Homeowner's Decision Power Trend

The most discerning homeowners have new shopping habits when it comes to selecting a kitchen countertop. Fabricators no longer play a key role in the decision making process. Instead, homeowners become more involved with remodeling process and kitchen countertop selection. The Internet with abundant amount of information reflects on consciousness of buyers, strengthening their power, knowledge and preparedness for an event of kitchen and bathroom remodeling.

The only fact that remains the same is that every homeowner still wants to have a signature look to his or her remodeling project. That’s where Caayu comes in. Caayu is a boutique-like K&B remodeling company that offers variety of natural and engineered stone countertops – anything from affordable granite options to high-end marble countertops. Although Caayu is relatively small compared to other kitchen and bathroom design places, it allows tremendous flexibility, custom-tailored designs, great customer service as well as access to a breathtaking variety of stone and surfacing products and for each client.

As Caayu’s niche market demands distinctive products and services, company prides itself on offering an eclectic collection of natural stone: granite, marble, onyx, limestone, travertine, soapstone and others, stylish and chic engineered quartz and porcelain surface. Caayu provides top notch fabrication, installation and post-installation care services.  The selection of high-end marble, onyx and natural quartzite is vast. Unique access to thousands of slabs online and at Caayu’s facility in New York City, all at your fingertips, is one of the main features so loved by existing customers.

For clients looking at value-priced kitchen countertops, Caayu offers countless granite options, such as Ubatuba, Golden Sand, Giallo Fiorito, Rosewood, New Venetian Gold and many others. These are high-styled granite countertops for a lower cost. Despite the perception of stone countertops being expensive, natural stone kitchens can be affordable, perfectly fabricated and quickly installed. Whether you work with a fabricator or collaborate with a one-stop-shop place like Caayu, we wish you good luck with your next project!

NEOLITH – New Trend in Stone Surfaces

Working with Caayu team, naturally forces me to explore the new trends in K&B designs. Today I would like to present a recently discovered sensational product of the engineered stone industry. NEOLITH porcelain stoneware is truly a new trend working up the East coast market and is surely to become the next big hit utilized in countless kitchens, bathrooms and commercial spaces.

Thanks to HG Stones, an exclusive distributor of NEOLITH porcelain slabs in New York and New Jersey, I was introduced and was able to learn about the new surface material. HG has recently installed a few projects employing porcelain slabs – kitchen countertops and walls at their East Williamsburg (Brooklyn) showroom. Another project – stunning kitchen tops, walls and backsplash at FORMAT NYC’s showroom situated in Manhattan’s SoHo where even the most picky homeowners and designer can indulge in Italian furniture minimalism with state of the art, yet simplistic designs along with trendy porcelain surfaces.

Creamy-beige NEOLITH (Basalt Beige) countertop and full-height backsplash perfectly partners up with an oversized kitchen island created from four pieces of limestone quarried in Spain.

NEOLITH 'Basalt Gray' Kitchen Countertop

NEOLITH is exceptionally high performance material meant for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, furniture, wall and floor cladding, outside building skin applications and such. NEOLITH’s best characteristics include complete scratch, stain and heat resistance. In other words you can chop food on it, spill anything over, place hot pots – nothing will ever happen to the high-tech surface. It is also resistant to heavy-duty cleaning agents – use whatever you have handy! Thanks to extremely low absorption rate of the porcelain, it doesn’t harbor bacteria and is perfect for food prep facilities (residential and commercial alike). Unique physical features sets NEOLITH aside from other stone surfaces making it a versatile surfacing product with high performance and aesthetic features.

It’s thin, the slabs are humongous (the largest porcelain slabs in the industry 4′x12′) allowing countless design ideas and lots of room to excite your imagination. The flawlessly clean and modern edges of the NEOLITH projects that I’ve seen ideally complement sleek and contemporary cabinetry, that is so highly desirable among New York’s trend-setters.

NEOLITH is imported from Spain and is becoming increasingly popular kitchen and bathroom “gotta-have-it” surface because of its environment friendly characteristics, light weight and practical modern-day appearance.

Colors range from plain, neutral and calming to striking green and cobalt blue. Some color palettes of NEOLITH imitate natural stone movements (similar to limestone). Two other recently introduced lines feature knitted like textile texture and rusty iron patterns.

Timeless Beauty of White Marble Countertops

 

White Marble Countertop / Bridgehampton, NY (Long Island)

To start off the post – yes, I’m biased and absolutely obsessed with Calacatta, Carrara, Statuario, Thassos, Afyon and other white marble, its entire timeless and stunning appearance in kitchen and bathroom applications. I surely adore white and light gray marble, whether it has heavy and contrasty veining or soft and gentle look. I have Calacatta L-shape countertop and island and now plan to renovate my master bathroom with white marble floor and wall tiles as well as replace the bath tub surrounds.

Working as an interior design photographer and seeing all of the lovely houses in Hamptons, Connecticut, Westchester (typical neighborhoods with abundance of white marble kitchens and bathrooms) I should’ve become jaded with white marble already. Quiet the opposite, marble still makes my heart beat faster and gives me the goosebumps of excitement. I can surely picture myself being inspired in all of the kitchens I see daily.

White marble is timeless, classy, chic, clean, crisp and über  luxurious. Because of marble’s unique characteristics, it converts any place into a sophisticated want-to-be-in space. Despite its solid look, white marble has a exceptional ability to totally transform perception of a space by making it softer, fresher, airier and roomier. Definitely a standard of gracious living that forms a bold statement for your living space!

Between choosing the slabs for the countertops in my kitchen and now looking at material for the bathroom, I have been getting myself into learning some of the natural stone industry insights, particularly these related to marble. An interesting trend is developing in the natural stone business. It implies a return of appreciation for some classic stones, such as white marble, limestone, travertine, etc. Ever more homeowners and kitchen designers alike are for the use of white marble, a stone that’s been around for centuries, but recently saw a drop in interest due to the outbreak of the granite and engineered stone market.

Here are some tips that I’ve learned from my fabricators. Needless to say marble is a stone, however not not quite as dense or hard as granite. Marble will wear nicely and last forever, but because it’s porous and sensitive to acidic substances such as juice, wine, coffee, etc, it can stain or etch (dulling of the polished surface) somewhat easily even if sealed properly. That’s the only reason why so many stone fabricators are cautious to recommend marble for kitchen applications. Marble, especially white, has a reputation for staining easily. If you’re interested in utilizing marble in your kitchen space, please be aware that this is a possibility.

Now good news – with proper care and quick spill removal staining and etching should not be a great concern. Sealing marble is essential and it’s recommended to do this at least once a year. If a sealer is applied, be sure to use non-toxic and safe for use in food prep areas. Otherwise marble care is easy. When possible, instantly remove spills with a clean paper towel or cloth. If something has soaked into the stone and stained it, a baking soda poultice may need to be applied over the stain. Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids on marble – it’ll make the surface dull looking. As mentioned above, calcium, which marble consist of, is somewhat vulnerable to acidic products and as a result of the marble can etch when interacting with an acid, leaving a blemished appearance. Abrasive cleaners as they can easily scratch the marble surface.

Lastly, if you absolutely love the look of white marble and don’t mind occasional maintenance, I’d say go for it. Nothing replaces the emotions you every time you walk into your dream kitchen. White marble delivers supreme beauty and functionality, making your project an investment you’ll never regret about. And trust me, this experience and goosebumps of excitement are worth a lot!

Truly Yours,
Jessica

How To Remove Bleach Stains From Soapstone Counter?

Recently one of the visitors asked how to remove bleach stains (mistakenly used Soft Scrub to clean surface) from black soapstone counter? We thought it can be a piece of advice to share with everyone.

Soapstone is an inert material, meaning it is not effected by chemicals such as bleach and low acidic foods and beverages therefore it’s not likely that the bleach has anything to do with the issue. If we had to guess, it sounds like the abrasive in the soft scrub scratched the surface.

When dark colored stones like soapstone get scratched the color on the inside is much lighter than the honed surface which may have given the idea that the bleach has discolored the stone. If mineral oil mineral was applied in the past, a reapplication will reduce the appearance of the scratches by darkening them to match the color of the surface. However, this will also darken the entire soapstone countertop. If the oil is not completely blending in the blemish, another approach would be to wet sand the surface with a fine grit. Most soapstone countertops are finished to a grit of 220 or 400. The coarseness in “soft Scrub” may be much lower somewhere around 70-120. Countertop may need to be re-honed in that particular area to get it to blend better.

Please note, not everyone likes the look of oiled soap stone so Caayu suggests testing it out before committing. Keep in mind there is no turning back once the oil is applied. One way to test this is to saturate the countertop with warm water allowing it to soak for a few minutes and remove the excess water from the surface. It can will quickly show the effect similar to oiling. When the water starts to evaporate, as it dries you will notice a consistent darkening that will provide some sense of what the oiled surface would look like. If you like the “wet look” then an oil treatment might be the right approach for you.

To learn more about Soapstone Countertops care, please read Care & Use: Soapstone