Need desperate help to match granite Ell to countertop reno!

AlexJouJouMay 10, 2013

I just bought a house and it has a granite Ell between the kitchen and living area. I love the idea of the Ell (like a breakfast bar but in a L shape) but I positively hate the granite that is installed on it. It is this really ugly black granite with what looks like teal butterflies or fish type patterns in it. There is also red and gold and it is extremely busy and I am finding it almost impossible to match with my countertop because the tile in the room doesn't match the granite. My original idea to save money was to try and use a countertop that pulled both floor tile color and granite color but I have found nothing.

The floors are a sandstone color and also very busy. So I have a very (VERY!) busy area and need a countertop to balance. To sell the house the real estate agent painted the cabinets an off white but it has all white appliances. Basically it is a disaster. I'm keeping the cabinet's although perhaps in 5-7 years I'll replace. I want to do this economically. I prefer no granite as I'm not fond of it and I see it everywhere.

I'm trying to keep this to $4K total to fix in every way.

I need ideas for cabinet paint colors and countertop and wall paint that might help me pull together. My only other choice is to go with installing granite (or something else like laminate) on the Ell and on the countertops that match. Possible. But I hate to remove granite if I don't have too no matter how ugly it is.

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Here is another pic

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:21PM
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This is the floor and cabinet color.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:23PM
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And the last one of the granite.

From far away it is nice, up close I can admire the pattern and colors - but not in a kitchen that is primarily brown and rust colored. It just doesn't go together. I think I'd love the granite in a bath perhaps.

It would be expensive to replace the tile I'm thinking (on the floor) and I can't do a floating above it because there is an old kickstart heater under the sink which I cannot mess with (without major permitting as it is the only heat source in the room and that's a HOA requirement).

I thought about trying to pull in the teal but my living room is blue and chocolate doesn't really go and the area flows as it is pretty open.

Thoughts? Ideas? Decorating guru's?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Looks like a dark green granite called verde butterfly. I actually like that much better than the floor! Either way they don't coordinate. You mention tile and countertops are you referring to the breakfast bar and floor you showed or is there other tile and countertop colors in the kitchen? Where's the brown and rust you're referring to?

Helps more to see pictures of the space rather than the extreme close ups. Can you show us what else you're working with?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:00PM
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Here are some more pics that might help.

The counters are currently formica from what looks like 1970's (?). I'm not sure. They can be kept but they don't match the granite either.

I was looking at the IKEA Numerar countertop in the turquoise and black/brown and then considering painting walls and cabinets.

The thing is the tile and the granite are just too busy to co exist. I'm getting an estimate to remove the tile this weekend. I had allocated $10K for new hardwoods but the night I closed I went in (all excited!) and found that there was a soft wall between bathtub and vanity (very narrow area that got missed) and that has sparked a $6K bathroom fix all told (in wall plumbing, tub/shower surround, remove toilet and fix, etc)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:18PM
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Another pic

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:19PM
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    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:20PM
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From dining/living to kitchen

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:22PM
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(this is before I bought it so it is all the previous owners stuff..not my golf club LOL)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Looking into downstairs bath which has one continuous tile.

Am considering removing tile and putting the laminate I'm using in the rest of the house in. I am not a fan of laminate in the kitchen but right now I need to do the best I can with the money I have. I had to say goodbye to the beautiful hardwood.

My main thing is matching. Not cost. It just has to match. If it is all inexpensive but it coordinates I'm good. I'm open to anything.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:25PM
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You are right about the two countertops not coordinating with each other. I also agree that the countertops don't look the greatest with the floor.
If it were my house, I would keep the floors and change out the countertops. I am sure you could find a plain or less busy laminate that would be budget friendly and do both the breakfast bar and kitchen countertops the same. You could most likely reuse your sink.
Maybe some day in the future you could get the hardwood floors that you want.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:35AM
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I like the granite - I'd swap out the floor and the laminate and match the granite.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:03AM
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Congrats on your new house! Since your long range plan is to remodel your kitchen, I'd try to avoid any costly work and instead save towards getting what you want. When you do remodel your kitchen you may well decide to change your footprint so changing the flooring now does not make sense as then there is possibility it won't work with your new layout so I'd leave the tile as is and replace the countertops and granite to an inexpensive laminate. It will give you the more cohesive, less busy look that you like until you are in a financial situation to remodel your kitchen and won't break the bank.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:41AM
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Also I did talk to someone who will work with me on the IKEA Numerar Wood countertops but I'm not sure how they would go in here either.

I did find another granite that I really like called Labrador Antique which has a blue in it that would work for my living room. The Ell is about 15 square feet total. It just doesn't go with the tile.

Perhaps a dark grey or black tile and I just bite the bullet. The tile is new. They were going for neutral colors -- but it is not to my taste (and I have it upstairs in the bath as well..but due to the plumbing issues it will have to be replaced anyway so now is my chance to remove it). I don't know the cost of hiring someone to remove tile. I know tiling is expensive.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 6:37AM
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I'm having another contractor come out today to measure and estimate for possible tile change. While I think the countertop change would primarily be the cost of the materials and some labor but not too intensive he says he could do either.

If I did keep the granite and change the tile do you think just a matte black plain tile would work? That's what I want to put upstairs. Nothing fancy.

Alternatively any ideas on laminate countertop designs/colors that would match that floor but not be too busy?

I'm attaching a pic of the IKEA Numerar teal/black-brown countertops. This is very cheap laminate but I'm wondering if I put that in, and either carry the laminate through the kitchen OR put black matte tile in there if it would work with the granite. The color is not quite the same but could complement I think since the granite is really more teal than green. I could change the cabinets to white (they are off white now..alabaster color) and perhaps even pain the lower cabs a teal color that matched and the uppers leave white? I think it would have a retro look. I really like color (which is probably why I'm struggling with this as I currently rent a place that has very nice black granite, beautiful (but plain) wood cabinets, and a very neutral light floor that is not busy at all.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 6:50AM
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The secret to less expense in remodels is DIY. The tile floor is easily removable, DIY. The kitchen is easily painted, DIY. New tile can be put down inexpensively, DIY.

If you don't have skills yet, then wait until you do have some skills. Tackle small projects first. Unless you have a lot of funds that you are happy to hand over to other people, you can stretch those funds much much further to just have some patience and attend some tile classes at a local box store and buy a wet saw.

You're a homeowner now. There is no one else to call to fix something. It's all on you. Start your tool collection NOW!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:28AM
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Thanks for the additional photos. You keep saying "tile" and I don't see any tile other than the floor. is that what you're referring to or are you referring to the laminate countertop as tile?

The kitchen needs a lot of work, including the ceiling and it sounds like you know all that. Honestly, IMO the breakfast bar is it's best feature! I'd probably rather live with it and save some money before putting in anything pricey just to match something I didn't like anyway.

You said the floor is not your taste. If you're adding laminate everywhere else put it in the kitchen and bath too. That and changing the wall color gets rid of most of those flesh tones. I'm not a DIYer with lots of tools, but I have busted out tile flooring before so you could save some $ by doing that demo if you want.
The black laminate looks nice, and would go with the granite, but if you're picking that color for counters only because it matches the granite, demo the granite too, make it all the same in a color you want. Don't think redoing the bar in laminate would add much to the cost.
Repaint the cabs, replace the sink if needed and possibly new hardware, but just getting rid of the floor and countertops will make a huge difference.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Thank you all for the advice!

I am getting estimates to do some of the work. I could remove the tile myself which would be a good option. I got a measure today to have laminate put in the whole first floor except the bathroom (that will be tile) so that was great advice.

I did buy the IKEA countertop - I think it will work great and the only issue is that I have a "L" shaped kitchen and the laminate is two slabs that cannot be diagonally put in easily to match. That means I have the counter but up against the other but I'm o.k. with that to make the match. The IKEA counter above in the teal perfectly matches the Verde Butterfly.

The GC that is doing my estimate today said he may be able to find me another piece of verde butterfly to match the breakfast bar as the amount I need is really low 25 sq ft or so and he just had some customer who bought it and didn't want it and I might be able to make a deal on it.

Now just to wait for the final cost pieces and whether or not he can find the verde piece he thinks he might be able too.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Sounds like a plan. Making sure I understand, if he finds more verde butterfly at a good $ you'll use that for all your counters and return the Ikea black laminate?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:19PM
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I'm back with another question. Island than you for your advice - I took it and now the laminate is in and it looks great!

I ended up replacing all the cabinets as, when the countertop was removed, the cabinets fell apart on the bottom which threw me into a whole "must meet new electrical code" due to needing to replace them. So I bit the bullet and now have new cabinets (brown/black Gnosjo Ikea on the bottom, White Harlig on the top for a two tone look).

I thought I'd be done in May with this but here it is July and we are not yet done. I hope finally to move this week.

Tomorrow I should be able to take a look at the verde butterfly granite he found to see if it is a match. If it is we'll go with it. If not then I think laminate.

I don't know if anyone has experience trying to match granite. Since the verde butterfly is such a distinctive granite and varies so much I am hopeful the piece he found will match.

I'm very picky about matching - so I'm worried about this. Anyone have experience trying to match granite?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:19PM
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