Ages ago I did a post about the pros and cons of having carrara marble here. It was one of my most popular posts, with examples from some great bloggers and decorators, but it’s been three years and I have learned and seen more so I thought I would do an update! I am afraid this may get long because there is so much material to cover so I am going to say there will be two parts. And let me also say, I am not an expert, these are simply going to be my observations and experiences with clients and others… what we have used and found to be true. This could easily be a huge indexed research paper! Remember this is just a blog post!
First off, when I did the original post I had just installed “plain” honed carrara marble in my old cottage kitchen and I WAS IN LOVE…over the moon. I had wanted it so long and was thrilled with it..and was until I moved. And missed it in the next house. And still do. I felt like it was the real thing and why would anyone do anything else. It’s not super expensive as far as counters go (same as granite for the most part) and its natural and classic. But as I have visited more stone yards and seen more and more applications of “plain honed carerra” I see that yes sometimes it does stain (I never had more than a watermark) and y’all its just not as white anymore. Granted my pictures have been lightened a bit and so have many you see on pinterest and elsewhere. Always keep that in mind when looking at paint and counter and floor colors..if filters were used then you aren’t getting a true reading. Anyway, it is my understanding, that the marble quarry where they get this stone is hundreds of years old and they keep going deeper and deeper and YES in fact it IS getting more gray. I think carrara was and is the most gray to begin with, you need to go statuary, danby (from New England) or other “finer” marbles to get a more “bright white
background” but even then, the carrara is getting darker I believe. Honing it makes it a bit lighter, softer BTW. I thought this was interesting, honed on one side and polished on the other!
Recently while in New Orleans visiting two different stone yards with a client I was shocked at how gray the “basic” carrara looked. I have never really dealt with this issue too seriously because I just love the material and haven’t been concerned style wise when clients have mentioned this before…yes it was gray but it was on WHITE cabinets and still pretty. But I started to take notice in New Orleans because we are doing GRAY kitchen cabinets in brick floors and I didn’t want it to be washed out or too dark. Notice this photo below.
Notice on the paint swatch the cabinet color on left…it looks great on the small “marble” marble sample its leaned against but against the larger slab behind that, blah..the big slab looks so dark against that lighter small sample agreed?? What is that small sample?? Let’s just go with that right??
Well it’s like silestone or caesarstone…its this product
And we thought it looked great based on the small sampled. And decided “well we will just go with this, its stain resistant and will be great”..then in the middle of the night I woke up in my client’s six year old son’s bed in a panic thinking “what does an entire slab of this man made stuff look like?” It was the holy spirit because LOOK Y’all THIS is what a big piece of this “Borghini” looks like..sure its stain resistant and bright white background but it looks like too swiggly hoses running through it…it is not a tight soft movement like the small sample indicated to us..our fault totally. So glad I looked up a photo for the entire slab.
Yikes not what we wanted..maybe fine for another project but we were wanting a tighter, softer “all over veining” like you would find in “basic” carrara!
Now the week before I was checking on a job in Houston where we used TWO different type of quartz (man made) counters and I LOVED IT! So I am not saying man made materials aren’t good…not at all. I mean just look..these are good! This is my phone pic of the slab on the bed of the truck in my client’s driveway..this is not lifted from pinterest in another state or country…this happened two weeks ago.
Ladies and gents I give you LG’s Minuets and Rococo and its good! One is busier than the other…this is the Rococo more “busy” for sure… we used it in master bath and it looks so lovely!
And the Minuet which is softer in kitchen!
You can see mucho about this LG product on Pinterest here including photos like this showing my client and I’s two fave patterns (the ones above) side by side!
But back in south Louisiana, not the burbs, the client just felt she needed the natural stone of true carrara (and I agree) after all its a frame house with brick floors and old beams so we set out the next day to see actual slabs of some of these manmade quartz counters and hopefully find another bundle of marble to look at with our gray paint chip! I honestly didn’t think we would find a place with full slabs of the quartz but we found one and they laid the different slabs side by side for us! And its fascinating! First we put two manmade quartz slabs side by side…Caesarstone’s Frosty Carrina (left) and Statuario Nuvo (right)! And I liked them both!
Below is the Satuario Nuvo by Caesarstone!
But when my client saw the carrara placed beside it she new she had to have it even though it is more gray…I do think its less gray than the first slab we found.
So there you go, Cararra is getting more gray from the earth I think BUT people still choosing it…we did find some Statuary we loved but that slab yard wasn’t open…so we found another slightly lighter bundle I think of the carrara.
Another client below (Old home renovation in Sealy) chose “basic” carrara as well….and its POLISHED ..yikes etching and stains, I actually think it will be okay with the amazing sealers they use now AND the polish with the grandeur of the home! (And don’t you love this baby Shaw sink it the island) More on this project coming soon!
I think the bottom line is FEEL, STAINS and also price. AND GO LOOK AT SLABS with your paint colors/chips! This going to look part is imperative even if you have a designer!
YOU MUST ASK YOURSELF:
Do you want the natural feel of stone?
Or are you type A and will water etching or even the thought of it bother you?
Is your home old or are you trying to build a “new old house?” Or are you in the suburbs?
Do you u like to use bleach and or ammonia or vinegar to clean?
And are you willing to pay $2500 extra or more to go from “basic” carrara up to the higher end types that are more bright white OR to do CAESARSTONE or SILESTONE (good rule of thumb y’all if it ends in the word “stone” its manmade and MORE than your basic CARRARA. I leave you with this link to a recent post at the Elements of Style blog (OMG isn’t her baby Henry the sweetest) one of her assistants wrote a great post about marble versus quartz. I can’t wait to see how her basic “real” carrara cabinets look with her willow gray cabinets…wish I knew a paint color similar to her new cabinets….Lindsey???? ;;;
Next installment of “Let’s really talk about marble” I will show you photos of the DOLAMITE option..sometimes called Super white granite but its NOT granite and also LAMINATE that looks like marble!