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Simple Living



The Stainless Steel and Granite Obsession

by Nikki Willhite

Americans are obsessed with stainless steel and granite countertops. I've seen a lot of fads come and go, but I don't ever remember such passion about countertop surfaces or the appearance of appliances.

I find it kind of strange that there is so much interest in the kitchen, as so many people don't even cook anymore.

I have always had my reservations about stainless steel appliances. I lived through the different colors of kitchen appliances.

I fear that consumers are going to be slowly led into turning away from what will be labeled "cold and steely" gray appliances, into pretty red, blue, or green models.

I see it coming in the washers and dryers. You are now seeing them in shades of red, blue and green, and they do look nice.

When we finally had the money to do some updating in our kitchen, I agonized over the appliance selection. I am quite fond of white appliances. However, my cupboards are white. Since I don't like black appliances, I finally gave in, and we purchased an inexpensive stainless steel appliance package.

I wasn't concerned about the granite, so after a price comparison, we figured it would be good for resale purposes.

So how do I feel about my "decorating decisions?" My kitchen is not large, so this isn't a huge thing with me, but if I had to do it over again, I would have chosen differently.

I had read all the "pros and cons" of stainless steel appliances. They are hard to clean, and fingerprints are a problem. However, it is manageable.

What I didn't realize was that granite was such "high maintenance." Since I am into "simple living", that was a big disappointment.

Granite absorbs water. You have to polish and seal it twice a year. Even then, if you get any sitting water on it, it goes into the stone and weakens and discolors it.

Then there are the seams. They are vulnerable. They can come apart. So you have to be careful.

So if I had it to do over again, I would have chosen Corian countertops. They cost as much as granite, but they are virtually indestructible, and require no maintenance.  After 20 years they can be sanded down and made good as new. To me, that is more important than resale value.

I can take or leave the stainless steel. I have white cupboards, so I know it looks better than white appliances, which would have been my first choice.

Now only time will tell. Will the public keep up this obsession with stainless steel and granite? Or am I going to become hopelessly outdated  with my gray appliances in a few more years?

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money!


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