Choosing Countertops with Beauty and Brawn

Local countertop pro offers advice on making the right choice.

Choosing countertops with the brawn to handle daily life and the beauty to fit a homeowner’s style and budget can be a challenge.

Countertop pro Holly Davanzo, who has provided countertop materials for everything from RVs to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium during her 20-year career, said the most important thing homeowners should consider is use.  For example, marble makes a beautiful statement, but this high-maintenance stone, which is prone to chipping and staining and requires regular sealing, is not for everyone.  “If someone has a lot of kids, a white marble is not going to bode well in their home,” Holly said. 

A more low-maintenance option, quartz, provides a durable, non-porous surface that doesn’t require sealing and doesn’t stain. Produced from ground quartz and resins, it comes in a variety of colors and designs. It’s what Holly has in her own kitchen.  “I wanted a white countertop with movement in it that wouldn’t stain,” she said.

Another durable, man-made material gaining popularity is porcelain. Unlike the porcelain tiled counters of yesteryear, Holly said this porcelain comes in slabs available in a huge range of colors.

Long the countertop standard bearer, Holly believes granite is always a good choice.  But fluid patterns or stone without much pattern at all have replaced the ubiquitous speckled, busy granite patterns. Holly also recommends quartzite for those seeking a fluid, exotic look.

Although white kitchens are still popular, Holly said the newest trends are bringing color back to the kitchen with blue cabinets leading the charge. She advises choosing either the cabinet color or the countertops as the inspiration for the rest of the kitchen adding that the cabinets and countertops should match or contrast, not compete.

Since countertops are a big investment, budget is another important consideration.  In fact, that’s what pushed Holly into the business.  While living in a South Florida home without the granite countertops she wanted but couldn’t afford, Holly started her own countertop business after learning her Italian neighbor knew how to cut and polish stone. “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” she said.

Since moving to Fayette County, Holly has worked as an independent contractor through Mega Granite in Newnan.  Her neighbor, Audrey Linkner became a counterpart a few years ago and together they are known as ‘The Granite Girls,’ helping customers get the look they want within their budget.  

Material costs range from around $30 to $90 or more per square foot.  Certain edges are included in that price and specialty edges are priced by the linear foot.  “We all fall in love with the most expensive piece,” Holly warns.  “Have your consultant show you all the colors of all the stones within your price range.”

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