Countertops are perhaps one of the most important things to me and my kitchen. Our house features a huge 60 sq ft island in the middle of the open plan kitchen and therefore it will be the centerpiece of our primary living space. My first visit to the design center produced mixed results in terms of countertops. The only option that they had that I was in any way happy with was carrara marble. But all I was given was a little 6”x8” swatch that really tells you nothing about a slab of natural stone. Leaving the design center with little confidence on the countertop options, I knew I would have to take things into my own hands.
After some internet searching I found a countertop fabricator in the Houston area that had a showroom and also happened to carry Blanco sinks. So I was able to accomplish two things at once. American Countertop Fabricators were extremely helpful and taught us a lot about what really goes into a kitchen countertop. One thing we learned, most edges, bullnose, beveled, waterfall, were free. This was something that our builder plans to charge us for. Haha, not anymore!
We also got to see our very first slabs of carrara marble. I knew that this was what I wanted. I have read every article and blog post out there about the pros and cons and at the end of the day, I want the beautiful marble and I am happy with the patina that develops over time. But here’s one thing that I had been advised to do but didn’t fully appreciate how important the advice: you must go in person to pick your slab. We compared two pieces of carrara and they were completely different. One of them, I wouldn’t even consider having in my house. It was mostly grey with almost no white at all. So there is no way that I would ever just let my builder pick one out for me at random. Preposterous!
The best part about visiting the fabricator is that I got free samples! So now I can test out stains and see if I can live with the results.
As amazing and fruitful the trip was, it was only the beginning because they directed us to their supplier who also had a showroom down the road. Arizona Tile was everything I was looking for and more in my entire home buying experience. Row upon row of gorgeous marbles, granites, quartzites, and exotic stones. Even if they were way out of our price range, some of them were really a sight to behold like this Aphrodite. A dark stone with stunning bright blue highlights based on how the light hits it.
We walked through six rows of beautiful slabs but here were the highlights:
1.) Taj Mahal Granite. This is without a doubt, the granite we will be using in our master bathroom. It’s going to go amazing with our light grey, wood textured tiles, and our espresso cabinets.
2.) Cambrian Black Satin. There is polished, honed, and satin finishes that you can apply to a slab. The Cambrian Black Satin is textured, has natural bumps, and is more matted than shiny. You can make out the details of the texture is this photo.
3.) Carrara Marble. Still a favorite for our center kitchen island. Classic, clean, and wonderful to work with. But look how many different variations there can be on one kind of stone!!! It is PREPOSTEROUS that the builder wouldn’t allow me to hand select the slab that I want.
If you are doing any countertops in your home with a natural stone (man-made materials will look exactly like the swatch), you MUST go see the slabs in person. Thank you American Countertop Fabricators and Arizona Tile for an eye-opening experience!