Terrazo-type counter too busy with backsplash?

wi-sailorgirlFebruary 4, 2013

I'm hoping I can get a few early opinions on some countertop options. Specifically I'm wondering if you think if a terrazo-type quartz countertop (with larger "particulates," as the countertop guys like to call them) is too busy with a 1x1 backsplash.

This photo, unfortunately, does not show color very accurately because I just quickly snapped a picture when I got home tonight. I will get a better one in daylight (and I'm looking forward to seeing the various samples in "real" light). I set the samples upright so you can see them a little better but I'll make sure to check them out in the right orientation.

What you're looking at is a background of the cabinet color (BM Cloud White), the mother of pearl mosiac backsplash (where this whole journey started) and a few quartz countertop samples. Hard to judge much yet but the large Caesarstone sample on the right (Buttermilk) is looking too yellow in some light, but I love the visual texture of that line of Caesarstone.

The colors of the sample to the far left (super close to Caesarstone Nougat, but a different brand) look to be perfect (almost as though you took the backsplash and crushed it up), but I wonder if there might be too much going on with the terrazo-type counter with a small scale backsplash. I thought I didn't like countertops with "chunks" in them, but now I'm thinking maybe I do. Most of the pictures I can find with similar countertops read as a solid vs. a texture, but photos can be deceiving.

The middle sample, by the way, is basically the same colors as the one to the left but with smaller particles, and it's feel boring and borderline too contemporary for me ... I think.

Here is a photo of a kitchen that uses the exact backsplash we will use and I would intend to do a grout treatment that matches what they did as closely as possible.

Anyway, enough mumbling. Thoughts on the busy-ness factor very appreciated. Thanks!

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I think they look pretty together. True, the counter has a lot going on but the particulates are all essentially the same color as the background, and the tile is another variant of that same shade. It'll be lovely.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:10AM
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I think it looks fine. The chips in the terrazzo are small enough that they look more like "texture" than a busy pattern. Plus, as EAM notes, they have similar colors, muting the business further.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Thank you both so much for weighing in!

I took a bunch of photos this morning in natural light and it is amazing to me how much different the Buttermilk looks. I would describe it as a very pale oatmeal color this morning. Doesn't make the decision any easier.

Anyway here's a quick snap with my cell photo from this morning in natural light (I didn't have time to process the photos from the real camera). It sure would be helpful if I could see slabs of these (or a real-life counter installation) but apparently that's not possible.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:22AM
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That's a beautiful combination that I think would be easy to live with for a long time. Gorgeous! They both look great and love the pattern of the one on the left but I think either one is great. If the one on the left is really yellow, that would be a deal breaker for me, but if it is more like the photo then I really like that one best. It's more stone-ish, but truly they are both appropriate and beautiful. I love your taste!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:04PM
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I'm new here and no expert, but I just wanted to say I love that backsplash! Both choices seem to work really well but I like the one on the left better.
We used ceasarstone in our bathroom. I fell in love with one like your "busy" one, but I couldn't find a remnant big enough so I ended up going with an almost solid white, I think it was called snow white. In the end I ended up being glad I didn't get the one with all the sparkly flecks. I have marble floors and I thought it might compete with them and I felt like that pattern on a man made material could look dated pretty quick and/or I might tire of it easily. Just sharing my experience, but you should definitely get what you love. They all look nice I think.
Are there any in the Buttermilk pattern in a slightly different color, one with a more taupey/grayish undertone rather than the buttermilk if its seeming too yellow? (in the pic it does look perfect, not yellow at all but you obv must judge it in person). Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:34PM
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I didn't do myself any favors by switching the order of them in the second photo, did I? LOL

Homebuyer, the whiter version of Buttermilk would be the Organic White, which what I thought I wanted. I've had a 4-inch sample of it kicking around for about four years now and I figured that would be it. But when I saw the 10-inch sample it was immediately obvious that it was all wrong ... too gray or cool or something.

I so wish this had been a totally obvious decision!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:16PM
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That is the exact MOP backsplash that I really wanted. We ended up with something different though. I know you are also in WI, do you have a tile setter yet? We are having quite a time finding one. We are in SE WI.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:43PM
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I prefer the Caesarstone without all of the flecks. That is a gorgeous back splash. Just one word of caution -- MOP is very delicate and the tiles can break easily. I have a similarly delicate onyx back splash and I have had to replace several tiles already. I recently banged a coffee cup up against the back splash and we had to replace two tiles which cracked. I've learned the hard way not to lean anything (kitchen appliances, etc) up against my back splash. So when you buy your MOP, make sure you buy some extra with the idea that you may have to replace some down the road.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Pipdog ... thank you for the tip. I will absolutely buy extra with that in mind. So glad you mentioned it!

bcafe, I have used the same tile guy for everything I've done in my house and he's great. He is about to start his own business (he's been working for a very large tile company for decades and has always done my projects as side jobs). I think you can contact me through my profile page here ... send me a note and I can send his contact information to you. I (and the tile installer) are also southeastern Wisconsin ... just north of Milwaukee.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:50PM
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I am just north of Mke as well. :) I would love the contact info, thanks!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Gorgeous backsplash and inspiration! I love the far left and middle samples in the first picture. I think the "particulates" look just fine. I'm sorry, I don't really like the Buttermilk with the tile as much: too brown, too yellow. Though I certainly understand why you like the pattern/texture. I've seen another color in a friend's bathroom and it was lovely. I tend towards contemporary and like cool colors, so it's hard to say if my taste coincides with yours.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:02PM
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I have Buttermilk. It is somewhat yellow or greige. I think it's too casual for MOP.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:40PM
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I think busy is all in the eyes of the beholder. Yours is all one color, so to me that's not busy at all.

On the other hand, I'm thinking of a green recycled glass subway backsplash from blazestone tile with a counter that is terazzo recycled glass from Glass Slab Glassrecycled.com that is white with flecks of amber and green... and I'm wondering if that's too busy!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:37PM
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I like the plain[boring] one.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:11PM
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We just had Caesarstone Nougat installed over our natural walnut cabinets, so obviously, I like your Nougat-ish counter. But I think the Buttermilk seems to be a better color match for your splash.

I really wanted to use your splash too, but my wife wasn't into it. It's just as well; it's too yellow for our setup.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 2:39AM
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Whether the Buttermilk is the right shade for your tile, it's hard to tell on the monitor, but on my monitor it looks great. But I'd pick a quiet counter like Buttermilk over the Nougat. The Nougat is too much for the backsplash.

We chose the next shade darker than Buttermilk ( Champagne Limestone) to use with our prominent backsplash. We're glad we went the quiet route with the counter.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:24AM
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I just wanted to say thank you all for weighing in. Every comment has been thoughtful and brought up excellent points. Please keep them coming. As I've let this choice percolate for the last couple of days I have realized that I think I need to keep looking for some other options as well. It's not that it won't be one of these but right now neither is obvious to me so I need to keep exploring a bit. I have about a week or possibly longer before not making this decision affects the timeline so I don't have to panic yet. I just want to make sure we get it right. Thank you again.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:54AM
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I like the terrazzo better with that gorgeous backsplash. But I'm a quilter, so I'm not afraid of mixing patterns a bit, and I'd put these in a quilt together in a heartbeat if there were some way to sew mother of pearl and quartz. I think it may be a good plan to try explore a few other options, if only to reassure yourself that one of these is really the one. That backsplash sure is a knockout -- can't wait to see your finished kitchen!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:49AM
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I'm worried about matching to the cabinets more than the backsplash.

I like the buttermilk but don't think it goes with your cabinet color. Matching whites can be hard, and I think the buttermilk will look absolutely beige next to your cloud white.

Personally, I think that if you stay in the right colors, you have room for texture (which is how I would classify the particulate), if you like it.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:20AM
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