September 26, 2013

Kitchen Idea File #2: Countertops

Kitchen Idea File Countertops

There are so many things to think about for the kitchen renovation it is hard to know where to begin. Right now we are targeting summer 2015, but we will see where the wind takes us. In the mean time, I have been obsessing over countertops lately. Our current ones are hunter green faux marble tile and they just aren’t my style. Plus, they are pretty worn. Right now I am tied to the idea of using dark wood counters in the new kitchen. I love how they look polished, yet still a little rustic. I also find wood comfortable for food preparation and cooking with kids.

Kitchen Makeover via Smitten Studio(Photo: via Smitten Studio)

I love the idea of a dark wooden counter top acquiring a natural patina from our family cooking. It seems like it would only get better with age. We gravitate toward clean crisp colors and I really like how dark woods contrasts with bright whites and blues.

Wooden countertops(Photo: via Apartment Therapy)

There are some drawbacks to wood, however. If the wood is too light, like a butcher block, it will stain with dark colors from berries or beets. It also gets nicks from knives and needs to be moisturized and cleaned regularly.

Soapstone countertops(Photo: via Remodalista)

I also think about soapstone sometimes. I don’t want a dark shiny countertop because I’ve had them before. I personally don’t like how they show every single particle of dust and drop of water. Soapstone seems like a might be a good compromise because the subtle gradations in it do camouflage crumbs and water rings from sweaty glasses. But, I wonder, does glassware break easily on soapstone?

White Marble Counter tops(Photo: via Life in Grace Blog)

I am also personally not a big fan of the white washed kitchen with white marble. White, I find, is just as hard to keep clean! Not to mention the staining and scratching. Marble also feels cold and formal to me. Same goes for granite. I prefer a modern country kitchen type feel. Which is why I come back to the slightly less formal, warmer wood.

Wooden Countertops(Photo: via BHG)

What experience have you had with counter tops. Anything I need to think about (besides budget), anything I should consider? I know every material has its benefits and drawbacks. I am trying to weight them all for a while and see what I end up liking.

  • Stephanie F.

    We have the IKEA wooden counters. They do need regular sanding and conditioning and I find that too much work for this busy family. Meanwhile any time I set a can on the counter that I have rinsed for recycling, a black ring stains the counter. I wouldn’t put them in again if I had a choice.

  • hedicp

    We had our kitchen renovated last year and it’s funny because all your photos look like what I wanted for our new kitchen. We went with Black Walnut (wood) for our island counter top and honed jet mist granite for the kitchen counters. I loved the idea of soapstone but contractors and so many others have always disliked it and dissuaded us. I think the granite was also cheaper than soapstone. If you do a Google search of the jet mist, we picked it because it looks similar to the soapstone, especially when it’s honed (not shiny). It’s also great because it doesn’t pick up fingerprints like a lot of glossy granites. We still love the walnut but our toddler decided to use his toy hammer on it and made several dents before we were able to stop him. Oh well. The good thing though, is the wood is treated and sealed (w/ food safe sealer) so you don’t need to do anything except wipe it down to clean it. Still looks great and we still love the decisions we made.

  • Maria Raynal

    Congrats on the new home! We moved last year too (a 1920s Georgian colonial) and will be undertaking a major kitchen renovation in the next couple of years. I love white marble but worry about the etching; love soapstone too. Maybe you do soapstone and add a marble baking station! My best design tips are to use classic, timeless materials and finishes, stay true to the style and era of the home and buy the best quality your budget will allow. If you want to play with trends, patterns or colors that might look dated in a few years (like, say, emerald green or ikat) you can do it with decor — towels, inexpensive plates or art to hang on the wall, a couple of wooden chairs with slipcovers or DIY seat upholstery. Most of that stuff will be worn in a few years and ready to be replaced anyway with the latest fun trend. Looking forward to both of our renovations!

  • Lee Lee

    Having lived with all of the countertops above, have you considered granite? When sealed it is impervious to heat, water, food, etc. and hides crumbs. I do love the look of my unsealed soapstone, but would not suggest for a young family! Congrats on the new home!

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Hi! I don’t love granite since I’ve had it before, but might reconsider. I definitely want something that it durable!! I’ll definitely be collecting a lot of samples to see what might work.

      Thanks!!

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