So I left off on Saturday with a rant about composite counters. Just to re-iterate my point, there is nothing natural about "natural quartz" counters. They are a whole different thing from natural stone and they are not a substitute for natural stone. With that said, I still specify them regularly and people who end up with them are always enthusiastic about how they look and wear.
Composite counters are essentially terrazzo and they look best when they are allowed to be that --something contemporary and calm. I think they look terrible when they are pretending to be stone.
Here's what I mean by my statement that they are not stone and are not a substitute for stone. There is nothing wrong with the color swatches above, I think they're kind of cool-looking as a matter of fact. But I would never use them in a traditional kitchen because I think that this product is out of place in a setting like that.
I think the kitchens in the photos above would have been much better served with a real stone counter. Contrast them with these shots from Caesarstone.
Here are some detail shots from the composite counter material I specify above all others, Caesarstone. Caesarstone markets itself more responsibly than the other brands that have an impact on the US market and it's not available in home centers. That's a home run in my book. Caesarstone also embraces the essential nature of composite and pushes it as far as it can. They have really adventurous colors and have lately been getting into interesting textures for their product. Hail Caesarstone!
I mean, check this out. The pebble-y pattern of this counter is a good touch. This pattern adds some interest without being distracting.
Composite counters are a good call but again, they are not a stone substitute. They cost as much if not more than a stone counter and they take you to a whole other place aesthetically. And even with all of that said and despite the truthiness of the industry that backs this material, I would still use it in my own kitchen. For me, that's the test anything I recommend has to pass.