Providing amenities that differentiate properties and enthrall residents is an ongoing challenge for multifamily architects, owners, and developers. Fitness centers and resort-style pools are a must, as are business centers. Internet cafés were trendy for a while—before Wi-Fi—and some communities have designed media rooms for video games and movie nights.
Now, another trend in amenities has emerged: demonstration kitchens, which serve as gathering areas for residents and sites for community events such as cooking and baking classes, wine tastings, and pizza parties.
“Just as in a single-family home, where people always seem to gather in the kitchen when entertaining, I think that’s what you’re seeing in rental properties today—the demonstration kitchens are a new place to gather,” says Manny Gonzalez, principal of KTGY Group’s Santa Monica, Calif., office.
Gonzalez notes that demonstration kitchens first appeared in senior housing properties and are now making their way into luxury communities as well as affordable housing. “Teaching the 55+ market how to cook healthier meals has become a big part of the total wellness movement in age-restricted communities,” he explains. “We’re also seeing some ethnic cooking classes.”
The size and build-out of demonstration kitchens vary depending on the property and the residents, Gonzalez says, but are often similar to kitchens found in individual units. Increasingly, however, they’re slightly larger and fancier, to accommodate more people. And in some cases, they’re true commercial kitchens with big appliances.
Regardless of the design of demonstration kitchens, countertops are a key component. Their surfacing material must be stylish, yet functional, as well as affordable and durable, just like the products highlighted on these two pages.
Glazed Over: Slate and Concrete, the two new designs from Wilsonart HD laminate surfaces, mimic rich, organic materials. Featuring five distinct patterns, Slate and Concrete offer a continuous thread of color and provide selections not previously available in laminate, according to the manufacturer. They feature a new “glaze” texture that simulates the low matte–gloss sheen commonly seen in stones that are honed, leathered, flamed, or antiqued. For more information, call Wilsonart at 800-433-3222 or visit www.wilsonart.com.
Sheet Smart: Formica Corp. has rolled out the first major-brand solid surfacing material to contain post-consumer recycled content, according to the maker. Each sheet in the Series Solid Surfacing collection has been certified to contain 15 percent total recycled content, including reclaimed solid surfacing and foam from Styrofoam cups and packaging. For more information, call Formica at 800-367-6422 or visit www.formica.com.
Fine Details: The ONE Quartz collection from Daltile brings together the beauty of quartz and modern technology. Its two newest lines, Micro Flecks and Geo Flecks, are available in both slabs and tiles. Micro Flecks displays fine-grain detail, while Geo Flecks is made to reflect the look of natural granite and limestone graining. The products are nonporous, reducing the potential for bacterial growth, and resist common food stains. For more information, call Daltile at 800-933-TILE or visit www.daltilestone.com.
Spice It Up: Eight new colors in DuPont Corian’s solid surfacing collection are designed to evoke all the ingredients of a great meal—diversity of color, attention to detail, and good taste. The colors—hickory smoke, clove, allspice, basil, cilantro, arrowroot, blue spice, and hazelnut—enhance the company’s palette of more than 100 Corian hues. The nonporous products prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria with proper cleaning. For more information, call DuPont at 800-4-CORIAN or visit www.countertops.dupont.com.
Clearly Unique: Supremo, CaesarStone’s new premium quartz collection, is designed to be distinct from any other quartz surfacing on the market. Each slab is a one-of-a-kind creation with its own unique flow of color and pattern. Supremo comes in eight colors, some of which are translucent and can be backlit to create a soft, atmospheric effect. For more information, call CaesarStone at 877-978-2789 or visit www.caesarstoneus.com.
Space Rocks: Silestone has launched the Galactic Series, a new color line inspired by the natural movement of stones and galactic rocks. The collection features earthy hues, including black, brown, gray, and cream, with a speckled pattern. The surfacing comes with a polished finish and offers a 15-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. For more information, call Silestone at 866-268-6837 or visit www.silestoneusa.com.