kitchen reveal: previously help with soapstone decision thread!

juliezlatApril 7, 2014

Ok, so here is the original thread.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg010820561787.html?55

I was torn between two different soapstone slabs, plus I had lots of questions about soapstone countertops IRL.

I can honestly say I love the finished product, but it's not for the faint of heart. I have already nicked the heck out of them, including one rather large chunk on an edge that I had to sand out. Luckily, they are very busy, so they don't show up every single scratch (of which there are many). I have a little trick if the scratch is very noticeable... waxing helps a little, but doesn't always darken the scratch, due to the nature of this particular soapstone (Hubbardston from Green Mountain). I sometimes take a black magic marker and smudge it with my finger over the scratch, and it disappears. I'm trying to be zen about it, and as time passes, it seems to be working. I don't focus on the imperfections anymore, they just seem like part of it. Anyway, without further ado...





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juliezlat

I thought it might be cool to supply some "before" pictures.



    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:43PM
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malabacat_gw

Wow, your countertops and kitchen are beautiful! I love all of the veining and the large "swirl" on your island.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:56PM
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nmjen

What gorgeous countertops! The whole kitchen is lovely, and the counters are especially swoon-worthy. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:27PM
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greenhaven

Very very nice change and update! Fantastic job!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:57PM
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crl_

Love the soapstone! Beautiful kitchen. Thank you for posting your pictures.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:28PM
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mabsy

Thanks so much for the photos, juliezlat. Everything looks fabulous. I wish you could say that you found an especially hard version of soapstone, but I guess such a thing doesn't exist. It is gorgeous. I love the look more than anything else. I'm still hesitant, because I have to plan for a possible resale of our house in 5-7 years - too soon to have to replace a pricey soapstone counter and long enough so that it will really show some wear by then. I'm still not sure what to do - stuck in analysis paralysis.

I'm also interested to hear about how you like your narrow island. I have a 12.5' wide kitchen - a galley doesn't really work, because of the traffic pattern, but it's not wide enough for more than my current 24" wide island. Right now, I have my stovetop in that narrow island, which doesn't work well. I want to put a range against a wall, although that will be a tight squeeze, too, but I'm thinking that maybe if I can do that, the narrow island won't irritate me as much as it does now. It looks like you've lived with this size island even before your remodel. What are the dimensions? Are you happy with the size?

Thank you, again, for the pictures of your kitchen and beautiful soapstone counters.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:31PM
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juddgirl2

Absolutely beautiful!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:39AM
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cat_mom

Terrific!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:18AM
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scpalmetto

Oh WOW, thanks for posting those pictures. I just picked ss with a fairly large swirl like yours and was somewhat worried about what it would look like but if it is half as nice as yours I will be happy. I too am going with white shaker cabinets and the floor is heart pine.

Mabsy, I understand the ss from India, sometimes called soapstone I, is much harder than the Brazilian ss. I thought it was lovely, the slabs I saw had a lot of dark green in them but no white at all. DH preferred the white.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 6:23AM
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fishymom

Wow, what a transformation. I love the soapstone! Beautiful kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 6:40AM
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renov8r

That is a lovely new kitchen, especially your counters. Beautiful. What paint colour did you use for your cabinets?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 8:52AM
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amck2

I think your kitchen is lovely and I love the soapstone on your island. Congrats on your remodel!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:31AM
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katy-lou

Gorgeous stone and kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:27AM
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mabsy

scpalmetto - I have a sample from Dorado Soapstone called Juniper and the coloring is mostly green and black. I know that Dorado had some soapstone slabs from India, so maybe this is one of those. I need to go back there and get a little more information. This sample is so much harder and resistant to scratches than the other samples I brought home, which I could scratch with just my fingernail. I haven't been able to damage the Juniper sample. The green tones really are quite beautiful. I do like the soapstone with white swirls even more, but durability is really important to me, because I want the stone to look good 8-10 years from now when we'll probably need to sell our house to downsize. After reading discussions about soapstone here, I know that scratches can always be sanded out for a reasonable cost to return the stone to its original beauty, but I think that chips and dings along the edges would be almost impossible to repair.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:36PM
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scpalmetto

I keep remembering those old science lab tables (do they still use ss for them?) If my rowdy high school class couldn't tear them up they should withstand your family. :-)

I have been scratching and sanding my sample, you might want to try it. I watched them sand a ss counter on This Old House last week, they were using 400 grit sandpaper.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:29PM
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chiefy

beautiful! I think I want SS for my new kitchen and I love seeing it in action.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:47PM
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a2gemini

Wow- I love it!
I was also reading that Soapstone has some antimicrobial features - but not sure if this is fact.
I love the movement in the soapstone - not at all like my HS lab soapstone - but love the analogy from scpalmetto.
Gorgeous and congratulations!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:48PM
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mabsy

There's a GW thread about soapstone in which different grits of sandpaper are discussed. I don't have time to search for that discussion right now, but as I recall, some on that thread found that a lower grit, all the way down to 80, yielded better results, at least relative to wear and how much scratches showed up.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:18PM
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juliezlat

Thanks, everyone.

Mabsy, our island is 27" x 74", and I'm fine with that. Our whole kitchen and family room (back of the house) is narrow, so we do what we can with it. The clearance between the island and countertops is 30", which is also the best we could do. I needed the island for countertops space and storage, and we also have an electrical outlet on the side. I love it!

As far as hardness of ss, we were given a sample of some very green ss with no veining from one of the granite companies (I don't know why, since they didn't have any in stock). Anyway, it was so hard, compared to ours. I hit stuff against it and it didn't chip or scratch at all. Unfortunately, we looked for ss for months, and had hardly any selection to choose from. We wanted something we loved the look of, and were very fortunate to finally find our slab. We had it sanded to 80 grit, which seems to be working out great. I think the scratches show up less because of it.

Renov8r, the cabinets are Kemper, and the color is called coconut.

a2gemini, I think the reason they say ss is antimicrobial is because it isn't porous at all, so it doesn't harbor bacteria.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:37PM
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juliezlat

scpalmetto, what is the name of your ss, or where did you get it from? Do you have a picture of the slab? I haven't seen much swirly ss!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:39PM
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scpalmetto

I do have a picture but it does not show the swirly end very well. They had to move other slabs so I could see this one and the big machine was in the way so I couldn't get close enough to the other end with my phone. The far left end has large swirls of white with a pale greenish tint. I had to buy two slabs so there will two swirly sections. The owner goes to Brazil and other countries to personally pick his stone. All his other granite, etc., has names but this is just SS. I passed our fabricator's place yesterday and saw a large truck delivering stone, I need to stop by and see if my slabs are there.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:23PM
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juliezlat

That's beautiful, scpalmetto. When are you getting it installed? I'd love to see it when it's done.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:16PM
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mgmum

Very pretty!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:04PM
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romy718

I remember your original thread, trying to decide between the two slabs. Obviously, you made the right choice. Your kitchen is gorgeous. Beautiful floors & backsplash, everything looks great together! I love the pic looking into your dining area with the elevated windows. Congrats, you have a lovely home.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:19PM
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ReBe231

Your kitchen turned out beautifully. It is quite the transformation. Your soapstone is lovely.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:19AM
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juliezlat

Thanks, romy718. Nobody else has mentioned the backsplash yet..it's one of my favorite parts about the kitchen. And the window is new. So glad we did it, as it brightens up the whole room. Thanks again for your kind words!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:42AM
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wags848

juliezlat - Your kitchen is stunning! I love all your choices. I think you made the right choice with the soapstone. The unique swirl and movement add a nice touch to your kitchen. Both the soapstone and the fun backsplash give your space a "classic with a kick" look. Timeless, elegant, yet not stuffy. Simply marvelous! Great job!

FYI, I found a very wild, busy, green soapstone with lots of veining and movement; it will be installed on my island next week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will look ok!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:14PM
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juliezlat

Thank you so much, wags848! I can't wait to see your pictures!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:31PM
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mabsy

Yes, juliezlat, the backsplash is stunning, with a little touch of whimsy over the stove. Love it! What brand of subway tile did you use?

Also like the wide window over your sink. I'd like to make a small window over my sink bigger, but I don't know if I can sacrifice the upper cabinet space. I still have so many details to work out and it is taking me forever.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:36PM
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juliezlat

Thanks, mabsy. Trying to remember what the name of the subway tile is. We were going to use Florida Tile, but we found out at the last minute that it was back-ordered for several months. We got this tile from The Tile Store.

I know what you mean about details to work out. I'm so relieved that the decisions are behind us!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:35PM
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lcskaisgir

The backsplash was the first thing that caught my eye. Very pretty and unique. And your counters are GORGEOUS! Great job on the reconfiguration.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:40PM
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bicyclegirl1

That's a great transformation. Very pretty kitchen, & as others have said, the ss it gorgeous!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:44PM
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scpalmetto

I keep looking at your pictures and hoping mine comes out as nice. Just curious, did you oil or wax your stone?

Our cabinets get delivered the week of the 21st so hopefully the stone will go on the last week of this month.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 7:03AM
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feisty68

Congratulations - very successful. What beautiful finishes to enjoy for years. Thank you for sharing.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 3:31PM
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juliezlat

scpalmetto, originally I used the wax from Albarene soapstone company. It was really a workout to rub it all in, plus it was pricey, so then I found a wax/mineral oil combo (Howard butcher block conditioner) at a local hardware store and I've been using that. It's much easier to rub on and off, and though it leaves a slightly more oily residue than the other stuff, it works fine. I've been waxing/oiling more than I thought I would, but not because I absolutely have to. I find that it's therapeutic for me, and I love to watch the stone get darker and see all the little veined areas magically appear. The island is from a lighter part of the slab, and I find that it lightens up more than the side counters, which are from a darker part of the main slab and another half slab we used. I even skip waxing them sometimes because then they match the island better.

I'm sure your contertops will be beautiful. I can't wait to see them!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:40PM
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mayberry_moon

Lovely countertops and kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 1:16AM
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debrak2008

Love your backsplash and soapstone. Enjoy your new kitchen!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 7:51AM
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mlweaving_Marji

Your counters look just beautiful with your shaker cabinets and your shiney hardware. Love the contrasts. And I really like your white swirls.
My soapstone just went on my perimeter cabinets last week. It may even have come from the same distributor as scpalmetto's, as it's the one from India that has a green cast to it and is very hard. I'm going to look for the wax you're using at the local hardware store here.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 8:08AM
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Mags438

The countertops are to die for Julie! Sorry I missed this thread first time around. Everything looks so great together; I'm happy to see it. Mine is currently in the works with similar elements. I did *not* want green tinged soapstone either...and that's what I ended up with too! Hope mine comes out as nice as yours.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 3:06PM
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Mags438

The countertops are to die for Julie! Sorry I missed this thread first time around. Everything looks so great together; I'm happy to see it. Mine is currently in the works with similar elements. I did *not* want green tinged soapstone either...and that's what I ended up with too! Hope mine comes out as nice as yours.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 3:41PM
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nancyjla

Those are some gorgeous countertops (and a beautiful kitchen!). I would love to have soapstone but I AM the "faint of heart" and couldn't be as zen about the nicks. But if my kitchen looked as beautiful as yours, well I think I could embrace the nicks. Great job!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 9:41PM
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chloenkitty

Gorgeous! Congratulations! Who makes the range?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 5:22PM
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juliezlat

Thanks, chloenkitty. The range is the GE Cafe series. I love it!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 10:08PM
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AlizaRGE

Juliezlat, thanks so much for the thread and for the reveal. Your kitchen looks fantastic.

We just put in soapstone, and reading your thread was really helpful.

For anyone looking to install soapstone in the Pacific Northwest, we used Shadley's Soapstone. Kees Shadley does nothing but soapstone, and he did a fantastic job in our small kitchen. Yes, it's small, but it's a really old house, nothing is truly level, and still Kees & his family did a terrific job. I'm in love with the surface and the practicality of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shadley's Soapstone.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 9:42AM
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CTN30

Such a beautiful kitchen. Are you continuing to enjoy it?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:46AM
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