Friday, December 7, 2012

Counter Points

When we started planning our kitchen reno a couple years back there were only two things I knew I wanted: white cabinets and marble counters. I am a verrrryyy lucky girl because I got both of those things and then some. But the marble counters were definitely our biggest stumbling block. 

If you are wondering why I am sharing this now, over a year after the fact, it is because this is the single most frequently asked question I get. I get emails and comments galore from wonderful ladies telling me that they are desperately in love with marble, but get told it's a bad idea. I was told that too. So with a little bit of time to let things play out I figured it was about time I shared my real thoughts on our kitchen countertops.


When I started getting quotes on the counters and made my rounds to local fabricators I was actually told NO outright by 2. They didn't want any part of it. Another couple told me they wouldn't recommend it, but that they would do it. Not one single fabricator said it was a good idea. But I have a hard head and want what I want so we took a chance. I picked out 2 slabs of honed carrera marble and the rest is history.


If you are considering marble in your own home, here are the lessons I've learned:

1. It is an expensive decision if you don't think you can manage the up keep. Knowledge is key!! If you choose marble knowing you can't set hot pots and pans directly on it (I never did this anyways since I had laminate previously!), knowing you can't let wine or juice sit on the counter for hours before you get around to wiping it up, knowing you cannot dice celery with your sharpest knife on it you should be ok. These sound like common sense things, but if you have lived with granite you can do any or all of those things. So it may be an adjustment. 

2. Everyone told me it would stain easily. I have yet to have a stain anywhere.

3. Expect etchings. Etching is exactly what you think it is, where the surface gets a more matte look due to acidic food/drinks touching it. Lemons, lemonade, vinegar are the worst for this and we love ourselves some lemonade so we have a few etchings. I see them when the sun hits the counter at a certain angle but even when I point them out to other people nobody notices them. I managed to grab this shot at the right time of day to show you.

4. Invest in BIG, good cutting boards. This will save you lots of trouble. I bought the biggest one I could find and leave it out at all times for random food prep and this has been the best investment for our counters.

5. Enjoy them!! I know they aren't for everybody, but I do not regret a single cent I spent on them. My motto is life is too short, so I am going have the counters I love. You have to embrace imperfection, and over time they will change and develop markings that are from memories made in the kitchen, together. We don't keep our 3 year old off them, we don't hover over them protecting them from guests. We let life happen, while doing our best to avoid unnecessary damage. 

If you are interested in doing marble in your kitchen my biggest lesson of all is to go with honed marble. I had very little knowledge on this until I spoke with some very experienced kitchen experts. Marble is marble and will etch/stain over time, but polished marble with show it's wear so much faster because the contrast between etching and a polished surface is very pronounced. 

Also, keep in mind that bakeries and restaurants have been using marble for hundreds of years as a food prep/eating surface. It is not intended to be perfect, but it is great for rolling dough on and getting your bake on with!

I am being totally honest here, if there was any single thing I was not happy about I would be the first to share it with you. So my lesson is that if your heart yearns for a beautiful marble counter don't let someone talk you out of it!! Be true to yourself.


Jaime Costiglio said...

Holly I had the same response from our local stone source, he thought I was nuts for wanting marble. Have these guys never seen a PB catalog or home dec mag - marble is all over the place! Glad you persevered, I did not win the battle but that's okay because we're selling.

Holly and Sean said...

I nearly caved too Jaime!! I felt silly for being told I was throwing away good money on something that would be ruined. But like you I had seen them in EVERY dream kitchen I saved out of magazines. If they were that horrible why would anyone install them... But in the end I am so happy I listened to my gut. I hope you have a chance to finally have your marble counters when you sell!!

The S's beach house said...

Holly, thanks again! Your comment on Insta (@dreemn) and this post are VERY helpful. I literally have my workers in the kitchen right now starting demo. They have brought over countless numbers of granite samples and I am not giving in. MARBLE, MARBLE, MArbleeee!

carli said...

Agreed Holly! Life is too short not to surround yourself with the people, spaces and things you love :)

Just Beachy said...

Here in the Toronto area lots of people are doing white marble , no one tried to talk me out of it , but steered me also towards honed. Sealing is also the key. I was told to use
best sealer out there for light marbles especially, after 4 applications the protection lasts 10 years.....marble counters are amazing. We have had a couple of dropped items on our counter and it leaves a little white bruise which is not great but not that bad either.
I love my marble.

Rayia said...

Thanks for posting this! I LOVE marble and plan on using it someday!

Elissa said...

First of all, your kitchen is so gorgeous. I love those marble countertops! I had the same thing happen to me when we were sourcing our counters-- nobody wanted to do marble and guaranteed that we would be dissatisfied with them if went for it. The one thing that did cause me to sway towards quartz was that I was really scared they were going to chip around the sink area as we installed an under mount sink. Have you found that you've had any chipping issues? I do really love marble... maybe I'll feel more courageous and go for it the next time around! Thanks for sharing your experience with marble!

Kelly said...

We are actually having our carrara marble installed as I type this! It's such a beautiful material and I looked for something else that I loved as much without success. What type of sealer did you use on yours? I was thinking of using Tiger Ager...

Freckles Chick said...

Thanks for being so candid w/ your marble experience, H! I have a French friend whose grandmother has marble kitchen counters & she was just telling me how there's few things more gorgeous & story-telling than "lived on" marble.

P.S. I've had your amazing kitchen pics tucked away in my inspiration folder for when we are able to install our dream kitchen. Can't decide if I love you for it or be irrationally jealous of you. Heh.

erin said...

I love it, and was excited to see your review. If it was just my and husband & me, or if our kids were little, I'd probably go for it, but I have 2 teenage boys that love to cook! They clean-up after themselves, but obviously not the way I would. I don't know that marble would survive them, and I'd rather have them happy in the kitchen, learning to cook, and hanging out with their friends, than me hovering and nagging about every spill. Your post has convinced me that at a different phase of my life, I will go for it it, though! For now I think I'm going quartz with a marble tile backsplash!

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said...

Love this post and the pics are GORGEOUS!!!

Cathy said...

I hear ya! I knew the risks of installing a marble counter top, but NOTHING can replace the natural beauty of marble. I have many etchings on my counters and island and I used to freak ours every time I found an etch mark, but I've come to accept them as a testament to our love of food and spending time as a family (pardon the sappiness, lol)

ellie said... month we are demoning our only bath and I WANT a honed carrera marble for the vanity. I'm having a marble top put on a antique desk. what exactly is yours, it is beautful. My girlfriend has it in her kitchen and she loves it, i think it is Calcutta honed marble and host tons of parties and does not mind the etching at all, give it character she says...any advice

Cheryl West-Hicks said...

I'm still kicking myself! We were told the same thing and did cave. I settled for the lightest granite they had. I'm still happy with the look but it's no marble!

Whit461 said...

We are just beginning the journey of a complete kitchen remodel. When your blog came up searching for MS cabinets, I could not believe it, your kitchen is EXACTLY what we want our final kitchen to look like. White MS cabinets, working through Home Depot, white marble counters, no uppers, wall cabinets on the opposite side. Beautiful. Cn you publish more pics from the other side of the kitchen?

amyvan said...

I love your kitchen! We are in the process of remodeling ours. I plan to get marble counters. What do you do about air drying your dishes after hand washing or removing from the dish washer? I am so used to letting them dry on a microfiber cloth on the couter.

Blogging tips