White Marble Countertops

brittamayFebruary 25, 2008

I realize the "white" countertop issue has probably been discussed to death, but I really like the look of white countertops on painted light green cabinets. My current kitchen (which is only 1 year old) has black (actually Nordic Green) granite on antique white cabinets, but I'm looking for a change in the house we are building.

Anyone want to talk me into or out of the white? Should it be honed or polished?

Anyone have something more creamy, but still white, like French Vanilla?


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Hubby and I were really, really drawn to the marble slabe we saw. So I did some research and what I found convinced us to go with granite. here's a few excerpts:

stone maintenance guide:
"Polished marble is ideal for vertical application but requires a high level of maintenance when used as flooring especially in high traffic situations. Non-reflective finishes perform well as flooring with minimal maintenance once treated with recommended sealers. Kitchen use should be carefully evaluated due to oil absorption. "

" Marble is a stone, of course, but not nearly as dense or hard as granite. Marble will wear well and last forever, however it is porous and sensitive to acidic substances (juice, wine, coffee) so it can stain or etch (dull the polish) rather easily . . . even when sealed."


All throughout the Mediterranean basin marble is a very popular stone as a kitchen countertop and everybody enjoys it. (Limestone is not so popular, but certain types of limestone could be acceptable in relation of what follows.) In Northern Europe and all throughout North America , many like the way it looks, but nobody enjoys it!

How's that?

For the simple reason that In Southern Europe they never install a polished marble countertop (or a polished marble floor, for that matter). They start from a hone-finished surface and then they start using and abusing it and only care for it with a good-quality stone cleaner (like MB-5). The "worse" it gets, the better they like it! It's considered "aging." It's like a pair of old blue jeans, if you know what I mean: a highly sought "lived-in" look.
While the looks of an old pair of jeans is very much appreciated in Northern Europe or in North America , too, the same principle does not seem to apply to stone. Most people over here expect their stone to look like brand-new all the time, and any "change" is not considered "aging", but a damage that needs to be rectified."

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:18PM
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You need to do a search on Marble threads in this forum - there are MANY of us who have marble countertops (mostly honed) and LOVE them and have no staining issues at all.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:23PM
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I'm having Danby Imperial Marble on my island. It is one marble that is recommended for use in a kitchen countertop application.

It is not pure white; mine has large, faint veins of tan and gray running through it. I'm having mine done in a "satin" finish, which is more polished than honed, but not nearly as reflective. I did that b/c when honed, the veining was too subtle to notice the way I wanted it. You may prefer it more being honed and less veiny.

I found it at Dente in NJ.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:34PM
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I got a marble (polished) section for a baking station and while I love the surface and how "professional" it looks and performs, I should never have gotten it polished. It has only been in for two years, and I've been careful about cleaning it off IMMEDIATELY after use (for baking -- cookies, crusts, etc.) and sometimes, even wiping it down in between steps of a recipe. But it still has all kinds of etching, dull spots, oil spots (from butter or oil left on it). I was told to expect that by the stone guys, that it would look well used very quickly -- they even said that European bakers take pride in how well worn their marble work surfaces look.

It IS beautiful but when the light is just so across it, you see every single mark. And no matter how careful I am (and I AM!), there is a new blotch or ring or other mark every few weeks -- often from something I never even saw was there.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:36PM
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I put my honed white Carrara marble everywhere, on my counters and my island. The island is our main eating location. We both cook and my husband has never been a neat cook -- he still doesn't think to take a sponge out after he's finished cooking or eating. THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE! We sealed it twice in two days when it was installed (Miracle 511 Porous Plus sealer) and once again about three weeks later. THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE. Oh, but I already mentioned that. Our adult son comes over to cook very extravagant and complex dishes (oh God, he's a terror in the kitchen, but he likes working here in our newly remodeled and expanded space) and still, THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE.

I love love love my marble counters. They're incredibly beautiful and feel wonderful. Yes, they will etch from acids, so we're careful but not perfect. Our marble does have some etch spots but I defy you to come into my kitchen and find them!

Mnhockeymom has the most extraordinary Calacatta marble in her kitchen, and she used it extensively in the space. She gave you the best advice -- do a search on this forum and you will get REAL LIFE advice from folks like me, and her, and many others who have it in our working kitchens. It is not a perfect stone and it's not for everyone. But it's perfect for me. I come down to the kitchen in the mornings and drink my first cup of Joe with the Renaissance masters, and there's hardly a morning that I still don't touch my marble once or twice with my fingertips.

One particularly groggy morning I prepared a small pot of two cups of coffee and then went upstairs for a couple of minutes. When I returned I realized that I hadn't put the *&$! coffee pot under the drip-thing, and the freshly brewed and hot java had poured all over my beautiful counters. And Brittamay, I'm here to tell ya that THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:28PM
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Just joining in to ditto the love of marble. I have honed white marble in my bake center - which is also between the fridge and MW so it sees LOTS of use other than just baking projects. In the pic below, see that raised counter above the MW? That counter is a magnet for everyone, and everything gets placed/spilled on it especially from the MW (by my 18 yo son who is NOT careful AT ALL). And I ditto oofasis in that THERE ARE NO STAINS ON MY MARBLE either. :)

I used StoneTech's BulletProof Sealer - applying about 5 or so times over two days. The secret is to apply the sealer until the marble no longer "wets" or soaks in any more sealer as evidenced by grey or darkened areas on the marble.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:38PM
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Another white marble counter lover -- mine is honed white venetino.

Ctlady -- stop being so careful and you can' even things out! Or go ahead and hone it intentioanlly and then seal it again.

Pb, keep spreading those tales and those of us who have marble will continue to enjoy it and be able to keep it more unique. My only complaint is that I'm seeing it in every magazine now. Go away! LOL

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 2:11PM
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lascatx -- I thought about that (just covering the whole thing with lemon juice or oil and letting it sit overnight :)

What's involved in having it honed onsite? Does it generate the kind of fine dust that granite grinding does? It's a very small piece (only 3 feet wide) -- can I do it myself somehow (rent something?) Or is there a food-safe acid I can apply that would evenly etch it out? Does anyone know? I really dislike the blotchy look of the current etching effect and should clearly have gone honed to begin with...

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 3:08PM
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If you have honed marble and it stains -- can you get the stains out? If so how? And then what do you need to do? Is it a big deal?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 3:39PM
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The short answer is, Yes for most things. I have yet to have the need to do so since with Porous Plus 511 I have NO stains HOWEVER there is a poultice recipe posted in a thread on this site that will get just about everything out.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 4:02PM
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For us it wasn't the staining issue / concern so much as it was the fact that we'd have to go with honed. Hubby likes a shiny, pristine surface.

I'm glad your marble doesn't stain but we wouldn't be happy with the matte finish.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 4:10PM
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I think it was Momto4Kids who had her marble re-honed. I recall she said it was only about $500 or so and was very pleased with the results (don't recall why she had it re-honed), and she's got tons of it. She's in the FKB and you should definitely look at her kitchen pix -- she's got one of the most fabulous kitchens, an enormous space that's wonderfully laid out.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 5:40PM
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I was too chicken to go with marble...I knew it wouldn't stain, but I feared etching. I know myself, and as much as I hate to admit it in public, I'm a messy cook and I don't cleanup splashes and tiny spills right away. Sometimes not until the next morning. As soon as I made myself a margarita, I'd have etch spots. If I were a normal tidy person, I would have chosen marble in a heartbeat.

So I chose a white marble. It's not as breathtaking as marble, but it is etchproof and stainproof. Also, it has a warmer tone to it than most of the white marbles out there.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:43PM
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All these kitchens are beautiful!

I'm so excited, because assuming all goes as planned, my honed white marble is getting installed on my island tomorrow. I can't wait!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:05PM
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ctlady--I intentionally produced severe etching on a sample of the marble I'm planning to use for my island. Then I tried to see what I could do to restore the honed surface to "normal". I used a technique borrowed from Sherrilyn, a poster on this forum, that she used to restore a stainless steel sink; i.e. using four different grits of wet-sanding paper (from medium to ultrafine) and ending with 0000 steel wool. That technique completely removed the etching and restored the marble surface.

Here's the bad news: It took quite a while, and the piece I was working on was only 2 inches square! Using this technique to self-hone an entire counter would be quite ambitious. Perhaps there is an electrical sander that would be appropriate and make the job less onerous.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 1:22AM
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I have a honed carrara island and it has never been properly sealed, but I still have no staining. Once, my son put a pink marker to it and it disappeared after a couple of days. I do, however have etchings on it. Especially where my 6 y.o. daughter tried to make "lemonade" on it. It's a large area. I was going to have it re-honed, but it would just happen again (maybe not to that extent, but eventually). So I'm thinking I'll get some sandpaper and see if I can blur it into the rest of the stone and then seal it and live with it. Frankly, it's been about a month since this happened and I notice it less and less every day. The only time it's really visible is when the morning sun shines on it. But I did get some quotes on rehoning and it isn't that expensive - maybe $350.

pdxgal - Good luck with your marble! I'm sure it will be beautiful. Be sure to post pics!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:33AM
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I'm pondering counter materials and put a scrap slab of marble (about 12 x 18") next to our sink to see how it would weather. It's matte on one side and polished on the other. I used the matte side up, because that's the look and feel I like. (I'm not sure if it's the same as a honed surface, but it's smooth and unpolished.)

Anyway, as others have reported, there's been no staining and we have been not in the least careful with it. But I was surprised that my plastic bottle of Ecover (natural) dish liquid has left numerous etch marks. Does this mean it's not a neutral pH cleaner? I don't know. I don't like the feel of the etching, so I had ruled it out as a counter material.

But this post gives me the idea to intentionally etch it in a big area and see what it's like when it's all over. Those first few imperfections are possibly more troubling than once it's all worn in. I have to remember that the first marble I fell in love with was in Italian ruins, lying around the ground. Those certainly haven't been cared for in the past 2000 years or so!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 3:26PM
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I guess I jinxed myself. My marble island didn't get finished today. They were only able to do the perimeter (honed black) today. I'm so bummed it was going to be my treat for when I got out of the hospital today. Another day I suppose :( The honed black looks great though :)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 9:07PM
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I just looked at a house built in 1914. The baking room had the MOST FABULOUS marble insert in the walnut countertop. It was stained, etched, chipped, and gorgeous :) When we buy the place we're going to do white marble in the kitchen, and have a party to beat the heck out of it! I want that same look everywhere!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:28PM
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Jean Popowitz

Can somebody give me a ballpark square foot price on their marble countertops? I was told it's about the same as soapstone. I'm in New Jersey. I would love stone yard recommendations if you have them. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 12:43AM
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i am leaning toward a honed (and sealed) white cararra marble for my kitchen countertops. i am curious about the white danby though. does it really stain less than the carrara? and how does the look compare to the cararra? Did anyone consider both carrara and danby and choose one over the other? i would be interested to know why you chose the one you did. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 10:50PM
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Brittamay - Here is a picture of mine which happens to be on a light green island (ignore the blue electrical box). It's honed carrara marble. We move in TONIGHT! I can't wait to start using it.

Honed carrara marble island..jpg

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:01AM
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Sorry....Here is the photo. It's still early and I haven't had my coffee.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:04AM
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Pdxgal, that's a beautiful island. I'm thinking of doing something similar, either as an island or as a peninsula. What are its dimensions?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:37AM
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Venice - Thank you! I should know it off the top of my head, but it was changed a couple of times. I think with the countertop it is 69" x 30". I was worried it would be too skinny, but I think it will be a fine workspace for my kitchen. Had to make due with the existing space.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 2:44PM
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does anyone have any recommendations for fabricators/stone yard places in the northern virgina, wash dc, maryland area? I went to a place called Marblex in Fairfax, VA so far.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 2:07PM
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pdxgal - That's a beautiful marble, not as grey as a lot of the carrara I have seen.

But what I'm especially enamored with is your wood floors !!!
Please tell me more about them. They look like walnut, are they? Prefinished (name please) or stained and finished in place, stain color if any, type of finish, etc, etc. Thanks, and enjoy your move-in day!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 3:44PM
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Napagirl - Thanks! The floors are oak that were stained a dark walnut color. We had to go with a skinny plank (1 1/2") in order to tie in with the original wood flooring in the rest of the house. They actually are much richer than the photo shows, because I've finally mopped all the dust! They were installed, sanded, stained, and top-coat all in place. We love them too!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 1:49AM
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Were your oak floors original with new pieces tied into the old? What actual stain did you use? It looks fantastic!! I have original 1940s oak in my house and we just bought salvage to match for the kitchen. I am hoping to stain the whole thing a color just like yours after it is sanded. Do you have red or white oak?

Sorry for the hijack :)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Amberley - Thanks, the oak floors in the kitchen are all new, but tie into the original 1969 flooring in the dining room and hallway, both of which are off the kitchen. I can't tell the difference between the two. I had them all refinished and stained dark. My floor guy is coming back tomorrow to fix a few things and I'll try to remember to ask him the actual stain. Oh, I'm not sure if it's red or white oak. I'll ask him that too.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:10AM
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Amberley - My floor guy said I have red oak floors and he used Minwax's Dark Walnut stain.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 12:18PM
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pdxgal, love your marble island and can't wait to see the rest of your kitchen. Would you tell me the depth of your bookcase/shelves at the end of the island. Also, would it be possible to lower the bottom shelf if you wanted. I am looking at doing something like this for the cat dishes. Thanks, Zoey

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 1:56PM
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Zoey - The bookshelf is 1' deep. The lower shelf is fixed and can't be adjusted, but the two above it can. I'm sure you could have it built for an adjustable bottom shelf. It would be a great little cubby to hide away cat dishes.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 9:35PM
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Rather than starting a new thread called "Ivory Marble Countertops," I thought I would just pop in here with the experts and advocates for marble. I've read everything, many many GW posts and every other Google search response I could find, without arriving at the confidence level I need to make this decision. I have, however, been inspired by all you pioneer marble lovers and appreciate the time you put into sharing your knowledge on this forum.

I would want one 12' countertop span of honed marble, have an old house and can live with patina. But there seems to be some marbles that are truly better suited for kitchen use than others. Crema marfil, for instance, is said to be softer, more stain prone and does not seem to be used in kitchen slabs. One poster has it in the bathroom and hates it, some like it okay.

I am looking for something with a beigier tone than Carerra, but I am told the Calacattas I have seen and loved with more gold veining are triple and quadruple the price. I've considered limestone as well, but I am drawn to the interest that the veining of marble has, especially for such a long, linear application. So, any any suggestions for a type I should look for? From what you all might have experienced or been told, are there any to stay away from?

I have a fabricator I like, but he is throwing me too many possibilities, and I am trying to narrow down any that I really should not be considering. Is there such a list, or is each slab its own peculiar thing, and thus too hard to generalize by material name?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:49AM
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We were looking as well for marble with gold/tan/brown veining, rather than the greys in the Carrera we used in our bathroom. The standard recommendation is Calcatta Gold. We went to a large dealer and looked at what they had out: about 5 different stacks of Calcatta. All were quite nice but we'll eventually pick a specific set of slabs ourselves.

Cost was a shocker to me. The first two quotes for roughly 70 sf of counter (large L-shaped island plus one small counter) came in at about $13,000, which is around $180/sf. That was more than the copper counter we saw at HD Expo! At that point even my enthusiasm wavered a bit.

However...we found another fabricator through our interior designer (whom we are not using on the kitchen project) whose business is apparently is slow and who is willing to be aggressive on pricing. We just got his quote back at $8500!! That's for 3 cm with doubled edges and a simple bevel edge treatment, two undermount sinks. Keep your fingers crossed that this is not a mistake as that is a price I would take without any qualms.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 8:58AM
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So tell us the outcome ... was the new quote of $8,500 accurate?
If so, and if you're in the SF Bay Area, please tell me the name of the fabricator !!!
My fabricator's price is similar to your original price, and I would love to find someome more reasonable.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 12:44PM
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I'm happy to run across this thread. My countertops are being cut now. I ordered Julia soapstone for the 6x8 island, stainless for the perimeter wall with the stove (2' on one side and probaby 5' on the other). I also have two small cabinets dividing the DR and kitchen that I'm topping with Carrerra marble and there is a 8 or 10' desk at the opposite end of the kitchen with the same marble. Marble was the only surface I wasn't sure of. I did put red wine, mustard and oil on my honed sample piece and only the wine etched it. I didn't know that polish would help with that. Yeah! Thanks to all of you for telling us about your marble!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 2:37PM
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sundowr - please post pics when you're done. I'm considering those countertop materials as well!!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 3:55PM
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malhgold - I'll post them for you. I haven't posted much on this forum because all my questions were answered with searches. I have to say I really got a huge amount of information from here. My hall bathroom is next and I've almost figured out what I want for it from posts and pictures in the bathroom forum. You all are such a amazing resource.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 5:02PM
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I am considering using white statutory marble kitchen countertops because I want the statutory's black/gray veining. Is statutory an OK type of white marble to use? I see most info about calcutta or carrera and I haven't been able to find a piece of those that has the veining and color that I am most partial to although I like them also. Also, is polished OK...most info seems to refer to honed? Many, many thanks for your feedback. Chris

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 2:36PM
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We had 80 Sq. Ft. of Calcutta Gold Select put in our kitchen about two months ago. We are thrilled. It looks even more beautiful than we anticipated. We sealed it three times in a week with Bullet Proof Sealer. I am not a very neat cook. There have already been lots of spills and some were not caught very quickly, but no stains of any kind so far. The most amazing thing that happened was that in the process of staining our new cabinets, a pool of dark walnut stain ended up on the marble counter. It was several hours before the plastic was removed and the stain discovered. I just wiped it up and NO STAIN. Our countertops are honed and yes there is a spot or two that have etched, but you would never find them. The other posts here are absolutely correct, if you want the beauty of marble, go for it, they are not hard to keep and they are gorgeous!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 7:40PM
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For Connielchin: My Feb 27, 2008 post should read that I put in a white GRANITE! It's called Andromeda White.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 9:37PM
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I saw many of the posts about using Marble for kitchen counters which were very helpful, but has anyone use it in a laundry area? I am installing onyx cabinets and am considering carrera for the counter. Any thoughts on pros or cons for such a use?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:29PM
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Can anyone tell me an approximate price range per square foot? I've heard it's as much as soapstone, but also read another thread that said it was cheaper than granite. I'm in southeastern Washington state. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 11:04AM
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I looked at slabs of White Princess granite this morning for my 9x4 kitchen island; the slab was honed on one side, polished on the other. Price per square foot was $60! I've been having a really hard time finding a slab and it was one of the nicer pieces I've seen so I was ready to pony up, particularly since I have two days to make a decision. On the way out the door I saw THE MOST BEAUTIFUL cararra I have ever seen and that was it---done. And at $16.25 per square foot. I know it will be more work, I know I'll gasp the first time it etches, but I don't care. I've been in denial that I love it and have really forced myself to look at other options, but no more. Carrara it is, stains, etchings, and all.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 7:08PM
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My husband and I are renovating our kitchen. I have always loved the look of marrying the modern and the vintage. When we undertook this project I had a vision of using white marble (the old) and very contemporary elements (the new). We have espresso colored shaker cabinets, a 4 x 12 glass subway tile backsplash and professional series stainless appliances. When we told our friends/family/contractors/etc. they thought we were crazy to use marble. We were told, time and time again, that it would scratch, dent, chip, etch, stain...

Our confidants had essentially succeeded in swashing our hopes of using this material. We were told to check out Quartzite and Soapstone and Corian and white Granites, as they were more durable. After searching through all of these options and not being excited about any of them, I started to get really discouraged. That night, my husband and I walked into a bar and noticed that they had the most gorgeous white marble counter at the bar. It as original to the structure (built in 1920). It had very few scratches but had developed a slight patina. At that moment we said, forget what everyone says! We are going with marble!

We looked at, and LOVED, the Calacatta Gold. Unfortunately, with 100 feet of counter space that type was WAY out of our price range (25k+ was the bid). So we settled on honed Arrabescato Danby. It will have a double laminated edge to give it the look of being a "big block" of marble.

Now, I have two questions....
1.) What is the best Sealant to use?
2.) What should I use on the floor? (I have thought about mirroring the subway tile with 12x18 marble tiles. We have dark hardwood floors through the rest of the house)

Thanks for all of the great advice!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 3:58PM
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