Butterfield: Going straight to the (counter) top

…seriously consider splurging on these chic and yummy finishes to boost the value of your home…

Contemporary kitchen countertops combine materials.

Contemporary kitchen countertops combine materials.

I’m of the opinion that every space needs some ‘sparkle,’ something jazzy and intriguing to give it depth, dimension, and polish.

Considering it’s one of the most important rooms in a home and a space buyers are looking to for that extra oomph, the kitchen is no exception—and neither are the countertops.

I’m talking some major pizzazz here, but sometimes, investing more on amazing finishes just makes so much more sense.

So here’s a quick piece of advice: save on inexpensive cabinetry if it helps the budget, and seriously consider splurging on these chic and yummy finishes to boost the value of your home and for all the wow factor and pop your kitchen can handle…

STAINLESS

Not just for commercial kitchens anymore, stainless steel can take abuse from just about any kitchen utensil, even the heat from hot pots and pans. Overtime, hairline scratches and blemishes instill it with a worn, lived-in patina.

Like their counterpart appliance friends, stainless steel countertops are popular because they work well in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. They can dent occasionally however, so care must be taken with heavy objects… but overall, they’re a durable and easily maintainable option.

WOOD

Rich and earthy, wood countertops are tolerant to heat as well as red wine, mustard, and other substances that usually stain porous materials. An entire kitchen done in wood might be a little over-kill, so consider using it as a feature on an island, and doing stone on the remaining perimeter tops instead.

Finished with a penetrating, waterproof  Tung oil, they’re durable even in areas exposed to moisture. Worried about grime and nasty accumulating bacteria?

Don’t be: inherent properties in wood prevent bacterial build-up when oiled properly, and are therefore considered food-safe by the FDA when dry. And for those looking for a more eco-friendly option, reclaimed wood species have been incorporated into the mix—have a look at the Heritage Wood line from Flo-Form. (floform.com)

Glass countertop

GLASS & VETRAZZO

The chic and shiny appearance of glass trumps my list of ‘wow’ materials when it comes to counters—there’s just something about it that makes my mouth instantly water.

Glass used for kitchen and bath countertops has a very tensile strength, making it able to take a tremendous amount of weight.

It’s highly non-porous, stain proof, hygienic,  and anti-bacterial; the final product is heat, scratch, stain and mould resistant. A great site to visit for stunning ideas is thinkglass.com. If you’re looking for something with more of a mixed texture to it, Vetrazzo—an alternate to thermoformed glass—is another eco-friendly option.

Using recycled glass products as its main ingredient, the whole recipe for making Vetrazzo is pretty neat: when the recycled glass arrives at the manufacturing plant, it’s further sorted and crushed (depending on the slab being made), and then mixed with cement, water, and other proprietary ingredients.

A lengthy baking and polishing process creates an artistic and distinctive end result. View how it’s made and learn more about Vetrazzo’s select qualities at vetrazzo.com

CONCRETE

If you’d like the durability of stone but think marble and granite are overly used, need curves or different shapes to compliment unique features of your home, or simply don’t want to be limited on colors, patterns or finishes of other stone counters, then concrete might be for you.

Dense, and stain resistant, concrete can be dyed, colored, and acid stained, or even embedded with glass, shells, fossils, grasses, and other decorative touches for a totally custom look.

Once you run your hands over the buttery sleek and minimalist appearing  stone, you won’t ever be able to think of concrete as just a hard, rough, and cold outdoor surface again.

Crispin Butterfield has been designing residential and commercial spaces across Western Canada for the past 12 years, and most recently opened a second Urban Theory Interior Design firm in Kelowna.

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