Home and Garden: CounterTOP Trends

It’s a household item you probably take for granted. Maybe you never even thought about it before and you’ve certainly never realized its limitless potential. That is, until you’ve made the leap into remodeling or building your dream home and opened your eyes to the progressive world of countertops.

As an integral and highly utilized design element, a home’s countertops can be both beautiful and functional. Not surprisingly, much has changed over time regarding countertop fashion. One thing is for sure; unique styles are in, while replicated, factory produced style is out.

One trend consistently on the rise is granite, a natural stone of varying color and design. Denise Kerstine began the Edmond-based company Marble Designs almost 10 years ago, and she knows firsthand the power stone has in home design.

“Each piece is totally unique. You’re not ever going to walk into someone else’s kitchen and see your countertops. Each one is a piece of mother nature’s artwork,” says Kerstine.

Within the granite option, trends are emerging. Honed or matte finishes are becoming more popular these days. A honed finish is achieved by completing the finishing process prior to buffing, which results in a smooth surface without reflection.

Beyond choosing a material for their new countertops, homeowners must decide on a particular look and feel for their design. That’s where Kerstine’s company may differ from other granite options. Before this particular business venture, she worked as an interior designer. “What we bring to the table is a design background,” says Kerstine. “We kind of approach it a little bit differently than everyone else.”

This is something you realize when you walk into Marble Designs. You’re met with kindness and placed into the capable hands of Kerstine and her talented team. Their one acre site includes a yard full of massive granite slabs that each hold immeasurable possibility, a bustling workshop where the granite is cut and polished, and a dazzling showroom that can give potential buyers an idea of the finished product.

To help them get there, Kerstine even goes out to her client’s homes. “Especially when it comes to remodels, I go out and give them suggestions for the colors of stone that would work with what they’ve already got; to tie it all together, to make it look like it was planned and not an afterthought.”

Aside from the inspiring array of colors one might find in granite, another quality granite possess is that it doesn’t scratch. It upholds its brand new look for years.

Granite also retains its temperature. It is for this reason Kerstine’s company sells smaller slabs of granite to be used as serving or cutting boards. “You can put it in the freezer to chill so you can use it for wine and cheese, or you can put it in the oven and heat it up and use as a casserole warmer,” she says.

If granite is not where you’re headed, take a look at a new product called Shirestone. Jacob Masters discovered it at a builders show in Orlando in 2007 and his Edmond business CounterStone is one of a limited number of dealers that are authorized to sell this product.

Shirestone is a textured cement countertop, poured on site by Masters’ team of workers and textured by hand. “Your neighbor’s countertop, if they want the same colors, is going to be different,” says Masters. “Colors are limitless. I even had a lady that wanted a plum color and she loved it.”

According to Masters, Shirestone is nonporous and almost entirely maintenance free. It can also be poured right onto an already existing countertop. This allows customers to add their own special touch to the design. “It’s a custom product, if you wanted to inlay a leaf or shell or if you had a family crest, you could do that as well,” Masters says.

With all of these countertop possibilities, we all may start looking a little harder at our kitchens.

To contact Denise Kerstine at Marble Designs, visit www.marbledesignsokc.com or to contact Jacob Masters’ Shirestone, visit www.shirestone.net

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