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Kitchen and Bath Design News 2024 – What Alps Craftsman is Seeing in the Tri-State Area

A recent edition of Kitchen & Bath Design News reveals how countertops are adapting to modern homeowners’ needs, showcasing trends like larger spaces, increased use of natural stone, and customers embracing textured countertops. At Alps Craftsman, serving New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, we’re excited to share insights from our experiences in these vibrant markets. This piece will explore how these trends are uniquely manifesting in the tri-state area, offering a local perspective that broadens the understanding of national data.

Countertop Space Expansion

Q: Recent data from the article indicates that 66.2% of kitchens now have larger countertop spaces than in past years. How do you think this trend impacts kitchen design and functionality?

A: This trend caters to the evolving role of the kitchen as not just a space for cooking, but as a versatile hub for dining, socializing, and even working. At Alps Craftsman, we emphasize the importance of a large island which, as discussed in our 2024 Design Trends blog, serves multiple purposes beyond food preparation. It becomes a central gathering spot for meals, social interactions, and various everyday activities.

We agree with the trend highlighted in recent articles that suggests a shift towards maximizing countertop areas at the expense of traditional storage solutions like larger pantries. This reflects a broader design philosophy where the aesthetic and functional appeal of countertops is becoming a focal point, overshadowing the traditional emphasis on cabinetry. The quality and design of countertops are now prime considerations for homeowners, influencing their choice of materials and the overall spatial arrangement within the kitchen.

Additionally, the design modifications accommodate other innovative features like integrated bars or coffee stations, enhancing the kitchen’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. This evolution in kitchen design not only meets the modern homeowner’s diverse needs but also elevates the kitchen’s role within the home.

Multiple Countertop Colors in Kitchens

Q: With the article noting that 54.5% of designers are incorporating two different countertops into kitchen designs, how is Alps Craftsman responding to this trend in the NJ, NY, and PA markets? Are there specific combinations of materials or designs that are particularly popular among your clients?

A: At Alps Craftsman, we are fully embracing the trend observed nationally among our clients in the NJ, NY, and PA markets, where the mix of functionality and aesthetic appeal is highly valued. Many of our kitchen designs feature a combination of materials that cater to both practical needs and design preferences. For instance, we often use a more muted material for the perimeter countertops, such as engineered quartz, which offers a subtle elegance and consistency, while opting for a dramatic, statement-making material like granite or quartzite for the island. This not only enhances the kitchen’s visual appeal but also provides the heat resistance necessary for cooking and hosting duties.

In terms of specific combinations, the mix of quartz and natural stone is prevalent. This pairing allows for both a design contrast and a functional balance—quartz for uniformity and ease, and natural stone for unique patterns and durability. Occasionally, we also see combinations of two different types of quartz, one subtle and one more patterned, to achieve a distinctive look while maintaining material consistency. Overall, the choice of combining two different countertop materials in a kitchen is driven by both the desire for a unique aesthetic and the need for practical functionality in everyday use.

Material Most in Demand

Q: Engineered quartz is noted as the countertop material growing most in demand, with 30.1% favoring it. Are you seeing that in the Tri-State area or is natural stone more popular among your clients?

A: Engineered quartz has indeed surged in popularity, as highlighted by the 30.1% favorability in this study. This popularity can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, engineered quartz is known for its durability and low maintenance requirements, which makes it an appealing choice for busy households. Additionally, the material’s uniformity allows for a consistent aesthetic that can fit seamlessly into a variety of design styles, which is particularly valued in modern home decor. However, it’s important to note that while engineered quartz is growing in demand, when you combine the growth of natural stone materials such as granite, marble, and quartzite, they collectively exceed the growth of engineered quartz, with a 36.6% increase. This suggests that while engineered quartz is popular, there is a significant and growing appreciation for natural stone. 

In our projects, we’ve observed a tremendous growth in natural stone, especially in quartzite. Our suppliers are increasing their inventory of these materials, which are not only becoming more affordable but also available in unique and striking patterns that cater to current trends towards darker and earth-toned colors. Many of our clients still prefer natural stone for its unique patterns and color variations that engineered quartz can’t fully replicate. While engineered quartz is popular for its practical benefits and consistent aesthetics, natural stone is experiencing a resurgence in demand, particularly for clients seeking unique and high-quality materials for their design projects.

Most Important Countertop Properties

Q: The article highlights that 28% of homeowners prioritize ease of maintenance, 23.4% value durability, and 18% focus on color selection when choosing countertops. Based on your experience, do these preferences align with what you’re seeing locally? Are there other properties that local homeowners consider more important when selecting their countertops?

A: In our experience with clients across NJ, NY, and PA, the priorities highlighted in the article—ease of maintenance, durability, and color selection—certainly resonate with what we see on the ground, but there’s more to the story. Our discussions with clients often reveal that heat resistance, sustainability, and material diversity are other critical factors when it comes to kitchen countertops. 

The preference is shifting towards natural stones, such as granite and quartzite, which not only offer unique designs but are also capable of withstanding the wear and tear of a busy kitchen. Homeowners want to ensure that the materials can withstand the rigors of cooking without damage. Color selection is also a part of a broader discussion about aesthetic appeal that includes patterns and textures. Our clients are increasingly interested in material diversity, seeking out unique textures and finishes that complement their home’s design.

Additionally, while sustainability was not among the top priorities in the article, we’ve observed a growing interest among our urban clients in eco-friendly materials like Paper Stone and Ice Stone. Although these options are often more expensive, they reflect a rising consciousness about environmental impact among homeowners. This shows that homeowners’ choices are influenced by a combination of practicality, aesthetics, and increasingly, environmental considerations.

Pattern/Finish Preferences

Q: With the article indicating that 45.3% of homeowners prefer marble looks and 28.8% favor subtle patterns in their countertops, how do these preferences reflect the choices of your clients in NJ, NY, and PA? Are there particular color schemes, pattern trends, or finish textures that have emerged as particularly popular or sought after in your recent projects?

A: The recent findings from the article align with trends we’ve noticed, but there’s more depth to these preferences in our experience with clients in the Tri-State area. While 45.3% of homeowners prefer marble looks, it’s not just the traditional marble they’re drawn to. Our clients are increasingly looking for countertops that make a statement with unique patterns, which often resemble marble but are found in other natural stones like quartzite and even in some granites. These materials offer the dramatic or very distinct patterns that many homeowners seek. 

They’re also not just looking for the classic marble veining; they’re after a variety of patterns that can range from very linear and subtle to busy and bold. For instance, while some clients prefer the boldness of natural patterns, others opt for more subtle designs, which was reflected by the 28.8% preference for subtle patterns. This subtlety is particularly popular among our clients who choose to have visually striking elements elsewhere in their kitchen, like colored cabinetry. 

Regarding color schemes, there’s a noticeable shift towards darker and earth-toned colors. These are becoming increasingly popular as they contribute to a warm and inviting atmosphere in the home. Materials that can offer deep browns, blacks, and shades of green are particularly in demand. These preferences reflect a broader trend toward natural and earthy aesthetics in home design.

In terms of finishes, while the polish finish remains popular, many clients are also opting for matte or leather finishes, which provide a sophisticated, contemporary look. These textured finishes are especially popular in less functional areas of the home, like bars or coffee stations, where the impact of the texture can be appreciated without the functional drawbacks that might occur in more heavily used areas like kitchen islands.

Create Your Dream Kitchen with Alps Craftsman

These insights from Alps Craftsman illuminate how local preferences in the NJ, NY, and PA markets both reflect and diverge from national trends. By staying attuned to these trends and leveraging the expert craftsmanship at Alps Craftsman, homeowners can ensure that their kitchen spaces are not only functional and stylish but also perfectly tailored to meet their unique lifestyle needs. Whether it’s embracing the sophisticated look of engineered quartz or the timeless beauty of natural stone, the choices made today will define the kitchens of tomorrow. Contact us today and start creating your dream space!


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