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Countertop quandary....second thoughts

9 years ago

I am renovating our kitchen. Kitchen and family room are basically one big continuous space. I have a very dramatic wall unit in family room section that shares a wall with kitchen. Will post pic. After selecting three slabs of white macaubas and paying for them I now think I should use solid color on perimeter. I was also intrigued by zinc or pewter for island with a fancy edge but that maybe too pricy and not sure if done where I live, and do quartzite on perimeter.
Help!

Comments (83)

  • 9 years ago

    Oh I forgot to answer the wall unit questions. It is hand carved from Columbia and it was brought over in pieces and assembled in my home about ten years ago. My study is mahogany. I know it isn't everyone's taste but I do like it. In person it's not quite as overwhelming and the carved details really show up. And it is functional.

  • 9 years ago

    I wouldn't be offended pzbbbbd... I once posted pics of my knotty pine cabinets, and someone responded "what are all those ugly spots on your cabinets?"
    Not everyone has the same tastes, and if they did, it would be a pretty boring world...

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  • 9 years ago

    Pzbbbd- I originally created an account here because every time I had a question about something in my kitchen and googled it, this was one of the top results. I figured I might as well "come straight to the experts" as it were.
    Since joining I have seen TONS of white kitchens with marble counters, hardwood floors, etc. In other words, what's currently on trend.
    This website is very trend forward and that's not a bad thing! I've learned some great things here and seen some ideas I wish I would have thought to incorporate into my kitchen. That being said, if your house or personal style isn't trendy, modern, etc, you just have to be prepared for comments from those who view it as outdated.

    On second thought, that piece HAS to go. Tell you what, I'll take it off your hands for you so it doesn't interfere with your kitchen. ;)

  • 9 years ago

    I can definitely relate to the need to work with pieces to which the other half is very attached! As I'm sure he needs to do with me ;)

    I think the colors in that granite will compliment the wall unit nicely. My concern (without being able to see pictures of adjoining spaces) is that the lines in the granite will look too busy with the lines of the stained glass.

  • 9 years ago

    Thanks everyone for the comments both positive and negative. The positive are easier to read but I do want opinions so I know their will be some negative. I have my concerns and my contractor said we can change the countertops until we take procession. Since demo starts in two weeks I don't have to decide right away. I can switch out to another surface when new cabs are in.

  • PRO
    9 years ago

    I participate in a writer's website where writer's post their latest work for constructive criticism. It can be difficult to take, but often the thing that will make you the best writer is not the thing you want to hear. We need a bit of that spirit here.

    I reread hollysprings original comment. It is blunt with a dark humor, but is in no way rude or condescending. As usual, her comments were spot-on.

    No one's going to gain by a bunch of threads with comments like "That's lovely." and "How nice."

    If those pants make your a$$ look fat, isn't it the job of your best girlfriend to tell you so before you go out in them? You've got a girlfriend here. Be grateful.

  • 9 years ago

    That wall unit is the attention grabber of the room, no doubt about it. But it sounds like she plans on keeping it. So, probably some suggestions along the lines of how to incorporate it into the design would be helpful. I am no expert, far from it, which is why I look here for ideas. I guess I would keep my kitchen a conservative style, neutral tones, nothing too busy or loud. I think that piece is hard to work around though.

  • 9 years ago

    Call, me crazy, I think it could work. The slab has some of the yellowish color from the stained glass, and while the stripes in it may call modern, they are also strong. The furniture piece is strong, so somehow the slab helps keep the furniture from taking over? Ok. Now even I think I sound crazy. But I still think it could work! (No designer here, just a cooker)

  • 9 years ago

    Ok. Back to countertop. If i do double ogee edge won't it look more traditional?? I was going to go with marble but I live with very messy people and not ready to stand over my kitchen counters with a cloth constantly wiping. and I do like the texture of the slabs I picked. They weren't the most linear white macaubas out there.

  • 9 years ago

    Holly is a man. Right? Which could explain why he's lacking some of the finesse and sensitivity of a girlfriend.

  • 9 years ago

    Haha peony I like the quote. I'm keeping that.

    FWIW I'd totally design and entire room around that gramophone if I had one. And a really cool old mansion with a conservatory or something. Also I'd have to figure out what a conservatory is...

    While I can appreciate Holly's bluntness, and I'd prefer my GFs to tell me if I look fat, if it were obvious I paid three million dollars for my jeans I'd hope they'd be kind enough to suggest ways to work with my obviously very expensive custom jeans. Tactful is classy even if it takes a bit of creative writing and forethought.

  • 9 years ago

    It looks like musicagal has solid dark countertops on the perimeter. It would make it considerably darker but is certainly a great option.

    I really like your slabs but have to agree that the strong lines make it look more modern, especially if you use the slabs everywhere.
    Could you find white macaubas that is less linear?

    [Traditional Kitchen Countertops[(https://www.houzz.com/products/traditional-kitchen-countertops-prbr1-br~t_439~s_2107) by Los Angeles Tile, Stone & Countertops Royal Stone & Tile

  • 9 years ago

    It just strikes me as funny that a material like the white macaubus that is what? millions of years old? has a look considered too contemporary for a piece of furniture made not all that long ago. When did we decide that lines are a contemporary look? Just wondering.

    When I picked my carrara slab I was a little dismayed that my choices were so contrasty with all the dark lines. Once in a horizontal position, the lines were less assertive and I love the look.

    There are also lines in the stained glass doors (to Narnia?).

  • 9 years ago

    I agree with nosoccoermom, a less linear slab may work. I think there is too much visual tension between the curvilinear details of the wall piece and the linear elements of the slab.

    It is a very interesting wall piece, and your home should be what YOU love. My MIL's house is completely different from mine, but she has a great eye for decor, just a different style.

    Let's see more slab options!

  • 9 years ago

    Regardless of whether one is a man or a woman, rude and condescending is still rude and condescending. I excuse neither.

  • 9 years ago

    linelle has a point. I wonder if someone could photoshop the counters on the OPs cabinets --- if she could show us.

    However, just because the material is old doesn't mean that the product looks "old", too. Apparently, this stone can be cross cut (more wavy) or vein cut (more linear).

    Similarly, there are 50,000 year old Kauri swamp trees that are being used for decidedly modern furniture.

  • 9 years ago

    The straight lines of the stone don't work with the curvy lines of the wood. You need something softer and much more of a ''fade into the background'' type look when you have something with such a strong pattern as a focal point. The eye sees too much visual complexity and competing focal points as ''noise''. It's not restful. Nor is it energizing. It's enervating. When you have a piece like that, you've got to be very careful to not let the room descend into overload.

  • 9 years ago

    It struck me as funny too that the ancient piece of rock was considered too contemporary for the wall unit even as I was typing it. The unit certainly has a lot of straight lines in it, but your eye is drawn to the curves and the ornate details. I think the colors in the slab work great, just needs softer details rather than the strong, straight lines that are so prominent.

    Tact is a great thing. If you're invited to a dinner party and are served a dish that you absolutely can't stand, what do you do? You can say nothing and pick around the offensive food and compliment the other offerings. You can explain to your hostess that, while it looks delicious, you've never cared for the flavor of xyz. Or you can take a bite, spit it across the room while announcing it is total crap.

    I could totally design a whole room around that gorgeous gramophone. Maybe Swentastic and I can design a conservatory together and share it. :)

  • 9 years ago

    I'm a failure at design, but just have to say, that is one beautiful wall piece. Looks massive, substantial. Definitely grabs all the attention in a room.

  • 9 years ago

    I couldn't find the white macaubas cut in the other non linear way. I don't have as much perimeter as I thought because I have added more drawers where I use to have counter so one side of kitchen wall with very small amount of counter. It is probably more analogous to two large islands.rather than a u shape with island. Will try to post plans later

  • 9 years ago

    I love your wall unit. It is really a fabulous piece that you've made functional.

    I also like your original slabs of marble. They don't look contemporary to me. I would stay away from metal or zinc since I think that can look too contemporary.

  • 9 years ago

    I tried an experiment which changed my mind about the suitability of the first granite. I said earlier I thought the linear pattern was OK with the media center. BUT I now realize I was looking only at the wood and NOT considering the dominance of the two patterned glass doors. This image reveals why I am now certain that this would be a less than satisfactory countertop.

    Yes, I know it will be adjacent, not part of the media center. But I now think it really is not compatible--as some others have said all along.

    I think the countertop needs to be chosen with that patterned glass in mind.

  • 9 years ago

    interesting photo! thanks

  • 9 years ago

    Like this taj mahal better?

  • 9 years ago

    Or this?

  • 9 years ago

    I have to say that I like the colors and especially the darker veins in the Macaubas better. On my monitor, I see a fair amount of pink in the last two stones.
    Can you call around and ask for a "cross cut" if that's indeed the technical term?
    Also, when you look at your counters, are you facing the wall unit? maybe you could use the Macaubas for the perimeter and the island a different stone or even wood?

  • 9 years ago

    i am starting to reconsider marble....

  • 9 years ago

    Marble would be a natural with that style. There are some specific sealers mentioned on the forum that people have no food damage issues with. There are also granites substituted for their resemblance to marble if you want something less worrisome with potential for patina.

    I wonder if the warmer calacatta gold would look good with the armoire.

    This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 15:15

  • 9 years ago

    The pattern of the Taj Majal I do like better. I am not seeing the pink undertone on my monitor but if it is there IRL that is a problem.

  • 9 years ago

    What's the stain resistance of the Taj Mahal or the Macaubas? Have you tested them?

  • 9 years ago

    i am having such a hard time picturing the slabs horizontal vs seeing them straight on.... the reason i picked those white macaubus was the colors and i thought it hard some of the "marbleness" qualities. this was the carrara slabs, the calcuta gold was very busy too

  • 9 years ago

    i tested the white macaubus and it was great - basically nothing stains or etches it. no piece of the taj mahal to test.

    i love the calcuta gold but so not into the chipping even if the staining and etching not an issue.

    i am not a fan of the quartzs...

    i am afraid of the wood in my house, we have ruined some beautiful cutting boards.

  • 9 years ago

    Are the cabinets that yellow color?

    I dont know but I might be inclined to do a strong countertop (I do like the Taj mahal though) to help draw attention and balance between the kitchen and the wall unit. I think the key is to avoid it being the kitchen cabinets and countertops that happen to be in the same room as that amazing entertainment center.

  • 9 years ago

    I think you need to look at striking a good balance of interest with the counter too. Not simply downplay the counter by making it plain. Of course maybe the cabinets or other features already counterbalance the armoire.

  • 9 years ago

    cabinets are called butterscotch it looks a bit more yellow in some pics and a little more carmel/brown in real life. island is distressed black

  • 9 years ago

    Some stones, when looked at by themselves or being focused on, you might think are "busy" because there is a lot of variation and veining -- but if the veining is not big ol' streaks but more a finer network (like the last picture above) I believe that when they are installed they don't come off as busy at all -- the eye tends to blend it all in.

  • 9 years ago

    I did not know the butterscotch square was your cabinet color. Very pretty! I don't think the grays or TM look good with it though. Now that calacatta gold might! I have not heard it chips more than other marbles. There have actually been some chipping threads on a variety of stones, including the manmade ones.

  • 9 years ago

    I love the media center piece, I don't think marble has anything to do with it, though. Marble is Italian, fine, delicate. I associate it most with Italy, and cold British kitchens as well as old 100+ years stairs in New York brownstones where the treads are worn in the center. It is popular with this gardenweb crowd where it is paired mostly with white.

    That piece is Bold and Columbian. I would go with a dark bold granite, or a honed black pearl. It would help to see the materials you are using.

    My home is quite modern in style, and I have a huge vintage tiered chandelier heavy with Austrian crystals that stands out quite beautifully. You can very successfully blend old and modern.

  • 9 years ago

    I'm not a purist and think the calacatta gold would look smashing, complementing the cabinetry and armoire, but I like the idea of a bold dark granite! I think it's worth checking out.

    This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 22:33

  • 9 years ago

    I'm not a designer, but I wanted to tell you what my experience with this stone has been.

    I have white macaubus quartzite, and I can tell you for sure that it looks really good on top of black cabinets. I don't know if the buttercup colored cabinets would look good with the macaubus. I think white, off white, light or dark grey, dark blue and black/off black look good with this stone. But I did see one pic on Houzz that had stained brown cabinets with it which looked good.

    You are right that it's easy to clean and care for. We treat it just like granite and it has not stained, chipped or etched.

    It fits well with the style of my kitchen and house. My kitchen is transitional. I don't have anything as bold as your entertainment center.

    All that being said, I think you should design everything around your entertainment center since you said you really like it and that it is definately staying.

    I already told you I'm not a designer, but just envisioning the macaubus counter, black cabinets below, buttercup colored uppers, and the large brown entertainment center - they just don't seem to go together.

    I think if I were you I'd decide which element you love the most and design around that.

    If you decide the central designing element is the quartzite, and you want the black cabinets under it, then maybe you could paint the entertainment center the same distressed black. But if you decide that the stained entertainment center is your favorite element, then maybe you do stained brown cabinets on the island under the quartzite to tie in the stained look.

    My semi-designer friend told me to always have elements int he room "talk" to each other. We didn't use a designer. This little bit of advice helped me out. Each finish or color has something else in the space that it talks to. If you give the entertainment center something to talk to in the kitchen (by painting it the same distressed black as the island, or having a stained element in the kitchen), then it will no longer be the elephant in the room; it will look like you always planned it to be there with your kitchen.

    Sorry to go on and on. Something about this post got to me!

  • 9 years ago

    pzbbbbd - what did you end up using in your kitchen? Can we see?? I've been thinking about this thread recently and am really curious to see your solution!

  • 9 years ago

    deleted - duplicate

    This post was edited by Swentastic on Thu, Nov 13, 14 at 16:52

  • 9 years ago

    Ok swentastic I just saw this. Only 90%done and I'm not sure why it's not photogenic but it feels different in person than when I see it in photos but since u asked....

  • 9 years ago

    It's a bit dark since I took it very early this morning.

  • 9 years ago

    And one more....

  • 6 years ago

    Veronique Bettez, you are definitely all in for Formica. Since this is a 2014 thread and the last post is the OP's final counter choice, your enthusiasm, alas, is pointless and just resurrected a zombie thread for no reason.

  • 6 years ago

    Veronique is definitely spamming and I've reported all her commentary in different posts.

  • 6 years ago
    Your kitchen with that arch and cabinets has sort of a gothic feel to it even though the blonde color is not a traditional gothic color. Seeing it as a whole I think that wall unit fits in nicely. Personal pieces that you love make a house a home. If you can't be surrounded by what you love in your own house, then where can you be? I do agree that stone has a more modern vibe. Wish I can see the photo while I'm writing. If there's an island maybe a deep walnut counter with a fancy edge. The granite or quartzite should have a more formal traditional look, not linear. Look at what they use in the traditional kitchens here for ideas.
  • 6 years ago
    Just noticed you already have a wood topped island. I would find a way to tone down the red in it. I don't think that reddish wood works.