Pete Deane recently spoke with Clarke Living on kitchen design inspiration. The article is excerpted below…


Pete Deane, whose third-generation custom design and cabinet business is flourishing, is an encyclopedia o kitchen design inspiration. “We’re not simply in the custom cabinetry business, the kitchen business or even the home design business,” he says. “We’re in the wish-fulfillment business.” And fulfilling wishes is exactly what he and his talented staff of 18 do regularly.

While DEANE, one of Fairfield County’s top design firms, is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, their clients have properties all over the country. Look through their portfolio for kitchen design inspiration and you’ll find stunning projects in every community in Fairfield County, as well as homes on Nantucket, in Watch Hill, Rhode Island; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Stowe, Vermont and Kiawah, South Carolina. With each project you see new design innovations, interesting materials and beautiful cabinetry used in unique ways.

Where does Peter Deane get his design Inspiration?

While he hasn’t been doing much of it lately due to Covid-19, Peter says his favorite sources of design inspiration are typically traveling to new places and visiting new and innovative restaurants and bars where the material selections spark creative ideas for his projects. “I love natural wood, especially on countertops,” he shared. “I love solid wood and butcher block that allows you to use the surface for cutting. My wife is a chef and we love really living in the kitchen and creating spaces where people are inspired to cook and gather together.”

Are white kitchens on their way out?

Despite a recent Wall Street Journal article claiming that white kitchens are getting “kicked to the curb,” Peter Deane believes white kitchens are here to stay. “They are classic and still appeal to a wide audience and most people want a kitchen that will offer a positive ROI when they sell their homes,” he said. “Having said that, yes, we have definitely seen a desire to bring in finishes other than white, especially if people have lived with a white kitchen for a long time. Most clients are looking to bring in splashes of color.”

Deane said they often add a dramatic color on an island or a bar to add interest. He is seeing quite a few requests for grey cabinets and when homeowners want to add drama, it’s often with navy or black. “Beyond just focusing on paint color, we are introducing color in new ways, like with black stains on oak for a new look and feel,” he shared. “Or we’ll use lacquer to give a real sheen or focal point, even in a traditional kitchen. These selections add a different look and texture to the cabinetry.”

Peter Deane’s favorite Sub-Zero or Wolf appliance?

Before we could even finish a question about his favorite appliances, Peter enthusiastically said, “Sub-Zero refrigerator drawers, for sure. I love to introduce these into my designs for beverage refrigeration and place them on the periphery of the kitchen or in a bar to create a ‘grab and go’ station to avoid kids or others having to interrupt the activity in the kitchen to get a drink. They are so versatile.”

He also said that he almost always replaces a family’s request for a microwave with a Wolf Convection Steam Oven. “It’s an amazing appliance and I always make this recommendation. It revives restaurant leftovers like no other appliance and offers so many modes and ways to use it.”

Proudest Accomplishments and Current Favorite Things

Peter Deane is a family man, proud of his 25-year marriage and three children. He loves the outdoors, particularly skiing and fishing, and listening to live music. When it comes to new design trends on the horizon, Peter is loving integrating metals into his design projects. “We’re working with hot-rolled steel for cabinet face framing and rift oak insets. This combines an organic feel with an industrial aesthetic for a really interesting look.” He promised to get us photos of the project he is currently designing with these materials as soon as it’s done. We’ll post them here on Clarke’s blog and in Clarke’s Design Inspiration Gallery, where we love to share what the region’s finest designers are cooking up in homes throughout New England and beyond.