Yesterday was countertop install day (so basically Christmas) in our kitchen! We are so so happy with how the install went, and honestly, I feel like I can take a deep breath. When we were designing our kitchen with Stoffer Home, from the very beginning, it was designed with a mix of marble and soapstone.
Working with natural stone is so fun because every slab is unique, even among options that have the same name. We sourced our stone from CRS Marble & Granite in Raleigh (I shared our walkthrough here), and I kept coming back to the Carrara stacks they had. There were maybe 10 different stacks of Carrara throughout their warehouse, each with up to 10 slabs. The veining on most was very soft and subtle, which is common in Carrara marble. But one stack stood out to me, because the veins in it were so pronounced.
I knew right away that was what I wanted, so we reserved the remaining slabs in the stack, and coupled it with a warm black soapstone. Initially we thought we’d put the soapstone on the island and marble around the perimeter. In my mind this was always the plan but I couldn’t shake the thought that this would create so much heaviness in the center of our kitchen.
In discussing it we actually looked back at our original plans and, funny enough, they called for the marble on the island the soapstone on the perimeter, so we made that change as well as two others: 1 – since the island will be used most, and we’re tall, we made that countertop 2 3/4in thick, and 2 – we made the backsplash for the range area a full slab of Carrara marble instead of tile as originally planned.
We were back and forth on the decision to go with a full slab for the backsplash, but we realized that the range hood design would be the perfect frame for the right slab of marble. So we made another trip to CRS to pick through our reserved slabs. Right in the middle was a smaller slab – it had been broken around the edges and drilled into during the fabrication process – things that probably left this little piece of stone sitting in the warehouse longer than it otherwise would have. But even with the imperfections, I fell in love with the character of it. We pulled up the plans and measured to make sure there was enough solid material to work with, and it ended up being just right!
The slabs we selected were all send to Absolute Stone in Cary, NC for fabrication and install. The installers were so professional and upbeat the entire process – beginning to end it took them maybe 6 hours, and some of the slabs weighed upwards of 600 pounds!
Where our island is roughly 17ft long, there were two slabs brought in and joined together for that. Each piece was a little over 8ft long, with additional material mitered around the edge to create the 2 3/4 thickness. As soon as they set the first piece down I was so happy we made the decision to go thicker on the island. It just felt so substantial, without visually weighing down the space.
And possibly my favorite detail in the whole kitchen is the marble front added to the sink. They epoxied it on in place and buffed it to create a nearly seamless look.
The mixing of stone throughout this space was very intentional, to create a “built up” feel – like the space had come together over time. Marble was added to the island, bookcase, pantry, and backsplash, while soapstone dotted the rest of the perimeter.
When picking through the soapstone options, I knew we would be oiling the stone consistently, so we would wipe it down with a damp towel to give us a better idea of what it would really look like. The two slabs I ended up picking were primarily dark, with slightly tan veining that I knew would go perfectly with our perimeter cabinetry.
And, coming full circle back to the range nook. This is the only spot in the kitchen where the soapstone and marble are both seen, and they complement each other so beautifully. It makes my heart flutter every time I look in there, and especially when I imagine the hood fully plastered and finished.
Another shoutout to the installers because they really took their time to get this exactly right, and were so precise and careful. They sealed all the stone once before install today, and a second time after everything was all set. Just some extra attention to detail to give us peace of mind. Couldn’t be happier to be honest.
A question we keep getting is why we would choose such a light marble when it is so prone to staining. I’ve said this on Instagram but it deserves repeating here – we expect the countertops to develop some patina over time, and honestly we welcome it. We’ll seal them, but we’re not going to baby these countertops. We’re going to use them every day, hopefully for the next 20 years. And at that time I’ll want to be able to look at our counters and see memories etched deep into them, and cherish them all the more for it.
We designed the Charly line of sofas, chairs, and ottomans with perfect proportions for comfort — with wide arms, a loungey depth, and stylish and practical lumbar pillows. Available in 70 kid-friendly, pet-friendly fabrics, this line was created with families in mind.
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here.
We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen.
Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.
Last week, Chris and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to London for work. We were invited by Williams Sonoma and William Morris and Co to preview their newest collaboration and the inspiration behind it. It was my first time in London and although it was a quick trip, they brought us all over […]
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