Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 27th 2014 Contents July 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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By Ann Moore-Spencer
THERE ARE SO MANY different options available for your
countertops, yet we normally limit ourselves and stick to one
or two. Granite seems to be the favourite for every new con-
struction or kitchen renovation, but I encourage you to be ad-
venturous and consider other material.
• Laminate is an old-time staple and is probably the cheapest
of the options. With its limitless colours, it can look good in
modern and traditional kitchens. But using laminated coun-
tertops may seriously date your look. Knives and hot pots are
among laminate's worst enemies.
• Tile is an affordable and durable option, and there is a tile
for every style. But the grout lines tend to discolour and
look awful over time. Selecting dark grout can camouflage
the discolouration, but dark grout may not be for you. Look
for counter depth-sized tiles in porcelain, marble or stone,
with very thin grout lines, if you must.
• Solid surface countertops are made out of acrylic or poly-
ester resins. They can be virtually any colour and are non-
porous. Heat damage and scratches can be expected, but
your counter will look like new with a little buffing.
• Granite is widely available and is the first choice for many.
Each slab is different. It is more costly than our first two
options. On the lower end, you can buy the more common
colours and grains in premade countertops, but you can
have some wildly interesting grain patterns and shadings.
The more intricate and uncommon, the more expensive
your slab will be. Granite needs to be sealed.
• Quartz is one of my favourites. It is an engineered material
made up of stone and resin. It is non-porous, so you do not
have the risk of permanent staining, and it does not need
to be sealed. Because it is man-made, the colours and pat-
terns are virtually limitless. It is at home in modern and con-
temporary décor, but also gives an edge to the traditional
• Soapstone is another stain- and bacteria-resistant counter-
top material. But it is not as readily available locally as the
previous options. With its typical grey colour, it is great for
contemporary and modern kitchens. Though it is a stone, it
is a lot softer than granite, and scratches and dents have to
be accepted as part of the design appeal or you may want
to buff them out.
• I love marble. It is elegant, classic and timeless. It must be
treated with love. Acidic foods can etch and stain the surface
if it is not sealed, but the staining can become part of the
character of the surface. Beware of harsh detergents and
disinfectants; they make the marble cloudy and dull. It is
great for a more traditional kitchen, but its beauty and the-
atrical veining stands out in the more uncluttered modern
kitchen as well.
• Stainless steel is a very modern option. It can give your
décor an industrial twist. It can dent, but it is very easy to
keep clean and bacteria free, and it is heat resistant. Just
like your stainless steel refrigerator, scratches, finger marks
and watermarks can be very obvious.
• Wooden countertops can make the kitchen warm and invit-
ing. They are great for eating bars and tabletops also. For
longevity, use good quality wood and sealer. Bamboo and re-
claimed wood are eco-friendly options. Butcher block tops are
functional and can be inserted into any other counter surface
or used on its own.
• Concrete is another modern option. It can be moulded to seam-
lessly integrate your sink and drain board. Pigments can be used
to create limitless patterns and colours. Concrete can be shaped
into virtually any form. It is durable, but can crack with time.
Consider using more than one type of material for your kitchen
countertops. With this 'mix and match' method comes the un-
expected, and the visually interesting. For good balance, stick
to two choices; any more can look mismatched and hodge-
podge. You can make the division along functional lines. For in-
stance, you can create a baking centre with marble or granite
countertops. Your dough and pastry will love it. Wood is neutral,
warm and inviting, and it mixes easily with just about any other
material. Mix it with any stone to inject some warmth into the
décor. Areas where you eat will feel inviting and comfortable.
Wooden countertops are also great if you have an office or
desk area in the kitchen. What about mixing a showy granite
or quartz for your entertaining centre and a more subdued
colour and pattern for the rest of the kitchen? Create interest
by using different colours of the same material, or match a
veined or patterned finish with a solid colour. Islands or penin-
sulas are great candidates for varying your counter material.
For further interest, vary the heights of your countertops. Your
bar or eating table can either be higher or lower than the gen-
eral countertops. Of course, your countertop is part of the over-
all décor and should not be selected in isolation. Mixing it up
can inject texture, complexity and interest. The list presented
here is not exhaustive. Have fun thinking of the possibilities.
Remember to balance utility with aesthetics. Hope I have
opened your mind to the possibilities.
Granite is widely available
and is the first choice for
many. Each slab is different.
It is more costly than our first
two options. On the lower
end, you can buy the more
common colours and grains in
premade countertops, but
you can have some wildly
interesting grain patterns and
shadings. The more intricate
and uncommon, the more
expensive your slab will be.
Granite needs to be sealed."
| DECOR |
Mixed granits from washingtonmarbleworks.com.
Rebecca c brandon asid multiple countertop.
Sorikian architecture butcher block stainless steel.
caribausa.com engineered quartz dual countertop.
wrightstreetdesign.com wood stone.
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