What to do if you don't love anything?

buildinvaJune 14, 2013

I've spent hours searching for countertops, and yet there is nothing I love. Not even in pictures or on the Internet, let alone in the showrooms and stone yards. Nothing excites me!

((On the other hand, there are lots of backsplash tiles I love! Lol. I think that might be part of my problem. I love so many BS tiles that are bold & bright...))

I finally picked a granite that seems like it will fit in the space well and not detract from my overall look. But is that right? Should I settle, or keep looking? Do I need to LOVE the counters? Or is "not disliking" them good enough?

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Well, I would pick a BS that you love and then just pick a counter that plays a subordinate supporting role that lets the BS be the star.
Can you show us pictures of backsplashes you like?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Well, I think you need to love SOMEthing. But if you love the backsplash, and the counter is a backdrop for that, then that is good. I don't see that as settling, but finding an overall look that you love. After all, not every element can be the star.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:35PM
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I'm having that problem...especially when it comes to counters. Nothing is really grabbing me by the boo-boo, so to speak. And I had always thought the counter would be the "star" of the kitchen.

I do find a lot of tile I like, but I am reluctant to make a big statement on the backsplash, especially given one wall of BS is window.

I keep looking and hoping I just haven't found it yet, but I dunno... it's been quite a long time and a lot of looking by now!

Catbuilder and nosoccermom are right, though, you only want one star in the kitchen. If you want to start with a BS tile, and pick counter from there, it will work beautifully.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:39PM
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You may grow to love it. (I don't have good enough taste to think I can find perfection.) Unless you get a really great price, maybe you should keep looking, however.

Or maybe you should consider tile--the impression I get from home magazines is that granite is a little out of date now. Sounds like you have a better rapport with tile.

I'm going with large-scale tiles with minimal grout lines. Haven't found the right ones yet, but I will! I too didn't really like granite (meh...) except for the leathered granite, which is out of my price range.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:43PM
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Holly- Kay

Geesh Build you sound like me with my granite. There was absolutely nothing but an already sold Netuno Bordeaux that I loved. I went back several times and was going to settle for a slab of Autumn Harmony that had just arrived because I felt it would look good with my other components. Then I saw a gorgeous Typhoon Bordeaux with a lot of green in it here on GW. The next day I went back to the stone yard. They had moved the Autumn Harmony inside and it looked awful indoors. It was very orange looking. I went down aisle after aisle and saw a Typhoon Bordeaux that was pretty but didn't do anything for me. At the very next to the last display was a lovely Typhoon Bordeaux that had a good bit more color to it. I changed my mind right on the spot to the Typhoon. It goes in next week or the week after and I am so nervous about it.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:49PM
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I feel like im in the same place as you. I kinda picked out my backsplash and its "BOLD" lol.. and i love it! I feel like i am going to have a really hard time finding a counter top and it makes me rethink my backsplash chose - should i go bold on the backsplash or should i go bold on the counter top!! so many decisions!!!!! im not a big granite fan so ill prob go bold on the bs lol

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 3:11PM
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I love my backsplash. I picked it first. I went with the counter that best worked with the tile. It was nothing "special." Just a simple, solid quartz. When the backsplash and counter went in, they worked so well together that I now love the counter, too.

Many people here on GW find a busy countertop that they love, and end up having to go with a plain backsplash. Or they sometimes find a busy backsplash that they also love, and are later dismayed upon installation that these two things they loved do not harmonize. If you are attracted to bold, colorful tile, just go with it and choose a simple, complementary counter. If your kitchen ends up looking cohesive, you're more likely to be happy with the result over the long haul.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Most people do pick out a counter first then find a coordinating tile...but if you find a BS you absolutely love, then go with it and just pick a plain counter in either quartz or even Corian. The BS can be the star...it shows more than the counter as it is in your direct sight line.

In my case...I could not find a tile I liked so ended up just doing the BS in granite as well. No hard and fast rules, go with the element you LOVE and let that be the star.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 3:57PM
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I would love to see all these bold backsplashes! Pictures?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 4:15PM
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ashe42 - here are my bold backsplash choices. prob going to chose the lighter one - my cabinets are the chocolate cherry and my island will be the white with chocolate cherry glaze.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 4:49PM
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Beautiful choices! I'm leaning toward the lighter one, with your cabinets.

Zodiaq quartz has a number of subtle colors that could really complement those tiles. I like coarse marfil, toasted almond, and alpha brown.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zodiaq

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 5:01PM
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wow thanks for your help. i love quartz and i really like the coarse marfil - i will deff keep that one in mind!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Buildinva, I feel your pain. Like holly-kay, all I could love was Typhoon Bordeaux. Unlike holly-kay, I could not find a slab that would work for me. I was looking for something with a deep, mahogany red veining and no green or mustard.

In the end, I went with quartz -- Cambria Shirebrook. Have you looked at the Waterstone collection? It's different. Lots of movement, very rich colors. I will be posting more of my thoughts on Cambria later; some negative, most positive. But check out a2gemini's kitchen reveal for gorgeous pics of Bradshaw. And here is a pic of my cabinetry with Shirebrook just prior to install. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 5:05PM
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IMO, you'd do far better loving the entire look you're going for and viewing individual pieces used to get there coolly and analytically. Is this what I need to create my vision?

That is to say, think like a designer. That's what their concept boards are about. It's from flipping through sample books and trotting through antique stores looking for selections that work, rather than what they like best themselves, that talented designers create the sort of beautiful rooms we admire so much.

You're fortunate that you can get excited about backsplash materials and remain calm about the counter material. Go with it. Use it. :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 8:33PM
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Loving a particular material in a renovation is overrated and potentially dangerous.

There is a thin line between love and hate and I think the strongly encouraged notion of the past decade or so that you have to have some element/s that blow/s your skirt up so to speak is just not good. This notion is both what drives people's fear in picking out a material, and their fickle change of heart later.

I doubt I would have ever heard anyone saying in my parents' generation that they were afraid to pick a countertop because they were afraid they would get bored with/tired of/ regret it later. People used to pick things out and be done with it. It's a building material, not a sexual partner.

I think if you don't love anything you are lucky, because you are not so invested in it, you can pick something suitable and call it done.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Im glad I'm not the only one! I try to focus on a countertop but I find it almost impossible to think I'm going to be able to settle on a countertop without knowing I have an awesome BS to go with it. I'm trying to look at both counter options and backsplash options before I pick one or the other. Mostly what i read on here is you must pick your counter then your bs, but i think its definitly a good idea to at least know a general idea of the backsplash style you hope to end up with and have it weigh heavily into your counter decision. Good luck :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 9:49PM
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what is the overall feel of the kitchen.....sometimes the counter will be the final "piece " to anchor a look....so think more about what you are trying to create as far as a look or feel.......where have you gotten thus far with the other elements?.... Maybe you hoped something would "pop" out at you,but in reality, you need to stay tethered to your own personal design statement through all the choices,with leeway and freedom of course....The counter that would be the least suspected as sealing the deal might actually be the one. I was in Starbucks and on the side counter was a gray fine speckled laminate-very utilitarian.... but the speckles were just interesting enough so that in the right kitchen[I thought RETRO] it would be a great counter. and have amazing presence. Search around your space for the intangible things that are going on.....and don't take it all too seriously either. I agree about springing off a backsplash option sometimes first,EXCEPT for the fact that counters are expensive.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Expensive. Yes, I suspect that little reality is where most of the anxiety over the supposed need to love, love, love! one's choice comes from. Most of us feel obliged to live with our choice for a long time; even moving to get away from it may seem more justifiable than throwing out and redoing (need more closet space).

Palimpsest put into words what I was also thinking but put aside to speak just about design techniques. So true, though: The danger that "needing" an exceptionally strong reaction to a material may distract one away from strong, long-term preferences to transient new infatuations.

Also so true, "it's a counter, not a sexual partner." :) Nor is it a statement of who we are, or likely to bring us widespread admiration for our exquisite design talents. Perspective is good. It's a counter.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 7:56AM
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Holly- Kay

Mizlizzie, I love your choices together. Your hardware is gorgeous. I kept coming back to that or the casual elegance. I am going to searc for pics of your final kitchen reveal. Your choices are gorgeous!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Holly- Kay

I was going for a very subtle look. I really would rather that nothing actually stands out on it's own but that it all ties together nicely.

I have everything chosen now except for paint color and backsplash and I know that they will be my most difficult elements. Especially the backsplash as I want something elegant but very understated. I think that is going to be difficult to accomplish.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 11:04AM
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May be it is just me -

I want to have the integrated look and scheme I want to achieve, within the budget of course, yet I have to love each component of the entire look.

Over the time, we may forget the expense associated with each item, but live with an item day in and day out that I don't love will be a constant reminder of "being settled". it is the expense I don't want to pay.

I would wait and continue the searching.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 11:13AM
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But, Azmom, isn't that putting a rather heavy burden of demand on a kitchen--that you must "love" everything? :)

What about tomorrow, when its gut starts pouching out, it wants to watch TV all day, it starts saying the guy on the other channel really makes a lot of sense, and it no longer dreams of touring Eurasia with you once the kids are grown?

Or even worse, if after all the checks are written and commitments made, it never quite measures up to that exquisite vision in the first place?

Me, I'm glad to have created a room I enjoy entering every morning, am happy to work in. One that can never fall short of a glorious, but inevitably transient perfection of each and every element I never looked for in the first place.

Yes, we're all different, and that's a nice thing in itself. But we're all also rather fickle when it comes to decor and prone to being manipulated by forces outside our control. I feel that focusing the dream on the entire room, with a specifically organic viewpoint--shape, location, function, and relation to the rest of the house and the world outside--and NOT on each shiny individual element that was such fun shopping for, is an approach that's much more likely to create a kitchen that can make one say happily, "I love my kitchen" for many years.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 3:36PM
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bulidinva: I think it's great that you found a backsplash that you love! Maybe just play around with that and find a good coordinating countertop, but let the backsplash be the focus of your kitchen.

palimpsest: I love what you wrote. I feel like I agonize over every decision. It's nice to put it in perspective. I'm sure half of the things I worry about won't even be on my radar once we get settled into the kitchen and go on with our daily lives!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Wanted to mention that the typical family stays in a home for an average of 17 years (the subset of first-time buyers has a shorter average of 11 years). Many never intended to spend that long, but life happens, and it's probably not coincidence that that's just about long enough to get out from under the economic burden of raising a tremendously expensive next generation.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 4:05PM
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I don't see that people will dislike something more later just because they loooved it when it first went in. You can dislike something you liked or thought was okay, nothing special, just as much if not more because you never really liked it that much to begin with. I do think people might be more likely to want a change from choices that were very bold or particularly trendy at the time. Otherwise, people's tastes change, grow. Nothing wrong with that.

And how is it any different than your looking at "thousands of faucets" to find just the right one, Palimpsest?

My mother (80's) agonized over decorative decisions. My father belabored, to get things just right for his personal aesthetic. As did some of their friends and relatives.

The expense and permanence makes decisions hard to make, on things or combinations that are unknown on a larger scale from looking at samples. The thought of ending up with something that clashes or you don't like (which can not be changed) can be paralyzing.

Unless you have a simple, utilitarian POV and experience with your surroundings, get things you love and will enjoy! I would keep looking until you find a counter you love and the combination of materials and colors send you, makes you feel good! We are very affected by our environments. It's an experience of the senses. You will be spending a lot of time in there.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sat, Jun 15, 13 at 18:24

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Maybe something muted that pulls in the b/s and counter colors. These are from Caesarstone

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 5:55PM
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Thank you zeitgast I really like the second one. I will have to look into it . I went to a granite yard today and I am so overwhelmed !!! :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 6:48PM
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Hi rosie,

You asked: " isn't that putting a rather heavy burden of demand on a kitchen--that you must "love" everything? :) "

Why is it a heavy burden? IsnâÂÂt this the way supposed to be? an attitude that we should have toward any purchase? Not necessary only for a kitchen.

DH and I have never been impulsive shoppers. We understand ourselves fairly well. We do not necessary follow design rules or trend or what others think or say. We have things acquired 20, 30 years ago, some are of very low dollar value and we still love them.

When making major purchases like remodeling a kitchen, we do research and come up with a plan. We perform cost benefit analysis, we consider near term and long term needs and list criteria for making choices. If we cannot find things meeting our criteria and fitting in our plan, we wait instead of compromise. In other words not only we try to get the color right, we want to get shade, tone, and volume within that color right.... May be both DH and I are left brain people, being discipline is not a burden at all, instead, it is fun and has been fun.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 6:53PM
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My experience with clients who have been effusively head over heels in love with one particular element or even a whole "look" are often bored enough by it by the end of the project that they start wanting it to look like something else. I have one sometimes client who has had four complete sets of bedding in the ten years I've known him, and fully plans to design an entire bedroom around them and never does.

If I look at 1000 faucets it's not because I don't love one enough, it's because 900 odd of them are overwrought neo-Victorian designs and I want something utilitarian.

Actually I looked at one page of faucets found exactly what I wanted and will use it in one bathroom, but I didn't want to use it in Three bathrooms. If it had come in a brushed brass finish, I would have had 2/3 done. That's a different process. I wasn't looking for the perfect one, I knew what I wanted --I was just trying to find an alternate. I may just have the one I like custom plated in other finishes.

I have to stand by what I said, In my experience people who are more analytical and even pragmatic about choosing fixtures, fabrics and finishes are more likely to complete projects, have cohesive projects, and remain happy with them when they are done, than the people who go looking for love.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 7:48PM
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"If I look at 1000 faucets it's not because I don't love one enough, it's because 900 odd of them are overwrought neo-Victorian designs and I want something utilitarian"

Just because you have different criteria to meet doesn't make it any different. We all see stuff we don't like. Or like, but isn't quite what we're looking for, whether it be quality, design, color, detailing, price ... Even if we haven't quite defined or understood our style yet, we know it when we see it too.

I don't think buying stuff you're not really crazy about will either fare better results or be more satisfying over the long haul. You'd have to be somewhat indifferent to your environment. You do have to let perfection go sometimes to get things done. It doesn't exist. But that's different than looking for things you love.

I seem to remember you saying you don't buy placeholders either. You do without instead, waiting until you find what you want. So, if your taste is different than the bulk of the marketplace, well, same for a lot of the rest of us.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Jun 16, 13 at 9:48

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 10:27PM
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Delete duplicate posting

This post was edited by azmom on Sun, Jun 16, 13 at 0:11

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 11:53PM
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We analytical, left brain type don't love our things in a crash and burn, peak and valley, life and death way. Toward things our love tend to be cool headed with rationale, calm and pratical, resolute and lasting.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 12:09AM
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I agree with palimpsest and rosie. I went for an overall look, although I can honestly say that I do love my cabinets, granite (counters and BS are same granite), and floor. But I looked for granite that would work with the cabs, and then a floor that would work with the other two, not just granite or floor that I would love. After you make each decision, the choices become more and more limited, so you might not feel like there's a choice that you love. I love my floor in the context of the whole kitchen. If you pick a counter that works with the other finishes, you'll love how it works in context. Not being a natural or trained designer, I found the Sweeby test invaluable in making all my choices. I ended up with exactly the feeling I went after. A miracle!

I like the idea of a nice, quiet quartz with the BS you favor. I think most granite would be too busy. Based on the picture, I like the Dreamy Marfil or the Shitake, but it's amazing how the colors change when you hold them horizontally in different lighting.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 1:53PM
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Hmmm, Azmom, to your question of shouldn't we "love" everything we buy? For me, no. I love too many things, and get bored with them. I'm a left-brainer, too, there are lots of us here, but, again, my goal was to create a kitchen I would love.

A word I should have used way before is "synergy." Bringing together the various elements to create a whole that's more than just the sum of its parts.

In any case, you sound like you know what works for you. I'd just assumed you were younger and didn't have the invaluable benefit of learning over time just what you like.

For your original question, no, I wouldn't settle for something I "didn't dislike." And I hope you don't. I want to like everything, even if I could forget it as soon as I turned away. But--that synergy thing? If a solid creamy Corian that matched my cabinet color would be just right for the big picture--great, because I like it okay. I certainly don't love it, but what I WOULD love would be feeling that I'd found just the right counter for the picture I was creating. BTW, with all my years, I know that if that synergy happened I would end up loving it because it was part of the whole.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 2:38PM
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