Birmingham Design Consultant Talks Kitchen Countertops and More

Kitchen Countertops

At Premier Surfaces, our goal is to ensure your countertop project is fun and easy as possible.    Our highly-trained design consultants will work with you to pull your vision together and get you the kitchen countertops you want. We understand this is a big decision, and we do not take it lightly. From quartz to granite countertops, your choices are endless and it can be overwhelming. In Birmingham, our Senior Design Consultant, Mary Granberry, discusses the process and how we assist our customers with their overall design:

Finding the Perfect Kitchen Countertops for Our Customers


1.) How long have you been a Senior Design Consultant with Premier Surfaces?

 3 years and counting!

2.) Can you walk us through the process of what it is like for a customer when they set an appointment with you?

 I like to start by sitting down with my customers to get to know them and learn more about their overall project. I like to find out what is important to them and why they want to install new countertops. From there,  we go into the design consultation.

We will discuss what other work is being done in the house. For instance, are they getting new cabinets or keeping their existing ones. Also, are they planning on doing a new tile backsplash? I also make sure I find out what color palette we’re working with. What color are their walls? What about the cabinets and the floors? Is everything neutral or are there any fun colors we want to coordinate with? Most of my customers will show me photos of their space so that I can get a good feel for it. I always notate the lighting in the room. Lighting can make a huge difference in how their countertops will appear in their home.

Marble kitchen countertops

marble countertops with a farm sink!

Once we’re on the same page with what we’re working with and what we’re looking for, we will look at materials that fit their needs. This is the fun part! I always know when we’ve found the right material by the look in my customer’s eye. I love seeing their faces light up when we’ve found the perfect material! I always tell my customers, “This is not the kind of thing you need to stare at and convince yourself to like. When you see your stone, you know it!” Once we’ve selected the stone, we will then look at different sink and edge options to compliment the stone and complete the desired look.

We will also discuss backsplashes, faucets, and demolition. I always ask my customers to bring a rough sketch of their bathroom or kitchen countertops (with measurements) to our appointment. This helps me give them an accurate, custom price for their project. To finish up, I will walk them through the pricing and explain our next steps. Most of my customers choose to go ahead and get on our measure calendar!

3.) If you have any of your favorite kitchen and bathroom projects that come to mind, please share! 

Ooh, it’s so hard to choose favorites! We did a Perla Venato quartzite kitchen countertops for Kellie McWhorter that is stunning. I love working with rare stones we don’t see every day! We recently completed a kitchen and bathroom remodel for Patty and Gary Morrison. The Colonial White granite countertops are perfect in their space and Gary kept me laughing throughout the entire process.

marble kitchen countertops

Fantasy Brown marble countertops

4.) What are some of your favorite countertop choices and why?

 I tend to lean towards natural stones like marble or granite for kitchen countertops. They just have a certain depth that manmade products can’t recreate. My current obsessions are Colonial Crème and Fantasy Brown. I’m excited to see more customers incorporating warmer tones into their design again! And, we have a lot of exotic granite countertops to choose from with 

Marble Countertops

Natural stone like the Carrara marble countertop does add depth!

5.) What do you enjoy most about your job?  

The people! I have strong relationships with both my customers and my coworkers. Our culture is relaxed and fun. We laugh a lot around here! Who couldn’t be happy when you’re surrounded by such great people?

Design Consultant Talks Countertops

At Premier Surfaces, we offer complimentary design consultations from our highly-trained countertop designers.  Kitchen and bathroom projects can be overwhelming, and our goal is to make it fun and easy.  Many of our customers have said that after their design consultation with Premier,  they are excited about their countertop choice and feel more at ease with the entire process.  With over 1000s of different choices in countertops (granite, marble, soapstonequartz, wood, stainless), it is vital to have someone there that can help you narrow down your choices and get the exact look you want.  We interviewed one of our Senior Design Consultants, Lise Smith, to learn more about why our customers value the initial design consultation. 

1.) How long have you been a Senior Design Consultant with Premier Surfaces? 

I have been design consulting at Premier Surfaces in Alpharetta Since July of 2014, coming up on my 3 year anniversary.

Marble Countertops kitchen

Get Inspired! Our goal is to give you that dream!

2.) Can you walk us through the process of what it is like for a customer when they set an appointment with you? 

I like to maximize my customer’s time with me right from the start.  Come prepared!  How do we do that?  I often ask for customers to bring in their cabinet plans or drawing with dimensions to ensure I can generate a countertop estimate for them during our appointment .  We have such exclusive stock (Granite, marble, quartzite, soapstone, quartz, and wood) that I want to give them the opportunity to secure their dream stone countertops from  day 1. I don’t want them to miss out! 

I also invite them to bring in kitchen or bath vision/inspiration photos, an actual cabinet door or drawer,  and paint colors of cabinets, walls, etc. If they have not made cabinet, wall, and tile color choices yet, I am more than happy to help them make those decisions.  I have helped design 100s of kitchen and bathrooms so I have seen what goes best with the material they like.  I have paint decks, cabinet and tile samples to help us envision the room right here in the showroom.  

3.) If you have any of your favorite kitchen and bathroom projects that come to mind, please share! 

Conrad Givers bar with Viscount white countertops and Cynthia LeMay’s Monte Cristo countertops at her lake house! Also, I am a big fan of Fantasy Brown countertops. 

Lise is right! Fantasy Brown looks amazing in a kitchen

4.) What are some of your favorite countertop choices and why? 

I am such a fan of natural stone anything from granite to quartzite. I  love the natural beauty and art that the earth has created.  Being able to bring an exotic stone from some exotic corner of the world into a family’s home to enjoy truly brings me joy.  So to answer your question…Exotic stone is my favorite material to sell for countertops and even tub surrounds! 

5.) The majority of your customers come from referrals. People call in and ask for you by name.  What is your secret?

 KEEP IT FUN!! This is a big purchase and not to mention for the most important spaces in peoples’ home, I don’t take that lightly, but I like to keep things fun!  Often times, home remodeling projects can be stressful and overwhelming.  I pride myself on taking time to LISTEN to my customer’s vision, wants, needs and requirements for their surfaces on the front end.  After our consult, I lead  them to 2-3 countertops choices that will work.  It is music to my ears when customers tell me, “That was easier than they thought” or “That was fun!”

When Lise isn’t making dream kitchens come true she is also the baby whisperer at the office!

Customer Discusses his Purchase of Granite Countertops

One of our customers, Van Baird, has graciously taken the time to answer our questions about his experience with Premier Surfaces after he purchased granite countertops and tile backsplash for his kitchen.  You can read all about it below!

1.) Why did you and your wife decide it was time for a kitchen remodel?

We are planning on trying to sell our home on our own in March and we knew that in order to get the most value when we sold, that we had to give our kitchen a face lift.

2.) A kitchen remodel can be overwhelming, how did you begin the process?

We brought in a house staging designer to walk us through the best way to show our home to potential buyers. Clarissa Gibson with The Gibson Co. taught us that we needed to remove as many potential “mental barriers” to buyers as we could. So, along with the entire main level, we made plans to redo the kitchen to make it standout. That included bringing in painters with Three Brothers Painting to give Clarissa a blank slate to stage our home. 

 3.) How did you go about choosing a company for your countertop installation?

Before we called Premier Surfaces, I looked up Eric Tryon since he and I are friends and asked him the best process to get started with Premier Surfaces. He connected us with Lise Smith who ended up asking us so many questions that we hadn’t thought of. She was really incremental to us deciding to chose Premier. There were so many little steps that Premier did that others didn’t and it added up to so much more of a value for us to trust Premier to do not just do the granite countertops but they contracted to do our tile backsplash as well.

4.) There are so many choices in countertops (granite, marble, soapstone, quartzite, quartz). How did you choose the material and color?

Since this particular project was to help sell our existing house, we weren’t as bent on getting the top of the line product like we would for our “forever home”. So Lise walked us through the countertop options that Premier had from the granite that was discounted. We showed her the colors that our staging designer has picked out for the cabinets and walls and she led us to a few options to choose from instead if overwhelming us with all the possible choices. The lighter granite countertops worked great. We ended up with the perfect match for our colors. 

5.) What were the 2 things that mattered most to you when working with Premier Surfaces? 

What ended up mattering the most was:

  1. The quality of the work that we ended up getting. We had to have had THE cleanest demo day in the history of demo days for our existing countertops. The Premier team took such good care of our home by cleaning as they went during the demo, then being amazingly fast with the installation. They consulted with me over any possible concerns and didn’t’ cut any corners. 
  2. The quality of the communication. There was so much attention given to making sure that we were prepared for the install days. If I had a question, I had an install representative that I could call or email that would give me an answer right away or get back to me in a timely manner if they needed to clarify.

6.) The kitchen turned out beautifully. How are you and your family enjoying it?

We are so thankful that we are getting to enjoy it for a little bit of time before we sell in March. I actually worked with Lise to pull off a bit of a surprise for my wife by moving our install up a week while she was on a business trip. We documented the install via a time-lapse video that we put up on our website where we are advertising our home. We were so happy to be able to tell so many people about the great experience that we had with Premier Surfaces.

Before and After of Baird’s Kitchen with freshly painted cabinets,  light colored granite countertops and new backsplash!

2017 Design Trends (Soapstone and Quartz Countertops)

It’s another year and another list of what is in and what is out in 2017! Honestly, like a little black dress, as long as you keep your overall kitchen and bathroom design classic, you are sure to never go out of style. Below is a list of what is hot for this year in design and countertops:

  • Warmth is back
  • Tuxedo Kitchens                                                                                                
  • Mixed Metals
  • Go Geo!
  • Soapstone is Hot
  • Quartz is still on Top


  • Warmth is back in! The past few years have been really grey and some designers almost think too grey.  This color is considered a neutral and will never fully be out of style, but this year think griege!  Yes, grey is going to take on a warmer hue along with accent colors like greens, oranges, and reds.  Here are some of our top colors of the new year
  • Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore: One of the most popular colors for designers, you can’t go wrong with this color choice. A true warm grey, it works great in any room.  When in doubt, go Revere Pewter
  • Farrow Grey by Farrow and Ball: Another old world classic greige brought to you by Farrow and Ball. In general, this is some of the best paint you will ever use.
  • Hazy Skies by Benjamin Moore: If you are looking for a lighter greige, then this is a perfect color. Great for rooms that receive less natural light
  • Perfect Greige by Sherwin Williams: I guess you can’t go wrong with this color, because is perfect!


  • Tuxedo kitchens are in! A classic black and white kitchen never goes out of style, but currently, it is taking over the trend of the stark white kitchen.  White shaker cabinets and a painted black island are a beautiful contrast.  Homeowners are completing the look with marble,  quartz, soapstone, and/or wood countertops.


Limestone Countertops Huntsville AL

Black islands are back!

  •  Mixed Metals! No longer is matchy-matchy a must.  Now you can mix it up and have fun. Bronze, brushed nickel, chrome, and even brass can be combined to give you a unique and stunning look to your kitchen or bathroom.


  • Go Geo! Geometric patterns are in especially hexagonal tile for kitchen backsplashes and bathrooms.  Also, taking your tile to the ceiling is a thing.  Not only does it make the space look larger, but also more dramatic!


  • Soapstone is hot!  Soapstone countertops are on the rise. This nonporous stone requires minimal upkeep. You can wax or oil it depending on the look you would like to achieve.  The most popular colors right now are grey and black with minimal veining.


  • Quartz is still on top!  Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone  are all coming out with some beautiful colors for countertops.  You are getting to where you can’t tell if a countertop is marble are not. Check out Brittanicca by Cambria


If you would like to learn more about the 2017 Design Trends and how we can help, contact us at


DIY: Granite Cleaner to Preserve Your Countertops

Granite countertops are the best home improvement options on the market today. They can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home, improve the look of your kitchen and bathrooms, and can last for decades if they’re cared for properly. Making sure that they’re taken care of, however, can be difficult. While granite countertops that are professionally sealed require relatively little maintenance, it is important to clean them with a soap that won’t eat away at the finish.

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Whether you enjoy the thrill of entertaining or simply want to add class and sophistication to your home, new countertops may be the solution. Though tempting to choose a countertop based on appearances alone, it’s also imperative to consider several other qualities, including cost, maintenance and durability. The home design experts at Premier Surfaces can explain the benefits of the most popular kitchen countertop materials and help you choose the best one for your household. Here’s an overview.

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Quartz Countertops- High Design, Low Maintenance

Engineered quartz countertops are becoming an increasingly popular option for today’s kitchens and bathrooms. Quartz can have the look of natural stone surfaces like granite or marble. It also comes in an array of beautiful colors and designs for a very contemporary feel. Homeowners can achieve a high end look with a product that is more durable than natural stone and requires much less maintenance.

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Three Popular Decorative Tile Trends

Decorative tile is the perfect design choice for any room in the house. As a flooring material, ceramic tile is a durable and easy to maintain surface that will last years longer than carpet or vinyl. A tile backsplash in the kitchen is a high end complement to granite, marble, and quartz countertops. Decorative tile in a bathroom adds a spa like feel that stands up to moisture and humidity. Three current decorative tile trends include glass tiles, mosaic tiles, and wood look tiles.

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Limestone Surfaces for Today’s Home Design

Limestone adds a unique organic look to today’s kitchen and bath designs. The surface is very smooth and is available in a range of muted colors including white, brown, yellow, green, gray, and black. Honed matte finishes are popular choices. Limestone frequently contains fossils and sea shells imbedded in the slab, which adds interest to the surface. Continue reading

What to Consider When Choosing New Countertops

Choosing new countertops is really a matter of personal preference. There are so many beautiful options available today to compliment any decorating style. Some products are nearly maintenance free, while others require more care. Because new countertops are a significant investment that will remain in place for years, homeowners should consider how they live and the amount of upkeep they are willing to do.

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  • Our kitchen looks awesome!

    “I wanted to tell you what a wonderful experience Mike and I had with putting in our granite counters last week. We had never done a make-over before, so when my husband suggested putting in granite counters I groaned.  Little did I know at the time how smooth and painless everyone at Premier Surfaces would make it. Every encounter was extremely professional. Our kitchen looks awesome and I really appreciate having the opportunity to work with such a great group of people. If we ever decide to do anything like that in the future we will use definitely use Premier Surfaces.”

    Mike and Janet

  • Done right the FIRST time!

    “I walked in on a Friday, and was surprised to see just how busy they were — always a good sign of how a business is doing. In the process of waiting my turn, a number of people asked if I had been assisted yet. Customer service isn’t something you get in most places these days. I walked around their facility and really got a different feel compared to how I felt at other granite shops. The selection was great, everyone was friendly, and they took the time to teach me about the differences in quality for all of the chioces of a fabricator out there. The professionalism, friendly and incredibly knowledgable staff set them apart from the other “competitors”. My kitchen looks beautiful and the investment in my home was well worth it to have it completed correctly THE FIRST TIME. I will be upgrading a few bathrooms in the future and can’t think of any other granite fabricator I’d rather use.”