05 August 2008


Last week, I wrote about the much-hyped granite-radon-cancer link. This week, I’d like to suggest some stylish products for a healthier – and style-smart – kitchen. From top down, they are:


Quartz in its many varieties offers style, durability and easy maintenance. Quartz tops are nonporous, so you don’t need to worry about food-borne bacteria penetrating their surface. Quartz is sold under numerous brand names, including Cambria, Zodiaq, Silestone and Caesarstone. For more information about quartz, please visit my archive for the “Ode to Quartz Countertops” posting.

Corian is a countertop option that I haven't specified in more than two years, as most of my clients want granite or quartz. However, some people still prefer it for several reasons: Corian will integrate a sink more smoothly than any other material, giving the sleekest, easiest-clean edge on the market, and there’s something to be said for its almost-invisible seams and reparability. Corian is also much softer and warmer to the touch than stone. Last week, I spotted Corian’s new Illumination Series at the Southeast Builders Show and absolutely loved its cool, contemporary looks. It’s translucent, so you can uplight it for countertops – especially dramatic islands or vanities – or backlight it for easy maintenance backsplashes. Very dramatic, yet still non-porous and repairable.


In response to challenging economic times, there have been a rash of low-cost import cabinets from countries without environmental controls. These may have lead content or unsafe levels of formaldehyde that can be hazardous to your health. This is especially true for young children and the frail elderly, those with respiratory issues and anyone whose immune system has been compromised. A healthier alternative for this segment of the population are cabinets with low- or no-VOC finishes and formaldehyde-free construction. The challenge is finding attractive cabinets that meet your style needs, along with your health concerns. I’m delighted to share that I’ve found such a brand: Breathe Easy Cabinets. Their construction offers the benefits of high-quality, formaldehyde-free custom cabinetry, along with an attractive range of healthier finishes . Unlike some of their competitors whose design savvy is as green as their eco-status, you would not know that BEs are as great for your health as they are for your home’s value. I consider them the Volvo of cabinets: ideal for safety-conscious families, durable, stylish and mid-high priced. You can find a dealer at the Breathe Easy site. The Florida distributor is working on finding one in the Tampa area to serve my clientele.


Marmoleum is not a new product. Nor are its environmental properties new. It’s all natural, but it’s also allergen-free, antiseptic, antistatic and soft underfoot. You’ll love that softness when you have to spend hours preparing a family dinner and your feet, legs and back don’t ache like they do on tile. The company's new Marmoleum Click product installs easily and can be configured into a range of retro-friendly design styles. You’ll have no grout to clean and won’t worry about your children playing on it as you’re preparing meals.


IMAGE (Above): Marmoleum Click offers a healthier, stylish kitchen and great room flooring option.

Please let me know if you'd like to create a room using any of these materials. As an independent designer, my role is to pair clients with the best-available components for their projects. When it comes to healthier but still style-smart spaces, these are among my recommendations. For those clients outside the Tampa, Florida area, I do offer long distance design consulting by phone/email/internet. Please see my design firm website to view some recent projects and complete contact information.

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