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polytec Ask an Expert: Marylou Cafaro

polytec Ask an Expert: Marylou Cafaro
polytec presents Ask an Expert, which is an opportunity for you to find out the answers to those questions you’ve been longing to ask.

Our first expert is Marylou Cafaro, leading trend forecaster and interior designer, with over 36 years of industry experience, specialising in colour and product design for polytec.

You’ve asked your questions and now they’re presented to you through mini episodes for you to watch and learn from.

For the full series see below, otherwise scroll down to watch the individual episodes. 

Episode 1: What are the trends for 2023?

In this episode, Marylou gives you insight into the trends for 2023. 

Episode 2: Which trend styles are becoming more popular in kitchens in 2023?

In episode 2, Marylou Cafaro gives you insight into which trend styles are becoming more popular in kitchens in 2023. There's mention of the evolution of the Naturist trend style, which celebrates a botanical-influenced palette with soft greens or oaks. Then you have the Quintessential, which is a coastal vibe with lots of whites, combined with a little bit of oaks or timber. Then, Marylou talks about what she calls the Modern Nostalgia, which is adopting familiar elements from previous periods and enveloping them in a modern umbrella of softness and livability. 

Episode 3: How do I choose the cabinetry for my kitchen?

Have you ever wondered how to choose the cabinetry for your kitchen? In this episode, Marylou Cafaro gives pointers on where to start, which is selecting your benchtop first. Using this as inspiration will help you draw out colours from the undertones in the benchtop. Does it have a cool tone, grey undertone, or warm background? You can create a link to the solid colours from that and create an underlying commonality. You can then create a contrast with a timber, like an oak or a walnut, which will add warmth and add a sense of longevity. 

Episode 4: Are commercial trends the same as residential? 

Once upon a time there was actually a great divide between the two, you could clearly see the difference between a commercial and a residential space. But over the years, due to many circumstances, Marylou talks about noticing a closer relationship between residential and commercial with elements of the same design styles and colours palettes used in both. 

Episode 5: Does the surface finish matter and how does it affect the colour? 

In this episode, Marylou discusses how the surface finish matters and talks about texture and the impact on colour. Surface finish matters because it communicates a lot about the material that we're working with. It can also influence the colour by making it appear darker or lighter. If you're looking at a full gloss surface then it darkens that colour, but a surface finish, such as Venette, lightens it because it takes the reflectance off. 

Marylou also mentions her favourite polytec surface finishes being Woodmatt and Smooth. "Woodmatt was developed to have an amazing natural feel about it, that makes it very easy to use with all materials within a space," Marylou says. "Smooth also has this beautiful light luminescence to it that lifts it without it being overly glossy or not too matt as well."

Episode 6: What solid colours are trending? 

There are many colours, as there are lots of people and different design styles, so which solid colours are trending? Whites are still significant with many more varieties available with different undertones. But it's not so much the classic whites anymore, it might be an Aston White with a grey undertone or a Gossamer White, which has a warm, soft beige tone but is still considered a white. These will continue to trend and evolve over time. 

The other colours that are trending are the colour infused neutrals, which are botanical inspired. They are a palette of greens with yellow based greens like Topiary or blue based like the Oasis. You also have the light palette of the Verdelho, and the darker Botanic, which is near black with a hint of green to it.  These are considered neutrals, but they do have more colour than what we're used to. 

You can bring warmth to a space with the oaks and the walnuts. It's not one colour or one colour hero - it's a combination that create a balance and will withstand the test of time.

Episode 7: Which prints are popular? 

In episode 7, Marylou talks about two key natural patterns of timber and stone.If you've ever wondered the difference between some of polytec's prints available, then this episode will help explain some of those. Marylou discusses Natural Oak, Prime Oak, Boston Oak, Florentine Walnut, Notaio Walnut, and some of polytec's stone and marbles range.

Episode 8: Do we copy overseas trends?

Over the years, we have developed our own design styles and trends that is very unique to Australia. We pay close attention to what's happening within our own backyard and environment, making sure we are conscious about how we design something. Marylou discussed this further in episode 8 of polytec’s Ask an Expert.

Episode 9: What are the key trends for joinery?

Episode 9 is all about the key joinery trends. One is the continuation of curves, and thanks to laminate you can curve anything. This trend has evolved, because it's no longer looking at the perfect curve but creating curves that provide flow, are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and enhance the look and feel of a space. 

The other element of curves is STECCAWOOD. In particular the Cove and Half Round STECCAWOOD profiles are being used to adorn joinery, allowing you to curve a curve and creating a softness within a design. 

The other trend is integrated joinery, creating a continuation of panelling that provides a concealed space and looks seamlessly integrated. Cladding the walls to look like wall panelling, but might be a hidden pantry, bathroom or storage. 

Episode 10: Are vinyl wrap doors still popular? 

Your cabinet door style can elevate the look and change the whole design and feel of a space from average to extraordinary. The correct term is Thermolaminated doors & panels, which gives a variety of options to choose from. From a recessed finger pull to avoid handles to simple frames such as the Hampton, Sussex, Ascot, Chifley or even the Malabar to a modern nostalgia profile with the Cove, creating a fluting effect.

In design, some may use a combination of flat and profiled doors or mix and match profiles, playing with shade and light. You can also apply Thermolaminated panels on walls. You can get large panels to create texture on walls.

polytec’s Thermolaminated doors & panels offer a range of colours, profiles, and surface finish options, the design combinations are endless.

Episode 11: Where do I find inspiration for Australian trends?

We bring you polytec's final episode of Ask an Expert with Marylou Cafaro and what better way to finish it off than to provide information on where to find inspiration for Australian trends. An amazing source of inspiration is the polytec trendjournal, which showcases trend styles, and joinery trends, both residential and commercial. The polytec trendjournal will be available online very soon.

We hope you enjoyed this series of Ask an Expert. Stay tuned for polytec's next series of Ask an Expert.

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