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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Bathroom counter top dilemma

hwilliamsonFebruary 10, 2013
We are struggling to come up with a suitable work surface for our bathroom. It's in a little cottage and we have a simple white suite and the tiles are as the photo and we have white painted floor boards. What can we use for our counter top? We had thought white marble but it stains so easily. The counter top is about a foot above the wash hand basin so won't get splashed but will need to be moisture proof. It's about a foot deep and four feet long.
Thank you!
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I have unpolished gray marble on my bath vanity and it seems to be very stain resistant and durable. I prefer it to the shiny marble.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Hi bojaby - thanks for that. Is it more like slate or is it pale grey?
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:36AM
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Wow-- I love that bathroom. Beautiful, light and airy. I'd go with a grey as well. Since the floor is painted white, I'd probably go with a deeper gray. That would be really nice and offer a sort of grounding to the all the lightness. Really so nicely done, though. What is the tile you've used there?
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:40AM
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Hi dianahb - sorry I didn't mean to mislead - the photo is from the tile catalogue to give the gist of the colours. Interesting that you say deeper grey. I was worried it'd be too much contrast? Tiles are chic craquelle from tops tiles.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:59AM
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Ah-- I see. Well, since it sounds like everything is so light and bright and airy, I'd still go with a darker grey (rather than lighter grey, though that could work, too). Black would definitely be too much contrast and kind of jarring-- but a nice deeper grey would provide a grounding and a good balance, without being a stark contrast. I think warm deep greys can be very soothing, too. You could probably find a smooth rectified porcelain to do the job (and don't have to worry about the possible staining of a natural stone), though I like unpolished marble as well. If sealed properly, it should be fine. Depends on how it goes with the existing tile you have.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:17PM
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It is gray.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Thank you dianahb for your contributions. We found this bit of slate in a rec yard and love it's patina. Is this a suitable shade? The cottage is an old stone house built in 1793 so we're not going for a completely immaculate finish so not worried about the rustic aesthetic of the slate. We had discounted it before as I was worried it was too dark - what do you think?
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Well, first of all-- I am envious of your old 18th century stone house. :)

Secondly, I personally LOVE slate. I think a lot of people don't, because of the cleft in so much of it-- it seems a bit rustic, maybe, for them--and maybe a little harder to clean (because of the relative surface roughness). But I did put black slate on the floor of one of my bathrooms, and I really love it. I have a different (smoother) slate in my sunroom and the same, matching slate, on the front of my fireplace. So I'm a huge fan of slate. (Oh-- and my roof is slate!). Our house is also old, but very young in comparison to yours! ;)

So I think slate is a great option, especially, too, since you are not living in a modern house. This looks like it is not a black slate, but rather a sort of charcoal grey? I really think it would work well. It also depends, maybe, on the wall tile you chose. I think this would work- but you might want to ensure that the tile you got isn't real modern looking-- that might be the contrast you want to avoid (rather than color).

But I think this color would not only work, but suits the house, too.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:26PM
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I think the the charcoal slate would be a perfect surface with great color depth.. I havne't used slate on counters but love my slate floored mudroom and laundry room.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Well the tiles have a kind of country ripple across their surface but I've asked the tiler to joint them tightly so it keeps the contemporary aesthetic and they'll be laid brick format. The counter top is sitting in a big alcove that's going to have a full wall mirror behind it so the tile and slate wouldn't actually sit next to each other. I've attached a photo of the alcove to explain what I mean.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:44PM
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KPD Interiors
I would go with a quartz to continue the natural feel that you have created.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:49PM
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I see what you mean. Yes-- I think that would be fine and work really well. And, given the age of the house-- the slate itself (and that patina) will look like it's always been there-- part and parcel of the cottage itself- and you just built the bathroom around that existing wonderful slate. To my eye, that's a perfect choice.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Melinda Mandell
I think that a light to medium gray marble, or a light grey limestone would be great with the colors of the tile you have chosen! The key to avoid staining and etching is to have the material sealed really well upon installation, and then sealed again every 6months - year. With marble in a bathroom, you don't need to worry about staining like you would in a kitchen (water and toothpaste vs. spaghetti sauce and wine). Have it sealed and maintained (it's something easy enough you can do yourself, or hire a professional), and you will LOVE it! Best of luck to you!
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:05PM
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Let me just add that I have limestone in my kitchen. I remember when the tiler put it in (17 years ago), he said, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Since I was in love with the limestone, I wouldn't listen to a word he said. As he was cutting and laying the stone, he just shook his head and said, "Well, you'll learn to love it." ;)

I don't care what people tell you, or what you do with it, limestone is so porous. It will stain. It doesn't get a nice overall patina to it, either. It stains in ugly ways.. Probably better in a bathroom than in a kitchen, but still . . .

Fast forward 16 years, and I recently brought home a big piece of gorgeous gray limestone to put in a bathroom. Same tiler. He took one look at that limestone and said, "Have you not learned anything, in all these years, from putting in that limestone in the kitchen?" So I lived with the limestone, in the bathroom, for two weeks-- just that sample-- sitting there. I did nothing special with it-- I just lived my life. By the end of those two weeks, that one sample looked so filthy (and it had been sealed), I can't tell you.

Anyway . . . that's my limestone story, though I think the stuff is beautiful. I really do think the slate would be perfect, but a medium gray marble would look nice, too-- problem with marble, in my estimation, is that the veining of it might compete with the other tile you've chosen.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:24PM
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hi dianahb - thought you might like to see the end result of the slate bathroom counter top. thank you for your advice. i'm pleased with the result. there was a late evening sun when i took the photo so it's looking a bit more golden than in real life! you're right about the dark slate grounding it. it would have looked to wishy-washy otherwise. thank you.
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 2:19AM
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this is a better colour likeness!
1 Like    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 2:36AM
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hwilliamson: Thank you so much for sending this. Wow-- what a perfect bathroom. The slate really does look like it's meant to be there. I'm so glad that worked out for you. I love the way you have that late day golden light and then the early cooler light -- and it all still looks great. Such a perfect blending of everything. You did a beautiful job. (I also love what looks like a heated towel rack to the left? Not sure-- but it's a cool graphic placed in there, regardless.)

Anyway-- I love it. Thanks again for posting. And that view is pretty spectacular. :)
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 5:28AM
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