Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen Countertops

Whether you are trying to tackle a kitchen renovation or building your dream house, the selection process can be daunting. Our interior designer, Maggie, has provided a breakdown of the 7 most common kitchen countertop options available to help make that process a little less overwhelming.

For some time, granite has not only been the leading choice in countertops but is also the first to mind for many with its natural beauty to define any space. Coming in nearly 3,000 different color variations, there is sure to be a style to appeal to everyone – but maybe not to everyone’s budget. While the cost for granite has come down in recent years as the demand increased and more engineered options became available, it is still considered a very expensive material due to the fact it is a natural material and its labor costs.

Granite Pros and Cons

Soapstone is sometimes put into the granite category because it is another natural stone, but it really should be seen as an alternative for all its other wonderful characteristics. Coming in a traditionally dark, even color that can vary from gray, green, blue, and black with a satin finish that accents both historic and modern homes beautifully. It has been growing in popularity because of its flexibility.

Soapstone Pros and Cons

This natural stone is considered more temperamental than its counterparts granite and soapstone due to its porousness and fragility. Once it is scratched or stained, the repairs are difficult. If used in the right locations, such as a baking island, marble can really elevate a kitchen’s luxurious feel.

Marble Pros and Cons

The countertops are usually about 93% quartz particles mixed with resins to create the slabs we are familiar with. Due to this, it can mimic the dramatic veining and other natural occurrences that are loved in marble and granite while also being nonporous and scratch, stain, and heat resistant. The latest trends have included integrated quartz sinks and blending recycled glass particles into the resins.

Quartz Pros and Cons

Solid Surface
Solid Surface is a completely manmade option made from a blend of acrylic particles and resins pressed together into sheets. The appearance can be a deterrent for some because of the lack of elegant veining the natural options provide, but for those that do not mind speckles, they can browse the wide array of colors and patterns solid surface has to offer. Now considered one of the mid-tier options for the countertop solutions expense-wise, solid surface can look great in all kitchens.

Solid Surface Pros and Cons


Also in the manmade category, we have laminates which are plastic-coated synthetics that are easy to clean laminated to a piece of particleboard (MDF). The great thing about the laminate option is that there are literally thousands of colors, patterns, and styles to pick from now that there is a resurgence in demand for the product. It can be found in pre-formed segments that are ready to use or can be custom fabricated. 

Laminates Pros and Cons

Wood or Butcher Block

Coming in several different varieties that provide a warm and cozy connection back to nature, wood countertops can be fairly expensive and potentially problematic from bacteria build-up if not properly maintained. They are relatively easy to clean but must be oiled and sealed regularly. It is another great option as an accent counter such as on an island or used with rustic or farmhouse-themed kitchens. 

Wood Pros and Cons

Green Term Defined: Interior Design

It is a common misconception that interior design is the process of selecting curtains or paints. While it can include those items, interior design is more than just decorating. Interior design is the art or process of designing the interior of a room or building. An interior designer has extensive training and education to achieve that title.


Interior designer is a term that implies a higher understanding of the design process. Interior designers can undertake projects that include interior layouts, finish selections, and lighting coordination. In contrast, an interior decorator is skilled at picking out curtains, colors, and finishes, but to use that title need no formal training. You should ask your interiors person if they graduated from a formal accredited degree program before hiring someone to assist you with interiors.

Indoor air quality

Interior designers are creative, visionary, artistic, and imaginative. They have an understanding of function as well as flow of spaces.


If you have an interior design project, please contact us and ask for Hannah.

Welcome our newest team member – Hannah Jackson, Allied ASID, CSI

 Welcome our newest team member – Hannah Jackson, Allied ASID, CSI
Hannah Jackson
Hannah studied at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and received a Bachelors of Science degree in Interior Design. While at UTC, she was involved as a student member in the Interior Design Alliance (IDA), American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).  She was active in her sorority, the UTC campus, and the Chattanooga community through philanthropic events.  She was drawn to The Gaines Group by their variety of residential and commercial projects, as well as, the small firm atmosphere.  She has always had an interest in interior design and architecture, and is excited to start her career at The Gaines Group.  
university of tennessee chattanooga
Hannah enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and camping, and she likes to read, paint, and refinish/re-purpose furniture in her spare time.  She is glad to finally be in the same city as her family again after being 500 miles away at school for the last four years.  She is looking forward to volunteering in the community and getting involved in a church.
Want to touch base with her, give a call or email:
office: 540-437-0012
email: hannah (at)
American Society of Interior Designersconstruction specifications institute

About The Gaines Group, PLC

The Gaines Group, PLC is a Virginia based architecture firm with offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg. Established in 1987, the firm has a dedication to strong ideas, ecological stewardship, and client satisfaction. As an award-winning residential and commercial building design firm, The Gaines Group, PLC has established a strong reputation of sophisticated design through addressing the specific needs and place for which a project is to be built.

The firm’s mission statement: through design we can have a better future. We want to see that our work made a difference and the community is a better place for it.

Why we do it: because we want our clients to have comfortable beautiful healthy spaces to live, play, and work.

The firm offers a comprehensive range of integrated design services including architecture, LEED Consulting, Specification Consulting, Interior Design, Landscape planning, Master Planning, Site Planning, Graphic Design, and Marketing Design.


Wintergreen Interior Design

I spent some time with a contractor at Wintergreen yesterday. We have been doing work on several projects in Nelson County and she wanted to get an idea on cost for a deck design. We toured an amazing rental house that was clearly a million dollar property with a two million dollar view. The deck was in ok shape structurally, but did not fit the interior of the home or take advantage of the views. I know that an investor that is using a rental property to make money does not want to invest in replacing a perfectly good deck (at least it will be for a few more seasons), but think of the repeat clients they would have if they had an incredible deck to go with the incredible home. There is so much potential for this and many of the other homes built 30 years ago at Wintergreen. The homes I have looked at are all showing their age, some more than others, and are ready for a face lift. We offer consulting services to help you get your property energy-efficient, interior design services to help you update the look, and architectural services to help you remodel. Give us a call it you want to talk about how to best take advantage of your million dollar views!


For more thoughts on saving money, protecting the environment, and on architectural design visit my websites: