One of a kind

When WAG last checked in with Peter Deane, principal of the family-owned design firm Deane Inc., in March 2016, he had just returned from the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas with insight into potential trends, including breakthroughs in smart home technology such as touch-activated and pedal-controlled faucets that dispensed sparkling water alongside chilled drinking water and featured their own in-system water filters.

“At the touch of a button, our clients can turn on the lights to a specific setting to create an appropriate ambience while turning on their music and raising their window blinds,” he said at the time.

Fast forward to today and smart home technology is a staple in Deane’s work rather than a fanciful trend shining in a trade show expo hall. Deane’s company has been at the forefront of incorporating these systems into its designs.

“The biggest value our clients see in integrating smart technology into their kitchens is within their appliances where manufacturers can diagnose their products off-site to determine service requirements,” he says. “The trend we are noticing from our clients is their desire to escape the pervasiveness of technology and devices and spend their time in their kitchens cooking and enjoying time with their family and friends.”

Four years ago, Deane also called into view new design trends promoting sustainability through the use of reclaimed woods combined with textured hard plastic, as well as man-made countertops that challenged metal-based versions for resiliency. Today, Deane is still keeping an eye on emerging design trends. But he is also cognizant of not rushing to embrace design trends that will quickly go out of date.

“Designing a kitchen within the architectural integrity of the home is one way to combat the ‘I don’t want a trendy kitchen’ pushback,” he advises. “However, more important is working with your kitchen designer to create a space that is suitable for your family’s lifestyle and fits your aesthetic.”

Deane Inc. was originally founded in Pound Ridge in 1961 by Raymond Girard, Deane’s grandfather. Deane’s father, Peter M. Deane, came on board in 1965 and the company opened its first Connecticut showroom in Darien. Deane worked for a general contractor in Breckenridge, Colorado, and later at a cabinetry shop in New Holland, Pennsylvania, before coming into the family business, which now consists of Stamford and New Canaan showrooms that he co-manages with his sister Carrie. 

What is the secret to keeping a family-run operation in business for so long? Deane modestly denies himself main credit for the company’s longevity.

“Deane’s success is team driven,” he says. “Taking on a kitchen renovation is very cumbersome and overwhelming. When working with Deane, we surround your project with a team of professionals that are with you every step of the way. Our designers guide you through space planning, cabinet design and material selections. Our project design manager engineers the designs and our field supervisor manages the field conditions and the installation of your project.” 

Deane and his team work on approximately 100 projects per year, with clients in Westchester and Fairfield counties. No two endeavors are ever identical.

“These projects are all in different stages — ranging from preliminary design, production or installation. A realistic timeline for planning your project would allow for approximately six weeks for the upfront design phase, three months for cabinet production and four to six weeks for the completion of installation. These time frames vary based on the scope of work for each project.” 

Deane does not force ideas on clients but instead encourages them to share magazines, photographs, Pinterest boards and Houzz idea books that inspire possible design concepts. While the aesthetic aspects of the design are important, so are the financial. He advises clients to have a realistic budget that will cover the various parts of the project.

As for the current trends that shape his ongoing work, Deane states that “hints of color and organic textured woods will continue to be integrated into our designs for 2020. Painted white and light gray cabinetry will dominate the primary finishes with pops of colors and textured woods. These colors are usually presented in islands, open shelf cabinetry or even on custom hoods. Additionally, the use of textured woods creates an organic vibe that is very currently popular.”

But that’s not to say Deane is ready to accept all inquiries. Some prospective clients have to be politely turned away.

“Occasionally, there are projects that are on an extremely tight timeline,” he says. “Due to the customization of our designs and high-end nature of our products, their delivery takes time. Therefore, clients need to make a decision if they want to invest in this process or selected stock products that are readily available. Ultimately, we want all our clients to love the finished result, so we are always sentient about meeting expectations and delivering a quality experience.”

For more, visit deaneinc.com.

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