Granite kitchen countertops are so 2008.
I don’t know exactly when granite became the king of the kitchen. It must have been some time in the mid-’90s, because I remember when my mother redid her kitchen and installed a granite countertop, and her book club friends would come over and ooh and ahh so much they’d practically be drooling on it.
My mom was like everyone else in America – granite obsessed. It was the same in every neighborhood in the country: One person would get a granite countertop, and suddenly everyone on the block had to get a granite countertop. It got to the point that if you didn’t have granite and you wanted to sell your house, your Realtor would scrunch up her nose at you and ask if you lived under a rock.
But now, I think the tables have turned. Granite is finally on its way out.
These days, if you want to have a kitchen that really makes the neighbors drool, you’ve got to go for a different kind of surface. Three of the most innovative trends I’ve seen in kitchen countertops lately are countertops made out of stainless steel, glass and solid wood.
Stainless steel refrigerators and other appliances have been the rage among all types of consumers for a while, but I’ve only recently begun noticing kitchens where the entire countertop surface is also make out of stainless steel. It’s a look that screams urban chic and modern masculinity, and as consumers lean towards sleeker, streamlined looks, I think this surface will really gain momentum.
To see an example of this look, check out this photo from Elkay, a company that manufactures stainless steel countertops.
Glass, too, has become a more popular choice in countertops recently. I started noticing glass mosaics and tiles being used more often as a surface for back splashes, both in design showrooms and in some of my friends’ remodeled kitchens. But glass can also be used for an entire surface area as well. Glass countertops are durable, heat resistant and give a fresh, modern look to kitchens, making them a great alternative for any homeowner who doesn’t want her kitchen to look like the one across the street.
For a smooth, sleek glass countertop, check out ThinkGlass (www.thinkglass.com), a Canadian company that makes gorgeous, textured glass countertops for bars, bathrooms and kitchens.
But not all glass countertops are smooth. Some glass countertops mimic the look of granite but are made from a composite of concrete and fragments of colored glass. I’ve come across two companies that make this type of material: Ice Stone (www.icestone.biz) and Vetrazzo (www.vetrazzo.com). This type of surface has the added benefit of using recycled material, making it both fashion-forward and buzz-worthy.
And then there’s wood. For homeowners who are sick of the cold look of granite, you can’t get a much warmer, more inviting aesthetic than by installing countertops made out of solid wood. I still haven’t seen these in any of my friends’ kitchens, but I think this surface will gain popularity now that Home Depot started selling an exclusive line of solid-wood countertops made by Craft-Art (www.craft-art.com). And talk about buzz-worthy: Rachel Ray has one on her show, so you know it’s going to be a hot trend.
What are you seeing in terms of trends in kitchen designs? Do you agree that the granite trend has finally reached its peak in popularity?
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