Not Your Momma’s Kitchen

Kitchen island topped with Black Galaxy granite and round inset breakfast table of Giallo Florence granite

A singular buzzword permeated the conference, expo and event scene at this year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. It defines the ideal American kitchen and bath and can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. The word is: clean. It refers to the clean lines in a contemporary space or simply keeping the room free from clutter and dirt. Clean reigns supreme in today’s kitchens and baths.

Cabinet creations
It used to be that closed-off storage spaces, like kitchen cabinets, were used to hide messy-looking piles of pots, lids, pans, dry goods, cleaning supplies, small appliances … you name it, our mothers and grandmothers shoved it behind the cabinet door.

But no more! Modern-day cabinetry is almost as aesthetically pleasing on the inside as it is on the outside, thanks to the organizing gadgets and gizmos from manufacturers like Rev-A-Shelf, Glideware, The Pull-Out Shelf Company and more. And fortunately, you don’t have to remodel your entire kitchen to install most organizers. Your existing cabinets can be retrofitted with these goodies. 

Cabinet exteriors are also changing, with more contemporary designs on the rise. In the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA) 2014 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends Survey, 62 percent of respondents said contemporary style is on the upswing, making it the fastest growing kitchen style of the year.
Becky Sue Becker, owner and principal designer with Designs by BSB, also notes, “I appreciate seeing more unique door profiles outside of the standard raised and flat-panel doors. Door and cabinet manufacturers are embracing new profiles for the rails to give a more custom look.” She adds that cabinet manufacturers are also introducing more custom finishes that aren’t the typical gold, brown and black stains.


5 Clever Cabinet Storage Products

MasterBrand Cabinets' Lazy Susan


MasterBrand Cabinets’ Lazy Susan offers the typical spin-and-find function and also features a center-pullout where you can store your most-used items.







Häfele’s Smart Cab Storage System is gaining popularity. It’s designed to fit in a 15- or 18-inch base cabinet with a drawer above, and homeowners can configure the storage space to match their needs with a variety of shelves and applications including a spice shelf, a baking sheet and wrap holder, utensil and knife storage and more.






Rev-A-Shelf came up with the idea to create canned-goods storage by tilting a shelf and installing a shoe rail at the bottom, so cans can roll to the front and easily stack on top/behind each other.





Hafele's Undersink mat



Häfele’s undersink mat protects your cabinets from leaks by collecting in its dimples up to one gallon of water in a six-square-foot space.




Docking drawer by JTech Solutions


The Docking Drawer by JTech Solutions can charge personal electronic devices while hidden from sight. “We’ve been putting outlets into drawers for a while now, but with conduit,” says Becky Sue Becker, CMKBD, CAPS, owner and principal designer with Designs by BSB in Lawrenceville. “This system does the same thing but in a much smaller footprint so it’s not as cumbersome.” —Becky Sue Becker, CMKBD, CAPS, Designs by BSB


On the surface

Clean design doesn’t stop with cabinets. Countertop surfaces are actually cleaned more frequently than cabinets are. So sleek counters are often most responsible for a kitchen  having a “clean” look.

In recent years, quartz and quartzite countertops have been on the rise. The difference between the two? While both materials are more durable than marble or granite, yet offer the appearance of natural stone—quartzite is, in fact, a quarried stone comprised of sandstone. Quartz countertops are actually an engineered material. “Finally we have access to a natural stone material that has the beauty of marble but the durability of
granite,” says Matthew Quinn, principal of Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio in Atlanta. “I am loving all of the new quartzites that come out of South America.” Mell Hill of Oldcastle Surfaces adds, “There is an increased desire for quartz countertops from our customers. We believe this is due, partially, to the newest colors available that have the elegant marble look and texture.”

Quinn also just installed an engineered quartz countertop in New York City’s Kips Bay Showhouse kitchen. “Silestone just launched a finish called ‘Suede’ that is not only honed, but has a subtle texture like an orange peel,” he explains. The material he installed in the nationally renowned showhouse is in Silestone’s “Helix” color that can “amazingly resemble statuary marble,” he says.

In NKBA’s 2014 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends Survey, 70 percent of respondents said they see quartz countertops increasing in 2014. Once again evoking that “clean” buzzword, quartz is likely the most durable and lowest-maintenance countertop on the market. It is not likely to etch, stain or chip and is able to withstand high temperatures. (It can handle temperatures up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit!)

Quinn notes that countertop edges are also becoming more clean and simple. “All those double-stack ogee edges have become coves or simple 2¼-inch thick mitered edges,” he says.

Now you’ve been informed, so it’s time to get inspired—let’s take a look at some of the coolest countertops in Atlanta!


Some of the Coolest Countertops in Atlanta!
Woody Limestone By: Atlanta Kitchen

Island: Woody Limestone by Atlanta Kitchen


The lines within this woody limestone island surface perfectly mimic actual wood grain. La Parla Venata quartzite covers the perimeter of the space, complementing the wood centerpiece, as does the warm color palette in the Vibe Parker Mosaic backsplash, which was installed by Builders Floor Covering & Tile.

Floating Concrete By: Pipa Bradbury Design

Floating Concrete Countertop by Pipa Bradbury DesignPipa Bradbury Ginschel’s design concept for Hettich America’s display kitchen in Buford was to have the appearance of “floating” surfaces. “To accentuate the different planes intersecting, I created shadow lines by floating one plane off another,” she explains. “I also floated a piece of sealed reclaimed oak off the concrete to create a table.” The half-inch-thick concrete surface in a “heather” color was made and installed by Bradley Hughes Atlanta. “They came out and made templates of the space so they could pour the concrete tops and finish with a sealer prior to the install,” Bradbury Ginschel explains.

Flagstone Outdoor By: MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers] and King Landscaping

Outdoor Kitchen with Flagstone Countertop by MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers] and King LandscapingA woodland theme runs throughout this Atlanta-area outdoor kitchen. It’s in the dark-wood arbor that echoes the nearby tree trunks. It’s also in the tree-ring-like veins running throughout the large flagstone countertop used for the kitchen’s eat-in island.

Countertop FAQs
How should I care for my countertops?
For granite and marble countertops, clean with a product made specifically for natural stone surfaces. Do not use bleach, ammonia or citrus products and be sure to clean spills in a timely manner to avoid staining. Do not stand or sit on countertops. Use a cutting board for cutting and use trivets for hot items. Apply a water-based sealer every six months.—Melissa Slaton, Top South Inc. / Granite Direct Warehouse

Quartz is an excellent product and is easy to maintain. Use mild soap and water; soft cleansers work well, too. As with any stone surface, wipe up acidic spills quickly. Most quartz surfaces are highly stain- and scratch-resistant. They never need sealing. Some are even antibacterial. Refer to the care and maintenance section of your product line’s website for directions specific to your countertop.—Mary Jo Alton, Snappy Kitchens Atlanta
Butcher block countertops are simple to clean and disinfect with a vinegar-water solution. Apply oil every 12-48 months, depending on the level of use.
—Mary Jo Alton, Snappy Kitchens Atlanta

Concrete countertops should be installed with a penetrating sealer, then you can wax the surface every four to six weeks to make it less vulnerable to penetrating stains. Wipe up spills as soon as possible, especially red wine, oil and citrus to avoid stains. All normal non-abrasive household or institutional cleaners should be acceptable cleaning agents for sealed concrete countertops. Just be sure to test the cleaner in an inconspicuous area to ensure discoloration doesn’t occur. For a daily cleaning solution, mix four parts water to one part white vinegar.—Pipa Bradbury Ginschel, Pipa Bradbury Design

Tile countertops should be washed with a mild detergent, rinsed and dried well. Wipe up and dry spills immediately. The tile itself is non-porous, but the grout is not, so seal grout lines periodically.
—CSI Kitchen & Bath Studio

Laminate countertops should be cleaned with a soft cloth, mild detergent and water. Rinse well and dry. Always use cutting boards to prevent scratches and a trivet or hot pad for hot pots.
—CSI Kitchen & Bath Studio

How can I repair my countertop?

Chips in granite can be filled in with a granite epoxy resin and resealed. For marble surfaces, an epoxy sealant can be applied to fill in small cracks. Tin dioxide rubbed in with a piece of felt can fill in small scratches. Tiny chips can be re-glued with an epoxy cement. Large repairs are best left to a professional. Quartz is another material where small chips can be glued back into place. Tile is more easily chipped or cracked than some other materials, so it’s a good idea to keep some extra tiles on hand in the event that one is damaged. The damaged tile can be pried off, a new one reset on thinset mortar, then regrouted and sealed. For laminate countertops, small chips can be filled in with a laminate paste, and stains can be removed with a little distilled vinegar or rubbing alcohol. To remove stains on concrete surfaces, a thin coat of concrete can be applied on top, or the surface can be lightly ground off and resealed. Butcher block countertops can always be sanded and smoothed, and any small gouges or scratches can be filled in with wood putty, then sanded and polished.
—CSI Kitchen & Bath Studio

What are the countertop trends you’re seeing in Atlanta kitchens?

Textured granite. Texturing granite will give the stone a matte finish with varying degrees of texture, such as leathered, antiqued, brushed and flamed. Textured stone adds an exciting element to your design.—Melissa Slaton, Top South Inc. / Granite Direct Warehouse

White again! We are starting to see the shift to white with lots of movement and veining rather than pure white. Our customers want the look of marble without the maintenance hassles that come along with it.—Mell Hill, Oldcastle Surfaces

Countertops made of recycled materials, such as those manufactured by IceStone, Vetrazzo or ReVelle, are becoming more popular as people look for environmentally friendly solutions.—CSI Kitchen & Bath Studio

Exotic woods are now being used in butcher block islands to add an exciting new look.—Tom Dwyer, Harbour Towne Construction Inc.

Multiple surface types are mixed together in many kitchen designs. For example, using a durable quartz product for the perimeter/main cabinetry area then choosing something different for the island. The island is the kitchen centerpiece, and a natural stone with a lot of movement can polish off the entire room.
—Mary Jo Alton, Snappy Kitchens Atlanta


Custom-built European Inspired Kitchen

Helpful tips for selecting the right countertop

Countertop Care by material


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