Sunday, July 20, 2014


The Kitchen Countertop Series - 1

If you've been reading the adventures of the Little White House for a while, you know that every single choice in the kitchen remodel has been thought thoroughly. But no choice has been as hard as the countertop one. 

Si vous suivez depuis quelques temps les aventures de mon petit Cottage, vous savez que j'ai réfléchi longuement à chaque aspect de la rénovation de ma cuisine. Mais aucun choix n'a été aussi difficile que celui du plan de travail.

I hesitated for a while before writing this series because I didn't really know how to present things. But as many readers tell me that what they like about my blog is how down-to-earth it is, I figured I'd just try to explain everything that went into my head while making that choice.

J'ai longtemps hésité avant d'écrire cette série parce que je ne savais pas trop comment présenter les choses. Mais beaucoup de mes lecteurs me disent apprécier que mon blog soit celui d'une rénovation réelle, loin des images parfaites des magazines. Je vais donc juste vous expliquer comment j'ai fait mon choix.

As I'm a modern girl (though without facebook or tweeter), I first browse the Internet to see the options I had. I made up my mind very quickly, which is unsual for me (you know there's going to be a "but" at some point, don't you?)

Comme je suis une fille moderne (sans facebook ni tweeter tout de même), j'ai d'abord effectué un tour sur Internet pour voir quelles étaient mes options. Je me suis décidée très vite pour une fois (vous vous doutez bien qu'il va y avoir un "mais", non?)

I wanted a quartz countertop. It looked amazing on the pictures I found and was easy to clean. It was perfect in every way... until I got the quote for it. The quote was about three months of my salary... Not so perfect.

Je voulais un plan de travail en quartz: les coloris possibles étaient superbes et c'était facile à nettoyer. C'était parfait en tout point... jusqu'à ce que je reçoive le devis: trois mois de mon salaire juste pour le plan de travail de mes rêves. 

So off the Internet I went again. Every blogger seemed to write that marble was rather cheap compared to quartz. I love marble. I know it is said to be difficult to take care of, but I've used an old marble table in my "under renovation" kitchen, not taking really good care of it and really it was ok. I was thrilled with the idea of  a marble countertop and asked for a quote. Cheaper? Yes, it was... Two and half months of my salary! Maybe it was worth it?

Je suis retournée sur Internet et j'ai découvert que, d'après les blogueurs, un matériau que j'adore n'est pas si cher que ça: le marbre. Vite, je rappelle le cuisiniste pour qu'il me refasse un devis. Je n'étais pas inquiète de l'entretien: j'ai utilisé une table en marbre dans ma cuisine depuis mon tout premier studio parisien. Mais en recevant le devis, j'ai compris que les blogs de déco et moi ne jouions pas dans la même catégorie. Moins cher? Oui, deux mois et demi de salaire seulement... Est-ce que cela valait le coup pour avoir un superbe plan de travail?

An other option that looked very cottage-y and cheaper is wood. Many of my readers suggested it. I love the look so much that I had wood countertop in my kitchen in my apartment in Paris suburbia. Other bloggers say it's easy to tend to... I don't think so. It's not a nightmare or anything, but you need to wipe things quickly. This is not the way I live. Very often, I just put my morning cup of tea on the counter, rushing for school and I only discover in the evening when I clear the kitchen that it made a stain...

Le plan de travail en bois fait très cottage et là, j'étais sûre que cela ne coutait pas les yeux de la tête puisque c'est le choix que j'avais fait dans ma précédente cuisine dans mon appartement de la région parisienne. Mais même si tout Internet prétend que c'est facile d'entretien, je sais d'expérience que cela demande tout de même un peu de travail.

The designer suggested that laminate countertops can be lovely and of course they are the cheapest option. But I'd seen countless kitchen remodel on blogland, each with amazing countertops, there was no way I was going for laminate. Or was there?

Le cuisiniste m'affirmait que l'on fait de nos jours des plans de travail en stratifié très jolis pour un prix très raisonnable. Mais j'avais vu plein de rénovations de cuisines sur la blogosphère, toutes avec des plans de travail superbes. Il était hors de question que cela ne soit pas mon cas... n'est-ce pas?

I kept changing my mind every single morning and was completely lost.

Je changeais d'avis tous les matins et j'étais complètement perdue.

So I did what I always do in that kind of situation. I poured myself a cup of tea and had a nice chat with Cottage. 

J'ai donc fait ce que je fais toujours dans ce genre de situation.  Je me suis versé une tasse de thé et j'ai eu une grande conversation avec Cottage.

I'll tell you all about what we said in my next post!

Je vous raconte tout ce que l'on s'est dit la prochaine fois!

See you soon,

A bientôt,

PS1: A huge thank you to my mom whom I called every single evening to tell her what my new decision about the countertops was, only to change my mind the next day!

Un grand merci à ma maman que j'appelais tous les soirs pour lui dire quelle décision j'avais prise à propos du plan de travail, uniquement pour changer d'avis le lendemain!

PS2: If you're new here, you might want to check The Kitchen Files page to see everything that's been going on in my little Cottage's kitchen.

PS3: All the sources for the pictures and more countertop inspiration can be found on my Pinterest board "Kitchen Countertops" .

PS4: My countertops are partying there.


  1. I know how it is when remodeling and you have a very tight budget. Everything MUST be researched and researched. I know that you will come up with a lovely counter top that you will love. You have made some very wise decisions so far and the cottage will be so very lovely.
    Have a great visit with your parents.

  2. I just know whatever you choose I will love it ! I am also learning a lot from you about affordable & practical re-model, an education I will need in the4 next 2 or 3 years. Thank-you !

  3. Cottage has usually some helpful and sensible ides to discuss with you!

  4. Bein ça alors, au moment où j'allais suite au prochain numéro, j'en suis toute dépitée.
    J'adore ta façon de raconter les choses comme dans le temps les feuilletons radio, juste un peu de suspens pour amorcer le prochain épisode.
    J'attendrai donc ton prochain billet.
    Bisous bisous. Babette

  5. Ah, oui, le plan de travail... je m'en souviens... et les poignées aussi... et la crédence... et les portes vitrées... et je ne parle pas de la peinture de la porte qui fera certainement l'objet d'un article ! En tout cas chapeau, je n'aurais pas ton courage !

  6. I am still taking notes for my kitchen redo. We have decided to wait until fall when it is cooler. (Though I seriously doubt we can complete all the projects we are saving for cooler weather!) I am leaning towards laminate.) If I can find a soft matte black like is currently on there. I love your talks with the cottage - it seems to be both old and wise!

  7. Magali, as you know we're building a new home, so I have countless decisions to make. Choosing the counter top material is one of the hardest for me, too. I can't justify the cost of granite or marble, and frankly I'd rather go with a great looking laminate and have money left in my budget for hardwood floors. It's just that much more important to me to get the flooring right. Laminate is an easy and inexpensive change if I ever get tired of it. But flooring? That's a whole other affair. It's been so fun and inspiring to walk your kitchen remodeling path with you. I feel we're kindred spirits. I so very much look forward to reading what you finally decided on your counter top. Hugs ~ Nancy

    1. You're right, we do think alike... I'll be writing down that conversation with Cottage during the week ;)

  8. I loved our conversation with the cottage... I will be looking forward to seeing the result!

    1. Thank you! Cottage gives good advice to the one who listen...

    2. You are so right!
      Thank you so much for your visit and most kind words.. I am so happy you enjoyed Bebe's adventure in Tuscany..

  9. In our kitchen remodel I went with laminate for two reasons, 1) cost; 2) because of low cost I can change it out in years ahead, for a new look. I am ones who likes to be able to change thing out, and the this was the best option for us. Laminate has come a long way and I love the look of ours, it look like stone.

  10. Ahhh we have to wait to find out! It really is best to choose what you are happiest with :)

    I guess tile is no longer an option. We have tile countertops in our 8 yr old cottage. We did not choose them but I love them! They are a stone tile in a sea green- grey color. They are not shiny but look like nature. They are so durable. I will never want to change them. But we are going to paint all the oak cabinets Sharkey Grey by Martha Stewart. And yes I will share it on my blog. xx

  11. What a tease!! With the looks of your Pinterest Countertop page, I'm guessing you went ahead with marble. I am currently living your dilemma as well. I am in the middle of washing down all my cabinet doors (they have been removed hinges and all) and cabinet frames. Once I'm done, I will be ready to paint them . . . . . white . . . . . I think . . . . Can't wait to read what you picked. I'm a new follower :) -Bev

  12. I actually just pinned a kitchen with a white marble countertop a minute or so before I read your post - great minds think alike !
    I have a fake wood look laminate which isn't as bad as it sounds, but I dream of white marble.

  13. Magali, every decision you have made has been perfect. know this one will be too. Can't wait :)

  14. You are a tease, Magali! But that's what I love about your blog :) Looking forward to the reveal!

  15. Can't believe you left us hanging! Can't wait to see what you decided on. We're having the same discussion at the moment. What we'd really like is a ceramic worktop, but they're even more expensive than quartz !

    1. Oh, I love ceramic worktop, but they were really out of my budget.

  16. Dear Magali,
    I remember I loved the conversations you had with the cottage. Looking forward to your next post !
    Hope you had a wonderful weekend.
    Love & hugs from Izabella.

  17. I'm a little surprised to learn that marble is less expensive than quartz. I know there are a few different types of marble though so maybe I'm thinking of the more expensive one. I think if I were in the market for countertops it would be tough for me as well. I'm not a huge fan of granite although certain styles are more appealing than others. I've had siltstone and found it was easy to maintain but it doesn't have much movement to it and isn't very organic looking. Wood might be an option as well as marble, but I think in the end I might try to choose something different like crushed glass and maybe a combination of two different countertops.

    No matter what, it would be hard to choose so I can understand your going back and forth. Don't keep us in suspense for too long Magali!

  18. I thought, wait a minute, you showed the countertops in the reveal......I headed to your kitchen post thinking what a smarty pants I was. You totally tricked me. I can't tell what material you used but it looks beautiful, so I guess you're the smarty pants! I will be back.....

  19. You are such a rascal!!! Keeping us in suspense like this.

  20. I remember making this decision not that long ago. I cannot wait to see what you decided on!

  21. Decisions are always so hard to make when you know that you are going to have to live with them for a long time! I have faith that whatever you decide will be beautiful. I do love all your inspiration photos. I am looking forward to seeing the final decision! xo Karen

    1. Thank you Karen. It's sometimes hard when you've pinned wonderful pictures, to come back to reality!

  22. Ce que j'aime ce sont les plans de travail mats. Mais je dois dire que celui en quartz est très joli! quand c'est en bois je l'aime brut alors bonjour l'entretien hihi

  23. You are funny Magali! I do enjoy when the cottage gets involved.


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