Being that we’re going on two totally renovated, gutted to the studs kitchens in two years, I think it’s safe to say we had a pretty good idea of how we wanted the room to look and feel after we were done with it. Been there, done that type of thing. In the name of keeping our sanity intact, we’ve made a few decisions on the space that are the exact same as our last kitchen (like the faucet, and the hardware) and we’ve made a few decisions that are different as well.

One of those happens to be the counter tops – in all honesty, you’d be hard pressed to tell though, since they landed up looking so similar!

It’s always nerve racking to spend a wad on something and not be sure if you’re going to like it when everything is said and done. Y’all, I thought the counter tops in our last house were as good as it gets, but man am I glad we shopped around this time, because I’m thrilled with how these turned out.

Sans backsplash, the entire kitchen now looks like this:

Cortina Counter Top

And this is how the room looks, peering out from the Dining Room. (oh, how I long for some finished backsplash!)

Cortina Counter Tops

Now, as much as I love (LOVE) the look and feel of marble in a kitchen, Jay is the cook and he gave me a firm n.o. on that one. Not happening.

Although I know many people have found ways to work around the whole etching, staining, scratching ordeals associated with marble counters, I just didn’t want to be in a situation where we were freaking out when our friends spill some red wine or something, ya know?

So again, we opted to go with Quartz counters, but this time we purchased Cortina vs. Lagoon.

Cortina Quartz Counters

Added bonus. Lagoon was over $70 per square foot, and Cortina comes in at $59. Along with the free color promotion they were running, we were able to score this bad boy for around $50 a square foot. Bam.

Oh, and they threw in a free sink, too. 🙂

Sink Not Under Window in Kitchen

Just like the lagoon counter, this is a gray based counter top with subtle veining throughout – similar to the look of real marble.

Cortina Quartz Counter

Here’s another shot of it up against the edge, so you can see the detail there as well.

Very subtle veining.

LG Cortina Quartz Counter

For comparison, this is what Lagoon looked like in our last house. A bit more gray, and the veining is just a tad more pronounced as well.

Silestone Lagoon

And another shot of Lagoon, from a bit further out.

Silestone Lagoon Counters

In all honesty, one of the most exciting things about putting the counters down was removing all of the brown paper we had down to protect the floors.

Man, it feels good to be reunited with my little vintage Persian.

Persian Rug in Kitchen

Confession. The corner of our kitchen (where our future eat-in will be) currently looks like this. Rome wasn’t built in a day. 😉

Organizing Kitchen

Any one else out there in kitchen renovation mode? It feels good to be coming around the final bend over here!

Why Didn’t God Make Marble More Durable?

Marble. Why are you so pretty, but so not practical. These things I will never know. I guess the delicate variety in life usually have the looks, too. Well, alas, it was not meant to be. Marble will not be gracing the tops of my kitchen counters. Sad face. This is the counter surface we started with. Not going to work for the light and bright kitchen we are looking for. Faaar too dark.

Light maple cabinets
Kitchen | Before

A lot of blogs have done a lot of reviews on different types of counter surfaces that closely match the look/feel/etc of marble. One of my favorite breakdowns comes from Aubrey and Lindsay’s blog – they recently did an a-mazing kitchen reno that I have totally drawn inspiration from. Ahem, GE Cafe appliances… 🙂

Ideally, we were hoping to get our counters from Lowe’s, since this is where we will be getting our cabinetry, and it is always easier to bundle than to go through an independent retailer. Initially, Lowe’s seemed to really be lacking in the counter department to me. I scanned through all the samples they had out, and just really couldn’t find anything that struck my fancy. That was until our final cabinet visit, when I spotted this guy, who hadn’t been there prior. Love – Love – Love. What do you think, kinda like marble, no?

Sugarbrush Quartz Lowes
Sugarbrush Quartz

So far, I am really liking this option. It has the subtle veining that you would get with a marble slab, and I think it is light and neutral enough to really compliment the cabinets and achieve the look we are going for in the new space. The most noticeable difference between the quartz sample and marble is that this guy is much more pixalated in person that I would ideally like, kind of spotty almost. I guess my undying love for Marble, also made me elevate it to the highest ground, because I thought for sure it was the most expensive stone per square foot. Nope. Think again. Marble, $59/square foot. My guy, $71. SEVENTY ONE!!! Dagger to the heart.

Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet
Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet

Here is how the countertop looks with the style cabinet we are looking at. Mighty swanky if you ask me 🙂 Just the look we are going for 🙂 Really the only perk to the countertop situation is that they are offering a free sink right now, and we had previously budgeted in $400 for that, so I can reallocate that budget back into the countertops. Here is another view, with the counter right under it for comparison. Can you tell I’m leaning toward this one?? 🙂

Quartz That Looks Like Carrera Marble
Lowes Quartz Option

Before we could make a final decision  we had to hop over to the other generic, large and consumer driven home improvement store, Home Depot, naturally 🙂 As much as we gripe about Lowes and Home Depot going up right. next. to. each other, I swear we usually hit up the both of them when we head over to that side of town. Doesn’t hurt that there is a HomeGoods and a Tile Shop chilling right there as well – makes for a full day, to the husband’s lament. 😉

Searching the blogosphere and online in general, I came up pretty empty on images for each of the countertop options, Viatera Quartz, Cortina (Home Depot) and Sugarbrush Quartz (Lowes). Here is a picture of how the cortina stone looks in person. Not quite as grainy as I would like, but close, very close (the picture really doesn’t show it well). Overall, I do think that I am leaning toward the Lowes option for a few reasons. Namely, I like the veining and how it’s a bit more pronounced on the sugarbush quartz option (through Lowes). Also, the fact that they are throwing in the kitchen sink doesn’t hurt, either. Although many things on this kitchen reno are coming in over budget, it is a relief to have some of our expenses knocked out, and $400+ for the free sink certainly doesn’t hurt.

Home Depot Cortina
Home Depot Cortina

And here is a cost breakdown of the Cortina option at Home Depot, which is the same price per square foot as the Lowe’s option. Once you add fancy shmancy things like corners (is that really an upgrade??) We were looking at $2,500 for our teeny tiny kitchen. I budgeted $1,500. Fail. Knock out the price of the sink on the estimate below though, and we are coming in right under $2,000. That is a little more palatable. But only a little more, let’s keep it realllll.

Viatera Quartz Cortina
Viatera Quartz Cortina