Some time ago a client requested that I design a kitchen that will never go out of style. I had never really thought too much about it, but perhaps my answer, after a few seconds of mulling over the idea, surprised me as much as them. My reply? "You live in America, that's impossible!" What I meant was that the carefully designed kitchen that includes all of your best possible wants, desires and the most beautiful elements, is doomed to make you feel out of date in a decade or two because the industry changes so rapidly. Who would have thought that 20 years ago the most fashion forward kitchens would be the ones with granite counter tops? Perfectly honed, a gift from the earth for the taking...as long as your budget allowed the extravagance. Now, even though prices have not come down, granite counter tops have become a standard. Any homeowner in America usually inquires about this at the outset of purchasing elements for a new kitchen or remodeling an old one. Sure, there are many other things that are available from marble or Silestone (a manmade substance that has a semblance of stone by way of the mica and quartz), to soapstone, glass, concrete, tile or wood. So my neighbor who did the all white kitchen that I personally planned on doing in the 80's, now longs for the updated styling that granite offers. I'm glad I waited! Purely a gift from God, my husband and I recently were able to remodel our Mitchen and Master Bath. For an Interior Designer who likes to stay ahead of the curve in this ever changing industry, it was tougher than I expected to land on not only what's new and now, but later and longer. Much to my dismay, I know I won't be changing my kitchen perhaps ever again, it was very difficult as I plodded through the decisions with grave caution of being too rapidly out of date .... Which brings me back around to the point. That is "what in the world can they do to make people still want granite once everyone who can afford it has it?" Glad you asked! When it came to the ominous decision for ourselves we went to a stone resource center nearby called "Ivey Lane". We walked the yard to consider some options and found a fairly small piece left over from a job. It looked dull to me but my husband was intrigued, so we made inquiry. Low and behold, there actually are more things new under the sun! We found out that there is a new finish called a "lethered finish" and it is absolutely beautiful! This finish is the one I didn't even know existed. The industry could not have know that it is, in my opinion the only finish that should have been used on granite. When asked by a new found friend, Janet from New York to describe the finish, I realized how difficult it is to put into mere words. It has no sheen nor polished look about it. What you see is the stone in its original beauty from the earth. The finished product has some slight uneven places as is the nature of stone, but the honed finish lends it to be neither jagged or rough. When you look across it, there is a softness to its appearance, a buttery flat matte earthiness that surprises and engages conversation. Ours is Soapstone looking with various layers of greys, browns and cream with embedded flecks of mica and sheens of quartz. Truly an amazing product. So you may ask, "Did you design a kitchen that won't go out of style?" Ask me in 10 years and I will let you come and touch my granite, look across the countertop at eye level. Even if I'm out of style, I doubt I'll grow weary of that leathered look....
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