Marble is like red wine. When you love it, you love it. When you don’t, you don’t.
It can give some of you a headache, one you can’t deal with. But for those who love marble, nothing stands in the way.
It’s not quartz. It’s not granite. It’s organic, has a mind of its own, and I think it’s so much more beautiful.
If you are the type of person that can go into your garden and see how different each blade of grass is, how individual each flower is, then a carrara marble kitchen is for you. If you spend one hundred hours a week making sure your lawn is perfect, you are probably not a good candidate for marble.
If you love ever lasting, non-trendy, classic, beauty that awakens your soul to it’s depths in looks and touch, marble is your baby.
Years before marble became somewhat trendy (though it will never be a fad, and there’s a difference), I yearned, dreamed, and preached marble.
I fell in love with marble and wanted a carrara marble kitchen when I lived in a four story apartment building built in 1928. Every single day, I walked up the original carrara marble steps. Those steps grounded me in a very uncertain time of my life. Those steps are the single architectural element that I remember, as I carried my suitcases up and down for a job that required a lot of travel.
I fell in love again and again, and then I fell in love with pastry making, pie dough to be exact. When I entered the kitchen of a French bakery, I gazed not at the pastry dough, but at the marble, the surface dough should only ever fall upon.
We went to Italy last Fall and saw carrara marble every where. We passed the quarry and I could kick myself for not visiting. This only increased my desire to have a marble kitchen. I dreamed of replacing the quartz, redesigning my bi-level counter to one level with more prep room.
I became marble obsessed and talked to countless people about the stunning look and possible impracticality. Once I decided that I JUST HAD TO HAVE MARBLE, I tested it out.
We ordered a small piece for a small island ($300) and lived with it for a year, just to see if what the naysayers said was true. We ordered honed, which is truly the only way to go in a kitchen. It passed the test.
My Carrara Marble Kitchen – GO BIG OR GO HOME
We loved it, and within one year, we were looking at the big slabs. We decided to do all marble on every surface possible, including this gorgeous buffet (circa 1930’s, that came from France).
In the meantime, every show house I went to was filled with marble and I wondered how everyone suddenly wanted what I wanted. How did granite fall out of trend? My guess is that much of it doesn’t make food look good and even if people don’t consciously know that, they know that.
I ended up working with fabricators, USA Stone in Nashville. I just walked in one day without an appointment, and a rough sketch. I walked out with two prices, as I had my diagram with me, and I had the name of two places that had the marble slabs large enough for my peninsula.
I set my sites on a carrara marble kitchen for its classic white and grey timeless appeal.
We chose a very dramatic slab and later found out it wasn’t large enough. No problem. We were sent back out and only by God’s hand could we have been placed in front of the most dramatic, most unique, carrara marble we’ve ever seen. USA Stone loved it so much, they purchased all the remaining slabs. It is just that gorgeous, and we ordered two slabs.
We remodeled the kitchen slightly so that there would be no raised bar and my counter would be huge for prepping, cooking, filming and entertaining. I insisted that the largest area have no seams, and they accommodated that. I didn’t want to live the horror we had lived with seams splitting with our former countertops.
If you look at the diagram you see one small seam that only goes to the wall and is before the sinks starts. There are no seams on the area that jets out where people would stand in front of. I insisted there be no seam.
We hired a carpenter to reinforce the area that the marble would sit on. Marble companies will typically have their own person to come and make sure your counters and island can handle the weight, etc. Use their person. We had a lot of issues and redo’s with whom we hired. Don’t try to save money on this part. Get it done right, as the base marble is placed upon (or any heavy stone) is critical, and they know what needs to happen so that all surfaces are strong and balanced. We eventually got it right, but it was finished an hour before they arrived. Yikes.
You can see what our old kitchen looked like.
We cannot say enough good things about USA Stone. They have a staff that is professional and friendly. They listen. The installers are funny, and well skilled. They care about every step of the process, and their service has restored my faith in kitchen remodeling. We had a few issues which they promptly took care of in a very painless fashion.
Why You Should Choose Marble for Your Kitchen
- It makes food look good.
- It is made for rolling pastry. It stays cold, part of the charm of marble.
- It’s light and happy. It’s rich and sassy. It’s classic.
- It never goes out of style. It may be the “it” stone now, but it will always be the”it” stone.
Should You Choose Honed or Polished?
- Polished marble is probably more of what you’ve been used to seeing and is what you’ll see on fireplaces.
- Honed is just that. The stone is honed down to a very matte finish and is ideal for a kitchen.
- Polished marble etches, easily, and is not the best kitchen choice.
- Honed is the best kitchen choice. USA Stone experts agree with me on this and always try to steer their clients to honing the marble.
Marble, honed or polished will still scratch, have pits and if you accidentally walk into it with a cast iron dutch oven, it will chip. Ask me how I know that? Citrus will eat it, if you let the citrus (or any acidic food) sit on it for a long time. I’ve had good luck with wiping up spills that I didn’t see for an hour. So far, no stains of any kind, and I see this marble looking fabulous for many years. When it starts to age or patina, it will be even more fabulous.
We love the brass faucet from delta. At first I was concerned that it was not an exact match for the cabinet pulls, but it makes an amazing statement. I wrote more about it here. In retrospect I wish I would have ordered the touch control option. Notice we also ordered the soap dispenser (we keep dish soap in it).
We purchased the stools at Bargain Hunt, while trying to decide what we really wanted. We love the function of these, and my dream is to have similar stools in cowhide.
Tips for Choosing Marble
- Fall in love with the slab. Visit many places and study your marble. We chose our slab from OHM International. Don’t listen to naysayers. Listen to your gut, and design for your personal aesthetic.
- There is a lot of different marble with varying price points. Do your research. For me, it had to be carrara.
- See if they have several slabs that are identical. What if something happens and you need a redo? That can happen.
- Do NOT get a seam in the middle of your sink. I’ve seen this done and it’s horrible. Go as seamless as possible. There is one seam on this giant peninsula and not at all noticeable. The major portion that does not have a wall has no seems. I was worried about the company carrying in such a big piece of marble, but they did it successfully.
- Don’t mix sheens. I don’t advise honed in one area, and polished in another. They will patina differently.
- Corbels – I ordered my corbels from WoodPony1 on Etsy. Tyler Morris has a two day turn around and is fantastic. He sells several designs, sizes, types of wood and includes the necessary hardware and instructions. At the last minute, we had a design change and he had our second set of korbels to us in two days. Our largest dimension out from a support is 28 inches, so we ordered 14 inch corbels for that part. We chose 8 inch corbels for the part of the counter that jetted out 16 inches. Do ask your installer how long your corbels should be. The longer the better.
- We chose a modern simple design because that made sense with our style. These are perfect. We painted them Sherwin Williams City Scape to match the bottom island. (I call it an island; it’s really a peninsula).
- Have them remove your counter tops if you are replacing. We removed our own, but it was not easy.
- Know that you will have to have a plumber for your sink. We did that ourselves, but my husband is good at that.
- We eventually painted them a darker gray.
The Care of Your Marble
The marble company will seal your marble. Ask them how long that seal will last, and ask them how to prevent water rings. Ask them what you need to do in the future. Ask them about future repairs, and what you can expect.
There are two issues that make marble worrisome. Acid and that marble is soft, porous stone.
Marble is soft and vulnerable to dropping hard objects. It could leave a sting if you drop something hard on it. If you do drop something and a white mark appears, try rubbing a little olive oil. That worked for me.
Acid will eat the marble and cause a stain, but hold on. This doesn’t happen right away. I’ve accidentally left a bit of lemon vinaigrette on it overnight and there is no stain. I use a cutting board for everything because that’s the right way to take care of your knives. Just keep a rag handy and wipe up spills. There is no need to fret. We are very hard on our kitchen and we are not living with worries. (But we have honed marble; this is different with polished marble).
Products for Maintaining and Caring for Marble
You must continue to use a sealer for your marble. Ask your installer for input; we use Miracle Sealer 511 Porous Plus.
511 Porous Plus is a penetrating sealer designed for the protection of the most porous surfaces. 511 Porous Plus forms an invisible barrier that is resistant to moisture and stains while allowing vapor to escape. 511 Porous Plus is not a surface coating and will not alter the natural look. It’s food safe, but has a strong odor, which takes a few hours to wear off. Use good ventilation. I wish we would have known to apply it more frequently (monthly) because we use the kitchen more than most.
Every few days or at least weekly, you should use a good cleaner.
Use a cleaner specifically made for marble. We use 511 Kleen & Reseal. You can use this for granite, marble, natural stone, ceramic & Porcelain Tile & Grout.
I have a lot more to share with you in the future. A few topics will include:
- How we Successfully Painted Our Kitchen Cabinets
- How We Chose our New Faucet and Pulls
- The Benefits of Floating Shelves
- Staying Organized in the Kitchen (not so easy sometimes for a food blogger)
- Choosing a backsplash. We went with the tumbled marble and chose valances that repeated the design.
So tell me out there, have you jumped on the marble bandwagon? Do you have any tips I’m overlooking. I would love to hear from you.
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