Archive for the 'Countertops' Category



Granite, Marble, Quartz or Laminate – Which countertop is right for you?

With our great nation’s holiday now behind us, did you take time to pay special attention to your cooking habits as we suggested in our last blog post? Cooking, at any time and for any occasion, is a necessity that is as simple or as extravagant as you wish to make it.

couple preparing a meal in their newly designed kitchenHaving a well-planned space, enough storage and decent work areas to prepare meals makes any cooking experience more efficient and enjoyable. Your countertops are also an important factor in how you use your kitchen for meal preparation. Do you slice and dice fruits and veggies right on the counter or do you use a cutting board? Using a cutting board will protect your countertop from scratches and stains, especially if your countertop is made from porous materials such as granite, marble or a laminate material that can be damaged from cutting.

Untidy kitchen table

Take extra care to prevent stains and scratches on your countertop

Do you tend to make big splashes when you’re cooking? Something to consider if you like making your own homemade tomato sauce, turkey dinner or roasting a delicious prime rib with an au jus sauce, is the possibility of splatter, drips and spills. This is where having a solid design plan for the specific needs of your future kitchen  will make a world of difference. Like cabinetry and decorative hardware, countertops also come in a wide variety of material, colors and textures, styles and capabilities.

Some of the most beautiful and decorative countertops are granite and marble. Both are natural resources and offer an abundant array of visual aesthetics with their color striations and patterns created by the environment over time. One caveat with these materials, however, is the fact that they are both porous and can absorb elements that will leave a stain on your counter. Be sure to take extra care during your kitchen activities to avoid damaging your countertop.

A great alternative to the natural beauties mentioned above is engineered stone known as quartz. The engineering process includes natural materials and man-made materials. The colors and patterns can be bold and vibrant for a fun and active kitchen, or more neutral for a space that is more traditional in caliber. Quartz countertops are becoming more widely known for durability against heat, stains and scratches. SileStone has just expanded their product line and now offer more vibrant colors and new collections that more closely resemble true granite. Speaking of scratches, solid surfaces, such as products made by Corian can be renewed if they are damaged.

silestone countertop sample tiles

Let our professionals here at Kitchen Views at National Lumber help you decide what type of countertop will work best for your home, your budget and your family!

Do It Yourself vs. Hiring a Pro

Image of woman's thought bubbles dreaming of a new kitchen.

Want your dream kitchen without the nightmares? Hire a pro.

How many times have you ever thought about remodeling or changing something in your home, but felt a little intimidated? It seems the more you talk about your project idea to friends and family, you get a rainbow’s wide spectrum of “You can do that yourself,” to “I can help you with that,” or “Call so-and-so. They do that kind of work, on the side. You’ll save some money.”

While you may be feeling ambitious and confident with the DIY advice you’re hearing, take time to really think about the scope of the work that will need to be done to complete your project perfectly, as well as the budget you’re going to set aside for it. Everyone offering you suggestions will have the best intentions for you and share your excitement, and will undoubtedly be as anxious to see the finished project as you are to show it.

Hiring a reputable, professional contractor may offer you peace of mind while you are in the midst of your project, and save you money, in the long run. You will need to consider the ability of those you choose to help you, whether it is a professional contractor or someone else. Choosing to forgo hiring a professional contractor may end up more costly than you expected. Click here to read this article from Cultivate about how just purchasing a new stove created costly turmoil for this homeowner.

We, here at Kitchen Views and National Lumber, sell more than just building supplies. In fact, our professionals help you plan out your project and, perhaps, alert you to issues you may not anticipate. We have everything in building materials PLUS the services you deserve!

The Pros and Cons of Under Counter Appliances

Designed to Inspire

Are you planning a kitchen remodel in the future? Do you often find yourself longing for more counter space? While you are planning, and determining your budget, you may want to consider some of these space saving ideas suggested by Shelly Amoroso, a designer in San Francisco. Knowing your spatial and financial limits, you will have the ability to really maximize on your new kitchen’s functionality.

under counter warming draw is great kitchen appliance to include in your kitchen design if you do a lot of entertaining

A warming draw is great option if you do a lot of entertaining

From a modular refrigerator to double duty drawers, the following article enlightens the homeowner on how to make the most of your kitchen using under the counter appliances. As with any design project, there are pros and cons to consider.  While you plan your wish list, think about what matters most to you. Then you can decide to integrate the best system that will work for you.  Click here to read the full article about The Pros and Cons of Undercounter Appliances, by Leilani Marie Labona.

Kitchen Views
1-508-DESIGNS
http://www.kitchenviews.com

Formica’s Five New 180fx Laminate Countertop Options

Formica Dolce Vita Laminate Countertops

Formica Dolce Vita Laminate Countertop

Formica has expanded its 180fx line with five new full-scale laminate patterns, which include Dolce Vita (shown above), Bianca Luna, Crema Mascarello, Travertine Gold, and Nacarado.

From KBB Online’s review:

The patterns include Dolce Vita, which melds shades of off-white, gray and charcoal with a hint of gray-based rose and dusky violet; Bianca Luna, modeled after white quartzite with large and small white particulates and gray veining throughout; Crema Mascarello, which includes soft tones of white, off-white, taupe and warm gray; Travertine Gold, reminiscent of a vein-cut travertine with alternating layers of cream and caramel with gray details; and Nacarado, which takes inspiration from Brazilian quartzite, with a base of cream swirled with veins of gold, rust and gray, and white veining.

Contact a kitchen design showroom near you to learn more about Formica laminate and solid surface countertops.

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com/countertops

Cambria Berkeley and Rosslyn Countertop Designs

This August, Cambria has released two new countertop designs: Berkeley and Rosslyn.  Berkeley is a new part of Cambria’s Waterstone Collection. Here’s what Cambria says about this new design and the origin of its name:

“Berkeley takes its name from a southern English town, and its inspiration from the river that runs through it. Hints of copper and a smattering of bronze swim among a riverbed of sandy tones, infusing this tastefully restrained design with equal parts verve and elegance.” 

Learn more about the Berkeley design on Cambria’s website.

Cambria’s other new August release, Rosslyn, is a part of their Jewel Collection. Here’s what Cambria has to say about Rosslyn:

Like the sunlight that pierces the mysterious shadows of the wondrous Rosslyn Chapel [in Scotland], this design’s striking metallic golds shimmer against a nuanced background of taupe and tans in a masterful addition to the Jewel Collection.

Learn more about the Rosslyn design on Cambria’s website.

These and many other quartz countertop designs are available from all Kitchen Views showrooms.

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com

Take Your Countertop Samples Home – Dennis Serge

Dennis Serge, Designer at Kitchen Views in Mansfield, MA

Today, an increasing number of customers are choosing to enhance the beauty of their remodeled kitchen by selecting more high end countertops, particularly Granite and Quartz. When choosing which stone color is right for you, I would caution you to remember one thing. Do not base your decision solely on the small hand samples available in the showroom. To be sure, these can be very helpful in narrowing down the choice of which colors are appealing, and they are useful in eliminating colors that may be too light or too dark, or colors that do not contrast well with the cabinet finish that you have selected. However, these samples are generally too small to display all of the pattern variations and nuances of color and shading that can be seen in larger slabs of the stone.

To ensure your ultimate satisfaction with the product you choose, I strongly suggest that you do two things. First, once you have narrowed down your initial choices, arrange to borrow the samples, take them home and look at them in the conditions of your own home. Variations in lighting can have a subtle effect on color and highlights in the stone that many people do not realize. Many times I have heard customers comment that, when viewed in the natural light of their own kitchen, some samples looked slightly different than they appeared to be in the showroom. In some cases, this has caused customers to change their minds regarding a particular color.

Our countertop selection gallery at our design showroom in Mansfield, MA

Our countertop selection gallery at our showroom in Mansfield, MA

Once you have gone through this process and made a choice that you are comfortable with, the next thing to do is arrange to travel to the fabricator’s warehouse to view actual slabs of the stone. This provides the opportunity to see a much larger sampling, note the variations that occur, and select the pieces that will be most appealing to you. Some people view traveling to the fabricator as an inconvenience, but I believe it is a necessary one. These countertop materials represent a substantial investment, costing at least several thousand dollars in most cases. Just as you would not purchase an automobile with taking a test drive, do not commit to purchasing any stone countertop without first taking a look at what the fabricator offers.

If you take the time to follow these two relatively simple steps, you can rest assured that your new countertops will be a wonderful and attractive enhancement to your beautiful new kitchen.

Dennis Serge, Showroom Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
71 Maple Street, Mansfield, MA 02048
Tel.: 508-339-8020  Ext. 5617
Fax: 508-261-6426
dserge@kitchenviews.com

Silestone Nebula Engineered Stone Countertops and Surfaces

Silestone Nebula Series Countertop

If you’re looking for marble countertops, but don’t have the space in your budget, you can always turn to the new Nebula series surfaces from Silestone. While nothing will ever quite be the real thing, Silestone’s veined engineered stone comes close, but even more importantly, gives you a marble-like look without the bother of staining or chipping. With prices starting from about $65 per square foot (somewhat more if you include the integrated sink), it’s very affordable and worth checking out.

There are six available colors: Altair, Cygnus, Lyra, Doradus, Merope, and Lagoon. All colors are available in either leather and polished finish. Check out the Silestone Nebula Series webpage for information about colors and more:.

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com

Selecting Countertop Materials

A wide selection of countertop materials is available to choose from, each with its own benefits and limitations. The following is a summary of the countertop options available for your kitchen or bath.

Granite Countertop on Island

Granite – Created from nature and formed by man, granite has fast become a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops with a timeless appeal. Granite is an elegant and beautiful material that has a wide range of colors, patterns and finishes to choose from. It is an extremely hard material that can withstand heat and scratches. A sealer must be applied to granite on an annual basis to protect it from staining, as it is porous and can stain without this protection. Also, the seams in a granite countertop are visible. Most granite is polished prior to fabrication, giving it a shiny finish. “Honed” granite is also available, providing a more subtle matte finish.

Corian Solid Surface Countertop

Solid Surfaces – Developed by DuPont over 40 years ago, Corian was one of the first solid surfaces created specifically for countertop applications. Today, a number of manufacturers make a comparable nonporous surface, which will not stain and is completely renewable. One of the best attributes of a solid surface countertop is the fact that there are no visible seams and integral sinks are also available. With over 100 colors to choose from, all solid surfaces are accompanied by a manufacturer’s warranty.

Cambria Quartz Kitchen Countertop

Quartz Surfaces – One of the newest countertop materials available, quartz surfaces have entered the market within the past decade. This surface is a blend of natural and man-made materials that, like granite, can be fabricated with either a polished or honed finish. Cambria, HanStone, and LG Viatera are a few quartz surface options.

Engineered Stone – Considered a “care-free surface,” Engineered Stone is an extremely  durable material that is resistant to scratches, chips and stains, as well as being heat-resistant and easy to maintain. With many colors to choose from, you can count on consistency of color throughout your project, though a visible seam will be required when bonding slabs together. Most offer a ten year warranty on the product.

Marble Countertop on Kitchen Island

Marble – A beautiful natural material with a wide range of colors to choose from, marble offers some unusual  patterns and veining. However, since marble tends to be significantly more porous that granite, it is more likely to stain.

Laminates – Laminates offer an extraordinarily wide range of colors and patterns to choose from. This affordable countertop choice is being made much stronger and more durable than years ago. It is recommended that you do not place hot objects directly on a laminate countertop or cut directly on the surface, as damage may occur. A laminate surface is non-porous and therefore resistant to bacteria and stains, requiring only soap and water for easy cleaning. Laminates today offer a wide range of design options, some of which don’t look like laminate at all. Wilsonart HD countertops are a great example of this.

Formica Laminate Countertop

Other countertop options offered at Kitchen Views include wood in a variety of species and a variety of recycled countertop materials.

Click here to see more about the countertops offered by Kitchen Views.

Beveled Edges for Wilsonart Laminate Countertops

Previously we informed you about the economical option of selecting laminate countertops. Now we want to elaborate on another way to add your own personal style to your laminated countertops. The edge style you select will provide a beautiful finishing touch. These edge options greatly improve the look of laminate over the hard edges of the past.  The following options from Wilsonart show the distinct improvement over the laminated countertops of the past.

Beveled Edge

A Beveled Edge is strong, crisp and classic, evoking the polished image of cut and chamfered stone.

Cascade Edge

Cascade Edge pairs a flowing waterfall roll with a straight-edged base for a look that is naturally beautiful and impressive.

Crescent Edge

Crescent Edge invites the eye and warms up decor with soft curves at top and bottom.

Imagine having a new countertop that mimics the look of stone, at a fraction of the cost. With the wide selection of laminate colors, the look you desire is affordable.

For more laminate countertop examples and color choices, visit Wilsonart’s laminate countertop page.

Granite vs. Quartz Countertops: Amy Mood

Amy Mood, Designer at Kitchen Views in Mansfield, MA

Granite vs. Quartz… What’s the Difference?
by Amy Mood, AKBD

Two examples of Granite countertops

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this question… well, I’d probably still be designing kitchens… But my answer has actually changed over the years, especially recently. It used to be that if you wanted a beautiful one of a kind countertop with variation and movement, that natural granite was the right choice for you — as long as you didn’t mind the maintenance associated with it. For those who did not want to add to their “To Do” list and have to think about sealing their countertop periodically, then a Quartz countertop would be the likely choice; the tradeoff being that the patterns were very uniform in appearance because it is a man-made product.

Six samples of Cambria's latest colors

Six samples of Cambria’s latest colors

Well, the new evolution of Quartz countertops is actually offering consumers the best of both worlds: beautiful, super-durable countertops that most would be hard pressed to tell apart from a natural material. Plus, they need little more maintenance than soap and water cleanup. In fact, I recommend that you view some of these Quartz slabs much like you would with a Granite slab, because of the variation.

Some of my favorites are by Cambria, and Silestone has just released some great options, as well. Some of their countertops actually have the feel of Carrara Marble, which many would like to utilize in a kitchen, but are fearful of damaging. You can view these products through the Countertops section on the Kitchen Views website with links to the manufacturers’ websites, or better yet see them in person at your nearest Kitchen Views showroom.

Amy Mood, AKBD
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
71 Maple Street, Mansfield, MA 02048
Phone: 508-339-8020
amood@kitchenviews.com
www.kitchenviews.com


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,090 other followers

Twitter Updates


%d bloggers like this: