Nestled in the foothills of North Tustin, CA, is the beautiful home of celebrated interior designer, Hilary Hale. Amongst the well-appointed and stylish rooms, a kitchen recently specified in visually striking Neolith Calacatta Luxe serves as the centerpiece.

Hale’s overarching vision for the kitchen’s design was to open up the space to take advantage of her French doors and windows which open onto eye-catching westward sunset views.

A lover of ‘Old World’ design elements, Hale knew she wanted to achieve a cozy lived-in look in the kitchen. She uses a timeless palette, a design trend which will likely continue to be popular in 2021. However, she also wanted to add a touch of modern elegance and a twist of contemporary chic, leading to her choice of Calacatta Luxe with a polished finish for the room’s countertops and backsplashes. The color takes white marble to the next level with its navy and amber veining, creating a more vintage traditional aesthetic, while remaining current and fresh.

A kitchen with character

Further inspired by the French and English countryside, Hale set out to design a smart yet welcoming room. Her first inclination was to install a vintage or repurposed island, but found this wasn’t an option due to the kitchen’s layout. To hurdle this obstacle, she knew she had to carefully curate the lighting and use exceptional countertop materials to give the kitchen character.

As a sought-after interior designer in Orange County, Hale had used Neolith for previous projects. What really drew her to the brand was its wide range of patterns, particularly those which bear a striking resemblance to genuine marble, as well as the enhanced durability and ultra-hygienic properties of the material.

Hale had to work to a tight schedule of just six weeks to make all of her decisions for the new kitchen. Her primary focus was to specify this essential statement material for the island and backsplashes to make the kitchen pop.

Having explored a few options and colorways, Hale said, “My husband actually pushed for Calacatta Luxe, and I’m so glad he did. It really drove the rest of my choices. I could use all the earth tones and accent the space with beautiful brass hardware and light fixtures. From there, the rest of my choices were fairly simple.”

The designer opted for a complementary soft beige hue for the cabinetry, which gave just enough subtle contrast to distinguish it from the surrounding white tones without looking too dark. She also selected some channel-panelled doors on the island to add a level of texture.

Overcoming challenges

While the kitchen was a breeze to design from an aesthetic perspective, there were some logistical challenges. The main one was the asymmetry of the available space. It required a careful layout to ensure all the walkways had enough clearance and the island would line up well with the range, while also maintaining overall visual balance.

Hale also faced an installation challenge with the cabinetry on the west-facing exterior wall, because the plumbing could not be buried any further into the cavity. She was able to resolve this issue by moving out the cabinets just enough to accommodate the pipework, which she described as a “hold-your-breath” moment.

A sustainable and stylish result

The final result is a luxurious kitchen, which combines neutral tones with bold features. “Installing Neolith was a project highlight because it steals the show,” said Hale. “I was really happy with the finished color palette, and the neutral cabinetry allows Calacatta Luxe to be the star.”

Hilary was also keen on using Neolith as it’s easy to maintain and environmentally friendly. She concluded, “I think people now are looking for low-maintenance sustainable options, which utilize renewable resources. Notably, designers and architects are noticing these requirements don’t mean sacrificing style. We can achieve the look we want by using more responsibly sourced materials, which can withstand daily life in a busy household like mine. Ultimately, we need materials like Neolith that can deliver both durability and beauty for long-term value.”