Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Trip to the Stone Yard

It was time to choose a slab of granite--or something--for the kitchen. So I gathered paint samples, studied photos of kitchens, and tried to learn about the pluses and minues of each stone.

But my preparation always flies out the window when I see a slab that calls out to me.

When Medana and I arrived at the fabricator's shop, I whipped out my sample of Benjamin Moore's "Simply White" and placed it against small samples of Caesarstone's new marble-like products.

Next, I tried Caesarstone's "Pure White." Here, it's placed against a cabinet that's been painted Sherwin Williams' "Creamy," the trim and paint color that I ran through the downstairs at Rattlebridge. The manager told me that Caesarstone is at the top of the price range, more expensive than (some) granite.

The manager showed me a slab of Bianco Macaubus. I've heard it called "granite" and "quartzite." It resembles marble yet it's more durable.  I've seen many beautiful kitchens at Houzz that had "Macaubus" counter-tops. 

Medana held up the SW "Creamy" door. (Actually, we had one door--SW "Creamy on one side, BM's "Simply White" on the other.)

I totally forgot the name/type of stone. I want to say travertine. After a while, the white area
began to resemble an animal. I saw the eye and the jaw. Then I made out a fine line inside the jawline. It's a

Super White is another option for a "marble-like" appearance. Is Super White a granite or a quartzite? Some say it's bulletproof, the perfect choice if you love Cararra; others say that Super White is prone to chipping and etching. Here's one of many debates at Houzz.

I liked this slab of Super White. It worked with my sample of "Creamy" and "Simply White."
However, the slab had quite a few blurry places. I don't know why that bothered me, but it did. The manager told me not to worry, that she could find slabs without this discoloration.

Was Super White too busy? Not busy enough? Too cool? I was a little worried that my kitchen might look "cold." I tried to imagine Super White on the counters, surrounded by white cabinets, stainless appliances, and polished nickel pulls/knobs. Would it be a beauty or a beast?

Super White with a "Creamy" door:
Super White with a "Simply White" door: 

My present kitchen has a swirly, wild granite, and it has black spots. I like little surprises. However, when I texted a photo to Dr. Will, he texted back, "Keep looking."

Medana and I passed by a wild slab. If I'd seen it 8 years ago, it would have been love at
first sight. I'm a little shocked at myself. Where's my sense of adventure? But I just can't
see this slab in my kitchen.  Not even if I put Absolute Black granite on the perimeter (or white Caesarstone). No. I would get so tired of it, I tell myself. And it's far too cool to work with "Creamy."

More wildness awaited us in the next aisle.

Finally, a bit of calm. However, this slab was peppered with "cranberries," little ball of reddish
purple. Again, that wouldn't have bothered me a few years ago, but now, those berries leaped out.
What a shame, Miss PickyPants.
This slab (and its three sisters) were reserved. But that was fine. It almost felt...too calm. Too safe. Yet not safe, because I didn't like it with my cabinet, "Creamy."

What a bummer. I'd expected to find "the" stone. I thought it would call out to me. I remembered the many horror tales about stone yards. Women going to look at slabs for a YEAR and never finding "the one." At this point, I started to worry. I had to get home to my diabetic Yorkie, and dense, killer traffic that was gathering on the Interstate.
As we left the building, Medana held up the cabinet. The granite looked blue-black.  

We passed by the crazy slab we'd seen earlier.  "It could be a show stopper," Medana said.

Dejected, we walked into the remnant yard, my favorite place. Long ago, I'd found some hidden
gems for powder rooms and table tops. I knew I wouldn't find anything large enough for the kitchen, but that didn't matter. My pulse began to speed up.

"Here's a black and white granite," Medana said. (Shown with BM's "Simply White.")

I have three beat-up tables that need granite or marble tops. And I needed a bit of Cararra Marble
to go around the master bath tub.


Medana told the manager to please reserve that slab.


Inside the manager's office, she showed me a picture of a gorgeous slab that was in a yard on I-65.
It was granite but had a "marble-like" movement. Medana programmed her GPS, and we dove into the beehive of afternoon traffic.

When I saw the slab, it was riddled with cranberries. No, it wasn't "the one."

We looked at a Cararra slab. The "Creamy" cabinet was a bit too creamy. And somehow,
this wasn't my dream marble. Would it be worth nagging my family to not spill lemonade?
To be on edge whenever I cooked?


I'd heard stories about tomato sauce ruining a countertop in, like, twenty seconds. I'd heard
tales of etching and water marks.

Let's be really real. I'm a messy cook, though I strive to clean as I go.  However, if a slab had truly "called" to me, if it had made my soul sing, I would have changed my evil ways; I would have worked hard to avoid stains.

But I didn't find that slab.

In a way, I felt relieved.
Now that I'd decided against marble, I needed to find a granite that worked with my kitchen. But if Medana and I wanted to beat the nail-biting traffic, we had ten minutes to look. Then we had to scoot. On our way out, we noticed a slab.
"How'd we miss this one?" Medana said.
Here it is with "Creamy."

"It looks like you," Medana said.
But what the heck does that look like? (And what does it mean?)
Eight years ago, I chose a granite that induced vertigo.
Today, this quieter slab wasn't calling out to me. . . yet, the more I looked, the more I liked it. It was warm, not too busy (slabs are always calmer when they are on a counter, somehow). The movement reminded me of flowing water. And the colors would look great with the stainless appliances.

I sent a quick text to Will.
He texted back, "Z white looks like a ship. Keep looking."

In any event, three slabs weren't available. They'd been reserved. I needed four. The salesman said he would double check.

Here's the slab with the "Simply White" door.

As we headed out the door, the manager said, "Hey, those three slabs just came off hold."
So I put them on hold.

No money had been exchanged, so I went over my options. I wasn't bowled over by the Caesarstone--or the price.  I hadn't found the marble that I'd wanted (but that was a sign from The Kitchen God: Messy cooks with messy families might want to think twice about marble. And granite has worked in two previous kitchens.)

So, granite it shall be. Since my kitchen will be Very White, I will need to find a paint color with depth. The backsplash won't be chosen until much later.

Here are three possible paint options.

                             Sequoia                                    Macaubus                                      Super White

Which slab do you like?


  1. My husband votes for Sequoia. My favorite is actually the one you thought was too safe, but of these three I like Macaubus best.

    1. The "safe" slab was absolutely gorgeous in person. I wish I could remember the name.
      I'm not surprised that someone had already snatched it--and the other slabs--up.

  2. I am with Beverly, I kinda liked the one you thought was too safe also, and I also favor the macaubus.

    1. I asked the manager if she could get more slabs, and she winced, then shook her head. "Not soon," she said. Apparently calcatta marble flies out of stone yards, too.
      But Carrara was plentiful. I thought the macaubus could make my kitchen seem wider. My husband says, Keep lookin'! :-) He always says that.

  3. I LOVE the sequoia! I think is it gorgeous, somehow warm, interesting without being too distracting, I love it! I'm sorry one didnt just jump out at you, it's so hard to decide when you aren't excited. Good luck!

  4. When we were looking for granite we drove all over the state of TX. We went to a dozen or more stone yards. Finally we found the one that spoke to us, but it was the Persian red that I mentioned. I'm liking the first two choices. Good luck! This is a difficult task.

  5. Well, I guess I am in the minority, I really like the Super White. I think the straight lines of the Macaubus would bother me on the counters. Can't wait to see what you do. Hugs, Marty

  6. I tend to favor the third one with the Super White and the first one as second choice. But I understand why you want to go with the Creamy to unify the look with the rest of your house and that makes choosing more confusing.

    I have to say that looking at all of the different slabs seems a bit overwhelming to me. I would come away with a killer headache and no stone. Maybe Dr. Will could come along with you guys next time...

  7. The trip to the stone yard was an eye opener for me. Where I live we don't have stone yards and if we needed that sort of thing our only choice would be a tiny square at Home Depot. How lucky you are to see the whole slab at once. I prefer the Sequoia for its movement.

  8. Thanks for taking us shopping with you. I am not a fan of granite or any kitchen counter with a pattern. It has to be a solid white for me. I like to keep decorations and glass canisters on my counter and it fights with the pattern. I have a semi solid white something on my kitchen counter. It is some sort of a man made product that looks like marble. It was in the house when I bought it so I have no idea what it is but I love it. I can't be bothered with a counter top I have to pamper. I love to cook to much.
    Good luck in your search.

  9. Thanks for taking us shopping with you. I really don't like any sort of pattern on my counters. I like to set canisters and décor on my counters and they fight with the pattern. I have some sort of man made counter in my kitchen. Looks like a simple white marble. It came with the house when I bought it and I love it. I can't be bothered with a counter that I have to pamper and it fits the bill for me. Have fun with the process and enjoy your weekend.

  10. Each is beautiful, and once installed, I'm sure any would look absolutely fabulous. Since you asked, I love the Sequoia!
    - Cyndy

  11. This is so much fun ! Thank you for sharing this with us.....
    Sequoia would be my pick definitely. Super White is 2nd and Macaubus last because I'm not sure about the straight lines - I prefer a little movement...

  12. Oh how I wish I had seen Sequoia when I was looking. I know what you are going through - not an easy decision when choosing counters - they are just so "permanent". Anyway - I absolutely love the Sequoia - it has warmth and just the right amount of movement to be interesting without making you dizzy!

  13. I like sequoia. When I looked, I settle on Absolute Black because I liked the contrast of the black counter with the white cabinets. I still like it, but it's a pain to keep it from looking smudged.

  14. It's a no brainer..the sequoia is beautiful..elegant...forever!

  15. I love the Macaubus, it's different without being over the top. I mean everyone has counter tops that are mottled in color, how many people have creamy white laced with fine straight pencil lines. Also I htink it's the most subtle of the three patterns with a lot more white so it won't scream at you if it isn't the perfect match.

  16. Macaubus, durable and very subtle. I think it blends better with the overall look of the room, besides if you don't LOVE any of them the one that takes the least upkeep would be the way to go wouldn't it, besides the straight lines are unique.

  17. Sequoia would be my pick. I went with quartz because you don't have to seal it every few years like you do granite. Spray with all purpose cleaner (non-ammonia), wipe with a paper towel and you're done.