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Italian Marble and Granite

Call Us: 716-741-1800

Patio Season in Buffalo

Patio Season in Buffalo

Outdoor patio with SmartDesign Architecture

Outdoor patio with SmartDesign Architecture

Hopefully in Buffalo the weather will begin to change and all the snow will start to become sunshine. With this in mind many people are beginning to plan their outdoor patios, outdoor kitchens, and other outdoor living spaces. When making selections for your outdoor patios their are many things to keep in mind when determine what surfaces to use:
1) The type of stone. Many people like quartz, but for the most part you cannot use it outside. Quartz cannot be used with heat, such as a firepit, and it cannot be exposed to the outdoor elements like rain and sunshine. This is due to the fact that there is dye used to produce the stone and the elements can change the color of the stone. Granite and soapstone are the most recommended for the outside, soapstone being the best material. The soapstone can handle heat the best, where as some granite are too brittle for outdoor use. This is especially important in Buffalo. Buffalo experiences all four season therefore the stone will be expanding and contracting with the weather.
2) Color of the stone should also be taken into account. Black stones can be very HOT during the summer. Think about getting your car in the summer with a leather black interior. Your black granite can be like that outside. Therefore if using black stone make sure it is not in the direct sunlight.
3) Consult your granite sales person/fabricator about the integrity of the stone outside. As mentioned earlier some stones perform better outside than others. Granite with a lot of crystal is not ideal for the outdoors because of the expansion and contraction as mentioned earlier. Let your sales person and fabricator be a part of the conversation when picking the perfect outdoor stone.
4) The temperature outside matters when installing the stone. Certain epoxy and glues only work in certain temperatures. Unfortunately that can mean delaying an install by a day if the the temperature decides to drop below 50 degrees.
5) Lastly, start planning early! If you are thinking you want to use this new outdoor living space for memorial day weekend, make sure you shopping now.

Patio Season in Buffalo

Antiqued Granite Countertops

There are many different natural stone finishes to use on your countertops.  They range from leathered (antiqued), honed, polished, and many more.  These finishes do not necessarily jeopardize the integrity of the granite countertops.  However, additional coats of sealer may need to be applied.  When a stone is leathered it creates a textured finish, which varies depending on the quartz structure of the stone.  Meaning that two different granites can have a leathered finish but one may have more texture than the other.

It is important to try and think of what “look” you are trying to achieve.  Some customers prefer the leathered finish when they are trying to achieve a more rustic or old feel in their kitchen.  Polished granite countertops and leathered granite countertops can bring two different looks.  The picture above shows a leathered granite countertop out of African Tapestry.  The granite countertop below is the same stone, but with a polished finish.  Both granites bring something different to the kitchen.  It is important to see that leathering the stone lightens it as well.

Patio Season in Buffalo

Countertop Edges-What is the best fit?

Picking your countertop edge can be a little overwhelming for some people, especially when taking specific stones into account.  When our customers are looking for edges we take three main factors into account.

  1. The most important factor to take into account is the type of stone.  A quartz countertop (engineered countertop) can have any type of edge, expect for a rockface finish.  A rockface edge is rough and have a chiseled look.  Many quartz companies will not warranty the stone if this edge is used.  As for the marbles and granites, different characteristics of the stone need to be taken into account.  Some granites and marbles and more susceptible to chipping so an ogee edge, or an edge with a sharp point may not be recommended.  If the granite or marble has a “sugar” charactertistic to it, a rockface will not be recommend as well.  The potential for the countertop to break during fabrication is higher.
  2. The feel of the room/design.  Some edges look more modern, where others have a classic look to them.  A bevel edge can almost have a more modern look to it.  Where the ogee or ogee stepback has a formal look, like a furniture piece.
  3. Lastly the budget is taken into account.  In our company we have four standard edges.  Built-up edges, ogees, and bullnoses are additional money due to the increased amount of labor.

So when picking your edge, make sure your fabricator or sales person helps with the process.  Make sure they go over the characteristics of the stone and you understand what edges are best for the stone.  They can also help you understand which may fit the room in your house.

Built up ogess step back edge on countertop

Built up ogee step back edge on countertop

Kitchen Trend Watch

They just won’t go away! White kitchens continue to be a very popular trend in the industry. There are tons of stones that go great with white kitchens. There are light colored granite stones, marble of course, plenty of quartzites, and many different quartz (man-made) stones that look stunning in white kitchens. Check out this great post from HGTV for some inspiration!

White Kitchens from HGTV

2013 Remodeling Trends

Now that the new year has set in, what will you be expecting to see as new remodeling trends?  Open layouts are one of the largest trends noted by many professionals.  Many remodeling projects are initiated because homeowners want to open up their homes.  Many professionals say they are going into homes to remove walls and open up rooms within houses.  Also, homeowners want to grow with their homes.  So when building or remodeling their houses they are being conscious of the future.   More specific trends we may start to see specifically is a move to a more clean and simple look, contemporary.  Clutter is being cut and people are looking for clean lines and simple looks.  At the same time, individuals are continuously trying to “go green,” because they are still concentrating on energy-efficient appliances and taking  it a step further and using recyclable materials.   Many professionals believe we will begin to see more quartz surfaces in the kitchen and Calacatta marble in the bathrooms.  What are your opinions on these latest trends?

Patio Season in Buffalo

Kitchen Appliance Trends

Kitchens are always changing, new trends pop up and some stay for a year or multiple years.  Below is a list of some of the latest trends I have researched and noticed in multiple homes.


Homeowners do not want to always see their appliances, they like to integrate them into their cabinets.  Below is an example of a dishwasher that has been integrated into the cabinetry.

Integrated Dishwasher Chalon

Warming Drawers

Warming drawers are a huge convenience.  You can set food aside for dinner guests that arrive late, and their food will remain warm.  Also, when you are cooking a big meal, like Thanksgiving, you can cook food throughout the day and set it in the drawer so it remains warm.

NewOffice012Handmade Custom Ranges

Want a wow factor in your kitchen?  Try the la Cornue custom ranges.  These ranges are custom ordered and handmade.  La Cornue ranges bring a sense of Old World Charm to the kitchen, but with a hefty price.

Kbis Kitchens 2008 La Cornue

Built In, One Button Coffee Makers

Waking up in the morning and making a cup of coffee can sometimes be  a hassle.  Then you have the coffee maker sitting on your counter all day.  So what about building it into the wall?  That is what many people are beginning to do.  Building a coffee maker into the wall incorporates the other trend of integrating the coffee maker into  the cabinetry.  Also, these coffee makers tend to be a “one button coffee maker.”  So all you have to do, is wake up and press a button, then you have your cup of coffee.    Below is a picture of a Miele coffee maker.

Miele 03