The newest update on our kitchen reno is here! We’ve selected counter tops, which was surprisingly a very arduous process. Before I get into it, here they are, in all their vein-y glory!
Making the decision on how we were going to execute our kitchen reno wasn’t a quick one. I’ll go into more detail in another post about the evolution of our plans, but I want to mention here that prior to engaging with our GC we had gone through a ton of research on marble counter tops and suppliers in our area, including cost of installation and fabrication. It was good that we did all that research before settling on a contract with our GC, mostly for the fact that we were now educated on how far we could stretch our dollars. The cool part of the research was getting to see and touch some gorgeous marble slabs. The down side was falling in love with some slabs that were waaay over budget. If money wasn’t an issue, I’d smother our kitchen in statuary marble, which is bright white with intense grey veining. My second favorite marble is Calacatta Oro, which is also white marble with grey and gold veining. My husband dislikes Calacatta Oro, he thinks the gold veins looked like rust (luls! right?). Both marble options were double, or triple the cost of Carrera, which as one showroom explained, is considered the “economy” grade of marbles. Whatever, Carrera is still super beautiful.
The above slab is Carrera marble. I tend to like the more vein-y Carreras, over the more spotted Carreras. These slabs happen to be a nice mix of both.
So why was this process so arduous? Well, we (as in me and the baby) had to drive all around the Bay Area to find these slabs, which is stupid to begin with because the majority of granite/marble suppliers are located in the East Bay and should be easy to access from our house. If you haven’t worked with a General Contractor before, something to keep in mind, they tend to want to work with their preferred suppliers, companies and businesses they have a relationship with, over ones they don’t. This may or may not get you the best deal out there. We originally fell in love with some remnant slabs at a local shop, but our GC wouldn’t consider working with him. Poop.
We were sent to the first of our GCs suppliers which was located about 30 mins from our house. I get there and see all their inventory is of pre-fab counter tops with bullnose edging. There were two problems with this, the first being we needed a slab for our island, which measures roughly 4’x5′, and pre-fab counters are just that, counter depth, which is just not possible to turn into an island. The second issue? I want mitered edging. Bullnose edging is so early 2000’s. This place was a no go.
Our GC then sent us to his second supplier, which was a super fancy granite showroom 45 mins from our house. They had rows and rows of exquisite granite and stone, I was in awe.
I was guided to the white marble section and was happy to find 20-30 slabs of Carrera available to choose from. Or so I thought. When I went over to the sales counter, I was informed all of the slabs but 4 were just sold. I had only 4 slabs to choose from, and they were pairs so in reality I only had 2 slabs to choose from. The first pair happened to be spotty and foggy with little to no veins. I didn’t like the look so they were off the table. The other pair was beautiful and vein-y. The sales lady began the process of putting these vein-y slabs on hold for me, and that was when I noticed these huge gashes in the middle of the marble, like claw marks. I asked her if they would buff the gashes out and she said they don’t to that and I would have to have my fabricator do it, and no they wouldn’t give us a discount for the gashes. I gave her the stink eye but continued to put them on hold.
I informed our GC of the issues with the marble, so he sent his guys out to the showroom to inspect the slabs. It turns out the slabs were unusable. Someone would have to cut around the gashes and we didn’t think it was worth the cost. Off to the third supplier.
Well, third time’s the charm, right?! The third supplier was located about 30 mins from our house. I took a trip there with the baby in tow, and finally found the slabs you see in the first picture. Part of me just wanted the slab-hunt to be over, so it was great to finally find a pair that were a perfect fit for our kitchen.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t be afraid to push back, if you’re paying $$$ you better get what you want! Although we couldn’t afford our dream marble, we could afford to say no to the crappy marble that kept coming into view. Also, make sure you inspect your marble slabs for fissures or cracks, or in our case, gashes!
And now, for the final peek into our kitchen plans, here is the current 3D rendering of our new kitchen!
Only a few tweaks have been made since this rendering. I just can’t wait to see it come to life!