it comes to designing kitchen spaces, installing leather cabinetry isn’t
likely to top the list. Generally more enduring materials, such as wood,
metals and glass, are considered. Leather, on the other hand, has long
been viewed as extravagant or excessive.
Not anymore. The
rising popularity of natural surfaces in interior design and enhanced
rawhide treatments have made using leather an entirely viable option,
even in previously considered risky environments like the kitchen.
It’s not a new
concept exactly — leather has been used to don everything from
furniture to ceilings and floors throughout the ages — but it is
slowly trickling back into mainstream designs, says Ginnie Snook Scott,
chief organization officer at California Closets, which has a location
are increasingly looking toward luxe finishes," Scott says.
"They can select from a variety of rich colors and textures to
complement their design and décor preferences."
Those looks can
include classic masculine or wild red crocodile, says Christian Madeau,
president of EcoDomo, a leather manufacturer in Baltimore, Md.
seem to relish the look and feel of leather, he says customers often
misconstrue the level of its upkeep. He says customers shouldn’t
Leather provides a
luxe surface for kitchen cabinets and lends and unexpected element
to any kitchen
"If you put
the right finish on it, it works just as well as hardwood," Madeau
says. "The hardest thing is getting people to believe it’s
He points to
Starbucks, which has more than 2,000 locations with EcoDomo leather
interiors, and probably thrice as many coffee spills.
Madeau says the
trick is using repurposed pre-consumer leather, which shows greater
performance in the kitchen. It is then treated with special finish and
several layers of topcoat that results in a leather "that is just
as durable as laminate," Madeau says. "It won’t stain with
water, or butter, or wine. We called cabinet makers and said, ‘We can
do this for you.’"
of those clients included Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry, a brand sold
in several Milwaukee design shops. The company is making leather inserts
for kitchen cabinets a standard option this summer, says John Troxell,
Wood-Mode director of design.
can expect to shell out a little extra for leather, the prices are not
out of line with other high-end kitchen materials.
an interior surface material has a long history that is associated with
luxury homes," Troxell says. "That market seems to be
rediscovering the material and embracing it because of its wearability,
warm texture and authenticity."
accent is eye-catching and timeless," adds Scott.