The Glass Look
Glass, too, has been cited as a material gaining ground in the kitchen and bath, and Leake notes, "We're starting to see glass come out now, with the big, heavy glass bowls, and vanity bowls we see. Glass countertops, such as the Curvet product, are coming out now. That is a great talking piece. We haven't used it yet ourselves, but it's getting attention. We have used crackled glass on the island that look is getting big. It's new [and people want something new]."
"The glass is strong," agrees Monson.
But while many see the translucence look as hot, not everyone agrees. Dammer notes that, "I've only done a couple of things where I've used glass block."
With regard to other materials, Leake notes, "Other things we are seeing in kitchens is butcher block and limestone-type products."
When it comes to fabrication, customization is big, with intricate edges, two-tone designs and eye-catching inlays hot choices.
McLain notes that, "People are doing a lot more inlay colors and fancier edges in the kitchen. In the bathroom, we are seeing an all-Corian shower with a lot of two-tone colors on the walls with the trim being one color, for example."
In the kitchen, Somogyi notes, "In some cases, we do small medallion or border lines in very different shapes and combinations." He adds, "For the bath, it is very popular to do the medallions in front of the bowl. The designs vary from A to Z. You just need to use your imagination."
Somogyi also notes the growing popularity of "flowery inlays, which can be used with marble in the lobby or foyer and in the bathroom, as well."
Elacqua adds, "I have seen a trend in backsplashes for the kitchen getting creative with Corian to create a beadboard look or tile look."
Leake sees a trend toward simpler, easier-to-maintain styles in edges, noting, "People are using the coved back splashes, for example. They are being more simple on the edges as opposed to the more elaborate edges [that can be] 'dirt-catchers,' mainly for the ease of maintenance."
For some, automation is still not a factor, as with McLain, who states, "We are still a small operation so we have not done much automation. We do custom and we do inlays with the Corian and a one-of-a-kind top, and that is not suited for automation."
Of course, in the end, whatever the surface, the most important thing is getting it done right. As Leake concludes, "Whatever the design, to have a good fabricator is the key [to a project's success], the quality of the job is the most important thing." KBDN