Kids + honed carrara marble kitchen = disaster!?!?

maximbellaOctober 27, 2013

We have been agonizing (literally) over the countertops to our large white kitchen...and we have finally (hooray) settled on two options - honed carrara marble or dolce vita quartzite. Two totally different looks, and we are leaning towards the carrara. The thing is, we have two small children and don't want to regret our choice. Has anyone with young kids gone with the carrara? Do you regret it, or would you do it again? Any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated! Our choices are due on Friday - yikes....

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greendesigns_gw

Do you like patina? Stains, scratches, etches? Do you view them as beauty marks or as ugly marks? That will answer your question for you. Some people would never draw pencil marks on a wall to mark a child's growth and would donate their faded non-dark jeans to charity rather than be happy about the signs of the passage of time. Only you know what category you are in.

And don't assume that just because a stone is labeled a quartzite that it will be immune from any of that either. You need to test a sample for yourself because stone distributors will call anything by any name that they feel like calling it with no basis in actual geology.

Also, fashionwise, there's been a bit of a backlash against the too white kitchen look, so if being current in style is important to you, you may want to explore different possibilities.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 1:41PM
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joaniepoanie

Yes, it will depend what camp you are in....you either can't care about scratches and stains or you'll be constantly hovering and telling kids, DH, friends and family to be careful. Counters are the workhorse of the kitchen...especially with little kids do you really want a delicate material?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 2:32PM
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snookums2

When I was growing up, parents used to say they couldn't get nice things until the kids were grown. It's just a fact of life that kids are good at wrecking things and accidents are bound to happen. You should go into it knowing that will be the case, not thinking you will be able to protect it from the elements.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 2:39PM
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juddgirl2

That's great advice to really consider how comfortable you might be with the marble's "patina."

I'm considering a full kitchen remodel now and have been drooling over all the marble counters I've seen on GW - especially the Crema Marfil. Unfortunately, I think I'm in the camp that would obsess over every scratch, etch and chip, as much as I'd like to think I wouldn't mind the natural wear. I love distressed wood, and one more dent in my wide-planked floors or reclaimed dining table never bothers me, but I'm not so sure about stone.

DH has also said he wants a counter that's almost indestructible, and my kids aren't especially tidy, so I don't think I can count on them to help me baby any new counters! I've gone to a few slab yards and looked at quartzite as a possible alternative. I think the Taj Mahal, Madre Perla, or Calcutta quartzites might give me the look I want and the durability my family needs.

I have no idea if this choice is affordable compared to granite or marble, though, because the slab yards only sell wholesale and wouldn't give me a price range. Since I'm still in the deciding phase, I haven't gone so far as to get a quote from the fabricator yet.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 4:02PM
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jakuvall

" parents used to say they couldn't get nice things until the kids were grown."...
Kids, dogs, husbands, cats...client sent me this-guess which she has :)

1 Like    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 4:11PM
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srosen

Carrara is soft ,porous and sensitive to acids.
If you and your husband are detail oriented etches will drive you crazy. Research the Carrara so you wont have to second guess yourself. Buy a carrara tile or two and bring it home.
Place it in the kitchen and see how it reacts to your family.
If the testing doesn't work out.
Find a true quartzite and enjoy the kitchen and the kids. Do your research-become an informed consumer. Find a great fabricator and get references.
Test products you are interested in by using the lemon test and glass test. Don't take anything for granted.You and your husband can then make an intelligent decision based on good facts.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 4:29PM
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dad4diy

I would strongly consider the American marbles from the Vermont Danby collection. While not indestructible by any means, the honed slabs are more forgiving than the Italian marbles.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 6:53PM
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threeapples

I have two small children and Vermont Montclair Danby honed in my kitchen. After several months we have not one etch, but have one small chip, which was filled with epoxy, and lots of oil stains from butter, grease, etc. The oil stains drive me nuts. I sort of regret the marble because I am going crazy trying to protect it (especially after the chunk on the edge came off when it was banged), but I can't imagine liking the look of anything else in my kitchen as much.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 9:18PM
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deedles

Can't help with your choice as I know nothing about marble, but can expand on the kids theme....

(swiped from a Milkwright greeting card that just cracked me up)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 9:29PM
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romy718

deedles, very funny!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 9:57PM
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snookums2

Yep, we ladies always have it together ;)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 9:58PM
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carree

It won't be as much of an issue if the kids are very young, but when they become teenagers with friends over and likely get very casual about belongings...that may be the time you cringe. But if that is years away, you will have mellowed. I went with the taj quartzite and I believe price wise you will find that the Carrera might be the better price performer.

By the way, there is a spec product called clear stone that I have read about here that sounds like a wonderful bullet proof product for marble...much more than a sealant.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 10:04PM
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romy718

I agonized and I read everything I could find about marble, etching, staining, sealing, etc. I put Danby marble in my kitchen in July. My kitchen is not done, so I'm not cooking. I've just been walking by and admiring it since July. At first, I was afraid of it. Now, I know and have accepted that it's going to etch. I love the feel & look of the stone enough, that I truly don't think I will have regrets. I don't have small children but I have adult children with spouses who are messy cooks. I might be monitering the vinegar & the limes, but I'm not going to make people uncomfortable in my kitchen.
There are multiple people here with small children who have marble. There are multiple threads asking marble owners, "would you do marble again?" The majority say yes. It's not for everyone. It is hard to decide if it's for you.
If the dolce vita is a true quartzite and not a marble and you love both, that would be the safer choice.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 1:39AM
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illinigirl

I don't even think the kids are the biggest consideration..... After all you /dh will be the ones cooking. I think with marble you have to be ok with patina. I don't think being careful in the kitchen is much of a real option unless you don't cook.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 9:06AM
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heidia

I would go with the assumption that they will etch and stain-google etches and stains and see if that is okay in your eyes...just for me, I knew that I could not control dh, grandma, or kids, and the etching and staining did not sit well with me-could not embrace it.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 10:18AM
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GWlolo

Search for Breezygirl's kitchen. She has carrera and small children. Her prep island is walnut though. But it is all in how you seal the marble and your attitude to patina. Even sealed marble will etch. But the look overall is beautiful and serene.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 11:55AM
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nini804

Ok, I actually HAVE Carrara, and children. When we moved in 2 years ago they were almost 9 and almost 12. First of all, not sure if the sealants are better now or what...but I have had ZERO issues with staining. I have come into the kitchen in the morning to see a spot of tomato sauce or tea that was left on the counter and I cringed, certain it would stain. It absolutely did not. I knew about etching going into it, and yes it does etch. My marble is honed, and the etches are not all that noticeable. I have noticed that they also sort of "fade" after a while, but then there are new ones. :) To me, I'm like, "eh, it's marble...it's a dynamic, natural stone...it's not going to remain pristine." I could have had quartz or corian if I wanted that look. I also have a walnut topped island, and the wood isn't pristine either. If you want a softly colored, mellow stone and can deal with some etches, get the Carrara. It really is lovely...I enjoy having it in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 1:08PM
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KelinMD

I have been thrashing over the same choice for months. I've decided to go with the quartzite. I did stain tests on the marble, and hit it with a knife. Vinegar, ketchup, lemon, coffee, everything left an etch. It looks like a dark water ring/stain that you can't feel but can't get out.

Everyone worries about what LITTLE kids will do to it. As the mother of teens, let me tell you, that is the least of your worries. When your kids are litte YOU cook. YOU clean up. YOU are in control. When they are teens you are not home with them all the time. THEY cook, THEY eat spaghetti on the counter, THEY make PBJ that looks like a murder scene and then it gets left there for hours. So, I would extrapolate the data and think about how you will feel in a few years. It WILL get trashed, there is no way around it. You can get it refinished, but if it is your main workspace there is no way around it. I think there will be a marble rebellion in a few years. It's like a confessional...my friends are coming forward and admitting they HATE it and regret getting it. At parties they stress that their guests will spill red wine, it seems like too much to worry about.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 1:13PM
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firstmmo

I am convinced now that it's a mindset thing. If you are the type where crumbs on the counter, water rings on a table, etc will bug you to distraction, then you may be susceptible to a problem with marble. But your attitude can change. Admittedly I was more high strung as a parent of small children. I learned to let go a bit as a parent of older kids and teenagers. I realize that certain things are not "on my radar" and other things are what catches my attention--things just change. People come to this realization at different times in their life. I came upon it earlier after being diagnosed with cancer. Many things just don't bug me anymore. They just can't have high priority. Yet, I have a friend who everything bugs her--that's fine. She can't have anything out of place--just her style. She wouldn't have marble, but since I don't care if there is etching, I will. Kids can co-habitate with marble--thousands of Italian families can attest to this. Yet, there will be some who it just won't work for--totally OK :)

Once upon a time, I couldn't have anyone throw a jacket on the floor...it would make me start screaming at one of my children. Now I just walk right by those same jackets crumpled into a ball in the entry....it mystifies even me. It's like I somehow got immunity to those things like a peanut-allergy patient who has been clinically de-sensitized to peanuts! Marble is a real choice in my future for the first time in 20 years!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 11:30PM
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strayer

We chose white macaubus quartzite. I got a sample of it and tested it with a piece of glass to make sure it wasn't really marble being called quartzite. We haven't installed it yet, but the sample hasn't stained or etched with anything I have put on it such as ketchup, lemon juice, olive oil, etc.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 10:49AM
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deedles

That's beautiful, I love that stuff...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 3:08PM
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kam76

I have two kiddos 7 and 3 and we are going to do a marble island. I am going to have a butcher block for a lot of the prep and I am just not that worried about it. I just don't think anything else looks like it and I love all the old buildings and hotels that have marble. Think about all the marble STEPS in Europe that people are walking on ...with high heels! Yet they are still beautiful. It is just a matter of what you are comfortable with. In America we tend to lean toward the brand new and perfect, but I find comfort in the wabi sabi.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 3:24PM
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snookums2

The picture of that woman is still making me laugh, Deedles. Or maybe she sees a scratch on her silver piece, lol.

I guess it was another active thread where someone is showing how the rings and spots fade with time. You can't get that beautiful soft rich patina without the wear and tear.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Wed, Oct 30, 13 at 0:50

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 3:37PM
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cheri127

I was terrified to get marble in my kitchen so did soapstone everywhere except the baking counter, which is calacatta. Well, it turns out that the soapstone is higher maintenance and has more issues than the marble. Yes it etches, but if it's honed and not polished, you won't care. It's still beautiful and the etches are barely noticeable. We sealed it once in 5 years and still have no stains and it is also our breakfast counter so there are always coffee, tea and other things being spilled or dribbled on it. I say if you love the marble then get it. You won't be disappointed and your kids won't ruin it.

Also, don't pay too much attention to the "wrinkled linen/relaxed denim v starched/pressed clothes" analogies. I iron all of my clothes and wipe up crumbs and spills obsessively but etches in my marble counter don't bother me me a bit. I'm so sorry I didn't use it for my whole kitchen! Nothing looks or feels like real marble.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 9:24PM
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romy718

If your still agonizing over your decision, read cwalen's current post on "kitchen and first floor, renovation done". She has carrara & small kids. It's an interesting post regarding the Carrara. She also may be able to answer any questions you might have.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 11:15PM
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