By Alyssa Mammano
Amid remarkable architecture, superior craftsmanship and exceptional design, finishes are often the distinguishing factor that individualize one luxury home from another. In 2018, high-end homeowners are adopting more manageable and sustainable materials that require less maintenance and can better withstand everyday use.
This year is perhaps the most we’ve seen manufactured materials in affluent homes. Products such as luxury vinyl and porcelain tiles mimicking wood grain textures are becoming more prevalent. Additionally, stone finishes that echo marble and onyx have been developed so well that it has become difficult even for real estate experts to differentiate the authentic from the replica.
The popularity of quartz countertops grew drastically between the 90s and early 2000s, during which time elite homeowners embraced the product for its durability, low porosity and resistance to heat and scratches. In 2018 quartz has proven its longevity and more materials of a similar nature are being incorporated into high-end homes.
Stainless steel countertops are on the rise, favored for their hygienic attributes. Once primarily seen in commercial kitchens, stainless steel countertops continue to gain traction in residential meal prep spaces. Particularly notable are its stain resistance, heat tolerance and ease of maintenance, in addition to its sleek, modern appearance.
Another up-and-comer this year is butcher block in a rich, dark stain. The surface is constructed of straight cuts of wood that are glued together to create thick slabs. These countertops are distinctively stable and, depending on how the boards are laid, will resist and camouflage cuts. Damages to butcher block countertops can also be sanded away using fine grain sandpaper.
Manufactured products have improved in replicating the high-end look of natural materials, while also providing enhanced durability and sustainability. Among modern-day affluents, the goal is generally to eliminate maintenance while still nodding to a luxury look. Homeowners can appreciate reduced up-keep efforts in addition to enjoying elegantly designed homes.