Monthly Archives: April 2017

White on White in 2017

At the start of every year, homeowners, designers, and builders are polled to help discover the new trends that will emerge in the coming months. This year, one of the predominant kitchen themes is the white on white look of white cabinetry paired with white countertops. And while an all-white kitchen may seem stark, done right it can be beautiful, timeless, and elegant. The key is to opt for a white countertop that isn’t just stark or flat white, but that has some additional interest or movement to it.

Green Street traditional-kitchen

There are many white natural stones that can work beautifully in this type of situation. Bianco Carrara is probably the best known and most popular, but it’s far from being the only white stone that can be used in these types of kitchens.

White granites, which are more durable and less maintenance than a white marble, can be one choice that gives you the look, along with a lot of character and interest. Stones like Andromeda or Colonial White have a very clean white background with deep black or grain veining and granules. No two slabs are ever the same, so you can get that white on white look, but with a unique twist at the same time.

If you want something softer than granite, consider looking at a white quartzite as well. Monte Blanc has a white background with rich swirls of gray moving across it like storm clouds. Quartzite is also easier to maintain than marble, but has more of the appearance that people want in a white stone.

If you choose to go the route of white marble in the kitchen, consider moving away from the classic Bianco Carrara to get a unique look for your kitchen instead. Stones like Calacatta Mystery have a white background but with gold veining, something that brings a unique and warmer touch to the kitchen.

An al- white kitchen doesn’t have to be stark to be beautiful. Consider using a natural stone for your white counter to get the look you want, with the depth and interest that will bring your kitchen to life.

The Best Natural Stone for Backsplashes

Backsplashes complete the kitchen design, adding detail, dimension, and interest to the room. Because this area gets no foot traffic and only sees minimal water or other liquids, it’s common to use decorative tiles that may not be suitable for other areas of the home here. You have a lot of choices for what to install in this area, and many people already using natural stone on their countertops or floors, like to use a similar material on the backsplash as well for continuity. There are many stones that make a beautiful choice for backsplashes, many of which are also perfectly on trend this year.

Gallery traditional-kitchen

For the last few years, a mosaic mixture of slate and glass tiles has been an exceptionally popular material for the backsplash. Slate is an easy to care for stone that doesn’t stain like some softer materials. It has a lot of natural variation and texture, and paired with glass it adds a lot of depth to the backsplash. To get more out of the design, consider mixing the mosaics with some larger slate tiles along the countertops, running a border of the mosaic mix along the edges, then filling in larger areas, like those behind the cooktop, with the mosaic by itself.

For Country-style kitchens, subway tile is one of the most popular looks. If your Country kitchen is also white in color, consider using a honed Bianco Carrara subway tile. Honed Bianco Carrara has a soft, flat appearance that hides things like scratches and etch marks well, so even if some lemon juice splashes onto the tile, the effect won’t be seen.

If you’re interested in creating a unique, yet natural look in the kitchen, consider installing river stones. These mesh-mounted stones have a look reminiscent of a Zen garden, and have lots of visual appeal with different sizes and colors available. Commonly used on floors, they make an instant impact when used on a backsplash as well.

Finally, consider simply matching or complementing your countertop by running a similar stone on the walls up to the ceiling. The effect will help unify the space, and ensure that your kitchen obtains a cohesive look. Whichever stone you choose, you’re sure to get the beauty, depth, and interest you need to make the design complete.

Understanding Black Granite

There are a number of stones on the market that claim to be true, black granite. Black stones are popular in many homes for their beauty when polished or honed, and are unmatched when it comes to durability and low maintenance. Most real black granites on the market are actually Gabbros, a type of igneous rock that is very dense, hard, and non-porous, making them ideal for any type of countertop application. Unfortunately, not every stone sold as black granite really is black; some Chinese stones are being dyed to blacken their surface and make them more visually appealing, while hiding defects. This black dye can fade or wear off over time, giving the unsuspecting homeowner an unwelcome surprise. Get to know real black granite before you purchase, so that you can be sure that you’re getting the best quality stone.

Classic Transformation traditional-kitchen

Your first clue as to the quality of the stone should come from its origins. Absolute Black, Absolute Black Premium, and Absolute Black Super Premium are all quarried in India, and are very dense, dark, and high quality stones. Black Galaxy, which has a black background with flecks of Bronzite in its surface is another very high quality black stone that has not been dyed.

Many black stones imported from China for a lower cost may have white veining, voids, fissures, or pits in their surface. These are often dyed black to help disguise the issues. Be wary of any black stone quarried in China, even with the name “Absolute Black”.

Other high quality black stones will have either a “rice” grain texture to them, or may have a silvery appearance; stones by the names of Zimbabwe Black, Nero Impala, and Cambrian Black should not be flat black in color, but should have some variation. Any stone by these names with a flat black color may have been dyed.

If you suspect a stone of being dyed, request a sample. Wipe a white cloth soaked in Acetone over the surface of the sample. If a black residue comes off on the cloth, the stone has been dyed.

A true black counter can enhance any room it’s installed in. Protect yourself by getting to know black granite to ensure you get the best quality product for your home.

Cantilevering Stone Counters

It’s becoming more common for homeowners remodeling a kitchen to add a casual, eat-in option to the plan. In many cases this involves creating a counter-height seating area at an island or peninsula, giving the kitchen a variety of uses and functions in one small area. To facilitate this counter-height seating area, the countertop must be extended past the edge of the cabinetry, often by as much as 12 to 18-inches, or enough for people to comfortably place their knees beneath. There are several ways that this can be achieved, most of which involve some form of support for the stone.

Ackerly Park ~ New Albany, Ohio rustic-kitchen

Some homeowners may feel that by adding a support beneath the stone that it detracts from the look or style of the kitchen. And while it is true that in some contemporary spaces, it can be difficult to find a visible support that also complements the space, stone should not be extended more than 6-inches past the edge of the cabinetry without some type of support.

While natural stone that is 3cm thick appears substantial, not all stones are durable enough to withstand the pressure of 12 to 18-inches of no support. Over time, some stones may slope or bend slightly, eventually cracking or breaking at the point where they pass the cabinetry, simply through daily use. Sitting on the counter or placing heavy objects on its edge may increase the risks of this happening more quickly.

Using a support bracket helps ensure that your stone will function in this position for the longest possible time. If a bracket is truly not going to work in your kitchen design, consider putting a thin piece of pressed steel beneath the counter, out to within three inches of its edge. As long as the metal is around 1/8-inch in thickness, it will be strong enough to support the stone, but won’t be visible from above.

Always support stone overhangs on counters to ensure that the stone maintains its integrity as long as you own the kitchen.