The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we feed our families, catch up over coffee, and drink wine during parties. So it makes sense that this room, above all others, should be a place that invites us in and asks us to linger.
At Kitchen & Bath Design Studio, we want to help you craft the space you deserve, starting with your countertops. The right choice for you will depend on many things, including lifestyle, ease of maintenance, and personal aesthetic. Because there are so many options, we’re breaking this post into a two part series, focusing first on stone materials. But enough chitchat – it’s time to “rock” and roll!
A natural stone product that comes in myriad colors, shades, and patterns, no two pieces of granite are alike, guaranteeing a unique and elegant look. Granite countertops are ideal for foodies who never have enough cutting boards – the hardness of granite, second only to diamonds, means you can slice and dice directly on it. Be warned, though – granite is very heavy. If you choose granite, we’ll be sure your cabinets can support it! We’ll also seal it to keep it from absorbing stains, something you should continue to do every so often.
Because quartz is manufactured, there are nearly limitless color variations available. It’s non-porous, so staining and bacteria aren’t an issue – a big plus, especially for homes with young children who are prone to spilling things and more susceptible to illness. Because of its “chameleon-like” properties, quartz can be used in nearly any style of kitchen. For those who like the look of granite but don’t want the maintenance, “granite look-alike” quartz products are a great choice.
Rich, dark, and smooth, soapstone is often seen in historic homes. Fun fact: this quarried material ranges in age from 300 to 400 million years old, which probably explains its timelessness. Soapstone offers a beauty more subtle than some of its flashier contemporaries, and it’s non-porous, a plus for those who don’t have the time or energy to keep up with higher maintenance stone products. The only downside of soapstone is that color options are limited from white to charcoal, so if you were hoping for something pink, blue, or green, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Limestone is a dense, natural stone with history – it’s formed over time from the shells and fossils of aquatic life then shaped by the sand and other undersea creatures. It usually comes in a white or sandy color, which nicely complements stainless steel appliances. While limestone has a similar look to marble, it’s not quite as expensive. Limestone is more porous and less stain resistant than other natural stones, which can be an issue. That said, when properly cared for with water-based sealants, limestone can provide a sophisticated upgrade to your kitchen countertops.
The first thing people notice about a marble countertop is its exquisite beauty, due in no small part to its spectrum of vivid hues, natural veins, and unique markings. It’s a great choice if you’re seeking warmth, prestige, or European nostalgia (it can make a kitchen feel as if you’ve walked into a French bakery). Marble is also the softest and most porous of the stones, which means it can scratch and stain easily. If you feel that the beauty of marble outweighs the risk, make sure you’re diligent about resealing and always using a cutting board when chopping vegetables for dinner.
Handsome, durable, easy to clean, and non-porous, slate is a nice compromise between the solid look of soapstone and the intricate markings of marble or granite. Slate provides enough variations to be interesting, but not so much that the eye becomes overwhelmed. Slate is a great choice for those lucky enough to have a lot of countertop space, or those who prefer a minimalist look. While the corners of a slate countertop can be brittle and sharp, having a professional round them off solves that problem.
Stay tuned for part two (internal link) of our countertop series, where we’ll discuss the pros and cons of wood, laminate, steel, and other non-stone materials.