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Is the granite/stainless steel kitchen a fad?

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 
Everyone on HGTV needs the granite/SS kitchen. I agree with the aesthetics of the "updated" kitchen, but is the look any more timeless than a kitchen from the 1980s or 90s?

There is some added utility to the granite counter, right? It's non-porous and scratch-resistant. Does that mean that granite will still be the go-to material in 10 years? However, stainless steel is merely a superficial facade that adds nothing to the operation of appliances.

I wonder if the $30k top-of-the-line kitchen renovation will still look good in 10-15 years, or if there will be new materials to displace the granite/SS that is necessary today. What are your thoughts?
post #2 of 104
I think that there is a lot of really ugly granite out there. Certainly those counters are almost indestructible. Being porous or not is irrelevant imo. Does anyone cut directly on their counters? I doubt it. I'd hate to think of how quickly that would dull their knives. And unless you're a total slob that jsut leaves a spill there for hours, you're not going to have a problem with marble imo. I also don't see what new materials would come along to displace it. It's not like we're going to discover some new type of highly available stone... There is nothing wrong with granite and SS in themselves. There is definitely a fad with those two things as centerpieces though. They're often combined with dark contemporary-looking cabinets. I think that will get old, especially since it is present in just about every condo built in north america in the last 5-10 years. Still, were I doing a reno project, I wouldn't consider anything else but stainless for my range. For my fridge and dishwasher, I might consider something that matches the finish of my cabinets so that they're completely hidden. I really like light airy spaces, so white kitchens appeal to me, and marble is the natural choice there. White appliances on the other hand are ugly as sin.
post #3 of 104
Well, they go with the tacky cabinetry and everything else North American people think they need in a kitchen. I've got a pretty interesting little Japanese book titled to the effect of 'convenient kitchens' and it just features a lot of different kitchens, most look good. This book:
post #4 of 104
My opinion: granite, no...stainless steel, yes. Granite is a really nice surface. Ours is very durable, easy to clean, and has held its looks over the 8 years we have had our home. Stainless works well in a modern apartment but it can attract fingerprints and dirt which creates a cleaning nightmare. We have black appliances with dark cherry cabinets. My dad had white marble floors in his kitchen. It looked great but an absolute nightmare to clean. They yellow easily, even on the highest quality marble.
post #5 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post
Would be very interested in seeing some scans from this book. I don't get why people who rarely if ever cook at all, let alone for five or so people need massive expanses of counter space like in the picture below. I'm kind of sick of stainless appliances, I'd rather have most of them hidden by cabinet faces anyways. That being said, I like how they look in modern type kitchens.
post #6 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan View Post
My opinion: granite, no...stainless steel, yes.

Granite is a really nice surface. Ours is very durable, easy to clean, and has held its looks over the 8 years we have had our home.

Stainless works well in a modern apartment but it can attract fingerprints and dirt which creates a cleaning nightmare. We have black appliances with dark cherry cabinets.

My dad had white marble floors in his kitchen. It looked great but an absolute nightmare to clean. They yellow easily, even on the highest quality marble.

The floors yellow? Is it from spattered oil? My father's had a marble cutting board for 20 years and it's not discolored at all. It seems like you get mixed stories with marble in the kitchen...
post #7 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
The floors yellow? Is it from spattered oil? My father's had a marble cutting board for 20 years and it's not discolored at all. It seems like you get mixed stories with marble in the kitchen...

Just normal wear and tear as far as I could tell. My dad was a great cook so the kitchen has always been a focal point for the family. He moved into a riverfront home soon after (this time with tile in the kitchen) and the new owner replaced the marble.
post #8 of 104
A fad? I don't know, but they certainly are fairly practical, which is my main consideration. I think the OP is asking from a resale value sort of standpoint, which was never a concern of mine. At some point, the stainless probably will give way to some incredible nano-coated material that will shed grime without cleaners and won't take fingerprints, but now, I think it is better than any baked-enamel sort of a finish. Likely this will also occur via some method of doping the synthetic quartz materials for countertops as well. But for now, I hardly see any other options that are significantly better if you actually plan to work in your kitchen. We got granite most specifically because it is so wonderful for rolling out dough upon -- I have a 40" long rolling pin and work directly on the countertop. It's wonderful. The only drawback to granite counters that I have noticed is that when you drop a glass on them, the glass breaks. You get a little leeway with other materials. Tile countertops, like in that scan above, seem ridiculous to me, unless your help cleans the grout. The stainless isn't always fun to clean, but I don't see it 'attracting' dirt or anything. Stuff gets on it and either you clean it off or you see it. I don't keep it perfectly streak-free, either, just clean enough -- the stuff gets used and used hard. ~ H
LL
post #9 of 104
Most but not all kitchens will look dated after a while. And a real kitchen gets real wear and tear. The rule of thumb used to be that every 15 years you needed to remodel a kitchen to keep up the value of the home.

That being said, I have seen exceptions, such as classic white tile or black and white tile. Some old and new kitchens look amazing with white/grey marble and nickel plate fixtures.

Appliances, like autos reflect a look and date a kitchen. That is unavoidable. Plan on replacing them in 15 years no mater how classic the rest of the kitchen is.
post #10 of 104
The number one thing to keep in mind when selecting the layout and design of a kitchen is: "Would I be comfortable having sex in here?"
post #11 of 104
The way I see it, granite as a general rule probably won't be much of a trend, since it is a natural material, however certain types of granite (colours or veining/speckled/mottled) may be more or less desirable based on what is "in" at that time period. Again, for me, stainless appliances, while they may not appeal to everyone because of their high-maintenance nature will always give a clean look that I don't think will date either. They look practical and functional, and lend a feeling of an industrial space and remind of hospitals and other functional spaces. Another option that I think will always look good/classic is to have the fronts of your appliances covered to match your cabinetry. Every kitchen I have ever been in with black or white appliances looks cheap to me (or at least less expensive than it would have with concealed or stainless appliances), however a kitchen can still have a high end look and feel without granite. There are many other options out there that look and function as well or in some cases better...marble, soapstone, smooth slate, quartz, stainless steel, and concrete.
post #12 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheD0n View Post
Everyone on HGTV needs the granite/SS kitchen. I agree with the aesthetics of the "updated" kitchen, but is the look any more timeless than a kitchen from the 1980s or 90s?

If it's functional, that will help it last. The rest of the house and the building itself matter. You can't live in an old Victorian and have a kitchen that looks like the galley on a space ship. That's as annoying as a kitchen in a high-rise condo that looks French Countryside.
post #13 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by epb View Post
If it's functional, that will help it last. The rest of the house and the building itself matter. You can't live in an old Victorian and have a kitchen that looks like the galley on a space ship. That's as annoying as a kitchen in a high-rise condo that looks French Countryside.

O rly?
post #14 of 104
Definitely a fad. Hardwood floors are all the rage these days, but there was a time when people tore up their hardwoods because they had to have wall-to-wall carpet. Sooner or later, everything falls out of fashion.

Foodies may like stainless because of its connection to the professional kitchen, but it shows fingerprints, tends to dent, and you can't hang the kids' drawings on it. Eventually, the average person will probably tire of it, especially once HGTV moves onto something else.

The homebuilding industry, like the fashion industry, has a financial interest in the next new thing.
post #15 of 104
My wife and I will have to replace our kitchen appliances in the next year or so and we definitely don't want stainless steel mainly because of the problems with fingerprints and stuff. Yes, we know how to clean things, but a normal black or white refrigeratior is much easier to take care of. As for granite, it's already losing favor among some folks who are starting to move on to things like formed concrete and quartz which is supposed to be much more durable (although more expensive). There is also a movement among people to use recycled materials for their counter tops (especially old glass) which allows them to be more "Earth friendly" and have a lot more control over the color/pattern in their counters while still using something that looks relatively natural.
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