I love granite, but I can't find a granite I love

msroseAugust 25, 2012

Ok, I've been staring at my kitchen for 2 years now and can't decide what type of countertops and backsplash I want. I originally wanted something with gold in it, but now I'm going through a more "light & airy" phase. I really like soft blues and greens right now, so this caught my attention:

Also love Sarah's kitchen!

The problem is I may not like blue/green two years from now (my tastes changes alot) and I'm not sure it would look as good with my dark cabinets as it would with white or painted.

Here's my very small kitchen. Even though my dream kitchen would be white, I don't want to paint these. Maybe 10 years from now I will, but not right now.

I'm having computer issues, so I'm going to post this before I lose everything and I'll continue on the next post.

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Ugh! Why does PB always freeze up when I upload photos! Here's a couple of pictures I've saved over the years that might possibly work. I don't know anything about them though and my absolute requirement is that I get something that doesn't stain.

If I decide warmer colors look best with my cabinets, I thought this backsplash was interesting.

Bianco Romano

Dianna's Bianco Toscano

Newkitchen10's Colonial Dream

Monte Bello

I never wanted black countertops or quartz/silestone etc, but I've decided I might be okay with it if I have a really pretty backsplash. I want something that people will walk in and say "Wow, that's the prettiest backsplash OR granite I've ever seen". I know, I'm not asking for much.

So, do any of you have any thoughts on what would look good with my cabinet color? Don't let the paint color or floors influence you, because those will both change after I decide on a countertop and backsplash.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 12:55PM
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Sorry, one more picture. It was Pipdog's kitchen they made me start thinking about going with a more subtle countertop and a pretty backsplash:

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 1:07PM
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There are so many choices out there it's hard to know what to pick. I have two questions for you.

RE: post title:
What makes you think you love granite if you can't find a granite you love?

RE: content:
If I understand you correctly, you don't want to paint now but you may want to paint later, and your dream kitchen is white. Why would you spend the time and money picking out and installing stone fixtures that look good with (what kind of wood/stain is that?) cabs that are going to change in appearance in a few years? I wouldn't pick a bs or counter top unless I had the cabinets looking the way I want them to look.

My recommendation is to either have the cabinets painted now and move forward with bs and counter after they're done, or just wait until you've looked at enough kitchens to know what you really want. Regardless, if you change your mind a lot, you might want to keep everything as neutral as possible and bring in color in items that are inexpensive and easily changeable, like dish towels, dishes, decorative glassware, and art.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 1:09PM
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EAM44 - Good questions. When I look at granite in other people's kitchen, I really love the way it looks. I've seen a few granites on websites or in magazines that have the look I like, but never could figure out what they were. When my mother was shopping for granite, I kept waiting for "the one" to jump out at me and I couldn't find it. I used to like granite like Santa Cecelia, but then I decided I liked the ones that have more of a swirl in it, but not too busy.

I guess I didn't explain myself very well. If I were having a home built, I would pick a white kitchen. That doesn't mean I don't like my current kitchen. In fact, it's a big improvement over the honey oak cabinets I had in my last house. One of the things my teenage son loved about this house when I bought it is the dark wood. The only reason I might paint it somewhere down the line is because it will probably start to look worn and dull after awhile (my old cabinets did) and then I would consider painting.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 6:26PM
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What type of wood are your cabinets? The stain looks very uneven to me. Would you consider having them restained very dark? Dark would be better with light colored granite and could hide the unevenness. How old are they? You said you might consider painting them in 10 years. How many years do you think is left in them?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 7:01PM
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OK - got it. These look like cherry-stained oak cabinets to me, you like them as they are, and want a swirly (not so much of a speckle-y) granite to go with them.

How do you feel about Kashmir White granite? Slabs vary considerably.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 7:33PM
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Ifyou want a heavily patterned backsplash, then it;s going to be difficult to also pull off a swirly granite. I love swirly stones...it's what I have but I had to forgo my wild bakcsplash ideas in order for it to work.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 7:53PM
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may-flowers - I'm guessing it's oak because of the grain. The stain isn't uneven in person. I think the flash is causing it to not look as good. They're 11 years old and they really are in good shape even if the pictures don't show it.

EAM44 - Kashmir White looks like a good possibility. I don't know how accurate the photos are, but the second one looks like it has a combination of warm and cool tones, which could work nicely. Do you know how it holds up to stains? I read somewhere that Madre Perla (Pipdog's kitchen above) is pretty stain resistant, but I don't know about any of the others I posted.

Remodelfla - Once again I didn't explain myself very well :) I originally wanted a beautiful granite, but since I haven't found "the one", I started to wonder if I should focus on a patterned backsplash with a simple countertop, whether it be granite or something else. I know y'all can't make up my mind for me, but just wondering which you would prefer in my kitchen...granite as the star or backsplash as the star.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 8:45PM
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I like the "backsplash" as the star look. The problem you will have with that is not having a ton of backsplash area. And your BS is broken up by the windows. Maybe I should say - from the photos it doesn't look like you have much BS area. Is that true? Does that play into your decision?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 9:03PM
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I found swirly granite I loved, and I avoided the problem of finding a BS that worked with it by using the granite as the BS, too. That BS is the star of my small kitchen. Would something like that work for you?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 9:23PM
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beeps - you are right..I don't have alot of backsplash. I guess the good side to that is I can really splurge on it, but that may be a good reason to make the granite the start instead.

Ginny - That's a good option also and one I hadn't really thought about. See! Y'all are getting me to think! What is your granite?

So, if I decided the granite should be the star, would you use a simple white/off white subway in my kitchen?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:32PM
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You have a lovely kitchen--I love the high ceiling!

I noticed that all of the pictures you posted showing granite that you like have white cabinets as well. What I worry about is that you will find a granite that you like in combination with the white cabinets, but if you put that granite in your kitchen now, with the dark cabinets, you will have a completely different look and may not be pleased with the outcome. Maybe it was just a coincidence that the cabs were all white with the granite pics you posted...but after re-doing our kitchen this past spring, I had hundreds of pics of kitchens I liked and I kept saying we would go with light wood floors, but almost every pic that my eye was drawn to had dark wood floors (with white cabs). It was then that I realized that what I loved was the white cab with dark floor look and after putting dark wood floors in, it was exactly what I was looking for, but couldn't see it initially, if that makes sense.

If you are not planning to paint them for years down the road, may I suggest that you do a search of kitchens with darker cabinets like yours, and pick a granite that coordinates with what you currently have? Just my few thoughts. :)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:59PM
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I think the smallish amount of BS could work to your advantage. You might be able to get away with a busier granite and BS just because the amount of BS you have won't be overwhelming. Be interested to hear what others think about that.

I would definitely not really think too much about BS yet if you do decide to have your granite be the star. It does seem like you like to decorate with white so white subway may work well for you, but pick your granite first. You many decide something else is better. Ginny's idea of using the granite as your BS may actually be a really good one for your space.

You will also want to think about not getting something with so big a pattern that it gets lost in your kitchen. I loved some of the granites with large patterns and movement but I don't have a huge island on which to showcase them so they wouldn't work for me.

mpmg has a point about picking a granite that will go with your current cabs and possibly white cabs in the future. Bianco Antico, Delacatus, and others look great with both but it is something to keep in mind. And some of the Cambria Waterstone collection would look good. If you were to look at the Cambria, Praa Sands has a touch of blue like you said you liked and other very pretty options could go with light or dark cabs. Cambria is pretty indestructible too, another feature you want.

So many things to think about. For me there were so many granites I loved it was hard to make a choice. Sorry you are having the opposite problem.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 12:02AM
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No idea how Kashmir white holds up. I originally chose Madre Pearla for you, so that would be a nice option as well.

Take a drawer with you to the stone yard and see what you think. If you've got your cabinets, and your granite, you can move on to paint and bs from there.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 12:19AM
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Gosh my granite looks exactly like the Monte Bello in the picture above. It was labeled as Ivory Silk so it must come under different names. I get a lot of compliments on it. It is very light but have never had a stain on it and we are not careful, I was at first being paranoid about it but I don't even think about it now.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:24AM
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gr8day - Ivory Silk is another nice one! I'm so glad to know that not all light colored granites are stain prone.

I've slept on a few things and let's just say I did go ahead and paint my cabinets. I'm still not sure I would get the look I love. For some reason, I like a newly installed white kitchens more than I normally like a repainted white kitchen. Don't ask me why. Since my cabinets are oak, I would worry about seeing the grain through the paint, which I definitely don't like. My dream cabinets would be shaker, which I noticed the pictures I posted above all seem to be. I just don't know if I would ever be able to afford a new kitchen. The only thing that might make that possible is that it's small. Any ideas at all on how much new cabinets could run? I know the price varies, but I certainly wouldn't have to have the top of the line.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:38AM
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I would not paint or purchase white cabs for your space. It will be a giant snowball effect. The white you looking at typically is paired with darker wood floors... your floors won't look great with white. Whoops... not the paint color on the walls for white... well, do you now repaint the rooms open to it? Your cabs have a lovely luster and grain. I would embrace it.

Yellow River is a swirly medium tone stone that would look good in your kitchen and since it has colors running through it offers options for backsplash colors.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:55AM
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If you are going with a light granite, I think you need to be looking at ones with warmer tones to complement the warm tones of your floor tiles. I would also be careful of doing a busy granite with a busy backsplash with the existing grain of your oak cabinets. It may simply be too much! I really like the yellow river posted above, I think it would complement all the existing. However, if you are looking forward to backsplash, you may need to go simpler than what you were looking at above.

FYI - I love the backsplashes that you included in your original post. One I had even pinpointed. However, I was also trying to tie it in with darker cabinets and came to the realization that you just don't get that lovely airy feel that I was drawn to with those backplashes unless they are paired with painted cabinets. So, back to the drawing board for me. What I ended up selecting instead is lovely, but a completely different feel. FYI - I got a lighter colored granite with a lot of movement and it cleans up beautifully (and i paired it with a simple simple backsplash).

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:37AM
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Here is a site where you can view before and after photos of kitchens that have been refinished or painted white from original wood finish. Some of them were oak. They use bondo to fill in the grain and then sand and sand until it is smooth as glass. They do a lot of prep to get the beautiful end results. You might enjoy looking at the kitchens in the before and after section. I was noticing the floor colors too to see what that would look like for you. Maybe you could go dark and light in your kitchen cabinet finish. Putting the dark on the bottom and uppers in a shade of white. Or if you have an aversion to painted white you could refinish the bottom in a dark stain and then replace just your upper cabinets with new ones. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Before and after wood cabinet pics

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:37AM
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remodelfa - I think I'm already going to create a snowball effect :) I picked the current paint color to match my countertop and floors. Even though they seem like neutral colors, it bothered me that I didn't feel like I could go with the paint colors I really loved because they didn't blend with the things that were already here. I'm planning to replace the floors, countertops, and backsplash and I'm hoping to find something that will allow me to use any paint color I want in the future. That being said, I'm glad you think I should embrace what I have since I probably can't afford new cabinets. Creating a snowball effect is kind of scarey though, because things won't match for awhile and I'm not sure how long it will take me to complete the transition.

gr8day - Thanks for the website! I'll check it out.

kellienoelle - The floors will eventually change. Right now, I'm thinking of some type of travertine, but I don't want one that has too much color, so that it limits my color choices in the rest of the house. I'd love to see what you ended up with if you don't mind posting some pictures.

Even though I'm not typically drawn to black countertops, I think if I had a wonderful backsplash, I might be okay with it. Just another thing for me to think about.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:42AM
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My granite is Typhoon Green. I looked all over for one that was interesting, but not too busy. I also loved the dramatic ones, but not for my small space. Granites like Yellow River, Copper Canyon, Vyara, and River White have movement and veins but are not overwhelming in a smaller space. My fabricator's MIL has the same Typhoon Green in her kitchen with cream-colored cabs.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Here is what I ended up with, probably completely the opposite of what you are hoping for! We did have to work around our existing floor too, but fortunately they were medium toned oak so neutral enough to not be too limiting. We ended up keeping our paint color too (with touch ups obviously) because when it was all said and done, I thought it looked nice. We went with dark stained cabinets because my husband would not consider painted. The counters are Delicatus (one of the ones mentioned above that can look good with either dark or light cabinets), I love them. But I couldn't find a backsplash, other than a very simple one that would complement.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:55AM
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That's what I meant when I asked if you'd consider staining your cabs darker. It looks to me that someone already tried to stain your oak cabs once, and I would stain darker to eliminate the grain. The grooves look like they took a lot more stain than the panels. Dark cabs suit the contemporary style of the rest of your home, which looks like a different decade than the cabs. I see touches of dark already in your curtain rods and some of your accessories, and dark cabs would bring some cohesion into your home. Even if you bought new cabs, I don't see white working as well.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 12:26PM
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I would just start fresh and do an Ikea kitchen with the painted cabs you seem to want. I was there yesterday and very impressed with how well made they are- kind of wish we went that direction and saved a bunch of money on cabs.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:12PM
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If this helps, (and this pic is when we were still working on the kitchen, but it's the only one I have on the computer right now), this is our kitchen. The original cabinets were a light oak (I disliked them a lot!)I painted the cabinets and was worried about the grain showing through. I sanded and primed, and re-sanded and put two coats on, and can't see wood grain. In the pic though, the cabinets facing you still needed another coat of paint!

We went with Fiesta Gold granite--but it looks exactly like New Venetian Gold. The fabricators change names sometimes from what I understand.

As I was trying to explain above--I personally like white with darker floors. But you mentioned that you are planning to replace the floors. For what it's worth, painting wasn't bad. :) And we've got two kids and a dog running around!

Again--bear in mind that this isn't a completed kitchen. No backsplash, pendant lights, bar stools, etc...but it will give you an idea maybe.

Here's the granite if it helps at all:

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:21PM
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"Sarah's kitchen"? Is that a Garden Web poster and if so do you have the link? How'd I miss that one!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:37PM
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island, I think "Sarah's Kitchen"refers to that of Canadian designer Sarah Richardson,who has produced several shows based on homes she buys and renovates for herself. She has incredible taste.

Have you considered buying new full overlay shaker doors for your cabinets, and painting them white? Hiring a company to reface you cabinets is pricey, but buying new doors and painting them yourself can be very affordable.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:47PM
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Also look at Colonial cream granite- not too busy so you could go halfway on your backsplash - I get many compliments on both who visit our kitchen:) our finished kitchen is posted above so you can see.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:23AM
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I just had to chime in and say I love your Frenchie! I too am owned by these awesome little dogs and that being said, when we redo the kitchen at our new home, we are going with a brindle looking granite to match our dogs:)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:49AM
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I can relate to your concerns. I knew I wanted granite but was having a hard time finding one I loved. My kitchen tends to be dark so I wanted a light countertop. Though I loved the gray granites, they didn't match the woods in my home. I found Taj Mahal and fell in love. I'm hoping to have it installed later this week so no pics yet.

I also love greens but, like you, was afraid of my tastes changing. I opted to paint the walls green and am planning on a neutral backsplash.

I think you are wise to keep your cabinets. I would love to have kept mine but being from the 80's the style had to go - plus we were changing the layout. If you have well built cabinets I say work with them.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:02PM
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