5 Favorite Granites for Gorgeous Kitchen Countertops

 Article by: Charmean Neithart

Selecting a countertop material for your kitchen remodel or new build is a big decision. I often encounter clients with a mental block when it comes to making a decision on the numerous considerations, like color and edge detail. Additionally, once the countertop hurdle is over, then there is cabinet selection. 

I like granite and use it often for its durability and its earthy colors that add great texture to a kitchen. I have a few favorites that I have worked with over the years. These granite selections get my stamp of approval because of color, movement and their flexibility in complementing different cabinet styles. Take a look at these countertop selections and how they seamlessly blend with either painted or stain-grade cabinets to make winning combinations.


1. Bianco Romano

Bianco Romano with painted cabinets. I suggest this granite when I have a homeowner who wants that classic white kitchen. This granite works great with pure white, warm white or beige cabinets. Additionally, nickel or oil-rubbed-bronze hardwareworks great with all the colors of the stone, which include white, cream, gray and a deep bordeaux.


Bianco Romano with stain-grade cabinets. Due to the warm white, beige and gray palette, this granite works equally as well with stain-grade cabinets. I have seen it work beautifully with walnut and medium oak.


2. Seafoam Green

Seafoam green with painted cabinets. This granite is just beautiful. The shade of green is earthy, with gray and brown undertones. There are great markings in the stone that look almost geometric to me. This granite works with painted cabinets and satin nickel hardware. I prefer this stone when it is polished.


Seafoam green with stain-grade cabinets. If you are looking for a rustic or earthy feel for your home, this is a great combination. Add oil-rubbed-bronze or copper fixtures for the perfect lodge experience.


3. Costa Esmeralda

Costa Esmeralda with painted cabinets. I first came across this granite when I had a homeowner ask me to create an ocean palette throughout the house. This granite is between green and blue, and of course will vary from batch to batch. The green-blue of the stone blends perfectly with sandy white cabinets and nickel hardware and fixtures.


Costa Esmeralda with stain-grade cabinets. It’s equally stunning with stain-grade cabinets, for a masculine and warm look. This granite works particularly well in light-filled kitchens; the sunlight highlights the stone’s complex coloring.


4. Absolute Black

Absolute Black with painted cabinets. This is my idea of a classic kitchen. I love this traditional look of white cabinets and Absolute Black granite, which looks great polished or honed. Painted cabinets in many colors pair perfectly with this granite, and nickel, chrome or oil-rubbed-bronze fixtures and hardware look terrific.


Absolute Black with stain-grade cabinets. Another classic look that can feel rustic or modern. I love Absolute Black with medium oak or walnut. Rift-cut oak also has a great transitional look.


5. Typhoon Bordeaux

Typhoon Bordeaux with painted cabinets. One of my favorite granite selections, Typhoon Bordeaux comes in cream, gray, brown or brick red. It’s a perfect choice for a light kitchen that has red undertones in the flooring. This granite really can vary by batch, from subtle brick-red veining to strong waves of brick red. Try it with beige or cream cabinets for a warm, light-filled kitchen.


Typhoon Bordeaux with stain-grade cabinets. I’m a sucker for warmth, so this combination really appeals to me. The brick red and browns in this granite pair beautifully with walnut, oak, mahogany and cherry cabinets. It works well in Spanish homes that feature Saltillo floors. The deep red and brown in the granite and the rustic charm of Spanish architecture are a match made in heaven.

Nothing but the Best!

When you want nothing but the best where do you turn? To American Cabinet & Flooring, Inc. of course! Where you can trust your job will be done right, but don’t take our word for it see the proof yourself! 

Newly completed project:  Cabinets & Countertops

2 Ways to Rethink Kitchen Seating

Article by: Mitchell Parker

Kitchen seating seems simple enough. Scoot in a few bar stools around an island or a peninsula and you’re done. But when you’re trying to create something flexible for small and large gatherings, accommodate a view or make the most of a compact layout, it’s time for something a little more outside the box. Here, two designers explain how they rethought mealtime in the kitchen.

1. Compact Combo

Designer: Dianne Berman of Delo Interiors
Location: Toronto
Size: 320 square feet (about 30 square meters) 
Year built: 1975; was renovated in the early ’90s, and this recent update was completed in 2015

Kitchen seating: Given the small footprint and square shape, designer Dianne Berman knew she had to make every inch count. By grouping the dining space with a large island and connecting the bench seating to it, she created one path of travel around the entire kitchen rather than two. “This layout also created a more intimate feel,” Berman says. “The homeowners can cook and prep while family and friends gather around the table, bar area or island. Everyone faces toward the center of the space, which makes conversations flow.” 

Homeowners’ request: Clean lines, minimal ornamentation and a calm color palette. Functionally, they wanted space to entertain small and large groups of friends and family. The entrance to the home opens to this space, so storage for coats, boots and shoes was a must. Berman integrated built-in cabinets and drawers beneath the stairway.

Why the design works: To make the kitchen feel larger, Berman carried the backsplash to the ceiling. She also kept space open on either side of the vent hood so the area by the cabinets didn’t look crowded. The waterfall-edge countertop on the island adds to the clean lines requested by the homeowner.

What wasn’t working: The previous kitchen had a dropped 7-foot ceiling over a peninsula, an out-of-commission wood-burning fireplace and a dining table that felt like an afterthought. Berman removed all these hindrances to open things up. She then added recessed LED lights, undercabinet lighting and decorative drop pendants to further push the openness. 

What goes on here: Intimate meals, large parties for family and friends, and quick breakfasts while watching the morning news. In the summer months, the family opens double French doors to extend the space to the patio. 

Who uses it: A health system researcher and a product development chemist.

Designer secret: “Storage is always key in urban environments,” Berman says. “We added a ton of concealed storage to keep all belongings tucked away and out of sight.”

Splurges and savings: The homeowners splurged on the three colored hand-blown Italian light fixtures over the island while saving on pendant lights from West Elm for a nearby bar area. 

Team: Next Generation Woodwork (millwork); Valerie Wilcox (photography)

2. Airy and Adjustable

Architect and designer: Jill Neubauer
Location: Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Size: 264 square feet (24.5 square meters); about 12 by 22 feet (3.6 by 6.7 meters)
Year built: 2008

Kitchen seating: Two tables at varying heights offer traditional sit-down dining or more casual bar-height dining. The lower table can be wheeled out to combine with a second, identical table to create room for dinner parties of 20 people, while the higher table works as extra prep space. 

Homeowners’ request: A large, open, social and hardworking kitchen that has full views of Martha’s Sound off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. 

Plan of attack: Making the most of a narrow house, designer Jill Neubauer placed the main elements of the large, open kitchen along the street-facing side of the home to open the space to the ocean on the opposite side. 

Vertical-grain Douglas fir cabinets and one portion of the island (on the left) warm the concrete floors and countertops. Stained plywood tops the island on the right — “warm, easy, beautiful, soft, quiet, forgiving, inexpensive,” Neubauer says of the material. Open shelves make work easier in the busy kitchen, and allow guests to be more helpful too because they can see where things are. 

Who uses it: This is a summer house for a family.

Designer secret: “Walk the line of richness and clarity,” Neubauer says. It also helps to have clients with style. “The owner had magnificent, cool furniture,” she says. “It brought the house to an entirely new level of aesthetics and pulled it all together with warmth and memories.”

“Uh-oh” moment: Neubauer’s challenge was to make a modern, raw, industrial house in a historic district — “without making the house look like a box with cool stuff dropped inside,” she says. Communication and collaboration helped push the project over the hurdles.

Splurges and savings: Neubauer and the homeowners saved by not striving for perfection. Cedar walls were installed in a simple fashion, with dings and bulging boards welcomed. “This gave a feeling of softness and livability, not perfection,” the designer says. 

Take-away: “Combining raw material — warm, soft wood with hard cool concrete — is a success. It’s all about balance,” Neubauer says. Also, “all construction is costly.”

Team: Chris Harris (project manager); Billy Reagan (builder); Core Metals (metalwork); Cataumet Sawmill (tabletop)

How to Work With a Kitchen Designer

Whether your kitchen needs a minor face lift or a complete gut job, soliciting help from a certified kitchen designer can be well worth the investment. The rule of thumb: if a kitchen project costs more than a few hundred dollars, it may be time to call a pro.

Not only do kitchen designers have access to planning tools and technology that most homeowners don’t, but they have the inside scoop on trends, new materials, building codes and technical quirks. And their kitchen remodel expertise can save you a lot of time, money and frustration. Use our tips to help the process flow smoothly from start to finish. 

Kitchen Island

Photo: American Cabinet & Flooring | Designer: Randy Wilson

Know the different types of kitchen designers

If you’re ordering cabinetry and more through a national chain or other retailer, there likely will be designers on staff who can help you plan. The main advantage: often, there’s no additional cost for their services, although some charge a percentage of the total sale or work under another fee structure. Other designers work independently at an hourly or per-project rate. Because they’re not affiliated with a particular store or brand, they can sometimes be more objective about materials. 

If you choose an independent professional, ask for recommendations from friends an others in your community, and browse the Houzz professionals directory or the National Kitchen and Bath Association website for reputable designers in your area.

In any case, request to see examples of the designer’s previous work and ask for client references in order to ensure that he or she is a good match for your needs.

Note the ups and downs of your existing space

Perhaps your kitchen operates just fine, but the finishes are long past their prime. Or maybe you’re planning a soup-to-nuts renovation and have no idea how to retool the space. Be prepared to share with the kitchen designer what you like and what you hope to change to give a firm place to start.

Do your research…

Your initial meeting with the designer will go more smoothly if you have a general idea of the look, flow and equipment you want. Browse decorating websites and magazines for kitchen design photos that speak to you, and how them to your designer. A picture can communicate clearly what you may struggle to capture in words. 

…but stay flexible

The kitchen designer may spot holes in your wish list or mix materials that won’t work for you no matter how much you love them. Conversely, he or she may introduce you to options you’d never considered. And he or she will keep you from sacrificing function for beauty, which is a recipe for misery down the road. Be open to suggestions – after all, expertise is why you recuirted a designer. 

Know your budget

Have a firm idea of what you want to, and are able to, spend to avoid a disconnect between plans and reality. If you have the means for pro-grade appliances and high-end finished, your kitchen designer can work those into the scheme from the beginning. If you don’t, make it known upfront. Although miracles mau not happen on a shoestring, a designer has the experience and the know-how to stretch your dollars as far as they’ll possible go. 

Settle on a time line and a number of draft plans

Kitchen designers don’t expect to nail it on the first try – some back and forth is usually built into the process. Agree upon how many drafts of the plan you’ll see before you sing a contract and part with any cash. you should also confirm a time line for the work, though circumstances beyond anyone’s control can throw even the best-orchestrated jobs off schedule.

Keep changes minimal

Depending on how far along in the process you are, change orders can be anything from a mild nuisance to a major issue. Not only will they hold up progress, but they’ll also put a dent in your wallet. That said, if there’s a change that must be made for you to enjoy and use your revamped kitchen the way you intend, it’s better to speak up than to end up dealin with the flaw on a daily basis.

Be patient

A good kitchen plan takes time to create, and so does bringing it to life. Putting in effort on the front end, from choosing finishes to thinking through the work zone, will pay off in the long run. And the last thing you want is a rushed construction job, so don’t hurry the contractors – no matter how anxious you are to put your new kitchen to work.