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Our New Marble And Soapstone Countertops in the Kitchen!

November 24, 2021  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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!

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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!

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops
Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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.

Chris Loves Julia Kitchen Countertops

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What do you think?

  1. LINDA says:

    I will be curious to know how you feel about the soapstone countertops after a year or two. I have soapstone in my kitchen and I have a love hate relationship with them. I love the veining in it – it looks beautiful; however, I didn’t realize how soft it was and how easily it can get nicks and dings in it. I also made the mistake of using it around my sink which requires continual oiling. I personally would not choose to use this material for kitchen countertops in the future.

  2. Mike Holm says:

    I refinish marble for a living.

    Marble rarely stains.

    99% of our calls for marble are etch & scratch related not stain related.

    The issue is most people think that etching is staining but they’re completely different. Also sealing won’t help with etching but will help with the ease of cleaning and prevention of stains.

    Marble beauty wise has no rival.

    Beautiful kitchen. Huge fan of the Soapstone as well.

  3. LD says:

    Stunning!! Did you have to beef up the support under the island?

  4. Dawn says:

    We are nearing the end of a 6 month kitchen remodel. We also chose soapstone on the perimeter countertops and marble for our island and we love it!

  5. Julie S says:

    SUCH pretty marble, and I’m so glad you went with the light stone for the island. I was worried the soapstone + dark green would be a black hole down the middle and this really bounces the light instead. I loved in stories seeing how well the tan veining in the soapstone echoed the cabinet paint color.

  6. Vicki says:

    Serendipity that the order matched your eventual desire! All of the stone looks fabulous together and that hefty, thick countertop on the island is just gorgeous. I agree 100% about the marble!

  7. Danielle says:

    It seems like my comments are blocked and I’m not sure why. I just wanted to compliment the soapstone and ask for additional details.

  8. Joellyn says:

    What a dream. I watched this whole install yesterday with drool dripping out of my mouth. So happy for you guys. It is going to be stunning.

  9. Lori says:

    I cannot wait for the final reveal!!! It’s absolutely stunning!!! The marble apron on the sink is just incredible!!! I love the marble slab on the backsplash!!! Everyone is going with tile on the backsplash behind the ranges and I think the grout would get dirty. The veining is gorgeous!!! Please give specs on paint colors as I love the colors on the cabinets !!! Chris and Julia, Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!

  10. Rebekah says:

    This is just STUNNING! I was so impressed watching those guys install via your instagram yesterday. What fun to see this kitchen come together. Happy for you guys!

  11. Julia says:

    I’ve never been so excited for a kitchen renovation! Not even my own! It’s coming along so beautifully and I’m thoroughly enjoying the process!

  12. Miruska says:

    Stunning in every way. Great choices and I can’t wait to see all the rest done. Love the kitchen and yesterday was the best time ever following along. Congratulations on this great milestone.

  13. Joanna May says:

    I love tour perspective on the marble. I’m probably still a couple years out from my kitchen renovation, but a few years ago, I picked up a Carrera marble slab table top to put on my island to live with for a while before making a countertop decision in a Reno, and I love it. It’s become more honed over wear and tear, my 4 kids have NOT been gentle, and it’s all ok!

  14. Melissa says:

    Please share sealer options and recs for persnickety countertops! Thank you!

  15. JL says:

    Wow…that soapstone against the taupe is sublime! And the marble veining complements that lovely deep green on the island (I think the brass feet help to enhance the color as well). It’s. Just. So. Good. Loved seeing the joy on Chris’ face! Question – will the cabinet installer be able to temporarily affix the appliance paneling in place until the missing appliances arrive?

  16. Camille says:

    The countertops are beautiful!! The soapstone and marble complement each other perfectly!! I was holding my breath as they carried it in. A piece of mine got broken on install day. Everything is coming together just in time for the holidays. Enjoy!!

  17. Lauren says:

    Hi Chris & Julia! Absolutely in love with the stone choices and design plan for this kitchen. When you say you’ll be oiling the soapstone regularly, is that the same thing as applying an ager? Or is this an alternative method for having that rich velvety smoothness?

  18. EP says:

    All this gorgeous stone is a feast for the eyes!! Question. Does the extra thick island raise the island height up above the rest of the counters? Or
    Is it more like a lip that gives the illusion that it’s a thick slab. Hope that makes sense. My understanding was that usually this look doesn’t affect the counter height but you mentioned being tall as part of the decision making here.

  19. Olivia O says:

    Incredible. This is the most beautiful kitchen I’ve ever seen!!

  20. kim weigand says:

    BEAUTIFUL!! Can’t wait for the memory making to begin!!

  21. Ali says:

    Beautiful !!!!!!!!

  22. Ajt says:

    Beautiful! Loved following along in stories yesterday!

  23. Amy says:

    I love the marble apron on the sink- what a great idea!

  24. Sarah says:

    This is so gorgeous. I am looking forward to seeing it completed, and to see how you style the island!

  25. jordan says:

    Contrast Perfection! I was secretly hoping that you would swap the counters in the previous post and so it was pure joy to read this! It’s above and beyond stunning.

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