Was your countertop choice obvious or not?

wi-sailorgirlFebruary 4, 2013

So I just went to the fabricator to narrow down some countertop selections (we're doing quartz). I was almost positive that I was going to pick Organic White Caesarstone. I've had a small sample kicking around my house for about five years and I thought it looked pretty good with my cabinet, backsplash and floor. But when I looked at them with the large sample it was clear it was all wrong (too cool). Even assuming that the lighting in my house will be different than the showroom, it was clear it wouldn't work. So I came home with five other samples of quartz that I wouldn't have guessed I'd like and I'm not in love with any one of them.

I see so often on here that people see a stone and know it's right. Has anyone else faced a less obvious decision or is this a sign that I'm on the wrong track?

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We used Caesarstone, and the choice ended up being pretty obvious. But what we did was bring our backsplash and cab door samples to the dealer, and went through the samples one by one until we found the one that worked well with our choices. The one we ended up with was not on my radar until we saw it with the other materials, but the "right" one was so clear I chose it in about 15 minutes.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:06PM
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I went to every granite place in town, plus I took my DD for a road trip to a city 100 miles away to check out a fabricator there. I took home lots of samples. I went back through some stoneyards two or three times. I woke up at 2 AM with granite names going through my head.

So no, it wasn't obvious. And the choice I ended up with - green - was definitely not what I started out thinking I wanted. I walked right by my granite a couple of times before I ever considered it, because it wasn't what I thought I was looking for. So you may be on the wrong track. Try to look at all the available choices with no preconceptions. Or maybe it will just take you a while to warm up to the one that you will love forever. You know, like in "When Harry Met Sally."

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:16PM
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We also took a sample cabinet door (natural walnut) and a piece of our marble tile (Botticino Fiorito) and went hunting for counter material that matched. The better color match was the more earth tone Caesarstone Oyster, but the MUCH better look was the more starkly white Nougat. The white epoxy really pops against the natural walnut's warm-gray tone while the gray aggregate barely matches the walnut.

It wasn't obvious at first, but the more we looked at the cabinet, flooring, and Nougat samples together, the more we knew it was right. And now that our cabinets are 90% in and the counters are installed, we KNOW we made the right choice. Once we paint the walls with a light warm gray, the awesomeness will be complete.

Off-topic, I'm a little concerned because the Caesarstone because my sample piece that is about a year old has developed some black gummy residue, and now my new counters that have just been installed have some too. I haven't tried cleaning it yet, but my granite hasn't had ANY residue issues in 10 years! Of course it is Tropic Brown and tends to camouflage food, ants, etc., so maybe it's just the lack of camouflaging.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:43PM
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i had a different experience than Ginny20...

i went to several granite yards and really liked alot of them but none of them grabbed/sung/spoke to me..i said to myself, "well if you can't find anything else, than just get this one"...
i did bring my cab sample and paint color, no floor.

was at another granite yard and literally turned the corner and there "it" was. my fabricator and I looked at it with a construction lightbulb and saw all the beautiful detail. this light was so much better than the fluorescents at the indoor yard. i didn't want any gray in it either.
i knew then and there i was done looking. i had found my slab and it did grab/sing/speak to me. i wanted to take it home with me that day..
my fabricator said we could go to a couple more places, but it said "no, i'm done looking, this is it".

so to me, it was obvious...

long story short, you will know it when you see it!!!!!
it really does happen that way.

i know you are not getting granite so my story will be a little different than yours. best advice i can give you is pick a color that you always gravitate to or a color that you always loved/love. you can't go wrong this way. if you pick a trendy color or something that you love "today"...i feel you will get tired of it or worse say "what the heck was i thinking"...
just my 2cents.
best of luck

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:54PM
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beachlily z9a

I've finished the selection process--demolition will be March 1. When I saw the countertop in the store, I went ker thud! Loved it--it is Cambrian Praa Sands. Light slab front maple with this Cambrian is a wonderful combination and one that fits the kitchen exactly. My colors are pale gray with teal and the Praa Sands has both colors in it. Doesn't scratch and is impervious to moisture. Which means that it doesn't challenge my husband's cleaning techniques. Very important!!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:54PM
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It was simple for me. We walked up and down the stone yard. There was a slab that blew me away and that was it. We left a deposit and the guy wrote our name in big letter across the front. A few weeks later, when I started worrying, we went to a much larger yard. I did love a few slabs, but they were in the $20,000 range, so I was happy. Then I posted photo here and was very encouraged by the response. It's even more beautiful a year later, when I wipe it down at night. BTW, we didn't have the BS chosen before the counter. We waited till after the installation, so I only had to deal with the cabinets and floor.

This post was edited by sixtyohno on Mon, Feb 4, 13 at 17:00

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:57PM
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I picked my stone first, then the cabinet color. For me it was more important that I love the counter. There are a zillion different colors I could have used for the cabinets, so it was easy to find something once I'd selected the stone. I fell in love with my stone the moment I saw it. Knew it was the one and never looked back. Keep looking until you find something you love.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:20PM
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I looked at quartz, granite, cement, Corian, marble, lava stone, laminate and everything in between and didn't like any of it. If I did sort of like something it wouldn't go with the cabinets I already have.

The only one I really liked was azul arabesque possibly secondly azul aran but that would not go with my kitchen cabinets and was three hours away. There just wasn't anything that took my breath away and made me know it was the one. Eventually I made a decision. It's pretty and I've never seen anything else like it but it's not something you would swoon over it's just a neutral granite in a light color. No drama like so many of them. I'm starting to think there just isn't anything out there I like.

I have this feeling we are on the verge of a whole new era and yet I don't see it...yet.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:24PM
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It wasn't obvious for me at all. The ones I really loved were pieces of art that I'd love on my wall, but not my counters. DH and I spent a lot of time thrashing out kinds of things we both liked. When it came down to it, there was one I really liked and one he loved. We brought samples home and my choice looked positively putrid in our kitchen. His choice was very nice. I like it a lot, but he's in love with it still. So, no, not obvious.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:30PM
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No, not obvious. I assumed we would get some kind of warm brownish granite. I really liked a friend's typhoon bordeaux, but hadn't really looked at granite beyond the samples at the big box stores. When we went to look at slabs, I came across a display counter of seafoam green which I loved. DH immediately liked it too (I about fell over....), so off we went looking for slabs, adding green to our list of colors. After a long search, the seafoam was what we ended up with, and we're very happy with it. I think if we hadn't found seafoam that we liked, we still would have ended up with something green.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:42PM
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We also took samples to the granite yard. Since we were doing 5 baths and a kitchen at one time, it was a lot of stuff to lug around ... cabinet doors, paint chips, tile samples, hardwood pieces. We left it in a big pile in the middle of the granite warehouse while we made our selections.

Interestingly, there were granites I had already semi-picked and other granites that I had literally crossed off the list. Every single one of our granite selections changed from what I had thought we were going to use. And, we used two that I had crossed off ! Once we were holding up the door and the tile sample board in front of the slabs, it was obvious which slabs looked the best. Lucky me, every single one I picked was a level one. Bonus !!!

The cabinet color and style is different in every room, and the tile is different in every room. We ended up using Black Pearl, Nero, UbaTuba, Baltic Brown, New Venetian Gold Light, and New Venetian Gold Dark (the warehouse has 2 shipments of NVG that were noticeably different from each other).

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:26PM
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The way we chose our countertop about 8 years ago was a bit backward, but I guess was meant to be.

DH and I were in a kitchen showroom to look at cabinetry, not even ready for countertops yet. I was a little fearful of choosing counters because I was sure it would take awhile to find something we both liked alot. Walking through this showroom we both stopped dead in our tracks at a display and without even speaking, we knew we had just found our countertop. It was Silestone and we thought it looked perfect for our kitchen. I have never regretted that choice and love it to this day.

What's funny about it though, is when I look at that 2x2 sample (I carried that around for months shopping) I think it looks hideous and from that, we NEVER would have chosen it. It was the full effect that blew us away. Guess it's the same for me with a small paint chip sample. I can never visualize a whole wall of it realistically. I really need to see more. Now I am so glad we visited that showroom when we did. Saved me alot of time and indecision!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Well it seems that I'm not alone and that experiences go both ways. I'm taking a bit of solace in that.

But I'm sort of losing my mind here. Every countertop sample I've looked at in the off-white range looks great in some places/lighting and horrible in others. Everytime I put a sample in the kitchen at night, I look at it in the morning and think that won't work.

So I think I may be either overthinking it (well, I'm sure I'm overthinking it), or looking at them incorrectly. So what is the best way to look at samples to get an accurate idea of what they will be like in a kitchen? For the most part I've kept the backsplash tile vertical and the countertops horizontal, but then I put the cabinet sample right next to it, which maybe isn't the right thing to do.

I try to take lots of pictures but especially when you're dealing with shades of white, it's all in the photo editing so it's not that helpful. I do tend to obsess about whites for some reason ....

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:48AM
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If they look very different from evening to morning, your lighting is probably warm white (3000K) vs natural daylight 5000-6500K (if overcast). If your counter only looks good in warm white light, scrap it because it will look horrible during the daytime (can't really change the color temp of the sky). Choose one that looks good in the daytime and change your bulbs to daylight white bulbs, about 5000K. This will ensure consistent perceptual color. I personally love the color temperature of my "bright white" LED bulbs, about 4500K, not too warm, not too cool.

Incidentally, you mention photos and editing; digital cameras are heavily affected by the white balance of your lighting.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:18PM
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