Granite with oak -- what color? Light or dark?

harriethomeownerJanuary 17, 2009

We have started looking at granite to replace our badly made laminate counters.

In the first place, I am not sure about using granite with oak at all, except our natural oak cabinets are nice ones, and only 9 years old.

But we went to look anyway, and these are the colors both DH and I liked:

Kashmir White (white with gray and purple speckles, bits of silver)

Giallo Ornamental (white, yellow, flecks and swirls of black)

Impala Black (black and gray, specks of blue sparkle)

New Venetian Gold (similar to Giallo Ornamental)

Blue Pearl (black, gray, silver, and blue, lots of sparkle)

As you can see, this is a wide range.

I really liked the Blue Pearl because of the contrast with the oak and the sparkle, but worry that it's a bit much, and also that it will be too dark. Same with Impala Black.

Kashmir White is very nice but seems to fight a bit with the oak.

The others blend well with the oak.

I tried to take pictures of the samples we brought home against the cabinets -- hard to do!

Here's the kitchen now:

Here's the three samples we brought home (Kashmir White, Giallo Ornamental, and Black Pearl):

(The Black Pearl slabs we looked at had more light colors in them than the sample here.)

Any opinions, suggestions? Thanks.

P.S. Cost would be about $45 or $57 psf installed (depending on the granite). The granite is sealed, and there is a warranty against stains.

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Blue Pearl, not Black Pearl. But you get the idea ...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 3:39PM
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We went with Cambrian Black Antique. We are very pleased with the results. We didn't want a granite with interest or movement because our cabinet grain is pretty busy.

If you are going to keep the white appliances, I would put your samples next to them along with the cabinets to see what looks best. Good luck with your choice. Maybe you can do a search or others with oak can post what counters they chose and why.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 3:55PM
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nightowlrn, your kitchen looks very nice. What kind of floor do you have?

The range and dishwasher are going to stay white or we may replace with stainless when it's time to replace them. (Our current refrigerator is stainless with gray sides, btw.) We would not get black ones, I don't think.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 4:14PM
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Have you looked at Bianco Romano? It has some beige undertones, but is basically white with gray/black and garnet dots and to my eye is warmer than Kashmir White. Be sure to look for resined slabs if you end up going with a light color and have them sealed well.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 4:49PM
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We were in the same boat, cabinets are very close to the same color as yours, and in good condtion, with so many other projects needing to be done, we couldn't justify replacing them, but our counters were aweful.

We went with Verde Peacock, which is very simular to Uba Tuba. It has carmel colored spots in it that match the cabinet colors perfectly. From a distance though it looks black unless it catches some light, then you can see the green tones. Oh yeah and they call it Peacock because in the mix are these large mica pieces that have peacock blue in them. It's really pretty and we love it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 6:04PM
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I also have honey oak cabinets and are looking for granite countertops. I think the venetian gold is very nice and I am leaning towards that one. The Giallo Veneziano is also nice. I need to bring samples home and match it to the floor and cabinets.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 7:26PM
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Do you want the countertops to contrast with the cabinets or blend with them? Do you want movement or speckles? Is this your "forever" kitchen for this house? So many questions to consider. My suggestion is to narrow your preferences based on your overall plan and then visit slab yards to see what is available. We too have oak and have decided to have, as nightowlrn has illustrated above either Cambrian Antique or Caesarstone Raven. For us, oak has enough pattern and movement that we don't need to add more.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 8:47PM
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Our floor is white oak. Came with the house. We just had it refinished and stained it with a mix of 1/2 Minwax English Chestnut and 1/2 paint thinner. We are happy with the color and dust and scratches don't show.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 11:56PM
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Thanks for the comments. I'm really undecided about which way to go RE contrast vs. blending. Having pattern on the counter and in the wood doesn't bother me, as long as the colors are harmonious. I do like the oak, even though it's not stylish. We have similarly colored and patterned oak floors throughout the rest of the house (original to this 60-year-old house), and when I chose them I thought they were more consistent with that.

This is probably our "forever" kitchen -- I can't see us doing any major remodeling, though you never know.

Of the three samples we brought home, I like the Giallo and the Blue Pearl. The Kashmir White I think is too white. The Giallo would blend better and not be as dark, and the Blue Pearl would be more dramatic. DH likes the Blue Pearl better, and I think it's a lot more interesting, but I don't know how it would be in the long run. A less busy pattern was Impala Black, and we both liked that one as well, but they didn't have a small sample of it.

I would really like to get an estimate for laminate counters as well, but I have no idea how to find a good laminate fabricator. Whoever made our current counters did a horrible job (kitchen place contracted it, and I don't know who they used).

The place that gave us the estimate on the granite counters seems very professional and organized, so that's a plus for them. They had a big selection of slabs, so I'm sure we could find one we like.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 11:52AM
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Just from looking at the above photos, including nightowlrn's, I think the black looks great. I am not a black granite fan overall for me, but somehow I am struck by how it "upgrades" the oak grain and updates the arched cabinet doors more so than the patterned granites--kind of restores them to a more timeless look. So of course it is all about what you like, and especially if you really want a lighter countertop, but these particular photos to me are an example of kind of gut feeling about what combo's look good together. In that photo, the SS appliances and black hardware also contribute a lot to "the look". So I would not discount the issue of too much pattern or blotches with the oak grain. Kind of like, some things that look good "next to" each other in small samples don't always achieve the overall look.

So that said, it might be that the same effect could be achieved with a lighter granite, but maybe some other kind than the ones you've shown here--but that gives a similar calming and more sophistocated effect, and that might go better with white appliances.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 1:06PM
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I would go to the finished kitchens blog and check out the oak cabinet category and view the kitchens that have the oak cabinets. Home Depot and lowes also have vignettes with oak cabinets. You kitchen seems to get a lot of light, so I personally would prefer the darker granite. I have also seen a kitchen with blue pearl and oak and really liked it. It made the cabinets look almost new and the granite did not overwhelm the space. I agree that with a cabinet that has a lot of grain, the granite should not be too much of a show peice. It seems too busy then. G

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 1:17PM
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I just posted this over on the decorating forum, but thought I'd post it here, too ...

Bringing this thread up again because we are up against the wire on this decision.

We located a very well-priced slab of Blue Pearl GT (it's considered a higher grade than the lighter Blue Pearl) that is being sold at a discount because it is the last one the place has. They are holding it for us and are coming out to measure tomorrow.

They also have some GO that is a bit lighter and less patterned than the sample in my pictures at the top of the thread. It is priced slightly less than the BP.

I'm just so torn -- on the one hand, I like the silvery contrast of the BP, but on the other, I like the clean fresh look of the GO. DH is partial to the BP but will go with whatever I prefer.

What considerations could tip it? Ease of care? Durability (e.g., in terms of staining)? Anything else? Our kitchen gets a fair amount of light. We do a lot of cooking, so it's definitely more of a working kitchen than a show place, but we do spend a lot of time in there, too.

I'm certainly not a decorating maven who is willing to drag this out for months while I find the perfect slab -- just want something pretty, practical, and sturdy.

Help! Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 9:23PM
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Blue Pearl is about as bullet proof a granite as you can get. I personally think it's just about the prettiest too. I think it looks great with your oak, and if you ever decide to update your oak by staining it darker or painting it lighter, the Blue Pearl will go with either quite well. I'm not a big fan of Giallo as I think it's a bit over used and it's just too "matchy matchy" with your oak to give any contrast and drama to your kitchen. The colors are too similar and you notice neither the granite or the cabinets because it all blends in together.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 10:01PM
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Ah, thank you. That is what I have been thinking, too. That helps.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 10:02PM
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The Blue Pearl is a pretty granite. Before we knew what cabinet color we wanted, that was my favorite granite. However with the color cabinet we wanted/fell in love with - that granite wouldn't work. I agree with Frankie_in_zone7 that said how the darker granite "upgrades" the oak grain and updates the arched cabinet doors more so than the patterned granites and makes it more of a timeless look. I normally tend to the darker wood but I loved nightowlrn kitchen because the darker granite gave a traditional look an edge and sophistication. If you really could go either way on the granite - I would lean toward your DH pick. When you get all the compliments on your kitchen, he can point out how he picked out the granite :)

As far as deciding on your granite based on the care needed - we basically went with what we liked best. As long as it wasn't something that was high maintainance the care didn't really enter into our decision. We have to seal the granite once a year and I try to use glass cutting boards to put our drinks, wine bottles, olive oil bottles etc. rather than the countertop to make our lives easier so we don't have to wipe off the counter every 2 seconds to make sure something doesn't stain. Intead we put the glass cutting boards in the dishwasher once a week.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 10:40PM
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Loved nightowls kitchen--esp the tile backsplash. Can we see a closer picture? Do you know the name/color of the tile?

harriethomeowner, can we see how your counters turned out?


    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 10:51PM
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I'm typically a light granite person but in your case I definitely like the Blue Pearl best. The GO feels like your trying too hard to match and will be washed out by the white appliances. I think it'll make your kitchen really stand out. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 11:06PM
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We ended up choosing GO. It was installed this week. See my thread (I think titled "Pictures of new granite").

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 12:38AM
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Link below ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread with pics of granite

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 12:53AM
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nightowlrn- I'm in the process of renovating my kitchen and have decided on blue pearl GT for the counterops, I'm absolutely in love with it! but I'm so struggling on picking out a backsplash that will go. I love yours! What title did you use?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 11:54AM
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I am in the middle of a kitchen renovation. We had laminate and have replaced it with black pearl granite. I have heavily grained oak cabinets. I am trying a new product called Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations on them in the color of Cabernet. I will try to post before and after pics once I am done. I am anxious to post a review of this product since it's new and nobody had posted pics or gave a review.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 11:15AM
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Due to a flood I'm replacing white tile with granite. Blue Pearl is the leading choice, although a few "industry" people think the color doesn't go well with the cabinets. I'd love some pictures from the recent folks that selected Blue Pearl. I'm nervous and excited!! Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 3:10AM
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