Feb
25
2013

Stylish White Kitchen Counter Tops (But Not Marble)

White marble counter tops in a kitchen look absolutely heavenly (what’s not to love) but at this point in time they are not an option for my lively family. And isn’t that what a kitchen should be all about — meeting your practical kitchen needs.

We have a good sized, fairly new kitchen with a great floor plan. How do I update it slightly, without re-doing everything, and how do I incorporate more white/light gray (which I so crave)?

There is also a lot of (too much) granite in my kitchen and I am interested in getting rid of some — but not all of it. The kitchen island can handle a lot of “living” (major socializing, sharp pencils, my husband’s culinary adventures and small racing cars). The large granite slab on the island is strong and durable and gets to stay for now. But what about the surrounding granite counters? How can I replace them and mix with the existing granite island — and make it functional and look fresh and updated?

Well, one good thing about kitchen trends right now is that MIXING materials and colors is in. Perfectly matchy kitchens are as yesterday as matching bedroom furniture.

(Marble counter top mixed w. black soapstone).

I am ready to mix and roll and add some new: White/gray kitchen cabinets, yes. Fresh back-splash, yes. White walls, yes. Surrounding counters — not so sure…

I came across this kitchen in Elle Decor — painted concrete kitchen counter tops. Hmmm. That could work together with granite. I don’t know how functional concrete is (and heat resistant). Although I have learned that a new trend is concrete mixed with fiberglass — lightweight and extremely strong. Need to do some more research. But it sure looks fresh and good.

A few days ago I called my good and talented kitchen architect-designer friend, Anna Lovell, to discuss my dilemma. She gave me a whole list of new, carefree counter top materials — such as Cesaerstone. Here highlighted in House Beautiful’s “Kitchen of the year – 2012”.

Anna  also told me that there is a lot of industry buzz around “Silestone.” Never heard of it, I am embarrassed to say. Silestone is  a compound made up of 94% natural quartz, which make it extraordinarily hard and resilient. It also has anti-bacterial protection (apparently very rare among worktops). I think it could work well with granite.

 

More research is needed but as I am educating myself, I am learning that there are ton of new, durable counter top options out there. I will share with you as I go along. And PLEASE share with me and my readers too! This is all new territory to me.

Hugs to you all.

Images: No. 1 via The Zhush.
Written by Splendid Willow in: Lovely Rooms |

19 Comments

  • Love a white countertop of any kind..did you know there is white granite? Something else to consider, granite is unparalleled in its indestructibility! Ant then there is ceasarstone….I am sure there are lots of options, I look forward to hearing what you come up with!
    Hope alls well Mon!

  • There are lots of great options of countertops, glad you are exploring! Silestone, Cesarstone and soapstone are all great options. Quartz, when honed, looks a little less modern than when polished. There is also stainless steel and good old butcher block! Keep us posted!

  • Sorry to say I’ve never heard of the new ones you’ve mentioned either. I’m a soapstone kind of gal because it only gets better looking with age and is resistant to everything. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to try out.

    Enjoy your week!
    XXX
    Debra~

  • Sherry Hart says:

    I have used Cesarstone a few times in jobs. There is a great one that is the perfect gray, looks like concrete and is honed! I would put it in my kitchen in a heartbeat! Check it out girl!

  • Franki Parde says:

    Decisions!! Aren’t they “something” when it’s personal….argh! I just saw the “Designer’s Showhouse” in W. Palm Beah and the kitchen counters, I’m told, were colored concrete. They were almost “soft” to the touch…beautiful. Guess I’m a quartz kind of gal. franki

  • designchic says:

    We are in the same dilemma – would love marble at the beach house, but know it it totally impractical. We’ve been studying this site http://www.granitegurus.com/2012/06/7-quartz-alternates-to-white-marble-in.html that shows some pretty alternatives. Keep us updated with what you learn and we’ll do the same!! Happy Monday, Mon ~

  • Stacey says:

    We had silestonein in our prior home and loved it. This post is so for me as I recently painted my kitchen white in my effort to modernize and simplify its aesthetic. Love marble, but like you, it wouldn’t last in my home with my kiddos and our lifestyle. Great post and it’s like you read my mind lol!

  • Teresa says:

    White marble is my favorite, but most clients are afraid to use it, so I’ve used Caesarstone for my last three kitchen projects. It’s beautiful and doesn’t have to be sealed. My favorite options are the solid and dappled ones. Also, check out fireslate (fireslate.com). It’s what we put in our own kitchen, and we absolutely love it! I wanted soapstone, but it was cost-prohibitive; this was a wonderful alternative. The color options are very limited, so it may not work with your existing granite, but worth looking at.

    Good luck!

  • I am so wanting a fresh, updated look as well but am scared of marble! I have the white granite that Tina is referring to and it looks like marble…I wouldn’t have known the difference! Please keep us posted on the progress!

  • Caroline says:

    Monika,

    I am in the same boat and look forward to hearing what you find out. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!!!

    Caroline

  • Hello sweet Monica!
    Antibacterial got my attention! Imagine that.
    I love every kitchen here, and I will be pinning for a while.
    Happy Monday.
    Teresa
    xoxo

  • Susan says:

    Good morning! We have just completed a major year long kitchen renovation in our home. Went ‘white crazy’…. white cabinets, carrera island (kids pretty much out of house), white subway tile backplash w/carrera backsplash over stove, and polished quartz countertops around perimeter. Be really careful about the quartz which is what ceasarstone, etc. really is – especially if going with white. I wanted to go and actually pick out the slab of quartz, as I did with my carerra. I was originally told that this was unnecesary being ‘man made’ the slab will come in looking the exact color of the sample. Uh no. My sample was a vintage-y white that matched the tone of my cabinets. The original quartz countertop delivered was mildly yellow in color…something that very few would notice. In my mind you have tone issues vs. color issues. This was a definite color issue. After much aggravation the kitchen contractor had to eat the cost of the slab and we started again with another quartz company. Make sure and double make sure you are ultimately getting the color you picked out. They are NOT necessarily the same as the samples packs the contractors have on hand. I had to learn the hard way that most warehouses/fabricators will have disclaimers on their web site stating this exact fact. My contractor (very reputable at that) was misinformed re:this detail and he himself learned a lesson. Good luck…I look forward to seeing what you decide to do!!!

    Splendid Willow Reply:

    Susan, thank you so much for your blog comment and your advice! I want to see pictures of YOUR kitchen!! ox, Mon

  • Hi Monika,
    My favorite counter top is Calacatta Gold marble which is like Carrera but whiter. There are definitely issues with wear and stains. I have been told that Dupont has a new sealer that is supposed to last 15 yrs. It must be applied by someone who is certified by the company to maintain the warranty. That said, most of the quartz materials are the most durable, stain resistant and anti-microbial. There are new colors and styles coming out all the time. Some look like marble too. It is more expensive than quartz or granite and also has to be bought in full slabs unless your fabricator happens to have a remnant large enough.

  • Wish my house could look like this…. mmmmm. So peaceful and crisp! My best to you, Mon! xo

    Kristina
    Nook & Sea

  • happy monday, mon!

    we have silestone counters (ivory coast)in the kitchen. i was talked out of white by designers, but i will do white next time. the quartz is nifty to live with, but it’s not perfect. i can still see some scratches and even a few little nicks in the edge, and i really didn’t expect that. also, it’s not fooling anybody. it’s made of natural materials, but it has a uniform look which is just not natural stone. it’s a trade off, and i think i like natural stone. we have white granite in our bathrooms. it’s also not perfect, but i don’t care. it feels fresh and clean, and i don’t baby it. if your expectations are in check, i’m not sure you can go wrong with white silestone or white granite or even marble.

    and now i must go blow up my kitchen after seeing such kitchen glory in this post! it’s time for a new backsplash anyway! what the heck?!?

    smiles.

    michele

  • It’s funny, I was starting to lean in the direction of marble after not wanting to deal with it. I had a Silestone top in the bathroom of my previous place and I think it looks a little too man made. I think it would be best for a modern interior. Perhaps they’ve introduced ones that are more organic looking. I’ve been planning on using ceasarstone’s Misty Carrera whenever I get to do my kitchen. BUT I recently visited local designer Kelly McGuill’s house and she has honed carrera countertops that are 20 years old and they still look beautiful. She raised two boys in the house, she says she entertains a lot and hasn’t been particularly careful with them. Based on that testimonial, I’ve been reconsidering marble. There’s just nothing else that looks the same.

  • Monika,
    These kitchens are beautiful, especially the Elle Decor kitchen. I have a designer friend that said the same thing, the man made materials are very in right now for their durability to withstand real life in a kitchen. I’ll be watching for your decision on this.
    Karen

  • Beth says:

    Well, if you love the look and feel of marble, you will probably be more happy with it than any substitute. So, get it sealed correctly, keep up on the maintenance, and if it builds some character due to something permeating the surface, embrace it and realize that now it is even more special and unique.

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