more countertop/backsplash conundrums- mixing quartz w/ marble bs

illinigirlMarch 15, 2014

We'd really like to use honed calacatta gold subway tiles for backsplash and a dark quartz or granite for the perimeter with white painted cabinets.

For the island the cabinetry will be a cherry stained brown and we wanted a light colored countertop. My husband loves the LG Viatera brand Minuet color- which is along the lines of Silestone Lagoon, Torquay, etc. here is what it looks like on the website:


here is an example of the calacatta backsplash, of course it could vary because it is natural stone.


my question is can this type of quartz work in the same space as a real marble backsplash because they will not be right next to each other? We are not really trying to imitate marble on our island, it's just a quartz pattern that we both like.

I was hoping it will still look good together because the island is separated visually from the backsplash across the aisles. What do you think?

If it won't work I'm considering something more solid on the island like Ceasarstone Organic White (Color Quartz brand called Fiji White but almost identical in color).

What do you think please?

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The pattern of the Minuet is open enough that it doesn't look like it would be too busy for the Calacatta. My only advice would be to wait until your cabinets & countertops are installed before you buy the Calacatta tiles. I had matched some marble tiles to my countertops in the stone yard. It looked like a perfect match. Once everything was in my home, the backsplash tile looked dingy in my lighting. Luckily, they were on hold & not purchased.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 7:49PM
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Thank you for your reply and advice Romy. I hope the tiles don't look dingy! I think choosing the right white for the cabinets will help too. I will have to take some samples of the BS to the house to see how they look in the lighting.

The only other thing is that the BS has a lot of gold in the veining- which is exactly what I love about Calacatta Gold.....but the counters do not have any gold- they pick up the greyer tones of the BS tiles. Is this going to be ok?

I really have my heart set on this BS- we are definitely trying to design *around* the BS. Some may say this is a mistake, but I have not found a single countertop of any material that makes my heart sing like the BS does. Of course a matching marble countertop would be stunning- but I do not have the personality to handle the living surface on a busy island area (I'm totally fine with a few etches on the BS though because of it's vertical surface out of the light I feel like they just won't be as visible).

So the island countertop has been giving us fits to find a material that is large enough in slab size (10 x 5 feet) and works color wise with the Calacatta Gold BS.

The other option would be to do same black/dark material that's going to be on the perimeter, but that's a lot of black counter and I don't want the light airy feel of the room to get sucked away.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:19AM
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I like the backsplash tile *and* the quartz counters, but not sure I would do them together. I'm fine with a marble-look quartz, but they are nicer without the real thing highlighting the fact that quartz isn't.

Also, if you have one stone for the perimeter and another for the island and another for the b/s, maybe that's one stone too many?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Illini Girl, in the pics it looks okay, but have you put the counter quartz in the same space as the marble tiles? I tend to think they're too close to work in actuality. It's a texture issue.
I agree with your premise though, if you love the backsplash, then choose your counters around it. Look how many kitchens there are on the kitchen forum that are ABB!
If it were me, I'd take the marble tiles to the counter selections fabricator place, look at the largest piece of quartz you can - hopefully bigger than those 2x2 samples, and see if it works IRL.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:40AM
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Have you seen a slab of the quartz for your island? I thought the similar Silestone color was perfect for a bathroom project when I saw a sample, but someone suggested I go look at it installed in a local building supply store. I was surprised by how the pattern read installed. It was busier than I thought and kind of....wormy. It wasn't the LG Viatera, but since the pattern is similar I thought I'd mention it.

Your backsplash is beautiful! If it will make you happy every time you look at it, why not design around it--there are no doubt good options to go with it, so it's not a big limitation for something that will make you smile.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 1:54PM
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One thing to keep in mind is see how your perimeter counters look with the island and the BS. They should all work together. I recall you were looking at a dark granite or quartz for the perimeter.

I combined quartz and marble but made sure the colors were contrasting. I also kept the same island material because I had a lot of material contrast already (white perimeter, dark island, marble bs and raised ledge. quartz perimeter). With enough distance, I think you can combine similar toned bs and islands, but you should make sure your perimeters are non patterned.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 2:56PM
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thanks! yes, I will follow all of your advice. I'm planning on getting to the fabricator soon to look at larger slabs.

Definitely the perimeter is going to have no movement. We like Cambrian Black or similar for that. I'd be ok with a grey or bronze-y color but those have been vetoed by my husband. He is pretty set on black for perimeter, which I have seen work well with the Calacatta Backsplash. On houzz, most people with the Calacatta Backsplash but Calacatta on the island too.....and as I've said, that's not going to work for us.

I'd be perfectly happy with an almost white choice like Fiji White/Organic White which is mostly white with some very slight grey-white toned mottling.

Standing outside of the room then there would be white island counters that flow against the white backgrounded backsplash and white perimeter cabinets, dark perimeter counter for contrast, and island cabinetry that will flow into the same tone as floors. Does that sound like too choppy and contrast-y?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 3:10PM
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here's a kitchen with similar idea to mine, however instead of Calacatta she went with carrara bs and misty carrara quartz. My floors will offer less contrast to the island than this photo

Traditional Kitchen by Hinsdale Kitchen & Bath Remodelers Normandy Remodeling

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:01PM
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Personally, I would only have one difference between the island and perimeter. If the cabinets are going to be different colors, then I would tie them together with the same countertops. I think having white cabs perimeter with dark counters, then cherry island cabs with light counter will be too much going on. But that is my take.

Are there pictures of kitchens where they have different color cabs and counters and it works? The picture that you posted the countertops may be different from each other, I can't tell for sure, but the contrast is low. You are talking about black and white- very high contrast. And white and cherry- also high contrast.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:11PM
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This is where the problem is. You are putting a different finish and color, all different materials, on each component.

White painted cabinets
Brown stained cherry island

Gold & white marble backsplash
Black granite main counter
White (& gray squiggles?) manmade Quartz island

Wood floor species and tone?


Mix of metals?

Matching light fixtures or unique?

You need to choose among the materials you like, not try to incorporate them all in one space.

I guess you don't want calacatta gold on the island? You might include some golden tones in the island stain to pick up on the gold in the stone.

Can you really take the red out of cherry? It enriches over time.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 19:31

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 7:14PM
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ok fair enough Snookums, Do you have any ideas for me? I guess we have reasons we chose some of the elements for practical purposes- mainly the stained island. I felt that the busiest (dirtiest) space might benefit from stained cabinetry over the white painted. My cabinet maker showed some stained door samples that had the red stained out. They were not new samples so I think it will stay that way over time. We are aiming for a walnut brown. Our floors will be either walnut or maple stained the same color as walnut. So the island cabinetry will flow into the floor (not identical since there is some variation in the floor, but we'll pick up on one of the exact tones of the floor)

I guess I was seeing it somewhat differently.....white cabinets, white in backsplash, white in counters. We aren't set on the Minuet color quartz with the squiggles. That's fine. but I don't want black throughout on the counters either.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 7:42PM
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Hmm. I actually like the general idea of an island in a different finish and with a different countertop from the perimeter. The effect is as if the island is a stand alone piece of furniture.

Sorry I have no opinion on the quartz and marble tile mix. That's the kind of thing I can't really visualize without seeing the materials in person.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 7:47PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Dark island with dark floor and dark counters is a lot of dark. I would do a much lighter wood island. Barely stained cherry so you can see it's pretty grain. Light enough to be able to carry off the black counters with some contrast. Then your backsplash material won't clash with anything and the cherry tones in the stone will work with the tones of the island.

And address the extra lighting that the space will need. You need to be sure that our recessed lighting shines directly down the front of your wall cabinets and onto the counters, and you need a second row to light the walkways.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:13PM
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Thanks Holly,
What would you recommend for the island countertop (open to anything but marble).

I am up for a lighter stained island for sure.

I think our lighting will be good. We have can lights like you recommended washing down the cabinets, we have in cabinet lighting and undercabinet lighting, and I have 3 14" pendants each with two bulbs that will light the island and that side of the kitchen. Open to the kitchen we have *tons* of windows for light.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:36PM
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I think carrying CG across to the island would be pretty, with maybe a gold color painted island (which could be mid to darker toned to hide dirt), but it sounds like you don't want to deal with marble? Is there a fairly solid white honed stone that could pick up on what looks like a honed backsplash? To repeat the white and feel of the marble. Although that could wind up being more delicate than you want too.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 20:53

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:42PM
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Yes snookums I like that idea. That was my original thought to carry the white into the country top...... how much white and what kind of pattern is what is troubling me. I definitely think we need to stay quiet on the island which is what led me to quartz in the first place.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 9:21PM
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The pattern is a problem, imo. And adding a manmade material is a whole other feel. Especially their patterns, to be mixing with natural stone.

You also need to address and balance the dark finishes and heaviness they bring. Dying a dark island into the floor I would be concerned about.

How big is the kitchen?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:55PM
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I haven't chosen the island stain yet so I have leeway to adjust that lighter. The walnut floors we favor are not overly dark. Not anywhere close to espresso or ebony.

I've been searching our local stone yards and I never see anything nice like here on GW or houzz- all those pretty light/white granites are just not available locally. the only one I have seen is Taj Mahal quartzite but they are backordered and likely out of our price range anyways.

My kitchen is fairly large, part of a 'great room'. The kitchen is 21x15- open on the long side to the family room and the shorter side to the dining area. An L shape with a long island. White cabinets floor to ceiling. The range wall is behind the long island, and the fridge is on the shorter wall.

This post was edited by illinigirl on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 6:42

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 6:32AM
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so, what did you finally do?
My upper cabinets are antique white, my lower perimeter cabinets are cherry with a walnut stain.
My center island is SW seasalt that is a pale misty green.
The island will have a black walnut countertop and the perimeter will have Viatera Minuet and I plan to do 3x6 Calacatta gold tiles for a backsplash.
I liked the Calacatta because it was creamier and went nicer with antique white. Our kitchen also has golds and greens.
The kitchen color of the wall are similar to this kitchen shown above. Although we have an off white tile floor

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:41AM
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Fwiw, I just mixed faux-marble quartz (Lagoon) with a Carrera backsplash and at least in it's pre-grouted state, I'm really happy. It was hard for me to find a backsplash that worked well with the grey-ish tones of the Lagoon, mostly because my cabinets are painted taupe. Anything that "matched" the cabinets seemed too brownish for the counters. The Carrera blends the two perfectly. I think it also works because I wound up using a very small-scale herringbone pattern, so the patterns in the marble tiles are less pronounced.

Fwiw, I don't see the calacutta tiles that the OP posted working with a greyish quartz that's similar to Lagoon, and I'd also be concerned about pattern overload with a subway tile. But having worried about the fake-next-to-real problem, I wanted to at least add my experience that it can be done. One of the prettiest kitchens on here, done by a pro, is GW user @kompy, who used a different marble subway with Lagoon counters, and it looks stunning.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 3:40PM
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I've written this line 1000 times, and I stand by it: Nothing makes faux marble look faux-er than placing it next to the real thing. It's a bad idea, but if it looks ok to you, go for it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 6:49PM
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@EAM44, I respect your presumptive expertise, at least when it comes to posting pictures of great tiles. But I disagree with your pronouncement that real-next-to-faux is automatically a faux pas.

Despite my description, I don't view Lagoon or some of the other quartzes as "faux-marble" in any real sense of the phrase, since they don't remotely resemble marble. Lagoon is simply a very pale grey quartz with just enough movement to avoid being totally uniform. Take a look - no one would walk into my home and mistake it for marble. I suspect the same can be said of some of the other quartzes with marblesque qualities.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:21PM
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Very pretty smalloldhouse. Is this the first pic you've posted of your backsplash? Love it & the Lagoon with the thick mitered edge.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:35PM
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There are exceptions to every rule. If it looks good to you, go for it.

This post was edited by EAM44 on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 9:11

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:51AM
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I actually have a 4x4 piece of the Lagoon, it does have a grey tone to it. Even though I liked it, I realized it wasn't the right counter match, so it was why I switched to Viatera Minuet that is more creamy white with soft grey and some tan/gold swirls.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:36AM
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Here's a picture of mine. Darker quartz with some movement (Silestone Raven) with Carrera marble backsplash tiles. I think it looks great. The darker quartz doesn't try to imitate anything. It looks like a clean solid surface, and the marble brings a natural element which would be missing if I used glass tile instead.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:58PM
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very nice Sonny and Dollhouse :)

Dollhouse, is that a GE Cafe double oven I see? specifically model# CGS990SETSS :) we are about to make that purchase

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 11:44AM
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illinigirl, are you still around? Is there an update you can share? Thanks, from a marble lover...

    Bookmark   January 12, 2015 at 5:18PM
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