Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kitchen Remodel: Granite Countertops

Thank you all SO much for your input/suggestions on the kitchen sink! Between your comments on Facebook, emails, and comments here, I was able to really get some good feedback and advice. And, you gave me things to think about that I hadn't thought of at all. SO, THANK YOU! I'm still mulling over it, but very close to a decision.

Next up: The countertops.

This is probably the biggest decision we'll make because it's the most costly. And, because it really will significantly change the way our kitchen looks overall.

We have decided on granite. We researched every single type of countertop, and after looking at all of them, decided that we liked granite the best. We just love the look of the natural stone, the way it shines and reflects the light, and we're aware of and prepared to do the upkeep needed to keep it looking beautiful for years to come!

In terms of color/style, we've narrowed all the choices (and OH MY, are there choices!) down to essentially three different colors/styles. Each is very different from the next, and each (again!) has its pros and cons. SO, I'm going to do what we'll do when we sit in the showroom here shortly and make our choice, and show you each one we like next to one of our cabinet fronts. This cabinet was the closest match, but ours might be just a tad bit darker. It's close, though. Very close.

Again, here is our kitchen. Currently, it has white laminate countertops and black appliances. The black appliances are staying.

*Updated to add: Here is the other side of our kitchen - if you are standing at the island looking out. (The green accent walls stop at the end of the cabinets.) The natural light, primarily, comes from the bay windows and the doors to the deck. We are, however, also having recessed lighting installed throughout the main work area in the kitchen.

Countertop #1: Brown/Black

I really like how classy this one is. It's earthy and natural and I think it also pairs well with the lighter ceramic tile on the floor. And, I like the way it looks with the cabinets. To me, this is the most traditional. I can't decide what I think of that. I like traditional, but I also like something a little edgy and something a little different, too. Make sense?

Countertop #2: Gold/Beige

Originally, I wasn't considering anything from the gold/beige family. But, when I saw it next to our cabinets, it seemed to really make them pop and give this light and airy feeling to the kitchen. I love that. BIG plus on this one: It will hide black, brown, and white crumbs. We create LOTS of each and sometimes, crumbs sit on my counters for hours a while. Concern: Is is too light with the lighter tiled floor or a good complement to it?

Countertop #3: Black

I had black granite countertops in my last house, and I LOVED them. I love the modern edge they bring to a kitchen, and I like the sleek look of black granite. When it's clean! Downside: It shows EVERYTHING! A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is its worst nightmare. I think the black would be a great contrast to the tiled floor, and add that modern edge to a more otherwise traditional kitchen. But, is it practical with four children? Do I choose based on practical?

One of the MAIN things I've learned while researching granite countertops is NOT to pick based solely on what I like in a showroom or magazine, but what goes with my particular kitchen. I may like cayman blue countertops at the Florida beach house in Coastal Living magazine, but if they don't "fit" with the style of my house, then installing them in my kitchen is a big mistake.

SO, I'm open to any color/style of granite that will work in this space - which is why the three choices above are all so different. I'm really just not sure and I'm not leaning towards one over another at this point.

Three different choices. Each one creates a different feel in the kitchen.

#1: Brown/Black

#2: Gold/Beige

#3: Black

What do you think? What's your favorite? Any other pros/cons you can think of that I haven't listed for any of these?

Again, I'd LOVE your thoughts!


  1. If the decision were mine, I'd choose option #2 gold/beige.

    I wouldn't choose #3 black because I'd be afraid that with a black countertop AND black appliances, there may be more black going on than I'd like. Add in the impracticality of black counters, and for me, I'd have to vote a resounding no.

    With #1 and/or #3, I'd be fearful that the room is going to look/feel too dark. It appears that you only have the one fairly small window to let in natural light. Granted, you may get more natural light than the pictures in your blog seem to show or can compensate by adding more lighting (especially task lighting) - $$, but overall, I'd just rather have the room be/feel lighter/brighter than darker -- and more conducive to working/playing/gathering in the heart of your home.

    And #2 does add some pop with the cabinets, as you mentioned. Personally, I've always been more concerned about how well the counters and cabinets "play together" since they're literally right next to each other and less concerned about well well the counters and the flooring "play together" since there's a good bit of space/distance between the counters and flooring. And it would appear from the photos that there's enough dark in the counters that it won't feel as light as the flooring, thus providing some contrast. And most importantly, it won't show dirt/crumbs ... and with four little ones, you aren't going to be wanting to have to continually wipe the counters. So while I wouldn't make the decision solely on practicality, IMHO it certainly plays an important role in the decision-making process.

    So which sink did you choose? ;-)

  2. I would paint the oak cabinets white.

    Then put black granite on top. Think Ina Garten's kitchen. (Food network)


  3. I'd choose #2. It gives contrast to the other elements.

    Something you may know already - granite can contain high levels of radon. You'll want to test it before it's installed.

  4. Our cabinets are lighter in color and we went with a granite close to #2 - we love them and receive a ton of compliments on the combination all the time. It does hide dirt / crumbs very well and we have a lighter floor as well. Black appliances and black pulls on the cabinets. It really ties all together nicely. Of course stainless appliances would look lovely with it too!

  5. I have the Black and Gold and they are beautiful but lets just say they really hide every thing. Maybe be difficult with children. I think #2 looks nice if you are leaving the walls green.

  6. #2 for me... I also love the look of the darker ones, but most members of my extended family have black or mostly black and the fingerprints, crumbs, peanutbutter smears, drive me NUTS. I honestly feel like no matter how much you clean, they never actually look clean, and that bothers me. Your kids aren't going anywhere for awhile, and the dirty-look would bother me (personally).

  7. i love black countertops! i would go with #3. it is so unexpected and modern. i googled images of black counters with black appliances, and i have to say, i think it looks good. and if you ever decide to get stainless, that will look great, too.

    i have countertops similar to #1, which also looks good. but there is just something about the black that I love!

  8. OK, so I'm going to disagree with just about everyone and say #1. The thing about the gold/beige, is if you have light cabinets, light granite, and light floors it may look really...blah. I think you need more color/contrast than just what paint might be able to give you if everything else is beigy-beige.

    I like the black counters and liked them at your old house. But your cupboards at the new house seem more traditional-looking than the old house and I'm not sure the modern feel of the black granite would suit the more traditional feel of the cabinets in your new house. Not to mention, 4 kids means 4 times the crumbs and that might drive you mad.

    However, I do like someone else's suggestion about painting the cabinets white and doing the black granite. I might put up with crumbs for that look. :)

  9. I'm afraid of patterns in decorating, so I would go with the black. That is what we did in our new kitchen....with white cabinets though. We got it with an antiqued finish, so you can't see crumbs or smudges. It doesn't have the shine you love though....just thought I would mention it since it isn't a popular option. I do like the other choices as well. Sorry, I'm not any help. The granite was THE hardest decision we made.

  10. I consider countertops to be a long term investment. I pick #2 because it seems the most versatile.

    I like the black countertops, but I agree with Faith that they would work better with white cabinets.

    #2 looks great with the kitchen as-is, and I also think they'll look great 10 years from now if you change your appliances (say, to stainless steel, if that's still in style).

    #1 is a bit too busy for my taste.

    Then again, I'm still sportin' green '90s laminate countertops, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

  11. YAY! You know I love home improvement.

    My vote is #2.

    Don't take this the wrong way if #1 is really your favorite, but I think that color/style of granite looks cheaper than the others. As in, "we didn't want to spend our $ on what we REALLY wanted, so we settled for this one." I tour lots of houses with my inlaws (random, I know, but it's their hobby) and #1 granite definitely looks/feels a bit cheap/builder basic (even if it's not!)

    AND I really like the idea of painting the cabinets white. But I'm partial to that! It just freshens/modernizes up the space, I think.

    I agree with Jenni that #2 COULD be a bit blahish so you'd have to be intentional about accents/wall color/etc to make sure everything wasn't in the beige family.

    And my counters are usually crummy (and pre-kids, at that!) so I'd stay away from black for that reason!

  12. We just put granite in our kitchen and did the same granite as in#2. It's awesome. I'd write more about it and its awesomeness but am on my phone and didn't want to not vote! :)

  13. A lot of votes for #2... and it has to be said I don't have any children so my first vote is black (also love the cabinets being painted white but wow what a project that can be). So taking kids and crumbs into it, my vote is #1. It has the best of the other two in it :)

  14. I love # 1 and I think it looks great with the cabinets, but #2 really looks like authentic granite. If I were doing this project, I would probably choose #2, but put black stone tile on the backsplash. I didn't vote on the sink, but I definitely would choose 60/40. Who can live without a double sink, and it is nice to have a smaller one for smaller jobs....not to mention conserving resources for the next generation! happy shopping!

  15. I was torn between #1 and #2, but I really think #2 is my favorite. I don't like the black with the light wood, but I know you can make it look gorgeous if that's what you choose.

  16. A lot of people have chosen the gold, but it seems that it would all be too light with that. I like the drama of the darker colors. so I would choose the brown/black or black. I have brown/ black and it hides crumbs well.

  17. Another vote for #2, for many of the same reasons mentioned above. I think the black looks too sleek and modern for your kitchen/house, and with the light floors I think it would be too much contrast for something that takes up that much surface space (if you had wood floors and darker cabinets it might work better). Same goes for the darkness of #1, but with that one it's also kind of busy and dramatic and might draw too much attention to itself instead of blending in. #2 is a classy neutral and I think it coordinates the best with the other elements of your kitchen.


  18. I think I would go with #2 or #1 ... I think the black with the black appliances would be a too dark

  19. If you're keeping the green walls, which I think look nice, I would go with the gold/beige. It would blend everything together and flow nicely. I love your new home, looks awesome. ! I would love to have that counter space and island in my kitchen.

  20. Black and Brown. The larger pattern is wonderful and the colors fit the home so nicely. The smaller pattern I have never liked in granite just my taste, I like the black as well but would not keep the cabinets there current color if you did that. either a darker stain something more cherry or walnut or painted white for a more "modern country" feel

  21. Go with #1 or #2, you will not go wrong with either of one. Even though the black is lovely, having 6 children myself, don't make life difficult - it is hard enough already!


  22. #1, good mix of appliances and cabinet color. The black may be too much with the black appliances, and choice #2 is very popular, and that is why I would choose #1.

  23. Ok, my vote is def against the all black and solely for the crumb/smear issue... that alone stopped me in my tracks b/c who needs that added stress at this stage of life with 4 little ones? NOT ME! It does look sharp but if it isn't going to look sharp without driving you crazy on a daily basis, I say it isn't worth it... wait till the kids are older and your in a new house or do a remodel.

    That being said, I like option 1... it has the black in it, adds some color and I just like the way it looks.

    Can't wait to see what you choose!

  24. I'm a designer and have been faced with nearly every cabinet / granite / flooring / appliance combo you can think of. My preference is #1 because it contrasts well with the floor, cabinets and appliances. #2 is my second choice but I think it's too close to the floor color and too much of a contrast with the black appliances. One thing to keep in mind is that the green on the walls is a cool color and the cabinets are warm and so are your countertop choices. I consider black a neutral so it can go either warm or cool depending on what it's used with.

  25. #2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. I would choose number 2. Maybe because of the luster. White's just too typical for me. We're actually getting ready for our first major kitchen remodeling. Minneapolis has this group that does remodeling for you. They've done a great job in the other rooms of the house. I know they're going to do the same for our kitchen! For a long time, they've been the only kitchen remodelers Minneapolis has that I'm always calling whenever we're going to have any part of our house remodeled.

  27. Our preference is usually #1 as it contrasts properly using the flooring, cabinets and also home equipment. #2 is usually my second selection nevertheless I do think it really is far too nearby the flooring color and also too much of the form a contrast using the african american home equipment. A very important factor to make note of is usually that the natural within the partitions is really a cool color and also the cabinets tend to be comfortable and are also the counter tops alternatives. granite countertops seattle

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