Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kitchen Reno - Emerald Pearl granite counter top

During the past five years, we have been in the process of slowly updating our house that was custom built for us in 1987.  My fantastic husband designed the floor plan and 25 years later, the lay out continues to work wonderfully for us.  We replaced the almond coloured fridge and stove in 2007, the black dishwasher in 2010.  Now it was time for new sinks and counter top.
As much as I love the warm look of natural hardwood, oak back splashes are just not practical.  They get water damaged.  The wood was sealed with white silicone that did not match the laminate or the oak.  Around the sink the silicone was black, much of the oak finish was worn off, it was ugly looking.  The laminate counter top had knife marks and chips in it.
The oak trim on the front side looks really dated with the stainless steel appliances.

The kettle is sitting on our little octagon shaped ceramic tile counter.  We put that in so we could take things out of the oven and place it directly on the counter top.  It was great for a big roaster or broiling pan, pies, cookies  and cakes.  That counter served us well.
I snapped these photos just before clearing everything off the counter top for Wheat City Granite to install our new sinks and counter.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the old sinks...too late now.
Doug picked the white glazed ceramic tile for the walls and I love it!  These photos were taken with my little Iphone 4s about 10:30 pm before the tile was grouted.
The oak breakfast bar was taken off to install the ceramic tile.
I did research on quartz, granite and corian.  There is a good utube series called "granite shorts" I found helpful.
We decided on granite because it is a beautiful, natural stone  which makes our kitchen counter not only functional, but also eye candy.
Emerald pearl granite has lots of sea shells embedded in the rock, the result is this very shinny reflective top that picks up the colours around it. 
With the under mount sink and no back splash we gained some extra counter space, plus no back splash to clean!  Bonus!
We changed the counter outlets from beige to white.  I was surprised that a single light switch was 94 cents at one place and $4.99 in different store.  It sure pays to shop around.  We got three quotes on the granite as well, the difference between the highest quote and the lowest was $3,400!
Hindsight is 20/20, our counter has two mitre corners and a seam in the middle of the double sink.  This wall is almost 11 feet long, an average granite slab size is nine to ten feet, it was impossible to get a single slab of granite long enough to cut the sink out of the middle with two mitre the corners.  The alternative would have been to have two straight seams 18 inches away from the sink on both sides, with no mitred corners or seam in the sink.  We prefer the look of an under mount sink with no seams, however we didn't know we were getting a seam in the sink until after the granite was cut.  I suggested to our contractor for future customers, that if he has to put a seam in the sink, he should explain this before hand.
This granite is difficult to photograph because it reflects so much light.  I can see the trees from outside on the counter top.
Besides vintage sewing machines, I collect pottery.  This is the view from the kitchen looking over the breakfast bar to the dining room.
When our kids were young, they would sit at the breakfast bar while Doug cooked them breakfast.  The bar is used a lot for extra counter space and when entertaining.  At our house it is common practice for one person to be cooking while another is sitting at the breakfast bar visiting the cook and sampling the wares.  We call this slippage.
The stainless steel range hood is also new. The install was complicated by the fact that outside of this wall is inside our attached garage.  So the installer used six inch venting pipe along the wall in the garage to get to the outside wall vent.  I only got two quotes for installing the range hood, the difference was $500.  This range hood has two excellent halogen lights, I can see the coils under the stove top, as well as every scratch on the stove top, speck of dust on the kettle, counter etc.  The fan has variable speeds and timer.  It is noisy.  Still to come later is new hardware for the cupboards and  a paint job for the dining room.

Dear readers, I would love to read your comments on counter top materials, pottery collecting or my kitchen reno.  Are you currently renovating?


  1. the kitchen id looking great Tammy - I like the subway tiles on the wall and the granite countertops - nice! Isn't homeownership synonymous with renovating? We moved in here about 6 years ago and it has been a constant. We're really great at starting projects, just not so good at finishing them. Our kitchen is nearly done, although there is still a bit of trim and crown molding to sort out and then paint. Next on the list is the masterbath, and then we want to put in hardwood floors. It'll never end!

  2. Yes we are renovating Tammy.The house did need a alot more work than we planned on but that is ok. I chose white cabinets that are mostly drawers. I love drawers! They self close and you can't slam your fingers in them!!! The inside of the drawers has this shiny stainless look that looks super easy to keep clean! I chose a light beige laminate countertop because mostly anything else would have clashed with my tabletop. I also chose a superduper deep single sink that will fit things like my big cookie sheet, deepfryer and crock pot.

  3. Wow what a transformation! That counter makes a big difference and I'm sure will be wonderful to work on...I can't help think of pastry being a breeze to roll out on there!

  4. “We decided on granite because it is a beautiful, natural stone which makes our kitchen counter not only functional, but also eye candy.”---- I have to agree with this! Granite really gave your kitchen a very stylish and classy look! Oh, I really love how the items in your kitchen match with the emerald pearl granite that you have. Others would also love to have a wonderful kitchen like this! :D


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