Top Ten New Arrivals – Granite

As homeowners and homemakers adjust to a wealth of changes in food preparation, entertaining and room designs, the shapes, colors and furnishings of kitchen décor will reflect a wide variety of personal styles and choices. Beautiful kitchen counters play an important role in defining what these new kitchens will look like and how they will function. In a time of constant change, making decisions that will last feels particularly good. Here are some ideas for new kitchen counters that will keep pace with ongoing changes, including tips for how to integrate their beauty into your design plans. Note that all suggested varieties are available in 3cm thickness; this offers maximum durability, strength and easy care.

SPECTROLITE BLUE GRANITE

If you find the idea of blue kitchen counters intriguing, take a look at Spectrolite for a beautiful blue effect. Under its highly polished surface, coarse-grained chips in dark blue tones create a shimmering effect. Putting it dramatically, it’s as though pieces of starlit night sky have fallen onto your counters. Creamy, eggshell-finish white surfaces and touches of highly-polished metals would add more glow, glimmer and gleam. Experiment with lighting effects to make the most of this uniquely beautiful stone.

AZURITE PREMIUM GRANITE


A Spanish stone composed of cream, blue and gray tones illustrates the “same but different” wealth of versatility that makes granite such a wonderful resource for kitchen counter design. Still in the blue palette, Azurite Premium conveys the sense of great subterranean power involved in granite formation and offers a wealth of fascinating visual textures. Colors bond well with white or gray walls and natural wood cabinets, floors or other wood furnishings. Fixture colors are expanding beyond burnished and high-gloss nickel and stainless steel, and this stone offers opportunities to think in terms of a copper, brass or even high-gloss black look for knobs, faucets and other fittings.

COPACABANA GRANITE

All-white kitchens have gradually given way to subtle combinations of gray. For the cautious, the next step is the introduction of black. A counter, appliance, dark-toned sink or island in solid black can shake up monotone schemes, setting the stage for further contrast. Or you can ditch slow and safe and go right to having fun! Copacabana, a lively Brazilian granite, lets white markings dance across a black surface, setting a party atmosphere. White embellishments curve and swoop, resembling music notes, hastily-jotted phone numbers or perhaps a list of crazy places to go when this kitchen shuts down. . . . Make this your solitary star-of-show or frame it with walls in tropical shades of melon, citron or papaya. There’s nothing like the Copa!

SKY FALLS GRANITE


The black/white contrasts of another spectacular Brazilian granite creates an atmosphere far from club and party lights. Sky Falls resonates with the brutal geologic forces that created this strong stone. The eye can trace flows and fractures that make Sky Falls seem like an earthquake frozen in time. Make the most of this spectacular contrast; using Sky Falls to cover an island, create a table top or stand as vertical panels draws your visitors’ eyes and holds their admiring gaze with its primitive grandeur. Tailor overhead lighting to highlight Sky Falls on an island surface.

BIANCO ALPHA GRANITE


There are reasons all-white, gray and other monotone color-schemes have had such prolonged popularity in kitchen décor. Changes in family behaviors, hospitality, work schedules and social structures all accelerate the pace of life and often make even ordinary days seem chaotic. Kitchen décor is only one of many decorative responses that seek to make home a sanctuary and place of tranquility. If those goals are an important part of your renovation, let the granite you choose support that stability. Brazilian Bianco Alpha is a quiet stone. Its soft gray surface contains subtle flakes and droplets of white, letting but not demanding that the eye seek out pleasurable random patterns. Leather-finishing can add further visual softness. Bianco Alpha blends well with a wide variety of color-schemes and textures, making it a constant in an atmosphere of change.

NOEL GRANITE


Noel offers a different approach to adding variety without disturbing the tranquility of a monotone color scheme. This Indian stone is composed of black, white, gray and silver ribbons of flowing pattern. Counter surfaces resemble water, and they add a sense of restrained energy, like the movement of a quiet country stream. Use Noel to add visual texture to a white or gray scheme, pair it with milky pastels or let its polished surface be the light-bearer against darker, dusky walls.

PADRE ISLAND GRANITE

A visually-intriguing Brazilian white granite, Padre Island is a beautiful example of how lighter-toned kitchen counters can enhance a color scheme. Like a number of white granites, Padre Island shares the powerful story of how granite was created. Fracture-lines, small islands of other stone and subtle color-shifts create the effect of a map seen from far above—perhaps a map of islands. Its polished light surface captures and reflects natural as well as artificial light, giving a constant bright, clean feel to your kitchen. A good pairing for wood-toned cabinets and floors and a good foil for bringing natural sights and sufaces into your room.

TURQUOISE LEATHER GRANITE


Another view-from-above treasure combines color, motion and a new finishing technique to create kitchen counters that appear to be made of water. The swirls, eddies and pools of Turquoise Leather’s surface suggest a tide-pool or sheltered spot on the beach, while its mixture of blue-green tones can be read as tropical shoreline. A leather surface is lower in light reflection than a high-polish finish, and the slight variants in the carefully-honed surface give a surprisingly soft look and feel to the stone. This Italian import is perfect for a vacation home in any location, especially one with water views.

CHAMONIX LEATHER GRANITE


Chamonix Leather, from Brazil, is a spectacular brown, grey and white combination of textures and patterns that evoke the beauties and dangers of Alpine adventure. Areas of fracture combine with cloudy ones, conveying a sense of peaks and valleys. Here, a leathered finish makes it easier to examine the patterns in detail and depth than a highly polished surface might permit. Bring out subtle browns in this complex mixture by surrounding Chamonix Leather with natural wood tones. Under-counter lighting will bring out fascinating detail.

WOODSTONE LEATHER GRANITE


If leathered surfaces seem to strike a more sedate note than highly-polished ones, Woodstone Leather is just the stone to make you think that through again! Shades of brown, creamy white, gold and gray create the look of a jewel-box spilled on a counter. Strong contrasts and dramatic veining add energy to beautiful colors. Woodstone’s whorls, veins and splashes of color demand a little space. This attention-drawing stone is not your first choice for a tiny room, but it is perfect for a large kitchen where the party always seems to land. Whether the rest of your décor plan heads toward light or dark, Woodstone will bring spectacular vitality to your room.

Although designers are in constant search for new and exciting decorative materials, there are solid reasons that make granite a classic choice for counters and other kitchen surfaces. Durability and ease of care score high for granite. Patterns that set a wide variety of moods and a wealth of colors present a single problem—narrowing down a single choice from a collection of so many beautiful stones. High-quality granite kitchen counters will last you through a lifetime of kitchen labor and hospitality. There will always be room for this traditional natural treasure in long-lasting decorative plans.

New Arrival: Amazing Grey Leather Marble

Amazing Grey Leather is a 2cms marble with a leathered finish. This beautiful natural stone features strong variations of grey and thin, stringy white veining throughout. The perfect choice for a variety of indoor or outdoor applications.

New Arrival: Amazing Grey Marble

Amazing Grey is a 2cms marble with a polished finish. This beautiful natural stone features strong variations of grey and thin, stringy white veining throughout. The perfect choice for a variety of indoor or outdoor applications.

New Arrival: Pearly White Granite

Pearly White is a 3cms granite with a polished finish. This stone has a cool blue-grey background with contrasting black and brown veining. Pearly White can be used for both interior and exterior applications.

New Arrival: Black Fantasy Leather Granite

Black Fantasy Leather is a 2cm leathered granite with deep black and grey colors and faint yellow to brown markings. This beautiful stone is suitable for both indoor and outdoor uses.

New Arrival: Taj Mahal Premium Quartzite

New Arrival! This pearlescent quartzite is white with a translucent quality. The stone has little variation and movement allowing it to work well with both modern and traditional spaces. This is similar to Taj Mahal Quartzite, but with a better cut. Recommended for most surfaces.

Top Ten New Arrivals – Quartzite

Like granite, quartzite is a natural stone, valued for its beautiful colors, visual textures and durability. It is especially suited for use as kitchen counters because of its extreme hardness and stain resistance. The new arrivals described below are available in 3cm thickness, assuring the highest level of strength and durability. Allied quartzite offers all the advantages of natural stone with the enhancement of top-drawer stone selection and preparation. Labeled “new arrivals,” these choices have passed centuries-long endurance tests created by weather, time and ecological chemistry. They are merely new to those viewing them for the first time. Choosing from the extended palette of quartzite colors and patterns creates a solid foundation for a major kitchen renovation project. Further down the line, these same counters can provide both stability and flexibility as new decorative fashions and new family needs reshape how your kitchen functions.

AURORA BLUE QUARTZITE


What better way to start an exploration of new quartzite offerings than with a stone whose name translates as “Dawn”?  Like all dawns, this one actually contains many colors, including rust, gold, lavender, cream and charcoal grey against a bluish gray ground reminiscent of an early-morning sky. Aurora Blue offers a wealth of possibilities for changing your kitchen décor. The current trend for dark base cabinets and lighter ones above is easy: look at dusky blues, purples or greys for lower cupboards with a milk-added pastel tone of pale gold, soft lavender or buttery cream above these handsome and adaptable stone counters. Aurora Blue also proves an excellent companion for the darker tones of wooden cabinetry, like fruitwood and even mahogany, which are attracting new interest.

ALEXANDRITA AZUL


While Aurora Blue introduces some of the peaceful notes of dawn, Alexandrita Azul brings a completely different kind of energy and interest to the concept of blue quartzite kitchen counters. This Brazilian stone conveys the dark blue-grey tones of a stormy sea, with a nearly palpable sense of movement. A splendid illustration of the powerful underground forces necessary to form such intriguing stones, Alexandrita Azul brings that energy to the surface and freezes it in time. The mood of the stone can be either warm or cool, depending on the colors you surround it with. Lighter wood tones, sand and beige tones and creamy ivories and whites provide just enough contrast to let the stone look its very best. Switch to soft greys and softer blues to emphasize the stone’s cooling qualities. Provide undercounter lighting to highlight the powerful and intriguing patterns that make Alexandrita Azul a star.

AMETISTA FANTASTICA


With a name that translates as “fantastic amethyst,” Ametista Fantastica introduces a remarkable new look to kitchen counters. Purple-gray stone is textured with cloudy white threads that look like rising mist or even descending clouds. Substantial, durable stone counters appear to float above cabinets. Take advantage of trending darker wood tones, like fruitwood, for base cabinetry. If wall cabinets are also dark, under-cabinet lighting lets the softness of misty stone play out against more solid wood. Create an equally dream-like effect with dark base cabinets and light ones above the counters.

INFINITY WHITE


Quartzites offer a wide range of white-background choices. From cream to bright-white to super-pale gray, quartzite whites can enhance an all-white, pastel or deep-toned color scheme. Infinity is one of several interestingly-veined stones; here, gray veining flows tranquilly through a creamy base. Movement is balanced, not hectic, and the mood is relaxed. Delicate enough to blend with natural textures and themes, Infinity White is solid enough to work well with accent panels or backsplashes from the new dark jewel-tone palette.

THE MACAUBUS FAMILY


“Fantasy,” “Giotto” and “Wow” form the Macaubus family of white quartzites and illustrate the span of variety the combination of white stone and grey veining can achieve. “Fantasy” is filled with movement, great waves and swirls like a raging river. “Giotto” uses fine grey lines to trace almost geometric shapes with a steady but light hand. “Wow” is just that; the delicate geometry of “Giotto” expands into motion-filled sketches, scribbles and map-like outlines. There’s a family resemblance but all three stones have a unique look as well, in a color scheme that is perfect for dozens of kitchen styles.

CALACATTA ORIGINAL


For one last view of the dynamics that can be created by simple grey veining in white stone, Calacatta Original is packed with energy. Picture sheets of exciting new music or the manuscript of an adventurous novel. There’s something for the eye to follow everywhere you look. Make this lively stone your centerpiece. Counters or an island of Calacatta Original play perfectly off a color scheme that explores greys from dark slate to icy frost. Light- to medium wood tones, natural caramels and beiges and a simple open plan show off this calligraphic spellbinder at its best.

DELUXE QUARTZITE


Slightly greyer, Deluxe brings a different kind of excitement to kitchen counter surfaces. Under a highly polished smooth surface lies a visual narrative of how the stone was formed. Chips, pebbles, feather-like fragments of all shapes and sizes, and surface fractures cascade in constant motion. As the eye traces the movement, Deluxe conveys the warmth of powerful energy combined with the chill of an avalanche. Frame the excitement with a dark floor, dark jewel-tone base cabinets and touches of crystal and etched glass.

VERDE AMAZONIA


Every design decision opens the pathways to numerous décor schemes. The recent decision to vary all-white and all-grey schemes with a statement piece in black is only one step toward multiple types of décor that gain their vitality from strong contrast. A solid black stone puts a handsome period to the contrast statement.  Choosing a black-based stone like Brazilian Verde Amazonia, though, starts a new conversation about future changes. Black with striations of brown and dark, tropical green, Verde Amazonia brings a tropical lushness that can vitalize an all-white scheme now, while providing the basis for adding other nature-based greens and browns.

WILD BRONZITE


Tan, gold, rust, burgundy, copper—it’s hard to count the number of brown-family colors coursing through the whorls and spirals of Wild Bronzite. This exciting Italian stone freezes the energy of a raging flood in sculptural bronze. A perfect fit with changing tastes in fixtures—as highly-polished copper, brass and bronze replace buffed nickel and gleaming steel—Wild Bronzite also offers a palette broad enough to accommodate creative use of color beyond the counters. Looking at the stone, buttery shades of cream and ivory, pale rosy pinks reminiscent of marble and desert sand tones come to mind. Accents of deep teal, darkest green or even navy blue bring visual delight to a spectacular stone.

GRAND CANYON


This sandy-toned stone uses the simplest of elements to create powerful beauty. Brown-toned throughout, Grand Canyon attains its spectacular looks through darker, same-color veining. Striations appear to trace the layers of earth visible in the second of Seven Wonders of the Natural World. The stone appears both delicate and majestic at the same time. Frame its tone-on-tone beauty with other natural hues. A particularly good choice for a kitchen with lots of natural daylight.

Whether you are most attracted to a newcomer or an old favorite, quartzite is the perfect choice to set the exact mood and tone you want your newly-renovated kitchen to express. The wide range of colors, visual textures, strength and beauty let kitchen counters provide continuity or adapt to a variety of new decorative statements. Choose quartzite for lasting, versatile results. You’ll be very glad you did.

Bathroom Trends 2018 and Beyond!

If you have postponed renovating your bathroom, no matter what the reasons, congratulations! Your timing couldn’t be better to take advantage of important shifts in how decorators view today’s indoor spaces.

Especially over the last decade, massive changes in the outside world of work, learning, communication and social behaviors have encouraged families and individuals to make their homes places of rest and quiet. The picture of home as sanctuary has reflected in every aspect of interior décor, as “fun” ideas have given way to quiet colors, natural textures, simple multiuse furnishings and spatial efficiency. Doing more with less has affected living space in myriad ways.

Choose Color

For several years, strictly subdued color-schemes—all-white, all gray, monotone—have let designers and residents give serious thought to changes in interior space that can best respond to new demands from the outside world. The first sign of a shift in thinking was the beaming of Ultra Violet, an electric purple chosen by Pantone as the Color of 2018, through the crack in the all-white door. This intense, energetic hue served more as a clarion than as a coverall, stimulating those living in severely quiet personal landscapes to begin rethinking the place of color in their lives. The color-palettes Pantone offers for home furnishings in 2019 are filled with deep, strong, lush colors, taken from nature and historic crafts. Their use in formerly quiet environments will require deliberation and choice. Hues like “plum,” “apricot brandy,” “caviar,” “mallard,” and “camel” signal a whole new approach to creating a restful, restorative sanctuary.

For those not yet ready to wrestle the entire rainbow, this year offers an exceptional number of choices in black, as a counterpoint to white or gray. Black choices can range from counters, sinks and splash-backs to shower-stall frames, trim paint, tile, wallpaper and, this year’s special favorite, faucets and other fixtures. Set a new course for your white bathroom with black tub and sink fixtures and matte or glossy black woodwork.

Use towel racks as the try-out stage for the colors that will soon be taking a stronger role in décor. Pantone palettes for interior paints, furnishings, equipment and decorative items offer a wide range of choices, from super-pale “milky” pastels to the intense tones of delicious fruits and vegetables. Strong, deep colors drawn from historical tradition introduce the dignity of the manor into even modest homes. Fascination with British Royal doings has even led to a line of paints based on the fashion and decorative favorites of the world’s most recent Princess. Those taking a step back from the excitement of royal weddings and baby showers will recognize many newly popular colors as not just the province of royalty. Perhaps unintentionally, the new color palette signifies another important shift—a color-range both new and experienced consumers will recognize as particularly suitable to the coloring of brunettes. If you’ve been holding back on color-decisions, Brown Eyes, your time is now!

Make bathroom counters a central category in your new color-choices. Here the range of colors has been growing steadily, as new sources of natural and engineered stone develop. A highly popular choice for renovation this year is black counters in a still-white room. This can lay the way for a patterned floor, walls or textiles, also in black and white, adding just enough but not too much energy to a small bathroom and crisp coherence to a large one. A carefully regulated black and white scheme lets you add or omit other color choices, as you wish. Perhaps less used but equally powerful is the choice of white counters against black back-splashes and cabinets. The higher reflectivity of white counters adds a dividend of light to clean spatial definition.

Choose Shape

In a room with limited furnishings, one way to increase visual interest is through shape. Three types of shapes dominate new and updated bathrooms, all of them free-standing. The first is the tub—a bathtub that stands on its own away from the wall is definitely back in style. New tubs are more bowl-shaped than their Victorian ancestors, with round, oval and fan-shapes available; and they lack the feet of the old four-footers. Although they are often white, most are manufactured from engineered stone and can therefore display all the colors and qualities that make engineered stone counters so handsome and easy to maintain. They share the exemplary durability of their counter cousins, making an engineered stone tub a lifetime pleasure.

Thus separated from permanent bondage to the tub, free-standing shower stalls and enclosures add further structure to the room. Even a small bathroom may have room for a shower and tub enclosure, leaving room at the sink and vanity for another family member. Metal frames in brass or gold-tone filigree and black-outlined window-frames make strong design statements, adding both color and spatial definition to the room.  Shower fixtures in black, brass and gold finishes add sparkle as well.

A smaller free-standing choice may not dominate bathroom space but can have a definitely style-setting impact on the room. Free-standing vanities are rapidly replacing built-ins, in styles that run from colonial dry sink cabinets to modern Scandinavian cupboards. Some support sinks while others stand adjacent, holding linens and hand-soaps. Whether décor is based on a free-standing or floating vanity, once choice has vanished: removing your old pedestal sink is the first step to take to modernize the shapes of your renovated bathroom.

Choose Pattern

One of the quickest choices to update your bathroom can come from a rapidly-growing fund of patterns. Not surprisingly, given the established popularity of soothing white and gray color-schemes, the first signs of new curiosity about pattern appeared in black and white. Textiles, furnishings, wallpaper, shower curtains and other bathroom essentials are currently available in a wide range of geometric, abstracts and nature-based designs to enliven the quiet of all-white or all-gray walls and floors. Patterns range from bold checkerboards to line-drawings featuring grids and filigrees to no-holds-barred sweeps and swoops. Lots of verticals include stripes, streaks and the grasses, stems and trunks of nature’s bounty. Digital advances turn flowers into tapestries and make it possible to create exciting visual textures from pictures of simple objects.

As pattern has made its way into quiet rooms, color follows. The thought of introducing some of 2019’s intense hues into bathrooms becomes more plausible when it becomes clear that–with the exception of some oversized, near-grandiose florals—most patterns remain nonrepresentational. Interlocked grids of sandy gold on a ground of mallard blue bring welcome, warming tones to a cool gray room without overwhelming it. A cappuccino-colored wall whose stripes are formed by sketches of wild grasses and flowers coordinates with the free-standing wood vanity and bamboo flooring to create a feel of summer at the cabin. Patterns can be bolder—punch up an existing black-and-white bath with blasts of burgundy, Bordeaux or cayenne-colored towels and floor mats—but they can also be kept under control to keep your bathroom feeling like a relaxing sanctuary.

One of the most beautiful ways to incorporate new avenues in both pattern and color is in your choice of stone counters, sinks, back-splashes and wall panels. Whether you choose natural quartzite, natural granite or engineered quartz, replacing synthetic surfaces with the colors, textures and patterns of nature keeps your bathroom décor in perfect balance between excitement and relaxation. From black and gray through brown, blue, green and gold tones, stone colors soothe without overwhelming. Speckling, streaking and blending bring life and visual texture to natural tones. Veining can be dramatic or elusive, leading the eye along dreamlike paths and letting the weary mind relax. Stone provides a foundation for coordinating or contrasting colors, and a single slab offers many possible compatible color options.

A variety of finishes enable stone surfaces to provide additional visual interest in the reflection of light. Highly polished surfaces sparkle and gleam, enhancing the brilliance of highly-polished brass and gold-tone finishes on fixtures and reflecting the glow of lighting. High polish makes a refreshing declaration of spic-n-span. Honed, lower-luster and leathered finishes glow rather than blaze. Light reflection is more subtle but can be warming and also more restful. For a more relaxed feeling, look at these newer treatments of stone surfaces.

Choose Luxury

Relax. The above advice is not aimed at your wallet—it’s focused on your mind. After a decade of whites and neutrals, caution and place-holding, you may find yourself mentally out of shape in the face of an onslaught of new décor ideas. Your best defense against doing more than you can live with or retreating in confusion is a little practice in luxury thinking. A veritable tsunami of visual adventure is on its way. Take a deep breath and remember that good planning is long-term. Where your money and your energy need to go are toward learning as much as you can about talent and quality. Take time to locate a decorator who has lots of experience to share and previous results you like. Interview contractors with care and follow up on recommendations. Those exciting colors, patterns and materials will still be there once your research is done, and you’ll be ready to make long-term, high-quality choices that give you pleasure for years. Money well spent—choose luxury, and enjoy your beautiful, excitng new décor!