Kitchen Countertops

The kitchen countertops have been a source of frustration for me. My wants and my needs to do not agree. I want the look of white carrera marble.  I heard someone call carrera marble the “little black dress of tile and countertops.”  I agree with this.  It is timeless; however, it is very porous.   That means it scratches, chips and stains easily.  From what I understand, in Europe these marks represent character and what they call a patina.  In America, most people just see it as looking “dirty”.  I tend to disagree with this.  I like the patina of marble. My husband on the other hand, would freak out if anything stained or scratched the countertops we spent thousands of dollars on.  And if we ever want to sell the house, I’m not sure the buyers would care for the patina either. 

All of this said, I still don’t want dark, chunky, swirly, colorful granite in the kitchen. I want it to look simple, streamlined and timeless.  I don’t have anything against granite.  I’ve seen some beautiful granite on my search for the right countertops.  There are some really fabulous-looking granites out there–full of colors, designs, and shapes.  They are natural works of art,  and they look great in the right kitchens.  In my opinion, there are very few granites that look good with bright white cabinets.  I had Absolute Black granite with a carrera marble subway tile back splash and white cabinets at my old house.  I thought it looked great.  It was traditional and modern at the same time. We did not have any problems at all with the care and maintenance of the countertops.  It was so easy. 

For this kitchen, I want something different.  So what are my options???

1) Granite

This is a small chunk of Arabask granite. 

Pros– Only grey and white; has a carrera marble look             Cons-It is very chunky.

This is honed black granite.  Basically it does not have a shiny glaze on it.  It almost feels like leather.  It is very interesting.

This is Kashmir White granite.  It is grey and creamy with dark purpley-red dots.

This is Imperial White granite.  It’s a little whiter than the Kashmir.  There are no big dots.  It’s mostly grey with a little pinkish beige sandy look.  It is not chunky at all.  It looks like someone has thrown sand out on a table.

This is Bianca Romano.  It is also very close to the carrera marble.  It also has little redish purple dots throughout.  There are some really prodiment grey streaks also. 

2) Soapstone

Soapstone is extremely soft and porous.  It has such a great look to it.  It’s what they used to make old chemistry lab tables out of.  You have to seal it every so often with mineral oil.  It also scratches and chips very easily.  You can just sand out the dents and dings with sandpaper.  After sealing it a few times, it becomes darker.  

And this is what it will look like after it’s been sealed.  This is just water splattered on it to give the effect of being sealed.

3) Quartzite

This is quartzite.  It is a natural material.  It is stronger than granite.  It actually has to be cut with a diamond blade.  There is almost a translucent aspect to it.  I love the smooth flow of the color.  This one has a greyish tint to it.  It is about twice as expensive as granite.  It runs about $94 per sq. ft.

4) Quartz

This is a man-made material.  They basically just grind up natural stone and compress it.  There are a few different companies that make this type of material.  Okite sent me a few free samples.  It is made in Italy.  This material really fascinates me.  I think it might be the future of countertops.  I saw it in two ads in one of my home magazines.  It is super durable.  You can order it from the company and have your fabricator cut it for you.  I really like the bright white bianca thasos (the one on the left). 

These are made to look like marble.

Here are some more examples.

Whew!  That was a lot of info!!!  What are your favorites?

10 thoughts on “Kitchen Countertops

  1. Great post! I am actually going through this process right now too! So I really appreciate all the info! Honestly, I can’t make a decision to save my life. I am contemplating black granite either honed or polished (I honestly like both) and also carrera marble. I have the exact same concerns about marble, but I LOVE the look. My husband sounds just like your husband, he has no use for a room that he has to be careful in, especially the kitchen! I have been studying Ina Garten’s Food Network kitchen a lot because it looks fresh and contemporary and you know it has to be pratical for her! Also, any ideas on appliances? I love the look of Viking and the higher end appliances, but I don’t want to spend a fortune and I don’t really cook, so I obviously don’t need Viking appliances! But I think appliances are important and add to the finished product! Great info Stacy!

    • Hey!
      Yes, I will do a post on appliances! I have a Viking oven, microwave, and wine fridge already in this new kitchen. The range was origninally a Viking (previous owner took it with her, long story…). Anyway, we got a really good deal on an Electrolux 36′ range. I really like the looks of it. It has 6 gas burners across the top. I haven’t used it yet. I had a Kitchen Aid range at my old house, and I hated it. I also did not like my glass cooktop. It was so difficult to clean. I’ve heard that gas is great for cooking, so I’m very excited about it!

      *I also love Ina’s kitchen! And Giada’s kitchen on Everyday Italian.

  2. I found that granite is the easiest to maintain over other countertops out there. At Northwest building supply in OKC they seemed to have the most to select from for the best price(in my opinion). I picked out Delicatus Platinum granite which has a lot of granite “movement” with lots of creamy neutral colors in it. Every slab is different, but I am very pleased with it!!

  3. Ok, you are soo good at researching everything! You are making me want to remodel something stat! I like the bianca romano granite. The first one is pretty, but I agree and think it’s a little too chunky. I;ve heard the white quartz looks really pretty with the white cabinets but they aren’t as interesting to look at. Seems like the soapstone is too high maintaince for me. Can’t wait to see what you go with!

    • Thanks Kacie! It’s been a lot of work! Right now, I think it’s between the Bianca Romano and Imperial White granite. I just haven’t seen a whole slab of the Imperial. When I went to the yard, it was kind of hidden behind another slab.

  4. I don’t want a white kitchen. I like the Arabash granite. What color in the gray tones would you recommend for the cabinets?? Not too light or too dark,warm but not taupes,true gray but not cold looking??? Help

    • Well I think if you do Arabask granite that you need some contrast on the cabinets. I wouldn’t do grey cabinets and grey countertops. You’re going to have to pick. I love all of the Martha Stewart colors at Home Depot. She has several different greys that might work for you. Good luck!

  5. Arabask granite looks to be exactly what I’ve been searching for. I have been unable to find it anywhere on the internet. Is the name complete? Could you tell me where I might locate this? Thank you!

    • Hi. I’m sure there are other names for it. Where do you live? I would call a fabricator and get in touch with the whole sale stone company in your area. Show them a picture of what you like and see if they can get it.

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