I’ve always encouraged my clients to consider a classic style over trends in their home renovation. Style doesn’t date. And classic should not be confused with a traditional look. It can represent modern.

As an example of trend, I’ve followed the changes in kitchen benchtop materials closely over the past 15 years – from both the consumer’s point of view and manufacturing. A decade ago stainless steel and timber were popular. Stone, in particular, granite has always been and remains the European car driver’s benchtop of choice! Technology introduced a number of alternatives, in particular, reconstituted stone. One of the major advantages of this product is that it can be manufactured to reflect any thickness. This led to details such as very deep benchtops and waterfall ends. Is this style or trend? - Definitely trend. In the past two years, the Europeans have started to design more slender benchtops once again, often 20-30mm thick. This is now becoming more popular in our own New Zealand kitchen designs. Ironically, these thinner benchtops have always been available. They simply did not appeal to most, because the magazine trend was for thicker surfaces. Kitchens with waterfalls ends and deep benchtops, fashionable because of technological change will now be regarded as a trend of that era, well before their use-by date.

One of the biggest changes I believe we will see in kitchen benchtops over the next few years is a renewed interest in laminate benchtops. A durable well-performing product, it is often not considered by homeowners for their mid to high-level kitchen renovations. There is a perception because of laminate affordability that it can be perceived as an inferior product. Advances in the manufacturing and edge detailing of these products is allowing laminate to be representative of other classic benchtop materials.

Nick Leko is a Registered Architect with 20 years’ experience, whose work includes residential design and build. If you have any questions on house renovations you would like him to address in Vibrant Hutt, get in touch today.

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