When we first moved in the house the exterior counters were a yellowed solid surface, and the island granite, with one piece obviously a different slab and color but close enough to let it go. We knew the priority would be the exterior counters. We did the kitchen in stages, for budget reasons, for timing and because I wanted to make sure I was 100% happy with my final decisions.
I chose quartz as my exterior counters. I love them but to be honest I probably only 98% love them, the other 2% still wonders if I would have been happier with marble. I keep telling myself I love the no upkeep of these and I still have the overall look I love.
So the kitchen renovations began with painting the cabinets, sanding and refinishing the floors, replacing appliances, lights, replacing the exterior counters, and adding the beveled subway back-splash. The last project was the sink and the island counters. For over a year I poured over internet pictures, visited showrooms and granite distributors, did I want recycled glass? Could I commit to that much pattern? I still love the recycled glass and I am determined a bathroom vanity will have to have it somewhere.
Then I decided concrete, and as if it was meant to be HGTV began a new show called Fixer Upper and they loved and showcased concrete counters. I dragged my husband in front of the TV every chance I could to try to convince him that was the perfect option for the overall look we both wanted, no such luck. He was adamant no concrete. Rarely does he have such a strong opinion when it comes to the house so I conceded and moved to plan B soapstone.
Here are a few of my inspiration pictures of concrete counters.
He agreed to the soapstone or at least entertained the idea of going to look at the slabs. I am not sure he loved it but I think he felt so bad about dashing my concrete dreams that he saw this as a peace offering. We went to one of our local distributors and began to look at soapstone slabs.
I loved the peaceful gray with white veining running across the slabs and was almost ready to purchase when at the last minute I second guessed myself. I loved the gray, not the black that it becomes when oiled ( the process recommended when owning soapstone) I asked if I could just forgo the oiling and was told yes but that it would still naturally patina over time due to the oils in our hands and that it just wouldn’t be in a uniform fashion like it would be if it was oiled. There went my soothing gray.
I asked is there a granite that is close to the over all look of soapstone, they showed me Virginia Mist aka as Jet mist. I loved it, it looked very close to soapstone but with the ease of granite and no oiling so it would always be gray.
Eureka-let’s sign off on a slab and get started…not so fast. We wanted a particular finish, leathered and we were told Virginia Mist for some reason due to its hardness did not take to the leathering process well, we could have it honed but not leathered. Quick info on granite. Polished granite, the shiny finish most often seen on granite counter-tops, absolutely gorgeous but not the look we wanted. Then there is honed and leather finish. If we were talking about paint on the walls, polished would be gloss, honed would be matte paint and leather finish would be textured.
Well that was a deal breaker the one thing above all my husband asked for was the leather finish.
Were we ever going to get a island counter? Right as we were ready to throw in the towel for the day my husband spotted a slab towards the back of the warehouse. The slab named Matrix was in the gray/black family and it was already leathered. It was like nothing either of us had seen before and we loved it instantly. We called the fabricator to make sure it could take the edge detail we wanted and when we heard yes, we bought the slab.
The counters exceeded our expectation. We had the gray, we had the leather finish and even with the matte finish the granite we chose had plenty of shimmer and sparkle and we got the finished edge we wanted, the raw/chiseled/rock chip edge. I don’t think we could have been anymore pleased, even if it was concrete. This counter was perfection.
Now to pick the sink and faucet. That was the easy part, we wanted a farmhouse sink, did we want stainless or white? White- done. We chose the original Shaw fire-clay sink. It is even more beautiful in person then in pictures. Choosing the faucet next- we wanted a more vintage feel. I love the look of the two handled bridge faucets, but we are always cooking , I knew the ease of being able to use the back of my hand to turn a levered faucet on if I had any food or baking mess on my hands. So the Rohl Country Single handle faucet and matching accessories completed the set. We hired a contractor to build the support for the new sink it had to be able to hold 190 lbs and finish the cabinet area with new custom shortened cabinet doors. I love the look, I do miss my trash cans under the sink if we are being completely honest but I am learning to adapt 🙂
One large hiccup was we ordered an instant hot faucet and somehow we overlooked that we needed power under the sink, an actual power outlet, it could not be hardwired into where the dishwasher was, so an electrician came in, put an outlet under the sink and used the same circuit as the garbage disposal. In the bonus column I got a new outlet receptacle on the counter, in the minus column the switch to power the garbage disposal in now inside the cabinet under the sink. Hopefully not for long. For the most romantic Valentines gift ever request I am asking for a push button to be installed on the top of the counter in between the instant-hot and the faucet for the garbage disposal. Some girls want jewelery I want a garbage disposal button.
Honey just in case you are reading here is a picture, but we would need chrome 🙂