My team mate Anna & I were blessed to have been invited recently by Caesarstone to visit Savannah, Georgia for a couple of days. They held a conference to educate the delegates on quartz countertops and its benefits.
We didn’t know what to expect but we were so surprised to see just how full of charm, of history, and of excellent, wonderful people Savannah is! From the moment we arrived at the charming airport, we were wonderstruck right away. We knew then that this would be a trip to remember for the rest of our lives!The city is full of intricate details–from the Spanish Moss trees in the plazas, the colonial and art deco architectural blends, the romantic options for transportation (horse carriage, pedalcab, and good ol’ trolley), the yummy Southern food in charming restaurants (did I mention the incredible live music in the background?). Everywhere we went was ‘instagrammable’!
While we wanted to spend more time exploring, we did go there for the quartz exhibit. The factory & lab tour was a once-in-lifetime experience. We got to see the steps in making quartz countertops and ask questions. Unfortunately, at the time they could not show us how to mix in the color. They were working on white color slabs, so we couldn’t really see the coloring process. But it was fun, they showed us the machines and the components, and explained how the tests are done.
We had a blast and left with so much new knowledge about Caesarstone after. Quartz, unlike granite or other natural stones, is non-porous. They undergo a process where all the air pockets are sucked out to make sure it is tight and dense. They do so many tests to make sure quality is top notch before slabs make it to fabricators and eventually to our homes. Some of the tests involve a strength test, a stain test, crack test, heat test. These are all done before the big production of a single batch of slabs. It was impressive. There are also a variety of options for colors, and you can always go for the same color 5 years down the road, unlike natural stone, which has limited stock.
The truth is, in many ways, quartz is better than granite, and it cost less! Quartz in 2018 is about $80 to $140 CAD per SF while Granite ranges from $80 to $175 CAD per SF.
The gentleman who did the lab tour told us the story of how he had become a champion for the “quartz is better than granite” cause. He mentioned he had granite installed in his kitchen. Less than month from install, he found a crack. So, he went back to the builder to get a replacement, only to find out that unfortunately the color he used was no longer available! (It was that fast!) That’s when he decided to replace the countertops for his main kitchen cabinets and centre island—still with granite but a different colour. He said it still bothers the hell out of him every single day. He may now be wishing he chose quartz to begin with.Quartz is very accessible. As an interior designer, I personally always go for the big brand quartz companies like Caesarstone, Silestone, Cambria, Wilsonart. Those are companies I know have the raw materials imported NOT from China. However, because not everyone can spend a lot on their countertops, there are also manufacturers who sell quartz with a cheaper price tag. Fabricators are everywhere. They claim to have the same quality, but I have yet to test their claims.
I guess the biggest thing I learned from the trip circles around incorporating historical values to modern design. Savannah’s old architecture is so charming, and effortlessly blends in with the modern world. The rustic exposed old brick, the colorful window shutters, the greenscapes. Designing a brand-new space is always easy, but when you need to preserve the history of a building and design modern comforts around it, that’s challenging. Savannah has showed me it can be done, like NO problem at all!Savannah is also known for its scary stories, in fact, it is known as the most haunted state in the entire USA. But it certainly did not feel creepy to me… Yes, I did have goosebumps, but they were mainly from my reaction to the many beautiful things I saw.
All in all, what a good start for the Summer! I am still gushing over everything! I know Anna is too.
Ivonny Saputra, Design & Client Care Manager
Photo Credits: Victor Davare