You’ve probably heard the term “Luxury Finishes” thrown around by designers and non-designers alike and asked yourself “What forms a luxury finish?” Is a luxury finish determined by cost, exclusivity or is it something else? It’s not always an easy answer to give because sometimes, luxury is in the eye of the beholder.
Whenever I start talking about luxury finishes, stone is almost always the first thing that comes to mind. In our design projects, we only specify natural stone for countertops. Quartz and porcelain are all the rage; however, these are just expensive substitutes that don’t achieve the same sort of luxury that natural stone offers. Stone has to be cultivated and transformed from the earth. The veins tell an amazing story and can often bring a mix of colour to a space that you can’t get from man-made products. If you’re worried about maintenance and upkeep, we often recommend that clients look to a honed or leathered finish for counters. These are very forgiving and there are cleaning agents on the market that will reseal as you clean. The stone will patina with age, but that’s part of the look. We’ve had Carrara marble counters in our kitchen for almost a decade and they’re easy to live with.
As far as design styles go, minimal design has moved aside and is being replaced with what we call a Modern Maximal aesthetic. More is more and in the world of luxury design, this means that we are once again looking to include a lot of detail and layers into a home’s design. One of our favourite inclusions is adding metal detail to our custom millwork. We will mix in various metals to highlight or contrast with materials in the design. In the photos below, we used pre-finished laminate sheet panels from Italy to construct the millwork from and then paired this with different metal pieces, either applied or inlaid, to contrast the laminate grain or texture. These laminates simulate different wood veneers (some even have textured finishes) or other textiles such as linen. The laminates are pre-finished and are susceptible to cracking/splitting due to changes in humidity the way wood does. We love to use these in bathrooms or spaces that may experience a fluctuation in temperature. Function is a luxury that we love to take advantage of whenever possible.
Both polished and satin finished brass, continues to be super popular in the way of luxury finishes. We routinely specify satin brass drapery hardware because it plays so nicely with rich saturated fabrics, which continues to be popular. Scale is key when selecting your hardware, we routinely find ourselves looking at 2” drapery rods with matching rings because they play so well against crown moulding and ceiling plaster work. Our favourite go to is from Deco in Deco and the finial product looks like it’s integrated into the rod itself. It’s contemporary in style and lets the fabric shine!
Technology is making life easier and in the world of luxury home goods, the sky really is the limit.
by: Meredith Heron