My brain is fried. Please help with granite and BS!!!

ShedTheChrysalisJune 15, 2012

Hi Everybody! I discovered this forum a few months ago when we bought our house and I've been more of a lurker - admiring everybody's kitchens and drooling over other member's swirly, veiny granite. Unfortunately, our kitchen is not in that category but I could really use some help! See...we had not planned this remodel. It turns out the previous owners tiled up to the cabinets, but not underneath. When the dishwasher leaked, it flooded that untiled area and rotted the cabinets. They were builder's grade anyway, but after 6k in unexpected roof repairs, we hadn't planned on remodeling for some time. Anyhow...we ended up gutting the kitchen, but following the same footprint. It's a galley and small, so there wasn't too much of an option. We finished the tiling and we got a good deal (so we think) on new Kraftsmaid cabinets (plywood boxes, maple, soft close drawers and doors, free paint upgrade, free hardware, free crown molding, free sink base, 42" uppers), for around 3k. We did chose a cheap door but it actually worked out pretty nicely. We bought and paid for granite, but they haven't templated yet so we can change it. Our kitchen is the Wickstrom square door panel and the top cabinets are canvas colored while the bottoms are onyx. Most of our furniture is Oriental rosewood, so this seemed to match. The appliances are all SS and we have a SS apron sink. The faucet will be a Satin nickel Kohler Bellera and all door hardware in the house is satin nickel Schlage Accent - very swirly and girly (ha ha). Our wall color is Valspar's April thicket. The granite we chose is called New Caledonia. It's 3cm and the fabricator gave us a free bullnose - normally they charge. We've decided to only use granite for the countertop and bar top and not get the 6" BS they tried to talk us into. I'm also second guessing the bullnose because the BS and bullnose (no offense to anybody who has this) sort of remind me of pre-fab stuff or laminate. So my question is: Which granite would you use and what edge would you use? We can't really spend more on the granite, so no fancy edges and the granite has to be one of the cheaper ones as well. Also, which BS would you use? I posted a pic of the kitchen now and I am so stresed out over this 4 month nightmare that any help I get would be totally appreciated. Although we have become expert pizza BBQers...I just can't wait for this to end :( Thanks so much! Sabrina

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That's shaping up to be a very pretty kitchen. I love the paint color. You have good taste; you can trust yourself.

My counters have an "eased" edge which is a square edge with rounded corners. Very simple and clean, pretty much standard (i.e. free) for many fabricators. I like it because when you brush things off, they fall right down into your hand (or on the floor, whatever.) Isn't bullnose the one that people say is harder to sweep off because the edge isn't defined? I would think ogee would have that problem, too. I'm going on memory here, not experience. Being lazy, I was all about ease of cleaning.

A simple eased edge would look nice with the clean lines of your cabs.

You are smart not to get the 6" BS. You'll have an easier time choosing a BS if you don't have the granite part way up.

I think New Caledonia would look very nice. In my small galley,I was afraid to get too busy or dramatic a granite because I thought it would overwhelm me at close quarters. New Caledonia is not too much for your space.

Have you seen River White? It's pretty with soft streaks of gray. I don't think it's very expensive. There are some finished kitchens on this site with River White. Are you able to go around and look at slabs at a lot of places, or do you have to choose from samples?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:46PM
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There's a thread from a few years ago where I ran into a similar problem doing a budget renovation on an 80's kitchen. Coincidentally, we also wound up using New Caledonia granite, and we're really happy with it.

We wound up leaving almost all of the almond tile in was just more than we could afford at the time to replace it. We used a 4" backsplash through most of the counter area, except for where it passed behind our stove...there, we filled in the odd-sized gap with some small random mosaic tiles.

We had some issues where the original tile walls were not absolutely flat or level, so we wound up with gaps above the back splash. We used some black shoe molding above the backs plash to fill the gaps.

If I had it to do over again, I probably would have bitten the bullet and torn out all of the old tile work.

Ironically, the dishwasher that we tried to save as part of this reno failed last month...that triggered a renovation of the bathroom that sits under the kitchen, since we had to tear down the ceilings to run the new plumbing.

I've attached the link to my original thread, which contains photos of the finished kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Renovating an 80's Kitchen on a Budget

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Hi Ginny!! Thanks so much for your compliment! I think an eased edge was free, if I remember correctly. I'm going to look into that and a bezel edge. The bullnose is the one that seems to have the drip issues, you have a good point there. I wish that I could see the whole slab but the fabricator orders them from a yard in San Francisco and I'm not sure I want to make the 2 hour drive and I don't want to look at any local yards because I'm sure I'd fall in love with something swirly and that would not be good!! lol. I wish that the home inspector we hired had been able to see just how bad the cabinets were when we bought the house but it is what it is, right? I'm going to google river white - it sounds pretty. The cabinet installer brought over a a sample piece of granite to use for height when he installed the sink. I think it was called blanco Lebanon?? Something like that. The fabricator told me they don't import it anymore so that bummed me out. What would you suggest for the backsplash if we went with new caledonia? Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Finally found a photo of New Caledonia:

I think that will look good with your cabinet colors! New Caledonia seems to come in a range of dark to light ratios, but in your kitchen any color in the range will be fine. A lot of people like the bullnose, but I'm not a big fan. I think the simple eased edge would be a better choice with your sleek cabinetry.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:25PM
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Chrysalis-So sorry about your unintended reno, but at the same time congratulations on your new kitchen!

Another vote for an eased edge. We have eased on our perimeter counters and ogee on the island. The eased just has a nice clean look and as already mentioned, clean up is a breeze. The bull nose edges we have seen in our area look very oversized and clunky to me. I would definitely want to see that fabricator's bullnose sample before giving it the nod.

The New Caledonia would look very nice in your kitchen, however I worry about the color and pattern looking a little on the cold side. River White or even it's cousin Kashmir White might soften it up a bit while keeping the counters in the grey-white color range. The Kashmir white is typically a pretty uniform pattern, but you can find it with some movement too. The KW in our laundry is pretty uniform while the one in our master bath has grey swirls moving through it. We have River White on our island and I absolutely love it. The grey swirly movement in it is subtle--like a slow moving current in a river. Strange as it may sound, just looking at the RW on my island relaxes me.

As far as going to the stone yards, that is a definite must. Even if you go with the NC, which is typically very uniform, you need to go approve the slab. Granite is a natural stone and as such can have great variations and areas of pattern that may be undesirable to you. Granite is not an inexpensive option, so you really need to make sure you've seen what will be installed before any fabrication takes place. Additionally, if you do opt for a slab with movement & swirls, you definitely should go for the templating to ensure the fabricators don't decide to cut the sink out of the "pretty part" of the slab.

I don't know your actual dimensions, but it doesn't look like you have much countertop. That may open up a whole other world of possibilities for you as far as price point. Many yards have some larger remnants that you may be able to use. You can get some really awesome deals with the remnants as many are priced at Level 1 even though they're priced at a Level 2-5 for a whole slab.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:39PM
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I would forego the bullnose, also, and go with the eased, square edge, but I like simple and square, so fancier edges don't appeal to me.

The colors of the granite you chose does go with the cabinet colors. The smallish scale, all-over speckly pattern of it isn't my favorite. You seem to be having 2nd thoughts, but haven't said why...? Is it because you were drooling over swirly and veiny and this isn't it? I am not a granite expert, so can't give you specific names right off, but think you could probably find something that meets that wish better.

I could see light with streaks and swirls of gray or black, but I could also see a dark gray or blackish counter with or without veins or variation. I'd say soapstone could be nice, but a lot of it leans too green. I'd stay with granites that resemble soapstone, like Jet mist, or leathered/antiqued black, or basaltina? I have no ideas about price ranges, though.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:40PM
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Here's a photo of New Caledonia as it looks installed.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:42PM
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OMG - thespudhunter - your story sounds much worse than ours. Isn't it terrible how these projects just spiral into a black hole? They're just never ending! Yikes. Good luck with your bathroom remodel.

Coincidently, since dishwashers seem to be the cause of a lot of problems, we did find a dishwasher pan that slides under the dishwasher and if any water leaks, the pan directs it out where you can see it. It was only $25 too. I think I can post a link to the site if anybody wants it. I know we don't want to go through this again anytime soon..

Also... I meant kraftmaid, not kraftsmaid and bevel not bezel. I have no idea why I keep mixing those 2 up. The eased edge is growing on me. I'm going to find a place to see it in person this weekend.

I'm glad you guys seem to like the new caledonia. That's reassuring! I looked up river white and it's gorgeous but I'm guessing not a cheaper granite. I'll ask our kd though. Thanks guys. :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:49PM
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The hesitation with new caledonia is that it sometimes looks almost like a cooler color to me and I'm not sure if it would match since the cabinets are on the warm or neutral side. Up close, the sample piece was really pretty and has sparkle in it. From far away, it looks..well...gray. If budget wasn't an option, I've seen granite that I love - and yes, they are the fancy swirly ones, but alas....budget is a big factor so I have to dream on. Have you seen delicatus? OMG!!! So beautiful!! lol That picture I posted doesn't show much counter space but the other side has a little over a 10 foot run, so with all of the counters and the bar top, we have 37 sq feet. Not alot, but it's a lot with granite costing what it does. (I posted a pic of the other side, too) Our fabricator told us we could look at the slab before they cut it, but we have to order it first. If we just want to look at slabs at their yard, we have to drive to San Fran. River white reminded me of water, too, mydreamhome. I'll bet your kitchen is gorgeous with those counters! I grew up in a coastal town, so I love the beach/water and anything that reminds me of it. I have a lot of oriental furniture most with MOP inlay, and a long dramatic capiz chandelier just begging to be hard wired into our entry, so the swirlier the better in my book. :)

I do think that you guys have the right idea about switching up the edge though...the more I think about full bullnose and the more I see it everywhere, the less I think I want it. I know that it doesn't chip as easily as the squared edges and it is more comfortable to lean on,'s just everywhere..

My hubby and I have been without a kitchen now for 4 months, so he doesn't care at this point. He said if I can't decide, he'll just put plywood on the tops and use that. yikes. So...I have to make up my mind in the next 2 weeks - before they are scheduled to template before the hubby goes through with his plan. I really appreciate all of the suggestions guys...Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Follow your instincts on the edge. If you're looking around and not liking it, trust yourself. My favorite edge is the eased edge. It's clean and simple, up to date, and allows the beauty of the material to take center stage. I don't think it's very expensive because it is fairly simple. (Personally, I also do not like bullnose very much for similar reasons to what you have stated. I don't hate it, but it's not my favorite.)

The choices you've made in your kitchen so far look lovely. Swirly granites are beautiful, but so are speckly sparkly ones! I also wouldn't be worried about the combination of cool and warm tones. I find kitchens that employee only one or the other can sometimes come out looking a little flat/one-dimensional so if you're seeing a little contrast, that's probably a good thing.

Keep trusting your instincts. You're going to have a really lovely kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 2:25PM
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I'm afraid I'm not that good at BS. I wimped out and just used the granite all the way up, but that's not the budget option. Many people recommend waiting until the granite is in so you can hold up tile samples to see what you like. You can also paint with a good washable paint, the least expensive option of all. Have you looked at the Finished Kitchens Blog for BS ideas?

Don't be so fast to stop your DH! There are people who can't decide, so they put plywood on the counters until they can decide. I don't know how they handle the sink...

It would be worth it to make one road trip to look at granite. Really. I did, even though I had plenty to choose from here in town. I put DD in the car after school and drove 100 miles to look at a specific slab of granite after they sent me an email picture of the slab(can your fabricator get you pictures? most yards do this). I didn't like it in person. And I'm not the most TKO person on this forum. I think you should do it. You may find something else in your price range that you didn't think of, and you really don't want a bad surprise if the slab you order isn't at all what you expected.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Take a deep breath and make one decision at a time. decide on your counter top and worry about the back splash later. There will be a lot of options. I went with quartz rather than worry about differences in slabs.

Fried brain is only temporary but, I can assure you, it is quite common. Or at least that is what I am telling myself. I had to do the whole thing suddenly in a short amount of time and just winding things up. Signed the contract for the quartz countertop today. Almost sure of a floor decision. And a fairly good idea of the back splash. I think that is it for decisions. I hope.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:29PM
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Take a deep breath and make one decision at a time. decide on your counter top and worry about the back splash later. There will be a lot of options. I went with quartz rather than worry about differences in slabs.

Fried brain is only temporary but, I can assure you, it is quite common. Or at least that is what I am telling myself. I had to do the whole thing suddenly in a short amount of time and just winding things up. Signed the contract for the quartz countertop today. Almost sure of a floor decision. And a fairly good idea of the back splash. I think that is it for decisions. I hope.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:30PM
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I think the New Caledonia would look great in your kitchen with an eased edge/squared type finish.

There are so many backsplashes that would look great with that granite, just get the granite in first and then think about what you want. There isn't a huge hurry to get the BS installed! :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:40PM
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You guys are awesome!! I talked to our kd today and we're going to see her in the morning. She's going to let us take a bunch of 12x12 samples home so that will definitely help. She also has another supplier that she can work with and this one has the color that I really liked - blanco leblon.

The hubby and i talked and we're not going with bullnose. It's a pretty edge, but maybe not for us :)

Thank you all again for your suggestions, links, pictures, and words of encouragement!! I'll hopefully have an answer tomorrow!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:31PM
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blanco leblon would go really well with the blue you have in the background in your house!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:55PM
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I ended up going with an eased edge and am very happy with it. I agree with everyone else that you have good instincts and what you've done so far looks great. My one suggestion would be to make sure that you have enough overhang with your new counter. Don't skimp on the edge.

I was thinking about 1/2 bullnose, book edge ... my brain was in overdrive. Now I'm so glad that I did a simple, soft, slightly eased edge and NO granite backsplash. Eventually I'll have a simple subway tile backsplash.

Good luck - it's so easy to become consumed by every decision - just allow yourself time to breath and enjoy the ride!

HA HA - I finally ordered my handles today - do I love them? Maybe - but most of all, I just wanted it done!! Summer is here. It's time for the beach, hiking, gardening, and eating in a finished kitchen - no more Home Depot or Lowes... at least till the next project!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:31PM
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I have a 5/8" bevel edge on my kitchen counters and LOVE it. I also have the same edge in the laundry room and crescent edge in the bathrooms. I also like the crescent a lot - but of the two, I'd do the bevel again if I could only do one. From our fabricator, up to 5/8" bevel was free (that's a little over half an inch, I think many are free up to 1/4" or 1/2"). It is simple lines and cleans up like a breeze.

Like others, I strongly encourage you to go look at the slabs and, if possible, go to more than one yard. Ask the Sales Manager if they have any "clearance" granite or "single slabs" as those often can save you hundreds (or, on pricer granites, thousands). I seriously can't recall how many sq. ft. we had in our kitchen so I don't know if 37 s/f could be handled with one slab or if you must get two. If just one (even if a larger slab), you would be wise to ask about "single slabs". My cousin works for a granite supplier and the first time I bought granite 17 years ago, she's the one that told me about "single slabs".

Slabs are numbered consecutively down the side when they're cut. So, if you have 10 slabs that come from one big chunk, hypothetically you would have a slab that ended with 01, 02, 03, etc. to 10. Slab 02 would better "match" or "mirror" slabs 01 and 03 than it would 08 or 10. If Customer A buys slabs 01, 02 and 03 and Customer B buys slabs 05 and 06, then 04 becomes a "single slab". It doesn't have another sister slab that was cut from either side of it. Those slabs are often a lot cheaper and just as terrific.

Also, they could have a big slab with one ugly blotch in the middle or something that causes people not to buy it. My folks got a full slab of Baltic Brown granite for $255 (you read that right) because it was a "single slab" with one dark black blotch about the size of a 50 cent piece. My mom loves that blotch - says it has "character". She could very easily have had them fabricate around it. That slab was enough to do her kitchen and a bathroom vanity.

A lot of people don't know to ask for clearance or single slabs, but it can save you a ton. I remember seeing 8 slabs of some kind of "thunder" something or other granite that was a beautiful dark gray with black and white waves that was originally over $33 a sq ft marked down to $6 a sq ft. They weren't going to carry that one any more, so they wanted to unload it. It didn't go with my granite plans, but if I had owned a rental property it would have been installed there!

Your kitchen is going to be awesome - have fun picking "the one" piece of granite. Make it a fun trip - drive two hours, look at slabs, ask for a deal, then go have lunch before heading home.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:56AM
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Each slab is about 50-60 sq feet, so 37 should easily be done with 1 slab unless there are weird seams in the space.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:41AM
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Flynn- what is your countertop? I like the color.

Chrysalis- well done.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Hi Everybody!! You've all had such positive feedback! We talked to our kd at Lowes today and she told us that we can actually view the slabs. Unfortunately, Sensa doesn't have the Blanco Leblon anymore so we'd have to get it through another supplier, Arizona Tile. I already have the sink set for a flush mount with a 3 cm countertop, so hopefully we can get it from Arizona with the same price as Sensa. We shopped around a bit and found slabs super cheap - $200.00 or so for mid grade granite. The cost is in the fabrication and that's what gets us. Lowes actually came in with a good price plus they let us use a 10% off coupon. If we would have planned this remodel, we might have had more time to really hammer out the details. Soooo... Here's the other dilemma. I found another granite. In the poor lighting of the store it wasn't much to look at but in the light... WOW!!! Verde butterfly. It's stunning. Those gorgeous blues and greens and it just sparkles!! Hubby thinks it's too dark though. What do you guys think? A lighter countertop which is pretty, brightens things up, and is slightly predictable or a dark countertop which seems more modern? I'm so indecisive..and I've seen such great ideas and gorgeous kitchens on here that I know I can narrow it down...thanks!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:45PM
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I think a BS in the same granite as the counter tops would be too much. These days it seems the decorators like to mix it up in a kitchen and do the BS in a tile. I do love glass tiles, but if you have a lot of BS to cover, it would be a budget buster.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 2:56AM
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We are redoing a a bathroom, and my decorator showed us the New Caledonia , our floors are a engineered American walnut and the vanity is going to be a wood floating shelf, that our contractor is making us! She picked that granite because she said the cool color of the granite is beautiful with the warmth of the wood! And it does have some shades of brown in there!! And we also were on a budget with the bathroom because we are doing an entire house renovation! We are trusting her!! But we do like it!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 9:07AM
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1 Q: your FD frige is next to a wall. When you open the left door, can you pull out drawers?

2. Looking at granites was my favorite part, as so many pretty ones. Even returning to 2 stores, new pieces arrived.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 11:33AM
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