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Black Venata Soapstone with Schuler Quartersawn Oak cabinets

4 years ago

Greetings and thank you to all GWers. I have just finished remodeling the kitchen of my 1918 cottage and in the process I’ve spent hours and hours on this site checking out advice on and images of soapstone counters. Many of the projects here featured white painted cabs, a few were done in cherry, but I didn’t see a lot of quarter sawn oak pairings with soapstone. I’m pleased to say that oak and soapstone is a really nice combination.

The cabinets in the pictures to follow are Schuler purchased through Lowe’s. I’m really pleased with them (excellent quality, beautiful finish) plus I ended up with a great designer through the store (SF Bay Area - Contra Costa). I specified the external dimensions of the cabinets and asked for pull out trays instead drawers in the base units (don’t get the craze for deep drawers at all) and left it to him to figure out the rest, including cramming cabinets into a very tight bay making up the stove-refrigerator-sink area and fitting a preserves cupboard tight up against a window in a way that allowed the doors to swing freely. This was my “Big Box” experience - he got everything exactly right in a kitchen without a single straight line (the floor drops an inch, the walls aren’t plumb) and everything fits like a charm. The general contractor, also through Lowe’s, did the demo, plumbing, cabinet install and one electrical plug in a five week period and all went super smoothly.

The soapstone counter install was through M. Teixeira in San Francisco. They too, did a great job. I purchased two slabs of Black Venata, which is on the softer end of the scale, (although you can’t scratch it with a fingernal). The BV has these really cool leopard fur-like dapples and glints of a mica-like material along with the greenish white veining. It is a _beautiful_ stone. And feels like silk.

The problems with soapstone in general, as I’ve read on this forum, is that it can scratch, or ding or chip, and that it can show oil spots in its natural gray state. Oil clings to soapstone but doesn’t seep into it. Eventually (maybe a week) the spots from cooking splatters etc. will evaporate but I’m here to tell potential soapstone buyers that the spots bothered me, especially since people want to see the new kitchen. Regular dish soap and a cloth doesn’t seem to remove them, but a degreaser like Simple Green and the scrubby side of a two part sponge, used _very_ gently does do the trick. I now do that if company is coming and don’t worry about oil spots otherwise. This is only an issue if you are leaving the soapstone in its natural gray color. If I choose to darken the soapstone with mineral oil any splatters would be invisible.

The other problem with soapstone, at least as opposed to my old Formica, is that it seems to attract cats. My sweet kitty (DC?) seems to be suddenly living out a fantasy of being a mountain lion. Formerly zero interest in being up on the counters. That said, I love having soapstone.

Final project - repainting my floor.

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