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Pls. help design countertop combos

14 years ago

I could really use some help - I've gotten myself confused but now the cabinets have been ordered so I need to get serious about what will look best and work best in this kitchen for counters.

The perimeter cabinets of this generally Ushaped kitchen will stay our current "honeyed" natural maple (10yr old so they have mellowed). The island cabinets will be maple with a sea green stain and a black glaze.

I fianlly figured out that I *think* I want soapstone perimeter and soapstone for counter-height "prep" part of the island. We have a similar island now and it gets a lot of abuse b/c its the best landing spot for all things coming out of refrig, and most convenient spot to pour a drink, make a sandwich, etc. All together this would be about 85 sq feet. I would need to find a soapstone that read black background with either green or caramel veins/splotches rather than white.

For the rest of the island, the table height eating portion I would like wood. There is a company online that stocks John Boos tops in standard sizes and I can get them to cut to size/shape (approx 42x97 with radius on one end - either 1.5 thick or 2.25 thick) to make it somewhat affordable. The natural maple would most closely match my perimeter cabinets and light oak floor but it doesn't look very rich or make a statement for the amount it would cost. I think I like the natural cherry b/c its richer looking but it still has the golden tones and streaks in some places.

My concerns:

Some have said that since my island cabinets are different than my perimeter I need to have the same counter top surface. That would mean about 115 sq feet of the same surface. Would also mean that our main eating table would be stone and I would prefer the warmth of wood. But will my kitchen not looked pulled together??

Would having wood on the eating part of the island and soapstone (or dark granite if I can't find the right soapstone) on the prep part of the island look funny and choppy? Or would it be OK b/c all surfaces at the 36" height would be in the same surface, while just the drop down to table height portion would be wood?

Would it be better to have wood on the island table part AND on the prep part? Based on current experience,the prep part would get very beat up, very fast so I think that part would have to be oiled wood that I could sand, while the table part would have "varnique". But there ALWAYS seems to be splash of something on our prep island now (3 kids and a messy husband!), and how often do I want to be sanding in my kitchen?? While this might look nice, it sounds like it could become a headache.

Would the natural cherry look OK for the table? Also, the 2.25 inch is advertised as the island thickness. This "table' will not have an apron, so I think I should go with this thickness so it doesn't look like a board floating in the air....right? I'm willing to pay the extra if it will make a statement...or will it be too thick?

While I love the look, feel, and idea of soapstone, will it even look the best in this style kitchen?? Granite would be easier and likely cheaper and would it actually look better in this more transitional style kitchen?

Any guidance is appreciated,as I've confused myself with all the variable.


There are actually lower and upper light maple cabinets on all walls, just not shown in this pic:

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