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How Did Granite Become The Kitchen Counter Standard?

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How Did Granite Become The Kitchen Counter Standard?

By Lloyd Alter, Treehugger

Granite counters have been all the rage for a decade, but now it has come to this, an entire kitchen made of granite. I think it is incredibly ugly and probably ridiculously expensive, but seeing this image, and a recent discussion about counter choices for Graham Hill’s LifeEdited project, reminded me of some research I had done into countertops a while back.

Granite is relatively new to the kitchen counter; back in 1987, it was pretty much available in only two colors, it was incredibly expensive and was not even considered good counter material because of its lack of resilience. Yet in less than a decade, it went from being luxurious to ubiquitous– it is in practically every new condo and apartment regardless of price. It became the cherry on top of the McMansion sundae. The price dropped so far and so fast that one can now order it online in Florida for $19.95 per square foot, almost as cheap as a laminate counter. (Although at the time of this writing no doubt there is a significant oversupply in Florida.)

How did granite morph from being a virtual unknown in the kitchen to a high end luxury to the de facto standard?

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Crafts & Design, Environment, Green Home Decor, Home, Materials & Architecture, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , ,

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60 comments

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8:04AM PDT on Oct 10, 2011

I don't like the granite look kitchens either.

8:09PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

There are companies that Ifound out that make counter tops out of recycled glass bottles, If you check them out they are beautiful. When I get my first home Iam going to go that route in my bathroom and kitchen.

12:24PM PDT on Aug 25, 2011

Very interesting information that might prove useful in the near future as I am looking to replace my worn out counter tops.

7:59AM PDT on Aug 25, 2011

My current countertops date from the 50s and have pink and beige boomerang-shaped designs on them. I hate them. If I was a gazillionaire, or at least was able to afford the kitchen of my dreams, I'd get that stuff that we had in high school chem lab--green and indestructable. Granite makes me think of public restrooms.

12:35AM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

Thanks.

9:53PM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

Well this is a relief to me, I recently remodeled my kitchen and chose not to have granite. Now I am glad I did.

8:25PM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

Thank you, interesting

5:04PM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

Thank you. I have wondered about how this look got so popular. I really do not like it at all. Such a hard, cold, sterile surface. Drop glass or ceramic ware on it and say good bye in a million pieces. Now I can add the fact that it's unhealthy, difficult to care for and, most important, not green to my list of why I don't like it. I think it appeals to people because of the luxury connotation, its a status symbol - oh, granite, now you've really made it, what a big success you are. Is cold and tacky, like having a whole room, floor to ceiling covered with marble.

I'm just wondering what type of counter top is green, healthy and attractive? What are some of the alternatives?

6:53AM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

I think it became a trend like many other things we don't need, a combination of good marketing and lemming consumers.

I have two relatives that have "upgraded" and they aren't that easy to care for, especially if black. There are other choices available. I think it depends on your priorities.

4:54AM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

It is beautiful and long lasting. I love ours.

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