09/15/11 9:06am

How design blogger Joni Webb’s Calacatta slabs have been acclimating themselves to West U.: “Is white marble really practical in a kitchen? Yes, that age old question. Doesn’t white marble stain? I’ve had my marble countertops for almost three years now and I have to say, I don’t have any stains at all. But, what I do have are a few smudges. You can’t really see them unless you look sideways in the sunlight – and then you might notice that there are – for lack of a better word – smudges. These spots look like clear water dried on the marble. I know that all I need to do is get the marble cleaned and resealed again, but truthfully, these few marks don’t bother me at all.”

Photo: Cote de Texas

04/16/09 11:55pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON COUNTER CULTURE “We, too, have formica counters — rather nice-looking, attractively textured and easy-to-care-for laminate — plus a useful bit of stainless steel around the sink. Past abodes have had concrete, little 1940’s hexagonal tiles, or 1960’s 4″ tiles in the kitchen. But, yes, Cathy, all this granite business has got me to thinking about the Next Big Countertop Thing. I predict that it will be Spanish moss. Cheap, renewable, non-toxic, pleasantly yielding under a cutting board, and doubling as garnish for everything from humble casseroles to stuffed breast of veal…what’s not to like?” [Miz Brooke Smith, commenting on Neighborhood Guessing Game: Panel Discussion]

07/28/08 11:41am

Granite Countertops

Weary of so many drab and formulaic new kitchens boasting granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances? Thanks to a miracle of modern science journalism, design help is on the way. The tyranny of the knee-jerk Kitchen redo formula may soon be over!

The “Your Granite Countertop May Be Radioactive or Emit Radon” meme got a major boost in the media last week, as an article in the New York Times and separate reports from a Rice University nuclear physicist spawned fears among consumers — and dismissive retorts from industry spokespersons.

No need to panic: Your countertop may not be emitting enough radiation to cook the food you put on it. But hey, maybe you should have your surface tested? The idea of bringing a Geiger counter along on your Home Depot shopping trips conjures up so many exciting possibilities!

Whether the latest concerns indicate a pointless consumer scare or an actual health hazard, the writing is on the wall for the granite-countertop trend, which jumped the shark long ago. In Houston — which has no stone naturally, but where builders love to follow design trends long abandoned elsewhere — they were always a strange import. Cliche-weary designers will likely promote radon-and-radiation fears just to get fashion-handicapped clients to try something else. And solid-surface competitors will only be too happy to take advantage of the situation. But if the 2-decades-long granite-surface craze finally ends, how long will their “Looks Just Like Granite” surfaces be attractive to buyers?

Photo: A2D Construction