Over two years ago we finally moved in to this house we had been remodeling for about 9 months. The remodel was no picnic. In fact, making expensive design choices, babysitting contractors, shuffling back and forth to the house everyday to monitor progress with children + newborn in tow while also trying to carry on a normal life nearly did me in. On the flip side we did get a beautiful house in the end and we’re really enjoying living in it.
Hemming and hawing over design choices was tougher than I thought. I can design a space for someone else in no time flat but when it comes to making decisions for myself, that’s a whole different ballgame. I can totally appreciate the financial and emotional investment that goes in to it.
Now that it’s two years later I’m giving you an in-depth review on the choices we made. This week I’m going to break every aspect down in our kitchen.
First up counters.
If you remember I spent many sleepless nights reading reviews on different counter tops and conducted quite a few discussions on this blog about them. Now that I’ve actually lived with all my choices here’s what I like/don’t like and would do/not do over again…
One of the toughest decision was counters. I wanted something timeless and beautiful. We ended up going with Soapstone for the island and Calacatta Marble for the perimeter.
Soapstone is a non-porous material that has a high amount of talc making it soft but it’s also heat resistant. Some soapstones can look really chalky depending on the level of talc. People recommend oiling it often to bring out the richness but there is no rule. I think I have oiled it 3 times since we’ve had it. To be honest, I don’t feel like oiling makes that big of a lasting result and you just end up with oil everywhere.
One of the biggest selling points was that it was non-porous and heat resistant. The last thing I needed was a big purple stain from my kids painting on the counter. It’s lived up to that selling point. My kids give that counter a beating. Cranberry juice, markers and sloppy joe’s haven’t made one lasting mark.
Heat resistant…I don’t know. I never put hot pans directly on it without a trivet. Not going to test that theory. However, soapstone is typically used in labs for their counter top surfaces. It’s got to be pretty tough to come in to contact to the stuff that goes on in labs.
When they say soapstone is soft, it’s no lie…it’s REALLY soft. It scratches quite easily. But the beauty about it is that a scratch can heal with a little oil or light sanding. I’ve never attempted sanding out a scratch because #1. I don’t dare take sand paper to stone no matter how fine of grit it is and #2…I just don’t have the time. I have noticed that if we just leave a scratch alone it’s gone within a week due to the amount of natural oils from hands, food, etc. that come in to contact with it.
Because it is so soft I have a butcher block that I leave on my counter permanently so there’s not temptation to cut directly on the counter. When I do move it to clean underneath you can see there’s an imprint where the counter doesn’t come in to contact with food or oil. It doesn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I’m pretty confident that it would go away if I used it normally and allowed it to come in to contact with normal wear and tear use.
Verdict: I have loved soapstone and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Next up…our perimeter honed Calacatta Marble counters…
I delight in the beauty of this white stone with gray veining. I hear angels sing when I look at it. I imagine the streets in heaven to be made of…not gold…Calacatta marble. It’s that good.
And there’s a BIG “BUT”…
It scares the living daylights out of me.
I treat this stone like it’s got the plague.
I was told that Calacatta was high maintenance. I was warned it’s highly porous and stains easily. I was notified that it could scratch and etch.
I did it anyway.
And what have I learned after two years?
That it IS high maintenance, that it IS high porous and stains easily, that it DOES scratch and etch easily.
I once had a party and someone put down a yellow, greasy spoon on the counter. I found it an hour later and to this day I have a yellow, greasy stain on the counter.
No amount of wiping or buffing could get that clean. There is a formula called a poultice may be able to remove it but I haven’t got around to that step yet.
My point is, that Calacatta Marble has turned me in to a neurotic maniac.
Make a mess anywhere in my house, just don’t dare breath on my Calacatta counters.
Those counters have seriously made me need to see a therapist.
This is a shot of that water stains right by the kitchen sink.
When it comes to stone nothing compares to the beauty of Calacatta marble in my book. But it comes at a price.
It pains me to say this but…um…I’m even having a hard time typing this…
the Calacatta may have been a mistake.
Gasp. Sigh. Tears.
I wanted that relationship to work so badly.
No, I’m not going to tear it out. I’ll just continue on gazing at it but never using it. I will keep the yellow caution tape up around it.
I love the look but next time I would probably consider doing a marble tiled back splash instead.
VERDICT: Would not do marble again in the kitchen.
What kind of counters do you have in your kitchen? Do you like them / don’t like them?