Queer Eye’s star Tan France made his dream home a reality last year – and with it an absolutely dreamy kitchen. But when choosing his kitchen worktops, Tan purposefully dismissed the idea of marble and instead opted for a quartzite kitchen worktop idea.
Tan is known for his fashion expertise. But last year, he swapped clothes for interior design as he built his Salt Lake City home from scratch (with the help of professional interior designers and builders, of course), all carefully documented by Architectural Digest in a home-making series, titled Home At Last with Tan France.
It was in the kitchen and dining room episode of the show that the fashion stylist’s bold statement, ‘We’re over marble,’ can be heard as he goes for a similarly veiny quartzite in a light shade. And turns out that experts back up his decision as this material is more durable and can be cheaper as well. Does that signal the end of the marble kitchen trend?
Tan France’s quartzite kitchen worktops
This is not the first time the Queer Eye cast has been a source of interior design inspiration for us as the interior designer of the group Bobby Berk gave us tips for hosting just recently.
And now, Tan France is introducing us to quartzite kitchen countertops (and splashback) and we’re intrigued. So what exactly is quartzite?
‘Quartzite is a naturally occurring, metamorphic rock formed from sandstone. It can have a similar veining and colour to marble, but with the added benefit of being durable and resistant to many daily activities that marble isn’t,’ explains Richard Davonport, managing director at Davonport.
That’s right. As beautiful as marble is, it is very high maintenance and you definitely need to know how to clean marble worktops as they are pretty demanding in that sense. Not to mention spenny. ‘Quartzite is cheaper than marble and would be considered a moderately priced countertop material, though still has the potential to be considered expensive in comparison to other alternatives such as wood or laminate,’ Richard says.
‘Marble is a soft stone, and while it’s true that different types of marble vary in density, porosity and mineral content, they all have open pores,’ says Paul Dore, kitchen expert and director at County Stone Ltd. ‘These open pores mean that marble will absorb liquids more easily, which makes it prone to staining. Furthermore, marble will scratch and wear over time, and it is vulnerable to cracks and chips. Marble surfaces will wear, particularly in areas of heavy use, such as around the edges, leaving them looking dull.’
He continues, ‘Quartzite, on the other hand, is generally less porous than marble, while it is also much harder wearing and less prone to scratches and cracking. More durable than granite, quartzite will generally wear much better than marble in busy kitchens and stand the test of time. Quartzite does all this with the beauty of marble that people love, with natural veins and similar colours. As such, it is a much better choice for kitchen countertops than marble for many.’
This is why many actually change their marble worktops to quartzite or quartz over time, Richard notes.
And to throw a spanner in the works, it turns out that quartzite and quartz are not the same thing and are actually two different kitchen counter options. And Jonathan Stanley, VP of marketing at Caesarstone, recommends the latter over any of the other finishes as it is even more durable than quartzite.
‘Quartz worktops are man-made from natural, raw materials, bound with resin which results in a very durable, non-porous countertop material. Quartzite is a natural stone. Whilst it’s fairly hard, it”s much less strong than engineered quartz and is susceptible to staining. Quartzite requires sealing to prevent this, whilst quartz requires little maintenance in comparison and is stain and scratch resistant,’ he concludes.
You learn something new every day!