Countertops! Once upon a time, American kitchens without question had laminate (also known as formica) countertops. That was what you did. Oh sure, some people got artsy and did tile countertops, or maybe went fancy with Corian, but on the whole it was pretty much all laminate – all the time. Then one day, BAM! Granite! Granite was so different. It was natural, and hard as a rock. Seemingly impervious to hot pans or knife nicks that plagued laminate. It was so high end. But now granite is pretty much the standard for spec builder homes, and laminate seems to be reserved for rental properties.
I am sick of granite. I have to say, all the movement (as those in the biz call the pattern found within the stone) is too much busy. And there are a lot of ugly granites. A lot. It seems that a lot of interior designers have really moved away from granite towards using marble or soapstone in the kitchen. I think both are gorgeous, but let me be real. They are not as durable as granite, and as a result you will often hear designers say that they develop a lovely “patina”. Fine if you want to call it that, but patina is a fancy way of saying that things look old. Worn out. Aged. Listen, nobody better ever tell me I have a nice “patina”! Anyway, I have nothing against patina. I think it can truly be beautiful and make objects so much more interesting. But you should know, the marble and soapstone counters you see in magazines and on Pinterest, with their gorgeous veining…those are not showing the signs of patina. However, when I remodeled my kitchen, I used marble on my new countertops. That was about a year ago, and yes, they look different today than they did on install day. I still love them though.
Currently, I really have a new obsession with countertops though. Zinc! Oh my gosh, I love the look of Zinc. I started spotting zinc tables about 5 years ago, and then when I was on vacation in Ashville, NC I spotted the most gorgeous bar that had a zinc counter with copper rivets. That was it. I became obsessed immediately. Then I spotted the awesome things that Kaemingk Design (formerly known as Make King) was doing with them in some of their renovations. And most recently, I saw them used in the garden “shed” on Fixer Upper. You know, the episode I talked about yesterday? Have you seen it yet? It is so good.
Anyway, I really love zinc. It is warmer than stainless steel, and while it will patina (which truly is gorgeous) you can always polish it back to its original luster. And it’s metal! I am thinking about using it in my laundry room when I get around to updating that space. And maybe in one of my bathrooms? I don’t know, but I am dying to try it out. If you are interested in installing a zinc counter in your home, Rotometals is really great about providing you with a list of potential fabricators in your area. They gave me a ton of options, and I live in LA. Not Los Angeles, LA. Lower Alabama, LA. That is what we call the northwestern part of Florida. What I am trying to say is, I am about 5 hours away from a major city like Atlanta. So if they can find me local providers within a 50 mile radius, they can probably help you too! I haven’t gone out for quotes yet, but I am curious to see how much zinc costs compared to other options. Dave Fellner at Rotometals was super responsive and very helpful. So I think they are a great place to start if you are interested in trying zinc out for yourself!
*Note: After all these years of designing kitchens, I am still unsure about the spelling of “countertop” or “counter top”. Can it be one word? I don’t know. MS Word says yes. WordPress says it’s wrong. Whatever, I think it is one thing and it should be one word. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the matter if you are of the mind to advise me on the matter.