THE CHANGING COUNTERTOP CULTURE
DESIGN TIPS FROM A TRI POINTE EXPERT
There are two kinds of people: Those who see countertops as the weekly dust and polish on the chore list and those who see countertops as a way to infuse their personal style, punctuate their décor, and craft the perfect mood in their home.
We call the latter home enthusiasts. They see their new home as a blank canvas to paint the perfect picture. They are creative, selective, and design-forward. And since you’re spending valuable time on a design blog, we’re thinking you’re one of them, and you deserve to be in the know about the latest in countertop culture.
That’s why we sat down with Kim Brehm, president of Chateau Interiors in Irvine, California. Here, she highlights the top 5 trends in countertop design and shares a little more about material quality, longevity, and the pure pleasure of living in your home.
TIP #1 – OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Remember tile countertops? It wasn’t so long ago that tile was what model home kitchens and baths were made up of. Then tile gave way to granite, gorgeous natural stone that provided a shiny new look and a sleek, no-grout feel. Part of its natural appeal is that no two granite slabs are alike. That’s also the challenge of the hunt in the granite yard—finding the one with color and pattern that’s just right. Granite is also somewhat porous and requires a certain level of maintenance to keep it at its best. Don’t get us wrong—we still love granite. We just love options, too.
Today, more and more homeowners are choosing quartz. Quartz is a non-porous, man-made material that provides a contemporary feel – you’re probably seeing it grace the pages of Architectural Digest, ELLE Décor and Coastal Living magazines.
Pair quartz with a stone or glass backsplash, or modern-shaped tile, and you’ve created a look that will reflect your unique style.
#2 – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ISLAND
Arcadia at Stonegate Residence Three—The best of both worlds: Quartz at the perimeter and leathered granite countertop on the furniture-style island.
Kitchens are fast becoming the new family room, with more homes incorporating dining and living areas into a unified floor plan. As a result, kitchen cabinets are taking on the look of fine furniture, and prep islands are becoming showpiece dining tables. Homeowners are taking advantage of this shift by installing quartz countertops around the perimeter of the kitchen, and then choosing a spectacular piece of granite for the island. It’s truly the best of both worlds. Not only does quartz allow for easier cleanup, but large pieces of natural stone are always showstoppers. In today’s modern kitchen, you don’t have to choose.
#3 – MASTERING THE BATH
Fairwind Residence One—Get the marble look, with easy quartz countertop cleanup.
You know that luxury hotel look—the 100% marble bath. You envy the look but not the upkeep. Well, not anymore! Because quartz is so smooth and non-porous, today’s homeowners are choosing the marble look in durable quartz for master bath countertops. Ready to up the design ante? Some are even crafting quartz walls inside the shower for that lovely stone look without all of the upkeep. New quartz designs are even featuring more movement in the pattern to mimic natural stone and provide a clean, spa-like feeling.
#4 – TIME TO LIGHTEN THINGS UP
Here’s another throwback: Remember when dark-colored countertops were paired with dark wood kitchen cabinets? Not anymore. By lightening up the surface areas in your home, the entire space appears larger and feels brighter. Enter the newer lines of quartz from companies like Caesarstone and Pental. In addition to the whitest of white options, they also showcase additional shades that offer their interpretation of marble and natural stone with intricate veining and rich depths.
#5 – PATTERN STYLES ARE CHANGING
Truewind Residence Two Master Bath—The taupe veining on the tub deck and surround provides subtle pattern while staying simple and clean.
The style of quartz, and the movement of the pattern (often referred to as veining) says a lot about your design style. Lighter colors of quartz with gray veining are extremely popular, as is quartz that looks like cement. Taupe veining and other subtle colors are also proving to be trend-forward choices. Bottom line: smooth and clean with a tiny bit of veining definitely trumps the chunky look that was once a must-have.
Do you have a gorgeous countertop you love? Share it with us! Head over to our Facebook page to share your photos. We’d love to see your unique home design!
Kim Brehm is president of Chateau Interiors & Design based in Irvine, California, an independent design firm servicing new homebuilders, and vice president of Studio Chateau, an online options management program for builders and design centers. She is a graduate of FIDM in Los Angeles, and has 30 years of industry experience.