I chickened out.

musicteacherJuly 2, 2014

I went down today, having made up my mind to buy the soapstone, and while the man was recalculating, I started getting cold feet and didn't buy it! Had this horrible feeling that I was making a big mistake.
I went out to look at the soapstone, and it is a little scratched up on the bottom edge (will they refinish it?) and it feels a little rough, not silky smooth like my bathroom counter. I tried on a edge and I could barely scratch it with my key. I just can't picture it polished up and in my kitchen and I almost had a panic attack. You just can't return it or paint over it if it doesn't look good can you?
Maybe some of you very kind and talented people can help me figure out what to do with this kitchen. So here it is as is.

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This is the soapstone that I was thinking about getting. Not my favorite type, but ok. I think the bottom line is that I did not trust the installer. There was nowhere to see any of their work, couldn't even see where they fabricated it. Nobody else has soapstone that I l can afford. So I am starting over. Can you help me?
Where I stand: The floor is staying, cabinets staying but I will either refinish or paint them. I know the curve isn't in style now but I kind of like it. Good think because that is not in the budget. Just bought a large single stainless undermount sink, but could return it to overstock, also have a new ceramic cooktop - black. I also bought a chrome Victorian type faucet. Currently the formica goes up the wall. I only like granite in other people's houses, wanted something softer, more old fashioned, less shiny. What would you do in here for counters, backsplash and paint? Thank you so much for your help.

This post was edited by musicteacher on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 8:12

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:14PM
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I could not get the photo in second post.

Without seeing the photo, but as a Ss lover who just put it in, I'd say, go with your gut. Don't get any stone you don't love.

This post was edited by Mags438 on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 19:31

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:27PM
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Do new laminate. It would be appropriate to the kitchen's bones, and it's certainly more cost effective.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:31PM
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I think you made a wise choice with the soapstone. I think it would be too fancy with your existing materials. Unless you lightened the cabinets, it would be also be very dark in there. As you say, your kitchen is more old fashioned. I would look at a nice soft, quiet material like laminate and not do the standard square edge with the brown seams. Some of the solid surfaces are pretty today. Maybe one of those would work.

I'm not sure how well the cabinets would paint up, if you are thinking white. But they have a nice earthiness about them if you might consider that direction. I would look at various stain techniques or colors other than white, something distinctive looking.

I would also address better lighting which would really freshen things up.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Are your cabinets good quality and sturdy? I can't tell from the picture but if they are not, then I would certainly not do soapstone. I had this problem in my previous kitchen - although the cabinets were nice looking, they were not worth adding granite to - it would not have been cost effective to continue with those cabinets.

If they are good cabinets and I were willing to live with them for 7-10 years then I would definitely get soapstone. Unless I was willing to do a lot of prep work (oak needs lots of prep work because of the grain) or have the cabinet professionally painted, I would probably just leave them as is. I would do subway tile or 4 x 4" for a retro look. I think the stainless sink is fine although I probably would have gone with a white porcelain drop in.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:56PM
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If it is in your budget and you really wanted a sleek change, I think I might replace only the doors on your cabs, and lighten them up. I think your doors could benefit by a more defined panel. As for color, not white necessarily, but bring the deep stain up a few tones OR paint them a nice cream or light gray color. Then you could do a little darker counter because it would contrast. A pretty laminate would work well as long as it doesn't match the cab color... I think the idea of contrast is important visually. If your cab structure is strong and stone is affordable, look as Costa Esmerelda or honed Virginia Mist for a look that is very appealing- quite different from most generic granite looks.
I was originally going to get soapstone for my perimeter but went with Virginia Mist instead. I really like it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:19PM
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I recently did a kitchen update and kept our original cabinets. I can only advise that keeping your old cabinets is not for the faint of heart. Anything new you add will make the cabinets stand out and if they are not worthy of standing out I would not spend the money on new counter tops. Just sayin.
Anything new will look very new, and everything existing will very much look like it was existing.
I am not trying to be negative but wished I would have put more thought into "just updating the kitchen". I totally under estimated how difficult it can be to mix the old with the new and the many many choices now available and the many decisions that need to be made.

I feel fortunate that it turned out nice, but it was only after a lot of heartache, wrong choices, discouragement and kissing many frogs as they say and wasting some money.

Your soapstone was your first frog and good for you for realizing something wasn't quite right. Expect to do that A LOT and good luck with whatever you choose. You will get lots of support and ideas here.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Sounds like you made the right call. Design decisions should be exciting, fun, maybe thrilling, but not scary. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it.

I think laminate gets a bad rap. My only issue with it is the heat resistance. The laminates of today can be truly gorgeous. Good luck!

musicgal, I've just got to say that your kitchen is GORGEOUS! Right up my alley. Love those cabinets! Looking forward to seeing more pictures!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:43PM
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Thank you, Poohpup:-)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:25PM
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Thanks for all your help, though I have to say it is pretty depressing! I would love to have new cabinets but even just getting new doors (25 of them, plus 10 drawers) would be way too expensive. The cabinets, like everything in this 30 year old house are very sturdy and practical. They are just that ugly oak - like zebra stripes. I haven't minded the formica too much either - except for the ugly edges as it has held up extremely well. ( Except around the sink where water got it and warped the underlying "wood". ) All the houses in this neighborhood are about the same age and most people have replaced their counters with granite, painted or refinished the cabinets. A few have replaced everything but WE are debt free and plan to stay there! lol
Funny that you think soapstone would be too fancy, because I thought of it as country and worn looking -- one of the reasons I wanted it. I am afraid that if I put some bright shiny granite, or white quartz, it would really make the rest of the kitchen look shabby. Wonder if it would be possible to someday replace the cabinets and keep the counters.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:03PM
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If you are thinking of laminate, WilsonArt Black Antracite and Oiled Soapstone are nice. They'll send you an 8x10 sample for free.

I just had Black Antracite installed in my kitchen, with squarish sort of edges, and no 4" backsplash. I love it!

You would definitely need to do something with the cabinets though, or it would be too dark.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:21PM
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You're right, it is a more relaxed, mellow material. I guess it just seems like a high end material to me. Don't think I wanted to use that term. But fancy isn't quite what I meant, either. Elegant as they can be, honed stones are more understated than the glossy variety so can look less fancy when that's the setting.

I would start with the cabinet finish. You might come up with something that could handle a stone, like that red kitchen has in another thread.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:23PM
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You made the right choice. Beautiful counters on not-beautiful cabinets looks not-beautiful. Can you reverse the doors? Paint them? I find it hard to believe the cost of new doors exceeds that of the stone - could you perhaps source those better? Then paint the walls and wait for the counters. Consider a less pricey solid surface eventually, when it goes on sale and you can swing it, like maybe Corian Glacier White in the A price category.

Good luck. It's hard to know when you're making good choices. You're doing well.

This post was edited by EAM44 on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 23:41

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:32PM
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I just got the formica high def silver travertine with ideal edge. They edge goes around a corner without the brown seam. The pattern is a 12' image of a slab so it doesn't repeat. The surface is textured and a matte finish. I think it's called honed. I'm so happy with it. They also had a pattern called Soapstone Sequoia that was really nice but not the color I needed. Maybe you would like it since you prefer the soapstone. Formica will send a free sample that is pretty large ~8"x8"

I don't know about your cabinets. I reused mine. They were good quality and good condition. They're oak and we're refinished to make them a gray brown stain. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it for us. Your door style is rather old fashioned with the arch at top and bottom so I don't think these would look well painted, but would be better as a wood tone. Can you update the look with different hardware? I might try a few types to see about the changes.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 2:35AM
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Getting new counters should not send you into a panic attack - you made a good decision to hold off :-)

For some reason, I actually like the double arch doors more than the cathedral arch, which I have. Maybe they seem more charming to me, I'm not sure. If you like the doors and you like a painted finish, then painting them might go a long way to brighten up your space. New doors might not be as expensive as you think, though, especially if you were considering installing pricey soapstone. You can go to Barker Doors online and enter your door measurements to get an online quote. It's pretty easy.

We've been going back and forth between replacing our doors and painting vs. replacing all the cabinets. For my 42 doors and drawer fronts, Barker Doors came out to around $1700 for paint ready in the New York style. I have 39" tall uppers, with a few being very wide, and 3 tall pantry doors, which increased the price.

In the end, we're leaning towards replacing the cabinets to change the layout for better function and also avoid the tremendous amount of work we anticipate with refurbishing and painting our existing oak cabinets. We've been DIY'ing this entire house for 14 years and are getting tired! I also want new soapstone counters and am hesitant to spend so much money installing new counters on old cabinets when I'm not happy with the layout.

This post was edited by juddgirl2 on Sun, Feb 1, 15 at 23:20

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:07AM
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I think SS would be fine IF your cabs weren't so dark. It might be too much dark. Did you get a door/drawer front quote from Barker cabs?

check out the Wilson art formica - I looked online recently and found several I liked. I prefer laminate over granite myself.

updating - can you post a pic of your kitchen w/new counter?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:40AM
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I do intend to paint the cabinets. I googled "painted oak cabinets" and saw many pictures of cabinets like mine that were painted and looked really nice, IMO. Believe it or not, I can get the soapstone for only $40 a foot because the guy has had it forever and no one around here seems to want it. (I edited the post above to include the picture). For some reason I just don't trust those guys. So that is 2800 for all the counters and the island and the window sills (which I'd rather have in marble). I didn't get a quote on the doors but heard someone here say that they found them for only $60 a door so that with the drawers would put me around $3k and I would still have counters that are gross. If I had straight runs of countertops I would have no problem with laminate. But with the rounded bar and all the other weirdness of my layout, even the new edge options which are beveled edges that are glued on,-- they wouldn't go around the bar. I do think I would like Corian though, I like that it is seamless and can be sanded out if it gets scratched, and I like the feel of it.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:55AM
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That bar closes off your kitchen. If you replace the counter, I would look into removing it or putting the cabinet at the end of the run. Or maybe put it in place of the small cabinet on the right. But you will probably need to patch in some floor tile. Got any extras?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:35AM
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I have to say that I like the SS. Can you get any references or any other feedback on that fabricator? Also, does that SS need to be polished?

I actually would reconsider painting the cabinets and look into restoring the oak (it's coming back), and adding light.

Here is a link that might be useful: oak kitchens with SS

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:58AM
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I think you could go with the SS with darker cabs if you wanted, but you seem really hesitant. I think musicgals kitchen is a stunning example. Love it, btw. Is the SS price the attraction?

I think what will make or break any of these major cosmetic changes is the lighting. I think I see a fluorescent in center and a spotlight in a corner. Any other lighting or update plans?

PS...I believe trying to mix old with new is extremely difficult to pull off. I kept my original window trim, etc, and it looks pretty beat up next to all the new stuff. But for something like cabs and the cost to replace them, I'd have to give it a go.

This post was edited by Mags438 on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 10:14

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:09AM
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If you don't mind the work, painting the cabinets will certainly brighten the kitchen up. If you hate the wood grain though, you'd have to do a grain filler, which adds to the work. I don't know your budget, but if you can, I'd get new doors. Barker doors are pretty reasonable, and you can get them unfinished too which saves even more. If it were me, I'd rather get the new doors and laminate counters, instead of keeping the old doors and getting new granite or soapstone counters. The old doors might look more outdated in contrast to the beautiful new stone counters, athough painting the cabinets might help. You can always upgrade the laminate down the road to stone when your budget allows it.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:15AM
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musicteacher, I kept my old oak cabinet boxes and got 22 new doors and 8 drawer fronts, plus crown molding and various end panels. Slab drawers and shaker doors. Paint grade maple with MDF inserts from Decora. In 2012 the total cost of materials, plus tax and delivery, was $1100. That was a whole lot of bang for the buck. I had everything professionally painted, which was about 4 times the cost of the doors themselves, however, a lot of people get very good results with DIY painting. Yes, a lot of work, but it can make a world of difference.

I know some folks aren't in favor of sprucing up the old stuff, but I'm like you, being debt-free is a huge incentive. I'm thrilled with how my cabinets turned out, given what I had to work with and my budget.

Yes, the hanging cab and soffit are gone.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:17AM
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Have you seen this thread? The laminates shown are really nice. I don't know the price differential, but they certainly look high end. If you could swing changing out the doors per linelle's suggestion, along with new counters in a less-expensive material, your kitchen will look brand new!

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread about laminate counters

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:33AM
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Don't feel badly about chickening out! I has a couple of mini panic attacks while shopping for stone, too. I was doing the same thing, updating around old oak cabinets and was worried the new counters would look like I was trying to put lipstick on a pig. Luckily, it came out great.

I would definitely go ahead and refinish your cabinets before picking out a counte material. It will make flinging the material and color so much easier. What color were you thinking of doing the cupboards? I think they would be really pretty in a warm, creamy white. It would really brighten up tour kitchen!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:05PM
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Painted cabinets before...

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:28PM
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Painted cabinets after. We did laminate to save. We bought old cabinets and reused in our new build so the feel would be old. I would start with the painting... That will steer the direction for the color of counters.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:32PM
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Thanks for all of your input. Linelle, your kitchen is so pretty. I just put my decision on hold today and spent the day scraping popcorn off the ceiling. Now THAT is a fun job!! I'm looking in to Barker doors now.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:30PM
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My laminate. Ideal edge bullnose going around corner. They also used the same edge to go around backsplash corner.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:43PM
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Close up. Hope you can see texture.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:44PM
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Did the undermount sink and am happy with it. Window sill and island are granite. Granite guys were really impressed with the laminate. They commented about it a couple times.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:50PM
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updating, that's really nice!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:57PM
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