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Remaining kitchen purchases

This blog chronicles my entire kitchen renovation from start to finish. Greentea Design has provided me with their solid wood kitchen cabinets, and I'm taking care of the rest.

If you'd like to be brought up to date, check out the archive in the sidebar for previous posts. I posted recently about some of the major purchases I've made for the kitchen such as lighting and appliances, and now it's time for the countertop, sink, faucet and backsplash. One of these I have no clue about and would love some suggestions.

From the get-go I had an idea in mind for the countertop, and I kept going back to it. White. White. White. One of my main goals for this kitchen is to keep it bright and light since the space is small. I thought white countertops would help in this regard. I want to paint the walls white (or really light grey like the rest of the main floor), and thought if this continued on the countertops the space would flow nicely. I am not very knowledgeable on countertop materials, so I started at a kitchen/bath design store and went through samples of granite, marble and man-made stones like Corian, Silestone and Caesarstone. They had a kitchen in their showroom that had the most gorgeous white countertop I had ever seen, and it turned out to be Zodiaq quartz by Dupont. I asked for a quote, and a couple days later the salesperson called and asked if I was sitting down - never a good sign. $4200. WHOA. I then asked for a quote for Corian (turns out it's about as pricey since it's made of mostly petroleum) and honed granite, and they were both a little steep (the Corian was about the same as the quartz, and the granite a bit cheaper). I quickly learned going to a kitchen and bath store is not ideal for selecting a countertop. I went across the street to a granite shop and got a quote about $2000 lower, so going directly to the supplier is obviously a wise choice. But no one makes a white granite, or at least one that is mostly white. I went to Planet Granite a few days ago desperate to finally find something, and I found EXACTLY what I wanted:

It's quartz, Specchio white by Hanstone. I was helped at the shop by Sue, who was an absolute pleasure, and she even went to the back and got the cutter to scrounge up a chunk for me to take home and photograph. Best part is the price. $2400. Not only is the price great but for that price they're doing a double edge of 3/4" slabs, so it will be 1.5" thick (that includes installation and cutting holes for the sink and faucet). I love a thick countertop. And she's charging me for the price of the 3/4". :) I also asked for a really squared edge, not the typical pencil edge they do. I am so stoked to see what it looks like finished. It seems to be a pretty durable material, as I will have cats jumping on and off of it so it was important that it withstand claws. Greentea had sent me a sample piece from a cabinet in the stain I chose so I brought it with me and I think it's going to look awesome.

Now for the sink. I also had an idea from the start about what type of sink I wanted. It had to have squared edges for a more modern look. Turns out those sinks are quite a bit more expensive. I wanted it undermount, and I figured since I'll have no dishwasher that I should get a double bowl. I ended up with a single bowl, but a REALLY large one. And as far as sinks go, it's awfully pretty.

It's by Barazza, is 70cm x 40cm and 20cm deep, and ended up costing about $930. I love that it's deep and wide so I can pile it with dirty dishes. :)

The last thing I purchased was the faucet, and at this point I was more than mildly concerned about my finances. I had always wanted a restaurant style faucet, but it seems they are just nice to look at instead of functional. I ended up at Boone Plumbing thanks to a tip from my boss, and yet another great salesperson (Sebastien) helped me out. I didn't have much criteria for a faucet, except I like the one-handle models, preferred brushed stainless to chrome, and thought a pull-down spout would be handy. I decided on this one:

It's by Moen, and was priced at $375. When Sebastien was putting the order in, I asked him if it would be on Moen's website so I can get a photo of it (I'm still waiting for it to arrive), since I had to post it on the blog. When he heard my story about the kitchen blog he said he would give me a discount, and only charged me $310. Gotta love that.

Last thing is the backsplash. And this is where I have NO CLUE. It would be a small area, below the uppers on the new fridge wall. Actually, I have no idea if I should even do a backsplash. I think it would be a good idea since that area is visible as soon as you walk in the front door. I just haven't had much time to give it any thought. I figured I would ask you guys for suggestions since I really have no idea on style, colour...anything. With the hectic state of things here, any help would be very much appreciated.

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Everything you selected is so lovely! And what an informative, helpful post for those of us about to undertake kitchen renos. And wow ... the price differences from store to store are stunning.
I once saw a kitchen that had a super-simple backsplash that was just an 8-inch high piece of glass. I'm sure there were seams in it, but it was made of large pieces of glass, not 4x4 squares. I really liked the simplicity, and it seems like that might go nicely with your sleek, modern kitchen. Love what you've chosen—it's going to look great!
I love the sink
For the backsplash, how about 2”x3” glass tiles, maybe in a milky white? For a modern look, I’d lay them in a regular grid pattern as opposed to a subway tile pattern. Nice sink, I like how you can stack lots of dishes in it. A salesperson mentioned to me though that with those square-edged sinks, the water tends to pool in the corners, so you’ll have to work a bit to get it really clean and water-free. It is lovely though.
I have never thoroughly looked at this site before, I love it!
I have one word of advise for your backsplash, I would reconsider the stainless steal behind the range, unless you never cook.
It will be a nightmare to keep clean.
It's hard finding non streaky stainless cleaners, if any one has any good recommendations would love to hear. Good luck with your project!
I use Barkeepers Friend to clean stainless steel
The sink is lovey, I have a very similar one, just a bit more square than yours.
But these sinks have two major disadvantages: they don't drain well because there is no significant slope, and the square edges are a bit hard to clean.
How about a white subway tile backsplash? I've seen it done recently where the tiles were smaller than the normal subway tiles, and it looked nice. I think that would go well with your clean look.
Hi, why don't you use a piece of the material you are using in the countertop as a back splash?
Gorgeous--I generally hate stone for countertops, but that granite is really lovely and light. I would suggest looking at Heath's site--they have completely unbelievably beautiful ceramics. Their glazes are very gentle and natural looking; I think the matte M43 or M45 would look great with your cupboards/countertops/steel/grey walls. Everything I have purchased from them has been of incredible quality, and I have taken classes there--all the staff/ceramicists are wonderful, knowledgeable, and very nice. Here is the site:

I also someday plan to replace all our passable cheapy dishes with Heath Stoneware. Sigh. I swear I have no affliation with them, I just love it so much. :)
I didn't have a backsplash for several months because I just got tired of making decisions! Take your time... if you know you're going to cover the wall up, then it doesn't matter if it's untreated for a while.

I did end up with a stainless steel backsplash and I LOVE it! It looks very sleek and modern and is a great reflector for the undercabinet lighting. It's not too difficult to keep clean. It doesn't get dirty easily (and I cook 2-3 meals a day for my family) and I just wipe it down with a hot wash cloth, let it dry, then spray a little pledge on a rag and polish it up. It is not difficult in my opinion.

My other choice in materials would have been a really cool glass tile mosaic but to get what I want would have been way out of my budget. If you only have a small area to cover, you can do A LOT for not very much money. (I have a u-shaped with lots of backsplash area, so price per foot was a HUGE deal.) Check out Ann Sacks for many lovely, modern ideas, then go shopping elsewhere. I ended up with something very similiar to one of the designer tiles for much, much less (in my bathroom).

I think you've made great choices! You're going to love the quartz-- it's fabulous! My square sink has a decent slope to it so it doesn't hold the water, but the corners are more challenging to clean. But the look is worth it! I look at it multiple times a day and don't regret it one bit! You'll also love your pull out faucet-- and what a great price! Makes it all the better!

It's fun to see you document this.
Lots of great ideas here Kim. I love that stone top. It's so bright and light.
Thanks for all the comments everyone!

Thanks nichole! Kitchen renos are very new to me so I'm learning as I go along and hope to help others as clueless as I am. :)

Amy, I've never seen large pieces of glass for a backsplash. Sounds interesting and I may google that one. Thanks!

Thanks Edi Style!

Ohhh, milky white glass tiles - I like the sounds of that Wanderluster. And I lOOOVE grid pattern - much more modern.

Interesting about many of you saying the sink will be a bit of a pain to clean. I never thought of that. That would not have swayed me from choosing it though as I was so adamant to have a squared edge one.

Helene, you have me concerned about the steel behind the stove. I do cook, and hope to cook much more now that I'll have a FUNCTIONAL and beautiful space to do it in. Although maybe I would just need to find a good cleaner (thanks for the tip stljoie!).

I do like small subway tiles Caroline - another idea I'll keep in mind. Thanks!

Flavia, I'm not sure that I could get a piece of quartz thin enough to use as a backsplash (although maybe 3/4" would be ok?). That's a cool idea though! I may check with the countertop store and see what they think of that.

Aimee, I'm worried about checking out that site of dishes you love so much because I desperately need a new set. I may be in trouble. LOL

Heidi, I thought about doing a stainless tile backsplash but I will have so much stainless going on that I wonder if it would be too much in the backsplash too. But I will totally check Ann Sacks - wonder if it's available here.

I knew you'd love my countertop choice Jo.
Forgot to ask you all this - does anyone think I should go with some colour in the backsplash? I was kind of leaning that way since there is no colour besides white and stainless going on with the wood cabinets.
wow, we have similar ideas for our kitchens. i also was going to do a primarily white kitchen with silestone blanco maple quartz countertops (very close to yours), but i ended up with their grey expo which looks a lot like polished concrete. i also got a single basin stainless sink (kohler) though it has rounded edges. for my faucet, i went with the hansgrohe ( which is the same style you were looking for. i originally went with the brushed stainless, but it didn't seem like it would be as easy to maintain (smudged easily) so i exchanged it for chrome which looks gorgeous. i'm at the last decision which is backsplash. i originally wanted to do a simple white subway, but i'm considering glass tiles as well. good luck with your decision!
WOW Rick - talk about similar kitchens! I'd love to see a few photos when your kitchen is done, and puhlease let me know what backsplash you choose. :)
That quartz is incredibly beautiful!! I think white subway tile or white glass tile would be absolutely stunning with your planned wood, white, and stainless look, but I am sure that if you do add a colored backsplash, you will pick something perfect.

I can't wait to see the kitchen's completion!
Beautiful choices, that granite is gonna sing against the stainless!

I think you'll love the single bowl sink, cookie sheets and long-handled pans will lay flat to soak. I can't wait to switch to a single bowl.

I've been shopping for sinks myself, and am probably going with this one

but I did consider splurging for this one,
which looks alot like yours, but half price...
overstock has a good return policy, so it might be worth a side by side comparison.

I like all the white backsplash ideas, but that's probably because i'm color challenged. I can't wait to see what you pick!
Oh Brandy, as nice as that first sink is, you've GOT to go with the squared one. And thanks for pointing out the HALF PRICE feature. LOL! (Good call about laying things flat. I never thought of that. I'm all for letting things soak overnight.)
From what we know about your kitchen so far, the colours and materials being used, I personally really like the idea of glass tiles as backsplash... Can't wait to get the next update on this inspiring kitchen reno!! :D
We just installed Ann Sacks Metro Crisp glass tiles in our kitchen and I LOVE how they look. The finish is beautifully "glow-y", there is a range of white tones available, plus a dozen different formats, so that you can really tailor a look specific to your kitchen. On the other hand, they are quite expensive... I think that if I were to do a small kitchen, I would have glass panels cut to fit the area and then paint the back of the panel the exact color that I wanted. When I actually received my Ann Sacks tiles, I saw that it was nothing more than that- painted glass. Another option that we stumbled across when tiling our shower room: Go to a very fancy tile place that works alot with interior decorators and ask if they have any end of stock or extras lying around. We ended up picking up leftovers from one of their projects for an incredible discount plus we avoided having to make the minimum purchase (3m²)when we only needed enough for a band of color around the room.
Thanks for the great tips Nicole!
white granite?? uh oh... get ready for some food stains....
It's quartz, not granite. And I hear it's pretty stain proof. That being said, I may stop buying my favourite Crystal Light Raspberry Ice drink mix.
I received an email yesterday from Johanna Vanicek but I can't open it properly. So Johanna, if you find this comment, can you try and send me the email again? I was able to finally figure out how to view the message but not the attachments. Thanks so much for the great ideas - I am seriously considering a short backsplash all the way around the cabinets in the quartz or stainless. I think that would be a really nice modern touch.
hi kim, i think i'm leaning towards ann sacks metro crisp (just found that last night and realize your readers mentioned that as well).

there's a showroom in my area, you can check to see if there is something close by you.
Rick, all I can say is WHOA. Those are FABULOUS!!! I think I'll try and find someone who sells Ann Sacks and see what they look like in person. I LOVE the size of the ones in the photo from your link.
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