Saturday, July 11, 2009

Remodeling Opinion Needed, Round Two

Before I present my latest kitchen decision dilemma, I have to confess that I am not listening to many people's bathroom tile advice requested in Round One. I just love the marble hex tile (the pictures didn't do it justice, I promise). A number of people have warned me about the upkeep of marble, but a) there won't lots of water as there would be if it was a full bath, b) people won't be doing their hair/makeup in there, so it won't be subjected to products spilling/residue buildup, and c) isn't the Taj Mahal (and many other public landmarks) made of marble? They all get way more traffic in a day than this powder room will see in a year.

I am a lucky woman for many reasons, but one is that I have not cleaned a bathroom since I have been sharing a house with my husband. I swear; nothing more than a quick wipedown of the sink. Sam is the designated down on hands and knees toilet scrubber, floor mopper, etc. But--since he is not in love with the idea of having a bathroom on the main floor, this one is mine. I will let you know if my love affair with marble is still going strong next year some time.

Time for Round Two--I truly want opinions about what backsplash would be best for our countertops. I am very excited that we are putting in soapstone, a material that has widely been used in chemistry lab counters because of imperviousness to acids/chemicals. It looks great in older homes especially, and I love the softer feel and natural look.

If you are not familiar with soapstone, one cool thing about it is that it darkens, or patinas, over time. Many people speed up this process and make it more uniform by oiling it, which brings out the veining and darkens the softer grey tone to a blacker tone. I thought we would go with a quieter, simple slab, but this one just begged to go home with us and be part of our family:
In the above picture you can see the top middle portion and lower left portion that was oiled when I was there. It doesn't look particularly striking, but when oiled all over it looks like this:
Here's a closeup of one of the veins.

There are greens, blacks, and whites, and since this is a fairly busy counter, I want to keep it simple with the backsplash without being too plain. We also don't want to have something dark, since the cabinets are mid-range wood, the floors are lighter wood, and the counters and sink are dark. A common backsplash choice for the type of kitchen I am looking at is subway tile, but I think white may be too stark here. We are thinking that maybe a light green subway tile would be good, giving a period feel while being more updated as well.

I have seen pictures of other kitchens that have soapstone counters with marble subway backsplash, and they look nice. This would basically be white but not as stark as ceramic tile.

Any thoughts? Other ideas? I'm all ears.

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