Dazzling Looks, Cool Choices

courtesy of Cambria,, 866-CAMBRIA

Torquay from Cambria presents a marble-like appearance that is both posh and continental, delivered in soft, creamy tones.


Imagine the perfect kitchen, bathroom and wet bar. They all have one thing in common: great countertops. Countertops are the most-used surfaces in the house, and because they are generally thought of as permanent, there is a certain amount of pressure to get them right. 

First, get inspired by looking at countertops on Pinterest, in model homes, in store displays, in magazines, on HGTV, at home shows and in your friends’ homes. Notice main colors and accents, patterns (subtle or bold) and edges, from waterfall to bullnose.

Next, choose your material. Typical choices include quartz, granite, marble, solid surface, laminate, recycled, wood and metals. Quartz has consistent color and never needs to be sealed. Manufactured quartz countertops use up to 94 percent quartz, and famous brand names include Cambria, Silestone and Viatera. White marble can become scratched and stained. Cambria offers a quartz countertop that looks like marble but lacks its issues. Granite has natural beauty and is highly durable. Solid surface, like Corian, is durable, seamless and can be cut to any shape. Laminate is the most affordable option, with fair durability and stain resistance. Recycled countertops, such as Curava Recycled Glass Countertops, are easy to clean and use limited resources from post-consumer and post-industrial products. Wood is a classic — think butcher block, although there are other forms — but it needs periodic resealing. Stainless steel or copper are metal choices inspired by the industrial look of large-scale restaurant kitchens.

ambria,, 866-CAMBRIA

Available from Cambria in high gloss and matte, Clareanne’s elegant, flowing design features a soft-gray background with end-to-end linear white threads.

Once you’ve settled on a type of material, think about manufacturers. There will be many to choose from, so look for quality, value, design, craftsmanship and brands you can trust. When you’ve settled on a manufacturer, you can begin your selection of color and pattern. Pick up samples to check how various colors, which range from sea salt to deep black, look in your home. If you’re drawn to white countertops, don’t forget that there are cool and warm whites. You may find that your color choice is influenced by how much sunlight your kitchen gets. A darker kitchen begs for a brighter, lighter countertop, while a kitchen that gets a lot of sunshine can handle a darker countertop or one with a bold or characteristic pattern. Patterns range from solid colors all the way to heavy swirls and pebble effects.

Let’s pause for a minute and talk islands. Islands can blend with the rest of the kitchen or stand out. You can choose one countertop for your kitchen cupboards and another, completely different countertop for your island. Just make sure your choices work together and with the rest of the kitchen. Wood — warm and natural — can be used to provide contrast to an all-white or black-and-white kitchen. It’s naturally antibacterial, and, when properly treated, it repels stains and moisture. Stainless steel is another eye-catching choice for an island countertop.

Once your countertop purchases are finalized, a fabricator will make an appointment to come to your house for measuring and to discuss placement of seams. Granite, quartz, and laminate countertops have visible seams. Small pieces used in bathrooms and wet bars may avoid seams.

Now that you’re ready to install, keep in mind that installers should have passed background checks, should be insured or licensed and their work should be guaranteed. Product warranties depend on the manufacturer and type of countertop.  On installation day, your part is to clear and clean everything and to keep children and pets out of the work area for their safety. Keep in mind, too, that plumbing, gas and/or electricity may be disconnected. But it will all be worth it, when the countertops are finally in place and you can stand back and enjoy the view. 

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