Project ADD and Honing Countertops On Site

We've been living here in the middle of renovations for a little over two months now, and I'm starting to notice a pattern where I start a big project and work like crazy on it for a while and then I get a little burnt out on the labor or stuck on a decision or we'll need to order something to move forward. So rather than pushing forward with the one mess I'm already in the middle of, I'll do the least helpful thing - I start another major project. Like the stairs. I started the stairs this weekend. Why? Why wouldn't I finish the floors before filling and sanding and painting the stairs? Just dumb.

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Then last night I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and I ended up prying off the rest of granite backsplash. WHY.

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I told myself that I wouldn't dedicate even an ounce of creative (or physical) energy to the kitchen until after the floors, stairs and fireplace are finished. But we're about 90% done with each of those projects (I knocked out a good two coats on the stairs this weekend!), so it's hard to avoid thinking about the kitchen more and more. I think it's because I'm a little stumped.

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I'm just aching to have an all-new kitchen (I know - diva alert), but I think I'm still committed to the plan of doing what I can with the space as it is now. After posting about the kitchen last, my friend Abby emailed over a link to this fabulous kitchen reno that was done on a budget. The owners had a really nice kitchen before but one that didn't really fit their aesthetic, so they tweaked it. I LOVE what they decided to do with their polished green marble countertops. They had a stone specialist come in and hone the marble on site.


Isn't the veining beautiful? I love the honed finish. The owners decided to leave the newly honed marble unsealed, which I know isn't for everyone, but sounds completely lovely to me. The author summed up my feelings perfectly when she wrote that she loves her paint jobs to be crisp and perfect and her counters to show wear and tear of use.


Of course Abby's email and the article got my wheels spinning so I called a few stone guys in our area. One of them quoted me $200-$250 to do the whole kitchen, which was a total steal. He hasn't been good about returning my calls though and my confidence in his skill-level is iffy at best after our one conversation. The other guy I spoke with, who came highly recommended by friends and who I feel most comfortable using, told me his company would charge about $900.

I need to do some more calling around, but it's nice to have a range in mind. I don't want to totally cheap out here and be sad about the finished result, but I won't be paying a grand for tweaking countertops that I don't even love in the first place.

As I was pulling off the splash guards over the weekend, I noticed part of the unpolished underside of one of the cuts probably looks a lot like what my granite would look like after having it honed. I love that it is chalky and matte, and I like that the color is lighter, for sure, and those things alone would be worth forking over the $200. But I think it's just the speckling (and the yellow color) that doesn't sit right. I have a feeling these countertops might not change enough with the honing, especially not enough to merit anywhere near $1000.

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I do like how things are looking with the splash guard off though. It's less yellow on the eyes and it's a cleaner look. Maybe once the cabinets are painted and the new backsplash is up, the granite as it is won't bother me so much. What do you think?

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74 comments:

Vicki said...

I think it will always bother you. It bothers me :) I wonder if you could sell it?

javamom said...

I lived with countertops I hated for waaaay too long while we figured out the rest of the kitchen reno. In hindsight, I wish I would have ripped out the counters much sooner and replaced them with wooden countertops from IKEA, even though they would have been temporary. Instead of spending a cent on the existing counters, I hope you can find a more palatable interim option for a reasonable cost.

gigi said...

Why don't you concrete over them like you did in your laundry room?

decoratica said...

I was reading you talking about yellow and tought, why not try yellow instead of trying to get rid of it (wich is obviously impossible)?

http://www.desiretoinspire.net/blog/2013/9/15/eye-candy-on-a-sunday.html


ZoeB said...

Here in the UK we have a company called granite transformations who , for a fraction of the cost of full granite put a thin layer of Granite over existing worktops. I have seen this done in 2 kitchens one over a tiled worksurface and one over a Formica surface and they both look great. I am presuming there are similar companies in the States

Michelle Panting said...

So frustrating when someone won't get back to you! I hope you can get what you want for a price you can live with!

http://www.fullbellywornsoles.com

Marissa@ohhhsolovely said...

i do the same thing with projects...start them & then get bored and move to something else. i really need to finish painting out kitchen pantry doors!

KVS said...

"Vicki said...
I think it will always bother you. It bothers me :) I wonder if you could sell it?"


Or maybe some of the fiscal edge can be taken off by eventually claiming a tax deduction to charities if the marble is donated to one of the Habitat for Humanity stores/a similar organization? Sometimes even getting a little measure of something back is psychologically soothing.

Rose Arenstam said...

I think honing this granite will not give you the same dramatic change and beauty that honing green marble does. Maybe thinking of the granite as brass toned would help you think of color palate you can live with for a while. I wouldn't want to live with it either, but I do love a color challenge. :)

gypsy soul interiors said...

Jenny, remember our kitchen that you features in December. We have the exact same countertops and once the backsplash was down it turned in to much less of an eyesore:) can't wait to replace one day but wasn't in the budget during our mini remodel.

http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2012/12/room-tours-gypsy-soul-interiors-holiday.html?m=1

Betty Durban said...

I think you should change it now:/

I don't think you will grow to like it, it is an acquired taste, meh!

Jordan G. said...

I wouldn't blame you if you changed it, but as a selfish blog reader I'd be much more interested to see how you would tweak it and worth with it. So many people have that granite and would probably get a lot out of seeing how you take standard granite and make it look custom. Plus I'm always in favor of the budget-friendly option!

laura said...

When we moved into our home we had a very limited budget for any upgrades, but the kitchen had faux marble laminate countertops and it HAD to go.

I ended up buying plain white laminate and have been very happy with it! The sales girl tried profusely to talk me out of it, saying it would stain, etc. but I just spray any spots with a bleach spray and it comes right off! It's not a forever solution but it could be a very economical alternative. You can see pics here

http://6thstreetdesignschool.blogspot.com/2012/04/feature-friday-hildebrands.html

Emily said...

I have the same ugle granite and love the idea of honing it. losing the backsplash helps a lot and was one of the first things I did when we moved into our home. Good luck with things!

Erin said...

I don't blame you for project ADD - it's tough when you have so many projects and so much inspiration! In a few months it will have started to settle down and it's going to be gorgeous.

In the meantime, I'd vote for making the other changes to the kitchen first and then seeing how you feel. It may be like the layout - it seems worse in the beginning than it turns out to be over time and as other changes are made.

angela said...

Can I just say I am so glad that you have project ADD too? I wear out on far smaller projects than what you are working on. We have "free project weekends" at my house...which means we finish or start and hopefully finish projects that consist entirely of stuff I've already bought, instead of buying more supplies and not finishing. I think I might try to craigslist the countertops? I hear you on the idea that $200 would be worth it but not $1000.

Laney Reusch said...

I always say, if you can afford it, do it. If you can't, don't. You will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen (if your family is like most!) so you should enjoy being in there. Either way, I know you will make it beautiful!

http://reuschinteriordesign.blogspot.com

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

I wonder if you can pull it out in good condition and list it with its measurements on CraigsList ... you might find a buyer who'd be interested and you could put that money toward new counters.

I'm loving all of the projects in the new house ... LGN continues to be one of my top 5 blogs, and I follow more than 200. It's just such a pleasure to read, and you always come up with the best surprises. I find myself wishing that my entire feed was full of LGN posts! You should really get on that ... find a way to post 12 to 15 times a day. ;-)

Jenntly Juniper said...

Can you cover it with the cement like you did in the laundry room? Or paint it? Or, and this is the one I really am tempted to do somewhere, put an epoxy on it (maybe have something lovely embedded in the epoxy??)?

Angeline Edgar said...

I agree with Vicki! (If it bugs you now, it may bug you later. I like the concrete idea, too.)
With you on the project ADD! It's a bit like when you suddenly remember a name or word you've forgotten - The decisions you're facing will come to you - trust your heart. :)

Denise Briant said...

Hi Jenny, You have to look at the article Second Chance in October's BHG. It is a redone kitchen working with the existing granite countertopz that look exactly like yours. I love the kitchen because of the backsplash those chose and other elements!

Carol said...

I looked back at the post you did on Gypsy Soul Interior's kitchen, and I see that it can indeed be made livable. The whites and grays really toned down the yellow of the counters.

Shannon Preston said...

I am only saying this because I am in the exact same situation with practically the same granite. I think it will always bother you - and I think it will always bother me. There is too much of it, and it is too ugly to try to mask with adding other elements to the space.

...I think we need to replace it......

dearmolly said...

I have the same awful granite in my kitchen. 5 years ago the previous owners put it in new, pre-sale.

why don't you bring in a piece of timber you practised on for your laundry render and just see what it looks like?

Tara Jane said...

I was just talking to a counter guy who told me a story of an unsealed granite counter that was covered with mold, ON THE BOTTOM. The water seeps through and mold grows within the stone. Think about function as well as aesthetics.

rachelmaydesigns said...

You could also try leathered tops. Just a thought. I'm not in love with the granite, either. But I can't say much, my counters are formica!

rachelmaydesigns said...

You could also try leathered tops. Just a thought. I'm not in love with the granite, either. But I can't say much, my counters are formica!

Sarah said...

Replacing with wood as a temporary measure might not cost much (if any) more than having them honed - and if you sell the granite to offset the cost of the wood, it could be a pretty cheap stopgap that's much easier on the eyes.

My selfish perspective as a reader is that I would love to see the process and outcome of honing. But if it were my kitchen, I would probably sell and do some DIY wood counters as a stopgap until you do the full reno.

Krystol said...

Cover the granite with luan sheets with a small strip along the edge to make the countertop look like a solid wood. You could adhere the luan with spray adhesive or something like liquid nails. You will likely have to raise your sink a bit, but the luan is only 1/8 inch thick, so it won't be much.

Coat the wood with stain or paint in your desired color and seal with water resistant sealer.
If you want a weathered look, I've seen products that will accelerate the aging process. (In the deck stain aisle.)

I think this could be done for <$250 and should last for a few years until you save up for your dream counters.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Krystol said...

Cover the granite with luan sheets with a small strip along the edge to make the countertop look like a solid wood. You could adhere the luan with spray adhesive or something like liquid nails. You will likely have to raise your sink a bit, but the luan is only 1/8 inch thick, so it won't be much.

Coat the wood with stain or paint in your desired color and seal with water resistant sealer.
If you want a weathered look, I've seen products that will accelerate the aging process. (In the deck stain aisle.)

I think this could be done for <$250 and should last for a few years until you save up for your dream counters.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

ali-ohli said...

I have that same friggin' granite ... all I can tell you is that BM London Fog toned it down beautifully. :) Still waiting on my complete reno too. :)

sturdydesign said...

It's hard to think about spending one red cent on something you don't like. I don't think that honing is going to change the granite enough to make it "more" palatable. I'm sure there is something else you would rather spend $200 on or even put it in a savings toward your new counters. I wouldn't concrete over it because that would make it unable to sell or donate later. If it were me I would do the new back splash and other changes to the kitchen and live with the granite for a while. We all have things in our homes that we don't necessarily like but can't change everything all at once. I'm currently living in a house that I can rattle off a whole list of things I would like to see changed but it just isn't in our budget to do right now. So I do what I can and live with the rest. Would I prefer to change it right away? Yes! But I still have a wonderful home for my wonderful family so I just try to keep it all in perspective.

Cassy said...

Why don't you try to hone it yourself? I looked into doing it on some marble a while back. There are instructions online, just google it. And you can practice on the backsplash you removed.

Gwen, The Makerista said...

Project ADD? I don't know what you're talking about. I never have 10 things going at once. :)

But sometimes I need a break from one and I feel reenergized by starting another. And often in the midst of the other project I will have an "aha" moment about the first. I get ya!

Good luck with the counters. I think you need to go with your gut on this. I know you can make it work if anyone can!

Vale Cervarich said...

You will never like this granite. Don't spend any more on it. If you can't afford your new choice in counter tops now, just live with this the way it is. Until you can fit it in the budget.

The tops will be what makes or breaks your Whole Kitchen! You (especially you) should have something that pushes the envelope, breaks new ground, and inspires serious envy. Don't skimp here. (skimp/diy/workaround everything else.) The kitchen is It, and the counter tops are the kitchen.

ps you rock

Kristy said...

Maybe you could have someone hone the splash guard so that you could get a feel for how it will change the granite before forking over the money to do the entire kitchen?

Corinna said...

Hi Jenny,

I've been a reader for years...my husband and I are in Tempe. He works for Desert Mountain Countertops and they do granite, marble, everything. I'm sure he'd give you a great deal. They do free estimates as well. My husband is Kemi. (480) 234-5570.

I love the honed look. We just did white shaker cabinets with a greyish granite, but I do so love the honed look!!!

Kim said...

Had to laugh out loud at the picture of you just coming to the kitchen to get a glass of water and ending up ripping out granite! That's so very me!

Love This Space said...

I wonder if using some color next to the marble will help pull out the color you DO want from the counter? For example, I painted my kitchen gray, which I love, and when I hung my cabinets, which have a lot of red in the wood, everyone swears my kitchen is blue. Even when I tell them it is gray and I show them a sample on another wall, they all argue that it must be two different colors.

Kathleen said...

A friend of mine just moved into a new house with a kitchen full of granite. The granite was in great shape, just not her style. She ended up selling the whole lot on our neighborhood Facebook page!

I say it's worth a shot!

Elisa of Fancy Free Me said...

I have the same granite in my kitchen. It came with the house when we bought it. I also had hideous oak cabinetry. I painted the cabinets white and the counters are very different looking now. A lot of the yellow disappeared and more of the white comes out. A lot of people thought I replaced my counters.
Here's a before and after link if you'd like to see for yourself.
http://fancyfreeme.com/2013/05/03/before-after-kitchen-facelift/
Cheers!

Kathleen said...

A friend of mine just moved into a new house with a kitchen full of granite. The granite was in great shape, just not her style. She ended up selling the whole lot on our neighborhood Facebook page!

I say it's worth a shot!

Jayme said...

I worked as a designer at a kitchen & bath design company before starting my own business. Our clients often struggled over whether to hone or polish their counters. You're right: the yellow won't magically disappear..but it will be duller. Honing leaves the colors more muted, so your yellow won't scream at you and your black specks will be more subtle. I've never heard of someone growing mold under their honed counter. It won't be 'chalky' when it's finished. But, the texture will be softer on your hand, for sure. Regardless, I think removing the backsplash will make a huge difference for you!! [But nothing you do to them is going to turn them into green marble. ;)]

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lori said...

I would not invest the money or time into honing them. I say either live with them until you reno or replace them with something less expensive.
Good luck.

LG said...

why don't you experiment on the backsplash that you just removed?

Try a mild acid etch, with that CLR stuff. That will take the glossy finish right off, but I think there are other etching products that you could use too. Muriatic acid, etc.

Lindley said...

I'm a reader who never comments, however, your concern about the granite got me thinking. We had very similar granite in our old house-similar color, but not quite as uniformly splotchy, if that makes sense). I redid the paint and colors in our house shortly before we sold it, but kept the kitchen countertops. The cabinets were already white and we had a brick backsplash. Take a look at these pictures-I think the overall whiteness of the cabinets and everything else really tones down the granite and might give you a feel as to what it will look like when if you keep the cabinets:
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/27-Alcott-St-Ladera-Ranch-CA-92694/63115850_zpid/

Also, in our new house, we did kitchen remodeling on the cheap-had the cabinets painted white, kept everything where it was, etc., but we did switch out the countertops (I wanted a light granite with more of a marble look). We used two slabs of granite and the price plus installation was not outrageous. At least in Southern California, you can find good granite and marble companies that are pretty affordable.

ashley said...

Just a word of encouragement here. The granite that came with our house looks similar to yours (in fact it may be the same). Additionally, the walls were painted a very strong lime green so needless to say we couldn't wait to change many things about the kitchen. Since a kitchen remodel wasn't in the cards at that time, we painted the walls a nice clean white, painted a fun accent wall (in our case a bold reddish-orange stripes that (actually!) coordinated well with the granite) and added a large graphic painting in a gilded frame on the accent wall. While this never made me fall in love with the counters, I was surprised at how they faded away when everything else in the space looked great, even when I really hated them. We recently started our 'real' kitchen remodel (three years later!) and when we removed everything out in preparation for demo a friend asked, "have these counters been there the whole time? I'd never noticed them!" So be encouraged! Honing may help (I have no idea) but with all of the other changes you will make, I bet you will be able to hang in there with the counters (despite their "strong personality") until you can make the kitchen what you really love.

Faubs said...

Don't waste your money on honing. The granite you have in your kitchen reminds me of a sausage. I am buying new counters for my kitchen and the only way I could have anyone understand why I didn't like granite was to tell them that if it looked like a sausage (speckly) I wasn't interested. MAYBE you could consider tiling your countertops while you save money to get the countertops you want.

The Bee Charmer said...

I think spending any money to try to improve something you already *know* you hate will just end up being a waste. Perhaps you could sell what you have and go ahead and upgrade to what you want?

Christie said...

I love this post about starting lots of things at once. You ask Why do you do this ? Cuz you are creative! Sometimes I think if we don't go with the flow and do it while we are excited about it then nothing might not ever happen. I ripped in to lots of cleaning projects this weekend.

The granite is yellow / orange. It just is. It is probably cheaper to change it now.

Christie said...

I love this post about starting lots of things at once. You ask Why do you do this ? Cuz you are creative! Sometimes I think if we don't go with the flow and do it while we are excited about it then nothing might not ever happen. I ripped in to lots of cleaning projects this weekend.

The granite is yellow / orange. It just is. It is probably cheaper to change it now.

Christie said...

I love this post about starting lots of things at once. You ask Why do you do this ? Cuz you are creative! Sometimes I think if we don't go with the flow and do it while we are excited about it then nothing might not ever happen. I ripped in to lots of cleaning projects this weekend.

The granite is yellow / orange. It just is. It is probably cheaper to change it now.

Reagan Moody said...

I have the exact same granite in my kitchen. In what is both a blessing and a curse, there is A LOT of it. I had never thought about taking off the short backsplash like you did until you mentioned it a few posts ago. I'm excited to do this now! I had been thinking of painting the upper cabinets white and the lowers gray in hopes of pulling those two colors out and getting the yellow to recede. Thanks for the inspiration and for the other readers posting examples of the same granite!

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for mentioning my kitchen renovation! I'm new to your site, and I just spent a bunch of time reading and browsing and it's wonderful. I look forward to following along!

papersyoulove said...

Went to the kitchen to get a glass of water, and ended up prying off your backsplash? Ahhhhh...how comforting to know I'm not the only one who is is so easily sidetracked :) Can't wait to see it all done. My counters are similar, and since the previous homeowners just sunk alot of $$ into redoing it, I just can't bring myself to rip it out. Waiting to see what you do!

Karen at Home Sweet Hollywood said...

I just did the exact same thing...took off the granite backsplash and painted cabinets white. I'm finding the cleaner look to be acceptable for now. Hope you feel the same about yours.

M.Haff said...

Or you could start ANOTHER project and hone them yourself!You have those pieces that you removed to practice on. I vote for that.
www.ehow.com/how_8550752_hone-granite-rid-shininess.html

Where are my Mary Jane's? said...

I vote for change...I'd love to see you do some DIY wood counters. They are my favorite.

Beth Fratt said...

You can sell it on Craigslist. That's what we did with ours. Someone paid and picked it up less than 2 hours after it was posted. She used it for a bathroom. Had three more calls after she left. There is a market for it, I promise!

gio nacpil said...

Nice inspiration. While reading your post, I'm also thinking to renovate my kitchen because I get pissed off when I saw cockroaches roaming around especially when I was asleep. :(
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Unknown said...

I love reading your blog and you always do such beautiful things and I think you would would do something fabulous if you were to keep them but my gut says to sell them and get creative!

colleen said...

Okay so honed carrera would look gorgeous( which I think is the direction you were heading )... find out what it would cost before keeping that granite. Also why not try to sell it before removal to see what it might bring and/or scour CL to see what it's going for.... Let us know what those numbers are! Maybe you can have what you really want!
Also have you looked for marble on CL?
you don't have ADD... you finish things.!!!!

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

Forget the granite! I want to see the painted stairs! :)

Linenqueen said...

Because I am a lot like you on the project starting thing I offer this explanation. Planning. It isn't about starting and finishing and then starting again for me its about planning my progress. That takes time and thought. If I didn't start a new project before the old one was finished I would have a great gaping void of inactivity while I thought about the variation on themes for the new project and just how I wanted it to look and how I was going to get the resources to make it happen and on and on. That is the fun, planning. You go girl. Ann

lizziefitz said...

I am wondering how many minutes I have to wait before forcing my husband to read this tonight? I should probably feed him dinner first? So intrigued!!!

Katharine said...

Yeah, what Vicki said. I think it's the same kind of motivator that had you pulling the back splash off instead of just getting a drink. It certainly sounds like it's going to bug you. It would make me nuts. :) Good luck!

Katharine said...

Yeah, what Vicki said. I think it's the same kind of motivator that had you pulling the back splash off instead of just getting a drink. It certainly sounds like it's going to bug you. It would make me nuts. :) Good luck!

teamBoo said...

This basically describes my whole brain. I often wonder how you get so much done! It's actually reassuring to know you aren't all plans and focused execution. There is a little spazziness in you yet ;)

Oisille said...

In my previous family home, we actually chose to have yellow granite. There is a photo here from the sale which shows how our kitchen was done - the cupboards are clearly a lot lighter in colour (it's farrow and ball old white, if i recall) and the walls are also a farrow ball grey. It's a smaller space, but it actually really works well (thank you savills for the beautiful photographs). You can definitely make the granite work if you rethink the incredibly dark coloured cupboards the previous owners installed. I can't help feeling it would be wasteful to remove so much of a valuable and expensive natural material when the pattern itself is not inherently horrible.

Oisille said...

http://search.savills.com/content/assets/properties/gbyorsyos120230/YOS120230_13_gal.JPG

The actual link...

Caroline said...

Your kitchen – countertops (perhaps these go a little more yellow than ours), cabinets, appliances – looks extremely similar to the kitchen in the house that we purchased. We moved into our house a month ago and gave the kitchen a budget friendly facelift (though we’d love to replace the cabinets and countertops eventually). We painted the walls Benjamin Moore’s Pale Oak, the perimeter cabinets White Dove, and the island cabinets French Beret. We also replaced the cabinet hardware with satin nickel bar pulls and replaced the frosted yellow pendant lights over the island with globe pendants. The changes have certainly made the kitchen feel brighter and more contemporary. Perhaps lighter cabinets would make the granite seem more tolerable...at least for a while.

I love following your blog – you have so many awesome ideas! I’m excited to see what you do with the kitchen.

colleen said...

I think this is your kitchen w/ marble countertops...
(and backsplash)


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wvYp22SU8kk/UjsYodV8QBI/AAAAAAAAT0M/Tjfbe-db8Fo/s1600/e15ca6bdbef56985db8d2cf1df31c561.jpg

love those windows you have!

Virginia Roberts said...

You know, Jenny, it's just now occurring to me that you should give this a whirl yourself. When I used to do stone sculpture, we had tools that made honing granite really simple. And they're not even that pricey. Given that you're so darn DIY-capable and you don't even like these countertops anyway, what's the harm in trying?

If I were you, I'd go to a stone supplier but not installer/finisher, tell them your plan, ask about equipment, and buy a couple small granite fragments to practice on. Make sure you wear a mask, though; that dust is rough on your lungs.

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