Skip to main content
Hardwood FloorsRenovating my Housewhite kitchens

Spectrum Stone and Maria’s New Countertops

By 08/14/2012July 26th, 201769 Comments

Did you know that you can’t measure for countertops until after your cabinets are installed? Well, that’s why it took an extra few weeks of camping outside when we first moved into our new house.

Felix (the owner) & Vincent (sales)

Then measurement day came, yay! One of the reasons I used Spectrum Stone to do the finishing was because they came highly recommended by my kitchen designer Jan Romanuk who works with them in all the high-end kitchens she installs in West Vancouver and second, they were installed a little over a week afterwards.

Spectrum Stone will fabricate any quartz or granite or marble countertop for anywhere you need it in your home.

Felix, Maria & Vincent

Here they are, loading my Franke Sink into the trunk to get the measurements just perfect!

I chose Caesarstone 6600 Nougat because it’s white but not solid (a solid white would have been too contemporary for my kitchen) and my idea of a dream kitchen has always been to have a white-on-white kitchen.

I think angels can be found in white kitchens.

Anyone who has ever hired me to discuss countertops–those of you reading this post know–doesn’t matter where you started and what you were considering, well the conversation always came back around to 6600. And lets face it, there’s not a million options with hard finishes, so even though you might be saying ‘Maria, you have no imagination’, what I have found with finishes, especially kitchens, the more interesting you think you have to be, the quicker you move into finishes that just might make your heart sink when you watch them get installed.

When I hear my clients say things like “But I don’t want to have a kitchen that looks like everyone else’s”, that’s when I pull out all my stories from past experience to lead you around to: White. White. and more White, haha.

White cabinets, white countertops, white backsplash tile, basically equals, any colour goes (except murky earth tones) and I love not being bossed around by granite or coloured tile (which is why I took my wood floors through the kitchen as well).

Here is my sink being installed. Note to you the homeowner, let the appliance installer glue in the sink, it’s kinda hard to install the faucet AFTER the sink has already been glued into place.

Here’s the other beautiful thing about quartz.


See this seam (above) it’s basically invisible (now) because Caesarstone provides glue that is the exact colour. I have spoken to many clients that are so unhappy with how their granite looks after the countertops are joined together. It’s okay if your granite is consistent but when it’s veiny, it will simply never match.

One client was so cranky about the blotchy effect she ended up with when her granite countertops were joined together that she has an appliance sitting there to cover it.

If you already have a tile floor with more than 2 colours in it? Go with a solid quartz countertop instead of granite, it will simply give you a cleaner, more coordinated look than granite will.

 Here’s my island! It takes three men to lift this slab!

Here’s what my kitchen looked like before (with the uppers already taken out).

And here’s the after with all my appliances installed (that post will be a later date, I have feedback for you on what I bought and what I think now).

Love my Franke faucet! You’ll see a close up after my water filter gets installed too!

 View towards the dining room.

After: Wall Colour Rice Paper from Cloverdale Paint, Cabinet Colour Artisan White with Cloverdale.

My knobs and pulls can be found here

See how the skinny cabinet on the top has a knob instead of a pull? If your drawers are too skinny to accommodate a pull, use knobs instead. Most kitchens, except perhaps the most contemporary ones, look better with a combination of knobs and pulls.

I know it’s still a sneak peak but I need window coverings next before I can show you the other side of my kitchen with my upper shelving and subway tile!

Are you following me on Facebook? We are on Day 17 of my 37 Days of Learning Undertones Series. I noticed there are much fewer likes on the photos where I’m showing anything but grays, what’s up with that?

My Toronto course in October is filling up! Will you join us this fall? Time to become a True Colour Expert.

Related posts:

Is Quartz Sexier than Granite?

The Dangerous Side of Creativity

Which Pulls/Knobs Should you Use for your White Cabinets?



8 pins


  • Debbie says:

    Very nice kitchen, I like your selections especially the white countertop. I love Carrera, but we really cook a lot and I would not be happy with the stains on marble so your quartz option is a great alternative.
    I would really like to know where you got the pink and orange top you are wearing in the above photo.

  • StagerLinda says:

    Your kitchen is gorgeous! Perfectly perfect. Can’t wait to see the final reveal.

  • Amanda says:

    Love the Caesarstone, Maria! It is the perfect combination of texture and warmth. It looks amazing. What a perfectly beautiful kitchen! Can’t wait to see the space fully completed!

  • Donna Frasca says:

    Quartz is hands down better than granite for so many reasons. LOVE quartz – and your top Maria 🙂

  • Angela N says:

    I currently have bust granite but am going the corian (lava rock in the kitchen and seashell in the bathsw/ creamy white cabinets) route in our new house. Can’t wait to not have granite!!

  • Eleanor says:

    Nougat is truly one of the best Caesarstone colours! It just works so well in so many instances, here included. Your kitchen looks lovely, can’t wait for the big reveal!

  • Looks beautiful maria. Love seeing your transformations.

  • Bonnie says:

    You are so right about granite. My cousin installed it in her kitchen makeover with a busy wall tile and another busy floor tile – all – beautiful – but they don’t “work”. Your kitchen is much more serene. And you could update it really fast with colour and fabric. My cousin is stuck I think with her colour palette.

  • Debbiecz says:

    This post is a keeper for my “some day when the kitchen gets re-done” file. Note about granite countertops. A friend currently going thru Reno was inches away from using 1 or 2 slabs (big bucks for two). The fabricator met her at the warehouse and they did mock ups on the slab using masking tape. He showed her how to”hide” some areas. Result: one slab…big savings. Love me a Francke too!

  • Jackie Toye says:

    Oh my … *clutches-pearls*
    I love love love the creamy dreamy white and the view to the entry area from the island. I keep seeing that antique buffet and I love your choice of white on it. Beautiful

    Staying Tuned!

  • Beth says:

    I love quartz counters, and if I did it all again, that’s what I’d choose.

    Re granite seams – the homeowner can have input as to where they go, and even where the granite is cut and what piece goes where.

    When we remodeled 8 years ago, the kitchen designer sent us to the fabricator to mark the slabs. That allowed us to i.d. where to cut a piece for the island so a neat area would show. We have a large, L-shaped counter, a seam that’s well hidden, and more than one pigment was mixed with the adhesive glue to hide the seam even more. But I wish I had quartz, maybe honed.

  • Mary says:

    Maria, you sure know to create happy!

  • Great lesson, Maria. We in the midst of choosing floor tile for our kitchen – it’s overwhelming all the choices. Trying to keep it as simple as possible without too many colours. But it’s hard to find something very muted.

  • Susan@Susan Silverman Designs says:

    I always try to recommend quartz over granite to my clients and I usually succeed. Just did a tiny powder room for a client using only a quartz counter with an apron front in organic white…..gorgeous.

  • Mel Pergo says:

    Love it all, Maria. We are planning our kitchen & definitely going with white. I am stuck on the floor though. It is a galley kitchen off our dining room (not an open floor plan). The dining room floor that goes up to the kitchen door is wood parquet so I don’t think regular hardwood in the kitchen would go. I was thinking some sort of slate or maybe a grey/white or black/ white linoleum checkerboard? Any advice?

    • Paula Van Hoogen says:

      I just have to comment here…Hi Mel, what ever tint stain your parquet is, I would caution you to be REALLY sensitive to blend the kitchen floor with that.
      Whether it’s tile or cork (my personal fave for kitchens), MAKE SURE it flows from the parquet.
      You’ll be glad you did. It all relates. Life and floors are connected. Happy choosing!

  • Cherie says:

    Well, here I go again. : ) I love our granite countertops. They give me joy when I walk into the kitchen. We chose a granite we loved and we were able to look at the slabs ahead of time and discuss the cuts. There are no seams. I still say, there are many gorgeous choices in countertops today–all types of natural and manufactured surfaces. Granite is still a beautiful choice. If I were an interior designer, I would present ALL the beautiful choices to clients, and not degrade something as lovely as granite.

    • Maria Killam says:

      HI Cherie,
      You are absolutely right. It’s a personal choice for sure, I am biased because I have spoken to hundreds of clients that are unhappy with their granite countertops so that’s where my comments about granite come from.

      • Maria Killam says:

        It’s also the reason why I would never install granite countertops to ‘sell’ my house. Choosing a colour and pattern of granite is so personal it’s like choosing someones sofa for them in advance and making the assumption that they will love it just because it’s very expensive.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you, Cherie, for your comments! I’m reading this blog and experiencing some hurt feelings, like maybe my husband and I don’t have “good taste” because we chose granite. In the beginning of our planning we intended to select quartz, because we didn’t want a bold pattern, but when we toured a large showroom full of all kinds of countertop material, we fell in love with a piece of granite. We drove back the next day to be sure, and we were certain. It’s not a busy pattern and we are working very closely with our fabricator, whom we trust and who will guide us in laying out the cuts. We are going with a very plain backsplash so as not to compete with the minimal pattern of the granite and we can’t wait for the installation. We chose granite because we loved our slab. It’s as plain as that. It’s not for “resale value” or any other reason. When our countertop is installed and I walk into my kitchen that first morning I’ll think of Cherie and Louise. Apparently, we have the same “good taste”. Maria, your kitchen is absolutely beautiful and I hope you are going to love it as much as I will love mine.

  • Joann says:

    Maria, love your new kitchen. Started my kitchen way before you so I can’t believe you’re almost finished (my drywall still isn’t all in!). Anyways, I was wondering if you have suggestions for BM or SW colors that are the equivalent of the Cloverdale paint colors you used for your kitchen cabs and wall?

    • Jennifer says:

      Maria, I was wondering the same thing. Any idea what your cabinet color equivalent would be in BM or SW? Thanks!

  • Louise says:

    Love your kitchen Maria – lovely, even though it’s not my style. We installed granite 2 years ago and even today I am still in awe of the “look” (I wanted stunning and that’s what I got with dark brown cabinets, brown/black granite countertops and a lighter coloured backsplash). The seam is very well done and nearly invisible so I must have had very good installers. I realized from the outset that with the busy-ness of most granite, the backsplash must take a backseat and be done in a neutral and complementary colour. Love seeing all the wonderful transitions your going through, especially with your kitchen.

  • Kimberley says:

    I have the exact same quartz in my new kitchen and I LOVE IT!

  • Kay says:

    I will echo what a few others have said about managing the outcome of a stone counter top installation. For my clients that insist on granite or marble, I always meet with the fabricator to map out how the pattern can be used to best advantage for the layout of the counter tops, especially to avoid any “flaws” in the stone. If I’m at all concerned, this happens before the purchase of the slabs, to ensure the best results for my client.

    • Maria Killam says:

      HI Kay, Thanks everyone for your notes about the seams, I have seen so many badly done seems that I just came to the conclusion on my own that there’s no way to manage it.
      thanks for your comment,

  • OH wow … I’m in love with your kitchen! Can I please steal it and put it in my house! LOVE it!

    Can’t wait to see the rest.

  • Angela Taylor says:


  • Iris Bieri says:

    Beautiful work! I’m not necessarily a fan of white kitchens but I’m rapidly becoming one, watching what you are doing with yours. I love that you carried the wood floors through into the kitchen. It adds a beautiful, warm touch and must feel lovely on your feet.

  • Emily Clark says:

    Is there a Silestone color that is as lovely as the Nougat color in Caesarstone? My counters are extra wide and I’ll need 2 slabs of Caesarstone, but only 1 slab of the larger Silestone slab. Any other thoughts on Silestone?

    Love your kitchen Maria. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Brenda says:

    Love it! I have quartz in my cottage and I love it. It is so easy to clean, doesn’t require sealing and does not stain. One question I have about white on white though… if the kitchen is open to the living room (great room concept), is having white on white too casual? And would the cabinetry in the living room portion need to also be white to keep things consistent? This is one area I have been struggling with in my current home…

  • Becky says:

    Love the cabinets and the countertops. What brand are the cabinets?

  • pf allen says:

    The people who complained about seams in their granite did not have a proper installer. If you choose your piece of granite they cut out of the large piece for the sink stove etc. However, it takes a big pc of granite and there is a lot of waste. But, the kitchen has to be planned in accordance with this in mind.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Maria, I see exactly what you’re saying about keeping things white & simple. Here’s why— (I think)… the time you add small appliances, food, implements,
    noise, activity of cooking, people and all of their colors,
    outfits, voices and such, aromas, sticky messes, kids,
    drips, and on and on….a clean BACKDROP is such a blessing. Take it from one married to a wonderful, but messy Italian chef!!! I’m the salad/clean-up gal 🙂

  • I LOVE white kitchens too! And the previous owners of our house did paint the cabinets white, for which I am very grateful! However they used all the same pulls. They looks great on some of the doors/drawers but I wish they would have mixed it up a’s just too matchy-matchy. I will eventually change some out…when I’m ready to fill the holes and repaint the entire cabinets…which is going to be a ways from now 😉

  • Sophie says:

    Maria, can you do a post on Orange-beige undertones? I have O-B tile and cabinets and can’t find much info on what to do with this undertone. Thank you!

  • Anne Tricot says:

    Congrats to Maria! Fantastic work! Loving ALL of it!

  • TracyB says:

    I never thought I’d like quartz countertops, but you may have a new convert! It’s beautiful. I’m in the process of refacing our kitchen. We have those awful 80’s oak cabinets. Several years ago we put in verde butterfly granite (green, like uba tuba, but with bigger mica shards) thinking that would help update the space….long story, short….it didn’t!!! I sure wish I’d known about your blog back then! Anyway, I’m going with a white or creamy white painted doors/fronts. We have oak floors and the walls are a french blue. Two (maybe 3!) questions….Can you recommend a white color that will go nicely with oak floors? What is your opinion on glazing the cabinets? Also, do you skype? Perhaps we could do a design consult via the internet. Thanks!

  • Sarah says:

    Looks great Maria – just love the counters and the cabinet hardware!!

  • This is classic and fresh. I have always had dark cabinets but am going the all white route in my next home. We painted our current kitchen an antique white because it was best for the home. My almost white does not count! Lovely. Julie at Simply Savvy

  • Gretchen says:

    Love it all!

  • Your kitchen turned out beautiful Maria!

    Re the debate on quartz verses granite though I have seen some beautiful examples of the latter, to me quartz products win hands-down for a number of reasons. For myself when choosing a product I personally consider maintenance plus durability when it is a ‘built-in’. Also in this case I feel a manufactured product can alwlays be added on to (matched up) if the need should arise and as there as there is no waste it is good for the environment.

    In summary though, I guess it comes down ‘to each their own’. -Brenda-

    P.S: Whether it is fact or fiction, I have also read many of the natural stones (ie: Marble and Granite to name two) are now actually coming from China, so one may not necessarily be getting the quality they think they are. In fact it has been reported, many of the European quarries are shutting down and some North American ones are experiencing heavy competition because of it.

  • Sara says:

    I cannot wait to read all of the colors and brands (makes/models) listed out. I SO want THIS kitchen someday. This will definitely be bookmarked.

  • Brenda Thomson says:

    Wow, this debate is getting a lot of response. Maria helped me with my kitchen and it is amazing. A little on the modern side with maple painted BM Classis Gray cabinets and Caesarstone, Eggshell ( because of the warm grey fleck). It goes beautifully with my cabinets and my white backsplash. I chose a light Carmel, oak, modern island, very simple and sleek.
    To Sophie and Brenda: my kitchen and living area is all open and I have 12′ ceilings in the living room area with lots of windows. I am so glad I went white on white because my kitchen is large but because of the color it does not overtake the rest of the space. It still sings but provides harmony. I repeated the oak of my island on the fireplace in my living room and my sofa is a rich caramel leather(same tone as the woods) My light hardwood oak floors are throughout the whole space. I like to change things up a lot so quartz was the only way for me. I love it.
    Ps if you are looking at putting in lighter floors check out Dansk, white oak, wire brushed 6″ engineered hardwood “Seville”. I love it with the all white and it goes perfect this my island.

    • M says:

      Brenda. Sounds great. I’d love you see some pictures. Do you have them posted anywhere for public viewing? Thanks.

      Maria your kitchen is beautiful. White is my dream kitchen, but so far I’ve been too chicken to pull the trigger, afraid I won’t get the right white. Your website have been very helpful in that regard.

      I too have a kitchen that opens to the living area, with a pennisula similar to your original above except that’s where my sink is. I think of turning it like you did in your remodel, but fear of exposing more kitchen to the living area because I know it gets messy when cooking!

  • Susan says:

    Maria your kitchen looks great and I can’t wait to see the final “reveal.”

    I too love the look of quartz it adds to the look without being over powering. Granite is interesting but like you I feel it often looks busy and the tones limit the colour pallette.

    Over powering granite I believe could negatively impact the re-sale value of the property because it is expensive to replace and seems wasteful to pull out. My 2 cents worth. 🙂

  • Sue says:

    I’ve used the same light green granite with a very small tight pattern of speckles (“Italia Verde”) in two kitchens over 15 years and love it. (Mom also installed it and loves it.) There is no real movement to the pattern so it reads as a solid. A top installer can place seams so they disappear. As its the back splash and goes to the ceiling behind the cooktop, 3 slabs were needed. With such a tight grain, the seams are invisible. Granite can be timeless if chosen carefully and installed properly.

  • DM says:

    Love the new counters! The white really makes the place pop!

  • Fabienne says:

    Beautiful! I love your white stools. Could you share where I could purchase them? Thanks!

  • Marlo says:

    It’s beautiful and what I’d love for my kitchen…white on white using quartz.

    By the way, I love the maidenhair fern on your island – so delicate and pretty.

  • Marci says:

    Love the kitchen… Very similar inlay out to a design I am working on for my own kitchen. I noticed the fridge next to the ovens. Does the heat from the oven cause the fridge to work harder to maintain its temperature?

  • Kim says:

    I love Your kitchen! We are in the process of completely remodeling a home. We just completed the kitchen design. My plan for the kitchen has all along been to do a white cab/black countertop look with chrome hardware for bling:). Well, your kitchen has me doubting the black countertop choice…the nougat is beautiful! Do you happen to have the SW equivalent to the Artisan white? Also, would that be a good choice with SW 6211 rainwashed for my wall color? I was considering SW Dover White or SW Downy.

  • Carrie says:

    Hi Maria,

    Your kitchen is coming together nicely! You must be excited for it to be finished!!

    I have a which came first question: Does your flooring go from wall to wall with the base cabinets on top or does it just go to the kick board of the cabinets?

  • Mo says:

    Beautiful kitchen, just one question, if you were inclined to paint your walls a grey/blue, which would you choose? Thanks

  • Christine Thompson says:


    I love your white kitchen! Can you tell me about your flooring?


  • Joanna says:

    I need help! My kitchen has whitewahsed maple cabinets that I love. We installed oil rubbed bronze cup pulls and knobs on them recently and are now looking to change the GREEN (came with the house) laminate countertops. Our flooring is red oak hardwood and we have stainless appliances. I am so torn on countertops. I know that I don’t want granite but can’t decide between quartz and butcher block. I know butcher block is not the most poplular option, but I love it, I’m just not sure if it would look ok with my current oak floors. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  • Sandy Huntsberger says:

    Maria, I LOVE your blog and your undertone e-book has been a tremendous help to me! I think I’ve read every single archived blog post about the quartz countertops and am sold! Hey, I think I’ve literally read every single blog posts on your blog and I’ve not seen any info on the thickness of the quartz. I would love to know what thickness of the quartz is best for kitchen applications. Should you choose the thickness according to the look you want or is there a fabrication issue with using the 2cm?

    • Maria Killam says:

      I would go with a minimum of 3 cm (that’s what mine are but I would have liked them to be even thicker really). 2 cm just looks cheap. Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • “If you already have a tile floor with more than 2 colours in it? Go with a solid quartz countertop instead of granite, it will simply give you a cleaner, more coordinated look than granite will.”

    So do you consider Nougat to be a “solid” quartz (I think it sort of reads as a solid, anyway)? I definitely have more than two colors in my floor tile and definitely want a quartz countertop. Nougat is one of the main contenders, but I wonder if I’m safe to use that give the floor tile implications. Like you, I feel that a truly solid quartz will be too contemporary for my house. I will be using a 1×1 inch mother-of-pearl backsplash that looks amazing with Nougat but I also worry about a busy-ness issue there. Thoughts?

  • Jeannine says:

    Caesarstone in the USA just introduced some new colors and I was wondering if you have any experience with them already in Canada. I see they have a couple new marble lookalikes, London Gray and Frosty Carrina. There is also a new addition to their shaded whites called Ocean Foam. Have you seen any of these colors in action yet?

    • Maria Killam says:

      HI Jeannine, I haven’t but it’s easy enough to see finished kitchens with them on-line. Maria

  • Liz O says:

    No access to Cloverdale paints (rice paper color) so can you recommend a similar color that I can get in the states (Ben Moore, Sherin wil, etc)
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply