counter selection | compromising nothing & gaining everything

by | Apr 14, 2018 | All Things Home, Decorating, Kitchen, My House, Popular, Room Makeovers | 73 comments

This post may contain affiliate links.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by HanStone Quartz.  All words and opinions expressed in this post are, as always, honest and my own.

As I’ve shared before, replacing the countertops was on our to-do list for this house before we even bought it.  These are nice granite counters and they really don’t look bad at all, but they aren’t my taste.  We would also like to install a tile backsplash, which would look a little odd coming off of the little backsplash that is currently a part of the counters.  We plan on being in this house a long time, so we decided it would be worth changing them out.

So, I had my heart set on marble.  I love the look of it and the “soul” of marble.  It’s such a beautiful material.  I know the issues, though, and I’ve spent months reading reviews and asking friends who have lived with marble counters.  Yes, it etches and it stains and you have to be okay with that.

I had to really give it some thought.  I can live with imperfections.  I was even 99% sure at one point that I was going to go with real marble, because that’s what I had my heart set on, but there were nagging concerns.  Would marble counters really be right for this house?  Would etches and stains look like damage (instead of patina) in the context of a suburban home?  I felt like they might.  I imagined myself fretting over every drop of water or splash of lemon juice sitting on the counter.  I felt myself resigning to the fact that natural marble wasn’t going to work in this house or for this season of our lives.

Here’s where I stalled, though, I wasn’t finding an alternative that I liked.  I had looked at some quartz and solid-surface counters and didn’t see any styles or patterns that I really loved.

And then, I got an e-mail.  It was an e-mail announcing the launch of a new line – the Boutique Collection of quartz from HanStone.  I get e-mails announcing new products all the time and I usually dismiss them as inbox clutter.  Since I was in the market for new counters, I read the e-mail and checked out their website.  I’m so glad I didn’t delete that e-mail!  From the pictures on the HanStone site, it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.

I’ve seen quartz styles before that sort of looked like marble, but I could tell they weren’t.  The Boutique Collection patterns were impressive and I was hopeful they would look as good in person.  I ordered samples of Chantilly, Montauk, Yorkville, and Monterey.

Here are some closeups…

(Left to right: Yorkville, Chantilly, Montauk)

(Top: Monterey, middle: Yorkville, bottom: Chantilly)

Here’s a video reviewing the options and sharing the pattern I selected…

As I said in the video, I narrowed it down to Montauk and Monterey.  I was immediately drawn to the look of Monterey.  It looks so much like the kind of marble I wanted!  I also loved the warmth in the veins in the Montauk sample and the main color was a little whiter than the pale gray of Monterey.

So, I left them out on the counter for a couple of weeks while I thought about it.

(Monterey is on the left and Montauk on the right.)

I kept going back to Monterey.  I love how the subtle color complimented the white-painted cabinets.  So, Monterey it is.  (As a side note, I lived in Monterey, CA when I was in preschool!  My dad was studying at the military language institute there before we moved to Germany.)

Anyway, Monterey really is gorgeous and I don’t feel like I’m compromising the look I want at all.  In fact, I am gaining a lot and compromising nothing.

Here are some advantages to HanStone Quartz

  • It’s a low-maintenance, non-porous surface that doesn’t require sealing, conditioning, or polishing.
  • It is resistant to heat, bacteria, staining, scratching, and chipping
  • It can be cleaned with mild soap and water (and HanStone shares all of their cleaning tips for marks, smudges, etc. HERE)
  • It has up to six times the strength and durability of granite (More than 90% of HanStone Quartz is mined quartz crystals, one of nature’s hardest materials)

And, I specifically wanted white with gray veining, but HanStone Quartz comes in more than 70 colors and patterns.

If you’re in the market for counters, you can order a quartz sample HERE and/or find a retailer near you HERE.

My counters have been ordered along with a white under-mount cast iron sink and I’ve been in touch with a local fabricator who will make the templates, cut, and install the counters.

I’ll share the entire installation process and, of course, the final reveal…

PS – Many of you encouraged me to consider quartz, so thanks!!


  1. Barbara Pemberton

    You will totally love the quartz. Hot pan or dish from the oven, no problem, need to cut something directly on the counter no problem. Markers and other little boy stuff wipes right up. We wipe ours down several times a day with dish soap on a sponge and a couple of times a week with bleach water. It’s ten years old now and looks brand new.

    • Marian Parsons

      Wow! I knew it was durable, but I didn’t realize all of the benefits until I really started researching it and it’s nice to hear personal testimony supporting that research. Replacing counters is something you only want to have to do every few decades!

  2. Marsha Kern

    It will look great, can’t wait to see it!

  3. Liz

    I am so happy for your choice of quartz. I had quartz in my last home and absolutely loved it. We are building a new home and upgraded to quartz that mimicked marble and I cannot wait. Our current home has granite and there is no comparison. You will not regret choosing quartz. Your home is so beautiful and I can’t wait to see how it looks

    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, I know granite was all the rage, but I have never liked it. I’m so glad to be getting the exact look I want in this house, so we can enjoy it for many years.

      • Kris

        I always felt like an oddball because I never really liked granite, either–but like you, I love the look of marble. Wish I had known about this when we did our kitchen reno a few years ago! Enjoy!

  4. nancy

    Monterey is the one I immediately liked. Can’t wait to see your counters and maybe use it myself soon.

    • Marian Parsons

      If I had to make the decision the second I opened the box, it would’ve been that one. It really looks exactly like marble.

  5. Teresa

    I am so happy you choose quartz over real marble. I really felt at this stage with two boys you were making a huge mistake with all maintenance that goes with marble. I do love the color you choose as well.

    I know that quartz usually is a little more expensive than granite but how does compare to marble in price?

    • Marian Parsons

      The cost comparisons are really all over the place, but in most of the research I found, natural marble and quartz were comparable in the price of materials and installation. Most options seem to fall in the $40-80/sq ft range.

  6. Mary in VA

    Great choice between the four options, your kitchen will look great.

    • Marian Parsons

      I can’t wait to see them installed! I know they will make a huge difference!

  7. Margaret Robinson

    This is ironically funny on several levels —- I’m so glad you picked “Monterey”. It looks gorgeous! We live in Pebble Beach and I was impressed you choose that one as the city is one right next door to us and you lived in the area for a while. Come back and visit some time!

    • Marian Parsons

      I would love to come back and visit some day! I remember it being a beautiful place.

    • Nancy Johnson

      We are planning to replace our counter tops with quartz in the near future. I’m so glad to have seen Monterey before I chose anything; it is definitely the most marble-like I have seen. It will be easy to remember, because I live in Monterey–just over the hill from Margaret. Nice to know you once lived here too.

  8. At Rivercrest Cottage

    Thanks for the info. Shared it with a daughter in same dilemma. The website has beautiful examples.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, and I can say they are even prettier in person. I feel like they have a depth to them that you don’t see in a lot of quartz. It’s the look I love in marble, so I was glad I found this brand.

  9. Susie

    I will be anxious to see it. Personally, I just can’t wrap my head around the faux marble or faux countertops of any kind. I will be interested to see how people view them in 10 years. The patterns just look too consistent and fake to me. I too am in the market for countertops and really want marble. I have seen old homes with their original marble from 100 years ago that still looks beautiful today. Maybe your kitchen will change my opinion.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I agree with that. That is one reason I thought I would initially go with marble. It’s timeless and clearly will last a long time. This really does offer that look, but without the maintenance. I’ll certainly show how it turns out and how it wears over the years.

  10. Tammy

    This is so pretty! I have never liked Quartz because it has always felt a little “plastic” to me. I will definitely give this a look. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, that’s exactly how I felt! This looks so realistic, though.

  11. Sara

    Excellent choice! We love our HanStone quartz counters, they’re beautiful and so very durable! The slab sample you picked out is absolute perfection, too! Can’t wait to see it installed! ??

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you!

  12. Rose

    We lived in Europe for nine years and we saw beautiful marble everywhere. In some parts of Greece the sidewalks are made of marble! Beautiful but slippery when wet! The ensuite in our home there had wall to wall white marble that looked just like the Monterey sample you chose. I think it’s the white veining as well as the darker grey veining which seems to give it that authentic look.

  13. MaryLisa Noyes

    You will love it. I went through the same process 2 years ago when I remodeled my entire kitchen. I love to cook and the hassle free look and care of my quartz that I chose is so wonderful. I’ve had many people think it is marble so there is the proof. There is a difference in quality and going with a good company is very important! Great choice!!!

  14. MEM

    When we built our home two years ago we went with quartz in the kitchens and bathrooms (a two family). We used “London Sky” on the kitchen counters and islands (white with gray marbling) and “Carrera” in the bathrooms – and yes, it looks and feels like marble. I am not a fan of granite either and I see so much brown granite in homes that are up for sale – it seems dated to me already. The only thing we were warned about with the quartz is not to drop a heavy pan like cast iron on it (accidentally!). After two years it still looks brand new although we do use trivets for hot pans and cutting boards.

  15. Ruth

    Just one word of caution to anyone considering manmade/quartz/composite countertops. IF you have a large expanse to be covered–like a large island or a long countertop–and IF there is a distinct pattern in your quartz, be sure you know what the pattern will look like when installed. ASK HOW OFTEN THE PATTERN REPEATS. I went with a friend in her search for new countertop material. The quartz she selected was the perfect color and had a gentle pattern that worked for her. It was beautiful–in a 6″ X 12″ piece. However, installed on a 10′ island and the adjacent countertop . . . not so much. The pattern in the quartz was soft, but it was still a manmade pattern . . . and it repeated. Natural stone does not have repeating patterns. This would not have been a problem on a 3- or 4-foot run. On a 10′ island, and an adjacent countertop? All you could see was that repeating pattern, and it didn’t look “real” or “natural” at all. It looked fake, and my friend? She. Was, Furious. And there was nothing to be done about it. She entertains a lot, and has taken to placing items on the counter that will break up the pattern, but she told me recently it is something she sees daily, and it has been the biggest decorating disappointment of her life. So . . . be careful. If you want something to look natural and real, consider the repeating pattern and the length of your countertops.

    • Patricia

      Ruth, such a good point and something for everyone in the market for countertops to consider! I hope Marians dimensions give her a good ‘run’ of quartz.

    • Rebecca

      Really good information!!! Thanks for the insight! I do have an island that long as well as countertops. THANK YOU!?

  16. SoCalLynn

    I knew as soon as I saw the Monterey that you would pick that one. 😉

  17. Rebecca

    So glad you found the perfect surface!! And even happier they wanted to sponsor you!! I have a granite that I did NOT choose, but it will be awhile before I can change….. lots of granite and marble that are tied together…..grrr…. but I will definitely save this manufacturer as a option!! The look of natural stone with greater durability is exactly what I need!! How does it compare costwise with Granite’s and marbles?

  18. amy joanne mogish

    Can’t wait to see the finished room! Enjoy!

  19. Carolyn

    Great choice – will you be using it for counters and backsplash, or will the backsplash still be tile?

    • Marian Parsons

      The backsplash will be tile. I haven’t picked the tile, yet, though. I’ll do that once the counter is in and I’ve lived with it for a while.

  20. Sandy - Rock Haven Farm

    Thank you for this post!!! Countertops have been my roadblock in completing my kitchen design. I too want marble but know very well the downside of the “real” thing. I have beautiful Calacotta marble in my lake house and LOVE IT, but it does show everything, including simple water drops. My new project is a beautiful old historic Colonial so I’m not sure if Quartz will be appropriate. But, the Monterey really does look like the real thing. I’m so glad I get to see yours in a full slab install. Good luck, it’s going to be beautiful!

    • Marian Parsons

      Yep, those are the same concerns I had about marble. It’s what I really wanted, but I don’t think the etching and stains would look good in a suburban home context. In an older home? That might look like patina and age.

      Well, I’ll definitely show Monterey once it’s installed!

  21. JC at the uncommon pearl

    Yeah! So glad about your decision! In different homes we have had granite, real marble, and quartz, and by far we love the amazing durability, and non- stress of the quartz. I haven’t heard of HanStone, but if it is anything like our experience, I think you will be well pleased. It’s going to look gorgeous!

  22. mary m

    A contractor told me you could take a blow torch to it and it won’t bother it. lol
    We are going to blow out our kitchen and dining room to make it open space and
    I was very impressed with this type of quartz. I made my husband sit down and
    listen to your video. Thank you so much for posting the information.

    I have rented two condos with granite. One reminded me of kitty litter and the other
    was black speckle. I thought it was weird stuff and would not even consider it.
    Too bad Corian dark green is out of style as ours is 22 years old and has stood
    the test of time. I am so old that I can remember my mother’s new fancy kitchen with
    boomerange formica and a pink refrigerator. lol

    • Marian Parsons

      Kitty litter?! Oh, how funny. 🙂

  23. Patricia

    If we were DIY’rs like you are I would spend the money on new granite in my taste- but instead we are paying for the cabinets to be painted, rolling shelves to be put in, shiplap in the family room and kitchen nook and a cabinet on top of the existing cabinet . We have to pick our battles and our decorating dollars!
    I really like white granite better then anything else and maybe one day in the next home I’ll get it!
    I’m enjoying every stage as you transform your home.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! That is definitely an advantage to DIY, so we can do the projects we can do ourselves and make our decorating dollars go further.

  24. Nan

    Love your choice! Wish I lived close enough to purchase what you are removing!

    • Marian Parsons

      I wish so, too! We would gladly give it away to someone who could use it.

  25. Elizabeth

    We moved into our house three years ago. The countertops are the ubiquitous granite and I hate them. I would love marble but don’t see replacing countertops for a while. Unfortunately. Will definitely look at quartz when the time comes.

  26. Marlene Stephenson

    This is very exciting for you and informative for me, as i have been thinking of changing my counter tops. They are beautiful and i will be anxious to see how they look. Thank you Marian for sharing with us.

    • Marian Parsons

      Thanks! I can’t want to see how they look!

  27. G.R.

    I am a collector of Victorian-era antiques — my entire house is furnished with the stuff and I have more marble-topped tables than you can even imagine. I’m here to guarantee you that the stains (for example, the circular rings left by a bottle or some such having been set on the marble a century ago) do NOT pass for “patina.” They look like what they are: The nasty stain left behind by someone’s carelessness.

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha, yes, I’ve seen some grubby marble furniture tops before that will never look really nice. They are beautiful on an old piece and the imperfections are forgivable, but it would bug me on my kitchen counters.

  28. Mary

    I went with LG viatera Minuet quartz and I love it! Most of my friends went with Cambria Torque, but I liked the look of Minuet better. I love mine and have never looked back. You will be so glad that you have the ease of the quartz to take care of over the real marble and I think you’ll be hard pressed to really feel/see the difference. Good choice Marian! I had never heard of your brand but it looks lovely.

  29. pamela

    can not wait to see the finished kitchen!!!

  30. Meredith MacRitchie

    I’ve had my quartz, which is very similar to thenone you’ve chosen, for about 3.5 years and have yet to find something that will stain it. I have 3 kids, do all kinds of crafts, baking, cooking and other random messes… Even dropped mustard on it. I have dripped gel food colour on it countless times and while it threatens to leave a hue (bright pink, for example), a Clorox wipe takes care of it with little effort. Like a previous commenter mentioned, you can set your hot pans directly on it, cut right on it, bang it up… I *did* manage to chip the edge of my sink rim (ours is undermount) with a sharp knife because I wasn’t careful, but I still don’t know how I managed it… And it’s barely noticeable.

    I can’t wait to see it installed!

    • Marian Parsons

      Sounds awesome! I’m excited about the durability and ease to clean it. Our granite counters always feel dirty, even when they are clean. I looked it up and apparently it’s something that leaches out of the granite? I actually took to scraping it with a straight blade to smooth it out a bit more.

  31. Lisa

    I love my quartz countertop! I did manage to chip an edge when a heavy cast iron pan slipped out of my hand but overall it is very sturdy. Even. black permanent marker came off with a little nail polish remover!

    I think Ruth’s point about checking on the repeat is a good one. Worth it to be sure you will be happy with the finished product.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, you can see the full slab on the website and there isn’t a repeat in the slab. I don’t have a 10′ island, so I don’t think it will be an issue in my kitchen, but definitely a consideration for someone with a lot more counter than I have!

  32. Susan

    The quartz is pretty but I wondered if you considered quartzite? It is a natural stone with a marble look but with none of the marble issues. I have put it in two kitchens and love it. It is easy care and really is bullet proof. Something to consider.

    • Ruth

      Susan . . . we just had our new countertops installed last Wednesday, and they’re quartzite. I thought we had selected granite, but the fabricator told me it was quartzite, which he said is harder and more durable than granite. He said it’s pretty indestructible. It took him a week longer to cut the countertops simply because of the hardness of quartzite. At any rate, we planned to cover our island, countertops and all the backsplash in a natural surface, so when we were shopping, I was looking for something with large veins of color and ‘movement’ . . . I mentioned that to the fabricator, and he told me that the natural surfaces that show big veins of color and quartz deposits is typically quartzite. I had originally wanted to go “green” and use a manmade product, but after my friend’s experience with the repeating pattern, we opted for a natural stone, and it is stunning.

      • Marian Parsons

        Sounds beautiful. No, that wasn’t one of the options I looked into as I was researching counters. I’ve selected and ordered my counters, but it seems like an option worth investigation for those in the market.

  33. Kathy

    Thank you for the information. Do you have an idea how much it costs per square foot for removing the old granite and replacing with new quartz. Glad to see that we have a company here in Hilton Head South Carolina that carries it.

    • Marian Parsons

      The fabricator I’m working with removes the granite at no additional cost. It’s rolled into the installation.

  34. Carol

    With so much counter, I would do a color test first of laying long pieces of fabric over the counter areas in the “white” of choice. Purchase a cheap fabric cousin to the quartz of choice. This can tell you quickly if you will go “snowblind ” by adding too much white to the room. Currently, the counters help break up all the white you have added. It may start to get very clinical and cold, but a test would tell.

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha, I am always in favor of giving yourself visuals for making decisions, but I know this is what I want! I am leaving the option open to paint the island cabinets a darker color and even change the wall color, but I know I want white counters. I’ll add color elsewhere.

  35. Lori

    This post can came at the perfect time! I am getting my ducks all in a row so that we can start updating our kitchen. I have wanted marbel for as long as I can remember. My friends have tried to convince me that granite was the way to go, and I just don’t like the look of granite. I will be taking a look at this company’s choices! Thank you Marian!

    • Marian Parsons

      Glad to hear it!

  36. Lori

    This post came at the perfect time! I am getting my ducks all in a row so that we can start updating our kitchen. I have wanted marbel for as long as I can remember. My friends have tried to convince me that granite was the way to go, and I just don’t like the look of granite. I will be taking a look at this company’s choices! Thank you Marian!


    Lovely choice, Marian! So happy for you! I know you will enjoy this for years to come! Blessings!

  38. Sue Anderson

    I chose arabescato by Pental quartz for my 11×5 island with volcana (black/gray/brownish/white) at the perimeter. The arabescato is a very large pattern with no repeat and it is spectacular with gray lightning streaking through a white field. Great for a very large island. So I wound up with a “tuxedo” kitchen with the white island with dark cabinets below and the dark countertops with white cabinets around the perimeter. Gorgeous.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, it sounds beautiful!!

  39. Becky

    We are considering quartz countertops also. I’ve always loved the look of marble. We found one we liked but it ended up too yellow so I definitely want to check this source now too. I’m looking forward to seeing your sink and faucet choices as I am struggling with that too.

  40. Mary S

    You will be glad you didn’t get real marble. I say that as I stand here looking at the counters that need to be re-sealed again. I need to wait for a warm day so I can open the windows because of the smell. Last week, I’d spilled a small amount of macaroni on the counter and by the time I got it wiped up (which was just a minute or two) it had already left a mark on the counter. So, I then grabbed a can of barkeepers friend which has a tiny amount of grit in it and I thought I’d go after the spot. NOW, no only did the macaroni leave a mark, there are marks from the barkeeper’s friend. So… good idea – something other than marble.

  41. Heather Jensen

    Hello! I have followed you for a while but not left a comment. I just bought a house at the end of November. I want to put Quartz couter tops in and this is exactly what I was looking for. I will definitely order some samples
    as well.

    On another note, My dad was in the military and we lived in Monterey, Ca when I was in preschool and kindergarten. We lived on base and I went to Le Masa elementary school. I am almost 43. 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      So interesting! I was there for preschool as well when my dad attended the language institute there (he was Army.) We probably just missed each other, since I’m 40.

  42. Jennifer

    I just put HanStone counter in my new house. Our sample looks very similar to both your samples, but it was called Seascape. It is the most hideous pattern I’ve ever seen, and am so sad that it has ruined the look of my kitchen. Now I have to save up for a Reno on a house that isn’t even finished being built yet. Biggest mistake I’ve ever made.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I have the Monterey pattern and my mom got Montauk and they are both beautiful patterns. I’m sorry that you aren’t happy with your selection.


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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