Should I replace my new countertop?

bpollenJanuary 17, 2014

I cross posted this in remodeling, but I'm thinking this should go here?

I'm fixing up my house to see if I can sell it for a good price in the spring. If I can't get what I want for it, I'll stay in it. So when fixing it up, I'm trying to do things for buyer appeal but also what I want, should I stay.
I got a new kitchen countertop. White spring granite. I went with granite because that's what buyers in my area seem to want. I went with White Spring because the different colors mesh with my house pretty well, it's pretty, and the color is generally light overall. I have white appliances. I have a white enamel drop-in sink, which I love.

Now that the counter is installed (the fabricator did a great job), I see that it is lovely. But the overall effect is not what I thought it would be. It's more of a creamy effect and looks awful with my white appliances. My walls are white, my general decorating scheme is cottage-y. My den, which is a combo with the kitchen, has camel and dark browns & muted colors (with red accents), which blend with the countertop (which is one reason I got it). I had considered black quartz or a white quartz, but went with the granite. Now I think it was a mistake. To make the kitchen look coordinated, I'll have to plunk down $$ to get new stainless appliances, and the backsplash (which will be beadboard) can't be the stark white I wanted but will have to be antiqued or soft white, which will look odd with my stark white sink.

The pattern on the counter also bothers me (I've had solid white formica for 20 years). All the patterns on it just bother me. I got a leathered finish, so that looks nice and makes it go better with my 50+ year old house, though.

I now think I should've gone with the black quartz. A simple solid color. I'm even considering getting the quartz and throwing out this granite countertop. Maybe I could get someplace to pay me something for it.

I'm pretty upset about it. I just imagined it all wrong. I thought it would be a lighter effect that would go with true colors better, but it's more muted.

Maybe once I get the beadboard backsplash up and do it true white, it'll help blend with the white appliances? Should I get new stainless appliances?

Does anyone have any suggestions? It's not like I'm this way with everything. My new door, new door handles, new hardware, other things I love. It's just this one thing.

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A picture would be a big help. It's difficult to offer opinions/suggestions without seeing the space.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:36PM
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Could you post some pictures to help everyone see what it looks like? I think they could give better suggestions that way.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:38PM
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What color are the cabinets? Yes, pictures would be very helpful. If you can post some, you will probably get a bunch of replies.

It would be a shame to have to toss the granite. It may just be that some time needs to pass. As you said, you've had plain white formica for a long time. So your eyes may still be in a bit of a shock. With time, you may grow to love the stone.

I am in a similar situation in needing to appeal to a buyer, so your post comes at a good time for me. I also have all white (laminate) and have been advised by realtors to install granite even though our move may be 18 months away. I'm finding it hard to imagine my space with a "patterned" counter.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 11:48PM
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Here is a pic that has part of the white tile backsplash left.

I was intending to paint the cabinets white, but now I'm thinking just having them refinished might be better.

I can't remember how to post pics, although I've done it before. Couldn't find the instructions on the site. But I'll take a shot.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:39AM
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Here's a pic of the close-up of the pattern. It's an off white background with shades of burgundy or reddish rust with faint dark gray (not that noticeable), and just a few spots with blackish tones. It gives an overall appearance of off white or cream with reddish brown bits and a bit of gray.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 10:35AM
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I think it looks really nice with your cabinet color and that you are probably just having buyer's remorse when making such a big (and heavy) decision. A warm toned backsplash, and possibly a new sink, would be a much less expensive solution. I wouldn't necessarily replace the appliances either.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 10:50AM
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I love your granite with your cabinets. I hate the backsplash. Once the backsplash is done, it will all pull together. I would not get rid of the granite.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:51AM
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I agree that the granite is great, and doesn't clash with the appliances. The backsplash... well... I would definitely replace. I also like your cabinet color with the granite -- it complements nicely. good luck!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 12:17PM
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If you want to paint the cabinets, a very light gray that looks white would be a good choice. Replace the back splash for sure.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 12:24PM
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This could be just a distortion in the photo, or on my computer screen here, but I couldn't help noticing the somewhat yellow light in that globe ceiling fixture. Perhaps that is a standard incandescent bulb, which does produce a warm-toned yellowish light.

It might be worth your time to try some other bulbs, either a "daylight" type compact fluorescent, or an LED bulb. The color of the light will really change the way things look, and you might light the color blends better. I'd surely try it before I took out that nice granite.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Thank you all so much. Yes, maybe it's that my kitchen has been stark white for so long, I'm in shock from a more muted tone and from what I imagined it would look like. The pictures on show White Spring granite with white cabinets quite often (usu. Benjamin Moore "Cloud White"), but that's not the way it looks to me in person.

The backsplash tiles are gone, now. I'm putting up beadboard, which can be painted any color. I can go with a soft white to blend with the counters.

Thanks for your opinions. It's so helpful to get opinions from others who have gone through similar things. It's hard to imagine some things installed, from pictures and seeing big slabs in stone yards.

Thank you so much! It helped clarify things. Also about the cabinet color.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 12:40PM
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It looks good with your cabinetry and is fine with the appliances. Bright white with dark wood is a stark looking contrast. Warmer looks better, imo. As mentioned, you could paint the cabinets light to get a more cottage feel. That would look better with a beadboard back splash, imo. I don't think that seems like a good fit, as is, with the rich wood cabinets.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 13:32

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 12:45PM
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I too agree the granite looks just fine with your white appliances. It's really pretty with your cabinets. .

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 12:57PM
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To smiling: Yes, the light is white, not yellow like it appears in the pic. It's an incandescent bulb. You know, that's an excellent suggestion that hadn't occurred to me. Getting a daylight-tone light might make a difference.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 1:15PM
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also adding very cool under counter lighting can really change the look of things, in one house I had blue pearl granite, it looked incredibly sparkling blue with the white fluorescent lighting on it, and kind of black in warm fluorescent light. check the side of the box your bulb comes in and chose a cooler bulb to see if things change - it's just a few dollars.

I think it looks good enough to sell, the region you are in will make a difference, too, some areas demand higher level finishes.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 5:31PM
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If the storage isn't absolutely necessary, it would really open up your kitchen to remove the cabinets over the peninsula.

I like your granite and cabinets together. : )

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:16AM
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I would not paint the cabinets. The granite is pretty with the did a wonderful job coordinating it with the existing cabinets! The white sink looks GREAT with it.

I am not sure about the beadboard backsplash...I would want some color, especially with a cottage feel.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:54AM
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I think you're going to be fine. I like the granite and cabinet combination. It works with white appliances, but a buyer who had to have something else could easily slide them out and plug in what they want. Those are really the easy things in your kitchen, Plunk another $100 into a new light fixture and fabric or wood shade for the window, maybe a rug on the floor and you'll be looking good. Make sure to give the stove top and oven a good cleaning too.

I would not paint the cabinets. Getting a white on white look that works is harder than it may seem. If you miss, you have too cold or too stark and more people will be turned away. You will also lose some buyers who don't want to try to keep white looking clean and fresh.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:08AM
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I am questioning if breadboard will work with that granite.... Btw, I have that or a very similar granite and have never been able to figure out what to do about a backsplash - but breadboard says cottage to me and that granite does not. Btw. I love both, but would want to see a photoshop picture of them together with you cabinets before committing.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 3:24PM
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I want to add that I think the granite is lovely (and I don't like many granites!) and it also looks fine with your sink. It is a funny thing but white porcelain just seems to be right with so many different looks. I like your cabinets,they look great with the granite -- don't paint them unless you really want the change; if you do paint them, you might consider a soft color instead of white.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 10:26PM
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You're granite is very beautiful. Take a deep breath and give yourself time to figure out how you would like to tie it all in. I feel your white appliances, white sink, and wood cabinets look fine with your granite. Personally I prefer white sinks and appliances to stainless.

As much as I like bead board, I feel it is not the right look with the granite. I think the texture of the bead board, no matter what color painted, is too busy with your granite. They don't mesh well.

I would think about tying in the creams and whites in your stone with curtains or other type of window treatment. I'm confused if you had plans on removing all the tile that is on the walls. I think I would remove the tile if it were me, but I'm not totally sure what to recommend in it's place. Perhaps a nice soft shade of cream or ivory paint. Paint is relatively inexpensive (even the top brands) and would give you a clean slate. If you have a scrap piece of your granite you can take that to the paint store to help select a soft complimentary shade. Let that gorgeous counter shine!

Throw rugs, art work, a piece of pottery, curtains or a shade, all of that can help tie in the counter with the cabinets and your appliances without spending too much or exhausting yourself.

I'm not normally a "granite person", but I truly like the granite you have. I think what is really bothering you right now is that the other elements in your kitchen, and have gotten used to, are now not working for you. You also had a different mindset..... "cottage", and need time to adjust to a slightly different direction. Your kitchen can still be warm and homey ("cottage", but in a different way). "Cottage" doesn't have to be a strict definition like the magazines are defining it as.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 12:50AM
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Sandy...thanks for your thoughts. You're the second poster to state that you don't think the beadboard, esp painted a white, would go with the cabinets. Regarding the white tile backsplash I had, that is gone, now, and new dryall installed, ready for a new backsplash. I didn't want to do tile again, since I don't care for tile with granite (too busy). That's why I thought of the beadboard.

My plan was to paint the cabinets, so the beadboard would go with it. I was thinking, now, if I don't pain the cabinets, the beadboard would still go, since they would be painted the same color as the rest of the walls in the combo den-kitchen (some sort of soft white). I hate cream in a kitchen, so will not do that. Kitchens should have crisp, clean colors, IMO. But my former, all-white kitchen was a bit glaring and didn't blend with the den too well (mahogany & cherry furniture & colors, dark camel, black tv, red accents, soft white walls).

As for keeping the cabinets dark, I do have wood floors that will be refinished, and so will compete with the wood cabinets. Cabinets painted a soft white would solve that problem.

I thought beadboard would be plain enough not to be too busy with the granite, since it's only vertical lines, and would tie in with the shutters. I'm hesitant to remove the shutters because that is a window theme throughout the house and are in the den part of the combo den-kitchen. I'm now looking at maybe tin with a pattern, so that the backsplash is silver, but that's probably too busy. I could just leave the plain drywall, add some wood molding (painted), and leave it at that.

I'm mulling it over. It's good to know that others don't think the white appliances and sink look awful. That really was the most shocking thing to me. I was horrified by how they looked with the granite. In pics in Houzz, White Spring granite is repeatedly shown in white kitchens (white walls and cabinets & doors). I do think maybe I'm in shock since it doesn't look how I imagined and is so different from what I had.

The stove is that new ice white and not the softer white of old, so that's part of the problem, I think. I considered stainless too modern a look for my old house, which is why I didn't get that before, but now I see that stainless would go with the new countertop and avoid any "color" issue.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 9:21AM
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Everything is new except for the cabs, which is the problem. The heavily stained cabs don't work with the light granite and white ice appliances. On my monitor, the stain looks uneven and the cabs look a little dinged up. I would paint them, or even better, get new doors and drawer fronts and have the frames professionally repainted. Add end panels to the peninsula and overhanging cabinets. If you search for Linelle, that's what she did to change her oak kitchen to a white Shaker kitchen. It cost several thousand, but it was cheaper than buying SS appliances and replacing granite.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 9:56AM
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We just had white springs installed with cherry cabinets and are now trying to figure out a backslash so I'm very interested in this thread. Please post pictures of your final backslash. Obviously, I think you made the correct granite choice. It looks great!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 11:42PM
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LindaNew: What a coincidence. What were you thinking of doing with your backsplash? What shades of white or cream are you using in your kitchen, if any?

My cabinets need refinishing or painting, so I could go with any color for the cabinets, but cherry goes very well with the granite (I think my cabs are cherry stained oak? Not sure. No one knows what kind of wood they are.)

Everyone's different with backsplashes. I think I'm a bit different in that I don't care for ceramic tile backsplashes with granite, as a rule (too busy), although there are a few exceptions. I have seen some that I love. I saw a solid color glass subway with granite that I loved, and I love the tumbled brick look. I guess the grout lines are not noticeable in those.

I've looked at a lot of beadboard backsplashes on Houzz, and I've loved every one of them. Currently I'm thinking I'll stick with that. I'd love a soft white glass subway tile, but I don't think I'd like that more than beadboard, and the tile would cost so much more and be more hassle. Another option is to paint the backsplash, finish it off with molding, and leave it at that for now. Not my favorite option, but it is an option.

My house is small, and I'm updating several areas, which means budget concerns, so my situation may be different from yours

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:47AM
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Beadboard is not that expensive, is it? Could you go ahead and get enough for a moderate section (like next to the window), cut it to size, paint it, then fit it into place without securing it? -- then you could see whether you like the look or not before you commit to the whole kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 1:20PM
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Go slowly. Live with things for a while. You will not recoup your expenses of new granite when you put your house on the market.

I do think that the counters and cabinets are a great combo. I would not do beadboard. Instead, I would just for the moment take out your current backsplash and paint the wall that nice cream wall color I see in the right side of the picture. I would then add a new light, window treatments, and maybe new knobs to the cabinets. Then decide if you are going to put your house on the market or not. If not, then figure out what to do next. But I think you have a good thing going here.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 3:08PM
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OK, so I really like that granite, and I really like the way it looks on your base cabinets.

Problem is, I don't like the backsplash (you said it's gone) and the uppers.

In the finished kitchen blog you will find similar granite on walnut with a white subway backsplash and white uppers - this has been done a number of times in different permutations, and always looks good.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 6:19PM
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Thanks, Detroit. I'll check that out that blog. Yes, the cabinets need either painting or refinishing. It's decent quality wood, but they are dark with age.

Brandywine, regarding getting my money back on the counter, my old counter was damaged so had to be replaced. The only decision to be made was what substance to use. I went with granite, since that's still the rage here. I kept the cost down, so I think I may get the $ money back. But besides getting money back, there is the fact of simply getting an offer! I think your suggestion of just painting the backsplash might be wise. That way, a buyer can add one that they want without having to take out an existing one. I could add wood molding to finish it off. I agree that the shutters look bad, so I'll change that to something new, like a clean-look blind. I think giving it some time is wise, too. I've moved on to the bath, while I consider what to do to finish the kitchen. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:09AM
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Here's a vote for the beadboard. I don't like the backsplash to be the dominant item in a kitchen. The poster who suggested you remove the upper cabinet over the peninsula is right on. Just take it down, and you will not believe the difference. Doing this, allowed me to "deal" with ugly kitchen cabinets (really, really ugly) for a couple more years, until I had time to get the feel of a newly purchased house. I'm not a granite fan either, but I think yours looks great.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:04AM
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I have had the same, or very similar, granite for the past 7 years and I have wood stained cabs and a cottagey house, too.

When it was first installed I didn't sleep for a couple of nights worrying I had made a huge mistake. It was more than 2 years after installation that I was finally able to choose a bs. I wound up with ordinary tumbled marble in alabaster, the first row set on the square above the counter, then a row of 1" onyx tiles that have all the colors of the granite in them. The rest of the bs is the tumbled marble set on the diagonal. Grout matches the gray tones in the granite (can't recall the color name). The rustic matte finish and rough edges of the marble bs calmed down the extravagant look of the granite and made it a more earthy, casual kitchen, which is what I wanted.

I do have ss appliances but don't think they look any better with it than white would have as the stone has quite a lot of white splotches. My window coverings are top down/bottom up fabric shades in the warm gray tone of the granite.

I hope this helps a little bit and that you end up liking your granite, as I did. All the best to you!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:01AM
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