Countertop Trends for 2018

111Photo: Prestige M&G

Your countertops are a vital component of your kitchen, ultimately, they are where the action happens. And if you’re remodeling or looking to buy a home, countertops are probably on your mind. But you don’t want to start life in your new kitchen with dated decor. Here’s what is hot right now in the world of countertops.

Neutrals, Neutrals, Neutrals

Neutral tones like beige, gray, and tans are seeing a huge resurgence in popularity in home decor in general, but especially in the kitchen. And don’t think neutral has to mean boring! Modern kitchen design is focusing on highlighting the individual components of the room against a softer colored counter.

The yellow and green decor accents really pop against this santa cecilia granite, which complements the light, airy feeling of this kitchen perfectly. The neutral palette will also easily accommodate a variety of color or design schemes.neutralPhoto: Memorable Decor
The neutral gray island counter keeps the focus on the midcentury modern design elements dominating this space. This kitchen completely reinforces the idea that neutral colors can be fun.102335341.jpg.rendition.largestPhoto: Better Homes & Gardens

Integrated Sinks

The integrated sink is a huge trend for 2018. Integrated sinks are made of the same material as the countertop, creating a seamless, modern look. It’s important to be aware that not all materials are suited for the purpose of a sink. Stainless steel, quartz, concrete, and marble will all endure being a sink.

We love the double-level element of this integrated sink. One of the most functional aspects of this sink style is how easy it makes clean up; this design takes that to the next level.sarah-blee-claudio-silverstrin-sinkPhoto: Remodelista

Patterns & Veining

Homeowners today are gravitating toward more unique countertops. Veining is in, and materials like quartz are being offered with more realistic swirls and patterns that look more natural than ever.

The beautiful gray veining of this kitchen island makes it an absolute show stopper.Which-Wood-Is-Best-For-Kitchen-Cabinets-Aqua-Glass-Tile-Backsplash-Using-Granite-Tiles-For-Countertops-Portable-Kitchen-Island-Breakfast-Bar-Gerber-FaucetsPhoto: Erbria

Textured Surfaces

Stone countertops have long been polished and shiny, and while that look will never go out of style, today’s homeowners are gravitating toward counters with a bit more character. You can check out our post, Finish Options for your Granite Counters, to learn more about the different textures available for your counters.

A leathered finish creates an almost water-washed look for your counters. This design takes it a step further with a rough edge as well.040Photo: Anchors Rest

Quartz

Quartz isn’t new this year, but its popularity has never been greater. And it doesn’t seem like this trend is going anywhere anytime soon. Quartz is non-porous, making it extremely resistant to staining, and very hygienic. It’s also super durable and available in a huge number of colors and patterns. Read Quartz vs Quartzite: What’s the Difference, to learn if quartz might be right for your kitchen.

Quartz works with any design aesthetic and makes a beautiful surface in any kitchen.
quartz-counter-xlPhoto: This Old House

Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

 

 

Finish Options for your Granite Counters

18199422_1324100174325922_1350130141026771919_nPhoto: Prestige M&G

Granite has been the number one natural stone choice among homeowners and builders for years. It’s beauty and durability are just some of the reasons for its popularity. When you think about granite counters, you likely envision a shiny, smooth stone. The polished look has been the most popular countertop finish choice for years, and is still the most utilized today. As homeowners have started looking for more unique options, changing up the appearance of granite with different finishing techniques has become more fashionable.

Polished

Polished granite countertops are probably what you think of when you think of granite. To achieve this look the stone is buffed to the highest possible level. The glossy, highly-reflective surface draws attention to the stone and perfectly displays the flecks, veining, and other desirable characteristics that make each slab one of a kind. A polished finish can also work as a stain repellant, making it a great option for a kitchen prep/work space.

20638436_1421843744551564_6806475974364016893_nPhoto: Prestige M&G

Honed

If you love the look of granite but aren’t a fan of the super shiny style, a honed finish might be exactly what you’re looking for. A honed finish is still extremely smooth, but has a decidedly more matte appearance. Natural imperfections may be more noticeable with this finish, and it is definitely more susceptible to watermarks and fingerprints than the traditional polished look.

farmhousePhoto: Houzz
An example of honed versus polished finishes on the same slab for comparison sake.
honedPhoto: Goodfellas Granite

Leathered

Similar to the honed finish, leathered stone isn’t glossy or reflective. But this is where the similarities stop. Unlike polished and honed countertops, the leathering process results in a surface riddled with fissures and has a pitted feel, like a fine piece of leather. For this reason, leathering may not be the best option for a busy cook’s kitchen, as it can be slightly more difficult to truly deep clean. Because every stone is unique, the leathering will appear more pronounced on some slabs than others.

leathered-granite-countertops-granite-leathered-granite-countertops-picturesPhoto: Homehad
A close-up of a leathered granite countertop.ideas-leathered-finish-black-granite-dupont-square-edge-design-ideas-for-kitchen-countertop-plus-leathered-granite-exciting-leathered-granite-for-kitchen-countertops-matte-granite.jpgPhoto: Elerwanda

Flamed

A flamed finish is created by firing an intense heat at the granite, causing the stone to burst and change color. The process results in a rougher, textured finish with a faded, more natural seeming appearance. Flamed granite works best in damper areas, where slip-resistance is an important factor. Because of how well-suited this finish is in exterior, uncovered areas, flamed granite is extremely popular for outdoor kitchens.  Don’t feel confined by this if you really love this look,  it can be used functionally in almost any room in your home.

flamed-granite-countertops-2-flamed-black-granite-countertops-666-x-408.jpgPhoto: Sick Chick Chic
A close-up of a flamed granite countertop.pin.jpgPhoto: Pinterest

Prestige Marble & Granite is happy to answer any questions you may have about different counter finishes, and what will work best for your personal style and needs. We are here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

 

 

Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen

outdooPhoto: Imagine Backyard

The first kitchen was really just a fire outside. And ever since cooking was brought indoors, people have been finding numerous reasons to take it back outside. The summer heat has always been a big factor in wanting outdoor kitchen space, especially here in the South. Before air conditioning, summer kitchens made the hottest, most humid months slightly more bearable for southerners everywhere. Keeping away smoke and lingering food smells have also always been popular reasons for wanting to cook outside. Today, the desire to entertain and create a fun space for your family and friends has pushed the outdoor kitchen to the next level.

American actress Jane Wyman with her portable bbq in press photos in the early 1950s.janewymanPhoto: Tumblr

Outdoor kitchens today are so much more than a grill and some patio furniture. Today’s outdoor kitchens extend the living space of your home and are considered a great investment in your property.  The average outdoor kitchen costs between 12,000 and 15,000 dollars. While you definitely don’t have to spend that much, you can easily spend way more. The options are almost limitless. Understandably, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But no worries, we’ve got a few tips to help out, regardless of your budget.

kitchen-in-backyard-e1503366589243.jpgPhoto: Slodive
Determine How You want to Use Your Kitchen

Be honest with yourself. How much space do you have? Are you going to use this outdoor kitchen for serious entertaining or will you be grilling outside occasionally? Will your kitchen be covered, even partially? These questions are important as the list of  possible amenities is long. And when designing your outdoor space you should keep in mind that certain appliances require greater levels of protection from the elements than others. And depending on your budget and plans for usage, it’s important to prioritize what appliances you choose. Some of the most popular outdoor kitchen appliances include grills/smokers, refrigerators/freezers, ice makers, and sinks.

A pergola is a great option for a smaller outdoor kitchen.  It helps define the space and allows for maximum airflow while still providing shade and protection from the harshness of the elements. If you have a green thumb a pergola is a great place to both grow and hang plants on.pergPhoto: Backyard Unlimited
Heaters, a fireplace, curtains and fans make this huge outdoor kitchen space an amazing year-round entertaining space.Beautiful-modern-porch-has-it-allPhoto: Decoist
Layout & Design

When choosing the site for your outdoor kitchen you need to think about how you’re going to hook up the utilities. You will probably want to run electricity and/or gas, and even water out to your space. Designing an outdoor kitchen isn’t that different from designing an indoor kitchen.

You’ll notice that the designs that incorporate the sink and refrigerator all do so in a way that creates the ubiquitous “kitchen triangle”. This is a design principle that says the most efficient kitchen layout is one where the cooktop, sink, and refrigerator form a triangle shape, with no leg of the triangle being longer than 10 feet.
layoutsPhoto: Pinterest

A functional outdoor kitchen should consist of four key areas or zones. First, the hot zone, where you’ll put your grill, smoker, pizza oven, etc. Conversely, the cold zone, where your refrigerator, freezer, beverage centers, etc. will be. Ideally, these zones won’t be right next to each other. Having hot and cold elements next to each other will force those appliances to work harder to function properly, wasting energy and potentially shortening their lifespans. The wet zone is where the sinks, ice-makers, kegerators, dishwashers, etc. are in the space. This is the area that really upgrades an outdoor entertaining area into a fully functioning kitchen. Lastly, you will want prep space. Prep space is not only the counters where you prepare food, but also cabinets and storage options.

This kitchen clearly lays out the four different zones. You can see that the separation between hot, cold, and wet zones naturally creates the “kitchen triangle.”ou.jpgPhoto: Pinterest
Choosing the Proper Materials

There are certainly a few different factors to consider when deciding what materials to use for your outdoor kitchen. Durability has to be considered equally to the style that matches your home and design aesthetic. Natural stone is a great choice for your outdoor kitchen countertops. While not really an issue here in Tennessee, it’s important to note that some stones don’t hold up to the possible expansion that can come with freezing/thawing as well as others. If you live somewhere with more extreme conditions you should always check with your fabricator that the stone you choose will work outside.

This design seamlessly incorporates granite, wood, brick, and stainless steel.presoutPhoto: Prestige M & G

There are other factors to consider when choosing which stone to use. Granite is an extremely popular choice thanks to its overall durability. Granite easily stands up to both regular use and weather. It doesn’t stain, nor does it absorb odors. With granite it’s recommended that you choose mid-range to lighter colors, as darker stones will hold heat and can become hot to the touch under sun.

This granite is absolutely beautiful outside. It blends wonderfully with the landscaping, nearby pool/fountain, and stainless steel appliances. It’s light color ensures it won’t absorb too much heat, nor will it fade in the sun.granite-countertop-outdoor-1Photo: MGSI

Soapstone is another durable option. Although your color options are limited to shades of gray and black, soapstone is stain, heat, and bacteria resistant. Soapstone does scratch more easily than other types of stone, those scratches are fairly easy to repair though.

If you want a darker countertop, soapstone is a great option. It doesn’t hold heat the same way granite does and is still polished and durable.soapstonePhoto: Urban Kitchen Design

Marble is always a beautiful option but is considerably softer than other stones. While it will last a long time, weather will eventually cause noticeable wear. For this reason it isn’t recommended that you use polished marble outside. There are other stone options you can discuss with your fabricator. Concrete and tile are also sometimes used as outdoor countertops.

While planning for hot and cold zones is important, in some smaller spaces your options might be limited. Here, a two-drawer, outdoor refrigerator maximizes space for cold food and drink storage. The brick used in this design is a great insulator between the cold refrigerator and hot grill. The large soapstone countertops are a great choice for a rooftop kitchen with minimal protection from the elements.
small.jpgPhoto: Kalamazoo Gourmet

Whatever outdoor kitchen you can dream up,  Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

Tips for Choosing the Right Fabricator

fAll photos Prestige M & G

Countertop choice is a huge part of any home design or renovation process. Homeowners spend a lot of time deciding exactly which slab makes the perfect statement for their space.  Equally, if not even more important than choosing the right slab, is choosing the right fabricator. How is this possible?

The right fabricator will be able to help you choose the right material and slab for your needs. They will be able to explain proper maintenance to insure your counters stay beautiful. While this seems like an obvious part of the job, many fabricators simply don’t take the time or have the knowledge. Founded by Aaron Cook, Prestige Marble & Granite has over 15 years experience in fabricating the highest quality natural stone countertops, earning the company a fabulous reputation as the premier marble and granite business in the region.

aaron

There are several different things to consider when choosing your fabricator, some more obvious than others. Here are some important questions to ask to ensure you are completely happy with your final choice, and ultimately your countertops!

What kind of Certifications does the fabricator have?

An established and professional fabricator will be certified. It’s as simple as that. Fabrication and installation certification programs establish industry-wide standards for training and provide measurable proof of knowledge about both the process and products. Prestige Marble & Granite is a member of the Marble Institute of America, which is an instrumental force in setting the standards of quality for stone fabrication and installation. Prestige is also a member of the Home Builder’s Association of Middle Tennessee and the Stone Fabricators Alliance.

 

What options do they offer?

Countertops today are made from a wide range of different materials. Are you looking for something that will need to stand up to daily use or are you more interested in creating a specific look? An ideal fabricator will be able to help you choose the best option for your usage, budget, and aesthetic desire.  They will be experienced with multiple materials and offers a wide array of choices: granite, marble, quartz, etc. Also, it’s important to be aware of the fact that no two pieces of stone are exactly the same. For that reason its important to find out if you will be able to choose your actual slab, or have to make your decision based on a small sample.

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What kind of equipment do they use? And do they have in-house installation teams?

Top professional fabricators throughout the U.S. use the latest in digital stone cutting technology. This is important when simple mistakes can be costly, cause delays, and negatively affect the final look of your beautiful counters. At Prestige we use state-of-the-art CNC stone cutting machines, routers, and digital templating for quality fabrication and on-time delivery. With digital templating, we can account for the undulation of your wall and ensure the counters match up perfectly.  From your vision to computerized CAD drawing to installation of your countertop, your project will receive state-of-the-art craftsmanship and the attention to detail it deserves. We also never use subcontractors and invite you to come see how we operate anytime!

This is our CNC saw, the GMM Intra. The Intra allows us to either program on the floor or import a CAD drawing. The Intra can cut parallel, perpendicular and diagonal arcs and circumferences. This machine allows Prestige to cut a wide range of materials quickly and with absolute precision.
cnc-saw.jpg
The Luna 740S is an automatic edge polisher which has been specifically designed to produce straight, slanted , bullnose, and a variety of other edges. This machine is capable of profiling  granite, marble, and engineered stones quickly and efficiently.
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The fact that we at Prestige are completely involved in the entire process, from design to fabrication to installation, helps ensure your counter tops turn out exactly as you imagine.

 

Do they provide references? Can you see examples of their finished projects?

A reputable fabricator will be able to provide references of recent projects. If you can visit one of their job sites and/or showroom, that’s also highly recommended. This allows you to ensure the quality of their finished work meets your standards. This requires a bit of extra research and work on your part, but will absolutely help provide peace of mind about such a big investment into your home.

Do they provide a warranty on their work?

When making any kind of large purchase it’s nice to know the company you are working with will stand behind their work. At Prestige we offer a lifetime warranty on all stone and sinks. We are passionate about making your installation a success and are dedicated to the level of customer service required to ensure your happiness for the lifetime of your counters. Prestige’s commitment to customer satisfaction has earned us an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

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Whatever project you can dream up,  Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design, fabrication, and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom and bring their ideas and questions with them anytime!

 

All About Soapstone

Fantasy Soapstone from Brazil is a beautiful, soft blue-gray with dramatic quartz veining.

Do you remember your high school chemistry class? If so, you might recall the black countertops the Bunsen burners sat on. Those countertops are made of soapstone, a metamorphic rock that consists of talc, steatite, magnesite, quartz, and other magnesium rich minerals. Soapstone is the countertop material of choice for chemistry classes because its chemically inert composition and high density make it impervious to stains and bacteria. The qualities that make soapstone a good choice for chemistry classes are the same qualities that make it good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

Physical Characteristics of Soapstone

The talc found in soapstone is soft to the touch, lending a smooth feeling of  dry soap, which is how soapstone got its name. The colors of soapstone are typically medium gray and can have a greenish cast or bluish cast (the greener the slab, the softer it is, so seek out slabs with less of a green cast if you want a harder slab). Soapstone slabs can contain pronounced veining, which is produced by quartz in the stone.

Qualities of Soapstone

Durability is one of soapstone’s top features. It’s unaffected by heat (it was often used for wood-burning stoves from the 1800s that are still functioning today) so you can place your hot pans and pots directly on the surface with no risk.

Unlike granite, marble, and quartzite, soapstone is not porous. This means that you can put raw foods on the countertop without worrying about bacteria growth. It never needs sealing and cannot be stained.

The talc content is what makes soapstone softer than some other stones, which leads to edges and corners being eased over time. Nicks and scratches may accumulate, but they can be easily rubbed or sanded out or considered part of its patina.

Caring for Soapstone

Soap and water is all you need. Because of its extreme density, soapstone is naturally resistant to bacteria and germs. Use a bit of mild, pH balanced, clear dish soap when you want a heavier clean than just water. As with marble and granite, do not use any acidic or heavy duty cleaners on your soapstone.

Many homeowners like to oil or wax their soapstone once or twice a year. This keeps the color more vibrant and will bring out a charcoal to black color. This is an optional treatment. If you don’t treat your soapstone, it will develop a beautiful patina over the years.

Little white scratches on your soapstone countertops can usually just be wiped away with your hand or a bit of mineral oil. If you really cut hard with a knife, or accidentally drop something heavy onto the stone, you may get a nick or scratch that can’t be wiped away with water or oil. In that case, the scratch can be sanded out. Use three sandpaper pads (60, 100, and 220 grit), and lightly sand the spot in a circular motion with each, starting with the lowest grit. Then wipe off any dust and use mineral oil or water to restore the color. It’s that easy.

The ageless beauty of soapstone is at home in any design style and will be an asset to any project. Here’s a look at some beautiful uses of soapstone in kitchens and baths.

Chestnut Hill kitchen
updated kitchen
Crocus Hill Kitchen
Interior Paint Projects
Elk Ridge Lodge
SoHo NYC Loft Kitchen With Virginia Alberene Soapstone
San Francisco Edwardian Home
Northwest Guest Bathroom
Spa-Like Bathroom
To see even more beautiful soapstone countertops, click over to our Pinterest board! 
Prestige Marble and Granite offers quality sopastone, in addition to many other beautiful stone varieties. Whatever stone you choose, rest assured our experienced fabricators can handle the job!

Spring Renewal at Prestige Marble & Granite

Vitoria Stone Fair 2016 in Brazil
Vitoria Stone Fair 2016 in Brazil – With over 25,000 visitors from 57 countries and more than 1200 types of rocks, this largest ornamental stone fair in Latin America showed the trends for 2016, as well as machines, equipment and supplies.
Aaron Cook at Stone Expo
Prestige owner Aaron Cook purchasing a new state-of-the-art polishing machine at the StoneExpo‬ in Las Vegas (part of the International Surface event, TISE)

Spring is a time for refreshing and renewing; and Prestige Marble & Granite is no exception. Our Spring renewal each year begins with attending national and international stone fairs and expos, where we meet with other industry pros and suppliers, get the scoop on upcoming trends for using natural stone in interior design, as well as learn about the latest and greatest in fabrication technology. After walking what feels like thousands of miles on convention hall floors and networking with hundreds of fellow “stone people,” our  Spring refresh culminates with a big buying trip, allowing us to bring you the best and most beautiful in natural stone for your interior design projects.

This year our Spring Renewal brings you four truckloads of stunning new stones! Here’s a look at some of our new favorites. ( Keep in mind that pictures don’t exactly convey the true colors and beauty of the stones, and patterns within a color will vary from slab to slab. We invite you to visit our showroom to view these unique beauties in person!)

CREMA BORDEAUX

Crema Bordeaux slab

Crema Bordeaux is famous for its amazing colors and is often said to resemble the planet Jupiter with its swirling pink and cream patterns. While there is no standard predominant color for this granite, you can expect a combination of certain minerals and colors in varying levels of saturation. You’ll find creamy golden tones combined with red hues that range from soft pink to golden orange to rusty burgundy. Grey to dark blue mineral deposits ground the red tones, making this stunning stone easy to integrate in most any design scheme.

PURPLE DUNES

Purple Dunes slab

This distinctive granite from Brazil has dramatic veining in deep purples, golds, grays, creams, and browns. Purple Dunes is very durable, making it ideal for for interiors, well as landscaping projects and and outdoor kitchens in climates with freezing temperatures.

Life is Good

Life is Good granite

Don’t you love the soft, organic vibe of the directional veining in this blue marble? We’re wild about our new “Life is Good.” This stunning blue-hued slab has soft, but distinct diagonal streaks in shades of grey and beige, making it an elegant choice for both kitchens and baths.

VIENNA GRANITE

Vienna Granite slab

This beautiful slab of Vienna granite is fabulously modern in appearance with multi-directional veining and dramatic mineral deposits that really pop – giving the stone a modern edge. Vienna would be a stunning complement to any contemporary design!

These four beautiful selections are just a few in our extensive collection of designer stones! We offer the largest selection of the highest quality, rare and exotic natural stones available in Middle Tennessee – we would love for you stop by and browse any time.