Designer Kathleen Ramsey shares her current design obsession

Kathleen Ramsey
Kathleen Ramsey

With its high durability and luminous complexion, quartzite is covering counters across the country.

A metamorphic rock formed from sandstone, quartzite features soft, linear streaks and can withstand the heat in the kitchen better than its counterparts. But that’s just a piece of why it’s so popular.

“Quartzite has a translucent quality, a modern aesthetic that is unlike granite or marble,” designer Kathleen Ramsey says. And it doesn’t scratch easily, so it’s a solid choice for water areas, too. However, like any other natural stone, it needs to be sealed properly.

During its formation—through high heat and pressure—quartz grains recrystallize, hence the sheen, and the grit turns to glass. In its purest form, you’ll find it in gray and white, but after iron oxide enters the air, color options are practically endless.

Popular choices these days include White Macaubas, a translucent gray with darker gray or blue veining, and Mother of Pearl, which resembles the look of marble but with gold, green and gray streaks. The Taj Mahal provides translucent, warm tones with grays and yellows, which Ramsey likes “for its versatility, as we are transitioning from grays to warm taupes or white interiors,” she says.

While searching for the right color, be aware of manufactured quartz composite products, too, as many quartz countertops are made of quartz chips with a resin mixed in. Big difference. Their price, though, is relatively similar at roughly $80 to $100 a square foot.

“Though this is another natural stone in the countertop arsenal, it’s giving all others a run for their money,” Ramsey says. “Its strong makeup, brilliance and color combinations work anywhere in the home and will last for generations.”