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Bring Life Back into the Kitchen

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Quartz And Solid Surfaces Lead The Pack With Style And Durability

When homeowners remodel they often look to upgrade the kitchen first. Since the kitchen is usually the gathering place within a home and used for much more then heating up leftovers or scrambling eggs for breakfast, it’s an obvious choice for a facelift when surroundings become outdated and drab.

New countertops are almost always part of a kitchen remodeling plan and a common place to start. But there are so many choices out there right now, and it can be overwhelming to know where to look first. Home­owners can go with materials including granite, soapstone, concrete and wood among others; but engineered stone known as quartz and solid surfaces are leading the pack in trends, styles and durability. Manufacturers are having fun with color and even texture, and consumers are eating up what they have to offer.

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What’s New with Quartz Surfaces

Quartz imitates the look of natural stone and is popular with homeowners because it gives the rich look of natural stone, like granite, but is stronger and virtually maintenance free. Often comparable to marble in price, quartz is heat, stain and scratch resistant, making it an easy choice for homeowners who want a natural look without the work.

Cambria, the exclusive producer of quartz surfaces in the United States, unveiled three new collections featuring 21 new colors in September 2010, which they believe will set the trend for kitchen countertops.

These collections create the unique look of onyx, marble and granite without comprising the performance benefits of quartz, making it possible for consumers to have the best of both worlds.

•The Jewel Collection has five colors, which seem to sparkle from within the surface, reflecting light with blue, gold and silver hues.

•The Marble Collection features four colors, capturing the depth and movement of marble. The New Brighton in this collection is creating a buzz in the industry because it looks so much like onyx. Since onyx itself is soft, duplicating the look with the durability of quartz has been well received by consumers thus far. And it’s able to be backlit, creating a dramatic effect when the orange-brown light shines through.

•The Cambrian Collection offers 10 different hues that mimic the color, pattern and movement of classic stone. A popular choice is Canterbury with its warm, brown hues and copper flecks.

CaesarStone, the original producer of quartz surfaces (production is in Israel), has also come out with some edgy, hot colors recently. Consumers have been going with a more contemporary look in the kitchen (think square versus bevel edges), and the company added fun textures to the design mix.

•For kitchen backsplashes, texture is in. With a trademarked polish technique contrasting matte and gloss finish, CaesarStone created Motivo. Motivo includes two patterns: Lace, a delicate, subtle floral pattern in brilliant white, which is traditional, yet trendsetting and unique; and Crocodile, a dramatic and daring pattern that adds a sense of adventure to any space.

•In response to current trends, CaesarStone added two new colors to its line: Deep Ocean and Pure White. Deep Ocean brings a feeling of tranquility to the room; Pure White compliments an ultra-contemporary look with its stark and striking appearance. Promoted as the “whitest white” in quartz surfaces, the company’s sales have confirmed that white just may be the new black.

Silestone by Cosentino launched its Platinum Series, a new metallic-inspired color series inspired by current movements in fashion and design. Available in four shades — Chrome (soft silver) and three shades of gray including Zirconium, Carbono and Steel — the Platinum series offers the chic and contemporary appearance of stainless steel highlighted with shimmering accents. The four colors all coordinate well with stainless steel appliances and provide the clean and safe surface Silestone is known for. Built-in antimicrobial protection that fights against the growth of odor-causing bacteria, as well as mold and mildew, makes it a popular choice with consumers.

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What’s Trendy with Solid Surfaces

Made of resins and combined with mineral fillers, solid surfaces mimic the look of quartz. They are popular because they are non-porous, stain resistant and provide design versatility. DuPont, maker of Corian solid surfaces and Zodiaq quartz surfaces, has come out with trendsetting colors for both products as well. With colors like Arctic Lime, Strawberry Ice and Mandarin, there’s pretty much something for everyone. Corian also hit the runway this year with 10 new colors including eight stylish, reflective metallic colors, a bold and crisp Designer White, and the nature-inspired Cottage Lane. The metallics are infused with sparkling silver or gold accents and Designer White, like CaesarStone’s Pure White, came out in response to requests from leading global designers, offering crisp, bright white for bold design.

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Is There an App for That?

How exciting is this? DuPont has created an easy way for consumers, architects and designers to choose surfaces. With the mySurface app for iPhone and iPod Touch, the first application of its kind in the surfacing industry, users have access to all 100 colors of Corian and 54 colors of Zodiaq at their fingertips to experiment with many design possibilities. The mySurface app allows users to search for Corian and Zodiaq surface colors by hue, providing a color swatch that fills the screen along with information on how to order a sample. Consumers can also match countertop colors with their kitchen with this all-in-one tool and architects and designers can visualize surface color and texture while on the job in any location.

By Jennifer Patrick

Silestone’s Platinum Chrome sparkles.

Create a sleek look by matching stainless steel appliances and cabinet hardware with Silestone countertop in Zirconium.

DuPont’s Zodiaq colors Artic Ice and new Flax from their Terra Collection compliment each other perfectly.

Corian makes it easy to create patterns in countertops with a seamless look.

Create an ultra-contemporary and clean look with CaesarStone’s Pure White.