitchen countertop finishes?
There are a number to choose from, including the newest ‘leather’ finish. A local industry insider tells me that his stone and tile company is bringing in more and more stone products with this finish, which has been very popular for the last year or so. The leather look is created, according to this source, by a series of brushes that rub or scrape across the face of the stone, creating crevices. A resin is then put over the surface to bring the color out. The end result is a stone with some relief or texture to it, with the color enhanced, but that does not have the polished look.
4. What are the latest trends in kitchen countertop formats, thickness, and edges?
In speaking with the manager of one of our area’s largest stone and tile showrooms, he noted what they are seeing, as a general rule, is that the use of the 1-1/2” laminated bullnose edge still far outweighs any other edge detail, followed by the ogee style edge details.
Our team normally uses more contemporary renditions and has designed two unique edge details that we haven’t seen used on other projects. I am including a photo of one of these edges, which we call ‘the inside-out edge.’
5. Any predictions on where kitchen countertops will go?
Well, the hope is that clients will become more familiar with some of the newer or more unusual materials now available and add those into the mix. However, from experience, it appears that the majority of homeowners we work with still have a preference for granite countertops. I believe that granite is a classic and will continue to be used for years to come. Our firm obtained our CGBP or Certified Green Building Professional designation last year and is sharing ideas on sustainable products with clients. It has been a bit surprising to learn that many homeowners here on the West Coast have not yet embraced green building principles and materials to the extent we anticipated. In talking with others involved in the industry, they have expressed the same thought – that it will be some time before consumers really get ‘on board’ with green building practices. I think this could take at least a couple more years and hope that we are able to help spread the word here in our area.
Click here to read the trends our kitchen designers are seeing at our East Coast showroom in New York on Long Island’s Gold Coast: East Coast – West Coast Kitchen Trends – A Comparison by Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly & Danenberg Design (Part 2)