Kitchen update - countertops

Who knew there were so many things to pick in a kitchen?  Ok, maybe I did, having already done one, but some choices are tougher than others.  Countertops, for example.  I knew that I wanted light counters - the house is dark enough and I want to maximize the newly acquired light from removing the wall and putting in a full glass back door.  Plus - you will remember that this is my inspiration kitchen:
So obviously the first thing I did was research this particular countertop.  It turns out it is Luca di Luna quartzite, also known as quartzite di bianca.  I loved that it was light, and looked like marble, but was quartz so would be strong and reliable.  Here is another example:
However... things never go as planned, right?  Turns out this is next to impossible to find in Toronto.  As I was going from tile store to slab showroom to granite store in the design district up by Castlefield, one lovely sales girl finally said, why are you looking for something that looks like marble, and not going with marble?  Well, I had long since ruled that out - ever since our last limestone countertop.  It was BEAUTIFUL but spill a little orange juice on a glass while pouring and you would be stuck with a very noticeable ring.  So we had decided that marble (worse than limestone, we heard) was not a good idea, especially with 2 little kids.

Well, Edy at Marble Trends (should'a known by the name, no?) convinced me otherwise.  She told me the two things you have to worry about with marble are staining and etching.  The staining they take care of with the sealer they use - and here she showed me their marble top coffee station, which had been used daily for years and had not one mark.  

The etching you can't do much about, and every stone will etch (she showed me samples of all of them, including quartz and Caesarstone).  BUT they (of course) have this great finish called 'vintage' that masks the etching.   Here she showed me their marble work table, on which they slide around all their stone samples, and yes it was etched, but it was still beautiful - it just looked a little worn.  With the vintage finish, it is almost like they wear away the top layer so it is already worn-looking, and anything that happens after is just more 'patina'.  I had worried a bit that our new kitchen was too modern for our old house, so the idea of a warm, worn countertop to tone down the glitz was appealing.

Well, colour me sold. (I was also sick and tired of countertop shopping at this point and had always really wanted marble anyway.)

We toured the slabs and I picked one that was 1) affordable-ish 2) didn't have too much of a grain in it to compete with the cabinets.  It is Bianca Carrara - here is my slab:
I know, right???*   Super sexy.

Of course then I freaked out and had buyers remorse and got on Consumer Reports and felt sad, but the more research I did, the more I realized that no stone (or man-made stone) countertop is fool-proof, and this is really what I want in my heart of hearts.  The quartzite above can have pits and pock-marks, red veining, and has 'sparkles', which are not allowed in this house.  Caesarstone can burn and scratch.  Light granite has the dreaded sparkles, and no lovely veining.  I also found this great blog post testing marble and marble sealants.  So marble it is.  Should be here in a week or so.  SO EXCITED.  Please do not comment on how you once had marble and it was the worst decision you ever made in your life. :)

*I never say this in real life.


  1. Although I am totally wracked with kitchen envy (already? I know, right???), I can't wait to see how this turns out.

  2. YES! Super duper sexy! Well done! xo

  3. Love it! Can't wait to see it (and I promise not to spill anything on it - although Dan probably will)!!

  4. I hope you love your countertops. The slab you picked is amazing. Exactly what we've been looking for too, but we're in the final stages of research of marble vs white quartzite.

    Technically, if Quartzite Bianca (aka Aspen White, Luce de luna) is a quartzite, it should be harder than granite, resistant to stains/etching/scratches. However, based on some posts I've read on garden web, some with white quartzites have experienced etching, which makes me wonder if it's classified correctly. The other odd thing is not everyone with white quartzite has had etching problems which is weird because supposedly it all comes from the same quarry. Those with no etching say it may be because of sealer, but sealer doesn't protect from etching.

    I do think man-made stone (Caesarstone, etc.) is the most durable, in terms of stain/etch, when compared to natural stone, but it doesn't have the natural beauty of stone.

    Would love to hear from others using white quartzite if it's etched and if not, what sealer they used and whether it was honed. If you want more info about etching marble and possible treatment, see garden web posting.


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