New Kitchen Part 7: Quartz Countertops & Cabinet Fronts

First, let me start by wishing my baby sister a happy birthday. Happy birthday, sister! It's been a tradition in years past for me to make some sort of special cake in October for the combined celebration of my sister and dad's birthdays. It was pretty lucky because the countertops were installed just in time for Mich's birthday so I was able to make a really delicious dessert. Whoo! I'll be sharing all of that this week.

Also, just an FYI, Ikea is in the middle of another kitchen sale right now (through December 1, 2013). If you've been dancing with the idea of redoing your kitchen, now is a great time! Otherwise, you can wait a bit longer and I'm sure they'll be having another sale soon.

So, you need to know how excited I was for these quartz countertops. I've never lived in a house or apartment with anything but laminate and I was over the moon about getting (manufactured) stone. To most of you, it's probably not a big deal but to me, it just feels so luxe and fancy.
I called Atlas Marble & Granite to schedule the templating as soon as the floors had been refinished. The girl who usually answers the phone is called Katie and she is really nice. She said that they are usually booked up at least a week out. I was calling on a Monday and she said the next available appointment wasn't going to be until next Wednesday [08/25/2013]. Luckily, I had (and still have) a bunch of PTO days at work so I decided to take a day off for the templating and the install each.

Katie let me know what we needed to have done before the templating could be in place:
  • All of our (base) cabinets installed and secured to the walls and/or floor;
  • all of the base cabinet doors needed to be in place;
  • the appliances needed to be in place (not necessarily installed); and
  • the sink we wanted to use needed to be on site.
First things first, we hadn't installed the island yet because of the floor refinishing so we did that. We took some measurements to decide the idea spot, built a platform, and then bolted the cabinet boxes in place. Then, we got started on assembling the drawers, shelves, and doors.
We also put in our corner cabinet lazy Susan and hooked up the gas line hose for our range.
Putting the doors on really made our kitchen start to look like an actual kitchen again. And installing the shelves made me really excited because right now, it looks like we have so much storage, like, maybe too much storage space. I suppose we'll see what happens when the time comes to actually unpack everything and put it away but right now, I'm really optimistic.
I also installed the cabinet pulls. They're from Home Depot. They're bronze and have a really nice weight to them. To find the right spot on the doors, I made a little template (just with some paper) and lined it up and marked the holes but for the drawers, I had to actually use an L-square and make sure they were centered and perfect. I used an electric drill (duh) to poke holes in the doors and then screwed in the pulls. Tada.
I'm weary of giving away too many details right now, because like I keep saying over and over, I'd love for the "finished kitchen" post to be glamorous and dramatic so even though we installed our glass doors and did a few fun things with the pull-out drawers, I am not going to share them just yet.

Instead, I will finally get to the main topic of this post: the countertop templating and installation process. I was given a 3 hour window in which Atlas would show up to measure and John (I think that's his name; it's either John or Tom), the templating guy, arrived in a timely manner. To start, he just looked around to make sure everything was ready for him (doors in place, appliances in place, sink in place) and took a few measurements to confirm that we wouldn't have any seams. We also discussed how much overhang we wanted for our island and the edging we chose.
By the way, I was being a loser and I was too shy to say, "Hey, I have a blog, mind if I take photos?" so instead, I acted like a creep and snapped a few shots when he wasn't looking. I would make an awesome private investigator and/or stalker.
Anyway, once he had a look around to make sure everything looked good, he went back out to his truck to grab a bunch of (what looked like balsa) wood, which he used to create the templates of our counter areas. I watched him set some pieces down and then check any nearby doors to make sure they would open (namely the pantry door and the cabinets next to the fridge). For shorter runs (2nd photo below), he used a single piece of wood to create the wall edge but for the longer runs (below), he used shorter pieces to account for any imperfections in the straightness of our walls. He attached the pieces using hot glue. I also confirmed to make sure he marked the notches necessary for setting the sink.
The whole process took about an hour and a half. I asked about turnaround time (7 to 10 business days) and was told that they would call me to schedule soon. However, I got impatient and phoned them just a few days later to find out if I could book a time in advance, since I have to give my office a bit of notice before taking time off. I was told the earliest day I could schedule was Thursday (which was about 11 business days from the day of our templating) so I set it up.

Just like with the templating, I was given a window of time during which someone would come to install (between 2pm and 4pm). At around 1:30, a truck pulled into my driveway. The guys just came in, set the pieces of quartz in place, dabbed a bit of silicon on one side only (just on the front portion of surface where the countertops touch the cabinet supports, if that makes sense) and that was it.

I'm so pleased with the way it looks. The color is 'buttermilk' by Caesarstone and I think it ties in our paint choices nicely while still being neutral and it looks clean but not overly sterile and brings some warmth to the kitchen. I could probably list a hundred reasons why I like it.

We did have a little problem with our island: it was too small because they cut it incorrectly. However, Atlas was great at fixing the problem for us. They had another piece cut and it was delivered and installed later in the evening. I appreciated that so much because I didn't want to have to take another day off of work to get this finished.

I don't have too many photos of the countertop to share just yet because things got pretty messy before I gave myself a chance to be a documenting freak. I was a bit too eager and I wanted to start loading things into all of the drawers so by the time I realized I should've taken more photos, there was piles of stuff all over the place. My bad. Patience is not always my forte.
If you're wondering why we chose quartz; there are a few reasons:
  • Quartz is the only stone option that Ikea offered (otherwise they have laminate and butcher block)
  • It's food proof so spilling vinegar won't etch or stain the surface.
  • It's non-porous so bacteria won't have little nooks and crannies in which to play.
  • It's easy to clean and heat resistant. Don't confuse "heat resistant" with "heat proof" though. Heat resistant means not readily damaged by heat. Heat proof means unaffected by heat. So, you should still use trivets.
  • It's extremely durable and it shouldn't crack or chip. That is one of the best features for a clutz like me.
  • And it's low maintenance. It doesn't require sealing or oiling.
Here's a close up of the buttermilk. I think it's so pretty. It's got a little movement without being overwhelming and it looks good with almost any color.
Yay! So now that the quartz is installed, the kitchen is so close to being done. All that's left is to tile the backsplash, install the faucet for the sink, and a few finishing touches. Oh, and of course, restocking the kitchen. Thanks for reading. Just a couple posts to go before the big reveal.



  1. I love your kitchen. It is really beautiful even if it is unfinished. But I really love to see it on its finish state. I hope you will post pictures of it soon.

    1. Hi Jelly,

      I have posted my finished kitchen here:

      We still have a few minor finishing touches but I think you can get the gist from these photos. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  3. As someone without a ton of "vision" I gotta say that I LOVED that they had full sized slabs of granite for you to look at rather than just the 1x1' squares you'll see at. It made it a lot easier to visualize what it would look like over an entire kitchen and you could see more details and features. Lynnwood Granite Companies

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