Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Kitchen Overhaul Part 3- Worktops

As detailed in my previous posts, my inspiration for the kitchen was taken from bespoke cabinetry with a elegant, traditional aesthetic.

From the moment the kitchen design was formed, I had a clear idea of the overall look right down to the worktops. Having looked to websites such as Houzz to compile design ideas, it became clear that kitchens are something the Americans do well.

Whilst some American kitchens can be very bling and OTT, the prevalent design trends coming from across the pond seemed to be big, bold and elegant. And there was one material being used again and again in kitchens and bathrooms to superb effect- marble. 

With the units having come together so well, complete with hardware and the traditional french gray paint finish, I couldn't think of any better way to complete the kitchen than with crisp white marble counter tops. So I set about trying to source some classic Carrera marble for the worktops- couldn't be too difficult, right?

On the contrary, my marble quest turned into a giant headache. Since marble isn't normally recommended for worktops due to it being a relatively soft and porous stone, nearly every single supplier tried to disuade me from using it. I'd say 'I'm looking for marble for use in my kitchen' and be met with, 'Oh no, you don't want marble'. Well yes I did actually- hence the enquiry. And yet dozens of suppliers seems to down right object to the thought of taking my money. Even once I'd explained that I understood the risks of marble as a surface and was happy to go ahead with no liability for staining or damage. Nope- brick wall. What happened to the customer being right?!

Unfortunately to add to my troubles, suppliers down south, where the installation of marble worktops is not considered quite so alien, couldn't deliver to me due to the distances involved. I found a couple of local Glasgow firms- one of which was nigh on useless at keeping us updated as to their marble deliveries and the otter who quoted an exhorbitant sum, well over twice as much as other companies who'd quoted.

I thought I'd finally cracked if when I spoke to a lovely firm in Cumbria, with a knowledgable owner, reasonable quote and who have me great advice. Unfortunately the Carrara which was available from their supplier didn't pass the test. After all the headaches, I hadn't factored on the stone itself not meeting with my approval.

Here is an example of the slabs I was shown. This was one of the 'better' ones:

This one might pass muster for some people but although it's highly patterned, I couldn't get over the 'drip' like effect. What I really wanted was very highly veined and patterned marble that had a good amount of grey veining and almost a striped quality. Perfectionist? Yup, definitely.

This example found on an American design blog was much more the look I wanted, soft but highly patterned which, in my opinion is how Carrara should be:

Finally fate shone down on me and I found the details of an Edinburgh firm. They quoted a good price, allowed me to view the stone and confirm my acceptance of it prior to cutting and within 4 weeks the worktops were fitted without a hitch. I requested a honed, rather than polished finish and could not be more happy with the outcome.

I'll take some pics in daylight to show it off properly.