Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Soapstone "Pinboard"

Green Mountain Soapstone
I have been spending a lot of time at various stone yards the last couple of days, working up the courage to replace my countertops.
At first, I thought honed absolute black granite would give me the look I want. A classic, black and white, neutral look in my kitchen. But it looks too contemporary--like asphalt even!
Also, fingerprints show.

Carlos the Fabricator has been very patient with me, because I'm all over the place!
Granite? Carrara Marble? Soapstone?
He has negotiated the price for a few slabs of soapstone, currently on hold for someone else.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they become available, because soapstone is what I keep going back to.

Green Mountain Soapstone
This is the look!
I'm trying to put my finger on why soapstone speaks to me.
After all, there are plenty of natural stone products out there that are similar.
But they aren't soapstone. All I can say is that it carries the weight of an emotional decision.

The sales person at the stone yard tried to tell me that soapstone will stain and etch.
He wants to sell me absolute black granite!

Home and Garden Webshots
Remember chemistry class in high school? The counter that the bunsen burners sat on was probably soapstone. That's because soapstone does not absorb chemicals. So therefore, red wine, lemon juice, olive oil and tomato sauce won't be a problem!

For months, I've been "stalking" kitchens with soapstone counters, like Joan's from For the Love of a House. Her kitchen was recently featured in Better Homes and Garden's Renovation Style magazine.

I can't get enough of my friend Lisa's kitchen with soapstone counters. This is probably when I fell in love with soapstone! I love the feel of the counters. Like velvet.

Then there's the "Something's Gotta Give" kitchen. My all time favorite.
I've been stalking this kitchen for a very long time!

House and Home
So, to sum up. This is what I decided on, as of yesterday, after spending four hours with Carlos the Fabricator and visiting several stone yards:
Soapstone on the perimeter counters and calacatta oro marble on the island, since it is black already.
Tuesday is demo day. Stay tuned....
Pin It!


Marigene said...

I cook in a soapstone pot and I can tell you that it doesn't stain! Some day I would love to have counters of it.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh, it is going to be stunning. I can't wait to see it. Love the idea of the soapstone and the marble. Fantastic. Hugs, Marty

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


I feel your pain, my husband and I went back and forth between soapstone, absolute granite and marble.

We heard terrible things about absolute black honed, as well as marble. Then we were limited because we had a island top custom fabricated in African mahogany and we did not want the kitchen to be too busy. In the end we decided on black granite with a leather finish, it is like a honed finish but not. I forgot the name of the granite. Anyway it looks fabulous, and it is very durable. Often people think it is soapstone.

Come over and check it out on my before/ after post.

I love the kitchen from for the love of a house.

Have a wonderful day, Elizabeth

Karena said...

It will be wonderful Delores. I love the look of soapstone! A soapstone pot, I have not seen these, hmm.

Oh, I have a Dezigner Pillows Giveaway; I hope you will join in!

Art by Karena

24 Corners said...

Congratulations on making your final decision's so relieving isn't it?!
We thought very hard about using soapstone amd almost did, but there wasn't any available at the time that would work, the slabs were too short and we would have had seams in all the wrong places. That was local stuff though, we weren't willing to ship from across country for the proper marble it was, which was I love and had really wanted in the firt place.
I'm so thrilled that you are going to have 'both' will be absolutely beautiful!!
Love your images....
xo J~

Becca Bertotti said...

It's going to be fabulous! I love soapstone and having the marble in the center will be simply perfect. The kitchen from "Something's Gotta Give" is my all time favorite kitchen! Can't wait to see more ....

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

I know I won't change your mind, but I am very happy with my FireSlate - it is exactly the surface used in laboratories, reminds me of my father.

Sarah said...

Delores, I know it's going to be gorgeous. I like your reference to the chemistry table. Good thinking! Maybe the sales person didn't take chemistry. ;-)
Can't wait to see the final result.
~ Sarah

Kathysue said...

Omgosh, You are taking the plunge!! Yay!! I know you will love it!! This will be great you can tell me how you love it. I suggested soapstone to a friend of mine and she loves it too. Now you can let us know how wonderful it is. I am sooooo excited for you. You are going to love, love, love it. Notice 3 loves!! xo Kathysue

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

YAY!!! Doesn't it feel good when you make a decision!? Such a relief. I know it is going to be beautiful and the 2 stones will be perfect! XO, Pinky

AT HOME BLOG said...

Nello Dolores! You've Made a beatiful chiose, I have it in my new kitchen and I'm very happy with it :-)

AT HOME BLOG said...

Hello ...Not nello...sorry, The i-pad is correcting everything without asking :(

AT HOME BLOG said...

Hello ...Not nello...sorry, The i-pad is correcting everything without asking :(

The enchanted home said...

Beautiful argument for soapstone here!! I love each and every picture, and think its fabulous looking, it has an old world quality which I love and I bet its way more forgiving than many other stones like marble. I think your combination is going to look FANTASTIC! I look foward to seeing the progress....

Razmataz said...

My friend has 4 teenagers and soapstone counters and they do stand up nicely. The only thing is she has an integrated soapstone sink and that has chipped a bit where he kids tossed pots or pans into the sink. Other than that it is perfect....I love the look...much quieter than has a softness and natural look rather like carerra marble.

sharon santoni at my french country home said...

I love these pictures, and I'm with you on the velvety look to soapstone, I also really love the rug used in Joan's kitchen - adds a beautiful touch.
Happy hunting!

A Toile Tale said...

Delores --
This is my second kitchen with absolute black granite, and while I love it, my next one will probably be soapstone. Your fabricator will probably be happy with your decision, as mine tells me that absolute black granite is the absolutely heaviest stone he has ever, ever set! Keep those workmen happy, right"?
Linda @ A Toile Tale

Southerncook said...

I did a kitchen redo two years ago, took down all cabinets, walls, ceiling and floors. We have lived in our house for 30yrs that we built and it was time for a kitchen redo. I had my heart set on white marble but everyone I spoke to tried to talk me out of it including my DH. Soooooooooo, I decided upon Vermont soapstone and I have never regretted it. I LOVE my countertops. My island I wanted done differently too so I had the island painted a black stressed with Zebra wood from Africa for the top. I have been very pleased with my choices. If you sit tomatoes directly on the soapstone and they are a little past their prime the acid in the tomatoes will discolor the soapstone but I feel that it gives it character IMO. Besides a good wipe down with mineral oil makes everything look pristine. They tell you to do that fairly often at first (the mineral oil) but as time goes on you do it less and less. What we used to work on in chem class was Vermont soapstone.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

Nita Stacy said...

I think that is a great choice. I have formica that looks like soapstone and although that would not have been my choice if I could have chosen...I actually like it now and think it's about the best color choice there is as far as formica goes. Someday I hope to have the real thing and I DO love the calcutta marble too.

laney said...

when we follow our hearts the results are perfect...that includes coutertops...

Meg@OliverandRust said...

and then the fabricators start offering you a job because you are there so much and you know almost as much as they do. our countertops are being fabbed up as i leave this. we went with the absolute black honed granite. (soapstone was also our favorite but price range is crazy in our area)joan's for love of a house kitchen is pinned to my fridge. a hectic weekend of painting cupboards, now counters, almost there. got to love kitchen renovations. i think when finished they are the most satisfying because you spend so much time there. cannot wait to see yours.

Rhonda said...

I am currently going through the same tortuous process! Did you consider quartz at all? That is the product being pushed in my neck of the woods.

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

My favorite as well. Great minds think alike. My friend has it in her master bathroom ... I feel in love with it about 10 years ago. I still don't have any, but when the time comes that's what I want.

Victoria said...

Congratulations, Delores. I debated over those same decisions for five months and finally decided on honed calacotta oro everywhere, including the backsplash. Here is my advise, which you obviously don't need, don't listen to fabricators or stone yard owners. They all recommend against marble and soapstone in favor of granite because they don't want complaints from people who do not fully understand what they are getting into. Granite is the easiest to care for, but so what if you do not want it. Formica is easy to care for also. My fabricator even went so far as to include a disclaimer that he advised me against marble in a kitchen. Italians and French have been using it for centuries. They understand that etching just represents the patina of age. You will use a cutting board, won't you? If anything spills on the marble just wipe it up right big deal, especially if it is honed.

As for soapstone, the care is especially easy. Just rub it down as needed with mineral oil, just as you would a good wood cutting board. It will look renewed and beautiful, and I am sure you will enjoy both surfaces for many years to come.

I am so looking forward to pictures.


Kelley said...

Hi Delores! Can't wait to see your new beauty.

Here is my 2 cents...I have had E...all of the above.

Soap stone is wonderful but it is very soft so it will chip and scratch but it is clearly the most natural and beautiful in that color range. I have used black absolute granite too but it is way to hard to keep looking clean.

I actually rarely put oil on soapstone because I like the chalky look it has. It will look great after a good meal with lots of Olive Oil any way!

xoxo kelley

Cyndy's BEACH HOUSE said...

WOW, gorgeous! You always have the most FABulous ideas anyone would give their right arm for. Even the simplest of ideas of table settings to garden ideas.

I would love to have a kitchen and design elements like yours. Do you recycle? Wanna come design my kitchen and bring the old granite? ;)

Always forwarding your blog and ideas to others who decorate in Tuscan style...

Taylor Greenwalt said...

I think you should go for it. It will look fabulous. If I had the extra cash i would do the same. Also for the women who posted above. Thank God for people like you who are paying people to do things in there home. In this economy it is a blessing for those who need the work. You go girl, and enjoy every minute of it..

Janette - The2Seasons said...

I had soapstone in our last house, and it was high maintenance requiring oil treatments every two weeks. We put honed cararra in our kitchen at this house, and love the look. We have honed absolute black granite in our five bathrooms here and love it. It is very easy. I must tell you that our children are grown and gone, so, it is just two adults. Hope this helps.

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Oh yes, Delores, hold out for the soapstone. I love that look! What fun to be replacing your countertops. laurie

xinex said...

How exciting to have a new look, Delores! Whatever you do will be beautiful for sure. You have excellent taste...Christine

Burlap Luxe said...

Hi Delores!
I have worked with all of them. I love soapstone and years ago you could not find a sales person or contractor that would not challenge a choice on marble or soapstone because of wear and staining. I rather like the wear and the beauty of it.

lived with marble and I love it. Have friends who have soapstone with a house hold of young adults who really live in the home and it is beautiful. Oh I have some friends with the natural cement counters and they have a look of there own, I have to tell you I love them as well.

Love "Something's Gotta Give" kitchen my favorite as well, I must have seen that movie a million times.

laxsupermom said...

I love my soapstone counters. They don't etch or stain, and quite frankly you should run from any stone "expert" who tells you this. Soapstone is chemically inert. While I love the look of my counters, the true feature that makes a soapstone counter fabulous is it's feel. That silky smooth hand to my counters is what makes them special.

As far as the maintenance goes, I use a mixture of oil and beeswax. In the beginning I waxed them more often, but it's been months since I've waxed them and they keep their beautiful dark color. Can't wait to see your counters in.

Connie said...

Hi Delores ! Thank you for stopping by my new blog and adding to the Follower's list. I do appreciate it.
Your blog is so lovely with the large pictures. I do like them large as you can see more detail.

I love the black countertop - - very much !!!

Want to read more
Thanks, Connie

Privet and Holly said...

You have such wonderful
taste, it is bound to be
beautiful, whatever you
choose! I love the black
soapstone but also the
white marble. The ying and
the yang! You are wise to
worry about fingerprints.
We have the dark green/
black uba tuba granite and
I wouldn't recommend it. You
are so wise to think through
all the pros and cons.
Good luck!
xx Suzanne

Bubble and Squeak said...

Great post! Thank you for the beautiful inspiration!

Bubble and Squeak said...

Great post! Thank you for the fantastic inspiration. Can't wait to see the final installation!

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