The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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Granite Kitchen Countertops 1+1 = ?

two%20granites.jpgHere's an interesting question about a countertop from Meg...

"I have a dark green granite table that I am moving into a  new house.  It matches my current kitchen counter.  The kitchen counter in the new house, although not yet chosen, will NOT match the uba tuba granite of the table.  Should I sell this table?  How can I incorporate a table with a different granite from my counter into my new decor?


My first reaction is that it appears to be assumed that you will be selecting another GRANITE countertop. It also assumes that you can't have enough granite, that you really love it. If that is the case, you are entering an advanced countertop selection process zone! Blending two granites is possible, but must be done with great care.  

The easy way, of course, is to pair Uba Tuba with a Black Impala, a solid black granite. Easy, done, perfect. But, what if you don't like black?

Then, you must begin to be aware of two things: color and grain pattern.

Color, that's easy. I'd recommend looking for a granite with a very different color. Too close to what you have, and the grain patterns can get confusing. At least the color is a start at differentiating your countertops...successfully. 

Pattern is a different issue. Granites have such a variety of patterns. Some granites have movement, some have large chips of pattern, some have tight grain. A very tightly grained granite can have a more contemporary look in many cases. That said, how far apart your granites are will also be a factor in what goes with what and why. In general, be aware that the overall effect will be more busy, than more calm and simple,due to the expanses of grain.

In the upper most image, the raised, light, countertop, has a more distinct grain pattern. The lower, darker, surface, has a somewhat tighter grain pattern, but not super tight. Beyond this image, across from the island the countertop is dark, surrounding the cooktop and it is light surrounding the main sink area.

That all said, above, forget everything I said. Sometimes, in a rare occasion, you can find two granites in a similar color which simply work together. I wish I had better images, but this project is a great example.  Although the island looks busy too, in real life, the island looks quite consistent and the perimeter granite looks substantially more strongly patterned, and they work well together. It was important to my client to have an interesting granite pattern on the island, not just something with very tight grain, and with lots of time spent looking, we found the right combination.

Of course, Meg, you may want to consider an alternative, more quiet, surface, other than granite, to "feature" your granite table in a more focused way, especially if you love your table. But, if it's granite you love, and want for your coutnertop, here's how to do it.






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Reader Comments (32)

I am seeing so many mixed surfaces in kitchens that an Ubatuba table with other counter materials would be no problem, to my eye. You are so right to encourage separating the colors. If your questioner still likes the greeny-black of Ubatuba for her table, perhaps a much lighter Costa Esmeralda granite slab would work elsewhere...pale green with smooth veiny streaks. Not too speckly. It, and others, can bridge the gap between the looks of granite and marble.

In my own kitchen, I'm currently planning to install honed Kashmir White granite...it's the closest thing to Carrara marble I could find, and still stand up to a sloppy cook (me).

In my region (San Francisco bay area) these "marble-ish" granite sell for far more than "regular" granites. Did you also know, Susan, that 2cm is the norm for West Coast slabs? One can order 3cm here, but I'm told 3cm is your norm. True>

Again, thanks for your blog. I always enjoy your writings.

February 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Well said Susan. Wendy reminded me of a good point. Granite colors vary from shipments. Once you have found a color that speaks to you, buy it. Nothing is more sad when a client goes back to the yard only to find the color is completely different.

Costa Esmeralda is an excellent example. Typical with this stone it's the light jade color with an organic movement to the pattern and veins of white running through it. It almost looks like marble. It's gorgeous. But in our area, the current shipment at all the granite yards show a faded bluish color for Costa Esmeralda. My client who had her heart set on it is now having a difficult time finding what she wants from the current supply.

February 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie, Kitchen Design Notes

Hi again Susan-

I am now second guessing the granite decision for my rustic kitchen. (I have slabs on hold but nothing installed yet...) I do love Carrara but I dread rings and stains that my husband will complain about. I think you imply in your blog entry that you think granite is busy and a bit passe, and I certainly see much more CaesarStone and marble in design mags. They are beautiful, no question, but the function...O dear! Thoughts??

February 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

I'm late to this, as I've been traveling (more later!) so please forgive me.

Yeah, it's very tricky blending granites. You really, really have to look closely at grain, movement, and color. It's the most difficult thing, and the thing that takes the most time, to make sure that a mixture makes sense. If it doesn't, it's BAD. But, when it works, it's absolutely fantastic.

No, I'm not saying that granite is passe...any material that my clients fall in love with, I will make work for them. I try not to go down that road. Sometimes it's tricky. Just last night, I saw a beautiful granite in the most modern of settings. Looked wonderful. A very light granite, honed, on a natural wood base. Go with your heart, but a little with your head too, especially in terms of what is practical. Does that help at all?

February 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

We have just installed granite in our kitchen, We ran out when it came to our table.

I have red birch cabinets an brazilan cherry floor and black granite.

I have the costa esmeralda for my bathroom upstairs and I do have extra. Should I use this for my table or purchase more of our black granite? I believe it is the absolute black. It is honed and has a leather like look and feel.

Any thoughts?.

March 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Weathington

Kimberly, sorry, but unless I have all the samples in front of me, I hesitate to answer. No can do! Sorry! I'd honestly hate to give you an answer that in reality would not work well. It's all in the colors that are in front of you, which I don't have access to.

March 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

I was glad to run across this info, as I am in dire need of help! We're toward the end of a complete kitchen remodel, and have just had Emperor granite installed on 6 different countertop areas. Unfortunately, the granite has been very difficult to work with, and after 2, yes 2 attempts of creating the island, our fabricator has given up. I refuse to pull all the other countertops out (because we love it, and I think it is bad for the cabinets), so I am left with the dilemma of what to top the island in. Since the walls are painted, the flooring is in, the backsplash tiles have been custom made, I can't see too many options. Emperor granite has many long veins, is greeny, with tans, golds, and a little black and white. My appliances are all black, with the exception of a large stainless range. My best guess is we need to pick a black granite...but I am open to any other suggestions at this point. I am concerned that it may be too much black. The floors are a creamy white travertine. Also, I am wondering if any one else has experienced problems with Emperor granite? My stress factor is rising rapidly! Thanks much, k

March 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKay

As for the Emperor granite. Is it Emperor Dark (which is mainly a very deep rich dark brown with those colors you listed) or is Emperor light? This makes a difference on what would look best with it. Take a look at this, it has both the light and dark, you can click on the picture and see it in a slab, the color shows better that way. http://www.glmarble.com/Material.aspx They are very different. I know the spelling is different, but that happens often. I will am sure there is a good accent that can look really nice. I have actually used both of these together before, they might be an option if one of these is the same as what you have.T

March 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Thanks Tiffany,

The stuff we've got is actually Emperor, and I think you mean Emperador--which does have a light and dark. We went slab shopping today and I double checked. In the meantime, we chose Brown Antique as our island top, and that leaves the Emperor covering the rest of the kitchen. Here are links to both granites, and I'd appreciate your opinion.



We liked how the browness of the Brown Antique seemed to tone down the black, which we hope will meld the black appliances to the gold and tan part of the Emperor. Your thoughs would be appreciated--it won't be shipped for a week, so I still have time! Thanks again, k

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKay

We are renovating a cottage on the water and I am trying to create a white kitchen with white countertops that I see in so many magazines. My kitchen designer has told me that I cannot use marble in a kitchen or the Corian (Verona White) that is made to look like marble. I've never much cared for Granite. What are all of those counters in the mags made of? And what can I use to get the look I want that is still practical? I have 3 young children.

March 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Tiffany

Hi Another Tiffany! I'm not sure why you were told that you cannot use Corian. That does not make much sense. And, for marble, many people use it but it comes with limitations for care. Otherwise, why not use large tile or a gorgeous product that will nearly but not quite break the bank is pyrolave. It's lava and very sort of crackly. It's beautiful.

April 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I saw the post from Wendy. I also live in the bay area and am looking for a honed white Kashmir granite. Would love to hear from Wendy where she found her granite. Or Susan, if you have other affordable suggestions for a light, durable surface. Our cabinets are a dark, espresso finish and we need stain resistant light counter tops that we can afford.

June 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary Thomas

Mary Thomas, you can always use granite tiles. I don't mind them at all. I had them in one of my kitchens for some years and they were great. They are quite inexpensive. Also, engineered stone is god, or perhaps granite in 3/4" material would be less expensive. And the smaller 3/4" thickness is perfectly fine.

July 5, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Dear Tiffany,

We are building a new home and I am wanting to use Emperador Dark Marble for the kitchen counters. My formal living room and dining tables and buffet have this marble and I love it.
I have been told not to use marble for kitchen countertops but I am seeing it everywhere in the kitchen design magazines.
Please advise.
Thanks, Trini

August 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrini Heese

We have cabinets, floors, mouldings, etc. picked out. We've also decided to go with a quartz counter-top. However, how are you supposed to decide on the best color combination from 2x2 samples? Are there any websites that let you 'test' silestone, caesarstone, or zodiaq colors with your cabinet and floor color? Some of the paint and siding companies let you do this with house colors, but I haven't seen anything comparable with kitchen colors...

August 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Schnatter

We have installed white shiny Ikea cabinets and want to use the whitest white countertop. I have looked at all the granites including something called New White Kasmir. Now I am thinking of Zodiac's new color called Snow White. Help! what is the best white among the quartz companies - Silestone, Caesar etc. etc. thanks

August 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlindy

I see a few questions here...you may want to try the new Discussion section that I am installing into the blog...it's on the sidebar just below the first ad!

August 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Hi. I was reading the above comment from Kay regarding her emperor granite. I am having the same problem. I have now had 2 slabs break and the fabricator is no longer willing to try another piece. Meanwhile, I have half of my counters in and half with nothing. It is not a separate island, it is a U shape. Where do I go from here? Who is responsible for faulty material? Do I just start all over and at who's expense?

October 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Jennifer, this is a serious issue. The simplicity of this is that you are not paying for 1/2 a countertop, you are paying for a whole countetop.

I can only make assumptions here, since all I know of the history of this problem are a couple of sentences of what you have said. With that limited amount known, I'll also assume that they have templated the kitchen, that they have seen whatever conditions are in the kitchen and have accepted those conditions as being able to manufacture the product to those specifications.

So, first, figure out what it is that you want. Do you want that stone? Can they not use another part of the stone that may not have cracks in it, meaning to turn the stone around and use another area? Do you want to select another stone and start from scratch? You shouldn't have to pay anything for that.

I find this issue unusual. I've never had anything like this happen with all the natural stone I've used for clients. Something doesn't sound right.

Is it that stone that's the problem or, perhaps an area in the kitchen that is too narrow that they thought would be ok? If they cannot do what they said they would do, obviously money has to be returned in full, unless there is something else I do not know.

If the stone has problems with it, you'll either have to get all your money back or choose another stone.

They are responsible for faulty material, unless you signed something that says that you will accept material "as is" which may or may not be able to be fabricated. And, I'll bet there is no such language as that in anything you signed. That could be their only "out" although I'm not an attorney. Look at what you signed, if there is any such language.

Please keep me informed.

October 23, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

It made me curious when I saw Kay on your website and I also read another website where someone had a problem with this same material. I have never heard of granite haveing a problem like this, until now. There is no way to use part of the slab, as I need the whole piece for my larger section of the U. My kitchen is not narrow, nor unusual. The first piece broke during fabrication and the second piece broke when they simply moved it to lay out the template. I am willing to start over with a different stone, but the fabricator doesn't seem very wiling to buy 2 new stone slabs. He contacted UMI, in Naples FL, where he bought the stone to tell them he thinks there is a problem with the material, they didn't seem to care or take any part of the responsibility. My fabricator has now purchased 3 slabs of granite, and now may need to buy 2 more. I don't know if he will do it. I may need to let the fabricator know that I am finding problems on line with this particular product. Maybe that will help him to get a refund from UMI. I don't know what is going to happen. I just can't spend 100K on a kitchen and have a counter with a crack down the middle. I don't know where to go from here. Do you think the supplier, UMI, has the responsibilty here?

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Jennifer, your last question is important. I don't think that's really your worry, if he'd get reimbursed from his supplier. Don't go there. I'd make it very simple...tell him you will come over to select another stone for either the entire countertop or for the rest of it, so the job can keep moving and just leave it at that, and his response should be accepting of that. If he doesn't accept that, then make an appointment for him to return your money and to take out the existing countertops.

Again, this is said without knowing what your contract is with him.

But, to me it's very simple. If you agreed on paper to countertops and you paid some money, you are entitled to what they agreed to. Keep it simple and keep your cool.

Another question is, is it a huge crack or a hairline crack that does not go all the way through?

October 24, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

There really is no contract. I didn't sign anything. He gave me a price and we started, that was it. I have paid about two thirds of what I owe him.

The crack on the first piece is the whole way through-it broke in two pieces. The second piece has two full lenth cracks that you can also see from the back, but the piece didn't completely fall apart, yet.

I think keeping my cool is vital, but it has been 6 months since the first break. I waited for this material again and now this. I am barely surviving this remodel. You are right, he agreed to a kitchen and that is what he owes me. I am just worried he may walk away from the whole project.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

In addition, I see you mentioned selecting another stone for the rest of the project, but is there any way to make a different choice look right? It is not a raised counter, just 1 same level U shape.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Jennifer, you need to take action of some sort, right away. You need to decide what it is you want and express that to the granite fabricator, get an ok, and get a date, and then have this new agreement on paper.

Well, I don't know what the kitchen looks like, so I can't give you an opinion on that. It could be a possibility, but I can't say for sure. If you don't want that, you don't have to have that, you are entitled to new countertops, so it appears. Show you and tell him you are there to select another material.

October 24, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

There are very different styles and designs to get a perfect look in kitchen. http://www.home-decorating-reviews.com/soapstone_countertops.html

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCounterTops

I know that honey oak is not the thing now, but our cabinets are new and the budget is really tight. Can you suggest granite colors that would work with natural oak in a small condo kitchen with now windows and very light challenged?

May 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Jay, your question is answered in a new blog post here: http://www.thekitchendesigner.org/journal/2009/5/20/granite-countertops-light-colors.html

May 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersusan

just to comment on the emperor granite. We are considering using this in our kitchen. We have been told by the supplier and the fabricator that this stone is very brittle and difficult to work with. Therefore it comes with a very hefty price tag. The suppler recommends using a fabricator that is used to working with difficult stones. FYI

October 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjulie

Thanks for such a nice blog post....i was searching for something like that.

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commentershag rugs

That's great, I never thought about Granite Kitchen Countertops like that before.

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYachtcharter Griechenland

I'm about to do a new kitchen in an old circa 1740 home. is laminate totally passe?
I am considering selling my home in the near future.

July 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarigold

I am a longtime admirer of your blog. I learned about pyrolave on your site and am looking into it in the San Francisco area. Do you know how one goes about researching it? My architect is not familiar with it and a google search mostly brings up the North Carolina US headquarters. (I guess because it's so expensive that especially during these difficult times one doesn't read much about people's experience with ordering it.)

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHana

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