Cristallo Azure creates a zen-like atmosphere that is striking

When Melanie Leakey began thinking of what her dream kitchen would look like, bringing nature indoors and capturing the essence of shinrin-yoku – the Japanese art of forest bathing – was a priority. One of the newest additions to the CRL Quartz collection, Cristallo Azure, helped the team from Milestone Ecodesign fulfil the quite specific brief.

The quartz surface, teamed with green paint for a feature wall, bamboo flooring and stone-effect Eco2 cabinets, helps transform the wrap-around extension on the back of a 1960s semi-detached house in the suburbs of Bradford into a zen-like space. “I wanted a really natural look and felt the azure blue would mimic a lake next to the trees, and it worked perfectly,” explains Melanie.

CRL Quartz Cristallo Azure kitchen worktop

Installed by Select Solid Surfaces in Keighley, Cristallo Azure makes a stunning visual impression, while the durability of the quartz material ensures it will stay looking beautiful with minimal maintenance. The striking intensity of the sea-green colour makes it the perfect choice for this project, where it contrasts so well with the nature-inspired décor around it. “Everyone has either worktops on the black/white/grey spectrum or beige – we wanted to be a little different!” Melanie admits.

Entering the newly created space from the existing house, the dining area accommodates a large glass-top table and seating, with bi-fold doors beyond leading out to the patio. To the right of the dining area lies the kitchen, with a long bank of tall units for storage on the rear wall and a kitchen island as a centrepiece. Complete with hob, sink and bar stools and topped with Cristallo Azure surfaces it is this furniture that turns the room into the multi-functional space Melanie was hoping for.

“The new kitchen looks out onto our south-facing garden, so we wanted to have a kitchen island that incorporated the hob and sink so we could make the most of the views,” emphasises Melanie. “I also think it’s rude to talk to someone with your back to them because you’re stirring something on the hob!”

“We wanted a really social space where we could entertain guests without having to excuse yourself because you need to focus on making a meal, so wanted a couple of bar stools for the island so guests/family could take a seat and talk to the chef whilst they make dinner.” CRL Quartz is the ideal surface for such a multi-functional kitchen area. A practical alternative to natural materials yet with all the beauty that the marble look brings to the kitchen, engineered quartz stone such as Cristallo Azure is scratch, heat and stain resistant and never needs to be sealed.

“The island is one of the aspects we are most pleased with. It does exactly what we wanted it to do, and it looks fabulous whilst it does it.”

The chosen décor is a brave step away from the often-seen neutral tones of modern kitchen design, but there’s no doubt that the finished space is everything that Melanie and her family hoped for from the new space. As she concludes: “I think it is a combination of the use of natural materials and colours that work so harmoniously together, plus the fact that the kitchen is designed around the home chef – everything you need is either straight in front of you or only a few steps away. Plus, the use of the cabinets means everything can be tidied away leaving us with a clean, streamlined kitchen.”

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