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Losing My Marble(s)…

March 17, 2014
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At this point the installers left. I became flustered, upset and hypertensive.

It only seemed fair that something go wrong at this point in the kitchen renovation.

Everything had been moving along fairly smoothly and without too much incident. Sure there were pipes and duct work in unexpected places, and we found a colony of mice living in the floor which was slanted, dippy, and bouncy like a trampoline. We live in an old house though, circa 1931, and no good renovation takes place without a few surprises that make for great stories at those fabulous cocktail parties we intend to host once this never ending pas de deux with the kitchen is over.

We are past all of the major remodeling, and the remaining projects consist of installations of new surfaces. This incorrectly lead me to believe that we were out of the woods, moving towards the bright grassy pastures of marble counters and herringbone backsplash. Not even close.

Last week I was on Instagram, bopping around, giddy with excitement that the marble countertops were finally going in. I thought by that evening we would be sipping wine, leaning on the cool white stone, feeling very impressed with our choice of materials, and happy that we were that much closer to finishing the last few projects left to make the kitchen complete.  Not so my friends, not so.

Let me step back a moment and tell you what actually happened:

Towards the end of February we had saved enough money to ditch the temporary laminate countertops we picked up at Lowes (and free sink/faucet combo I found by the side of the road one morning during a run when the temperatures spiked above 20° C) we had been using since December and seriously start looking for a company to install the countertops.

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temporary laminate counters and freebie sink

I called every place I could find in SE Michigan that stocked white Italian/ white Carrara marble in a honed finish. Honed is the key word here. Polished marble etches very easily and noticeably, honed marble already has a matte finish so etching is much more difficult to see or notice at all. Our master bathroom has a marble countertop that in 1968 was shiny and polished, but now in 2014 is muted and honed. It’s really beautiful and we are not careful with it at all (spills, chemicals etc..).

I found a company with great reviews, good-looking stone, and a choice of marble or honed finish – no extra charge. Some places charge for a honed finish because they only stock polished. I waited for a new batch of honed stock to come in, and zipped up to the warehouse to pick out my slabs.

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Ummm, yes. They had exactly what I wanted, and I picked out the two slabs above. One for the island and one for the countertops.

After hours of Pinteresting I decided that a standard edge detail, with a ogee edge on the island would be the way to go.

Installation day came 3 weeks later. When I shared this photo with my Instagram followers:

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How can anyone be displeased with this! Well, shortly after the island went on a succession of bad things happened:

  • The piece by the cooktop wouldn’t fit, the installers decided to cut into the wall to make it fit, which resulted in a damaged wall that didn’t look very good and a big scratch in the marble.
  • Once the stone had been jammed into the wall somewhat unsuccessfully, the cooktop cut out didn’t line up with the cabinets any more, and so they cut down the cabinet. Yes, this also looked terrible, and made for a cooktop that didn’t line up with the range hood.

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  • Then when they were seaming the pieces of marble together, by filling the gap with epoxy, clamping it together with another block of stone and a c-clamp, a huge chunk of the countertop ripped out when the clamp and block were removed.
  • At this point our options were for them to remove the whole piece to the right of the stove top, or to cut out the small piece across the front they had seamed together. Since our cabinet had just been butchered to make the piece to the right of the stove fit, we opted for the small front piece to be removed and then replaced.

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  • The installers moved on to clamp the seam at the sink and then did this. They clamped it improperly and the stone crushed beneath the surface leaving these ugly white marks that can never be removed.

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At this point the installers left. I became flustered, upset and hypertensive. I snapped a few photos and emailed the manager with my concerns, and let’s be real – my utter dissatisfaction with their work, and demands for it to be fixed. There was no wine sipping, casual leaning, or pats on the back happening – not even close.

The silver lining in all of this – they company is planning to replace countertops at no cost sometime in the next two weeks, and pay for any plumbing etc… we need to have done to hook-up and disconnect the faucet and cooktop. We did the hook-up ourselves of course, so I don’t think that part will be necessary.

In the meantime, I get to play around with the marble and see how it takes stains and abuse until the new countertops arrive. I will have to make the drive back out to the warehouse to choose another slab, and we will have to deal with a second install day – which will hopefully go as planned with no issues.

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Cheers,

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2014 9:46 AM

    Beautiful counters. Hope round two works out better for you!

  2. Craig permalink
    March 17, 2014 8:42 PM

    Wow… I would have been pissed.

    • March 17, 2014 11:25 PM

      I was pretty upset. I’m holding back now, until they are reinstalled. If something goes wrong then, all fury will break loose.

  3. March 17, 2014 2:57 PM

    OMG, So sorry you went through this! I would have been livid. I’m thinking about having Granite counter tops installed over the original cabinets of my 1937 Tudor. I would freak out if the installers decided to cut into my wall and cabinets to try to make things “fit”. I hope everything works out! I really enjoy your blog!

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