Granite color to avoid the 'builder grade' look...

lanzzAugust 3, 2014

I just closed on a condo in Charlotte - very nice, brick building with lots of detail. The kitchen is 12 years old - in good condition, except for the ugliest Corian I have ever seen and non descript oak cabinets. Floor is also oak.

The painting work is done - I selected Benjamin Moore dry sage as the paint color for the living / dining and kitchen.

So - I do not want to replace the cabinets, and the appliances are SS, but I will replace them slowly as I get time and $$.

For now - I need suggestions on a granite color - to work with oak cabinets and a sage green wall. Also, I was thinking tile backsplash - as there is no backsplash today.

I posted a picture which shows the countertops and a peek at the cabinets - that near part of the picture does not show the accurate wall color due to flash, so it's better to look farther into the room to see the actual sage color.

The countertops are visibile from the living / dining, which is why this is a hard choice for me - suggestions on granite color and backsplash?

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Are you sure those are oak cabinets? They don't look oak to me. Maybe it's white oak? Are you sure the paint color is something you'll want for a long time? I'd rather have a granite I love and choose a paint color to go with that then visa versa. I don't think the Corian is bad, but if you don't like it, maybe you should try a granite in a very dark color instead of a medium tone. Or go the other way and find something very light. Love the French doors.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 10:25AM
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I would make a mock up board with your pain color, take a cabinet door and go to the granite yard and just look around. You could also go to lumber liquidators and get a small floor sample close to your floor color and take that too. It would be too hard to select a granite without using what you have available tin the space to chose something There are many on this board who have changed their minds about some element in their kitchen after they thought they had it all picked out. It is too expensive to make a mistake..

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 10:56AM
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Fori is not pleased

I like that paint with the cabinets. Footballmom is right--take the paint and a door to the granite yard. I'd be looking for a bold darker stone with swirlies that I could use as a backsplash too.

You don't need to worry about "builder grade". Get something you like. Or something I like...check out this classic gardenweb kitchen's counter:

That may not be the right color but it's the idea of bold and swishy end elegant at the same time.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Typhoon Bordeaux with low backsplash and a sage-y green. Disregard stark white switch plates. BS just completed and will be swapping those plates out for something more complementary. Good luck in your search.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 2:04PM
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    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Good choice of color to go with the cabinets! The right counter will make that kitchen a fantastic place. Soft cream tiles above a medium grey or soft green counter would look great.

Like this seafoam green granite:

Traditional Kitchen by Tigard Kitchen & Bath Designers Kirstin Havnaer, Hearthstone Interior Design, LLC

You would definitely need a light tile, though, to define it from the sage walls.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:55PM
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I agree with kitchenlover, in that those sure don't look like builders grade oak cabinets. You might take a door down and have a cabinet person tell you what kind of wood that is first of all. Maybe clear maple or hickory (which is not inexpensive) and then do a mock up board with your colors to take with you when you look at counter choices.

It might be my monitor but that green seems awfully bright against those cabinets (which are gorgeous). Maybe try putting a piece of large poster board down under your color choices so that you aren't seeing the corain color that you dislike. It could be distracting your eyes. (or cover it with butcher paper temporarily.

A dark granite or soapstone with new orb cabinet pulls might make all the difference in the world.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Thanks, everyone, this is super helpful. Stay tuned...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:21PM
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Since you like green, see what we did last year - kept our 12 year old excellent quality shaker style maple cabinets - put in desert green granite with green glass backsplash tiles with ivory grout.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:51PM
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love that rainforest counter top fori linked!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:18AM
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I was determined to avoid a cheap/generic-looking granite countertop - you know, the ones in the "Group A" or whatever that are the lowest cost and are used by every builder and house-flipper who wants to advertise "gourmet kitchen with granite countertops". And I wound up buying . . . . UbaTuba, maybe the most common color scheme of them all, because it actually looked good with the medium-brown cabinets. The only colors I liked better were at the high end of the price range.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:33AM
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I was also going to suggest UbaTuba, at one time it was overused and considered low in the totem pole but I think it packs a lot of punch, it's interesting without being loud, and the dark color complements many wood tones. I personally love it, it was very resistant.

I used it in my master bath years ago and it remains one of my favorite granites I used.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 4:40AM
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I agree Uba Tuba is a great one to go with the cabinets. However, it looks from the picture that the kitchen space may be interior with no windows, and the nearby windows with daylight have less light due to a covered porch, so the kitchen space may be somewhat darker. In this case, Uba Tuba may be too dark for the space.

What about Sea Pearl? It would go lovely with the blonde cabinets (keep them, they are really nice!!) and the soft green walls.

I also really love the green granite and glass tiles, shown above, with the blonde wood! Very soothing and pretty, and with color but in a sedate way.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:40AM
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I second Ubatuba. I had it for 15 years in the kitchen we just redid. It is a lovely granite and can take anything you throw at it. It would look lovely with your cabinets!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:02AM
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OP, could you show us another angle of the kitchen? The cabinets look nice to me, from what we can see in the photo. If the layout is horrible, you might be better off living with the Corian for a while, and saving up for a remodel.

I lived with light blue laminate counters in my kitchen for 24 years before remodeling! I certainly would not have chosen it, but I got used to it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:28AM
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Same here: Uba Tuba. Your cabinets look more contemporary, so I'd go with a counter that has the least movement possible and is relatively uniform in color.

Another possibility:
steel gray

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:40AM
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You could also look for Taj Mahal quartzite, which brings in more of the warmer tones from the cabinets. If you want a high contrast look, Verde San Francisco granite is a deep green with swirls/veins.

But I echo the suggestions to take a door and a paint sample to the slabyard. Bring back picks and share!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Thanks everyone - going to spend some time this week to take more pictures and visit a stoneyard with a cabinet door - that is an idea I never thought of.

Funny thing about Uba Tuba - I still love it too - might be too dark, given the interior placement of the room, but Uba Tuba and Verde Butterfly are crepping to the top of my list, with a light colored backsplash.

Seafoam green granite is stunning, but I think out of my price range... More to come - thanks to all of your for your ideas -


    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:12PM
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You might consider Netuno (Neptuno) Bordeaux. It's similar to Typhoon Bordeaux, but has a more grayish/green color than gold/burgundy. We came very close to choosing this. The link has a picture of mid-tone cabinets and green paint with the Netuno Bordeaux.

Costa Esmerelda might look nice also. We went with seafoam green. Our cabinets are darker than yours, but here's a pic for a visual. Hope you find something that speaks to you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Netuno (Neptuno) Bordeau counters.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 1:21AM
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Avoiding the "builder grade look" is more a matter of making all the finishes play well together.

The common builder granites - the abundant low-priced ones, the "A group" - can be awesome if the colors of the walls, floors and cabinets support each other.

Where builders get the not-quite-there look is that they can't do a slab-level selection to get the RIGHT slab for THOSE cabinets and the RIGHT shade of paint for THAT wall in THAT lighting.

They specify "Santa Cecelia", "Cheddington cherry stain" and "Buffington Taupe" ... and the slab is on the yellow-brown end of the stone's range instead of the creamy beige end and looks ugly with those cabinets and wall color. It might have been stunning with "Manchester Pale Maple" cabinets and "Dairymaid Cream" paint.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:33PM
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