Lots Of Choices Picking Countertops

A fair amount has gotten done since my last blog post, but once again some of it isn’t all that photogenic… We passed our plumbing inspection – so we can finally get water and gas working properly. They’ve continued working on the stairs. They’ve painted the bathrooms, but until the protective wrappings are off everything and the fixtures fully installed the pictures don’t make complete sense.

One thing we struggled with today was picking the countertops for the two kitchens. Our kitchen still has blue plastic wrap on most of the cabinets, so the color in the pictures is all off – so more on that later. But in the rental kitchen we first started with this demo kitchen being our concept…

Ikea Adel white cabinets with dark gray counter

That’s Ikea’s Adel white with a dark gray counter. That was pretty much my vision of the kitchen color scheme complete with a Carrara backsplash. That counter isn’t quite as dark as you might think – here’s a close up picture…

dark gray counter

But then Dan didn’t want to go so dark since the room doesn’t have a whole lot of natural light. So he started thinking outside the box, but a light color counter with white cabinets would look anemic – there had to be some darkness to it. Dan also didn’t want anything too uniform in color. The stuff you get at places like Ikea & Home Depot is really uniform because they want the sample to match what you get. When you go with a stone that has more variation you sorta have to pick a particular slab – which the big stores can never accommodate.

Here’s the slab we found today that we liked – it’s rosewood granite…

rosewood granite slab

It’s got a lot going on and when we got home we seriously started double guessing our choice. Was it too pink? Was it too busy? It didn’t look contemporary enough. And so on… But what got us back to thinking it was a good choice was looking at a picture of the kitchen…

rental kitchen cabinets

The biggest issue is the brick wall. It’s got pinks and oranges in it like the slab. And as I looked at the picture of the kitchen, while an almost black might work, a more medium gray just seemed wrong given the color of the wall.

I’m still not 100% convinced, so we’ll see… I think we’ll look a little more before making a final decision.

Our kitchen is a whole other story – but that’s for another day. The short version is that we’re going to go with polished Carrara marble counters with gray lacquer cabinets. Yes, most people say to do honed Carrara in kitchens, but Dan’s emphatic about polished. And we were thinking about just having Carrara on the island and having stainless along with wall, but I think ultimately it will look better with Carrara everywhere – even if it’s not quite as practical.


We’re now thinking the rosewood granite isn’t right for the rental… We’ll go Friday morning to pick something else. I’ll update this post when we pick the new slab…

8 thoughts on “Lots Of Choices Picking Countertops

  1. Stone countertops are insanely expensive here, so we went for solid wood (oiled beechwood, to be exact). Looks perfect, and I have no worries about durability, since we had a solid oak kitchen table for 12+ years and all it needed now was sanding off the old lacquer (bad choice, though it looked great for the first 8 or so years) and a couple of coats of oil. So – maybe worth thinking about wood as an option??

    • I’m surprised they’re so expensive – a lot of the marble we buy in the US comes from places like Italy and Turkey. Given that your so much closer to the source and in the EU (so there’s free trade between you and Italy), I’m a bit shocked stone is so expensive. I think we pay about $750 to a bit over $1,000 USD per slab for typical granites and marbles – but it depends on the quality – some are more, some are less.

    • One other thing – wood isn’t really an option since one of the units is a rental. You gotta go really durable in the rental. We’d love Carrara in the rental – the white on white would look great, but we feel like we need to do granite or solid surface.

      • Just a thought on Carrara, or marbles in general … arenĀ“t they sensitive to acids? I would not be happy if the first spill of vinegar/lime juice/salat dressing left permanent spots! As far as I know, marble, unlike granite, needs some treatment/polish/lacquer to make it acid-resistant.

      • Good call. We have wood at my parent’s house and it is terrible. Beautiful, but it shows everything! I am always oilling when we visit to prevent issues but everything stains it, if moisture stays under metal too long the mark is imposible to get out (bottle cap – OOPS).

  2. We had wood in the first place we renovated in London and as Gryllus notes, we kept it sanded and oiled, when we left it in 2007 and rented it out, I continued to return each year to sand and oil it for its annual cleaning, no problem. Now we are farther away, but still, it has been a brilliant surface for that flat and in the long run has been very durable. It has been there now for over a decade and has been dependable and ultimately as it didn’t cost us a lot in the first place I’ve never been that uptight about it, not like the corian I put in the next flat. It may even have been that we used and abused the wooden counters more than our tenants when we lived there the first six years! The tenants actually don’t cook as much as we did!

  3. We went with a granite called “Colonial Gold”. It’s amazing how important it is to bring swatch samples to match color combinations. So many things didn’t go with white cabinets.
    And also gray. Really the only thing that looked good was black/gray granite or Carrara marble. We went with the Carrara. We’re promising ourselves not to treat the marble like it’s precious. After all, it’s an Ikea kitchen.

  4. Do you have any other reflections on the countertops now that they are in and being used. I’m about ready to make a choice and would love your input! Would you recommend the source from which you purchased your marble countertop?

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