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!

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!

How to Afford Luxury Home Design: Part 1

How to Afford Luxury Home Design: Part 1

“Luxury” and “affordable” are 2 words that seem like polar opposites. This is especially the case when it comes to high-end home design, specifically custom kitchen design and custom bath design.

The world of luxury home design seems like a far-off fantasy to most people. (The author of this article is definitely guilty of perusing Pinterest for high-end home design photos and letting out a wistful sigh or two.) Whether your taste is gorgeous French ovens and ranges, state-of-the-art bath fixtures, custom tile work or unique accessories, luxury home design – and its price tag – appears to be a bit out of reach.

But luxury home design style can be attainable – and affordable.

Peter Salerno Inc. kitchen design, 2017 design trends

World-renowned design firms like the award-winning Peter Salerno Inc. are committing to make design fantasies into realities for a more reasonable cost than ever before.

(Before we dive into the topic further, we should be clear – it takes a respected design firm with years of networking, experience and success to deliver this level of luxury at an achievable price. Without the proper connections and a finely-tuned approach, it’s hard to streamline the design and delivery process of such high-quality materials on a competitive budget.)

The finest custom kitchen and bath design companies in the world are trending towards “affordable luxury” – the idea that high-end design shouldn’t always be reserved for high-end budgets. For Peter Salerno Inc., that idea takes shape in the form of the revamped Transitions™ collection.

Peter Salerno Inc. award winning transitional bath design, 2015. [Photo: Peter Rymwid]

Peter Salerno Inc. is the most award-winning North American custom kitchen and bath design firm of the last 15 years, with awards from prestigious organizations like the NKBA, KBIS, Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Signature Kitchens & Baths. Their tagline, “It’s all about the extraordinary”, now applies to more budgets and households than ever before.

A quote from the official Peter Salerno Inc. website:

For those that appreciate quality, craftsmanship, and design but don’t require a Rolls Royce; Transitions is the only choice. We bring our award-winning design expertise to your space accompanied by quality cabinetry with a wide variety of door styles, finishes, and moldings.

At a price-point 20%-45% less than our Tesoro line, this is the perfect option for builders and homeowners looking to furnish a home with something extraordinary while staying in budget.

The thing we love about the concept of “affordable luxury” is that the term is flexible. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, today’s best design trends are all about personalization, and that includes the design budget. After all, the term “affordable” is relative to each client. For Peter Salerno Inc., “affordable luxury” is as simple (and refreshing) as always providing the highest quality work, craftsmanship, design, materials and delivery for the client’s budget.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be talking more about affordable luxury in custom home design, and the best ways for you and your professional design firm to create the luxurious home space of your dreams without breaking the bank. Stay tuned!

Amazon Prime Day July 16, 2018 | What Are This Year’s Deals?

Amazon Prime Day July 16, 2018 | What Are This Year’s Deals?

Expect the unexpected when Amazon Prime Day returns on July 16, 2018… but expect AMAZING deals and savings at the same time!

For those of you who are unaware, Amazon Prime Day is a celebration for Amazon Prime members that’s comparable only to Black Friday in terms of deals, savings and special offers. The 2018 edition of Amazon Prime Day is starting at 3 PM ET July 16 and running all day July 17 – fair warning, it is open to Amazon Prime members ONLY!

(If you want to sign up for Amazon Prime to take advantage of Amazon Prime Day, do so here.)

A custom RangeCraft range hood dazzles in this Moscow kitchen design by Peter Salerno Inc.

Several major brands have already teased Prime Day 2018 deals, like Lulus, CarFAX, and Rugs USA. This is clearly only the tip of the Amazon Prime Day iceberg in 2018, but it’s a clear indicator that the bonanza is swinging for the fences this year.

So what can you anticipate on Amazon Prime Day, beginning July 16, 2018? What are some deals rumored to happen? How can you apply these deals and offers to your home, home design, kitchen and bath? And hey – how can you win a Lexus?

Check out some things we expect to see this year during Amazon Prime Day 2018.

Amazon Prime Day 2018: What to Watch For, Deals to Expect

1. Enter to win $50,000, an Alexa-equipped 2019 Lexus ES, or a smart-home makeover.

The opportunities to simply WIN this year during Prime Day are exceptional. Amazon is, of course, pushing the Alexa brand harder than ever, and the list of companies and products that are equipped with Alexa is growing. From Honeywell to Hisense, Philips to Sonos, Alexa is the most pervasive, popular “smart” device in the world today.

As a celebration of Alexa’s success, Amazon Prime Day is an opportunity to win big and score major prizes. From a gorgeous 2019 Lexus ES with Alexa capabilities, to a full smart-home makeover, to a trip for 2 to Seattle, to $50,000 cash, there are so many ways for Amazon Prime members to get rewarded simply for taking part.

From our perspective, that smart-home makeover looks awfully tempting… but hey, we’re a little biased.

2. Be savvy – shop the “early bird” list of Amazon Prime Day product launches for Kitchen.

Unique plant and fruit displays smartly placed throughout a kitchen give it appeal.

3. Save up to 25% off Stone & Beam furniture and decor.

Designer Showhouse of New Jersey photos 2017

4. Make sure you read the official 2018 Amazon Prime Day primer – get prepared!

We can only point you in the right direction. The best way to truly get prepared for July 16th’s Amazon Prime Day is to brush up courtesy of Amazon itself. Click the link to head over the official Amazon Prime Day primer, and get tips straight from the source!

From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Homemade Cavatelli Recipe [PICTURES]

From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Homemade Cavatelli Recipe [PICTURES]

Peter Salerno’s Personal Recipe for Homemade Cavatelli

Peter Salerno's ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!
Peter Salerno’s ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!

With the summer holidays in full swing, Peter Salerno and his family are spending more and more time in his custom designed, award-winning kitchens than ever. But sometimes instead of designing kitchens, Peter is at home in his own kitchen designing authentic, homemade Italian meals.

Recently, Peter and his family (wife Tracy, son Anthony and daughter-in-law Eve, daughter Gabrielle and son-in-law Brian) gathered for a delicious homemade Italian dinner, which included the Salerno family recipe for the perfect cavatelli.

Now, the Salerno family recipe for cavatelli is supposed to be a well-kept secret – but Peter Salerno felt like sharing just a “little bit” of the family recipe. (Just like his award-winning kitchen designs: what good are they if they’re not shared with others?)

So Peter’s sharing his surprisingly simple list of ingredients for the perfect homemade cavatelli recipe with you here, as well as some pictures from his preparation of the dish. As for the preparation steps themselves? Well, those may have to come at another time. After all, Peter’s parents might have something to say about that!

Peter Salerno’s Homemade Cavatelli Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese

Peter Salerno's ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!

 

From humble beginnings as strips of homemade dough on the Salerno kitchen counter…

Peter Salerno's ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!

 

The beginnings of Peter Salerno’s delicious homemade cavatelli recipe begin to take shape (literally!)…

 

Peter Salerno's ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!

Get Stylish With Award-Winning Kitchen + Bath Design on Instagram

Get Stylish With Award-Winning Kitchen + Bath Design on Instagram

Are you following the award-winning Peter Salerno Inc. on Instagram? If not, you’re missing out on the most award-winning kitchen and bath design firm of the 21st century!

Follow Peter Salerno Inc. designs on Instagram.
Follow Peter Salerno Inc. designs on Instagram.

Under the care and guidance of Peter Salerno, CMKBD (Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Design, NKBA), Peter Salerno Inc. has blossomed from a small design firm with audacious goals into one of the most notable firms in the kitchen and bath design industry. Since 2002, Peter Salerno Inc. has won more national design awards than any firm in North America, from such reputable sources as the NKBA, KBIS, Signature Kitchens & Baths, HGTV and more.

The kitchen designs, bathroom designs, wine cellars, man caves and bars that have won these prestigious awards are all located in one place – the Peter Salerno Inc. Instagram.

The 2018 Architectural Digest Design Show - see more on Peter Salerno's Instagram!
The 2018 Architectural Digest Design Show – see more on Peter Salerno’s Instagram!

The thing we love most about following Peter Salerno Inc. on Instagram is the company’s willingness to provide an ‘inside look’ at day-to-day operations, family gatherings, momentous occasions, and VIP design industry events that most of us never get to see. Where else can you find photos from inside a world-class design showroom, exclusive snapshots from conferences like KBIS 2018 and the Architectural Digest Design Show, and around a world-class designer’s Thanksgiving dinner table?

Transitional kitchen design, Peter Salerno Inc. 2017 (Photo: Peter Rymwid)
Transitional kitchen design, Peter Salerno Inc. 2017 (Photo: Peter Rymwid)

From the incredible (kitchen designs that have won national awards) to the innovative (forward-thinking transitional designs), the highbrow (black tie design conference events) to the humorous (Peter Salerno building snowmen outside the showroom on wintry days), the broad spectrum of eye-catching photography on Peter Salerno Inc.’s Instagram account makes it a must-follow for design lovers everywhere.

So what are you waiting for? Join the tastemakers, innovators, industry leaders and social influencers that already follow Peter Salerno Inc.’s Instagram account – and get inspired to Design Your Lifestyle!