Carrara Gioia Quartz: Marble Alternative

Carrara Gioia Quartz

Carrara Gioia Quartz

Today I thought I could offer a few more details on my Quartz countertops, as they have become one of my most FAQ on the kitchen remodel! I totally understand why; trying to decide on countertops is a stressful experience.

Perhaps sharing our own decision making process will help alleviate your concerns or give you some new ideas, now or down the road!

Carrara Gioia Quartz Daltile - Kitchen Remodel

Early on in our design process, we considered all the possibilities for our countertops. Everything from wood (which we used in our English Tudor) to marble to quartz to concrete to a mix of materials.

Because our kitchen is bright and VERY sunny at certain times of the day, we ruled out wood since we worried it would potentially fade or crack as well as feel too dark for our space. Concrete was out once we decided on concrete looking floors. We also decided against a mix of materials. Because it’s such a small kitchen, we felt like a streamlined look of consistent counters would look the best.

Carrara Gioia Marble White Quartz

I happen to LOVE marble countertops. I had them in a bathroom in one of our homes and thought they were so beautiful! But it is true what they say, they are sensitive.

We had a little friend visiting our house one time and he set a red popsicle on our counters. We never forgot that visit because forevermore our counter had an etched and pink stain to help us remember it! Honestly, those marks never bothered me. I think marble is beautiful as it ages. But not everyone has the same tolerance, so it’s really a personal decision.

White Quartz - Carrara Gioia Daltile Quartz - Marble Alternative

Even this time we considered marble countertops again, but my husband let me know he really wanted quartz. He has stained our marble baking slabs by setting beets on them, so I understand his concern. :) He loves to cook but he really didn’t want to feel like he had to be cautious about beets or foods that could etch when cooking.

I like to limit our household stress levels, ha, so we agreed to stick with quartz. We had quartz counters in our last home’s kitchen and they were pretty awesome, so I really didn’t have any reservations. It is a super strong composite stone material and can be so lovely, too.

Marble Alternative Quartz

The quartz we had in our old house was Caesarstone Organic White. We had tried to avoid any obvious swirly pattern on our counters in that house because our hickory wood floors already had a lot of “movement” and a rustic vibe to them. We didn’t feel our counters should compete, so anything with a marble look felt wrong.

But this house, I was excited to look for a marble alternative. Our floors are a porcelain tile that looks like concrete, so I was excited about the contrast between the look of the counters and the concrete.

Marble Alternative - Quartz

It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped to find a quartz we liked. Every quartz pattern we saw felt wrong. Either I felt like someone drew all over the slab with a pencil, or the coloring wasn’t right for our home. We also wanted a more “grayed” look, nothing too shiny, not too stark and not too yellow. We also wanted a subtle random pattern. Picky much? :)

The other piece of the puzzle was that we needed a 2cm quartz in order to fit under our windows. The best way to get the counters to fit and have a seamless look was to have a thinner countertop (rather than needing to cut down cabinets to a less than standard height).

For years I had preferred the look of thicker marble countertops, so I wasn’t too sure I was going to be happy with thinner. But after lots of research, I decided that I was actually going to love the look of the 2cm in our home! YAY!

Marble Quartz

But I still couldn’t find a marble-looking quartz that I liked. We just about gave up when our contractor suggested we try Carrara Gioia Quartz at Daltile. I had no idea that Daltile had quartz, but we ran over to their warehouse to take a look. Not only did we love it, but the 2cm was going to be in stock so we didn’t have to wait and could select our favorite slabs.

I dreamed of my countertops not only fitting seamlessly under the window, but also of a long expanse of uninterrupted counter space all the way around the corner of the kitchen.

It is not a big kitchen, but I think the seamless look of uninterrupted counters help the space to feel larger and be so much more functional.

White Quartz Counters with Farmhouse Sink

We’ve lived with our new Quartz counters for five months now and still love them! They are super easy to clean and take care of, too (we use Thieves cleaner on them for those who are curious)!

Are you looking for new countertops?

Have you tried quartz?

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Galley Kitchen Reveal

Kitchen Source List

How We Chose Our Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid AppliancesThe appliances were provided in partnership with KitchenAid

When I started planning our kitchen remodel, I felt a mix of being so excited about all the possibilities and also so overwhelmed by the possibilities. There are countless decisions to make with a remodel, especially when you’re starting from scratch. When you’re excited and hopeful for a great end result, every decision feels important whether it’s the paint color on the wall, the material of flooring, or what hardware to choose. But the most important decisions of all are the decisions that affect the function of the home.

I think the thing I probably looked forward to the most in our remodel was having brand new appliances. It had been such a long time since we’d had a new stove or refrigerator, so that has definitely been one of the highlights for me.

Since our kitchen size was a bit like designing a jigsaw puzzle, every appliance needed to be just the right size, style or have just the right features to make the most of our space. We did quite a bit of research on appliances. I had very specific needs and wants for our kitchen and didn’t want to make a mistake! I researched so many options and chose KitchenAid because they had everything I was looking for.

Now that we’ve had the KitchenAid® appliances in our home since Christmas, I can tell you I’m really happy with them! Everything came together just as we had hoped.

I thought today I’d share a little bit about how we selected our appliances, why and a few of my favorite features.

First, let’s look at the refrigerator!

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances | French Door Counter Depth Refrigerator

22 cu. ft. 36-inch Width Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator with Interior Dispense

We were not planning to change the opening of our exterior door or the general pantry location, so I decided our best option for efficiency and style was a counter depth French Door style refrigerator. This KitchenAid model was perfect, so I was thrilled to have found one that met all of our needs.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances | French Door Refrigerator
The double doors and lower freezer have plenty of room to extend fully without crashing into the cabinets and stop automatically when the doors are fully extended.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances | French Door Style Counter Depth Refrigerator

Our Dutch door can also open fully, but of course we couldn’t leave the Dutch door open at the same time as the refrigerator or try to open the pantry cupboards all at the same time. You pick your design battles in smaller or older homes; I’m happy with how it all fit together. It’s not too inconvenient to swing one door shut for a moment to open a different door.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances | KitchenAid® Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator

It’s a 22 cubic ft, 36 inch wide and 72 inches in height, three inches taller than a standard counter depth model. See my 5 foot tall daughter, Courtney, for scale, haha.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances | Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator

Our original refrigerator was situated on the right side of this same wall, with the pantry previously on the left. In our remodel we chose to center the new refrigerator for better function in this space as well for the symmetry. In a smaller space, I think a symmetrical design results in a cleaner, less crowded feel.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances, KitchenAid French Door Style Counter Depth Refrigerator

We chose the counter-depth refrigerator because it fit perfectly into the space we had, but the truth is even if we had more room, I actually prefer a counter-depth for the great interior layout. The shallower depth and variety of shelving and bins allows us to see exactly what we have or need, rather than having things get lost in the depths of a deeper fridge. The pull out snack drawer also helps with organization and function. I really LOVE everything about this refrigerator!

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances

The handles on our fridge give a nice professional look. Plus they have a really nice texture so they aren’t slippery and don’t collect fingerprints! I think the little red caps on the ends of the handles are a fun extra detail, too. If you don’t want red, you can replace them with black or stainless caps instead.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances

I love the freezer drawer design and the pull out organization of the interior layout.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid® Dual Fuel Range, Commercial Style

30″ KitchenAid® 4-Burner Dual Fuel Freestanding Range, Commercial Style

Once we were certain which refrigerator we wanted, we started looking into ranges. We had originally considered an electric model because we didn’t want the additional expense of adding a gas line to the kitchen. But we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the previous owner had already installed a gas line in the exact location we needed one! Score. That’s one of the many things we’ve been thankful for in this house. The previous owners definitely thought through what should be done for the future and did things that made sense as they lived here.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances | Dual Fuel Range

We wanted a commercial style range, not because we are professional cooks by any stretch, but I do enjoy cooking with a powerful range! This is a dual-fuel model, which means the oven is electric (with convection settings) and the cooktop is gas.

This is a 30″ freestanding range. Ideally in planning a kitchen, you want to have counter space on each side of a range. A 30″ range allowed us plenty of space for counters and drawers, making this wall a really functional cooking zone. Cooking and baking is a dream with this range; it has exceeded our expectations.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances | Dual Fuel KitchenAid Range 30"
Professional Cast Iron 4 qt. casserole

The range features a touch pad screen on top to control the oven and timers. My husband’s request (he has been getting into cooking over the past year!) was that he could have four pots or pans on the stove top at the same time. He’s thrilled with the layout of the cooktop. It’s also really easy to clean, which was a must for me.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances
Streamline Cast Iron 6 quart casserole

Design-wise, I have to admit I was pretty obsessed with the chunky knobs and industrial look of this range. I tried to build as much chunk into our design as I could for the texture factor.

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances

Under 36″ Under-the-Cabinet 600 CFM Commercial Style Ventilation Hood

With a gas range, we knew we’d need a great ventilation. For design purposes, we were going to cover a hood so we were looking for a fan that had easily accessible controls below. This model is an “under cabinet mount” so it is actually mounted underneath a dummy cabinet which is covered with a wood frame and planks (built by our contractor).

Ideally a range hood should be wider than the cooktop to capture the steam and fumes. The right fan can keep your kitchen and air cleaner. Our range hood is 36″ wide for maximum ventilation. The ventilation is routed right through the ceiling to our roof, so all the steam, fumes and smells are whisked away from the house to the exterior by the powerful fan!

Kitchen Remodel: KitchenAid Appliances, Panel Ready Dishwasher

KitchenAid® 46 dBA Dishwasher with ProScrub™ Option 

Once we had our refrigerator and range appliance decisions set, all that was left was our dishwasher. With the nice long expanse of cabinetry available on this side of the room, we didn’t want to break it up with an appliance. Our solution was to find a dishwasher that could accept a cabinet panel. The clean look was important to us, so we selected a “panel-ready” dishwasher model.

KitchenAid Appliances, Panel Ready Dishwasher

Our Panel-Ready Dishwasher from KitchenAid has the controls on the top, so everything is visible when you open the door. Our cabinet company offered a panel that slipped right in to the dishwasher, and we added a handle that matched our other cabinet hardware (find the handle we used here).

KitchenAid Dishwasher: Panel Ready

KitchenAid Dishwasher: Panel Ready

I love the pullout top rack for long flat items, like silverware or spatulas at the top of the dishwasher. It really frees up the other utensil compartments and has been a really convenient feature.

KitchenAid Appliances. Panel ready dishwasher is integrated seamlessly into cabinetry.

KitchenAid Appliances

I love that the panel-ready dishwasher allows it to seamlessly blend into the design of the kitchen, rather than breaking up the cabinetry. It also created a symmetrical look with the cabinetry on either side of the round window/farmhouse sink.

The dishwasher is SO quiet and cleans the dishes so they are spic and span every time!

Now that we’ve had four months with a fully functioning kitchen, I can honestly say we couldn’t be happier with our appliances!

Kitchen Remodel Details: KitchenAid Appliances


KitchenAid® 46 dBA Dishwasher with ProScrub™ Option 

Under-the-Cabinet Ventilation Hood

30″ 4 Burner Dual Fuel Freestanding Range, Commercial Style

22 cu. ft. 36-inch Width Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator with Interior Dispense

White KitchenAid® Mixer

Professional Cast Iron 4 qt. casserole

Streamline Cast Iron 6 quart casserole


See my full kitchen REVEAL post here.

See my full kitchen SOURCE post here.

Learn details about my planked walls here.

Learn how I mixed and matched my kitchen cabinet hardware here.

Disclosure: KitchenAid partnered with this blog by providing appliances for our remodel. As always, all opinions, design and decisions are my own.

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