Quartz Countertops Are Trendy: Are They Better Than Granite?

Quartz Countertops Are Trendy: Are They a Smart Choice For Your Kitchen?

Sitting in a recent meeting with Peter Salerno of Peter Salerno Inc. (our parent company), we were intrigued by a comment Peter made about one of this year’s hottest kitchen design trends: quartz kitchen countertops.

“Quartz [as a kitchen countertop material] is definitely in, and a lot of clients ask me whether quartz is a better option than granite,” Peter remarked.

The debate has begun to take over kitchen design, both among kitchen design experts and across the Internet. Should people be choosing quartz countertops for their kitchen design or kitchen remodeling project, or are granite countertops still the smart selection?

Quartz or granite - what's your preference in countertops? (Peter Salerno Inc.)
Quartz or granite – what’s your preference in countertops? (Peter Salerno Inc.)

Well, as is usually the case, the answer’s not so cut-and-dry.

Here’s what you need to know about quartz countertops, and how they compare to granite surfaces for your kitchen.

1. Quartz countertops are not 100% quartz – but that’s not a bad thing.

Most quartz countertops are around 95% quartz, with the remaining portion of the countertop surface made of polymers, resins and bonding materials. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Granite counters are almost always a 100% stone surface, meaning that they must be sealed to avoid stains and food items from sinking into the natural pores of the granite.

Whereas some high-end granite countertops may state they require a granite-specific cleaner, quartz countertops are virtually all amenable to simple soap and water cleaning. Many experts recommend that granite countertops should be re-sealed once a year; by contrast, a quartz countertop requires no such maintenance.

2. Quartz is harder than granite.

Due to the porous nature of granite, it’s susceptible to staining (and spills are a bit more troubling). Quartz countertops are sealed with polymer resins, so the resulting surface is actually a harder material than granite. Quartz countertop owners don’t have to worry as much about chips, falling items, spills and stains as a result.

The other upside to quartz’s hardness is it serves as a natural detractor to cross-contamination.

 

Quartz or granite - what's your preference in countertops? (Peter Salerno Inc.)
Quartz or granite – what’s your preference in countertops? (Peter Salerno Inc.)
3. Quartz countertops are heavier.

This isn’t an installation job that you’ll be doing yourself. Only homeowners with direct counter installation experience should be handling any countertop installation jobs, to be clear. But the weight of composite quartz countertops requires a bit more care than the average granite counter installation process.

Make sure you consult with a professional kitchen designer and installation expert to ensure that your space is equipped to handle the extra load of a quartz counter.

4. Are quartz countertops really cheaper than granite?

Again, sorry for the vague answer, but the truth is it depends on the individual job specifications. While the most inexpensive quartz counters are generally cheaper than granite, quartz’s price range is wider than that of granite.

As a result, the most expensive quartz countertops can exceed the price of high-end granite by a noticeable margin. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into with your countertop purchase, and don’t assume that quartz is always cheaper than granite – it’s not.

5. It’s all about your personal preference.

Granite vs. quartz is a debate that comes down to your personal taste. If you love the idea of a 100% natural surface in your home and don’t mind a little extra maintenance (and TLC), then granite countertops may be for you. If you want a little more durability, price flexibility (and color flexibility), then you should look into quartz.

Either way, a quality custom kitchen design team will point you in the proper direction and outline all the specifics on price, installation, maintenance and care.

So what’s your take on granite vs. quartz countertops? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Dazzling Butler’s Pantry Design Photos | Peter Salerno Inc.

Dazzling Butler’s Pantry Design Photos | Peter Salerno Inc.

A few weeks ago, we brought you exclusive photos from a stunning new kitchen design from Peter Salerno Inc. A modern kitchen that delicately balances 2018 trends with classic design elements, Peter Salerno and his team created a masterpiece that ranks with the finest new kitchen designs of the year.

But the kitchen design doesn’t come alone! It’s accompanied by a dazzling butler’s pantry and augmented by hallway cabinetry that elevate a luxurious kitchen design into a complete transformation of a home.

Butler's pantry and cabinetry design from Peter Salerno Inc., 2018.
Butler’s pantry and cabinetry design from Peter Salerno Inc., 2018.
Much like our previous article about this design, we’re going to keep the words to a minimum and let the photos do the talking! A few things we do want to point out:
  • We love the unique backsplash tile in the butler’s pantry, a glass mosaic tile from Stratta, the Tile Boutique;
  • The white Miele coffee maker in the butler’s pantry, which flows so seamlessly with the cabinetry and appliances;
  • The simple yet elegant brown leather pulls on the hallway cabinet, from Richelieu.
Butler's pantry and cabinetry design from Peter Salerno Inc., 2018.
Butler’s pantry and cabinetry design from Peter Salerno Inc., 2018.
Here are some of the overarching design stats, specs and points of information about supplies and sub-contractors!
Butler’s Pantry:
– White Miele Coffee Maker
– Crystal Knobs from Hardware Resources and Pulls from Richelieu
– Backsplash, glass mosaic from Stratta
Hallway Cabinet:
– Benjamin Moore Color Match to Blue Danube
– Brown Leather Pulls from Richelieu
Butler's pantry and cabinetry design from Peter Salerno Inc., 2018.
Butler’s pantry and cabinetry design from Peter Salerno Inc., 2018.
Butler's pantry and cabinetry design from Peter Salerno Inc., 2018.
Butler’s pantry and cabinetry design from Peter Salerno Inc., 2018.

Reminder: For a look at the full kitchen design, along with beautiful photography and design specifications, click here!

Peter Salerno Inc. “Showstopper” Showroom Featured by KBB [PHOTOS]

Peter Salerno Inc. “Showstopper” Showroom Featured by KBB [PHOTOS]

Thank You to the KBB For the Awesome Feature Article!

Peter Salerno Inc. was honored as Most Innovative Small Showroom at the 2015 KBIS convention during their inaugural Innovative Showroom Awards. The people at the KBB (Kitchen and Bath Business, the geniuses behind the KBIS convention) were generous enough to follow up Peter Salerno’s Innovative Showroom award with a wonderful piece about Peter’s award-winning design showroom in Wyckoff, New Jersey.

The La Cornue kitchen in Peter Salerno Inc.'s NJ showroom. (Photo: {Peter Rymwid)
The La Cornue kitchen in Peter Salerno Inc.’s NJ showroom. (Photo: {Peter Rymwid)

The article, titled “Showstopper” (click the link to read it!), covers various aspects of Peter Salerno Inc.’s renowned kitchen and bath design showroom, and includes quotes directly from Peter Salerno as well as a linked photo gallery of exclusive Peter Salerno Inc. showroom photos.

KBB journalist Erinn Waldo, the author of “Showstopper”, provides a comprehensive and enjoyable review of Peter’s showroom. From the birth of Peter’s showroom (with the gifted Ellen Cheever), to the 2015 KBIS Most Innovative Small Showroom award, it is quite a journey through time and design!

The animated fiber-optic kitchen island in Peter Salerno Inc.'s showroom, which you have to see to believe! (Photo: Peter Rymwid)
The animated fiber-optic kitchen island in Peter Salerno Inc.’s showroom, which you have to see to believe! (Photo: Peter Rymwid)

Special thanks goes out to Erinn Waldo, a thorough and highly professional journalist, for her coverage in this article. And, as listed in Erinn’s original KBB article, the Peter Salerno Inc. showroom truly was (and is) a collaborative effort. Thank you to ALL listed below, as well as Peter’s outstanding clientele and staff!

Designer: Peter Salerno, Peter Salerno Inc.; Ellen Cheever, Ellen Cheever & Associates

Photography: Peter Rymwid Photography 


Antique Tin Hoods/Panels: Simply Amy LLC, Milford, N.J.


Appliances: La Cornue, Paris France; Oberg & Lindquist Corp, Wyckoff N.J.; Sub-Zero Wolf Inc.

Concrete Counters and Specialty Pieces: J & M Lifestyles LLC, Randolph, N.J.

Lighting Fixtures: Capital Lighting Inc., Paramus, N.J.


Reclaimed Wood Products: Southbend Building Products, Cornelius, N.C.

Stone Counters: Stone Surfaces Inc., East Rutherford, N.J. Tile Backsplashes and Flooring: Stratta Inc., Wyckoff, N.J.

Delicious Ginger Honey Sweet Tea Recipe [MyRecipes]

Iced Tea Recipe For Ginger and Honey Sweet Tea

If you’re like us at Design Your Lifestyle, the perfect glass of iced tea is the final touch to a late summer afternoon. Unsweetened iced tea (or “sun tea”) is refreshing, but sometimes you just feel like a touch of sweet goodness to end your day.

But how do you avoid all the sugar that goes into traditional Southern sweet tea? What if you are serving your sweet tea to a mixed crowd, all of whom can’t take in sugar (due to diabetes and other health concerns)? Or what if you simply want an alternative, delicious way to prepare your sweet tea?

During the summer of 2018, our favorite sweet tea recipe comes courtesy of MyRecipes.com. It combines naturally delicious ingredients that blend together to create a fresh take on sweet tea with all the “zing” of an ocean breeze.

Check out this amazing recipe for Ginger and Honey Sweet Tea (courtesy of MyRecipes.com and Southern Living):

 

A delicious Ginger and Honey Sweet Tea recipe. (courtesy MyRecipes.com)
A delicious Ginger and Honey Sweet Tea recipe. (courtesy MyRecipes.com)

Ginger And Honey Sweet Tea Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 family-size tea bags
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 7 cups cold water
  • Garnish: lemon slices

Preparation

  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; add tea bags. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
  2. Discard tea bags. Stir in honey and ginger. Pour into a 1-gal. container, and add 7 cups cold water. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.

(Recipe from MyRecipes.com, first published in Southern Living.)

Stunning New Kitchen Design Photos from Peter Salerno Inc.

Stunning New Kitchen Design Photos from Peter Salerno Inc.

Sometimes, a good article is all about the photos. In the case of this dazzling new kitchen design from Peter Salerno Inc., we don’t feel the need to talk too much.

Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc.
Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc.

It’s a modern kitchen that delicately balances 2018 trends with classic design elements to create a clean, sleek kitchen design that will be “in” for decades. From the fresh, trendy subway tile backsplash (courtesy of Stratta, the Tile Boutique) to the custom RangeCraft range hood, the statement wall of the kitchen lives up to its billing.

Small details separate this kitchen from others like it. The bamboo work in the island sink from The Galley creates an appealing, unique accent. Brian Greer’s recessed tin ceiling work is dazzling in effect yet subtle in its artistic touches. And with suppliers like Sub-Zero and Miele,  you can be sure the appliances in this kitchen design are world class.

In a future article, we’ll feature the hallway closet and gorgeous butler’s pantry that tie in with this kitchen design.

As you scroll through the remainder of these kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc., take a look at the official kitchen specs – range hood, kitchen island, counters, appliances and more!

Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc.
Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc.
Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc.
Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc.
Kitchen Design Specifications (courtesy of Peter Salerno Inc.):
– RangeCraft Hood – Miami Style
– Richelieu Hardware on all cabinets – Polished Nickel
– Island sink – The Galley Sink in Bamboo – we love this sink; it comes with tons of pieces for entertaining and cooking! 
– Countertops in the kitchen are Quartz
– Tin over the island is from – Brian Greer Tin Ceilings
– All appliances are Sub-Zero & Miele
– Backsplash was all done by Stratta
Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc.
Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc. (Tin ceiling: Brian Greer)
Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc.
Stunning new kitchen design photos from Peter Salerno Inc. (Bamboo galley sink)

Peter Salerno’s Family Recipe for Homemade Sangria

Peter Salerno’s Family Recipe for Sangria

The Perfect Homemade Family Summer Sangria Recipe

Peter Salerno isn’t just a master kitchen designer, he loves spending time in his own kitchen entertaining family, friends and guests. This love of cooking and creating recipes filters up and down the Salerno family for generations, and has produced some time-tested, delicious recipes.

When Peter Salerno married his wife Tracy, she brought with her a wealth of delicious recipes, cocktails and other “secret family recipes”. Tracy’s father, Mike Cavallo, was a master of many of these – but one of the family’s favorite creations from Mr. Cavallo was his famous sangria.

July 4th Red, White and Blue Sangria recipes (recipes & photo courtesy Epicurious)
Our family Sangria recipe) photo courtesy Epicurious)

What makes the “Cavallo family sangria” recipe so delicious? It might be the perfect mix of ingredients, or the use of brandy and triple sec at the base. Or it may just be the special amount of love with which Mike made it.

In any event, it’s a sangria recipe that’s sure to please, and we’re sharing it with you. It’s the perfect summer sangria recipe for entertaining guests!

Mike Cavallo’s Perfect Summer Sangria Recipe

Ingredients

  • 7Up/Sprite
  • Triple Sec
  • inexpensive brandy (something like christian bros)
  • a bottle of cheap red wine (barefoot works) either merlot or shiraz
  • ice
  • oranges (you can add apples and pears as well)

Preparation

  • Fill a *large* pitcher with whole slices of orange (leave the peels on), use a wooden spoon to press on the oranges to get a little bit of juice at the bottom.
  • Fill a 1/3 of the pitcher with ice
  • Pour even parts 7Up/Sprite and wine (pouring both at the same time is the easiest way) until 2/3 of the way filled
  • Pour equal parts brandy and triplesec to taste (usually about 1/2 -2/3 a cup)
  • Fill remaining with the rest of the wine
  • Stir and let sit for 10 minutes in the refrigerator
  • Enjoy!
If it comes out too strong for you, it can be diluted by adding more soda.
DON’T add sugar, citrus fruits (lime, lemon, pineapple), or bitters!

How to Afford Luxury Home Design: Part 2 [Personalization, Not Price]

How to Afford Luxury Home Design: Part 2 [Personalization, Not Price]

In this series, Design Your Lifestyle shows you how luxury home design in 2018 can be far more affordable than you think. The series began with Part 1, where we stated that ‘luxury’ is a far more flexible term than you might think – especially when it comes to custom kitchen design and custom bath design.

The key to luxury home design is simple, and it’s the exact opposite of what you’re told to believe: you shouldn’t want to keep up with your neighbors. True luxury home design in today’s marketplace isn’t about trying to ‘one-up’ others; rather, it’s about focusing on yourself.

New kitchen design installation photos from Peter Salerno Inc.
New kitchen design installation photos from Peter Salerno Inc.

Achieving true luxury in your kitchen design, bath design or whole home design is all about personalization – not price.

Personalized Luxury is the best kind. What good is a beautiful home design if it’s sterile? Imagine a spacious, glamorous home full of the hottest design trends, posh furniture, luxury appliances and state-of-the-art technology. That would be a great place to hang out for awhile, but would it be a great place to live?

A house can be virtually anything. But your HOME has to reflect you. A home provides comfort, security, sentimental touches and reflections of your family, friends and loved ones. And if it doesn’t compliment your own personality and sense of style, then is it truly “yours”?

One of the reasons we lean on our parent company, Peter Salerno Inc., for constant design advice is simple. Peter Salerno and his team spend an inordinate amount of time honing their crafts, attending conferences and design showcases, and partnering with the finest brands and sub-contractors in the world. But they spend even more time learning about their clients.

Peter Salerno Inc. 2017 new white kitchen design - stunning and trendy.
Peter Salerno Inc. 2017 new white kitchen design – stunning and trendy.

The application of personal touches and ‘personalized luxury’ even extends into Peter Salerno’s own home. Peter’s home kitchen is adorned with hand-painted floral arrangements on each of his custom cabinets – one to signify the birth month of each of his family members.

There are two ways to approach the concept of adding value to your home through hiring a world-class custom designer. One is, of course, financial – resale value is an important measurable to consider for the future. But in the here and now, the second concept of added home value is invaluable – and that’s the idea of personal value.

Peter Salerno's 2014 NKBA Best Kitchen. (Credit Peter Rymwid)

We’ll put it this way. Whatever your current design (or re-design, or renovation) budget may be, would you rather spend it on impersonal items that will only serve to add re-sale value? Or would you choose to invest some or all of that budget in making your home a place where you (and the world) can feel a true connection to who you are and what you love?

Quality home design firms today must take the time to learn about you as a client. Everyone wants beauty in his or her daily life, but the definition of beauty is unique to each individual. Ultimately, your custom kitchen designer, custom bath designer, or whole home designer must answer to one standard of beauty – yours.

The details make the design, and they also make it personal. Whether it’s reclaiming materials from your first home for use in your new home, or finding decor from your hometown, or simply utilizing your favorite colors, expert designers like Peter Salerno understand the difference between ‘a gorgeous house’ and ‘your perfect home’. And by utilizing that thought process, they can provide you with luxury home design that focuses on personalization, not price.

Want more information about this article, personalized luxury, or the designers mentioned? Fill out the contact form below or leave a comment!