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Kitchen Renovation Part 3: Choosing a countertop is driving me insane!!! Seriously…

Seriously… I’m pretty much going completely insane. Someone save me. Why are there so many options??????

For those of you who actually read this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been working on renovating my kitchen. If you don’t read it, that’s ok. We are all busy people (jerks… haha… kidding). I have a post about it, oh, and another post about it. The next step in the “reno” process is choosing a countertop. For those of you who know me, you know it’s been consuming my life for the past 6 weeks or so. I think I’ve officially traced it back to the Home Depot guy Mike. Damn you, Mike… for screwing me up so much.

Laminate Sheets

I originally stopped by Home Depot a few weeks back planning on pricing laminate countertop sheets. Did you know about this? They are basically sheets of laminate that you can GLUE on TOP of your crappy laminate… to give it an update. You can buy the sheets and the glue, cut them yourself, and Voila! new countertop. After doing some research on it and talking to some experts, we realized that it’s actually not so simple. It’s really hard to get the sheet to lay perfectly flat since the glue is super duper tacky. It would probably be worth a try if the countertops underneath were perfect… but… there are some dents and scratches which would make it even more difficult. So, I decided to explore more options, like getting new laminate installed (not just a sheet), or even a different surface… like granite.

New Laminate

Installing brand new laminate countertops is a really affordable option. And these days, there are so many options to choose from. I must say — laminate has come a LONG way from when my kitchen laminate was installed. Most of the popular laminate manufacturers (Wilsonart, Formica, etc.) have these new high definition laminates that are meant to look like real stone. I fell in love with a few different options from Formica’s 180FX line. Here’s a video of how they do it!

My 2 favorite from the 180FX line are Dolce Vita and Travertine Silver

Formica 180FX: Dolce Vita
Formica 180FX: Dolce Vita
Formica 180FX: Travertine Silver
Formica 180FX: Travertine Silver

In addition to these 180FX options, I also looked at their basic laminate options (which cost considerably less money… with the size of my kitchen about $250 less). I think, for the cost, it will give me the opportunity to do something really wild — like a bright color that I wouldn’t normally pick if I were going with a more expensive option. Because of the price of laminate, if I got tired of it in a couple years, I would be able to replace it without feeling too bad about it. The ones I like are:

Wilsonart Indigo and Formica Blue Agave & Kiwi

I found a great article about Bold Colored Countertops that may give you some inspiration.

Granite? Is it for me? I can afford it?

After picking a few laminate samples, Mike decided to mention to me that “Hey, we have these 4 granite countertop options that only cost a little bit more than the laminate.” Wow… no kidding? Granite is cheap these days! Seriously, if you aren’t ridiculously picky you can get granite up at Home Depot for about $28/sq.ft. This is so C-H-E-A-P. It did open my eyes to the possibility.

After leaving Home Depot with some high hopes, I called a friend who just got granite installed in his new home. He gave me the name of the stoneyard, and apparently working directly with someone like that can be cheaper than going through a distributor. So I tried that, and I got stuck in an endless loop of e-mail hell… where one day I spoke with a person and the next day I got filtered back to a generic sales e-mail robot. I went bananas, and e-mailed them a nasty message one night. This actually got their attention and they attempted to remedy the relationship… but I’m pretty stubborn so it didn’t work.

Honestly, the idea of granite really isn’t for me. I think everyone is using granite right now, and it’s beginning to feel really generic. Although I take into consideration the “resale value” of my home while making upgrades, I’m really not planning on leaving. Besides, most of the projects I’m working on, while very unique/creative, I feel will appeal to the ‘right’ person if I did have to sell. Who doesn’t love a foyer made of pennies… c’mon!!!

So I thought I’d mention that granite is definitely way more attainable for the average Joe these days — so if it’s for you, feel free to check it out!

I’m in Tuscan Quartz Heaven

One day I stopped at Just Cabinets to take a look at a couch I saw in their ad, and WOW, I saw this countertop that… omg…. was completely beautiful. I wasn’t really there to look at kitchen stuff, but it really, really caught my eye. So, I spoke with the kitchen guy and found out that it was a Quartz product. It’s called Tuscan Grey from Denova Quartz. After getting some pricing, I realized that Quartz is actually more expensive than most granite. Woah… huge eye-opener. Of course this sucker that I fell in love with is in the “D” category. If there’s anyone reading this who has chosen countertops recently I’m sure you are laughing. The “D” category is basically the most expensive option… “A” being the cheapest.

Everything I like is a “D” 🙁 But this D is a very, very beautiful, elegant, warm grey with small veining. I wish I could marry Tuscan. We’d make a beautiful couple.

This is a great article if you are interested in learning more about Quartz.

Soapstone is beautiful, timeless, and impervious to stains and bacteria

What else is out there?

After my encounter with Tuscan Grey Quartz, and realizing the reality of paying nearly 3x more than my original budget, I started to think outside the box a little more than Quartz, and found a few articles on Houzz that sparked my interest. Most of them were alternatives to granite. This really interests me, because since I’ve been a small child I’ve always had an extreme need to be different from everyone else. So, of course I hate the idea of having granite like everyone else (I believe I’ve already mentioned this, haha).

Solid Surface counters are also a very, very good option. They are very low in maintenance, non-porous (no mildew or bacteria) and you can integrate a sink right into the countertop. They also have no visible seams if that’s something that appeals to you! Here is some information if you’d like to read about them.

After reading this articleand this oneoh and this one too…. I thought that Soapstone might be a good option. So I read about that, too. Boy does it sound fantastic.

Going for a Quarry Visit

I guess we’ve determined that I have exquisite taste. I’m also a curious designer… so… after hearing about this whole stoneyard rigmarole I thought it would be really exciting to actually go SEE the stone slabs, learn about them, and touch them…. ooooh! So pretty.

I went to the stoneyard a few weeks ago (not the one that I got in an e-mail fight with, a different one, haha!). It was really really fun to see everything they have to offer. I looked at 7 different soapstone slabs and got a feel for what it would be like to actually own and care for. After going there and testing it out, I realized it really was way too much work for me (and too expensive). But I’m still glad I went to see it. I also looked at some really cool Quartz products, including a honed Quartz that had a really matte finish to it. It was beautiful… I wanted it… but after getting the price I didn’t want it as much anymore 🙂 Plus, they were not offering any sort of warranty options on the honed quartz, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. All I know is that it set off a huge red flag in my head, and made me shy away from it even more than the price.

Leaving the quarry I felt totally defeated. I can’t even pick the type of countertop I want… let alone a color/pattern. This is going to take years. Hence, the title of my post:

Choosing a countertop is driving me insane!!! Seriously

The Saga Continues…

I’m still looking for the perfect countertop. It seems that every day I wake up with a new idea. BUT, I did go to Lowe’s and pay for a countertop measurement. Basically it’s a $35 fee to have a professional come to your house and measure your countertops so you can get more accurate pricing. If I decide to buy my countertop at Lowe’s, they will refund the $35 — so it’s a good idea to have something like this done. Right now, at the very moment of writing this post, I’m planning on going with the Formica 180FX in Dolce Vita. I have an entire pinboard of backsplash options, but this is the plan thus far:


*Update* The backsplash has been chosen! Want to see what it is?





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  1. I know this is an old post, but I, too, am considering Dolce Vita for my basement kitchenette. My only hesitation is not knowing how “dark” it will be. One Lowes sample I got appeared a bit muddy, but I wonder if other areas are lighter gray. Cabinets are a dark/almost mocha brown and walls are light gray. I also don’t grasp what the “repeat pattern” lengths are. My longest section will be a 6.5′ far with no corners. Thanks!

    1. Sounds like you are way too concerned about everything to ultimately be happy with it. There are a lot of photos in the post, so I’m not sure how much help I can be beyond showing you those photos. And it seems like you did get a sample. So, if you still don’t like it, I would pick something else rather than trying to force yourself to like something that may be out of your comfort zone. Just my opinion 🙂

  2. My sons kitchen has the Dolce Vita & I love it. I chose the silver travertine & it was a mistake. There is no shine, & is quite ‘stripey’, so rather dull.

  3. This article made me laugh! IN a good way! I feel like I am going through the exact same thing. Both the Formica countertops you posted are my favs! I have white cupboards and dark hardwood floors ( more of a red undertone) and having a helluva time trying to decide on countertop! Did you decide? I’m really favoring the Dolce Vita but terrified to pull the plug on that one. Granite is out at this point. Budget is b.l.o.w.n.
    I have stainless steel appliances also, if that helps. #renohelp!

    1. Glad you enjoyed my article. I went with the Dolce Vita (GASP!). They are amazing and I love them so much. They do have some red in them, so maybe they would work with your floor as well. Seriously though, they hide all the dirt/food and look fantastic. Check out Part 5 to see some shots of the countertop (and the installation debacle I went through). Part 6 shows some final shots too. Good luck!

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