A few questions recently came up while working on a kitchen remodel. I’ve been asked them before, so today I’m answering for anyone else who might wonder.

— Is it OK to mix metals?

My clients have chosen stainless steel appliances and the faucet they are looking at is dark, oil-rubbed bronze. So dark that the bronze almost looks black. They have no hesitation about this combination but their question arose when looking at cabinet pulls and knobs.

An easy choice would be chrome, nickel or stainless to match the appliances or dark bronze or black to match the faucet. But we were looking at an unexpected option. A new finish called champagne. It’s in the brass category but not too shiny and not too gold. The best way to describe it is pale rose gold. Would it work? Absolutely. This champagne color actually acts like a neutral. Besides the new shape (a modern version of a bin pull), my clients especially liked the idea that this new color would blend smoothly with their warm white cabinets.

— Are white kitchen cabinets still in style?

White kitchens have stood the test of time — and always will. It could be because white appears clean and fresh just as we would like our food. A kitchen with white cabinets, white countertop, white backsplash tile, and even white walls can take on a number of different personalities from modern, traditional, and glamorous to farmhouse. It just depends on the style of cabinets along with their wood species and finish as well as accessories such as hardware, and plumbing and light fixtures.

— What kind of countertop is the most durable?

Quartz has been my go-to countertop for a dozen years. The number of manufacturers continues to grow. Names like Caesarstone, Silestone, Pental, Cambria and Zodiac might sound familiar. They are all basically the same, containing up to 93 percent quartz (one of nature’s hardest minerals) and polymer resins.

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The difference is in their colors and countries of origin. Quartz is more stain- and scratch-resistant than granite. The two are about the same when it comes to heat resistance. Since they are roughly the same price on average, and since quartz does not need to be sealed and is virtually maintenance-free, it is often preferred, except in one case: If you like natural stone with random patterns, where no two slabs look the same, then granite is a better choice.

— What is 2017’s color of the year?

It could be wisteria. Or maybe it’s emerald. Tangerine was last year’s color or perhaps it was 2015’s. The point is that I don’t keep track and the winning color varies from paint manufacturer to paint manufacturer. While it’s an annually anticipated fun announcement, it’s really more of a marketing tool to catch the public’s attention and to carry on a tradition. Nothing wrong with that. But I’d never advise a client to adopt a color palette solely because it’s a momentary fan favorite.

With these and other questions answered, this kitchen’s design is almost complete and construction will begin in a few weeks. Stayed tuned to see how it turns out.

Patti L Cowger is a Napa-based interior designer and owner of PLC Interiors. For more information about her design services, visit her website at plcinteriors.com call (707) 322-6522; or email plcinteriors@sbcglobal.net. Demystifying Design appears every other Saturday.

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