Maybe it’s because we’re gearing up for Custom Home’s annual Kitchen & Bath Design Guide, but I woke up thinking about kitchens, and about one motif in particular: the stone or concrete counter that wraps all the way down to the floor. It’s a nice look, and we’ve certainly featured it often enough—look here and here and here for a few examples—but I’ll admit to some ambivalence.

For one thing, the detail—dare I call it a meme?--has become so common in modern kitchens that it’s starting to look like a code requirement. More troublesome is the fact that it’s not an appropriate use of material. Stone is expensive, heavy, and labor intensive to install. It makes a good counter because of its toughness, durability, and low maintenance, but none of those qualities is especially important in a cabinet end, where less precious materials do a perfectly good job. I’m not about to boycott kitchens and baths that do the wrap—a cool look for its own sake is no crime—but the next time I see one, I'll politely ask the architect what it’s all about. –b.d.s.