Our Marble Alternative Kitchen Counterop Revealed!

Marble Alternative Kitchen Countertop New Superwhite Quartzite | Classy Glam Living

***UPDATE***:  SEE HOW OUR KITCHEN CURRENTLY LOOKS IN THIS POST!

OUR MOST RECENT KITCHEN UPDATE!

As of 3 months ago, we were still very optimistic about using marble as our kitchen countertop, and have decided we're going with statuario marble.  But... this wasn't the first time we again changed our minds...

I forgot how many times we've decided on marble, only to have doubts about it.  Time and time again, we would check out any evidence of etching during our meals at restaurants that use marble tabletops and we would be assured that marble isn't too bad afterall.  We would decide that we can live with some patina from usage.  Even our test of red wine on marble didn't deter us from going forward with the Statuario marble.  

However, while living at the rental, every spill and missed spot from cleaning would remind us of our roughness on countertops.  We wanted what we love, but we're not the best cleaners.  At the rate we go, the marble will be "patina'd" in no time.  

We were both probably waiting for the other to say no first!  

What we chose in the end

We wanted a polished countertop with a white background to match our light grey cabinets.  We looked into Caesarstone's Pure White (we didn't want specks like the Blizzard) but it was just a tad cheaper than Statuario Marble.  We're old fashioned, and don't feel like we're getting the bang for the buck if we're paying that much for manmade "stone".  We then narrowed down to natural stone, and we all know that there aren't a lot of choices of natural stone with a white background!

We could choose from Statuario marble, or a whiter piece of carrara marble that wouldn't be as expensive.  As luck would have it, the stone expert introduced us to the NEW Superwhite quartzite.  The slab we saw was absolutely gorgeous; a white background with grey veining, plus crystalization within the slab that we love.  It's different from Superwhite, which tends to be more grey.  Sadly, the whole block was already sold out.  Well, all's not lost, at least we found a marble alternative that we love.  Patience now...  

And then we got the call from the stone warehouse that a new block of New Superwhite arrived!  It's not as white as the slab we previously saw, but it has more crystallization in the slab.  

NEW SUPERWHITE QUARTZITE | Classy Glam Living
The slab is quartzite, tiny crystals are visible, making the slab sparkly.

The slab is quartzite, tiny crystals are visible, making the slab sparkly.

We're sold!  We get the white background that we wanted, without the pain and fuss of maintenance as with marble.  Nothing beats the beautiful veining of Statuario marble, but the crystals formed in the slabs of New Superwhite quartzite are just as mesmerizing and beautiful.  Not to mention, it's a stronger material compared to the softness of marble.

From ordering the slabs to fabrication, I would say it was a pretty easy and smooth process.  We're so glad we didn't go with the builder's expensive stock upgrades with limited choices!

Here are some photos of the installed countertop:

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

The crystallization inside the slabs are difficult to pick up in photos, and the countertop is sparkly in person.  The veins in the stone are actually formed by dark crystals.

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living
Zoomed in of the grey veining from the red portion in the photo above, showing dark crystals in veins.

Zoomed in of the grey veining from the red portion in the photo above, showing dark crystals in veins.

More tiny crystals visible at the ogee edge.

More tiny crystals visible at the ogee edge.

I'm sure you're interested in the price points of these different marbles and alternatives.  Based on the size of our kitchen and quotes that we got:

Price Comparison of Marble & Alternatives | from highest to lowest price points | Classy Glam Living

We absolutely love our new countertop, as much as we would had it been made of statuario marble, if not more.  It's a great alternative to Statuario marble, at a cheaper price and less maintenance hassle.  Not that we would care any less with this New Superwhite quartzite, but It would save us from unnecessary heart attacks if we spill anything on it!

The kitchen is slowly taking shape, and we've finally had the appliances panels installed! We had been going back and forth on using silver or gold hardware, until we saw these pulls at Gingers. 

Panel-ready undercounter fridge and freezer | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

So now I guess it's decided we're going with gold. These are actually bronzy-gold, and they go nicely with our bronze Kohler Karbon faucet! Pure fluke on our part! 

New Superwhite Quartzite kitchen counter | Classy Glam Living

Bit by bit our kitchen will take shape and become our dream kitchen that's functional and outfitted in our style.  Here's our view from the living room, as mentioned in our kitchen and living room design boards.

NEW SUPERWHITE quartzite kitchen counter | New house kitchen | Classy Glam Living

Our next to-do's for the kitchen are:

  • Change out cabinet knobs and pulls
  • Install mirror backsplash  
  • Build more drawers in lower cabinets
  • Replace solid doors with glass doors at uppers above the fridge (see kitchen trends post)
  • Install mirror backs + glass shelves for those upper cabinets
  • Install LED rope lighting for under the upper cabinet  
  • Install valence

I hope we've shown you a marble alternative that you can consider if you're having trouble deciding on a marble countertop like we did.  Here's how we use our kitchen:

  • As per the Mr., I have butter fingers, that means a higher chance of spillage  :-(
  • We're rough on the counters, being efficient cooks sometimes means that banging stuff on the counters may be inevitable
  • We may not clean up right after we cook
  • We're not the best cleaners, ie. best if stains on the countertops can be somewhat camouflaged

Do you have butter fingers like me?  Do you love marble enough to live with its patina?

Trendspotting - Kitchen Designs

Trendspotting - Kitchen Designs | New Trends | Classy Glam Living

*** CHECK OUT OUR NEW KITCHEN! ***

Hello there!  I took a little break from blogging the last 2 weeks.  It was little man's birthday party last weekend, so I decided to focus on the last minute party-prepping (thanks to procrastination).  The party went well, kids had a blast, then we sent them home overloaded with sugar.  Ha!  That's what parties are all about!  And now, I've developed a case of paper-cutting phobia.  Anybody who had thrown a Ninjago-themed birthday party would know about the ninja eyes cutting...  

After nights of party-prepping tasks and cutting out ninja eyes and what nots, I quickly made myself a treat and curled up on the couch with the Chatelaine Kitchen and Bath special issue.  I needed to be away from Ninja's staring eyes for a bit.

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A much deserved break after all the #partyprepping today. Time to be a #couchpotato with #Chatelaine's #kitchen&bath issue. Ovaltine with #almondmilk and #baileys Mmm Mmm good! #nomnom #decor #interiordesign

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As I flipped through the issue, I noticed trends that we're also contemplating for our new house's kitchen.  The kitchen is the heart of the house, and being mindful that our new kitchen will be smaller than the one at our old house, we wanted to make it functional and beautiful.  It'll definitely make prepping and cooking all the more enjoyable.  

We'll talk about the functional part of the kitchen in another post.  I'm always ready to talk design, so let's start with some kitchen trendspotting!

Brass or chrome hardware

Having had a white kitchen with chrome hardware, I think we're ready to take the plunge into the unknown.  The Mr. said he's tired of the white cabinets, and so am I.  Nothing was wrong with the colour, but I think we're ready to move on with another cabinet colour.  We've chosen a light grey cabinet colour, which will probably look like these:

image via  Younge House Love

The vendor only had the colour swatch on an oak cabinet door, but the grains on it made it hard to imagine how the colour would look on our maple doors.  We will live with the colour a bit to see how we like it.  Ultimately, this is what we love:

A greige (grey + beige, like the first photo) or a darker grey cabinet colour, with brass hardware.  They just go so well together - the grey gives it a modern flare, while the gold tones it down with a bit of traditional touch.  

Why the unknown?  I'm not sure how our stainless steel appliances would go with the brass hardware...  or should I care if we love the look of grey and brass?

statement or practical faucet

Since we're on the topic of brass hardware, the next question is, do we also go with a faucet with a brass finish?  Or would that look way over the top?  I'm also not sure if this brass trend will be short-lived, and will quickly make the kitchen look dated once the fad is over.  If we're ready to embrace it, we've picked out the faucet that will look stunning against the brass hardware:

I think this bronze is a toned down version of its gold counterpart.  It's less "in your face" and yet has the touch of warmth like gold.  

If we decide not to go the brass hardware + faucet route, then I think we would go for a more practical solution for the faucet.  The touch-activated faucets are getting popular now, and I do see how it would be put into much use during meal prepping.  I keep seeing this on TV commercials:

Do let me know what you think about these touch faucets if you own one.  The Mr. and I are finicky about these high-tech gimmicks, afraid that they will break down easily.

Our other practical option would be a kitchen faucet that doubles as a water filter.  This one from Grohe does double duty while looking sleek.

Marble countertop, yay or nay

If you've been to the Interior Design Show in Toronto earlier this year, you would gasp again when you see this IKEA kitchen:

image via  Domainehome.com

image via Domainehome.com

The grey cabinets with brass handle, topped with the elegant marble countertop, elevates this big-box kitchen to the next level...  even without those massive chateau chandeliers!  Who doesn't love a kitchen this dreamy?  But then again, lil' ole' practical me just isn't sure about how the marble can withstand our daily abuse.  With it comes along the commitment to reseal every 3-6 months.  Hmm...  The Mr. and I both love the natural grey veining of marble.  We've also considered the engineered stones that resemble the marble veining, like these:

Cambria stone in  Torquay

Cambria stone in Torquay

The decision is still up for debate at this point...  I have a feeling that the Mr. will constantly hover over my clumsy back if we choose to go with marble.  Would I want that?

tile or slab backsplash 

While I was browsing through photos of marble countertops, it's not uncommon to find the marble slab carried up as the backsplash.

image via  buknola.com

image via buknola.com

We love the beautiful seamless look of a slab backsplash, and it makes the kitchen look extravagant.  However, if budget constraint is a concern, I think the marble subway tiles would look just as classic, at a fraction of the cost.

image via  revlayer.com

image via revlayer.com

one large sink or stainless steel apron sink

Enough is enough, I'm just sick of double sinks.  Sure it is more practical to have the divider in between (or is it?), but that divider becomes a nuance when it comes time to wash a large pot or grill, or anything!  It constantly gets in the way!  I used to use the other smaller side for a sink drying rack for little man's plastic cups and plates, but I could just easily place them on a counter rack.

I NEED a single large sink, in which I can soak a dirty frying pan laid down flat.  Not slanted with its handle hanging on the double sink divider...  FLAT!  So I started looking at single sink options.  In particular, I'm looking for a straight edge sink, like this:

Then I noticed apron sinks are all over kitchen renovations these days.  I'm not a big farmhouse fan, but I do love the practicality of having the edge of the sink closer to the edge of the counter.  In fact, it's easier on the back since one doesn't need to lean in as much as traditional sinks.  I'm not crazy about the traditional white apron sinks, but stainless steel options like this one can be a potential candidate:

image via  decorpad.com

image via decorpad.com

open shelving or glass-front cabinet

Most builder's kitchens come standard with walls of cabinet doors.  In a smaller kitchen like ours, not only would it seem boring, but could also be a bit too closed-in.  I'm still trying to drill the idea into the Mr., that we don't need uniformity throughout the kitchen with closed doors.  I would like the side wall of the kitchen to have a sense of openness.  We can achieve that with open shelving or glass-front cabinets.

This beautiful display is a great example:

image via  simpliedbee.com

image via simpliedbee.com

The corner of the upper cabinets were left as open shelves to avoid a whole upper wall of doors.  It's a great design element to reserve a space for displaying collections and instill some personality in the kitchen.  However, practical me again would question how often we would be dusting those open shelves.  So I think glass-front cabinets such as these would work better for our family:

image via  housetweaking.com

The mirror back and glass shelves opens up this side of the wall, making it seemingly wider, while reflecting the light from the windows.  This is a similar side wall that I have in mind, as the mirror backs would reflect the light off of our patio doors.  This is a fight that I'm determined to win over the Mr.!

Wow, this turned out to be quite a lengthy post!  I didn't know I love kitchen design that much, since I'm not the cook of the house.  But a beautiful kitchen makes my Chef Honey happy, and a happy chef makes more yummies for our tummies!  

What's your favourite trend from the above?  What other kitchen design trends have you spotted lately?