Counter selection for White shaker style?

zeitgastDecember 27, 2012

Hi all could use some help on selecting counters for our pending white shaker style kitchen with oak floors.

Want low maintenance so going with quartz (even though we love soapstone). Been looking at those little squares but it's so hard to picture. Like Caserstone Raven but not too excited about the sheen. Honed is no longer an option. Any ideas?

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I consider my PA soapstone low maintenance. Quartz is lovely, but I'm not sure I would consider it any more low maintenance than soapstone or granite. They all have pros and cons. Definitely don't do honed quartz if you're worried about stains - I remember my honed quartz sample staining! Putting hot pots directly on soapstone - that's low maintenance to me :-) If you are set on quartz, the great thing is you can order lots of samples easily and have fun trying them out. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 8:52PM
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Thanks. We have 3 little boys and worry about scratches and wet marks. Do you know how hard your stone is?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Caesarstone Pebble is beautiful with white, in my opinion. It comes in honed. It is a softer gray than Raven, however.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 10:06PM
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I am getting off white shaker cabs with grayish Silestone (quartz) Altair counters. Not installed yet so I don't have any pics.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:11PM
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We have a tiny cottage style kitchen. I did a dark green granite with a white ceramic beadboard backsplash with our white Shaker style cabinets. We have the original 1940s pine floor which is a honey color. I started out wanting marble but that was not a good fit for us, looked into quartz but it was mucho $$$ and I wanted to do a butcher block top but DH wanted granite so we settled on the dark green. Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Molly Phillips

Are you going for contrast, so you definitely want a dark counter? We're doing a white(ish - haven't picked out the exact color yet) and I haven't decided whether to go all light or have the contrast. If you like soapstone, I stumbled across old threads of people who have Virginia Gray Mist granite - looks a lot like soapstone and not nearly as busy as other granites. You can get that honed or polished.

I've looked at raven, pebble, concrete, wild rice and poppy seed, plus cambria sussex and two others I've already forgotten the names of....I'm as lost as you are! And it's hard looking at tiny samples, but also online photos since monitors and even professional lighting make it all look different than it will in your kitchen. I feel your pain.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 2:06PM
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We're going with raven and white shaker doors. I also like the concrete and pebble. I saw the pebble big and it's beautiful. The raven has the same look as pebble but its a little darker. I held up a 12x12 in the kitchen store and really liked the contrast. I don't think you could go wrong with any of these colors. Yes it's shiny, but when it's big, I don't thnk you'll focus on that.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Yes Lovetodream looking for constrast but it's a smallish kitchen (12'x12') so we are thinking not too dark.

Thanks all for the suggestions. Will definitely check out Pebble-- don't recall seeing that one. Anyone know if Silestone makes something in a light grey? We are buying most of our materials for the remodel including the cabinets from the same lumber yard and get a rebate discount-- they only have Silestone quartz. We are way over budget already so any bit of discount feels like a victory ; )

Read about etching and staining of honed granite so Virginia Mist (while beautiful) might be a concern. Anyone have any experience to the contrary? Thanks

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 1:30PM
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My sister's friend loves her Virginia Mist counters - has had them for two years with no problem. I've seen it in person and it's lovely.
My PA soapstone is hard - not sure what it is exactly on the Mohs scale but it passed my tests. I have two small children and so far so good (since July). It's lighter unoiled, but definitely super dark when oiled. When I've seen Virginia Mist in person, it is lighter so that might be a better option for you. A local showroom had it leathered, which was really cool looking (not sure about the maintenance of leathered granite?)

Here is a link that might be useful: Dusty's kitchen

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 9:32PM
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I have been reading posts on this site for several days and blown away by the knowledge and helpfulness shared here -- you guys are great! Til now I have held off on posting because my questions were TOOOOOO many and cascade into each other so I tried to search as much as I could on my own. I have come up with lots of helpful direction but still need more so I am jumping in and posting for whoever may have time to share insight and take on these challenging questions this holiday weekend.

I recognize that many of you have debated your decisions carefully for a while (our preference also) but we are coming by our remodel by accident so all our decisions need to be made very quickly. We recently bought our home knowing we were installing a brand new bathroom upstairs but thinking we were only going to replace the counter/backsplash in the kitchen before moving in (pink corian in both backsplash and counter...can't stand!). We have a 3 year old so don't want to live through kitchen remodel AFTER we move in but living outside of the house results in incurring LOTS of additional rent+mortgage so we want to limit the time before we move in.

DRAMA! Have you read the children's book "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie"? Contractor (rightly, I think) suggested that if we replace the counters with a material that is going to last, it will outlast the cabinets (we think the boxes are original to the 1926 tudor) and the cabinets cannot be replaced without tearing out the countertops (and there would go the investment we are making now). So, he suggested we replace the bottom cabinets as well. That would also allow us to put some fancy cabinet insides in like the "kitchen aid shelf" I have drooled over for years. We came to terms with that idea are some tricky challenges/details:

-Kitchen is not large (not small by my standards but, no room for island).
-Kitchen has offwhite (nearly white but creamy) shaker cabinets now.
-Floor is greenish/black ceramic tile that has a slate like look (12x12). When we bought the house the kitchen floor was one of the things I liked most. Now looking at it more closely and recognizing it needs to be accounted for in selecting counter etc...I see it is ODD! Looks black in sunlight if I recall (it is winter in Seattle/VERY limited sun and the electricity is currently off in the kitchen due to work on the bath upstairs). Although dark, it has sections of dark greeny/brown veiny pattern going through it.
-Contractor noted that our range is a 40" Kitchenaid freestanding (a 30" micro above it that is illegally/dangerously close to range top and needs to be replaced and moved up higher). Rare to find a 40" when that dies...we will have very reduced options so he has suggested we decide on a new range now that we are having new cabinets built that will flank it.

Range and MW discussion:
All appliances are currently stainless and we had stainless before and I am done with the look--especially for white kitchen think white appliances? Though we aren't changing more than MW and range now know that frig is smallish and DW old so will be replacing at some point. I have been reading lots on this site and others that stainless is likely on the way out so think we shouldn't get a stainless range. However, as many good range options in white! Prefer 30" so that I can use a GE Advantium MW Speedoven above range instead of needing to find a separate place for MW and buy a hood...(double duty saves space...etc). Prefer to spend less than $3K on range because the GE Advantium MW is pricey and DH is being so patient on aforementioned "mouse with cookie" analogy of a kitchen that "was fine except for countertop/backsplash"...and is quickly approaching $15K+ OUCH...especially with brand new bath install, other rennos thoroughout and painting entire inside of house etc...sigh. (Note...loved the posts about Miele speed oven but too narrow to vent 30" range and can't spare cabinet space for under counter mount.) Features we think important in range: 1) controls on the front not at the back behind burners; 2) prefer gas or dual fuel but too pricey so willing to go with smoothtop electric; 3) double oven with small on top...we will probably use it 90% of the time and don't use that storage drawer at all now...never have so it is wasted space!; 4) Induction range not of interest...I have used it before...not wowed and don't want all new pots; 5) Reliability - really this is number 1 on our list!

Countertop discussion:
We like Cambria (like what I heard here about Soapstone too but since we are in Seattle -and soapstone is quarried back east- think it is much pricier than Cambria?). Think we'd prefer a medium or dark counter since we are sticking with white cabinets (spraying the top to match the new bottom and will pick a white that will go with white appliances IF we do continue on that path) -- backsplash not being chosen til other decisions made. None of the cabinets have glass front now and to make the old ones glass front is pricey since the insides of the cabinets are rough old wood dull (looks like ply) -- will do without glass front.

Color: DH and I like green and Cambria has some pretty greens but they have some contrast and I thought we should have a quieter counter since the floor is not silent...not sure. Oxwich Green, Kensington, and Caerphilly Green are three greens that look interesting but we need to go to the showroom to see them in bigger format. Did tons of searches on HOUZZ and didn't find any kitchen with strong greens that also DIDN'T have brown to balance it. We don't really have space for brown given the grey in the floor so not sure we can go with such green options???? Would like feedback or pics on that if you think green can work with white cabinets and a strange green/brown/dk grey floor. Also thinking Cambrian black may be a simple solution (too black????). The other option would be in the grey family "Devon". I had thought I wouldn't enjoy working on a grey counter (too much like hotel or office which I spend TOOO MUCH TIME IN) but now think it is a better option than others given the oddities of the floor? Hmmmmmmmmmmm

Okay...I know there are other questions but throwing these out there for now. Regards, Cheryl

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:51AM
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wawCooks -

Cambria Ferndale has quite a bit of gray in it, as well as green.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 11:20AM
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wawCook have you considered mounting a cooktop on top of a wall oven? You can get a 36" gas cooktop (~$800) and an 30" electric oven (~$1500)-- can help break up the shiny SS. Can always go for panel ready appliances but they cost more than the white ones especially refrigerators!

I'm hardly one to dole out countertop advice but you might look at soapstone again if you like green? We live in The Bay Area and saw some really nice slabs that were cheaper per sq ft than quartz of all flavors. I think most SS is quarried in Brazil and India these days from what I was told.

You can go with a green Ming sunflower marble tile b/s to tie it all in. Not sure about the floor but you an always use some runner rugs to lighten up the space. The counter in the b/s pic (pasted link) is a leathered brown Kodiak granite from mpagmom's gorgeous white kitchen. The brown might work better with the flooring you have???;d:36qjGOmnK8i_3M:

Mouse cookie analogy is perfect-- know how you feel!! Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Green soapstone

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:08PM
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Forgot to mention that your microwave hood plan might not work if you go with a >30" range or cooktop.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:23PM
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