The best part about owning a home is the freedom to decorate. Billy Baldwin once said, “Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.” As the leading real estate team in Eastern North Carolina, we see both regional and national trends, each with their own different and flair. The "This or That" series is going to focus on different design trends we see that might appeal to different individuals but are still prevalent.

In the past five or six years, the kitchen has returned as the main focal point of a home. One of the more popular requests from home buyers is for an open floor plan. Open concepts allow the kitchen to be the main attraction in homes. Attention to countertops have caught everyone’s eyes recently. The days of blue or white laminate countertops are finally over. Typically, we see that granite is the most popular option. However, we have seen two other options that have caught our eyes: marble and butcher block.

Marble is a classic, timeless look. Most marble countertops are white, which bring a level of brightness to a kitchen that granite is unable to bring. Also, marble keeps a cool temperature as it does not conduct heat very well. For those who enjoy baking, this countertop is great for working with pastries. Another great feature of marble is that it is easy to purchase. Because it is easy to purchase, it is also more cost-effective than most naturally-occurring countertops. Of course, the rarer the marble, the more expensive.

However, there are some cons to marble countertops. The biggest problem with marble is that it is a porous substance. In comparison, granite is almost indestructible. Since marble has a porous nature, it scratches and stains very easily. Acidic substances can easily leave marks as well. While this countertop might be attractive to our pastry chefs, our red wine drinkers might want to proceed with caution as red wine can ruin a marble countertop.

Now, let’s take a quick look into butcher block countertops. Butcher block countertops are beautiful wood countertops. Similar to marble, butcher block provides kitchens with warmth to the ambiance. However, unlike marble, wood is warmer to touch compared to stones (granite and marble), concrete or tile. Wood countertops are also excellent work surfaces as they are easy on knives than granite or concrete. Another positive for wood countertops is that there are tons of different styles to fit your kitchen style. Not only are there a plethora of different types of wood countertops (maple, cherry, oak, birch, and bamboo) but there are also many unique stains. With so many different varieties available, butcher block countertops are also very adaptable. Users will be able to use wood countertops for traditional, country, French country, Mediterranean, Old World, modern, contemporary, and eclectic styles. For our environmentally conscious readers, salvaged and re-purposed wood countertops are beginning to gain traction.

Just like marble, there are also cons to butcher block. Similar to marble, butcher block is easily susceptible to scratches and dents, as it is softer than most stones. Wood also needs to be properly sealed. If not properly sealed, germs are able to hide in its porous surface and multiple. Also, wood needs to be consistently treated with a protectant like a mineral oil to prevent water damage. Just like your wood fence, butcher block countertops will also need to be refinished from time to time.

At the end of the day, both countertops have their pros and cons. When picking a countertop, it is best to look at current trends while also decorating in your own unique style. Tyre Realty Group has seen many different types of marble and wood countertops. While granite is widely popular, we hope that some might see either wood or marble as a viable option.