One hottest trend source says “white” is the new neutral in minimalist kitchens with oil rubbed bronze fixtures outranking stainless steel. Another expert proclaims black as being the statement color for this year’s kitchen cabinetry. Really? We installed a shiny black kitchen in the 80s once, but I can assure you, little cooking was done in it! Quartz for countertops is bypassing natural stone. Since “everyone” can afford granite, it’s not so special anymore. The point is there are many excellent options that suit different tastes and lifestyles.
In my last post, I promised that we would began exploring the different elements in kitchen design that not only make design work, also express who you are.
Let’s start with what people feel pretty passionate about. Countertops. Yes, countertops. Countertops are the workhorse of the kitchen, but they also contribute a lot of style and color. Gone are the days of butcher block (and imitation butcher block laminate aka Formica). No sad remorse here!
The well-known rule of design is form follows function-or does it? Only you can decide. How does your kitchen function in your home, and how do you function in your kitchen? This is where a well-experienced designer can be an invaluable asset. He or she will know what questions to ask and will also be able to answer many of your questions. First, a disclaimer: ALL materials require upkeep and maintenance. There is anecdotal evidence for everything! Do your homework-or retain a designer who already has.
Natural, earthy, can be cut and shaped, stain resistant, durable, heat resistant, elegant, long lasting. Stone pricing ranges are based on rarity and location of mining. Fossilized stone can be pricey. Stone should be sealed to increase durability.
- Granite – wide range of colors. The darker the stone, the less porous thus more stain resistant
- Soapstone – greenish to black color
- Travertine – Sand colored
- Marble – white, green, black pink veined, preferred for patina and baking prep surfaces, porous
- Quartz – Referred to as engineered stone. Simulates stone, more stain resistant and color consistent. Does not require sealing. Costs a little more than granite.
- Acrylic polymer – man-made stone. Non- porous, lower maintenance, seamless, wide variety of colors. E.g. Corian, Wilsonart, Avonite, etc.
Acrylic polymers, stones and quartz can be comparable in price because they are regional products.
- Stainless steel – hygienic non porous, preference in commercial kitchens
- Zinc – works for outdoor kitchens and bar areas
- Copper – interesting patinas as the copper ages
- Concrete – can be shaped and colored and have additives such as glass for interest. Needs to be sealed. Regional and local companies mix their own styles.
- Glass – shapeable, durable, contemporary, beautiful, can be joined but not seamless. Thickness Over ¾” for countertops. Expensive
- Tile – ceramic or porcelain, economical to materials, but labor intensive
- Wood – natural, beautiful, wide variety of exotic woods and ingraining, can be repaired easily, require sealants, higher maintenance
- Laminate – still a very popular choice for its wide variety of colors and patterns and very affordable pricing
- Compressed paper
This was just an overview of some of the most common materials (well, a few are less common) used for countertops. This should give you something to google! Or wait until next time and I’ll go into more detail. And did I mention, I’ll have pictures?