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.
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 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 surfaces 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.