Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Fork in the Marble

  If you embark upon a kitchen renovation, you may encounter a fork in the road. 
Me, I had a fork in the marble, so to speak. Earlier this winter, I found lovely slabs at a Nashville stone yard. Lisa, my fabricator, reserved four--or so we thought. The saleslady forgot to tag them, and the very next day, someone snagged two slabs. Lisa went to the yard in person and reserved the remaining two. So far so good, right? Wrong.
Yesterday, Lisa called. The slabs had arrived at her shop, and she'd found some issues--a 1/2" pit, stains, a long fissure, and fleabites. While I sure didn't expect perfection, I didn't anticipate a worse problem.

This slab was earmarked for the long island. On the honed side--and I preferred honed for this kitchen--Lisa had discovered noticeable streaks and stains, possibly from the transportation straps. There was no way to cut around them. 

Instant patina wasn't what I had in mind.

She flipped the slab to the polished side, It didn't have the huge pit, strap marks, or fissures, just normal fleabites and imperfections.

Since I hadn't counted on using the polished side--and Lisa would have to send the slabs away to be honed, risking more damage--it was a bit of a game changer. As I bent to examine the stone, Lisa pointed out a few fleabites. No biggie--I wouldn't mind them. She didn't like a filled-in area near the top, but, since it was at the tip-top, she could cut around it. 

First, a little background. My island is very long and will have an overhang (eating area with counter stools). It had been a challenge to find a slab that was pretty and the right length (to avoid a seam).
 I'd been so relieved to find something I loved that was the right size--and in one trip to the stone yard.

Lisa said we had several options. I could reject the slabs and we'd find more. I could keep the slabs and use the polished sides. The slab that had a gigantic fissure could be used for the perimeter, but we'd have to work around the flaw. (Lisa explained that the fissures could break while they were cutting the stone, so they'd by-pass them, but it might be a challenge to find the prettiest spots to use. Me, I like movement. But the fissure was in charge of everything.)

While I was at the shop, we went over the template and discussed the best (prettiest) places to cut. There will be an over hang on the island, as I mentioned, so most of the pattern will show.
Lisa's fabricator, Jose, had also circled every ding and imperfection that he could find. Despite the issues, the slabs were so pretty. Magical and mesmerizing. And much whiter, for some reason. Just perfect for my kitchen-to-be.


 We turned to the other slab, the one with the ginormous fissure. While I was there, Lisa said we should go ahead and figure out which areas of the stone to use for the perimeter counter tops (so she'd have my input in case I decided to use these slabs). 

We moved from slab to slab, working out different configurations. (Twice, I accidentally tripped Lisa with my cane. I was so embarrassed.)

Luckily, a smaller amount of marble will go on the perimeter. Below, on the dresser, we'll just have a strip, which can be cut from the top of the "island" slab. Or we could cut from the middle of the "fissured" slab.

Two smaller slabs will go on these counters. And, of course, slabs go on either side of the range.

The cabinet doors are full length, so I won't be setting anything on those counters. 



While Medana and Lisa checked the layout, I went over my options. 

I really loved this marble. But was it the smartest choice? I'd made my peace with the inevitable patina, so the fleabites did not bug me. I could keep the slabs, use the polished sides, and hope they worked with my traditional cabinets. I've always associated polished calacatta statuario with contemporary/modern kitchens, but maybe it will look nice with traditional, English-style cabinetry and a beadboard ceiling. Aesthetics aside, the large fissure was a bit of a problem. While I expected imperfections, I did not expect them to determine which parts of the marble we would use, affecting the overall "look" of the kitchen. (This can happen. I'm such a marble newbie.)
I had to prepare myself to let go of this marble and look for new slabs--possibly honed Danby, provided we could locate long slabs with nice movement. Meanwhile, Lisa is talking to the Nashville showroom, checking to see if the streaky strap marks can be removed, so we can use the honed sides. 
As Mama says, you can't find everything you want in a man or a house--that goes for marble. 
Still, I may have reached a fork in the road, due to a fork in the marble. I'm going to rest today and eat some chocolate, then I'll decide if my whole search will reboot, and I'll be on the hunt for another very long, honed slab of marble. Fingers crossed.

Coming Soon:
A black-painted interior door (an experiment)
Cedar shake decisions
Windows
The painters have arrived--and they have serious doubts about a few of my choices :-)
A laundry room makeover is planned

Photos: Bandwidth

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27 comments:

  1. We just remodeled so I know what you are going through. We looked at three different granite places at slabs but couldn't find what we wanted so ended up going with quartz good luck in your search. I'll be looking forward to seeing your kitchen all finished. I'm sure it will be beautiful. Peggy from PA

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  2. Heavens, I'm tired just reading the post about all you're doing. It is going to be beautiful, though, and you're going to cook grand dishes in there!
    Brenda

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    1. Looking forward to the cooking, for sure!

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  3. oh gee! I understand your heartbreak. And...love your mother's philosophy. When we did our "ranch" fixups I looked and looked, then I finally almost decided by ennny meeny miney moe. Did I spell those correctly? ha! I just guess got tired and went with a black pearl granite color. I love it. I love black pearls anyway...so it worked for my white kitchen. I know you will find just the thing that tickles your fancy for your new countertops. I love your cabinets in their unfinished sate, so I know that I will really love the finished product. If we could just have a tea party at your new digs!
    Be careful out there on your cane! You do not need to fall again.
    Best wishes,
    Sheila

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    1. A tea party for sure! I'd love that. Yes, I am dangerous with a cane. This dizziness is a bummer!

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  4. Your mama is a wise woman! I hope you end up with what you want :)

    xo,
    rue

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    1. She is 89, funny as all get-out, and a sharp dresser.

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  5. I'm so sorry your marble hasn't turned out as you thought, and I think you're being very calm about it. I'd want to cane someone over the head for giving away my two slabs! Not that it would help, of course, but I can imagine how you feel inside and your disappointment. I was already so overwhelmed by my simple little bathroom remodel, when it came to walking through the yard to choose my marble and there wasn't any I liked, I envisioned the time and energy I was about to spend finding the perfect piece (in Boise, Idaho, the pickin's are slim.) I chickened out completely and went with quartz! I so admire the amazing job you're doing on your home. I've been following it avidly since I found your blog recently. I have the utmost respect for the effort involved in getting it just right and bringing your vision to reality. Best of luck finding marble you love.

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    1. Hi, Laurel. It's great to hear from fellow remodelers! As you said, it can be totally overwhelming. (Just today, I was told that the painters were very worried about my dining room color and finish, lol. I get what they'e saying, but I stand by my choices!) I called my mom tonight to tell her about the marble, and she said if I liked the stone to just embrace imperfection. She's absolutely right!

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  6. It is beautiful. I'm glad that you found away around the not so perfect places. Okay, this may sound really stupid but why does granite get flea bites. Real fleas? I'm almost afraid to ask.

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    1. Debby, I thought the same thing, and I asked lots of questions today. The slabs can apparently get damaged during transport. Big straps and clips are used to move and turn the slabs. My fabricator said that sometimes slabs are coated with a sort of cushiony substance, and that can etch marble. The nicks and tiny holes--pits--have various names. Flea bites may refer to the tiny size? Jose told us that this is quite common. I wouldn't have noticed them if he hadn't shown me. I hope this helps!

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  7. Sorry to hear your marble isn't what you thought it would be, but I do like the patterning on the slab.

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    1. I really like it, too. I haven't given up on it yet. :-)

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  8. Ooh dear me, Michael Lee, just when you thought everything was working out. I love the marble any way, and think it's just beautiful. I guess you'll have to decide if you can live with it. Life is full of imperfections and your Mama's advice is very wise.

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  9. Oh, no. This isn't what you need in your life! I hope you can work it all out to your satisfaction. You have a wise mother.
    Good luck with all the new decisions!

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  10. When I remodeled my kitchen the stone company would not sell me marble for counter tops. Because you have to be very careful or they stain easily. Had I insisted on marble I would have had to sign a release that showed the company had warned me. Hope yours work. My granite is just as pretty and carefree.

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  11. I have never worked with marble and unless I win the lottery probably never will. It sounds like kind of headache to me!

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  12. This is so exciting to read about, although for you, I'm sure, must be a little stressful. But what wonderful and beautiful options you have - there isn't anything prettier than marble is there ? I sympathize with you on the dizziness - such a bothersome pain ! I do know how you feel - hopefully will be over very soon. Take care and take it easy.....

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    1. I had 2 meetings this morning at the house--smooth sailing again. I love seeing the progress. I think it helped to get out and move around. The marble folks are really trying to find a solution, but I'm at peace, no matter the outcome.

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  13. Wow so many struggles but I have a feeling you'll love it once it's installed.

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  14. Very frustrating, but after many redos, I have found that the details that make you crazy now will vanish once it's done~ the slab is awesome! Can't wait to see the black door, that's on my to do list for our master~
    Jenna

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  15. I so love the gorgeous look of marble but know that there are so many down sides to it....however, I truly believe that when you reboot and nourish yourself with chocolate, the right decision will come to you!...

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  16. I know it will be worth it in the end, but oy! Chocolate intake sounds like a good start. What are your instincts telling you? I know that at my age, if I ignore my instincts, I usually foul myself up. I hope you're "on the mend" and will soon feel like your old self.

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  17. Oh boy, this is the kind of thing you don't want to encounter, but when you're building or remodeling, it's inevitable that something will go wrong. With all the effort you've expended, it will be worth getting just what you want.

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  18. Gorgeous slabs! LOVE the wider veining so hopefully you will be able to work around the flaws.
    Wishing you a beautiful day. -Brenda-

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