Countertops For The Love of Cooking

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Foundational and essential when designing or redesigning kitchen, countertops can make or break the space. Though cabinets and flooring also play a role, countertops bear the burden of everything, from setting the tone of the space to taking a beating from all the action going on the kitchen. Choosing the right countertop for the space reflects a homeowners’ style and relationship with their space.

When choosing a countertop, he first thing to decide on is material. Granite? Quartz? Marble? Porcelain? Concrete? Butcher Block? Stone Layering? hile solid surface countertops emain the choice for a countertops, granite, quartz, and marble are all still popular materials. Designers point out, however, that there are other options to consider. For Jim Crumley of Southeastern Salvage, it’s butcher block, “Butcher block (in assorted species) along with composite granite are on trend for 2020.” Esther Lovingood agrees saying, “Butcher block is a durable and functional, yet attractive, material that doubles as a cutting surface and is easy to resurface.” Irene Williams of Crossville, Inc contents it’s porcelain tile, “Truly the hottest trend for countertops is the innovative new porcelain tile slabs. This material is true porcelain, offering all the beauty and major performance advantages, created in slab thickness and outer dimensions comparable to stone slabs.”

Others offer up different options such as Epoxy Artisan Stone, Concrete, and Stone Layering. Dawn totty of Dawn Totty Interior Designs points out, “Stone layering consists of one long slab of stone with another smaller slab directly on top, usually positioned on only one end. This application is very progressive, unique and fun.” The range of countertop materials is quite large, and choices should focus not only on material but also take price, maintenance, and durability, along with lifestyle and functionality into consideration.

After choosing a material, often the next choice is finish. Color, style, and pattern often make a huge difference when choosing a countertop. Dana Tucker of Bella Tucker claims, “Quartz that looks like calacatta marble” is a top choice providing a rich finish to the space. Matte, leathered finishes, Seamless countertops also remain popular with waterfall sides and dark colors are on the rise. Doug Davis of Douglas C Davis & Associates points out, “Dark counter tops are back! After years of all white everything I’m seeing honed matte finish black granite, soapstone and dark grey marbles like Bardiglio making a big comeback.” Others, such as Julia McKenna of PARKS claim, “white on white or pop of color on white cabinets” is still top of the design list.

The popularity of solid surface and granite, quarts, and marble still leave a lot of room for color and design choices. Moving from the busy, speckled granite that was popular in the early 2000s, there is a shift to clean simple designs with veining becoming the popular choice in stone. Veining allows for a pop of color and personality in the overall design, while the somewhat randomness of the design and larger scale of the pattern seem to be what homeowners seem to be embracing over the specked and densely packed color of early granite.

Easy maintenance is still a top consideration for countertop choices. We all have busy lives and spending hours cleaning and treating specialty countertop material is low on the list of priorities. This is what makes granite and quartz remain so popular. Quartz and Granite require little to no maintenance.

“Marble does require extra care, protection and cleaning,” says Tucker and Williams points out that their porcelain tile slabs offer minimal maintenance as well. “[Our products require] extremely minimal maintenance because of the dense porcelain body that is resistant to stains, chipping, breaking, extreme temperatures.” Butcher block requires more maintenance, but the results are often incredible. Lovingood points out, “Butcher block should be treated with wax or mineral oil to protect it and condition it. Be mindful of leaving water on this surface, as it can stain the wood if allowed to soak in. Hot pots and pans can burn the surface but not to worry! Nicks, scratches, and stains can be easily sanded off to reveal new-looking countertops once it’s oiled again.” Regardless on the unending choices in materials and finishes, most designers agree, homeowners should consider their space and the way they live in it when choosing the right countertop for their home.

Other design features that are trending are kitchen islands. A popular feature if the kitchen has the space to accommodate one, most homeowners expect an island for ease of use, entertaining, and beauty. Williams points out that an unobstructed space for freedom of movement is of the utmost importance, “A nice overhang that is installed such that no corbels or legs are needed – just unobstructed space for dining, gathering, working or relaxing.” Lorie Harrison of Creative Countertop Solutions adds, “seating and plenty of storage – lazy susans and circular aspects- are popular aspects” in the island design. The island, often the focal point of the kitchen, requires special attention making it both functional and beautiful.

Waterfall sides and mitered edges are quickly becoming the finishing feature on the kitchen island everyone is wanting. Waterfall sides make provide a finish to the space, tying everything together, while mitered edges provide a clean look that DOES SOMETHING!!! Dana Tucker of Bella Tucker states, “I love an island with a 3” mitered edge making it extra thick,” and Dawn Totty says, “Waterfall stone applications are simply beautiful,” making them more and more popular.

Choosing a countertop material, in most cases, also involves selection of a sink particularly since the sink can be integrated into the countertop. A continuous flow from the countertop to the sick remain the design style of choice. Most homeowners want to be able to move easily from counter to sink while using or cleaning. The continuous flow gives a modern finish to the space and offers a smooth workflow from the work surface to the sink. Ease of use is of the utmost importance and an integrated sick provides a worry-free space with no pooling of dirty water or bits of food getting stuck between the countertop and sink.

Undermount and farmhouse sinks remain popular and come in enough finish choices to easily match the countertop design. Plumbing fixtures and backsplashes offer the opportunity to add fun accents to a space. A spot where most homeowners can splurge, the fixtures and backsplash require a smaller amount of material and allow homeowners to let their unique style shine through. These items also offer homeowners the opportunity to combine design styles or trends to create a custom look.

As homeowners continue to seek looks that are out of the ordinary, they find themselves choosing countertops, plumbing fixtures, and sinks that create a cohesive look while still meeting their desire for low-maintenance finishes.

—Starshield Lortie

There are a number of sources for countertop materials including:

Bassett Improvement Specialist Christiana

Bison Countertops Ashland City 615/ 792-8812

Bella Tucker Franklin 615/500-1517

Belligiao Gallatin 615/452-4886

California Closets Kurt Schusterman 615/ 367-1030

Cambria Nashville 615/ 268-9741

Coldwell Banker, Wallace & Wallace Knoxille 865/368-9207

Creative Countertop Solutions Nashville 615/915-0718

Crossville, Inc. Crossville 615/429-8492

Crye-Leike Bartlett 901/372-3690

Dawn D Totty Interior Designs Jasper, TN 615/339-9919

Decorating Den Nashville 615/ 469-7334

Doug C Davis & Associates Birmingham 205/612-7418

EatGatherLove Thompson Station

Elite Installation Hendersonville 615/ 264-9370

Ellen|Sherwood Design Brentwood 615/ 376-6122

Focus Builders Nashville 615/ 517-5685

French’s Cabinet Gallery Franklin 615/ 371-8385

Front Porch Living Life Franklin 615/293-3427

Hermitage Nashville 615/ 843-3310

Jonathan Miller Architects Knoxville 615/ 602-2435

Just Design This Auburntown 615/606-8450

Keller Williams Realty Franklin 615/829-3428

Klazmer/Sklar Homes Germantown 901/755-7979

Markraft Cabinets Nashville 615/ 360-2118

Modern Surfaces Raleigh, NC 919/ 348-6679

PARKS Franklin 615/604-2590

PARKS Murfreesboro 615/753-6298

Prestige Marble & Granite Columbia 931/ 381-7294

ProCraft Cabinetry Nashville 615/ 528.-0399

Southeastern Salvage Nashville 615/ 244-1001

Southeastern Salvage Home Emporium Chattanooga 423-385-1841

Willow Branch Partners Franklin 615/ 306-7520

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