Sunday, October 6, 2013

Renovation: Kitchen Countertops

When we decided on a white kitchen, it was due, in part, to the beautiful images of carrara marble counter tops that gloss page after page of every home decor magazine. Though we had zero intention of ever putting high-maintenance, easy-to-stain, etch-prone marble in our workhorse kitchen.

I was thrilled to learn of the various quartz products that were new on the market that had similar aesthetic as marble, but without the porosity. Sounded too good to be true, and it was. That stuff does NOT look like marble. It's pretty, but it doesn't look like marble. Some of the recent attempts are closer. Caesarstone's London Grey was my favorite. But it was quoted to us at $70sf installed.

Caesarstone London Grey

My biggest fear was that I'd get a new countertop installed only for it to look like it was trying to be something it wasn't. I didn't want the fake or imitation look, and I wasn't convinced the quartz options would satisfy.

In search of white granite we went. We scoured slab yard after slab yard in search of something that would appeal to our style.

I found a few promising options, but either the lot had too much red or gold or tan veining or there wasn't enough for our project or it was sold by the time I got J's approval.

Thunder White granite

Aisle upon aisle of beautiful stone, and we'd find our way gravitating to the marble section. Jason would find something he liked and ask "is it marble?" Unfortunately, the answer was always "yes." It was deflating.

We tried to track down Super White quartzite, to no avail. Well, where we found it we couldn't afford it.
Super White quartzite

So, after talking with a few fabricators and other experts (not so much the sales people), we learned that honed marble can be beautiful & practical--perfections and all. Every single countertop in Italy is century-old carrara, and with age comes beauty. Yes, it will etch, but we're ok with that. The honed finish won't show the etching as badly as polished. There are also tons of sealers available. One even offers a replacement guarantee for 15 years--full countertop replacement if you spill red wine and it can't be removed. We were sold. Accept no imitations.

Now, tracking down honed carrara is difficult. The local supply of even polished was mediocre--more splotchy instead of the famed veining that carrara is known to have.

But, one fabricator came through for us. We drove up to see it, feel it, hug it, smell it, kiss it. SOLD.

You don't know how giddy I got when he was writing my name on the sold slip. I cannot wait to see it installed in our kitchen. (these phone pics don't do it justice)


  1. I was so back and forth over carrera and the marble looking quartz. Even though it's not the same aesthetically, my lazy side prevailed and decided on the quarts. Looking forward to seeing how yours turns out installed!

    1. Yours look so good, though. I couldn't find anything in the showrooms that compared.

  2. Nah they still don't look like the real thing. I can't wait to see your kitchen!

    1. But they don't look like cheesy poser wanna-bes. That's what I was so afraid of!!

  3. That’s really beautiful. And I am pretty it would make beautiful countertops too. Oh! I am quite excited to see it installed in your kitchen. I hope you will post photos of it soon.