Finally: the teal quartzite counters have been installed! I absolutely LOVE the stone I chose – and am grateful the local stone yard agreed to bring it in for me – but when cutting it for my kitchen, they MESSED IT UP. The stone was cut wrong. I’m annoyed. Please scroll through and just tell me it’s not that big of a deal. Not in the context of the world imploding around us, but in the context of stone counters.
HOW THEY MESSED UP THE MEASUREMENTS
A few days before installation, they came out and did the templates. In my mind, I envisioned more measuring, but they literally came with sheets of cardboard and marked off the shape. It was more…low tech than I envisioned. The sink was not installed at the point, but it was positioned and centred on the cabinet/window. At some point, they must have bumped it (giving them the benefit of the doubt here – they may have just mis-measured completely) because when they returned with the counters and set the cut pieces in place, I was shown that it was too short to the left of the sink (where the counter meets the wall). We, of course, were blamed because now the sink was installed. The stone cutter complained (bitterly) that had we left it uninstalled, he would have “play” – to which I repeatedly said, “ummm, no, because then the sink would be installed off centre from the cabinet and the window”! We went back and forth about this a few times, which really irritated me. But he knew the sink was uninstalled when he did the measurements – we pointed it out because we weren’t sure what gets installed first – sink or counters. You think he’d have double checked that he didn’t bump it while measuring. Anyways, the gap at the wall is about 1/2″ – which doesn’t really make a big difference by the wall, but would really show if the sink was moved over that much, because the sink lines up perfectly with the cabinet, which is perfectly centered on the window. After lugging the stone inside, and heaving it into place, they asked me if I was okay with the gap:
I had a sample of tile backsplash, and we figured out it would mostly hide that gap, so I said it was okay. I mean, what was their plan to make it longer? The BEST areas of the stone slab had already been cut (the stone yard only brought one slab in and it had sold out from the supplier since my ordering). So it’s not like they could re-cut it. They proceeded with the installation. Once everything was installed, we were asked to look it over and we noticed two things: the mistake in measuring actually affected more than just the gap. The mistake meant that every piece of stone had a different overhang – which wasn’t explained to us when only the one piece was installed and they were drawing my attention to the gap. Worse: the hole for the faucet – which was drilled in place – was drilled off-centre. Measuring was not their strong suit. My faucet hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m not sure if there will be enough play to hide this error. Frustratingly, this was a totally avoidable error, as there is a LINE DRAWN ON MY WALL that marks the centre (leftover from the cabinet installers). Plus, the sink is divided, so it’s easily visible from that perspective as well. Argh!
While I am very happy with the stone I chose, and am pleased with how they placed the templates (to their credit, they did their best to maximize as much of the colored veining as possible), I am a little disappointed with the end result – especially if there isn’t enough wiggle room for the faucet and I’m forced to install it just slightly off centre. Below is a reminder of the slab. It wasn’t easy to capture all of the color because it ran right through the middle.
The fabricator wanted most of the counters cut out of two halves of a U-shape (except for the piece beside the stove) with a seam by the faucet, but I wanted to get as much of the veining, which means the peninsula area has veining that doesn’t match the direction of the rest. He hated that, lol. But, to his credit, he did what I wanted because I cared less about the direction of the veining changing than I did getting as much of the color. That is, after all, what I paid for with this particular slab of Portomare quartzite!
I invited my Mom over and didn’t tell her the mistakes. She noticed the overhang differences, but she said it’s not that noticeable if you’re not looking for it. I guess we could have asked them to take it back and re-cut a bit to fix that, but I didn’t trust that they wouldn’t break it during transit. Or cut it wrong again. Plus it was already all glued in place. Honestly, I would have been even sadder had they damaged it and I was back to the drawing board again. Check out the photos below to see the mistakes, but also ogle the gorgeous teals and blues. The stone is more muted in my home than in the bright sunlight of the stone yard, but still just as beautiful. In these photos, it’s not as vibrant, but in real life it sparkles and shimmers and there are endless shades of rich teals and blues, warmed up with coppery and amber colored bits.
I just love this Portomare Quartzite so much! But let me show you the mistakes I outlined above (I share all of this with the hope that it helps prevent someone else from having these same issues): to the left and right of the stove, the overhang is deeper (over 1″) and actually hides the top drawer/cabinet pull if you’re standing and looking down at the counters:
Along the window wall, the overhang is slightly less deep:
Then, on the peninsula, the overhang is very short (less than 1/2″) and you can see almost all of the cabinet pulls:
I’m disappointed, but happy that there wasn’t a worse calamity with this stone. It’s so beautiful and so special – and so out of stock, lol, so there was only one shot to get it right!
What is Portomare Quartzite?
Portomare Quartzite is a quartzite mined in Brazil. It can be very colorful – with with even richer, teal veining than my slab. Sometimes the rusty veining is really intense. My slab, even though it’s so beautiful and colorful, is actually quite neutral compared to other Portomare slabs I’ve seen online.
I have honestly been staring at the new counters for hours. There are so many sparkly quartz deposits and richly varied colors. It sparkles from every direction, and also has these charcoal little flecks. It has so much visual interest – I’m just fascinated!
Backsplash Tile Choice:
With the counters installed, I also decided on a tile! I’m going with “Sea Mist” from Mercury Mosaics – which boasts a beautiful, glossy teal glaze, with lots of variation.
Next up: hopefully a missing cabinet door materializes! Then we have to order and install the backsplash, trim out the fridge, install the floor transition and faucet and then… we’re done! I also want to make some solid walnut stools with hubby and his woodworker dad – although our old turquoise stools actually look good! I worried the color would be too much, but it works. But hubby’s dad makes stunning wood stools and I think it will be such a treasure to have a piece of furniture (technically a pair) he made, in our home.
Progress slowed a bit, so if you’re just tuning in to my kitchen renovation here’s what we tackled so far…