An interview with Maria Fortoul, owner of Studio Snaidero Houston, on the design concept for the showroom and the Texas kitchen design trends she is seeing. Studio Snaidero Houston is one of the 22 kitchen showrooms that are part of Snaidero USA’s retail network across North and Central America.
1. How did you approach the design of the new showroom? What is the feel that you wanted for the space?
We wanted the showroom to resemble a very clean canvas; an open plan concept with soft colors and elegance. We decided to have all walls and ceiling painted in white, so that each kitchen can be appreciated for its simplicity - with no distractions.
The lighting was also a very important element for the showroom. We worked with a professional lighting expert in order to have a very modern lighting design that would provide the necessary light for the displays without interfering with the open concept and flow of the showroom.
2. What was the reasoning behind the choices of models to display and the finishes you chose for such displays?
There were three factors:
- First of all, we wanted to choose the styles, colors and textures that best represent the current design trends in this area.
- At the same time, we wanted to show the versatility and range of the Snaidero kitchen designs.
- Finally, given that Texas is still somehow a transitional market, we wanted to create a design journey that would take the visitors from a more traditional model, to contemporary kitchens, to a very modern style.
The LUX Classic model in Barrique Oak wood is a kitchen that appeals to many of our clients with a more traditional aesthetic, who want the feel of wooden cabinets.
The IDEA model introduces the client to a more contemporary kitchen design. It has a very special material combination that includes an island in Nordic White Metallized lacquer combined with Metallized Lacquer wall units and stainless steel wall unit containers, Coffee Elm wood columns finished off with a black quartz countertop.
For our most modern kitchen, we selected WAY in Arctic White high gloss glass combined with the warmth of Mink Elm Wood, which really highlights the clean aesthetic of its design.
Finally, we wanted to feature one of Snaidero’s Icons and thought the OLA 20 was an absolute must-have. We went with the elegance of the soft Champagne micalized lacquer finish contrasted by black and white countertops and backsplash.
3. How do the displays reflect current trends in kitchen design?
The open concept with the integration to other spaces in the house is the hottest trend in kitchen design. All our clients are looking for a functional kitchen where they can also entertain. They want their kitchen space to flow and be incorporated into the rest of the house.
So, most of our kitchen displays feature an open concept design, with very spacious islands where the cooking area is the protagonist and everyone is invited to participate.
4. What aspects of the Snaidero brand did you want to highlight in the new showroom and how did you go about doing that?
We wanted to pay tribute to the Italian design heritage that is part of the Snaidero brand and highlight the company’s collaboration with gifted designers such as Paolo Pinninfarina, Michele Marcon and Pietro Arosio. Each of our kitchen models in the showroom has a name plate with the kitchen model and its designer.
5. What are the most in-demand modern kitchen features and materials/finishes in the Houston/Texas market at the moment?
All of our clients are looking for great functionality combined with beautiful aesthetics and finishes. We have seen a recent rise in demand for pocket doors - both in half and full height. Clients want functional units – things like coffee bars, mini bars, and juicing stations that they can access quickly but also hide when not in use. Pockets doors are the perfect solution to achieving that.
In terms of materials, the natural finish of woods brings a feel of preciousness to the kitchen that never ceases to be irresistible. However, lately we have also seen a trend towards matte finishes, including matte lacquers, laminates and glass. Glass is a very popular material because it is also very easy to maintain and clean.
6. How has the market evolved in the past 10 years?
There’s definitely a move towards modern, sleek kitchens and away from the old traditional designs that have ruled the kitchen market for several years past.
For example, we are seeing more and more younger people who seek contemporary kitchen designs. Our clients want the combination of elegant aesthetics and seamless functionality, and our kitchens can deliver just that. The kitchen has become the most important room in the house and most clients are prepared to invest the largest part of their budget into it.