installation of the new kitchen counters

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Decorating, Kitchen, My House45 Comments

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by HanStone.  All opinions and words are honest and my own.

Monday was the day and it was like counting down the days to Christmas.  I think HanStone needs to make an advent calendar to countdown to counter install day.  Filled with dark chocolates and bite-sized samples of coordinating backsplash tile.

Anyway, before the install could happen, our fabricator and installer had to come to the house to measure for the new counters.  We used a local company, The Pinske Edge in Rochester, MN.  (And, just to explain, the material for the counters was provided by HanStone as a part of the sponsorship, but we paid for the fabrication and installation.)

On the day of measuring, I had to clear off the counters, so they could have full access to those as well as the walls and cabinets.  I was expecting a guy with a tape measure and notepad, but the process is much more sophisticated and precise than that these days.  He used a special tape and flat, rectangular plates with black dots on them in various patterns and sizes.  He then took digital photos of the kitchen and, when imported into the software, all of the measurements can be precisely calculated by the size and relationship of the dots.  This way, they can account for any undulations in the drywall, cabinets that aren’t completely square, etc.

Since our current counters fit well and we liked the layout, they used those as the template.

A couple of weeks later, the counters were cut and ready to be installed.  When I saw them in the truck, I couldn’t believe they were for our house.  I have dreamed of white stone counters for years and now I was minutes away from having them installed in my house.

They first had to remove of the existing granite counters and that was the hardest part of the job.  Jeff and I also had to figure out what to do with them!  Originally, one of my friends thought she would be able to use them in her house.  Our kitchens have almost the exact layout, but her island is tw0-tiered and at an angle.  The rough measurements worked, but once they got to the finer details, these just weren’t going to fit.

So, I did what I do when we want to get rid of something quickly…  I listed them on craigslist for free.  There are times when I know I can sell something and probably get some decent money for it, but I remember the days when money was very tight and people were so generous with us.  There were many, many times we were able to get things for free and it was such a blessing.  I was hoping these would be a blessing to someone.

I received multiple replies to my ad within an hour, but the first one was from a sweet couple who is building a home completely out of reclaimed and recycled materials.  They were in the process of designing the kitchen and these pieces would work in their layout.  They showed up during the removal, so the heavy pieces of granite could be loaded directly into their trailer.

The counter removal process was a bit of a nail-biter, because they were really, really well installed.  At one point, with all of us watching on, the remover/installer said he wasn’t sure if they would be able to get them out all in one piece.  But, they patiently worked on them, wanting to save the counters as much as the potential new owners.  And they did it!

They were able to get all of the pieces out intact…

And they even loaded them onto the new owner’s truck.  Which, by the way, these people were super prepared.  Sometimes, craigslist encounters can dissolve into crazy stories of someone trying to strap a piece of granite to the top of their VW Bug, but this wasn’t like that at all.

With the old counters completely removed, the new counters were ready to go in.

And, the counter installation included installing the new undermount cast iron sink.  They built a support frame for it, sealed it, and everything.  They just couldn’t hook up the plumbing and faucet, since they aren’t licensed plumbers.

The sink piece was definitely my favorite part.  They did a beautiful job cutting the curve around the sink.  Our previous sink was also installed pretty far back, which was a back-breaker when washing dishes, so they moved it closer to the edge.  It’s positioned much better for dish-doing.

Well, the sink stretch was my favorite part until the island went in.  It is such a gorgeous piece of quartz and I love the ogee edge.  When we first started talking about edges, I figured an ogee would be a “premium edge”, which would make it an add-on expense, but I was delighted to learn it was one of their standard edges.

After the counters were in place, they attached them at the seam (in the corner to the right of the sink) and glued all of the counters down with silicone.

And the counters are gorgeous!  The HanStone Quartz is everything I wanted.  It looks just like marble and the veining is very natural and random.  You can’t see a repeated pattern at all, which was a concern some of my readers brought up.  (The pattern is Monterey, for those who missed that in my previous post.)

The material also feels so nice to the touch, which is important for a tactile-person like myself.  Our granite always felt a little gritty, which apparently isn’t uncommon, but these are buttery smooth.

The biggest bonus is they are durable, so I don’t have the fret about life happening on and around them. I had always loved the idea of having natural marble counters, but the truth is the etching and staining would bother me and I know I would be on pins and needles trying to keep them looking nice.  I actually felt a relief as these were being installed, knowing I got the look of marble without the downsides.

So, the plan was to just paint the wall behind the counters and wait a while to do the tile backsplash, but we discovered there are holes in the wall behind the original backsplash, so that project got bumped up on the list!  I’m currently shopping for tile, trying to determine what will work best with the counters.  I also have some plans for adding some color!  More on that soon…

If you’re in the market for new counters, you can find a HanStone dealer near you HERE and order samples online HERE.

installation of the new kitchen counters

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45 Comments on “installation of the new kitchen counters”

  1. Your counters are beautiful. Looks like marble to me. I know you are secretly happy you don’t have to wait on the backsplash. Can’t wait to see it.

  2. Beautiful! Just elegant, bright and light. I bet you’ll love washing dishes now more than ever 😉 The island is gorgeous. Can’t wait to see what backsplash tile you choose.

  3. Getting new counters is definitely a Christmas morning feeling. Congratulations, they are beautiful! My question is…Should we be concerned that we get this excited over renovations?

    1. Ha, maybe! 🙂 But, I always figure… some girls get excited about shoes or bags or makeup and I get excited about home stuff!

  4. They are stunning. My favorite kind of kitchen is white cabinets with marble counters. I do love the tile sample you have set up in the last photo, but am excited to see what you end up with!

  5. I hope you’ll post some better pictures of the new counters soon. It’s really hard to tell what they look like from the shots you included. I’m very interested, but can’t form an opinion from these pics.

    1. Yes, I definitely will! Right now I have holes in my wall, so it’s hard to take final beauty shots! Those will come ones the backsplash is done.

  6. Looks fantastic! I love the sink area. Also fantastic is that someone else was poised and ready to get the old counters for free!

    I have an all-white kitchen and we went with the Formica faux Carrerra marble counters to save money, and they look SO good, so that is an option for anyone who wants the look of marble for the lowest cost. I still don’t have a backsplash after 1.5 years, but the wall stains (think pomegranate juice, berry smoothie splashes) definitely show that one is needed, so I suppose I need to think about that now too.

  7. Beautiful!
    And I’m excited for that couple that got the beautiful granite, too! I always know that it is a special blessing from my good Father in Heaven when something like that comes along for us and because I know how wonderful it feels, I love it when I can be used to bless someone else, too.

  8. Great choice for the counter tops!!! I would has assumed they were marble. I never liked granite and I am too messy for real marble (Italian and Southern cooking). The recipients of the granite were very lucky. my favorite counter top for durability was the tile we had in MI . Indestructible through the family years.

  9. I’m just drooling on my laptop over here!! We, too, will be removing the granite countertops in our farmhouse reno and replacing with quartz in the next few weeks so this was very timely for me. Now the waiting will be even harder, though! Also, I have been really stressing over what to do with the granite we remove because it seems awfully wasteful to just discard them. I’m so thankful for the idea to list and bless someone with them! What a precious idea and I’m happy to sow these into someone else’s life. Enjoy your new kitchen feature and shopping for the perfect backsplash. As I’m still on the fence about that, I can’t wait to see what you choose.

  10. So pretty! Love the nuance of veining in the counter material. And it looks so clean and crisp compared to the darker granite. It is definitely a beautiful kitchen. I’m just curious though, why the etching and potential staining of real marble would have bothered you since you love the natural staining and crazing of ironstone.

    1. Good question! I wouldn’t mind etching and staining on marble in an older home, where it would look like patina along with all of the rest of the old floors, doors, hardware, etc. In a newer, suburban home, though, I feared it would just look like a damaged countertop. That’s also why I don’t want my kitchen cabinets chippy and distressed. It just doesn’t fit the house.

  11. The counters are gorgeous. I’m amazed how skillfully they’ve created the realistic look of marble. Can’t wait to see the decorative layering to follow!

  12. I went with white quartz as well, but wanted no veining as my floor is slate and kitchen very small so I steered away from anything else “busy”. To that end I also struggled to find a backsplash until my world changed when I discovered back painted glass as an option. I wish I could post a pic here, I absolutely love it!! No grout lines, only a few seams through the whole thing. They install it like mirrors. I went with a soothing bluish green which looks like a refreshing swimming pool when the under cabinet lights shine on it especially. I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else. I tried to get my master shower done in it as well as a simple squeegee leaves it sparkly clean but alas, it’s not possible to make it water tight enough for that…

  13. I love the look of marble you found! We installed quartz during our kitchen reno 15 years ago and it still looks wonderful. I’ll never use or recommend anything else. Can’t wait to see the backsplash…

  14. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!!! Can’t wait to hear how well they wear!! They look beautiful!! One question, how do you view the cost for quartz versus marble or granite? Iornare they about the same depending on the color, type of stone, etc.? The durability and sustainability aspect are VERY appealing!! 😃

    1. I will do a budget breakdown and share more details about the cost of the materials, installation, etc. as well as the rest of the money we spent on the kitchen makeover. That will come with the final reveal, which should happen soon after the backsplash install!

  15. I received an email from your website today saying I could download a book from you. It was written in a different font and did not seem like your usual blog layout. Someone may be using your subscribers email addresses. I did not click on the download button. Has anyone else contacted you about this? I deleted the email.

    1. Nope, that was from us! It is legit and the link works to get the look book. We wanted to send it out as a thank you and let our current subscribers know it was available for download for them as well as new subscribers.

  16. You are zooming through your list in double time. It doesn’t seem like you have had to wait/budget anything. Very nice to give away the old counters; those people must have been thrilled. Kitchen is looking lovely.

    1. We actually do live on a closely monitored and set budget, but we have been budgeting a nice amount for home improvement, since we’re in a new-to-us house. We also opted to do a simple vacation this summer (just visiting family), we don’t eat out a lot, etc. We also try to space out the more expensive projects, so we have time to save and plan for them.

  17. Omg…. they’re beautiful! I watched with baited breath. I want these exact countertops! Kind of a bonus that i can benefit from all your research into the whole countertop thing!


  18. Your quartz countertops are gorgeous, Marian! So happy for you! Your kitchen is just so beautiful. You have done a fabulous job at putting everything together! You will have fun selecting the backsplash! Enjoy!

    It was so kind of you to give your old marble countertops to that couple. They will be forever grateful to you! Bless your heart!

  19. I’m so relieved – they are perfect for you! Congratulations and I agree it was so wonderful for you to pass on your countertop to someone who will be blessed by your generosity.

  20. I love them! I’m in the process of doing the same thing. The sink side of your kitchen is identical to mine…right down to the bumped out sink! And yes! It is back breaking. I’ve lived with mine for 20 years! Our plan was to rebuild that cabinet base prior to installing the quartz, but now you’ve got me wondering if the sink can just be moved forward! Hmmmm? When we built this house, everyone was installing granite..even then it just wasn’t the look for me. I put in formica until I could decide what I wanted..haha 20 years later I’ve finally decided on quartz! Mine will be installed in a couple of weeks.

    1. Congratulations! So excited for you as well. 🙂 20 years is a long wait and well worth it!

  21. Marian:

    Love your counter-tops!

    As a tip for others when renovating, always consider Habitat for Humanity. They will come into your home and take your cabinets, counter-tops, light fixtures, fans and even carpet that is in good condition. They are very efficient at it. It will save you demolition costs and it goes to a good cause. Plus, it was tax deductible for us. They then sell everything in their stores so that they can keep building homes for people. I did this when I updated the last home we sold and then again for our current home as I had to update all the baths, kitchen, etc.

    Best regards,

    1. Our Habitat for Humanity ReStore is very picky about what they’ll take. Granite is a no-go for our closest ReStore. They won’t even take a bathroom vanity top if it doesn’t have the cabinet.

  22. I try not to envy what others have, but I must say I’m pretty jealous of your new counters. We have granite that is very similar to yours but we have a large square footage of bench space and we have been quoted upwards of $5000 to replace it (in Australia) which is just not in the budget and not sure it will be as we only plan to stay here for another 4 years before downsizing. I’m just not sure how to incorporate the brown into our space, as it’s an open plan kitchen, dining, living room. We are repainting and have chosen a greige (grey with a warm undertone) that works with our furniture and doesn’t clash with the bench. I just don’t really want to bring in any brown decor apart from some of our furniture which is natural timber (the room is a mix of painted and natural pieces). I’m planning a new backsplash which is much more budget friendly and hopefully that will freshen up the space and detract some of the attention away from the benches.

  23. They look so pretty! I just love white countertops! I have a dark granite in mine in while it is very pretty, it’s just not my taste. I would love to hear more about how to remove a granite countertop without ruining the cabinets. Maybe you could add that to your next blog post so we know how they did that. I also have a 4″ granite piece on top of the countertop so I am curious how to remove that. I would love to replace my countertop with quartz. I must say though, my granite is very smooth and it is so easy to care for that I wouldn’t mind having granite again but it doesn’t really come in light colors like that .

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