December 12, 2017

Counter Top Questions

Choosing your material for a new counter top can be very daunting. We have our favorites, but price always enters the equation..  What counter top  material really makes sense, and where do you start?

Let’s break down this major kitchen commitment…

First of all, the most important part of making your counter top decision is choosing your fabricator. This is the segment of the business that measures and installs your countertops. And just FYI , some storefronts sub contract their work, not bad, but make sure they are using an established local business..  Reputable product distributors use a good fabricator. Good fabricators have updated equipment, trained installers, and they work with reputable products.  It may sound like the cart before the horse, but what good is a beautiful piece of  raw stone if someone cuts it wrong, seams it in the wrong place , and does not stand behind their work?

Next? Material…

There are many options, and you have to ask yourself a couple questions..

How will I use this surface, and how can I make this countertop an important part of my kitchen design, and enhance my home?

Ok, let’s start with material and function.

Granite is a natural material, and it is a commodity. Granite quarry’s exist all over the world. Prices and availability change depending on the local economy. . Aesthetics change depending on the environment in the places they are mined. Granite is unique, beautiful, durable, and porous. It needs minor maintenance., and can vary greatly in price. It does have the ” upgrade ” factor If you are considering resale.

Quartz has come a long way. It is a great material, but until recently, not much to look at. It is a natural product that is manufactured, and because of this often has a warranty. The process of mixing the stone with resin, and then heating it, makes it non porous,and basically zero maintenance. It is a wonderful material in a functional kitchen, and it now has great design options. Its biggest drawback is the overall cost. Best advice for quartz on a budget, is to use it in a smaller space in your kitchen, and use a more economical product in your larger areas. If you choose to bite the bullet, and use it everywhere, you will not be disappointed.

Laminate is also very viable option, and I believe has a bad rap. It is a manufactured product that is non porous, durable, practical, and has great longevity.  Again, choices for design options have come a long way. Pricing is good, and the palettes for aesthetics are limitless.

You can also go crazy with concrete, stainless,  recycled and unique natural material., like seashells, and glass.

Don’t forget to ask your fabricator about remnants for a small space , ( powder room, laundry room..)..and don’t be afraid to mix and match your materials. Often that can make things work on a budget.  Don’t forget to talk about edge options with your fabricator. This can make a big statement as you frame out  your  kitchen. If  you choose to use any type of stone, a good fabricator can take the scraps from your slab and make cutting boards, and /or trivets to match , and protect your new surface.

Bottom line..  Counter tops are a big part in the big parts of your home. Educate yourself on the options, and create your counter surfaces with confidence!

Andi Bartruff

Hot Staging Trends in 2013

The clutter is cleared. The house is clean. Now, what accessories and accents can you use to make a room look fresh and modern? Try chunky woven blankets, reflective surfaces and tangerine combined with neutral shades.

Other Ideas:

Mother Earth Inspired Elements. Nature is popular this year. popular color palettes are reminiscent of natural elements-reds found in earth and soli, blues of the sea, lush greens of the rain forest, and neutrals that draw from the softer, textured look of eggs, seashells, and sand. the natural tones are being paired with color accents, such as Tangerine. Also look for accessories that incorporate natural elements such as woven baskets, leather stools and cotton towels.

Fabulous Faux. Think zebra stripe rugs or leopard print votives. But beware: use animal prints in small doses only.

Digital Fabrics. Framing a piece of digital fabric is a great way to create an inexpensive piece of artwork. Try textiles with fern or tree branch patterns.

Not your grandmothers Doilies. Add lace in subtle ways-on top of tablecloths or paired with bold colors. Traditional quilts and crochet peices are also popular.

Faded Area Rugs? Vintage is in Vogue! Instead of ditching that old Asian rug, use it as the foundation for your rooms color and aesthetic palette. Add modern artwork and accessories that compliment vintage pieces.

Opposites Attract: Think silk with suede, furniture with studs, “shiny with vintage”.

Touch the Sky: Think about clouds and water when choosing reflective white, blue and silver objects and hardware. Mirrors are great for staging as they make the room look much larger. Also consider mirrors in other ways, such as for a tray holding a tea-cup and saucer or on a wall in an area where there isn’t a lot of light.

Bottom Line: Have fun and let your creativity shine.

Chabby. Southern Smarts

Photo courtesy of Elle Décor.