Counter Intelligence: How to Choose a Countertop Surface

  1. What are the benefits of quartz-surfacing?

The benefits of quartz surfaces are many. One of the strong and growing trends today is the use of materials that offer “lower maintenance and greater durability.” Consumers want the beauty of natural stone but don’t want to deal with the maintenance issues that come with it.  Quartz surfaces offer a no-maintenance solution with impeccable durability while offering countless design options that easily rival the available natural stone choices.


  1. What tips do you have for homeowners wondering if they should opt for a light or dark color countertop? 

Making material selections for a kitchen is far more complex than selecting a single element such as the countertop. Much like creating a palate for any room, your kitchen requires the same care and creativity. The choice of a dark or light countertop is merely one decision in a long line of choices. That is exactly why companies like Cambria work to create an elaborate palate that embodies a large variety of designs from light to bold colors. Your choice of materials must ultimately render a feeling in your space; a feeling of balance, rhythm and emphasis all at once. Some say that dark countertops evoke a feeling of congestion in a space and that light countertops make a space feel larger. I disagree. The proper selection of materials will create the proper harmony and ultimately make a space feel right, no matter what color the countertop is.


  1. What are common mistakes people make when buying counter material?

One of the most common mistakes in selecting any finish is a lack of understanding of the material’s limitations. There are very seldom bad products; consumers simply use them beyond what they are intended for. Most materials have clear limitations and offer a narrow band of benefit. Quartz surfaces are one of the few that offer a broad range of attributes and benefits and, as such, they are a natural choice for countertop surfacing.


  1. What tips do you have for mixing countertop colors/materials in a kitchen? For example, if someone wanted a different color or material on the island, how do you recommend they choose complementary items?

When mixing materials be mindful of the size of space you’re working with. When working with smaller spaces, I try to keep the number of materials to a minimum and I’m less inclined to use more than one countertop material. However, using a different material or design on the Island is the most typical scenario. When doing this, I like to differentiate the material in color and especially in texture and pattern. I even go as far as selecting different door styles, cabinet base detail and countertop edge profiles for standalone pieces like an Island.

If you’re mixing materials on a continuous run of wall cabinets, you have to ensure that there is clear harmony between the two materials in order to maintain a consistent flow in the design – for example, both materials may have a soft, textured appearance and vary in color only.


  1. What tips do you have for pairing a counter color with a backsplash tile? 

For me, a backsplash is one of the most important elements in a kitchen, so much so that I often don’t make my final decision until I see the cabinetry in place. I love to maintain a harmony between the counter surface and the backsplash. I don’t want to create a fight for presence between the two.

Sometimes, the simplest designs offer the best results – I love to carry the countertop material onto the backsplash but may design a border detail with v-groove joints or inlays for added interest. Fine details such as clean joint work are indicative of quality and precision and are elements that offer tremendous visual satisfaction.


Ramsin Khachi

Ramsin Khachi
Ramsin Khachi is a designer, writer, and media personality.

In the media, Ramsin shares his wisdom on various platforms such as the Marilyn Denis Show on CTV, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and various lifestyle magazines as well as his own online luxury magazine. Known for his vivacious personality and distinctive style, he educates on topics such as design trends, innovative products, and the latest in techie gadgets.

From real estate sales, commercial design, and construction to building custom homes, Ramsin’s experience has turned his once small, one-man construction company into a full service Design/Build firm. A leader in his field, Ramsin’s unparalleled integrity for quality and his knowledge of construction and innovation integration has made him a prominent member of the design community and a trusted influencer in design and lifestyle trends. In addition to his media appearances, Ramsin frequently lectures at public forums and to professional organizations and is a brand advocate to select partners.