The Nest: Countertop Conundrum

By Meg Harrington

Update: Still lots of unsexy and messy stuff going on, but I’m delighted to say that new windows have been installed, gleaming copper pipes are in place and waiting for their bathroom vanities and the HVAC guy (bless his heart) is stuffing us full of insulation.  Today I discovered that my precious iron kitchen window has been delivered…but more about that another time.

My marching orders this week were simple: pick out countertops for kitchen and baths. So I headed to Construction Resources and got to work.

I’m a marble girl through and through, and it would be hard to convince me that marble is not the way to go for the kitchen. At our old house, we had the most gorgeous polished Calcutta Gold countertops and I just drooled every time I saw them.

Our old kitchen. I adored the Calcutta gold marble perimeter countertops.

Don’t Make Lemonade out of Lemons…

Now, don’t get me wrong: The gleaming marble countertops were a little high maintenance and took a wee bit of coddling. There was the time (a mere month after we moved back in) that our creative little fifth-grader decided to make homemade lemonade.  Within minutes, the polish was completely etched off where she had been juicing and squeezing all that acidic citrus. I shed a tiny tear and went on with life—those countertops saw lots of red wine and God knows what else over the years, and they survived beautifully.

What do I love about marble? I love the organic-ness of them, their mysterious movement and striations and the chic aesthetic they bring any room. They’re classic, elegant—and just plain gorgeous. Check out some inspiration I’m using for The Nest’s little kitchen:

Nice, thick and chunky marble is perfect in this kitchen. From Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, January 2014.

I love everything about this. Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, June 2014.

This is so chic and clean. Polished marble is my fave. From Pinterest and Tracey Ayton Photography.

In this stunner, the marble runs up the wall. I’m loving the brass hardware. From Pinterest, Domaine and Smitten Studio.

I’ve always loved this kitchen by Kay Douglas. Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, April 2011. The marble looks so sleek.

Marble on the perimeter countertops. From Better Homes and Gardens.

Classic and ever so elegant. From Pinterest and Homebunch.

I love the mix of materials here. The marble is just the cherry on top. From Pinterest and Better Homes and Gardens.

Gorgeous marble with gray cabinets. From All Things Heart and Home and Pinterest.

Marble Alternatives

The good people at Atlanta Kitchens also wanted me to look at some manmade materials and I was all ears and eyes. I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about Cambria (do a little Pinterest search and see what comes up…) so I was piqued.

I checked in with the cute and stylish designer, Sherry Hart of Design Indulgence (who is coincidentally doing the interior for Michael Ladisic’s new home. Michael’s our builder and I’m just crazy about him and the clean and creative vibe he gives every house he builds.)

Here’s what Sherry had to say about the countertop debate:

“I have been loving some of the manmade quartz products (like Caesarstone). Both of the kitchens below have it and there are quite a few selections that I like. Although they aren’t that much of a cost saving, their easy care is very appealing to me!”

This one looks like a nice industrial cement which could be cool in a more modern kitchen.

This one looks like soapstone, which would be pretty in a classic white kitchen.

Back at Atlanta Kitchens, I took at look at some manmade options:

Boards for one of the secondary bathrooms with a sample of Cambria Torquay.

Cambria Torquay (from Cambria)

Cambria’s Torquay can totally pass for marble, and I was leaning towards using it in the three secondary baths upstairs. 

But then I was led out to the giant warehouse where all the marble slabs are…and I fell in love about ten times over. Decision made: We’re going for the marble in the kitchen and all the baths, too. I found a gorgeous Carrera and also a wonderful piece from Turkey called Avalon that came in at a lower per square foot than the Cambria manmade material.

I fell madly in love with this slab of Carrera. Here it is with the black slate for our master bathroom and the tile we’ll use in the shower.  

This was my favorite slab. It’s Avalon, quarried in Turkey.

Then we made a visit to the boneyard where leftover and odd-shaped slabs are housed. Voila! I found three remnants that will work perfectly for the upstairs baths.

Countertops? Check.

Stay tuned. Sheetrock’s going in soon!

For more inspiration from The Nest, follow Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles on Pinterest. Read the Meg’s previous guest post here