When it comes to countertop designs it can often feel very overwhelming as there are many beautiful options and new releases coming to market non-stop. And then it’s not as simple as just choosing your countertop design selection when it comes to the overall design of your project.
You must also decide on the finish, thickness, edge profile, if you want a backsplash or not, and the height and then there’s the overhang. So today we wanted to round up a handful of our favorite quartz countertops plus walk you through how the countertop process works.
Design Needs When Choosing your Countertop Design
Hire an Installer
First, you need to decide who you want to hire when it comes to the install. Beyond the brand of the countertop is also the fabricator and installer.
Kitchen countertop fabricators help you choose the material, are quality control coordinators, and they will ensure you’re getting what you pay for.
What we always say is to hire someone that is reliable and backs the product they’re selling. We always work with Select Surfaces and without a doubt can say we have never had one complaint. They are family-owned and run their business just like that, they treat you like family. They have a variety of brands they work with but when you walk into their showroom, our favorite, is their displays of Cambria. And 99.9% of the time – that’s the only brand of countertops we are recommending and installing for many different reasons. Besides the gorgeous designs they offer, again, we’ve never had any issues when it comes to the end product. No shortcuts, chips, cracks, large seams. With these two it’s always been smooth sailing. And when we have run into issues, which have been rare, they make the corrections before it becomes an issue.
Once you’ve figured out who to hire, it’s time to pick out the overall slab design. This is why it’s great to work with someone who has a gorgeous showroom so you can visually see the large slabs in real life. We encourage you to walk around a showroom, take down notes of the slabs that immediately grab your attention, and then work with a designer to narrow it down.
Once you have chosen your overall design, next up, choose your finish! Polished, honed, matte, leathered, and more but we always recommend either polished or matte. In our personal home, we have a matte finish. Jamie wanted that look and won that battle but I will say matte does cost more and it shows a lot more fingerprints. Polished is your standard and quite honestly, I love them both but appreciate the cleanliness as a busy momma that polished brings.
Then there is the thickness of the countertop! Again, many options here. The industry standard thickness for kitchen, bathroom and other countertop surfaces in natural stone is 1.25 inches. This thickness provides the strength and stability required to create an unbroken surface without the need for stabilizing it with a plywood backing. But you can also switch it up throughout a space. For example in our personal home we did the 1.25 inch throughout the surround and then for the island we added on another inch to set that apart. This also adds height and we like the idea as many of our guests when entertaining stand around the island.
Go big or go home is our motto when it comes to backsplashes! In kitchens, we never recommend going 6″ as we love a good statement backsplash but when it comes to bathrooms – we like going for 6″. It gives a statement without feeling too overpowering. And being it’s for water splashes when washing your hands or your face, your typical 3 – 4″ doesn’t quite protect and get the job done.
Then you need to determine your overhang. If you get too crazy with the overhang you will need supports of some sort whether that is posts or metal backing underneath. If you are thinking about island seating, I always say go a foot, just enough without having to add supports. But even for your traditional standard countertop, there will need to be some sort of overhang which ranges from 1/2″ to 3/4″.
And then there are more options like having a waterfall design on the sides of an island!
Countertop Install Process
Then once you’ve decided on all of those factors it’s install time!
In order to cut the slab you’ve selected to the correct size for your countertops, first, a template needs to be created. This is done by sending a skilled installer, like our friends at Select Surfaces, to measure by hand and create a physical template of the space.
The next step is the layout. The template of your countertop is taken and is laid directly onto the stone to determine how the stone will look once cut and shaped. You can allow your installers to make those determinations, but if you want a certain part of the stone, movement, or color to be featured in a certain spot on your countertop, the installers will help with this.
Fabrication is the artistic step of the process. Cutting, fabricating, edging, and hand polishing your stone to the template and layout, and your specifications happens during this process.
While all of the above is going on, your old countertops will be ripped out to get ready for the installation of the new ones. Depending on your type of remodel, typically a contractor will do this a day or two before the installation. However, if it’s a full gut and remodel, it’s a different story.
Once your new countertop is fabricated and your old countertop is removed, your installers will bring your new countertops and install them, ensuring that everything fits to plan and meets your approval.
Our Favorite Quartz Designs
Blackbrook by Cambria is such a stunning selection for a countertop. For our flip house, Black Lake, we knew we wanted something that was different and fit with the vibe of the space. We wanted this bathroom to have a modern element to it, which is why we used mostly black accessories throughout.
Blackbrook can be available in a high gloss or matte finish. White lightning strikes dramatize a smooth black background. It’s both stark and chic, with a modern and elegant simplicity to it.
We love the specs of white and the white veining throughout Blackbrook. It makes the countertop pop as well as stand out. It’s a true statement piece, which we knew this bathroom needed to compete with the shower design we came up with.
The veining plays off of the floor tile and ties it all together.
We love the subtle emerald green and blue veining on a warm white base of Ruxley. The cooler tones white veins add balance to the design as well Once we had the custom design for our Mercury Mosaics backsplash, we knew we had to match it with an equally unique countertop, which lead us to Ruxley.
It stands out against the natural white oak cabinets and thinks it makes the perfect addition to our Black Lake kitchen.
Another one of our favorites, and one we’re putting in one of our projects coming soon, is Hemsworth.
This one is similar to Ruxley that we did in the Black Lake Place in the veining and the pattern of it. Hemsworth features high-contrast and deeply saturated black veining that makes its way across a cool white background, which then intersects with softer veins that crackle out for that one-of-a-kind unique design.
It creates a modern feel for a space, which is why it was the perfect addition to our #tonkatowntreasure project for their kitchen countertops.
The Bentley design features a white background that intersects black and charcoal veins that stand out against the muted light gray spatters. It embraces the look of natural marble, while adding in an intricate design.
Our tried and true and one we go back to over and over. Delgatie by Cambria is one we will always stand by! We spec it for the majority of our clients. It’s luxurious looking with the gold specs throughout it and stands out in any space.
Cambria is more of a subtle design of Cambria’s. It has white-on-white tonality with warm-toned veining throughout. Its more understated demeanor blends in well with its surroundings while still maintaining to stand out.
We have it in our kitchen in the matte finish and love looking at it and using it every day! If you’re looking for a white countertop that’ll mesh well with whatever cabinetry or backsplash you chose, this one is for you.
We always recommend going with quartz countertops. With quartz, you never have to worry about sealing it, ever. You also don’t have to worry about bacteria of any sort getting into it. Cambria has a lifetime guarantee, so if anything happens, it’ll get replaced. Not only that, but they are also super professional to work with. We work with Select Surfaces for our countertop installs, who are personable and fun to work with, but also very respectful of your time.
We love our friends at Cambria and Select Surfaces and would recommend them to anyone. They’ll take care of you and have the best products.
Smithfield is a soft white countertop with very faint veining in it. It’s more subtle but just as stunning.
Ella is a multi-dimensional countertop with gray veining on a soft white base. It has a marbled look to it and looks so timeless with any kind of design.
It has an elegant warm white base with crisscrossed veining in navy, gray, and black. The finishing touch to this design is the subtle gold flakes throughout that draw your eye to it.
Its design consists of subtle navy blue veining on a soft white marbled background that resembles a serene river or a stream.