By Marsie Klug
Fresh air, sunshine, greenery, blue skies… the outdoors are where I thrive. My ideal home opens up to the elements, both literally with easy transitions from interior to exterior, to a derived form via daylighting and visual glimpses to the outside. However, when it comes to interior spaces, my refuge is the kitchen. The kitchen is my space to process life, experiment, and receive relatively instant gratification. While concocting everything from the savory to the sweet – my thoughts reflect the present but frolic freely between reminiscing about the past and dreaming of the future. Enough success in the kitchen has motivated me to initiate new recipes and tweak familiar ones, transforming my kitchen into a testing ground. As food is both necessary for survival and deliciously enjoyable, finding an excuse to whittle away time pursuing this particular passion of mine is hardly difficult. Finding test subjects to provide evaluative feedback on my experiments is also not difficult, as my friends are enthusiastic for free food that is typically tasty. (Though, sometimes they have to endure unique culinary fusions or dishes crossing the line of just spicy to overwhelmingly spicy.)Cleaning – the Result of Cooking: Because I cook often, my kitchen gets a workout. Luckily, in addition to experimenting with recipes, I enjoy cleaning – the epitome of instant gratification! My counters, sink, and floor are cleaned more times in a day than most college students clean their kitchens in a month. Durability and easy-to-clean surfaces are important as an avid chef. While I am drawn to the durability and the easy cleanup of a stainless steel counter with integral sink, I shudder to think about keeping fingerprints and scratches at bay. When considering a counter material able to meet my standards of resilience and pristine sanitation, I am prone to natural materials, which is why I prefer granite over man-made quartz, Corian, or laminate counters. My current ideal kitchen features a granite counter perimeter with a butcher-block wood island. The Positives of Granite Countertops: Being from the earth, granite ranges in a variety of hues (from neural tans and blacks to vibrant blues) and striations, giving each slab the ability to declare uniqueness, as no two stones are formed the same. Beyond aesthetics, granite lives up to durability and clean-ability when properly sealed. The Warmth of Wood Countertops: Wood brings warmth and nature along with a ton of functionality into a space. The butcher block can function as a giant cutting board or as the perfect surface to roll out pie crusts. With the patina that comes from age and the occasional treatment of mineral oil, the butcher-block counter will become a distinctive sign of a well-loved kitchen.