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What is the best countertop for my kitchen?

The question

I am choosing a new countertop for my kitchen. People keep telling me I should go with granite, which seems expensive and high-maintenance. I'd just as soon go with butcher's block or even stainless steel. What surface do you favour?

The answer

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My favourite countertop is marble, which is not as durable as granite and can be more expensive. I know that I need to cut on boards, I don't let juice touch the stone, I clean my counters after use and I treat the counters with sealer every three years. I don't mind when I see a spot or a ring – it just means I am using my stuff.

In Italy, they have been cooking on stone for ages and love the look of a worn surface. If you go with stainless steel counters, you will see the use as well, in the form of scratches, while butcher's block will also wear and stain (not to mention the health issue of food touching absorbent wood).

These are kitchen counters, not pristine tabletops. Another alternative is a man-made surface such as Caesarstone, which is extremely durable. Even Windex likes it. I'd urge you to pick the surface that excites your inner designer. Be daring: Use white marble and make red pasta sauce.

Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace's new e-book, Dee Dee's Rules, is available on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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