4 Cool Countertop Ideas That’ll Spark Your Next Kitchen Remodel
Plus one no-fail nonmarble.
Updated Oct 11, 2018 11:14 PM
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There’s no class you can take or app you can download to learn the design language of New York. This, Melbourne native Tali Roth knows well. “Transitioning from the Australian aesthetic to the New York aesthetic was a big learning experience for me. I just couldn’t get my head around it,” says Roth. Over the past six years, the designer has developed her own take on American interiors, marrying her love for contemporary silhouettes with the rich range of colors she discovered in New York. Roth’s design for Bluestone Lane’s café in lower Manhattan embodies this balance.
The second you walk into the Aussie brand’s new restaurant, your eyes naturally gravitate to the bar at the back (and not because of the liquor bottles that line its luminous shelves). We fell hard for Roth’s bold countertop choice: a greenish blue marble with deep aquamarine veining. “The marble is the color of the space,” says Roth. “I think that green is more appetizing and fresher than blue.” Ahead, we asked the designer to share four more countertop ideas she’s loving right now. Psst: Three of them are marbles!
Desert hues are catching on, and they’re not just showing up in the form of paint colors. “I think a couple of years ago there was more Carrara, which is white with subtle light gray veining. Now I’m seeing a lot more beige-gold veining,” says Roth.
The designer credits Athena Calderone of Eyeswoon for kicking off the trend with her Brooklyn remodel. “Every single person is wanting that look,” Roth continues. “I distinctly remember four years ago that cool, silvery blue-grays were in. Now it’s all about brown grays.” The buttery, warm undertones of Calacatta Gold will appeal to homeowners and to-be-renovators who fear a sleek white surface will feel sterile.
Known for its unapologetically bold Cabernet color, Calacatta Viola is one of the most sought after marble varieties. “I personally love this one, with its burgundy veining throughout,” shares Roth. Taking a cue from her fellow designers back in Australia, she references the work of Tamsin Johnson, a Sydney designer who has used Calacatta Viola for a number of kitchen projects and pieces of furniture.
“I think Australia is becoming a bit more experimental. We exhausted the Scandinavian look,” Roth suggests. “I’m seeing a lot of colors, whether that’s green stones or pink stones or red stones.” This eye-catching pick lends itself well to contemporary seating and graphic floor tiles.
While Roth almost always gravitates toward natural tones, she knows that not everyone feels the same. Marbles, in particular, scratch and etch easily. Her no-fail, nonmarble pick? Corian. “My mother has had it in her kitchen for 15 years and she cooks three times a day. It’s in perfect condition,” she says.
Corian, which is a man-made surface material, is comparable in price to granite, generally in the range of $45 to $60 per square foot. The big upside to Corian is that it can be molded into sinks without revealing any joint seams. “I love it in an all-white kitchen,” says Roth. “In many ways, I prefer it to a Caesarstone because I like that it just is what it is. It’s not pretending to be something else.” Freshen up the look of this non-natural countertop by bringing in natural materials. Note the large plank floors and other decorative wood accents in this black and white kitchen.
For this apartment in Manhattan’s West Village, Roth chose a cool gray-grown Italian marble to go with the dark green kitchen cabinetry. The heavy gray-blue veining delivers the right amount of drama while still staying classic and timeless. “I don’t think people are using anything like a green marble in a residential setting yet. That was what was most exciting about Bluestone Lane: It gave me the ability to experiment with something that most clients wouldn’t want to live with forever.”
So how do you know what countertop material is right for you? Be honest with yourself about how often you use and cook in your space. “I know a lot of people who want marble countertops, and it’s just totally the wrong choice for them. They’re completely anal. They can’t handle the slightest bit of etching,” says Roth.
Still, if you want the look of real marble without all the upkeep, Roth suggests going with a stone called Super White: a granite composite that’s bound to withstand the test of time. “You really can’t ruin it,” she continues. “It’s an awesome option for people who want that look but know they wouldn’t be able to keep it perfect.”