White Kashmir, Green Onion, New Caledonia, Imperial Cafe, Blue Eyes, White Swan...
and that's just off the top of my head. I've learned a lot about granite over the past few months. I didn't realize before we started on this house that we live right in the middle of granite-land. Wholesalers, importers, manufacturers, installers. Every time I drive around that area I see another stone place I hadn't noticed before.
I finally decided what I want for our kitchen counter: 'Desert eyes' from Iran. Or, as it was labelled in one store, 'Dessert eyes'. Lemon merangue or chocolate mousse?
It's a medium grey, not much movement, with flecks of iridescent sparkly bits. I've learned that anything with the words "Blue", "Pearl" or "Eyes" in the name is bound to be pricier, they refer to those wonderful iridescent flecks.
I took Kim to a wholesaler with a huge selection of granite and made the mistake of taking him past some of the showier ones before we got to my choice. It's truly amazing what nature creates. Some of them you just want to hang on your wall as art. When we got to the one I'd chosen for our kitchen Kim took one look and said "it's too bland." It took a few weeks but I finally convinced him a nice neutral grey would be the best. Some of the granites that look fabulous in the showroom could verge on tacky in your kitchen.
I spent last weekend taking my kitchen plan around Richmond getting quotes for our kitchen counters. We have such a large island, 10' x 4', that only one could supply us with a slab of 'Desert Eyes' big enough to top the island without a seam. Fortunately it was also the one with the best price overall.
We decided that we better put a deposit on that big slab before it sold so Kim & I went to write a big cheque. Funny thing happened though - We went outside where the granite slabs are lined up in rows to take another look at our Desert Eyes. We were double-checking the lenghth (122", phew) when Kim turned around, looked at the slab beside ours and said: "but I like that one better."
Bianco Antico, from Brazil. Much lighter that I had planned on but admittedly more interesting, with more 'movement' (a granite term), flecks of sparkly greenish gold and bits of a reddish colour that will look great with the cherry cabs. They have 2 slabs that are 124" long, more than large enough for our island. Figures, though that it is one of the most expensive granites. I choked a bit at the re-quoted price, even though we're buying direct from the manufacturer and getting a contractor's price.
I had to put it into perspective by going to Home Depot for one more quote. They carry a similar granite so we got a perfect comparison. I was expecting the HD quote to be higher but was surprised when it was just a little less than DOUBLE. Made me feel a little better about what we're spending on our counters.
We may be spending a few hundred more for our latest favourite but we're saving THOUSANDS by not buying it at Home Depot. How's that for justification?