So I can tell you what I didn't pick. I ruled out almost immediately Corian Rain Cloud as although I loved the look I didn't like the way it felt to the touch. I felt as though it was too soft for a kitchen countertop. Next on the list - although I liked the feeling of the Cambria Torquay (it's a quartz), I felt had too much veining for our small kitchen. The pattern felt too bold for me. I always kept going back to Caesarstone in Misty Carrara (Style # 4141) and after seeing it used in a larger project (vs. just the small sample) I was sold. And I'm SO in love with it. It's perfect.
There are a lot of things to consider when doing a countertop. Instead of breaking it into a lot of different posts I wanted to keep it all as one so this is a REALLY lenghy post with more pictures and details on the whole process of the countertop ordering. If you're in the market for a counter you may find this post helpful. For everyone else, I just thought you'd enjoy this photo above showing the counter! Yay! Love it.
So stepping back to the countertop material - I am so glad we went with quartz - it's low maintenance, and requires no sealing like a marble does. I didn't want to be worried about staining a new counter and the number of times I've come down to the new kitchen to see drops of coffee that Aubrey didn't notice while running out to work - make me so thankful that I didn't go with something that stained easily. The Misty Carrara has subtle grey veining that gives it a nice softness.
As I mentioned here that I liked the zero overhang look - With our small galley kitchen I was concerned about too much overhang eating into our precious walking space. I was really appreciative of all of the helpful comments that readers left as it made me realize that 0 overhang was REALLY impractical. So we opted for a small overhang. We relied on our countertop fabricator (more on them below) to offer guidance, which I was most appreciative of too.
2. EDGE PROFILE
This was a no brainer for us - we went with the classic straight edge look which is classic and maintains a clean line in our small galley kitchen. (It's pretty much the standard option.) You can choose your width of the edge. There is 1" which I felt was too thin for our kitchen so bumped up our edge to 1.5" edge which requires a seam.
|Source unknown, I had saved this image to remind myself what I *didn't* like.|
|Our countertop, with a mitre edge (you don't see a seam)|
Because we are working as our own contractors and never having done a kitchen before, I found the countertop process a wee bit stressful . You have a lot of players involved from start to finish. You have companies that supply the counter material (like here) but they don't tell you the cost of a slab when you're in the shop. What they tell you is a price range like $ or $$$$. (But no actual dollar figure) To find out a cost you have to get your fabricator to price out the job, based on the slab you picked. It was really confusing as someone who isn't a designer, or contractor - just a normal folk like us trying to figure out who does what and where to go. (PS., Fabricators are the installers. They measure and install your chosen countertop material.)
Then I discovered that some fabricators offer a one stop service - they offer slabs AND installation. This was my preference as it eliminated communication with different shops, and made it so much easier. Caesarstone doesn't vary like a natural stone does, so I didn't go see a slab in person prior to ordering. I had seen enough samples to know I liked it.
WHO WE HIRED
We got a lot of rquotes from fabricators and ended up hiring MG Stonecraft. They were recommended to me by Debra, who was referred to them by a friend of hers. They not only were fabricators but they also supplied Caesarstone.
[Steps for ordering:]
1. Quote: I sent the company our the kitchen drawings so that they could give us a quote for the counter. A quote was e-mailed back to me a few days later and in comparison their quote was the best out of 3 others I received. (I highly recommend price comparisons when you can).
2. Measuring: When our cabinets were installed we called them up to have them in to come measure. Since counters take up to 2 weeks to create, I wanted to get them in really quickly. They came and measured and offered great input.
3. Surprise! Updated Quote: The day after they came we received a updated quote, which came back a few hundred dollars more. (I'm still not sure why) but because they were still the best priced overall, and I was really happy with the person who came to measure I didn't even argue it and we went ahead.
4. Installation: I wasn't around for installation but Aubrey was here and really liked the guys. They installed our sink (not all fabricators install undermount sinks, so be sure to ask)
I was REALLY happy with the guys that came to do the work so I'd 100% recommend this company if you're looking for someone to do your counters.
There you have it. We love, love our counters. Hopefully this information helps!