Kitchen Design Tips
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 Designing, Planning, and Caring for your Dream Kitchen

 

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Most Durable Countertop Materials:

Who Can Take The Heat?

 

Among the many factors to consider when choosing a countertop surface is how well it will withstand the abuse of a busy kitchen. With cooler months upon us and more nights spent inside prepping meals, many of us may be looking at our kitchens and realizing it’s time for an upgrade – in both style and function.

 

There are two clear leaders in the category of heat resistance and overall durability. These options can be counted on to hold up to a hot pan or crock pot without suffering any cracks or lasting damage.

 

Granite

Granite has remained one of the most popular countertop materials for decades, and for good reason: it’s naturally heat resistant and low maintenance. Unless you plan to try out new steel welding techniques on your kitchen island, your granite counter should withstand normal cooking temperatures, even if it comes in direct contact with a hot frying pan once in a while.

 

Even so, you should take some measures to protect your counter – mostly so you don’t have to worry about re-applying the sealer that protects your granite from stains. Invest in a trivet to make your granite last. And be careful about placing extremely hot items near cold ones, especially near an overhang. Granite is susceptible to thermal shock, which can be caused be extreme temperature changes.

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  • Marble
  • Marble is naturally heat resistant. It’s often used for fireplace surrounds since it can endure an open flame – so your hot cookie sheet is nothing. Marble is not quite as impervious as granite, and if you’re using it in your kitchen, it will require a little extra TLC to protect it from scratches and stains. But rest assured that when it comes to high temperatures, marble is one of the most heat resistant stones available.

 

What About Quartz?

Quartz is growing in popularity, and we're always hearing questions about its durability. How does Quartz, which is technically an engineered product, measure up to granite and marble?

 

Quartz is harder than both granite and marble, and therefore often referred to as more durable. However, it is not as heat resistant as granite or marble. When weighing your options, be sure to ask your countertop fabricator about the specific pros and cons of each product.

 

Home owners who cook frequently and spend substantial time in their kitchen may be looking for a surface material that’s not only aesthetically beautiful, but can also hold up to the occasional crock pot or pizza stone. When planning an overhaul of your kitchen, consider how often you’ll be actively using your cooking space. If a reliable surface that is naturally heat-resistant is your top priority, then granite and marble are two safe bets.

 

 

 

November, 2017

Marble Fireplace Surround

Marble fireplace surround by Stone Interiors Alabama

You'll Fall for the Waterfall Effect

 

Creating a “waterfall effect” by extending the edge of a kitchen island all the way to the floor is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the clean, modern shape it creates. When done right, these edges make the slab look thicker and lend a high-end feel. It also serves as the perfect way to show off the stone you so carefully selected, while transforming your kitchen island into a work of art in its own right. The precise, geometric edges make this countertop edge the perfect complement for any modern kitchen.

 

But while waterfall edges are gorgeous, they don’t come easy. Creating the perfect waterfall effect while continuing the natural grain of the stone poses its own special challenge for countertop fabricators. The corner angle needs to be perfectly cut in order to achieve a seamless look and continuous pattern. Even the slightest miscalculation could compromise the overall look of the piece and take away from the visual impact.

 

So if you're considering a waterfall effect (or any other premium edge option, for that matter), carefully consider the fabrication shop you're working with. Here are a few key indicators that you're working with a quality fabricator that can get the job done right:

  • They should have CNC cutting and electronic measuring equipment. This ensures they can take accurate measurements of your space, and have state of the art machinery that can cut precise seams and edges.
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  • Find out if your fabricator has the software to create digital slab replicas. This technology allows your fabrication team to perfectly match the veins of the particular slabs they're using for your countertop.
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  • It's a good sign if your countertop fabricator is MIA accredited. This means they've been thoroughly vetted by the Marble Institute of America and are dedicated to meeting the highest standards in the industry.
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  • Take a look at their previous work and ask questions throughout the process. Have they performed edges like this for previous clients? A fabricator that's been in business for some time should be able to show you photos from previous jobs and answer any questions you may have about their team and facilities.

 

Getting a new countertop is an investment of your time and money, so familiarize yourself with the fabrication company responsible for delivering the countertop you envision. And if you want to give your kitchen a modern feel, a waterfall effect may be just the effect you're looking for.

 

 

 

Waterfall Effect Stone Kitchen Island

November, 2017

Photo courtesy of Nordic Kitchens and Baths Inc.

At Home with the Outdoors:

One Gorgeous Home's Use of Outdoor Space

 

One sign of a successful home design is not necessarily how beautiful the structure itself is, but how well it complements the surrounding landscape. We had the pleasure of working on a home that perfect accentuates its outdoor space, and incorporates the sunny backdrop of Gulfport, Mississippi into the living space.

 

When viewed from the front, it would be hard to believe that more than half of this home’s total volume is an outdoor space. Even within the indoor rooms and atriums, rustic Cleopatra stone flooring and big, open windows blend the surrounding landscape into the home.

 

When the sun is shining, the sliding wooden door on the far wall of the foyer open up to expose the home's gorgeous pool. The pool area is one of the most impressive uses of outdoor space we've seen, in terms of both its structure and the variety of stone applications. The surrounding patio includes multiple sitting areas, a grill, bar, and a cozy fireplace, making this space more than just a pool, but an extension of the living space. The stone floor tiles transition seamlessly from the indoor space to the patio, making the space feel cohesive with the rest of the home. Colonial Gold granite makes for a durable grill workspace and bar. But as beautiful as the design is, it's hard not to look up. A ceiling of windows allows for a panoramic vista of the skies and back bays of Gulfport, Mississippi.

 

In the master bathroom, Calacatta Gold extends the natural glow provided by the large windows adjacent to the tub. The granite is tinted very slightly with a creamy gold, as the name suggests.

 

The kitchen countertops are Colonial Gold, finished with a teak wood eating bar that adds warmth and texture to the contrast the industrial-style kitchen.

 

Thanks to its structure and design, this breathtaking home invites the blissful Southern landscape right into the living space. The materials used highlight the warmth and natural light typical of the Southeast, and make for a home that simply would not be the same anywhere else.

 

 

Colonial Gold Kitchen Countertop
Beautiful Coastal Home Design
Cleopatra Stone Flooring
Stone Tile Pool
Calacatta Gold Bathroom

Unique Lighting Makes This Bathroom Vanity

One of A Kind

 

This master bath would be stunning enough with the soft Cappuccino Onyx vanity and crystal sink bowls. But this home owner decided to incorporate a unique twist that's both eye-catching and surprisingly functional.

 

This bathroom vanity can be independently lit from beneath the stone surface. A number of LED lights line the interior of each cabinet, underneath the vanity. Thanks to the translucency of the Cappuccino Onyx, the bright light emitted by the LEDs shines through. The result is a unique, unexpected glow that lights the room, without being so bright as to shock drowsy eyes at night.

 

The crystal sink bowls at each vanity enhance the glow of the backlit stone with a vibrant sparkle. The warm hues of beige and gold create a cohesive look and make for a bathroom that is both luxurious, and also warm and inviting.

 

The bathroom's dual beauty and functionality is carried out even in the fine details. A small stone pillar, matching the shades of the vanity, functions as both a lamp and a toothbrush cover, while blending in with the rest of the space.

 

We admire any room with original features that serve a purpose. This backlit stone vanity is certainly memorable, and had us wondering why home owners don't incorporate lighting features like this more often.

 

Stone Bathroom Vanity with Crystal Sink Bowls
Backlit Stone Bathroom Vanity
Cappuccino Onyx bathroom vanity features

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