DESIGNING THE KITCHEN AND BATHS OF YOUR DREAMS
SOLID SURFACE MATERIALS
Luxury Designer loves designing bathroom and kitchens. We have so many options for selection of slabs that meet that feel or sophistication of the room. Oftentimes the slabs are the amazing translation of artwork dressing the rooms. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the difference between the options. My job is to explain the difference in materials and let you make the choices.
Before you get started, consider the following:
- Easy maintenance
- Countertops of different materials
- A natural material
- Heat resistant materials
- Stain resistant materials
- Edge treatments
- Grout lines- do they bother you?
- Islands- Do you have or are you planning to have one?
Nothing compares to the classic beauty of stone, and because each piece is unique, it is unmatched in versatility of design. With a wide variety of stone slabs, all of our natural stone is quarried from sites around the world and synthetics are crafted with an artist’s eye for excellence for practicality.
Often the forgotten sibling of the stone family, Quartzite’s soft lines and visual texture are fluid and inviting, like gentle ocean waves. Its divine elegance stands equal to even the highest quality alternatives. Quartzite is one of the hardest stones available – comparable to granite in terms of hardness – ranking a little higher, about a 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. With similar colorization and veining as marble, it makes it one of the more sought-after natural stone slabs to highlight homes across the globe.
The virtues of marble speak for themselves. It has been treasured by cultures all over the world throughout history: this material stands all on its own as one of the natural world’s most fundamental works of art. This metaphoric stone comes in a wonderful display of color. Your choice of hues includes solid white, solid black and a variety of color spectrums. Marble is heat resistant and is recommended to have honed or matte finish. In the kitchen, it stands up well to hot pans and pots. Calcite is a softer stone – more comparable to marble in terms of hardness, ranking about a 4 on the Mohs.
Soapstone communicates a naturally welcoming aesthetic. Being non-porous, it cleans up with mild soap and a sponge or dish rag. This is a very sanitary countertop, and a good choice for those who enjoy cooking with fresh fruits, vegetables and meat. Even though soapstone is one of the softest stones only ranking a 1 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, its density and resistance to staining make it great for countertops. Like leather, soapstone gains character over the years without diminishing the quality of the material
Granite is essentially the emblematic example of what people see when they picture quality stone. Granite has long set the standard by which slabs are evaluated, and rightly so. Granite is an igneous rock with grains large enough to be visible with the unaided eye. It forms from the slow crystallization of magma below Earth’s surface. Granite is a harder stone – it’s comparable to steel in terms of hardness, ranking about a 6 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. It’s a combination of unquestionable strength and unlimited visual potential make granite universally revered.
Limestone is the quintessential example of rugged sophistication. It’s a sedimentary rock which forms at the bottom of the ocean over millions of years. Limestone consists primarily of calcium carbonate. It can have a magnificent display of fossils visible within the stone however this is not very common. Limestone is not a hard stone and has a Mohs rating around 3 and 4 (out of 10) compared to granite which ranks around a 6. Limestone is a great multi-functional stone that you can use around your fireplace or outside around your patio to host your guests.
Onyx is, simply put, mesmerizing. Onyx is a calcareous stone, formed by dissolving limestone and redeposited as a new kind of stone. In caves, drip water forms onyx as stalactites and stalagmites. It is a beautiful but brittle stone and should be carefully evaluated for its intended use. It can be backlit to give you a unique look that will be sure to impress. Onyx ranks about a 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Its deep, rich tones suggest comfort and strength while its layering tells a story of the earth’s growth and its veins to add an aura of life and vitality to any space.
The difference between travertine and other natural stones lies in the formation of the rock, the hardness of the stone and its appearance. Travertine is formed in hot springs and/or limestone caves. Travertine stone has holes within the stone which are caused by carbon dioxide evasion making great for needs slip resistance areas like pools and patios. Travertine is comparable with marble in terms of hardness, ranking a 4 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Travertine’s subtle veining adds texture to space without attracting too much attention. Widely appreciated for its versatility and longevity is evidenced in its extensive use in the Roman Colosseum.
Often translucent in appearance, calcite conveys a clean and polished look to suit any style or design. Calcite is a common constituent of sedimentary rocks, much of which is formed from the shells of dead marine organisms. Calcite is a softer carbonate mineral – more comparable to marble in terms of hardness – ranking about a 3 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Calcite can scratch, etch and stain just like marble can if not sealed or cared for properly. Calcites are generally better suited for a bathroom environment because it is a low-traffic area that won’t take as much of a beating from day-to-day activities.
Quartz and Porcelain
Quartz is an engineered stone that can be used in virtually any indoor surfacing application including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, tub and shower surrounds, backsplashes, floors, walls, wet bars, tabletops, desktops, fireplace surrounds, and more. Available in a variety of different colors and finishes, this actual appearance of the quartz surface will vary depending on the size and mix of the rock granules. There are colors available to match virtually any décor.
This engineered stone is fabricated into slabs with different edge profiles from simple bevels to ogee, and will have seams depending on the application size and shape.
Quartz offers the unique opportunity to accomplish a natural and rustic look while maintaining a high level of design consistency. Quartz is an engineered slab composed of 90% crushed quartz and then filled in with resin. It is scratch and acid resistant but susceptible to high heat and decolorization when placed outside. Placing high on the Mohs Scale of Hardness with a score of 7, Quartz is made to last. Quartz is where classic style meets modern technology.
Porcelain slab is a high fired ceramic surface much like porcelain tile. Porcelain uses ink jet technology capable of mimicking natural stone, wood, and virtually any look you can dream up. The benefit of Porcelain is that it has a scratch resistant surface and is impervious to chemicals. With a score of 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, it’s one the most durable surfaces on the market making it useful for the outdoors.