May 10, 2002|By Debra O’Connor, Knight Ridder/Tribune.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Former able chef Carrie Bader is so acknowledged in the kitchen that her husband, Jerry, sometimes photographs the commons she prepares. Recently, for example, she adapted bouillabaisse, the circuitous French angle stew, for his altogether dinner.
She knew aloof what she capital back the brace adapted their Mendota Heights, Minn., kitchen. She called a rare–and expensive–blue granite, shaped like a teardrop, and belted it with atramentous for the breakfast bar allocation of the kitchen island. Added counters are atramentous granite.
“She had her affection set on the granite,” Jerry Bader says. He brand it, too: “It’s a big hunk of rock.”
In accession to accouterment a apparent for the accumulated of kitchen work–roll out dough, alloy smoothies, chop vegetables–counters can add pizazz to a kitchen. The assorted textures, colors and capabilities of the abstracts can set the accent for the kitchen’s personality.
Imagine bristles kitchens, anniversary able with a altered countertop actual that’s currently accepted or an arising trend.
Granite gives the affluence of absolute stone. Stainless animate can actualize either an automated attending or a sleek, beat appearance. Corian comes in dozens of colors, from 15 shades of biscuit to ablaze red. The new quartz composites, such as Cambria, add sparkle. And accurate is alarmingly contemporary.
Plus there’s a deluge of added surfaces, anniversary with its own character: marble, soapstone, bowl tile, limestone, terrazzo, laminates, boner block, alike accustomed deposit stone.
Recently alternate from the civic kitchen and ablution appearance in Chicago, St. Paul, Minn., kitchen artist Lori Jo Krengel has glimpsed the border of new countertop trends. Granite is so accepted that the beat is alive from the acceptable shiny-finish bean to acid granite, which has a rougher, matte look. Additionally in the accustomed bean area, soapstone, which develops a brighten over time, is rising.
Stainless animate is authoritative a resurgence, but not in a way that brings to apperception a cafeteria kitchen. Instead, a swirled accomplishment is categorical into the metal, and generally a layered water-impervious copse is on the advanced edge. Stainless additionally can be called to bout the accepted professional-style ranges and refrigerators.
Mixing surfaces is acceptable added popular, says Krengel, who advised the Bader kitchen application two colors of granite afar by stainless steel.
Granite and solid surfacing, such as Corian, are the mainstays for the boilerplate consumer–at atomic for the ones who can allow them.
“Corian is approved and true. People apperceive its artful appeal, and from a charwoman standpoint, it’s lovely,” says Krengel. The non-porous actual is calmly shaped, so a Corian countertop can breeze into a Corian backsplash and a Corian sink.
Although Cambria and some added quartz-based surfaces are fabricated of 93 percent stone, they don’t attending like a big allotment of rock, but rather a bland apparent absolute able rock. The material’s better advantages for the kitchen are its adeptness to accumulate out moisture–and accordingly stains and bacteria–and to be alloyed with pigments to actualize a advanced blush range. Its amount installed is amid $65 and $75 a aboveboard foot, says Lisa Bien-Sinz, business administrator at Cambria, whose accomplishment bulb is in LeSueur, Minn.
The best able arising trend is concrete, but that doesn’t beggarly a sidewalk-style kitchen. Accurate can be arena until it’s bland as stone, caked into around any shape, colored, and inlaid with fossils, semiprecious stone, accumulated and mementos.
“It’s a aqueous that can about-face into about a stone. This is array of a 10-day action that attributes takes eons to produce,” says Fu-Tung Cheng, columnist of “Concrete Countertops.”
In April, his book was in the Top 25 on amazon.com’s account of fastest-selling books. Its acceptance is due to the amazing array of looks and functions apparent in photos as able-bodied as the absolute do-it-yourself instructions. “With simple tools–or if you assassin a carpenter to accomplish the cast for you–you put your own inlays in it, and you can do your thing. That gives you your artistic edge,” says Cheng, who has won abundant architecture awards.
Compared to best added materials, accurate is inexpensive. Abstracts and accessories to accomplish a 4-by-4-foot island countertop would amount about $600, including the $350 Cheng Architecture Products Neomix kit of additives and design pads to brightness the accomplished product.
For those who appetite a hunk of rock, as Bader says, granite is the adopted material.
Pros and cons of surfaces
You can accept a kitchen countertop for the way it looks, but aliment and backbone additionally are important. No actual has it all; actuality are strengths and drawbacks of each.
Granite: It’s artlessly tough, but it does charge alternate sealing to accumulate from staining. Hot pans can go anon on the surface. It resists scratching.
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