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Giallo Portofino (Classic) Granite
Bob Swanson
January 2, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We're in the final stages of our kitchen remodel. We have mission style quartersawn oak cabinets in a light cinnamon color and hand scraped hickory floors in a medium cinnamon or amber tone. We have stainless appliances, near white painted trim, and my wife has picked BM twilight gold for the kitchen walls and BM fresh clay for two accent walls in the breakfast area. For granite, we started out thinking tropic brown, then have considered giallo vicenza (local warehouse slabs a bit too peachy), new venetian gold, and are now leaning toward Giallo Portofino (aka Portofino Classic). We have really good lighting and with the lighter cabinets, we're kind of like the contrast of a darker stone. I've read some comments suggesting it's too busy, and was wondering whether anyone can provide any insight. BTW, the stone guys are coming tomorrow morning to measure. Thanks so much!
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
This is such a personal decision, whether to go dark or light, and either would work. My preference, however, would be to go light, and pick up the tone of the kitchen walls and trim for a beautiful light, airy look that would be timeless and welcoming and wonderful to work on. But that's just me. Take your excellent photos to the granite warehouse and look at the slabs and see what leaps out at you as being the perfect solution. Good luck! And please post photos of your finished kitchen in this same discussion so we'll be able to see the room when it's done!
January 2, 2013 at 6:19pm   
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smldesigns
Looks wonderful so far. I would take a cabinet door or drawer along with a piece of the floor to the warehouse to help you decide. I do think if you go lighter, you could do a fairly bold pattern granite since you cabinets are so simple. If you go darker, I would try to capture the color of the floor. If you go lighter because you are using stainless appliances, you could choose something that has some grey in it also.
January 2, 2013 at 6:26pm   
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Bob Swanson
Knowing granite slabs have quite a bit of variance, here's a picture of the portofino slab we are considering. I'm sure it would have a much warmer tone under the lighting in our kitchen.
January 2, 2013 at 7:06pm     
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
It doesn't sing to me, but it's not my kitchen! If you're confident it's the right choice, it will be fine. If I was there though, I would keep looking! :)

P.S. I don't want to sound negative or to crush your confidence. It is PURELY a personal opinion.
January 2, 2013 at 7:09pm   
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smldesigns
I think it is a safe option, but as I mentioned earlier, I would take the cabinet door or drawer and sample of the floor to the warehouse because something else may catch your eye.
January 2, 2013 at 7:15pm   
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Here are a couple of samples that I was thinking about. The first one is called "Yellow Granite" and the second is "Golden Persa" but stone importers name their slabs whatever they want... I picked these because they are fresh and light and represent what I see as the "mood" of your kitchen. I like the one on the left the best.
January 2, 2013 at 7:16pm     
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joans1956
My kitchen a lot like yours colors etc. Did you look at Giallo Napoli? May be a good compliment to yours too! good Luck
January 2, 2013 at 7:18pm     
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Here's what Giallo Napoli looks like. You're right, joans1956, it could look quite nice.
January 2, 2013 at 7:20pm   
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smldesigns
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the granites that have been suggested. I think what you need to decide is whether you want the granite or the cabinets to pop.
January 2, 2013 at 7:37pm   
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
I am drooling over the cabinets, smidesigns! This kitchen reminds me of the quality of ones in Kitchen Trends magazine. Just fabulous.
January 2, 2013 at 7:39pm   
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OasisDesign&Remodeling
Gosh...gotta agree with Cynthia...
January 2, 2013 at 7:44pm     
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Sunday
I love your kitchen, so beautiful indeed. Please post what ever you decide. It will be beautiful.
January 2, 2013 at 8:03pm     
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Chroma Design
Gorgeous cabinets! What a great kitchen!!!as Cynthia said, this is a personal preference. Go with your instinct and what you feel is best. However, you need some contrast and all your choices so far are too light. The tone of your wood floor is in the family of your cabinets and a lighter granite will look too similar. To illustrate my point, compare these two examples...
surfers end kitchen
Beartooth Ranch house
January 2, 2013 at 8:17pm   
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Bob Swanson
Chroma Designs, we would like the granite to have a darker contrast. Do you think the portofino is also too light? Is portofino too busy? Thanks!
January 2, 2013 at 8:30pm   
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Chroma Design
I do find portofino to be both too light and too busy. That's simply my preference. If you were my client I would suggest antique brown aka marron cohiba. Like these...
Sefcovic Residence
Pass Residence
And not polished, which I think would be excellent for you.
PK
As you know, variation in slabs for pattern and color can be great. Always select your slab.
January 2, 2013 at 9:36pm     
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Bob Swanson
Chroma Designs, wondering what you would think of Imperial Brown (aka Brown Pearl, Marrom Perola) with our cabinets and their somewhat mission or shaker style? Thanks!
January 3, 2013 at 10:43am   
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Rio Brewster
I'd go with a darker color too. Imperial brown would be nice. smidesigns is right - If you want your cabinets to pop, go with a more homogenous granite.

Have you thought about greens? Peacock green, UbaTuba, Verde Butterfy all have flecks of gold that would pick up the rest of the palette and green is a staple of mission/arts&crafts interiors.

My personal dream kitchen would be quarter-sawn oak cabinets with rainforest green counters.
January 3, 2013 at 10:54am   
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Siskiyou Design Service
When I look at the picture of your kitchen, to me it just shouts "dark counter-top, please". Chroma Design gave some great examples. The contrast of the dark line that the counter-top gives will accentuate the walls, cabinets, and floor. But, it is a personal choice...Aren't you glad you asked for so many opinions! Good luck! Can't wait to see what you choose!
January 3, 2013 at 11:20am   
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Chroma Design
Yes, I also like imperial brown. It has great color and nice uniformity. It would go very well with your style of cabinets, as would antique brown. One more point about your cabinets, I really see a honed granite completing the look best with quarter sawn oak! My antique brown example above "pk" by graniterra is honed. And this example below is honed absolute black with cabinets similar to yours.

January 3, 2013 at 12:29pm   
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Stoneshop
Dark or light, I think that either would look lovely! Whichever direction you decide to go, you need some contrast. Either Cynthia's light "Yellow Granite" option or Chroma Design's darker options would be great--not something in the middle since you already have pretty monochromatic cabinets and floors. I agree with Chroma Designs, and Antique Brown would get my vote--it is such a gorgeous stone (that is, if they have it at your slab gallery).

I cannot wait to see your "after" photos!
January 3, 2013 at 12:49pm   
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
What a great discussion. I do like the dark option too--it makes me think of soapstone which is also fabulous with this style/colour of kitchen.

You definitely need to do a granite warehouse "walk-through" and look at all the options available. I think this discussion has given you great background and food for thought. Please do keep us informed as to your progress with this kitchen.
January 3, 2013 at 12:54pm   
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Interiors International, Inc.
I love the dark colors but can't have them in my current kitchen in my new home. I do not have enough light. You have amazing light and the cabinets are also light. Why not go darker it is such a rich look. I think a lighter color will wash out the whole kitchen. You could do dark on the island and a complimentary light one in the rest of the kitchen.
January 3, 2013 at 1:16pm   
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Timeless Appeal
I wouldn't use granite at all. I think a solid darker counter will bring this look into the 21st century. Try a synthetic product like silestone, or even quartz. The granite looks more formal, and the style of your cabinets would do best with a solid looking product. Try using lighter counters on the cabinets against the walls and a darker on the island or switch it up. No more wood, btw. You don't want to overdo the wood.
January 3, 2013 at 1:21pm   
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fabia
When I looked at your cabinets, at first glance. I thought" what lovely maple cabinets". I was surprised to read they are quarter sawn oak. This is how much lighting, sun, paint choices reflect on other surfaces.
I think cynthia is making some good suggestions for you. I do like the lighter choices. I see more lighter granite in the last couple of years. Yellow granite. or Golden Persa, I like both. In referance to your wall colours, they are soft buttery tones. The clay- I have to look that one up. But the buttery walls will make these granites sing,, The Giallo and the brown have been around forever, they will not add a personality to this space. Now, if you choose a dark granite, why not have the suede finish. I like this with your cabinets. Honed, suede, look at some samples. I think dark will be too much contrast, and add too much weight to the room, on one surface. Walls , floors, cabinets are all light, visually . They keep the weight of the room in the mid zone. There will be no buffer. Keep this in mind. Th PK... sample was interesting.

Also, remember to ask for the thicker slab if possible. This is my professional opinion. You now need to add what your heart wants. and Voila!! Happiness.
January 3, 2013 at 1:31pm     
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Bob Swanson
Thanks so much to everyone for their input! Here's a couple updated pics, both taken last evening. Everything is trimmed out and we really like the cove crown and undercabinet trim detail. In the closeup pic, the BM twilight gold is on the wall above the window. We're going to the granite fabricator tomorrow. About the suggestion for a suede finish on a dark brown granite (brown antique, imperial brown), how is a sueded finish for maintenance and cleanup?
January 4, 2013 at 4:43am     
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Rio Brewster
Gorgeous! Any ideas on your backsplash? ;^)

Consider having the fabricator price out a full height granite backsplash for you. If the granite has a more subtle pattern it will be very elegant, especially with under-counter lights.

The sueded finish is just a matte finish on the same material - even more durable because you don't have to worry about etching (which usually isn't an issue with granite anyway).

A flamed finish isn't as smooth - there's a texture to it - but still nothing that isn't paper towel wipe-able.

So the greens are definitely out? They are much prettier in person, and generally on the less expensive side.
January 4, 2013 at 5:04am   
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Chroma Design
It's coming along beatuifully. The wall color looks great.
I just visited a client whose kitchen I did 5 years ago. The granite was honed. It looks great and they are an active family with 3 young children and they cook a lot.
Here is a link to guidlines for honed granite maintance. The first paragraph has a lot of caveats but don't let that dissuade you, most of it is manufacturer CYA. Cover your.... The sealer that is applied by the fabrication company is excellent. The family I mentioned has never had a sealer reapplied, they just mineral oil annually.
http://www.rocktopsfabrication.com/docs/granite_care.pdf
January 4, 2013 at 5:41am   
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Bob, I keep saying this but I can't help myself--your kitchen is fabulous. Please do tell--who designed it and who built it? I think they deserve credit and huge kudos from all of us. Any interior designer would be thrilled to have this one in their portfolio.

With this sort of vision and high level of taste in evidence, I have no doubt that you'll make the right decision on granite (that is, the choice that's right for you personally). Thanks for posting the new photos.
January 4, 2013 at 5:42am     
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beeton2137
Never do honed(suede) granite . Every time a designer has insisted that is what the client wants we have ripped out the counters a year or two later, because of stains, smells, that the homeowners are no longer happy with. Lots of wasted money.
January 4, 2013 at 6:00am   
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
beeton2137, what is your background? Just curious about your statement. You say this has happened "every time"--how many times is that? Your comment is rather alarming and contradicts the experience of many of us.
January 4, 2013 at 6:03am   
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Stoneshop
I am curious as well, beeton2137.

We fabricate and install honed granite pretty regularly, and we have never experienced these problems personally. In fact, we almost always hone our marble materials to prevent etching.

Your kitchen is beautiful, Bob Swanson! Thanks for keeping us updated!
January 4, 2013 at 6:08am   
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beeton2137
Was an installer for 7 yrs , now templating countertops for 14 yrs. Age took a toll , so now do the cad drawings for fabrication.
Over 10 that I can remember . Designers push for this look, but I do not know of one that has lived with them for any length of time. Honed granite is impractical.
I always say, if that is the look you are going for , poured concrete is a better choice.
January 4, 2013 at 6:10am   
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fabia
In referance to the honed product. it is not impractical, actually the granites I have been specifying come sealed. Granite has changed over the last 7 yrs. Yes granite was a vulnerable product, and yes I warned about some colours that were more sensitive to stains. having said that , The new products on the market are terrific. I never run into any problems now, it's all about educating your client. And yourself.

Designers specify materials based upon many qualifications. Their clients, needs, wants and expectations. Time constraints, budget peramiters. Life expectations. Family and site situations. They use their many years of education, experiance and research.

I see your suggestion about concrete. This product has a very narrow client base. In 18 yrs, I have specified twice. I really don't like it. So there we have it.
January 4, 2013 at 7:04am   
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fabia
So Mr. Swanson, lovely kitchen. Be happy I am sure great food is about to be served!
January 4, 2013 at 7:06am   
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Bob Swanson
Rio Brewster, yes the greens are out, but what is the granite color on the bottom of the three you posted? It appears to be more brown. Thanks!
January 5, 2013 at 6:19am   
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feeny
For your Arts and Crafts inflected kitchen, and those beautiful quarter sawn oak cabinets, I would choose either a honed granite or a soapstone counter and a backsplash in a matte finish tile or natural stone. Some Craftsman-inspired kitchens:
Craftsman Inspired Kitchen
Amish Custom Kitchens - Traditional
Craftsman Kitchen
Laurelhurst Kitchen
January 5, 2013 at 6:29am     
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Stoneshop
The bottom color looks as if it could be Tan Brown (also known as Cranberry Brown).

If you are looking for a brown stone, Coffee Brown & Imperial Coffee (also known as Imperial Brown) are nice choices, too. They are both pretty solid stones without much variation. http://ohmintl.com/live-inventory/all-locations?link_id=114&link_name=COFFEEBROWN&task=viewslabs http://ohmintl.com/live-inventory/all-locations/imperial-brown
January 5, 2013 at 6:30am   
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Rio Brewster
no it was actually ubatuba.
January 5, 2013 at 12:13pm     
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Bob Swanson
Thanks to all for their ideas and insight! Yesterday we made another visit to the warehouse. It's now official, our selection is brown pearl granite. We picked out our slabs for our kitchen, and we liked the slight surface texture of the polished slabs. I will post pics after installation and may be asking for advice on tile backsplash. Again, thanks! Your advice and comments helped us decide what was right for us and our kitchen!
January 6, 2013 at 5:32am     
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Bob Swanson
The brown pearl granite has been installed, and we really like it. The installers did a great job. We decided to go with a 3" granite backsplash. We're now starting to think about tile to go between the granite backsplash and the upper cabinets. Would appreciate your thoughts and ideas. Thanks again!
January 23, 2013 at 8:19pm     
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Stoneshop
It looks so beautiful! You made a great selection.

For your backsplash, I would pick something neutral and timeless to go with the classic design of your kitchen. I would also stick with a natural stone backsplash to add a little bit of texture to the space. How about a tumbled or honed marble or travertine? Perhaps a Durango.

[houzz=Cranbury Design Center]
[houzz=Jennifer Brouwer Design Inc]
January 24, 2013 at 8:30am   
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Bob Swanson
Stoneshop, thanks for the suggestions. What do you think of using 2x2 bronze inserts with the stone?
January 26, 2013 at 6:56am   
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Stoneshop
I love that idea! It will really tie the backsplash back to your countertops nicely. Even if you do not do it throughout, sometimes just using the decorative inserts above the stove area looks great. We have actually done that in a kitchen display right here in our showroom!
January 26, 2013 at 7:47am   
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Rustica Hardware
You might want to try a butcher block counter top. They look great and are very functional. http://chopbloccuttingboards.com/butcher-block-countertops/
January 28, 2013 at 4:12pm   
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