Please help me choose a counter (I am really waffling!)

raee_gwSeptember 9, 2013

Okay, I have the cabinets in, and although the floor isn't stained yet, it will be a medium walnut. The house is a plain and simple, small, 2 story colonial in a "starter" neighborhood. Seventy+ years old. My vision was based on my love for the rooms in the actual shaker settlement near where I grew up: airy, light, simple and clean. So, I was thinking the classic light cabs with dark counter. But, as I looked and looked at choices, I thought that I really wouldn't want a black counter.

My cabinet paint color didn't turn out quite as I planned, it is much more beige than the warm grey it was supposed to be, but I think that I can work with it.

I really love greenish soapstone /slate and have spent several weeks trying to figure how to get it within my budget(plus, there really is only 1 slab, black, available in my town right now! I would have to order it from Texeira)

I've pretty much narrowed it down to either River White (or a Bianco Romano that is very similar in color & feel), or steel grey. If I could find the steel grey in a honed finish I might like it more. It is the economy choice which is a factor too.

How do you vote? The pictures show various paint colors that I am thinking about too -- it will be a pale blue or green. I threw in a pictures of grey-green slate too, it is not totally off my list!

The overall kitchen view (the cabs are not as pink as they appear here!:

Against a door, with various paint chips


River White granite

Steel Grey granite

I think River White is very pretty, but wonder if it is a little too "blingy" for this space, or if a full counter will have too much of the garnet color in the background even if I am careful to find a slab that doesn't look like it.

I also worry that the grey will be too dull, and that if I find a way to get the slate in, that it will scratch up too much!
I just keep going round and round! Help me, please!

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Fori is not pleased

Of those, slate all the way!

Assuming of course it passes the torture tests.

Now get up some larger photos. :)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:32PM
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prefer the river white granite.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:41PM
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Of those choices I would go with slate. It is a non-porous material that is pretty durable and doesn't need polishing. If you go this route try and avoid sharp corners because they can be susceptible to chipping.

Don't give up on soapstone...

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:58PM
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Well, the slate does scratch. These samples are Vermont slate and got a good scratch with a "careless" knife deployment.

LOL on the size. I was trying to follow the FAQ instructions! How's this:

(edited to try to resize pics)

I am almost giddy that I have mastered the multiple pic trick!

This post was edited by raee on Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 21:15

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 5:23PM
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No, they did not come out larger! I have to work on this some more.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

river white

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 5:27PM
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I need help with these photos. If you click on them, does that make them larger or take you to my photobucket home page? I end up on the home page.

So far the votes are tied!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:00PM
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When I click on your photos, it takes me to my own photobucket home page for some reason.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:16PM
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raee, when I click on the photos, it takes me to a
Photobucket page, which says I need a password.

I prefer the slate with your selections. NY/Vermont
slate is very durable-won't stain or etch. Scratching
was difficult to do on my samples, but any scratches
disappeared with a little mineral oil, just like soapstone.

If it's a green slate you want, don't settle for what's
available in your town. Contact Sheldon Slate, in
upstate NY. They should be able to accommodate
you. We visited their site, in upstate NY, a 4+ hour
drive from our home. Very friendly people. It's a
family owned business.

Hope that helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sheldon Slate

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:24PM
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I think any of them work. I like the River White for it's subtlety, and its variation from the light cabinet-dark counter look. (There is nothing the matter with that look, but you are considering not doing that as a possibility.) I would pick Soapstone over Slate if I wanted that look.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:31PM
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I like the slate. In the finished kitchen blog, I remember one particular kit that did slate counter & sink that I loved.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Sorry, I can't seem to make the pictures larger.

So far, no votes for the steel grey granite. Slate seems to be winning!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:37PM
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Doing the dark green slate from Sheldon Slate in my kichen. Got a piece with some darker and reddish veins- it's beautiful. Pretty much no staining- and I can be pretty messy with red wine, coffee, tomato, etc. have scratched it, but scratches come right out with a very mild scrubber pad. And feels warm and soft compared to granite to me.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:31PM
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I like the River white first then the steel gray granite.

I have slate on my outdoor bar counters and I would pull them out if it were in the budget. Mine chips and stains with anything oily. I have stains from our last barbecue where buttered corn on the cob got dropped. I can't imagine this inside my house.

Good luck with your project. There's a lot of great people on GW with useful advice.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:32PM
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Be careful - as far as I know, granite is the best counter top material for withstanding stains, heat etc. If that is important to you, stick to granite. I'm very happy with mine - but then I cook a lot, bake a lot, really USE my kitchen - did not want to worry about "babying' my counter top.

This post was edited by Caya26 on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 23:54

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:16PM
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River white and slate are very different options. I personally love a white on white kitchen (or variations of white tones) but your cabinets are a warm grey, right? Grey cabinets are very hip right now and are just lovely. I think soapstone will be a better choice with your cabinets. The undertones in whatever slab of River white you choose might pull out undertones in your cabinet paint and might be harder to match. I also think the contrast will be nice in your space. And most importantly it sounds like your heart wants soapstone. I'd love to see bigger pictures but I struggle with posting pictures too.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:17PM
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Photobucket tells you how to size your pictures in their Help section. I just did this & it took me quite awhile to figure it out! But, after reading it completely thru, it made sense! Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:31PM
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Nothing is more stain resistant or heat resistant than soapstone. It will scratch if used roughly but I am told it can be sanded out. And it never has to be sealed or treated. I just put it in my bathroom and I love it, but don't know if I can afford to put it in my kitchen. It is very "touchable" . I searched high and low for soapstone - it isn't that popular in the Dallas area, hopefully cheaper somewhere else.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:38PM
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The slate is gorgeous! If it is not practical due to scratching then I would go with a gray soapstone or something like it that is honed and deep gray.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 6:41AM
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Circus Peanut

Slate is pretty cool - we just purchased a house with 100-year-old slate countertops in the butler's pantry. They have gotten substantial use over the years as the primary food preparation spot, and they look great. We don't seal them, for what it's worth, and they don't stain. Don't know if that's because they're so old they have accumulated sufficient "patina"? We put hot pots on them all the time with no adverse effects. They do have a few small chips, but it's very livable. (I love the softer texture -- but then, I really dislike granite, so take that into account.)

In fact I thought these counters were soapstone the first 6 months we lived here, until I saw the Monson Slate label on the bottom of them.

For me, the biggest consideration is actually about the dark color: I find it really hard to keep them looking clean, because they show the slightest fleck and crumb. They're like a dark floor. In that sense, a soapstone with its mottling and veining might be preferable to the matte black/gray/green? Get some samples and test, test, test!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:34AM
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Our neighbor has light cabinets w/River White (satin finish) and they are stunning. Beautiful movement and the garnet does not stand out.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Thanks everyone! Definitely a trend toward favoring the slate!

For those of you that have it, what are the seams like? I have read that on soapstone they are barely visible (when well done), is this the case with slate? Just because of the length of the main counter (13 ft) I will have at least 2 seams.

One fabricator has told me that River White is also a difficult one to seam match well.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:22AM
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