Happy Countertop Day!

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That’s what Scott and I said to each other this week, because you guys, we have counters! I was hoping to get this update out sooner, but if this kitchen re-do has proven anything, it’s that things don’t always work on our ideal timeline, and every step takes ten times longer than anticipated. In regards to counter and cabinets, there are still things that aren’t complete – trim is needed under the counters to hide leveling shims, we’re continuing to tweak the cabinets to align just so, and we need to touch up paint where we caulked the tiniest of gaps along these old uneven walls. Scott calls this the remaining 5%, but it’s that 5% that we think escalates any project from pretty good to impeccable. The cabinets are in? The counters are installed? Great! Those checklist items are 95% there. It’s that 5% that drives me absolutely batty, but it’s worth it. That 5% makes a room.

But rather than hold out until we’ve nitpicked our way through that remaining percent of cabinet and counter install, let’s just celebrate how far we’ve come since our last update!

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We’ve also installed a large single bowl sink and touchless faucet, both of which have changed our entire workflow in the best possible way. We’ll share more details on that in a separate post, but these counters! We had no idea that there would be such a heated debate on black vs. white countertops, and you all raised some great points on the pros and cons of each. In the end, we switched gears entirely and chose white macauba quartzite (be still my heart) from MGSI and had them installed by local fabricators. Once the hard part of choosing the stone was behind us, working with our fabricators has been, hands down, the smoothest part of our kitchen journey. They not only had me come in to help with layout, but because the veining on our slab ran diagonally, they agreed to make their cuts on a diagonal as well. This resulted in a pattern that ran parallel along our wall, helping to ease our obsessive minds. Bonus: we had enough leftover from our slab to cut a small round tabletop that – eventually – we’ll be using in our living room!

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On a side note, I just realized the above stove photo was taken at 1:37. Who loves Empire Records? And just because.

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Also, that unfortunate refrigerator surround was resolved! A new, wider panel was put in place, and as a result, all those cabinets bumped out. The difference is everything, as is the filled-in gap above our stove with the microwave. On the same day as the fridge tweak, the microwave was installed by our contractors – a necessity for proper ventilation (because in no way did we feel comfortable cutting a hole to the exterior of our house). We’ve since moved all our stuff back into the kitchen and made a big, legitimate grocery run to celebrate! Even after putting everything away, there’s a lot of empty space for room to grow. That felt momentous after months of digging through boxes for plates, forks and coffee.

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The sea of white cabinets will get some contrast once we add dark hardware, and our island (so close) will add oomph! as well. You’ll notice that our drywall isn’t perfect above the counters, but it’ll do for tile installation. Our under cabinet lighting wire is still exposed, but we’re making progress there, too. Our biggest hold up so far is that back wall, as we’re still stunted by the non-existent sidelights and transom, leaving that project at a stand still. (“Back order” is a dirty, dirty word, and to say we’re frustrated doesn’t cover it!) In any case, our weekend to-do lists keep growing instead of shrinking (why! how!), but the dominoes have been tipped, and now we’re full steam ahead.

PS… We’re sharing our best tips with Bali Blinds on what to look for when buying vintage. Take a look!

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  • Traci - February 19, 2015 - 7:16 AM

    I LOVE the counters, and everything will look so beautiful with the dark hardware added. I’m currently searching for a place to rent in a new city, and the number one thing I wish I could choose & fix is the kitchen, so I’m especially lusting after yours right now!ReplyCancel

  • jordan - February 19, 2015 - 7:51 AM

    The countertops look great! I personally wouldn’t normally gravitate towards ones that light, but I’m really loving them! Excited to see the dark hardware on the bright white cabinets :)ReplyCancel

  • Brenda - February 19, 2015 - 8:29 AM

    You do all the things right. I love how you have the time and patience to make it classic and perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey d. - February 19, 2015 - 8:37 AM

    Oh, but that last 5% is the hardest… The kitchen looks amazing and I LOVE the counters!ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - February 19, 2015 - 8:43 AM

    Those counters have me drooling!ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne J - February 19, 2015 - 8:52 AM

    Oh my goodness. I just posted about my new kitchen but now I have kitchen envy! I love all the white, white, and white!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2015 - 8:59 AM

      Yes, it IS very white right now! This is basically the first layer (the subway tile too), but then we’ll be bringing in contrast with the island, art and runner! All those pieces will (hopefully!) bring it together in the end.ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - February 19, 2015 - 8:55 AM

    I just love your countertops! Seems like a perfect balance of color and texture without being overpowering or impractical.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2015 - 9:00 AM

      Thanks, Laura! Yeah, after first wanting white counters, then switching to black and THEN going back to white, we are so in love with these. The base is more of a warm gray, so it doesn’t feel too sterile, and it’s a soft contrast against the cabinets.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Bee - February 19, 2015 - 10:07 AM

    You don’t need to share your specific cost… but was the quartzite significantly more expensive than the similar white granite options?

    I ask because we initially wanted a white quartz but the one we want is about $5,000 compared to about $3,000 in a similar toned granite. I’ve heard quartzite is even more pricey than quartz, but your choice is beautiful and similar to what we are looking for!

    Thanks for your input. We have some pretty lame laminate counters to replace…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2015 - 10:15 AM

      No problem! The thing we learned about stone countertops is that the price REALLY varies by region. The first white granite option in our countertop post was by far the “cheapest” option, but we just couldn’t get past the speckled look that we thought could look dated in a few years. So when we switched gears to Black Orion granite, we really, really struggled with this decision (especially after there was a LARGE outcry from readers that claimed they loathed their black granite!).

      Finally, we found the white macauba (which a reader had actually suggested), and it was a mid-range priced quartzite. There were quartz options that were much higher in cost to the quartzite, but they weren’t even as durable as the quartzite! We even took a bunch of samples home and put them to the test with lime juice and cleaners. And to answer your question, yes, the quartzite was almost double the cost of the granite.

      All that to say, our quartzite was the single biggest splurge in our kitchen, but we knew they would make us happy every time we walked in the room with NO regrets.

      PS… have you chosen a fabricator yet for your countertops? We shopped around, and while some were able to offer a better price, we really wanted to work with someone in our ‘hood to support local business. We straight up told the local biz the better price that another fabricator gave us, and without hesitation, they went LOWER than their competition. We already loved their reviews and customer service, so it was a no brainer!ReplyCancel

      • Ashley Bee - February 19, 2015 - 11:31 AM

        Thanks so much for the detailed reply!

        We are just in the initial planning stages at this point, but we will definitely be shopping around! Thankfully our Indianapolis-area tends to stay pretty budget friendly compared to larger metro areas on the coasts.

        Our big splurge in the new kitchen is the fridge. http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/refrigerators/RF32FMQDBSR/AA It’s like a French Door and Side-By-Side mated and had a perfect love child. Can. Not. Wait. :DReplyCancel

  • Emily - February 19, 2015 - 10:14 AM

    I LOVE how your kitchen is coming together – that countertop/cabinet combination! We have white cabinets and are getting a white marbled countertop, which had me second-guessing how white the kitchen was going to be, but your pictures are re-boosting my confidence. The finishing touches will most definitely bring everything together :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2015 - 10:17 AM

      Yup, this is still the base layer. It’s that last 5% that’ll change everything! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - February 19, 2015 - 2:17 PM

    I think the question is, “who doesn’t love Empire Records?”
    That being said, the countertops are amazing!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2015 - 2:25 PM

      Haha, thanks! It’s a passion that runs deep.ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - February 19, 2015 - 3:15 PM

    It looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Clever Girl Reviews - February 19, 2015 - 5:27 PM

    I really like the counter material.ReplyCancel

  • Layne - February 19, 2015 - 6:01 PM

    Excellent choice on counters! We have black counters, and I honestly hate them. Every little crumb and speck of dirt shows and makes them look filthy when they’re not. I’m looking to replace them in the near future, and I’m loving yours!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2015 - 6:06 PM

      Thanks, Layne! We love the look of black counters, but that was the overwhelming consensus when we shared our options last months (and we weren’t expecting that!). The counters in our condo were ALMOST black (dark, dark brown granite with flecks), and we never had a problem. But even still, this kitchen will have a lot of light coming in once the back wall is complete, and we realized that could enhance any dust/crumbs visually…ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - February 19, 2015 - 9:54 PM

    Love it! I am going for an all white kitchen too (including appliances) which should be getting installed in a few weeks! This makes me feel so much more confident in my choices. We can only afford laminate bench tops though and Im a little worried that white laminate might stain, especially when my boyfriend does the cooking but we’ll see. Can’t wait to see it done with all those finishing touches!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 19, 2015 - 10:07 PM

      Awesome! White appliances aren’t something we would have ever considered until we looked into them a little more. They’ve come a long way! So shiny and glossy and every bit as luxurious as stainless. Good luck during your reno!ReplyCancel

  • Monika - February 22, 2015 - 10:56 AM

    Swoon! It all looks fabulous. While I was always in favor of the whole white thing, it’s turned out better than I imagined. Well done guys!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - February 23, 2015 - 12:46 PM

    ZOMG, it looks SO GOOD!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - February 24, 2015 - 11:12 AM

    They look amazing! And yeah the fridge bump out definitely makes it look more purposeful and finished. (And hooray for Empire Records!) :)ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - February 25, 2015 - 6:27 AM

    Looks amazing. I adore the countersReplyCancel

  • Terra J - February 25, 2015 - 10:03 AM

    The kitchen is my favorite place in my house. It’s bright and open, and most importantly clean. I do love your slide out racks under your sink. I’m definitely going to upgrade this weekend.ReplyCancel

  • Alexa~FurnishMyWay - February 25, 2015 - 11:57 AM

    Wow! I love that counter top. It’s absolutely stunning and totally swoon-worthy! Everything looks great. And that sink faucet– My word! What a timeless, clean piece! Great pick!ReplyCancel

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