Need reassurance/opinions on counter top and backsplash

SophiePWJuly 16, 2014

Dear GWers, I could use your sage advice! My DH and I are trying to nail down the final look for our kitchen and are at wit's end.

Our home is a 1920s dutch colonial with all of the original unpainted woodwork, so we're trying to go for a design that suits the house but is also slightly transitional. The kitchen is roughly 9.5' x 17'.

It's a challenging space - 5 doorways lead off it plus a large window over the sink. All of this woodwork is dark cherryish stain (like "Acres" in this photo

For better or worse, we went with Brookhaven Alpine white frameless cabinets to make the space feel less dark. Now we've got to figure out the right countertop and backsplash to tie all of this woodwork to the white cabinets.

I'm attaching a pics of our rendering (ignore the blue cabinets, they'll be white. and that back door is dark, not white).

We've been toying with two looks, each with a darker counter to tie in the woodwork:
1) Raven caesarstone + honed calacatta subway tile backsplash and maybe a blue gray paint (inspiration photos:,

2) Belgian moon caesarstone (an almost black look) + a very light gray glass subway tile (and we're totally stumped on paint color). (similar to:

We're totally on the fence about these.
With Raven + Calacatta, we worry that the calacatta will look cold and make the cabinet look to yellow/creamy.

With Belgian Moon + glass tile, we worry we'll be stuck with a rather drab monotone look on the walls (we really can't find an appropriate paint color). Also, given our smaller kitchen and the galley-ish layout, we're a little concerned that the belgian moon will look too dark.

Any and all thoughts welcome! Especially curious if anyone has white cabinets with calacatta tile. Or likewise, if those of you with Raven or Belgian Moon have thoughts on backsplash.

Thank you in advance for any feedback. We have immense decision-fatigue!

This post was edited by SophiePW on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 21:47

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Just realized I have a photo of the two options.

(Ignore the blue tile in the background... that's the table at the tile store)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:33PM
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I'd go with the Raven + Calacatta if cabs are a true white. then the light grey paint will pick up the grey in the BS.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:43AM
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The raven and the calacatta are gorgeous! That would be my choice.

Your kitchen is going to be lovely!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 5:52AM
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Thanks for the input. I lean toward the Raven and Calacatta, too. (In fact we just told our contractor to put the order in for the countertop). I'm still not 100% sold on the marble tile, though, I originally wanted a carrera that would be more muted, but the tile shop we're using doesn't have anything that looks right with Raven. I just worry that the Calacatta is SO white.

When I see kitchens like this:
my eye is drawn to how cool the tile looks next to the cabinetry. Guess I'm also concerned that the calacatta has more movement in it, which could be distracting.

I'm loving the look of this kitchen (also with Raven), but I don't know what the tile is:

Does anyone regret getting marble backsplash?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:52PM
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I like the Raven and calacatta a lot. Just a piece of advice: get the counters, cabinets, lighting and paint done before choosing your backsplash. All of those things can look very different when they're really up in your space. Then you can stick up your samples and see what they'll look like IRL

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:59PM
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Thanks edb2n. If this process were entirely under my control, I'd definitely follow your advice. But we're working with a designer/contractor on a schedule...and some of these tiles take 4-6 weeks to get in. I think my contractor would shoot me if I held out for everything else to be done.

I really hate making decisions based on tiny samples. My DH doesn't "get" how something can look totally different IRL... so, of course, I look like I'm being needlessly cautious!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:09PM
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My contractor had me on a "schedule" also, with the install day of the backsplash built in. I just told them I wasn't finalizing the backsplash until the cabinets were in.(thanks GW.) They were shocked. They'd never had a customer do that. I had a Danby marble on hold that looked perfect in the showroom. Once everything was in, the whites just didn't work. I ended up selecting a completely different style of tile (another 6 week wait.) In the end, both my KD and DH were glad we waited.
Love the Raven & Calacatta.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:40PM
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I am sure that my GC wanted to shoot me; he said it was the longest kitchen remodel he had ever done (weeks delay getting the floor finished, more weeks choosing a counter). But he survived and managed to work around my decision making. Yours can too, I would bet.

I don't know what it is, but something about your kitchen view above really appealed to me!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:10PM
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Thanks raee for your kind comments about the rendering. You're making me feel better! That peninsula toward the back is a bit of a gamble, but one that I hope pays off in added functionality. As we're not sure how long we'll be staying in this house, it's a relief to know we haven't created something blatantly unappealing!

I guess I'll have to see if I can get the contractor to hold his horses on the backsplash :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 4:55PM
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Switch your DW and trash cabinet. Think through unloading the DW in the corner, blocking access to cabinets on that wall.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 6:57PM
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The layout is what it is. We originally had the DW to the right of the sink, but when open, it prevents someone from easily walking between it and the peninsula. Having it to the right also made the base cabinets between it and the fridge less useful.

We're planning to put the dishes and glassware in the cabinets to the left of the fridge... it's possible that the plates may even end up in a drawer.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 10:00PM
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