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How to Choose Your Countertop Soulmate

This post is in partnership with Lowe’s. We’re overhauling our kitchen and mudroom with Lowe’s and sharing our experience with you! Here’s our initial design meeting, and this is how we pieced together panels + fillers

Our Tree House kitchen countertops are in! If you’ve been following along on our Stories (we’ve been saving updates in our tree house highlights), you know that we had to make some game time decisions on counter fitting day. Which, by the way, we all had a good laugh when my inbox flooded with thoughts of, Kim, did you say counterfeiting day?! (More on ‘fitting day’ in a minute.) Now that they’re installed, we are so, so happy with the overall look, color and edges.

We’ve been eager to share how a project of this size will unfold, especially when it comes to a gut kitchen renovation with the help of Lowe’s. It’s more than a before and after; our overall goal has always been to alleviate some of the worries that any of us may have, and we have always enjoyed having you alongside us for the ride, sharing your own helpful experiences, too. Leading up to this point in our renovation, we have learned so much about shopping for and choosing and our countertops, and our Lowe’s experience has been different than past renovations. Dare I say, easier?

Our Lowe’s Countertop Shopping Experience

We’ve taken you through our initial design meeting with a Lowe’s Design Specialist, and it was during this meeting that we solidified our countertop choice. We browsed their massive wall of samples. We ran our hands over the options, noted the movement in some materials versus others and asked questions about the durability of granite versus quartz. In the end, we chose Silestone quartz countertops in Eternal Statuario, which is a neutral off-white base with very subtle gray veining throughout. Because our Silestone quartz is a man-made engineered stone, we didn’t need to go to a stone yard to choose our slab. Essentially, the pattern and movement would be consistent throughout!

A few weeks after that design meeting, we scheduled the delivery of our cabinets, and soon after, we received a call from the stone fabricator. At that point, we chose two dates on the calendar that would happen after the cabinet were in place: the first was for the fitting/measuring, and the second was for the install.

Our Lowe’s countertop shopping experience was, in a nutshell, as straightforward as it gets. But of course, how do you know if you’re choosing the right countertop for you? Which countertop is your countertop soulmate? Here’s what helped us feel great about our decision from start to finish!

Go back to what inspires you.

We went into that design meeting not knowing which direction we wanted to take, but we did have inspiration images from around the web at the ready. Our designer suggested we begin by choosing countertops, followed by cabinets, and we asked if we could do the reverse – cabinets and then counters. For us, we wanted to nail the style and finish of our cabinets, because it felt like the biggest question in our renovation. Once it was decided we would use white cabinets, we scrolled back through our bookmarked photos and really honed in on the cabinet/counter combinations. Not surprisingly, the majority of the images were mostly tone-on-tone.

Consider your lifestyle.

Tree House is a place where we see our families and friends gathering for big pasta dinners, chili around a campfire and long conversations over a great bottle of wine. Do you sense a theme of all the things that can stain, splatter and spill? We need this home to be tough. We don’t want to lay in bed at night, wondering if we wiped up the wine spill or if someone left a lemon wedge on the countertops. Although marble is our dream stone, we knew it wouldn’t be practical in this space, and quartz easily won out as our top choice material not only for its durability, but also for its ability to mimic the look of marble! If quartz is also your top choice but you fear it may not be in the budget, it’s worth asking the specialist at your store. The countertop selection at Lowe’s is categorized into pricing tiers, which was helpful.

Don’t forget your samples!

After deciding on white cabinets, we thought we might maybe go with matte black stone, but when we considered the tile we’d be using for the backsplash, we switched gears and fell hard for Eternal Statuario. From afar, the counters looks mostly white, but up close, the movement of the veining is so subtle. Peaceful. The hardest part about designing our Tree House is that we need to keep reminding each other to pull back. Keep it simple. With our darker tile (this allen + roth subway tile in pearl), we knew that the white and gray stone would contrast nicely.

Choose the finish and edge that suits your style.

Speaking of pulling back, we chose a basic eased edge – but consider your personal style here! The edge style is a chance to incorporate an unexpected design element. Our countertop choice also had two finish options: Glossy or Suede. Suede has a very low sheen, and we were immediately drawn to that. For our casual little Tree House, it felt like a great complement to the matte black and leather touches we’ll have throughout.

Be present during the measure and fit.

On counter fitting day, there were a few things to consider that I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise, and I’m so glad I was present to address them on the spot! The measuring took almost no time at all, and before the Lowe’s representative left, he went over a 2D rendering of how our countertops would look. On our island, he incorporated a rounded edge, and on the inside corner of the L-shape row of cabinets, he added an equally rounded edge. In my mind, I was envisioning an almost-90 degree turn in both cases, and that was my opportunity to speak up! In our area, he mentioned that it was more common for a much more rounded edge, but he was able to easily update his renderings and address my request on the spot. In addition, he explained that a 1.5″ overhang was typical, but I scaled that back to 1.25″; it’s the little things, and this was our chance to make everything just so.

When in doubt …

Remember that a countertop can be a big – and worthwhile! – investment, which can be just as costly to change. If you’re looking to make a bold statement, consider putting your stamp on other areas that can be switched up easily, such as wall color and accessories. You can never go wrong with sticking to the classics for the foundation pieces.

There’s an effortless feel about the white, wood and subtle-y veined counters, and now that they’re in, we’re reminded that we’re thisclose to the finish line. Up next? Tile. Floating Shelves. Stocking the cabinets!

We’d love to hear of any other tips or first-hand experiences you’d like to share when it comes to choosing, shopping or installing countertops!

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  • Kevin6.26.18 - 6:42 AM

    Looks great! That photo of the peninsula with the fridge in the background looks particularly amazing — you guys are killing it!ReplyCancel

  • Malia6.26.18 - 12:43 PM

    It looks SO good!!! And I’ve been dying to see the finished fridge. Totally LOVE it! Those panels & hardware 😍 Amazing job as always, you guys.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle6.26.18 - 12:51 PM

    That quartz looks absolutely beautiful! We have marble countertops in our kitchen and while I love them, I caution everyone about the wear and tear. I’ve gotten used to the acid etched spots everywhere, but there are some chips in the stone near the sink (and it’s just the 2 of us!) that worry me a bit. Anyway, kudos on all your design choices – I love seeing that big box stores have such great options, too!ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.26.18 - 2:28 PM

      Thanks! We love marble and actually really like the way it wears over time, but as we eventually get to the point where this may be an Airbnb, we cringe at the thought of others not being careful.ReplyCancel

  • susan6.26.18 - 1:16 PM

    Looks great! I love the simple edge you chose. I was hoping for some details around your lovely farmhouse sink… did I miss that post?ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa6.26.18 - 5:54 PM

    Ah, we still miss the Quartz counter-tops from our last house! Stuck with laminate here but I have big plans for the next house.ReplyCancel

  • Elisa Hach6.26.18 - 6:40 PM

    Remember even the quartz counters or quartzite need sealing. Yes they do…you WILL GET ETCHING ON THEM FROM THE WATER.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.29.18 - 10:56 AM

      We’ve had awesome luck with our quartzite counters in Chicago! They still look brand new.ReplyCancel

  • thelady6.27.18 - 8:58 AM

    Looking good! That story about the counter corners just chilled me, thank goodness you noticed, and spoke up!! And I absolutely would choose the cabinet style first, as you did.. wow…I have dealt with SO many “well it’s usually done this way” from big box stores, from carpet stores, from landscapers… I feel like because it’s easier now to deal directly with the trades, I have to do the due diligence–it’s fun, but wow you can’t let your guard down for a minute! :)ReplyCancel

  • kate6.27.18 - 9:26 AM

    You’re the very first thing I check every morning. Daily wowed by what you guys put together. Just perfection.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie H6.27.18 - 10:06 AM

    If and when your tree house becomes an air B and B sign my wife and I up as your first visitor! For some reason I can’t get the video sound working and when I click on it to enlarge it, it goes to your videos from 2016. I’ll try again later maybe it’s my iPhone.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.29.18 - 10:54 AM

      Ah, no worries! Those videos you’re seeing on your phone go back to old posts. :)ReplyCancel

  • Paige Flamm6.27.18 - 3:13 PM

    We just got done picking the countertops for our new home that we’re building and I cannot wait to see them installed. Counters really make or break the kitchen.

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.comReplyCancel

  • JulesinCO6.27.18 - 6:08 PM

    Looks awesome! I’m in the middle of a kitchen reno and have white cabinets with very similar white quartz as well. I can’t tell here, did you go with 2cm or 3cm? I love 2 cm when I see it, but can’t decide if I’ll tire of it since it’s a more distinct look.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.29.18 - 10:55 AM

      These are 1.25″, which would be closer to 3 cm.ReplyCancel

  • Susan6.27.18 - 9:38 PM

    We recently redid our kitchen a few months ago and also asked for 1.25 overhang instead of 1.5. Its a small space, so thats one of the reasons we choose the shorter overhang. But, I feel like it gives it a little but of a modest and slight contemporary twist I wasn’t expecting, but I’m happy with.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.29.18 - 10:54 AM

      Agreed! It’s slightly contemporary. :)ReplyCancel

  • Rachel6.28.18 - 10:07 AM

    I love this and it’s super helpful! Our house came with these pure white countertops (I have no idea what material they are – they sort of look like quartz, but literally PURE white like glass, no crystalline or grainy look, and very glossy) which I initially loved, but they’ve developed a huge crack that absorbed a bunch of dirt and it just looks awful. Add to that that we really really want to extend our kitchen cabinets a bit into our breakfast nook (we don’t use it as a breakfast nook, and could REALLY use the extra counter and storage space), and as much as I hate to spend the money I think new countertops may be in our future… and I LOVE the look you ended up with!ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.29.18 - 10:42 AM

      Oh no! I wonder what kind of countertop that is? A type of laminate? We extended the length of our kitchen cabinets in Chicago as well, and that’s a decision we’d make again in a heartbeat!ReplyCancel

  • Karen6.29.18 - 7:54 AM

    Countertops are a HUGE decision! For my kitchen, I mixed quartz and honed marble – our island (glorious at 10×5) is marble with waterfall edges. Then, for all the counters along the wall (i.e., where I cook), I went with white quartz, and the (same) marble backsplash (all the way up to the underside of the upper cabinets, and we tucked the outlet strips under the cabinets – no outlets in the marble).

    I will say I learned a $4k lesson – not all “white quartz” is the same. When we first had the white quartz installed over the lower white cabinets (pre-marble, thank goodness), the quartz looked dingy. The marble fabrication was not a quick process, so after about a week of looking at the (not)”white” quartz over the crisp white cabinets, I pulled the trigger and went with a different quartz. Not an ideal situation, but in the end I’m so glad I fixed it.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca U7.1.18 - 12:22 PM

    Looking awesome! Can I ask, where is the light fitting from that’s above the kitchen peninsula?ReplyCancel

  • Karen10.11.18 - 11:02 PM

    Hi Kim,

    Is your Eternal Statuario countertop in Suede or Polished finish? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.12.18 - 7:47 AM

      It’s Suede for a more matte finish.ReplyCancel

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