Top 5 Designer Countertops

September 28, 2015


Do you have a favorite countertop material? Countertops in kitchens and baths must be beautiful, yet durable and able to stand the test of time. From simple and sleek quartz countertops to dramatic and bold granite, there is a surface that will be a perfect match to complement your taste and your family’s lifestyle. We’ve asked three top interior designers to weigh in on their favorite picks for kitchens and baths. Get ready to be inspired to transform your space with new countertops from MSI!


Leslie Wolfe - Leslie Wolfe, owner of Benton Parker Design, attended Auburn University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design from the FIDER accredited program. After working two years for a talented designer, she established Benton Parker Design in 2006. Her designs have been showcased in regional publications. Her business continues to expand and includes clients from across the southeastern United States. 


Leslie’s Top 5:

1. Calacatta Gold Marble
Timeless and classic, Calacatta Gold Marble countertops bring an air of sophistication and refinement to a room. Marble is a great surface for countertops, and statement islands, and coordinating mosaic tiles can complete the look. In addition to kitchen countertops, marble slabs and mosaics can be used in bathrooms, as accent walls, for fireplace surrounds, and much more.  “They work well with warm or cool tones and add instant elegance to any room,” says Leslie Wolfe. This line also includes moldings, borders and mosaic sheets in a range of styles and finishes.


2. Bianca Onyx
This is a beautiful onyx that is made for backlighting. It has dramatic impact, but you can still dress it up or down depending on your needs. Onyx is a classic stone used in many elegant, traditional and modern designs. When considering an onyx slab, you should know that it takes special care to seal and regularly treat it since acids will etch and damage it.


3. Silver Travertine
Travertine adds a very unique texture to any kitchen or bath. The surface is combined with cement before it is smoothed and polished to provide a more uniform surface in a similar way  granite and marble countertops are polished. “What makes a travertine countertop shine,” says Leslie, “it’s honed natural finish and the ability to purchase in either a tile or slab is ideal for both commercial and residential countertops.”  Leslie finds that travertine’s soft color – a perfect blend of cream and warm gray creates a stunning, subtle movement. “It can complement any surrounding color or space because it’s a neutral so it’s a very flexible surface in any environment,” she says.


With more than 10 travertine colors to choose from at MSI, you have options to match your home or commercial space. Its smooth and durable finish provides an optimal surface in combination with its natural visual appeal.

4.Taj Mahal Quartzite
Quartzite is a very hard metamorphic rock that originated as sandstone. Through a process of high heating and pressurization, the sandstone is transformed into Quartzite. It is an extremely strong and durable natural stone. “It feels like marble without the maintenance,” says Leslie. When heated, individual quartz pieces recrystallize, giving it a beautiful and decorative sparkling pattern. Leslie adds, “It is a perfect creamy neutral that is rich with depth and character.” When deciding on what to use for your next countertop surface, consider quartzite countertops for its strength, beauty, and overall durability.

5. Fusion Granite
Fusion is a dramatic multicolor granite with deep bluish grays, creams, and rust colors. “It looks like a piece of art. It creates a definite ‘wow’ factor in any setting,” notes Leslie. The dramatic movement and colors make this piece the hero of any design project and an ideal choice for statement islands in a kitchen or as a vivid accent wall in an entry foyer. It is durable enough for both residential and commercial properties, and can be used indoors or out.  


Jennifer Foresman - Madison & Wells Design is a full service interior design firm based in Marietta, Georgia.  Jennifer Foresman, owner of Madison & Wells Design, specializes in creating classic interiors with a modern twist.  Her focus is designing meaningful spaces that reflect her client's spirit and lifestyle.  Jennifer's style has been shaped by her time spent scouting design trends from around the world and translating them into products on the shelves of Home Depot stores nationwide.  She is also influenced by her experience designing hotels and convention centers with Atlanta based architecture and design firm, tvsdesign.  She holds degrees in interior design as well as business administration from Harrington College of Design and Georgia Institute of Technology. 


Jennifer’s Top 5:

1. Cashmere Carrara™ Quartz
Quartz has become the go-to countertop for clients who want a beautiful and low maintenance kitchen. Cashmere Carrara from the Q™ Premium Natural Quartz Collection captures the spirit of marble with its beautiful color and veining. “The fact that it is extremely easy to care for is a huge selling point for my clients with young children at home.  It is the perfect complement to a timeless white, gray or black kitchen,” she says.
2. Chakra Beige Quartz
“I love countertops that are versatile and this one certainly fits the bill!  Its gorgeous blend of off-white, taupe and caramel mixes beautifully with a variety of cabinet colors,” says Jennifer.  “While it is gorgeous with cream and gray cabinets, it looks equally great with maple and walnut stains.” 


Chakra Beige is also a great way to incorporate a mix of warm and cool tones within a kitchen.  White and gray kitchens and baths have seen a steady increase in popularity, but it can sometimes be difficult to create an element of warmth with these color palettes. Also, many homeowners want to incorporate gray tones without replacing all of their floors and cabinets. Chakra Beige can bridge cool and warm tones and allow them to blend together beautifully.


3. Bianco Antico Granite
Many top designers find that Bianco Antico is a great way to add movement to a kitchen.  Shades of white and charcoal gray create a beautiful crystallized pattern that adds interest and depth.  It is a great option for someone who wants a light countertop with lots of movement and veining. The range of colors also makes it easier to pair with a wide variety of tile backsplashes.  “On a recent project, I paired it with Keshi Blend, a beautiful white, gray and metal mosaic.  The pair made for a beautiful combination,” says Jennifer.


4. Black Soapstone
“Soapstone always reminds me of my favorite pair of broken-in jeans. The look is authentic and lived in,” notes Jennifer. She believes is it also an easy way to warm up a modern kitchen or bathroom. “I love that it can stand up to acidic liquids and cleaners that you have to avoid with most natural stone countertops.” 


5. White Macaubas Quartzite

Many clients are not initially familiar with quartzite countertops, but tend to fall in love with them at first glance. For Jennifer, they are another option to create a marble look with less maintenance. The long, beautiful veining within White Macaubas make it a striking option for a large island. 


Emily Holle - MSI’s trend and design guru, Emily Holle, finds much of her inspiration from her travels and study of textiles. Her strong background in textile design and love of ancient handmade techniques continues to influence her personal style and design aesthetic. She spends much of her work musing on her next designs while creating product collages and mood boards. Her passion for bringing affordable designs to the North American market, coupled with her keen since of style, offers products and designs that will make their way into your next design project. 


Emily’s Top 5:


1. Madreperola Quartzite
This dreamy, creamy quartzite stunner is Holle’s go-to choice for those that love the marble look but don’t want the upkeep. The depth in this natural stone is one-of-a kind because each slab is unique. “I recently renovated my kitchen and just had to have Madreperola as a main feature,” Emily says.


2. Black Forest Granite
This granite gives the feeling of power, warmth and excitement -- it wakes up a room! Black Forest Granite is a showstopper that will be the designer statement in your kitchen. Try a waterfall edge on your island with this beauty and watch your kitchen shine. Many of the latest granites we are finding around the world boast fresh colors of rich blacks, cool whites and subtle grays all with amazing movement. “It is truly unique and created from Mother Nature herself,” notes Emily. “I love for our customers to have a story behind their countertops about where it came from and that they hand selected the perfect slab for their project.”


3. Glacier White™ Quartz
Crisp and clean like a breath of fresh air, Glacier White™ Quartz offers customers that perfect white they are looking for with layers of depth to add richness. White countertops are hot right now in interior design as customers are looking to update their spaces.  Glacier White™ Quartz complements modern and contemporary design styles when paired with flat panel lacquer door cabinetry, and finished with a straight edge. Just like a little black dress, white countertops never go out of style. As your style changes, this countertop material can easily adapt to a more traditional and classic style.

4. Alpine White Granite
“Alpine White has become my recent favorite granite of choice,” adds Emily. “It boasts beautiful movement that is more spectacular than traditional speckled granites. The creamy-white base color is complemented perfectly by reflective taupes and warm grays that come together like a match made in heaven.” What makes this granite stand out from your neighbor’s granite countertops are the subtle sparkling flecks.


5. Statuary Venato Marble
An all-time classic, white marble has become the new darling of countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. The dramatic veining cannot be replicated and exudes a luxurious feel that is priceless. The hunt is on for the best looking white marble! Emily credits Statuary Venato as one of her favorites for its thick and very distinctive veining – perfect for creating a knockout kitchen island.


What are your favorites? Are you ready to start choosing new countertops for your home? MSI carries a variety of the most popular countertop material – whether granite, marble, travertine, soapstone, or quartz – you will be in awe of their beauty, timeless elegance, and durability. Granite is available in virtually every color of the rainbow and with MSI's 23 new colors of granite added to our already extensive selection, we offer a complete collection to choose from.  Our quartz countertops continue to grow in popularity as well, and are now available in 19 new striking colors. Explore all of the countertops available at msisurfaces.com.