If you’ve signed up for my newsletter, or follow me on Instagram, then you know we’re renovating the kitchen! I have been wanting to share a post all about it – with mood boards, flat lays and all of the juicy details to give you a picture of what I’ve planned – but not only have I been plagued by supply chain issues and delays, I can’t nail down one of the biggest features of the kitchen design: the counters! Ha – maybe the months long delays on cabinets and appliances are meant to be 🙂
I always knew I wanted stone counters for the kitchen reno because I just love rocks! I find stone counters mesmerizing. And so, for the 8+ years we’ve lived in this house, I’ve waited eagerly for the chance to pick out a stone slab for the kitchen I’ve been designing in my head that whole time. When we renovated the bathroom, the local stone yards/fabricators had a decent selection and we found a slab we liked in person – actually, I even found a second slab I loved and mentally earmarked for the kitchen:
But when we went around to the local stone yards this fall, there wasn’t a lot of selection. Every place suggested that we choose a slab from a photo and have it brought in. Having photographed stone slabs myself, I knew this plan was doomed to fail, lol. I kept going back, again and again, trying to make the limited in-stock selection work, but I just didn’t love any of the choices. Fantasy Brown Quartzite is VERY popular here (like, there were crowds around the slabs at the stone yards) and I even brought home a sample because I did like how it glittered and paired with the walnut cabinets, but it was too dark and, well, brown for our space:
It’s really beautiful, it just didn’t work without our decor and lighting. As a side note, the slab below is also called “Fantasy Brown” (a remnant from another stone yard), so it shows how much these stones can vary because this was definitely green in real life.
I sort of liked this Ocean Blue Quartzite, below, (my Mom really loved it) but when I took a sample home, it was REALLY dark and drab in my small kitchen. Plus it was sold anyway, so I would have to…order a slab, lol.
The other solid option was this quartzite, but it was, in my opinion, too beige for our white cabinets and I wasn’t sure I liked how soft the veining was. Although I circled back to it, again and again, it just wasn’t “the one,” even though it was really gorgeous. But even in the bright sunlight it looked beige/dark so I knew at home it could be very drab.
Stone counters aren’t cheap and I just really wanted to love the stone we chose. So I decided to try and order a slab from photos. I had narrowed it down to White Macaubas quartzite, because I found this remnant locally and liked it a lot, so I decided to see if I could have a slab like this brought in by the same fabricator.
It was frustrating because the two local places I was chatting with prior to ordering weren’t very helpful finding me slab online – even though it was their cockamamie idea. I’d get sent a single, blurry photo and asked, “how about this one?” For example, the one below was a contender, but I asked for some detailed photos and clarification on whether it was a purple-toned grey. I never got any answers or additional photos, so didn’t feel confident ordering it – even though I may have liked it…
I really wanted selection – or better photos! None of the White Macaubas options looked like the remnant I had liked. At one point I was sent a list of slabs and this one caught my eye:
But when I asked for close up photos, I was sent photos of a grey slab with totally different veining. That’s when I gave up.
I decided it would just make sense to drive 1600km to the larger warehouses of the suppliers our local fabricators used and find a slab in person. I was worried about travelling in this ongoing pandemic, but decided driving would be safer than flying as we could minimize interactions with people. I brought my truck in for a service/oil change before the road trip and was slammed with thousands of dollars of unexpected repairs. I had just brought the truck in for service and an inspection a few months earlier (and specifically asked my mechanic to troubleshoot potential problems for the upcoming winter driving season), so this was a shock. It took weeks to get the work done and, by then, it was snowing and, still shocked from all of the things that needed to be repaired on the truck, Hubby and I just didn’t feel safe driving it that far in the winter. We have, previously, broken down in our truck while on a road trip in the summer, and there are lots of stretches without cell service on the journey.
So… I was back to choosing stone from a photo…
Eventually I started messaging the vendors myself and combing through all of their inventory. I was annoyed that I had to do all this legwork, but it was nice to speak directly with the distributors and ask questions about the stone slabs. I kept circling back to the original slab that caught my eye (above). In the process, I had realized that the close up photos they had sent were of a different slab/lot of the same type of quartzite. So I asked some questions to get clarification on the stone I liked and was told it was “whiteish” with “soft turquoise” veining. I was even sent a video, which looked just like the photo (you can see it here). I just figured stones really vary (as evidenced by “Fantasy Brown”), so one slab/lot was whiter and brighter than the other.
Confident that I would like this slab, I placed the order with the local fabricator – stressing that there were two similar slab lots and to be careful to order the correct one, because one of them I liked very much and one of them I did not like at all. I paid my deposit, and waited. And waited. For three months. It turns out the local fabricators don’t ship individual slabs, so I needed to wait for enough orders to come in that my stone could be shipped with them.
It finally arrived at the end of December and as soon as I saw it I knew they had made a mistake. They shipped the slab I didn’t like!
I was disappointed that the local fabricator didn’t notice – the lot numbers are clearly printed on the sides and I had been so specific. I was told they could re-order the slab I wanted, but I started to wonder if they were similar, and that’s why they shipped the wrong one in error and confused the photos during my initial emails. In my “investigation,” (lol), I received a photo of both slabs side by side, which revealed that not only were the slabs similar, but the slab I wanted looked nothing like the photo I was originally sent. There it is, on the left:
So I decided not to have the slab I had chosen shipped, and started my search from scratch. I found an Amazonite Quartzite I was obsessed with, but it was a bit more money – although I almost ordered it out of spite. I had asked in the first round of ordering for a quote and the fabricator ghosted me and just never replied to my email about it. After the slab mix up, I asked again for a quote on this. She got me a new photo (below) and then told me of the price: “it’s expensive”. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, lol. In the end, it really wasn’t that much more expensive – my bigger concern was that it was only 2cm thick (kitchens should really be 3cm). I worried about it potentially cracking or running into other problems with fabrication because it needed a mitered edge, blah blah blah. But gosh, was it beautiful! I really should have done this for our bathroom counters! 2cm is better for bathrooms, apparently. But I didn’t even know this was an option back then…
I also found this one, which I was in love with (picture the walnut cabinets with that warm brown veining!) – but it was only 2cm as well. I shared all of these options on Instagram as I found them and two people said this looked like dripping blood, lol – I don’t see it, do you?
I was shown a few other white(ish?) quartzite options but, I have to admit, that once I discovered aqua and green stone counters were an option, I was no longer as smitten with the white… plus I had no idea how white they were in real life or if, upon delivery, they’d be more grey or beige in real life.
Some remnants I found in my initial search were very creamy beige, and I wasn’t sure I loved that with the cabinets I had chosen and ordered:
I was also little nervous after that first disappointing order.
I branched out beyond the few suppliers the local fabricator orders from, and combed through suppliers in the same cities, hoping to find something perfect but slabs were sold out or – in the case of anything aqua – a special order with a minimum slab purchase I knew my local fabricator wouldn’t go for.
One day I stumbled across a stone slab I liked – in Hawaii, lol. It had a creamy background with BOLD teal veining. I liked it SO much that I think I manifested it into my life. This is it:
I found it at a supplier in another city, very far away, with a sister location in a city my fabricator ships from! I confirmed that they could transport the slab to the closer city and they said yes! I also saw it used in a space with white backsplash, so I think it will look nice with white cabinets. But honestly, it’s teal – you know I will love it. I asked the local fabricator if we could order it, and received the same answer every time I emailed for an update: “possibly”.
I found out the supplier only had only two slabs left so I begged my fabricator on Friday to please, please, please put it on hold or order it. I told her there was nothing else I liked. What I didn’t say was that I was exhausted from months of shopping online for stone slabs and was two seconds away from asking for my deposit back to just order white quartz from someone else. Eventually she told me she doesn’t actually ship from that city often (although she had sent me options from a supplier there, sooo…?), but she would work to figure out shipping and maybe coordinate with other local fabricators.
It’s been 11 days since I first emailed the local fabricator about that slab and I hope I get an update soon. Fingers crossed I can get that slab – and that it’s as gorgeous in real life as in photos! The same supplier also has these two lovely slabs, as a plan B, but I do worry they’re too dark/grey/busy. Even though I have a lot of windows and my house is bright, the kitchen is one space that can be very dark.
I will share my design plans soon but, in the meantime, I thought I’d bring you along on my stone shopping journey! You can see other slabs I considered in an Instagram Story archive called “K: Counters”. I’ll share an update on Instagram as soon as I receive some news on my dream slab…