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Kitchen Challenge Part 6: Counterbalance

My kitchen project is finally in the home stretch with the cabinets delivered and appliances on their way. Last week I spent a literally fevered few days trying to settle on countertops and faucets in the midst of a bad flu.

I had been going back and forth between marble and quartzite in my mind for the past few months. I love the variety and easier upkeep of the quartzite but there's nothing like the timeless appeal of a huge hunk of marble. I took a trip (actually several trips) to Stone City, my local stone emporium. Luckily, it's only a few minutes from my house which gave me the chance to run back an forth looking at multiple slabs and a chance to throw on a hard hat and watch a bunch of burly men operate heavy machinery.

I loved the look of the Calcatta marble pictured at the far left. Bright white with even strips of pure gray, it reminded me of classic bistro counters in Paris or cafe tables in Rome. I dreamed of flattening out big butter blocks on the cool stone and folding them into ham and cheese croissants, or chasing sticky focaccia doughs across the counter or knocking back a big, sloshy glass of red wine and sitting it down on the count...NOOOO! So here's the deal. Last year my Mom got her kitchen redone with acres of pristine Calacatta marble. A few days after the counters went in, she was frantically installing a whole-house water softening system because her Los Angeles County Municipal water was mercilessly staining her new counters!

With no plans to install a water softener ( I hate the filmy quality it gives to water) I was trepidatious about marble in general and doubly concerned about marble that stained so easily.

So on to Quartzite! I saw some beautiful quartzite with lots of swirl and pattern and drama but was surprised to find out that Quartzite can stain just as easily as marble. Since both are natural stones, their porous nature leaves them prone to staining. The darker pattern would hide any accidents a little better than the white expanses of the Calacatta, but the Quartzite was almost as expensive as the Calacatta and both were over the rapidly shrinking kitchen budget!

Frustrated and stumbling around with a raging fever, I was feeling pretty defeated when I took my third trip to Stone City. Maybe it was my bleary vision or the extreme desire to find something before I passed out, but inspiration finally struck in the form of a slab of Pearl Grey Georgia marble ON SALE! Mined right here in the USA, the Georgia marble may not have the lofty pedigree of the Calacatta but, at half the price and, in my humble opinion, twice the style it was PERFECT! Georgia marble has a long history in the United States and was popular for use in monuments and skyscraper lobbies at the turn of the century. It reminded me of cafe bars in Paris and beat up counters in country estates--just the look I wanted!

With the slab purchased, the installation team came out and measured for the countertops plus a long shelf on the opposite side of the kitchen. A week later, everything was installed! Stay tuned for the grand unveiling!

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