We were excited recently to gather some new samples for our office library. Quest of the day: Marble-alternative quartz. The desire for marble counters in kitchens and baths is still going strong, and we're seeing the trend move toward ever stronger veining, which we especially love right now. The problem, of course, is that marble is not ideally suited to take the abuse of a hard working kitchen. Unless you are firmly committed to the time-worn and imperfect look of European kitchens, it will drive you crazy. Having lived with it in our own homes (in a bathroom setting), we can tell you that real marble, unfortunately, just never looks perfectly clean. Even water leaves behind spots.
So, the demand for manufacturers to create more durable products that still have the look and feel of marble has never been higher. We wanted to share our current favorites in quartz, which is much more ideally suited to kitchens. It is non-porous, so it's naturally antibacterial and stain resistant. And although no stone is entirely bullet-proof, quartz is extremely durable and family friendly compared to other stones on the market.
The key is, we want a convincing look! For a long time, quartz had a very "manufactured" look, with small patterns and repetitive flecks. It's really come a long way. We're especially smitten with many offerings from MSI, which (happily) is usually quite affordable among quartz manufacturers. Here are some swatches we suggest you pick up if you're embarking on a remodel:
1 | MSI Calacatta Classique
2| MSI Statuary Classique
3 | Cambria Ella
4 | MSI Calacatta Verona
5 | MSI Calacatta Laza
6 | MSI Carrara Caldia
7 | MSI Carrara Grigio
Clicking the links above will take you to the product pages, where you can see detail as well as full slab photos. It's really important when you're considering any stone with pattern to see as many photos as possible, especially of it installed in a kitchen or bath. For instance, #6, Carrara Caldia, is beautiful on the swatch we have, but it might not be suited to an oversized island, as it has smaller, more repetitive stripes in the pattern. We'd like it better in a powder room or small bath.
Another great idea, if you can take advantage, is to visit the manufacturer's showrooms to see full slabs in person. Both MSI and Cambria have showrooms in the Chicago area, which is wonderfully helpful. Check with your designer or fabricator to see if you can visit a showroom in your city.
What do you think of these? Any favorites you've found that we missed? We'd love to hear!
Laura & Laura