The Kitchen

This is the amalgamation of all the decisions I’ve made over the last 6 months. It’s the countertop, it’s the appliances, it’s the cabinets, it’s the fixtures. And now it is a kitchen.

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Who knows, maybe this will be one of those kitchens that circulates around Pinterest. To me, it is perfect.

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Carrara Marble Stain Test

This post is for the naysayers. For all of the people that gasped and asked “Are you sure???” when I told them I was getting carrara marble countertops in my kitchen. This post is my resounding “YES I AM SURE”. Every home decor blogger has an obligatory carrara marble post. I’ve read many of them and here is the bottom line. Yes, carrara marble is difficult to care for. It is porous. You have to seal it at least once a year and even then, you will get stains and marks no matter what you do. BUT, it’s gorgeous and it’s a great countertop to work on, especially if you bake.

Many people say that if you are a perfectionist, don’t get this countertop. If you are happy with the imperfections that will develop over time (what is referred to as patina), then get it. I had my heart set on carrara from the beginning and nothing was going to change my mind. So I wanted to prepare myself for the future which is why I decided to perform this stain test with this sample that I got from a local fabricator.

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Finding Your Perfect Slab

There are few things in our new house that I am more excited about than our countertops. From the very inception of our new home, the vision was driven by picture perfect kitchens on pinterest which centered, of course, around a show-stopping countertop.

I was originally disappointed by our builder’s selection of countertops but decided on classic carrara marble. Yes, I know that they can be fussy. And so, to balance that out, we decided to use a more durable dark granite around the cooktop because we know it will be impossible to keep that area clean. Again, our builder had a small selection and so we settled on something called Impala Black for our kitchen surround.

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Marble Paradise

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!

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Time for the Showroom

Does anybody remember Expo? Home Depot’s high-end kitchen and bath showrooms? How about the Great Indoors? What ever happened to those? After a recent google search, I discovered that in 2009, Home Depot closed 34 of their Expo stores, including the one in the Houston area. And the Great Indoors that I remember visiting as a child is also a thing of the past.

I did not let this deter me from finding the experience that I was looking for. After some research, I found a few showrooms in the area. None as epic or grand as the Expo, but my needs were minimal. All I wanted was to sit in an oversized bathtub that was in a row of other oversized bathtubs, or at least have the option to. So I found a few candidates and ended up choosing Ferguson. All the online browsing and Pinteresting in the world is not the same as seeing and feeling something in person.

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Upon entering the showroom I was ecstatic that this place was not letting me down. There were plenty of bathtubs, sinks, plumbing fixtures, and enough rain showerheads to last a lifetime. I was in heaven. They even had the Numi – the super smart and fancy Japanese style toilet by Kohler ( I would recommend watching this video. How do they make a toilet seem so elegant?).

The other side of seeing things for yourself is that you might discover that some things that you wanted just won’t work. For example, I had to see it to believe that my master bathroom floorplan was not conducive to a free standing bathtub. My husband already knew this and already warned me, but I wouldn’t accept it until I visited the showroom. Sad but true. But again, this was a necessary step in my home-building process.

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The highlight of my visit was the sighting of the Jenn-Air Obsidian in the wild (pictured here). Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL. After seeing it in a magazine from 2013, I thought it was only a thing of legend. But I finally got to see it in person and it was every bit as exquisite as I thought it would be. If you haven’t heard of Obsidian, it is the first fridge that has a black interior. With a dual evaporator system, this ten thousand dollar fridge is both functional and gorgeous.

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Perhaps secondary to the Obsidian was the GE Profile Series 30 in French Door Oven. In the flesh. Inspired by restaurant ovens, these doors are connected and swing open and closed together, making it easy to maneuver with one hand and also making food easily reachable with hopefully fewer forearm burns. Setting you back about $4000, this dream is slightly more attainable.

I’m also in the search for pendant lights, and though I did not find any that my husband and I could agree on, my trip was definitely worth it. Next showroom I am going to try is Morrison, stay tuned!