Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Countertops 101

I am not sure about you but I have grown a little bored by granite counter tops. It is just that they seem to be everywhere (including my Kitchen, so no one get offended) . There are just so many other interesting and great options out there.

Besides the obvious laminate, ceramic tile, and marble, there is Soap Stone. It is a natural stone that typically comes in blacks, greys, and greens.The counters pictured in the Kitchen above are soapstone and they have always been a favorite of mine. While it has always had popularity on the East Coast it is finally moving to the Midwest. It has such a rich look to it and I just love the way it feels.
Solid surface has "come a long way, baby". The counters pictured above are Corian and I love how they wrap down the sides of the cabinets. . This is a big trend right now and is being done with all types of products. It looks so clean and finished. (The kitchen was designed by Patricia Gray Inc.)

Wood counter tops are a wonderful way to add warmth to a Kitchen and especially nice paired with stainless or oil rubbed bronze appliances.

Reclaimed Wood counters are a good choice for Baths or Kitchen islands.

Recycled glass counter tops are just that, made from recycled glass. I love this product because you get such a wonderful range of colors. I have used the "sea glass" mix of colors for Kitchen and Wet Bar counter tops and it is beautiful. This product is available from companies like www.icestone.com and www.vetrazzo.com

Concrete counters are wonderfully diverse in appearance and texture. It can be molded, stained, and polished to have a sleek, modern look or left with pits and rough edges for a more rustic feel.

Bamboo has been sort of the wonder product of the 2000's. We saw a huge surge in using it in place of hardwoods for flooring and that has spilled over to dishes, serving ware, sheets, robes, and counter tops. Bamboo regenerates extremely quickly, so it is sustainable, but also very durable. The product prictured above is from Teragren Bamboo Products.

Engineered Stone has really swelled in popularity for the consumer who likes a cleaner more controlled look. Companies such as www.zodiaq.com, www.viatera.com, www.silestone.com, and www.cambria.com have developed products that are part natural stone, such as quartz, fused with resin. It has the durability of a natural stone with the color and pattern control of a solid surface product like Corian.
The Kitchen above showcases Zodiaq's Bianco Carrera product which looks similar to a white Carrera marble. I, for one, have always dreamed of a Kitchen with Carrera marble counters, but I know from living in a house with one they are difficult to maintain. This is a great sub.

Paper is another "green" option, in addition to recycled glass and bamboo, for counter tops. Yes, I said paper. The top pictured above is made by www.ecotop.com which is a product made from 50%recycled paper and 50% bamboo fiber. It comes in tons of colors and has a smooth, almost concrete or soapstone like look.

Glass has gained in popularity in bathrooms and Kitchens in the last few years. It is beautiful illuminated from underneath and comes in clear, frosted, colors, and textured. It is great in combination with other surfaces as pictured above from www.thinkglass.com .

Stainless Steel. I know some of you may be grumbling that it is "So 50's", but I love the look of it. Commercial kitchens have never stopped using it for it clean ability and durability. Re-visit this old friend, even in combination with another surface. It looks especially good with painted cabinets.
Besides stainless, there are bronze and copper options for counter tops as well.
(Some products mentioned above my not be readily available in your area.)
I hope this was informative and inspiring to you. A dear friend of mine suggested a while back that I share some of my designer in sight and secrets, so I have to credit this to Kristi. She actually asked me to do one on carpet, which is coming I promise, so look for Carpet 101 in the near future.

images: Google Image, Patricia Gray Inc., Country Living, IceStone.com, Concrete Revolution, Teragren Bamboo Products, Zodiaq, EcoTop, ThinkGlass.com, Bostton Design Mfg.


  1. That's great! I had no idea there were so many options for countertops. I really love the look of wood. It looks so "homey."

    And the glass - that sea green looks very cool.

  2. Hi! I'm so glad you stopped by! Thanks for your lovely words - blogging does the same thing for me. It's a great place to collect your thoughts! Your blog is wonderful, I look forward to popping back! xoxo