Move Over Marble | The Best of Nature + Technology Meet in New Solid Surface from Dekton

I love marble. Something about the natural veining and poetic beauty of stone carved from the earth is both decadent and timeless, perhaps in part because we’ve been using it in architectural applications since Ancient Greece. Think of any French bistro you’ve ever been in. The likelihood is that every single one had marble countertops or tabletops.

But here’s my dirty little designer secret: despite my love for marble, I have only spec’d it for kitchen counters in 3 of the countless kitchens I’ve designed over the course of my 12+ years as a residential interior designer. Bathrooms? Always. Kitchens? Almost never.


Quite simply, natural marble is too porous for the workhorse environment of a functioning kitchen. A little balsamic vinegar or rogue tomato sauce is all it takes to send a perfectionist into overdrive about the stains left behind on their precious countertop. Natural marble is as soft as it is porous, too, so scratches are just a part of the package.


It was an Instagram pic from Regina Sturrock that first had me doing my designer happy dance. She captured an image of the beautiful book-matched fireplace below, as seen at KBIS this year as a part of the Modenus Blog Tour. The beauty of the book-matched stone surround caught my attention, but it was the story behind this ultra-compact solid surface material that really got my pulse racing.


For years, solid surface manufacturers have attempted to replicate the beauty of natural stone with lacklustre results. But Dekton‘s new product line is quite simply stunning.

How do they replicate the look of nature so effectively?

Through the use of their proprietary and revolutionary technology, Dekton has created an accelerated version of the metamorphic process that takes place as natural stone is formed over thousands of years from the heat and pressure. The result is the natural look of stone cleft from the earth, but with the best of modern technological advancements, including absolute zero porosity and none of the micro-defects found in natural stone that cause tension or weakness.


Using a combination of quartz, porcelain and glass, Dekton produces ultra-compact slabs that are heat-resistant, scratch-resistant and stain-proof to a degree we’ve never seen before. In fact, Dekton is the most scratch-resistant product on the market.

And yes, I did say stain-proof. Dekton naturally prevents liquids and gasses from penetrating the surface, and because it is non-porous, it never needs to be sealed. This product line is also highly resistant to ultra violet (UV) light and will not fade or degrade over time, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Whereas most solid surface materials have a warranty that is made null and void when the material is honed, most of the options in the Dekton line up come standard with a honed finish.

If you like to be totally wowed – or if you don’t believe me on the stain-proof, ultimately scratch-resistant and heat-resistant part – check out this short video to get a sense of how virtually indestructible this material really is! Prepare for your jaw to drop.

I think we can all agree, this is a truly game changing innovation in solid surfaces. There’s absolutely nothing else like it on the market.


Dekton‘s ultra-compact solid surface material comes in 3 thicknesses – 8mm, 12mm and 20mm – meaning vertical applications such as the interior of elevators or yachts no longer face the same restrictions based on the weight of the materials.

And for horizontal surfaces, don’t just think countertops. Dekton is just as applicable for outdoor applications, making it a brilliant solution for stairs, pool surrounds, patios and driveways as well as of course for designing the ultimate in indestructible, all-weather outdoor kitchens.

With over 5 times the strength of granite, Dekton can also be installed over greater spans, allowing for up to 12 inches of unsupported overhang on pull-up islands and peninsulas. No longer does a designer’s imagination have to be held back by the previous limitations of natural stone.

Because of the extraordinary hardness of the material, even the 8mm thick slabs can be fabricated with a mitred edge to create whatever profile thickness you desire, though European trends would suggest that thin, sleek and integrated edge profiles such as the one below are heading our way for modern kitchen designs.

I will be eagerly seeking the next opportunity to specify this remarkable product line on a project, and can say that my track record of virtually marble-less kitchen counters is on its way out thanks to the innovators at Dekton.

I hope this Design Find leaves you as inspired as I am at the possibilities! Many thanks to Regina Sturrock for the photo that pointed me in the direction of this remarkable new product.


By |March 6th, 2015|5 Comments


If there’s one thing I would say the amazing design team at Style At Home taught us at this year’s Interior Design Show, it’s that Paris really does hold all the secrets to a chic and gracious way of living. Walking into their award-winning customized IKEA kitchen booth felt like being transported into a grand French kitchen, where the boulangerie and bistro were both right at home. So today, I’m sharing a few design lessons we can take from Style At Home‘s beautifully customized space.


Ask anyone where they want to travel and Paris is most likely near the top of their list. We’ve only been a couple of times and can’t wait to go back. Our dream? A summer in Paris with our kids. But in the meantime, why not bring Paris home?

From the bicyclette suspended over the island to the large, metal-framed window to the hexagon concrete tile floors to {my favourite} the Fornasetti Nuvole wallpaper from Cole & Son, the touches of European wanderlust are everywhere in this kitchen. I feel both at home and compelled to travel all in one grand gesture, and that’s exactly how I want to feel in my own inspired space. I love the sense of playfulness and sophistication so easily married in this kitchen. Ça c’est parfait!


Image via @designmaze_tim on Instagram – go follow him!

Integrating a custom-designed built-in banquette can make a kitchen and eating area feel larger and more functional. Rather than cutting kitchen cabinets short or living with the limitations of how many chairs will fit into a space, create more generous seating while giving the eye a simple focal point by designing a long and luxurious banquette. Not only will this maximize your space, but it’s also the perfect spot to lounge together and soak up some sun with your loved ones over a relaxed Saturday morning brunch!


One of the first details that made me bite my lip was the antique brass rail installed along the front edge of the countertops on both the range side and the sink side of the kitchen. Not only does this conjure images of a busy French bistro in all its glory, it’s as practical as it is pretty, allowing you to have a towel at the ready to wipe up hands and messes at any moment. After all, real cooks make real messes, n’est çe pas?

I also adore how the design team at Style At Home chose to create an artful gallery wall of antique mirrors around the range hood. The curated sensibility adds a charm and whimsy that make a brand new kitchen feel like it might have been there for decades. Brilliant.


There were a lot of genius moves in this kitchen. One of them was to break up the dramatic full-height pantry wall with a built-in servery. Not only does it provide a practical nook for serving drinks to guests and cutting croissants for breakfast, but it also creates a balancing focal point on the wall opposite the range. The antiqued mirrored panels echo the statement made by the collection of mirrors installed around the range hood while also creating a sense of expansiveness and history in the kitchen. The crystal chandelier also nods at history and adds the feminine charm of a French coquette.

I don’t know about you, but I could move in at a moment’s notice – French press in hand – and I can assure you I would never want to leave. Many thanks to the team at Style At Home for the fuel to dream of bringing a bit more of Paris home again.


*All images via IKEA Canada except where noted.

By |March 4th, 2015|1 Comment

4 Tips For Choosing The Right High Chair

When it comes to buying baby gear, I hear this question a lot: Do I really have to give up my design-loving ways to get something functional that I can afford?

The great news is, the answer is “No way!”

Let me show you why we love our Nuna Zaaz high chair by way of my 4 Top Tips For Choosing The Right High Chair.



Gone are the days when a piece of furniture could get away with doing one limited job for a short season of time. These days, we expect baby furniture to grow with our children throughout as many stages of development as possible. Here are three keys to finding a piece that will be flexible enough to meet your needs for several years:

1. Adjustable straps. Look for a 5-point harness that allows you to forego the over-the-shoulder straps as your babe gets bigger. Most kiddos don’t like being totally restricted as they get older but still need some help remembering to stay on their bum.

2. Removable parts, especially the tray and tray table support. Being able to remove these parts of the chair allows you to pull your little one up to the table as they get older, like in the happy photos of Little Man Tate at the top of this post. Tucking that chair in at their place at the table makes them feel like they are a part of the conversation rather than stuck off to the side in a clunky chair. This kind of family connectedness is what dinnertime is all about!

3. Check out this video to see how easy it is to adjust the height of this high chair. Love this feature!


1. Removable parts (yep, again!). This is especially important when cleaning up the shrapnel from a post-meal foodtastrophe. No, your baby may not have intended to drop a food bomb on basically everything within a 5 foot radius, but they still did it. It’s just a thing babies do to remind you of how much you love them, because if you didn’t you wouldn’t actually be willing to clean up after them every. single. day. But who’s to say love can’t be efficient? You don’t want to spend your life with a toothbrush trying to clean out all the nooks and crannies and nether regions of some complicated chair. Being able to pull the chair apart easily is essential to making this job an easy one.

2. All surfaces must be made of materials that are easily wiped down. Just say no to upholstered chairs of any kind! You don’t want anything you have to scrub at when they squish all the blackberries on their tray and shove at least 50% down into their seat. You want surfaces where a bit of water and a quick swipe will get the job done. The Nuna Zaaz is amazing this way – totally impervious to stains!


Movability really comes down to two things:

1. Scale. This may seem like a small detail, but the scale or footprint of the chair will determine how easily it will tuck into a corner or under the table. When your babe isn’t pulling up to the table yet, you don’t want their high chair to take over your dining space, and when they are, you don’t want it to occupy more than an average seat space.

2. Good glides on the legs. Rubber stoppers just leave marks on the floor and make moving it around a total pain in the you-know-what.


Last but certainly not least, does the style work with your décor? For me that’s in large part about choosing something with a subtle colour palette. I went with the Almond colour for my Nuna Zaaz because it’s subtle and blends in with all the wood tones in my house.

From its modern simplicity to its highly functional, flexible adjust-as-they-grow design, we are loving our Nuna Zaaz! It truly fits my philosophy of buy less, buy better. Definitely a designer-approved high chair for our little foodie and yours. For all my fellow Canadian mamas, you can pick one up right here and you can get more details on the full Nuna line here.


By |February 23rd, 2015|0 Comments