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Designer Answers: Countertops

Designers field a variety of questions and concerns regarding the seemingly unlimited options available to consumers. Within any category–countertops, tile, hardwood, carpet, furniture, lighting–how does one narrow it down? What options are the best options, when aesthetics, maintenance, durability and value are all factors to consider?

Today, we’re excited to launch our “Designer Answers” series. Eheart designers are interviewed about various interior finishes and product, hopefully answering some frequently asked questions while also giving you insight into their personal style and preferences.

To start us off, Emily shares a wealth of knowledge (and a dose of witty humor) about countertop options.

Q: What’s the difference between granite and quartz?

Emily: Granite is a naturally occurring stone that comes straight from the earth. “Granite” is a fairly generic term that is utilized for a number of stones that, in truth, aren’t really granite. Quartz is made from natural stone, and is combined with a filler of some kind (depending on the manufacturer). Some use resin, some use polyester, some use other fillers.

Q: Is natural stone high maintenance?

Emily: Depends which one you pick. Not all granites are created equal. Some are more porous (typically, lighter colors) and some more brittle (for example, Cosmos) than others. Most natural stones require a small amount of maintenance that can typically be handled with a topical cleaner that maintains the seal on your slab and some require a re-seal every few years.

Q: Can I put marble on my bathroom vanity countertops?

Emily: Go for it, but don’t call me later! You can have your pick of surfaces, but some marbles are more porous than others, and some are quite sensitive. Check the labels on your cosmetics, lotions, and potions and make sure you don’t have a spill with your nail polish remover. That said, I’d put marble in a bathroom sooner than I would a kitchen.

Q: How do you feel about Corian and other man-made solid surfaces?

Emily: I’d rather die than use Corian, but I’m really enjoying the beauty of man-made solid surfaces that have been coming out recently (Cambria, other quartz products, etc).

Q: If you got to design your dream kitchen tomorrow, which countertop surface(s) would you select, and why?

Emily: Almost without a doubt, I’d pick Kodiak granite. It’s beautiful and has a nice blend of whites, creams, taupes, and a touch of black.

Q: What’s the average price point for granite?

Emily: I try my best not to answer this question, because there are so many variables, it usually feels like I’m lying. We can turn a quote around in about 1 day, so give us the opportunity to do it right. That said, most people’s kitchens cost about $5-8,000 and most master baths cost between $1500-3000.

Q: What’s your opinion of soapstone?

Emily: It’s beautiful, but I don’t love it for myself. It looks especially great when you oil or wax it. Also, it is a soft stone, comparatively, so that’s something to be mindful of.

Q: Concrete looks great, but won’t it chip and crack easily?
Emily: It’s fiberglass reinforced, so it’s not an extension of your driveway. It’s a whole new animal. Enjoy it for what it is!

This Just In! Playful Area Rugs Cure Spring Fever


spring fever (n). A feeling of restlessness, excitement, or laziness brought on by the coming of spring.

We’re thankful for the inspirational images (above) of rugs by Etsi Barnes, designer for London based company Top Floor. Fancy floral patterns? Here are a few more colorful carpets we like a whole bunch:

Fade into summer with a more muted area rug, like this one (above). We love the soft yellow and the pattern’s gentle nod to traditional ornamentation.

Take a Seat, Let’s Talk About Chairs.


Let’s talk about mixing & matching chairs.

The black color unifies the eclectic collection of chair styles.

Office chairs in a residential setting: delightfully unexpected!

The blue wall color shows up in most of the chair seats, leaving tons of room to play with frame styles.

Mixing & matching chairs can accomplish so much in a space. Have fun with color, play with size and shape, juxtapose styles. Can’t afford six Eames chairs? Just buy one!



Freshly Styled

 

Interior stylists–names like Glen Proebstel and Lotta Agaton–are some of my favorite go-to’s for design inspiration. They accomplish both marketing and art in one fell swoop, selling the idea that messy covers are chic and chipping paint is glamorous. Maybe what I love the most is the way the stylists make their spaces look worn-in and realistic, while boldly implementing whimsical details (white balloons never looked so beautiful, am I right?)

 (Styled by Lotta Agaton)

 (Styled by Lotta Agaton)

With summer around the corner, I’ve been consumed with imagery of bedrooms that look freshly abandoned–covers untucked and windows uncovered. The repetitive white and cobalt blue color palette stands clean and simple next to highly textured surfaces. The combination exudes something like quiet, carefree confidence, don’t you think?

 (Styled by Glen Proebstel)

(Styled by Glen Proebstel)

This spring, let an Eheart designer help you accomplish a fresh new look and feel for your bedroom.

What’s On Our Coffee Table

You’ll be hard pressed to find an interior designer or architect who doesn’t have a favorite book (or a whole bookshelf of favorites). They are the books we go to for inspiration, encouragement; to feel challenged and to find solace. They remind us that details matter, that creativity breeds creativity, that beauty is something worth talking about.

Below are a few favorite reads–the books you’ll find open on our coffee tables with dog-eared pages and fingerprints.

"The Perfectly Imperfect Home" - Deborah Needleman

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
– A whimsical and quirky take on the basics of interiors, embracing all the imperfections. Simultaneously a reference guide and a pretty picture book, Needleman offers practical design tips and delightful watercolor illustrations.
 

"The Architecture of Happiness" - Alain de Botton

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
– The kind of read that changes a person. Alain de Botton achieves poetry, philosophy and a concise history of architecture in one book, accessible to professionals and non-designers alike.
 

"An Eye for Design" - Allegra Hicks

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 – A true coffee table book, captivating cover and all.  Hicks cleverly compiles a range of inspirational imagery—fully designed interiors, interesting patterns and textures and the great outdoors. There’s something perfectly exciting about her format, not knowing what the next page will bring.
 

"Liaigre" - Christian Liaigre

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
– Christian Liaigre is a true interior designer—one whose autonomy over each finite detail is evident in his work, from conceptualization to execution. This substantial portfolio covers six of his luxurious designs, including a Spanish residence and a Swiss farmstead.