For years I have been reluctanat to use marble or granite for the kitchen counter---it felt like it was everywhere, in fact it was. Every kitchen advertisement and every HGTV show. I really like the idea that as soon as "everybody" is doing it, it is time for me to stop. There are so many wonderful options and I they are all worth exploring.
Recently, we were working on a home for a client to live in while we raze his current place and rebuild. The home needed a lot of work but since our client did not want to invest a lot, we put in a kitchen from Ikea. They really represent great value, for people on a budget, and they have enough styles to suit almost any taste. In order to jazz it up we installed Verde Fire Granite--the sample was so small but it looked really lovely. In application it looks Amazing, Astounding, Brilliant, Beautiful, Comely, Capricious---I could go through the alphabet with compliments! What I discovered is that really I hated the generic marble & granite which was so readily available but completely overused. A bit of exploration at your local stone yard will yield many wonderful options. It required that you be inventive and imaginative but trust me, it is definitely worth it. Here in LA, Marbles Unlimited and Walker Zanger are well stocked suppliers.