Countertop Specifications

I think I was a little ambiguous in yesterday’s countertop discussion.  Allow me to clarify for you.  Here’s our list of requirements:

  • Must look good
  • Natural material
  • Stain resistant
  • Low maintenance
  • Economical
An added bonus, but not required:
  • Resale value

Originally, we thought we’d end up with the same marble as our dining table.  You see, we know the horror stories of marble in an eating area.  Before we bought the slab for our table, we tested it out.  That’s right, we brought a small chunk home, poured red wine and grape juice on it, letting it sit overnight.  When we wiped the liquid off, the marble still looked perfect.  It passed our requirements with flying colors.  And it was pretty and a natural stone.  Because it was a mis-order, the granite company wouldn’t get any more in after selling out.

So, we moved on to granite.  Mostly because marble and granite are similar.  And granite has been very popular over the past 10 or 15 years.  Two problems, though.  The biggest one, we haven’t seen anything in stock that we would love enough to put in our kitchen.  Secondly, the pricing.  This really isn’t as much of a reason, but we don’t want to pay a few thousand dollars for something that we know off the bat we’re not in love with.  At least the look of.  And let’s face it.  If we don’t love the look of it, we’re still not going to consider it, despite all practicality.  Especially when we have other options.

Based strictly on looks, we quickly eliminated man-made countertops like Corian, Silestone, Cambria, etc.  This means concrete is off the countertop table, too.  Metal seems too industrial for our home.  Don’t get us wrong, each of these looks great in the right setting, just not our setting.  Which is why we’re going with wood.

When Ben tossed the wood counter idea out on Monday, I resisted.  Then he gave me more info, like the price and size of the slabs.  Now I’m listening.  He said it looks similar to the Brazilian Cherry in my office, which I love.

But, I was concerned how the grey cabinet paint color would look against the wood tone.  So, I went to the shop and they kindly cut me a sample to clean up and see what we think.  Happily, we love the colors together.

So, let’s talk specifically about the wood we’re interested in.  A local shop is getting two slabs, each three feet wide, eleven feet long, and two inches thick.  That’s one big tree; 66 square feet to be exact.  If you recall, we need about 34 square feet for the countertops, plus another 10 or so feet for the bar top.  (Our wall is 10 feet long and we’re thinking the bar will be one foot deep).  44 square feet total, so we should have 22 square feet extra.

They’re charging $18 per board foot, but this is twice as thick as a board foot, so it’s twice the price.  Or $36 per square foot.  Which happens to be 44 dollars per square foot cheaper than Absolute Black granite.  The 22 square feet of extra wood material also explains why the wood is only $244 cheaper than granite.  But, in the granite math, I didn’t include the ten square feet of material needed for the bar top.  Add another $800 and granite is nearly $1050 more than the wood.  And we’d have a seam, or several, somewhere.  We’ll also have enough wood left over to finish up some other projects, like adding new table tops to our living room end tables.

But back to the wood.  Ben can cut one foot off each slab to make cabinet depth counters.  And they’ll be in one solid piece, no seams.  That’s a plus.  And, Ben should be able to use the remaining pieces, i.e. the 1 foot wide by 11 foot long slab, as a single piece bar top.

All that to say, the wood should be in town on Thursday.  Barring any oddities, we’re going with wood counters.  And here is what the wood counters will look like when paired with the shiny marble tile back splash (that we have yet to purchase), the hardwood flooring, the cabinets, and stainless steel accents and appliances.

We’re super excited and can’t wait to see everything on Thursday.  Now that we’ve made a firm decision, what do you think?  (Be kind, please)

Oh, and last night, Ben mudded the sheet rock joints.

Two or so more coats to go, then sanding.  After that, we can rip out the cabinets and flooring to get started on installing the new stuff.  Yay!

15 thoughts on “Countertop Specifications

  1. Are the counter tops & flooring the same color? I can’t tell if it’s the picture making them look that way or if they’re actually the same color. Either way, I think it’ll look great! I’m a big fan of wood counters. Did you ever consider doing one counter in granite and the rest wood (like a mix & match look)?

  2. Love your blog, can’t wait to see the completed kitchen! I personally am not a fan of the counter top and paint color together, doesn’t look “fresh” enough for me, almost is looking dated already, maybe is just the color of the photos.

  3. Gorgeous!!! I love wood counters, and the color of your cabinets is beautiful! I’ve been seeing similar colors all over the place lately! I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

  4. I think the counters look great and definitely with the cabinets. Have you considered any of the glass tile options for a backsplash?

  5. I like your choices. Did you ever consider something with a little more color or texture for the backsplash? I think it would really make the kitchen pop against the neutral tones of the flooring, cabinets and countertops. Your progress is great!

  6. Hi Kristen, Um, the floor and counters are slightly different. It was tricky to get accurate photos this morning because it was raining.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Alli! I didn’t know if I would like the combo, but I think it looks really good. And, if we decided we don’t like it anymore, we can repaint the cabinets. No biggie since we’ve only built (and painted) the insides of the cabinets.

    Jess and Diana, We briefly considered glass, but we can pick up 3 by 6 inch marble subway tiles for pretty cheap, so that’s the route we’re taking. We plan to add more color in accessories rather than something that is permanent.

  7. I love everything you’ve chosen so far! I didn’t know how I felt about the wood counter idea at first, but having seen the sample- I love it!

    SO excited for you to begin installing things!

  8. I think you will like the wood countertops. I put plank counters in my bathroom and do really like them. I am curious what finish you will put on top. I have some spottiness cause I used water based poly. I do think I want to sand down and use oil.

    1. Thanks, Cait! I’m super excited, too! 🙂

      Pine Tree Home, we’re definitely going to use mineral oil for the finish. That way, if the counters get damaged, we can easily sand the area down and re oil for a new look. I think it’s going to be much more user friendly.


  9. Im a little late to the party , but I just finished my kitchen and i got black galaxy. I love it. It is so awesome. very easy to take care of if you clean it every day! I use a mixture of rubbing alcohol ,water and a little dish detergent .

  10. Bubinga wood is awesome! My husband just finished up a snare drum where he placed a bubinga veneer on the outside and the wood has such an awesome rich color. I think the pics above show the wood as more orange than it really is. Naturally it’s a rich warm brown color! Is that how you would describe it? It’s so unique too! I can’t wait to see how it looks with all the other finishes. I think that even the “doubters” of the wood countertops will see that it’ll look great. You guys have a great eye, just look at the rest of your house!

    My husband and I are going to be doing a kitchen remodel in the upcoming year and are already gathering supplies. You guys are inspiring me to get up the gumption to tackle the project.

  11. I love wood countertops but have always been fearful of stains. Did you try any stain experiments on the wood?

    Knowing nothing about how wood will respond, can you get stains deeper than an acceptible sanding depth (nobody wants an uneven counter). And how does it respond to water? do you have to worry about swelling?

    1. Hi Alex, In fact, we did conduct a very scientific stain experiment. We poured balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, coffee, ketchup, mustard, and dish soap and let it soak over night. Oddly enough, the dish soap did the most damage. But, then we tried a bleach/water solution on it, scrubbed, cleaned it off and let it dry 24 hours. It came out quite nicely. And that was on a unoiled, roughly sanded piece. So, we’re thinking that a well sanded, thoroughly oiled wood counter would be pretty stain repellent. Of course, we’ll let you know how things hold up as time goes by.


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