One of the biggest debates in kitchen and home design is this: should granite be replaced by marble, or quartz? While more developers are looking toward quartz as an alternative to marble, neither one clearly outweighs the other. But there are four different categories that compare the two materials, and can help both developers and homeowners decide which one best suits them. Their appearance, durability, maintenance and overall cost can play a part in choosing which one is better to replace granite.
For appearance, it is largely a matter of preference. According to MSI Surfaces, while Quartz is more uniform in its design and color, it can also mimic the look of natural stone as well. Meanwhile, with marble, each slab is one-of-a-kind. If you have marble as your kitchen countertop, no other counter will be the same as that one. The uniqueness adds a classic beauty to any room.
Renderings courtesy of KAR Properties (Marble)
- Natural stone rather than man-made
- Uniform in design and color
- Man-made, but mimics natural stone
- Can get stained or discolored more easily
- Overall, durable and dependable
- Direct sunlight or UV rays can cause irreparable discoloring
- Overall, durable and dependable
- Sitting water can cause discoloration or stains
- Overall, more maintenance is required
- Hot pots or pans sitting on it can scorch the stone
- Overall, less maintenance is required
- More expensive per square foot
- $50-150 per square foot
- Less expensive per square foot
- $40-100 per square foot
In terms of durability, both are great options. Quartz is man-made, but is increasing in popularity because of the material’s durability. Marble is from many different countries around the world, and is also a durable but natural material as well. With quartz, however, any direct sunlight or high UV rays can cause irreparable discoloring, according to Polycor. Although both can gain chips on their edges and other minor damages, neither are fragile or impractical for everyday use. For durability, both quartz and marble are great options.
Marble requires more maintenance since it is natural stone. Sitting water on a marble countertop can cause discoloration and stains. For individuals with a busy lifestyle, quartz would be much easier to manage. But with quartz, make sure not to place any hot pots or pans on the counter — doing so could scorch the material. In terms of overall maintenance, however, quartz is generally a better fit.
Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz)
Rendering courtesy of Akoya Boca West (Quartz)
Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz)
Lastly, marble is usually more expensive than quartz. MSI Surfaces explains that while each square foot of marble is only slightly more expensive than quartz, that price tag can quickly add up when designing a whole room. Despite the overall added price, however, marble can add to a home’s value, so it might be worth it in the long run for some homeowners and designers.
While quartz is more practical in terms of durability and maintenance, nothing is like the one-of-a-kind material found with marble. In the end, knowing both materials’ advantages and setbacks can help determine which one works best.
Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz) Rendering courtesy of Akoya Boca West (Quartz)
Thermador, the iconic luxury home and kitchen appliance brand, is kicking off its fourth Kitchen Design Challenge, with new categories and prizes, allowing professional designers, builders, architects, remodelers, kitchen dealers and — for the first time in Thermador contest history — students to get involved.
All 44 of the regional winners will also win a trip for two to the exclusive gala in Southern California in 2020, where the national winners will be announced.
Image courtesy of Marc Thee
Image courtesy of Ili Hidalgo
“When it comes to marrying groundbreaking innovation and stunning design, Thermador leads the industry — empowering consumers and trade professionals to make bold statements throughout the home,” said Beatriz Sandoval, director of brand marketing for Thermador.
Encouraging the established and flourishing design-build communities to showcase their creativity in any design style, this year’s Kitchen Design Challenge aims to attract the most innovative projects yet, with four all-new categories for submission: Exceptional Kitchen, Compact Kitchen Suite, Original Innovator/Out of the Box Space and the Student Concept Kitchen.
For Exceptional Kitchen, one national winner will receive a $25,000 grand prize, one second-place winner will receive a $15,000 prize, and one third-place winner will receive a $10,000 prize.
In the Compact Kitchen Suite category, the national winner will receive a grand prize of $5,000 for crafting a culinary space within 200 square feet and containing at least three primary Thermador products.
Image courtesy of Constance Riik
Image courtesy of Marc Thee
The national winner of the Original Innovator/Out of the Box Space will receive a $5,000 prize for designing a space outside of the kitchen such as a wet bar, personal gym, wine cellar or game room. The space must have at least two Thermador products.
And for the first time, the Thermador Kitchen Design challenge is including students in the competition. In the Student Concept Kitchen category, one national winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize for designing an exceptional kitchen for a hypothetical client. The space must be a minimum of 200 square feet, include at least three primary Thermador products and cost a maximum of $250,000.
Two more categories are also part of the challenge, including the Designer’s Choice, which will be chosen at the gala and receive a $5,000 cash prize, and the Fan Favorites category, in which five winners will be selected in a separate contest held in 2021 to receive a $1,000 cash prize each.
By breaking boundaries and the status quo in terms of kitchen design, vision and creativity, Thermador is allowing for others to do the same, creating bold ideas and bringing them to life.
Top photo by Steve Henke for Cambria Style.
Cambria, the leading producer of American-made natural stone, is expanding its editorial platform this spring with the release of its first-ever workbook supplement, Kitchen & Bath Design Inspiration: The Ultimate Design Planner. The Planner will be bound within Cambria Style, the brand’s award-winning luxury home and lifestyle magazine, and will also be available to consumers for free download online at CambriaUSA.com.
Part inspirational guide and part project checklist, the Planner was designed by LouAnn Haaf, editor-in-chief of Cambria Style, and her team as a comprehensive guide to help consumers navigate the often complex process of renovating their home. The new supplement illustrates top kitchen and bath design trends, including features on popular styles and product roundups of fashionable accents and accessories. It delves into the most functional and popular kitchen floor plans, providing tips for planning the perfect layout, selecting the right materials, colors and finishes, and includes designs from Cambria’s expansive palette in both elegant neutrals and bold patterns.
Haaf combed through her vast experience in covering the kitchen and bath market to create the Planner, which provides invaluable takeaways – both creative and practical – including the following:
Find Your Look: Whether it’s the blend of modern farmhouse and West Coast styles of California to the picture-perfect sophistication of a classic Hamptons retreat, it’s important to find the right types of inspiration that emulate you, while staying modern and fresh. Cambria recommends trying out or investigating on-trend styles to inspire your own projects, such as the Into the Woods aesthetic, combining industrial materials and an urban look to blur the lines of interior and exterior.
Know Your Pro: Consider your options when it comes to choosing and working with a professional, which in turn will help take the guesswork out of kitchen and bath design.
Draft Picks: Lay out all your designs carefully, and make sure all options are weighed when designing your dream kitchen, and which one is best for you.
Splurge-Worthy Investments: Take a look at the five areas of your renovation where you shouldn’t cut corners on spending and why.
The 3Cs Buying Guide: Color, Cabinets and Countertops – the magical trifecta to incorporate color, storage and durability into your kitchen.
Surface Area: Make sure you select a surface that showcases your personality, making your house a home. Cambria offers a multitude of options, from the inky blacks and soft-gray hues of Midnight Blacks, the classic, understated earth tones of Organic Neutrals or the dramatic selections of Edgy Movement that tend to make a statement.
Photo courtesy of Cambria.
All photos courtesy NEFF.
Home appliance manufacturer NEFF, renowned for its passion for cooking and intuitive kitchen appliances, has partnered with UK-based ceramicist Reiko Kaneko to create a unique set of plates that enhance the flavor experience with a richer taste sensation.
The inspiration for this collection was taken from Professor Charles Spence’s groundbreaking research into the field of gastrophysics. Looking into various elements that contribute to a memorable eating experience, Spence has partnered with NEFF to uncover how the colour, shape, texture and even weight of crockery can intensify the flavour perception of food.
“Our brain plays tricks on us about what our taste buds are tasting,” says Spence. “There have been experiments showing that eating popcorn from a blue bowl tastes saltier than from a white bowl. Similarly, when it comes to shape, an asymmetric, angular plate can bring out the sourness and acidity of food much more than a round plate does.” Spence explains that working with NEFF to apply some of these principles to Reiko Kaneko’s plateware has been a really interesting challenge and opportunity to see the gastrophysics insights used as inspiration for plateware design.
The exclusive plate collection consists of three plates that have been specially designed to heighten the taste of each stage of a meal, for an ultimate dining experience. You can see the development and process behind each vessel below.
The Starter Plate
Influenced by the energy of the sea waves, the Starter Plate is a fine bone china plate designed to intensify the taste of seafood-based starters. Reminiscent of the world under the sea through the white and blue glazing and bearing a rough, fish scale-like texture, this plate heightens the perception of saltiness through its angular shape.
The Main Dish
The angular, black stoneware of the Main Dish bowl enhances the sensation of spiciness. The rough, sandpaper texture of the bowl heightens the taste of spicier ingredients like ginger, making it ideal for serving up dishes like Thai green curries.
The Dessert Bowl
Inspired by the shape of a raspberry, this Dessert Bowl is designed to bring out the fruity flavor of desserts. The pink color boosts the perception of sweetness, whilst the outer, rounded, raspberry-like texture triggers associations with the fruit.
Reiko Kaneko, the ceramicist behind the creation of this set of plates, has been fascinated with the dimensions of taste since she discovered Spence’s work. “Playing with colour, shape and texture with the goal of ultimately influencing how diners will taste food has opened up a lot of creative avenues, which are reflected in my design,” she states.
Maria Beltrán, Head of Communication NEFF, says “Gastrophysics has opened our eyes towards a different world of ‘ingredients’ that come into play well after the food has been cooked: the elements that impact how food tastes when it’s being served. We hope that our plate collection inspires passionate foodies out there to be even more adventurous with their flavor experiments.”
Leading experience agency GR8 hosts the second annual, once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience “Once Upon A Kitchen,” featuring unique creations from the world’s top chefs.
For the first time ever, four culinary masters — Massimo Bottura, Joan Roca, Mauro Colagreco, and Christina Tosi — came together under one roof to curate an exceptional multi-course dinner. Often inspired by the world’s artwork, people and history, each chef showcased original culinary creations on the evening of December 5, at New York City’s Gotham Hall. Unique Homes was honored to attend.
Whether it was the beetroot cooked in salt crust, spin-painted veal, or deconstructed apple pie, those who attended this exclusive gastronomic experience savored inspired dishes while indulging in exclusive wine.
“Psychedelic Spin-Painted Veil” by Massimo Bottura
Ragout of Baby Potatoes.
Prawn Marinated with Rice Vinegar
Beetroot Cooked in Salt Crust
The evening commenced with the Eureka Experience, a private wine tasting with world-renowned winemaker Roberto Cipresso. Attendees were presented with two exquisite wines coinciding with stories from two iconic regions of Italy, Tuscany and Lazio.
Guests were then welcomed to a cocktail reception, which highlighted three unique wines and one signature cocktail paired with hors d’oeuvre creations from each chef.
Massimo Bottura presented a 30-month selection of Parmigiano Reggiano with extra aged balsamic vinegar, along with Mauro Colagreco’s Jerusalem artichoke tartelettes with black trumpets and melanosporum truffle and Joan Roca’s Steamed Truffle Brioche.
Following the hors d’oeuvres, attendees were seated and addressed by CEO of GR8, Barnabas Carrega, and award-winning creator and host of The Sporkful podcast, Dan Pashman.
Pashman was the official host of the evening, presenting the chefs and each of their exclusive dishes. Serenaded by an accompanying pianist, guests watched as the chefs prepared, cooked and plated seven courses in total — each accompanied by a hand-selected wine.
Left: “Never Stop Planting” by Massimo Bottura
Above: Truffle Soufflé with Veal Oyster Blade by Joan Roca
Some culinary highlights of the evening came from Osteria Francescana’s Massimo Bottura who presented a “Never Stop Planting” dish paying tribute to Joseph Beuys’ infamous installation planting oak trees and granite columns throughout far reaching locations.
The dish was a foie gras custard served with seasonal woodland flavors from truffles to mushrooms in a mineral broth. Bottura also presented guests with “Psychedelic Spin-Painted Veil.” The meat was marinated in milk, brushed with vegetable charcoal and dressed with creamy potatoes, puree of orange and yellow peppers, a red beet reduction and extra old Villa Manodori Artigianale balsamic vinegar from Modena.
Joan Roca’s exquisite cuisine featured prawn marinated with rice vinegar, drawing inspiration from Salvador Dalí’s “The Persistence of Memory.” Roca also presented a truffle soufflé with veal oyster blade inspired by Gaudi’s modernist architecture and the “Melting Watches” of Dalí’s famous painting, “The Persistence of Time.”
Mauro Colagreco showcased his undeniable talents through a “Crapaudine” Beetroot cooked in salt crust, finished with a “Ossetra” Caviar Sauce inspired by the agricultural knowledge of producer, Annie Bertin from the small town, Vende, in northwestern France.
Guests were then treated by the creative mastermind and classically trained pastry chef Christina Tosi, founder and CEO of Milk Bar, whom presented an exclusive “Apple Pie-ish” dessert topped with a miso butterscotch, brown butter and sour whipped cream.
Following the gastronomic cuisine, all four chefs came to the stage for a final conversation with Dan Pashman discussing their dishes from the evening and the inspirations that created them.
The evening’s beneficiary was God’s Love We Deliver, the leading provider of nutritious and personalized meals to individuals who are too ill to shop and cook for themselves. God’s Love We Deliver creates and provides over 7,000 meals each weekday, delivering them to those with life-altering illnesses across all five New York City boroughs, Westchester and Nassau Counties, and Hudson County, New Jersey.
The new Ombré finish for kitchen and bath faucets from Kohler uses an innovative technique that melds two vibrant metal finishes together to render a subtle but striking transition from light to dark.
Kohler has taken a familiar product and, inspired by the worlds of fashion and modern design, created an uncommon showpiece that is unlike anything else on the market.
The Ombré Vibrant finish makes use of Kohler’s proprietary physical vapor deposition process, which bonds the finish and faucet together at the molecular level, to create an incredibly strong surface that is both scratch- and tarnish-resistant. The finish comes in two fabrications: Vibrant Rose Gold to Vibrant Polished Nickel, and Vibrant Titanium to Vibrant Rose Gold.
The Ombré Vibrant finish is available on a curated selection of Kohler plumbing products: Components and Sensate. Homeowners can express their personal taste by using faucets with this finish as an integral design component for their home décor.
The word ombré, French for shadow or shade, has been seen on everything from haute couture gowns to celebrity hairstyles, and its ingenious use on what could be seen as an everyday product further establishes Kohler as the industry leader in finish innovation.
Photos courtesy of Jillian Rosone.
The Scandinavian design aesthetic continues to take the world by storm, from the cozy comfort of hygge to the inspiring minimalism of the trend itself. Design experts at Modern Dining Tables, as well as Niki Brantmark, blogger at My Scandinavian Home and author of “Lagom, The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life,” understand this aesthetic well, and how it plays into improves a room’s design and decor, particularly dining areas. With minimal furniture, soft color palettes and harmonious shapes and materials, the Scandinavian style is an excellent choice to soothe your dining room.
BACK TO BASICS
Wooden furniture and surfaces are the most common among the style, portraying a sense of simple elegance that is nature-based. Some of these surfaces and finishes include light grey marble or wood counters and kitchen equipment like wooden chopping boards, says Brantmark. This choice brings warmth into the home, as well as any other plant life added to the room that naturally revives the space.
To complement the natural wood touches, a soft color palette is also needed in order to create a “sleek, clean, organized look,” according to Brantmark. Designers at Modern Dining Tables also suggest more refined colors, such as mixing natural wood or darker metallics with white or rose gold. Alternatively, also suggested are black accent pieces, in order to give life to the room by making a modern contrast and letting the natural wood shine.
MINIMALISM AND ORGANIZATION
In order to fully commit to this style in your dining space, the layout of a Scandinavian kitchen often portrays a sense of minimalism, both in style and organization. To keep the look clean and streamlined, Brantmark suggests both open and closed storage options in the form of kitchen cabinets and drawers. “You need to be able to hide the clutter but ensure items you need regularly are at hand,” she adds.
Other ways to convey this sense of sophisticated simplicity can be shown in the furniture and lighting pieces displayed. Suggested by Modern Dining Tables, industrial-style lighting fixtures are highlighted examples, as “metal is never out of fashion” and gracefully complements other aspects of the aesthetic. In regards to furniture, large tables with simplistic, matching chairs work well in these spaces, as they are warm and inviting and further allow for a informal place for people to gather and socialize.
“I love that this look is calm and fresh yet has a balanced, warm and inviting feel about it too,” Brantmark remarks. “Kitchens are known as the ‘engine room’ of the house. It’s where people gather socially so it’s important people are drawn to the area and feel comfortable.
Photography by Niki Brantmark
Design by Tina Lekeberg
After choosing the perfect dining table, preparing an unforgettable meal, and gathering your guests, don’t forget to select a set of dinnerware that will showcase your style.
The way we display our food has become a delicate form of art, from intricately drizzled sauces to the dishes on which they are served. Cristina Vezzini and Stan Chen are making elegance easy with their stunning dinnerware collection. Vezzini & Chen is a combination of hand-carved ceramics and hand-blown glass, which gives each piece a unique touch.
Vezzini, originally from Italy, and Chen, who is from Taiwan, met while attending The Royal College of Art and continued working together after graduation in their London studio. Although the two specialize in different materials and techniques, Chen being the skilled glassblower and Vezzini focusing on handcrafted ceramics, the team is a cohesive unit, which shines through in their work.
It is unlikely that you’ll find another set like Vezzini & Chen’s because each and every piece is handmade and carefully constructed by the duo. Their broad range of inspiration also adds an exclusive aspect to each set. Inspiration from nature, such as fire and water elements, comes through in their designs and pairs nicely with the natural materials that they mold.
Vezzini & Chen’s Hexa Plates and Hexa Bowls are inspired by the idea of looking through water, and the layered, multi-faceted image that appears on the other side. The bowls and plates are available in four signature textures.
Just a glimpse of Vezzin & Chen’s work include these other remarkable collections. The Hexa Wine Glasses are also available in four textures, but each individual glass is as unique as a snowflake.The Horizon Wine Glasses are delicate, hand engraved, and unforgettable. Buyers will certainly want a set of their own, but the hand-carved ceramic plates are part of a limited edition for the Spring Restaurant in London.
Light, geometry, texture, and repetition are also a large part of Vezzini’s designs, which contrasts Chen’s smooth, flawless glass creations nicely. The two designers use these inspirations to work together and bring their pieces to life. Vezzini & Chen’s dinnerware collections will stand out on any table!
Handcrafted in America since 1945, True Residential’s commitment to American-made products goes all the way back to its beginnings as a commercial refrigeration company in St. Louis.
In today’s world, where design is specialized and unique for every home, particularly in the kitchen, the brand remains vital to the industry.
A team of designers at True Residential spoke with Unique Homes about the brand’s influence on kitchen design, both in the home and commercial spaces.
How has the appliance industry changed since True Residential began, from the early 1950s to now?
When True started in 1945, they were only selling commercial refrigeration. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, commercial-style equipment in the home became popularized. That trend has continued to grow. Today, people have more apps and technology at their fingertips than ever before to help them cook like the pros, therefore, they’re seeking for more commercial-style equipment
True Residential has stayed true to its commercial roots providing a unique, commercially styled product that also performs like one. We are always demanding more from our appliances. True has always been at the forefront of increasing efficiency without sacrificing performance or quality. We’re proud to be an original Energy Star partner.
Kitchen design by Vanessa Deleon.
what is the brand's top priority with regard to design?
Providing a premium commercial-style refrigerator, both inside and out. We try to be on the forefront of trends like custom colors and various product configurations to provide truly unique options for designers, builders, specifiers, and clients.
This year we unveiled four additions to the Build Your True collection — a system that allows consumers and/or designers to choose from a variety of our products and customize them in one of our custom color and hardware finishes. To cater to the color-happy trend, we added an eye-catching cobalt blue joined by matte white and matte black finishes to round out our roster of stunning custom finishes.
what do professionals and chefs look for in appliances?
Chefs look for function above all else. We have had numerous professional chefs choose our appliances, Wylie Dufresne among them. The 42-inch fridge alone offers 24.44 cubic feet of stylish, stainless refrigeration. This detail offers chefs ample space for food storage in a hygienic environment designed to keep items fresh.
True’s cascade airflow — a system exclusive to the brand — provides consistent temperatures throughout the unit. We also outfit each refrigeration unit with incredibly sturdy drawers, offering chefs the commercial strength they rely on at work — in their own personal kitchens.
In terms of organization and style, our refrigeration units come with streamlined handles, TruLumina lighting, steel-encapsulated glass shelves, and 36 color combinations for designers and homeowners to choose from.
And while all the appliances we offer are energy efficient and designed with function and form in mind, we have the highest-performing, most energy-efficient Clear Ice Machine available on the market today.