Powder Bath: Our Countertops. As I sit here thinking of the mile long list of things I need to do in this bathroom and just life in general, I wanted to stop for a second and catch my breath. It’s been a tough week here in the Hayden Household due to this bathroom project, hospice work, and life in general, but we’re making it! I think my issue is trying to accomplish too much at once and realizing that everything does not have to be completed RIGHT NOW. As a side note, I’m trying to do better on time management in 2022. Anyway, because of this crazy week, I wanted to shift focus and talk about something fun and EXCITING! Like our bathroom vanity countertops! I have been DYING to share this with you so why not do it now?!
I am absolutely ecstatic about these countertops, like a kid in a candy store ecstatic. Let me back up and start from the beginning. If you missed my latest bathroom talk about how I decided on our marble floors, you can read that here. If you need to start from the beginning on how this bathroom came to be, you can read that here.
After deciding on the floors, I knew the next step was finding the perfect countertop to sit on top of this perfect vanity… on top of these perfect floors… you get it! First let me tell you what I knew I wanted: NATURAL STONE. I’m in love with natural stone. I wanted a piece of God’s beautiful creation inside our home. How freaking cool?! To have a piece of nature inside your home that man can’t make or create would make it that much more special and meaningful to me. So one day in September, I dragged Will to the local stone warehouse. We looked at several different options and saw several we liked. I will post pictures below
This was a quartzite and was so pretty in person. It looked like sand. So pretty.
We loved this because of the subtlety of it. It is a granite.
Then we fell in love with this one below. Will actually fell more in love with it than I did. For this reason, I knew he liked dramatic and lots of contrast so I tucked that in the back of my brain…
This piece was black granite with these big bold veins running through it. Here in this picture shows a lot of white/gray… this specific piece that we liked (I wish I had taken a picture) had more black in it and less white/gray veining which was absolutely gorgeous. We even went as far as going to another location to see if they had a remnant of it since we weren’t needing enough for a whole slab. We discussed this one slab for several weeks but for some reason I wasn’t sold on it. Even though it wasn’t quite the look I was going for I would’ve been fine with it, but Will told me to keep looking for exactly what I wanted. But I still didn’t even know exactly what I wanted! Just something similar to my inspiration mood board below.
I started really honing in on what I wanted. Did I want soapstone? Quartzite? Or did I want a black granite? Hmmm. Quartzite is beautiful but hard to find much of what I liked in black. This is getting really picky but when I considered granite, it had a bit too much gray and too many “sparkles” in it and I really was going for a true black and white veining look… aka no sparkles and no gray. And then there was soapstone. When I really studied my favorite designers work, I noticed they used soapstone a lot. I love the subtlety of the veining. So pure and delicate and beautiful. And timeless. But I kept referring back to my mood board. I studied the inspiration picture of the stone. It looked like marble, but the only marble that I knew about was white/gray/brown. I had never seen a black marble before. Then I quickly realized after going down the google rabbit hole that “black marble” was indeed a thing!
Now my options at this point were between soapstone and marble. I won’t get into the pros / cons of each stone but if you’d like a good comparison between the two, check out this article which helped me make my decision. Can you guess what I went with?!?!
I chose marble! But BLACK marble. For a couple reasons.
As an enneagram 4, I wanted something that felt unique to us. I wanted to try something I hadn’t really seen before. Maybe even out of my comfort zone. I could never make a decision to go totally out of my comfort zone if I didn’t have Will not only supporting me, but encouraging me to do it. I already knew from looking at other stones with him that he had increased interest in the stones that had more dramatic veining and contrast, and I was in luck because marble does that so beautifully! When we talked about marble, we weighed the pros and cons (see article) with how this natural stone would fit in our lives and thankfully he was all in. Then, I started really trying to nail down what type of black marble I wanted. Who knew there were so many types?! This is an article that goes over a few. Can you guess what I picked?!
Check out the subtle fine veining in the stone, and pay attention to the blacks and how truly black they are. And the whites… they are so white! Fine veins indeed, but just enough to draw your attention in a good way. So, so gorgeous. Okay great! So my thought was now that I’ve found what I like, can I find anyone who has this so that I can make sure I’m not completely crazy for wanting this?!?! No. Not one person… I searched the internet high and low for weeks on end and then finally found one person!!!! Actually one of my favorite DIY’ers on instagram and someone I’d been following for years and never paid attention to what type of stone she had in her kitchen…Remington Avenue! Check it out here. I showed it to Will and he was completely on board. I knew he would be because this is 100% his taste! I knew I had to find this piece of stone.
I started calling places in Nashville and Memphis because I knew if anyone was going to have it, it would probably be them. Nashville does not work in this territory so Memphis was my only hope. I called 15+ places looking for remnants before I realized that I’m never going to find a remnant of this because it is THAT rare. And as a side, here is proof of the insanity below!
Most of the stone places said “Nero what??” “We don’t have black marble…” I knew at that point, we needed to go straight to the wholesalers, which means we’d be having to purchase an entire slab, which I was trying to avoid doing. We scheduled an appointment with Triton stone and even brought Mia on the excursion! Again I didn’t have this blog then so sorry I don’t have many pictures! They had two pieces of nero marquina that I wanted to look at.
It was tough deciding between these two because we really weren’t sold on either. I’d rate it a 6/10. There didn’t appear to be much veining in the second photo but the first one was kind of small and scattered everywhere and chaotic almost. Then she showed us one more.
Soooo pretty! I told Will this one was the one!! He loved it too but there was only one issue. It was on hold. The representative told us to keep calling in and checking on it because it is a 50/50 chance that they will change their minds. She said they had until the end of October to hold it. I left feeling a little bummed but HOPEFUL that this piece of stone would be our new countertops. I loved the way the veining went diagonal. Will loved the high contrast. I loved that it was just enough. Not too much, not too little. We went to eat and I just randomly thought to check another place about 30 minutes outside of Memphis while we were there.
And what to my wondering eyes did appear?! Sitting right there in Corkys eating barbeque, with Mia finally asleep, and a second to breathe, I found something that stopped me dead in my tracks. My mouth dropped to the floor and I looked at Will. THE single most beautiful piece of stone I have EVER seen in my life. It took my breath away. I feel extremely cheesy saying this, but it brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t believe my eyes that GOD made this. He put this on our earth and MAYBE there was a chance we could take it and have it in our home to enjoy. It was a truly emotional experience.
On October 13th at 12:59 pm my life changed for the better. But wait, I had to see if this was just a hoax… I looked up ALL the nero marquina marble in stock at Pacific Shores locations all the way from Texas to Louisiana and guess what? Our nearest location had the most gorgeous piece out of them ALL. Honestly it was better than all the others by a long shot. I immediately called Pacific Shores and asked if we could come look at it and, let me tell you, it was even better in person. The representative said this specific piece is extremely rare and that he’s not even sure they are mining this specific marble anymore.
It had just enough veining to stand out. The blacks were true blacks and the white was so crisp and WHITE. The veining went perfectly in a diagonal motion and couldn’t help but imagine seeing that movement along our countertops one day. It was the perfect amount of contrast that would get Will giddy about, but enough subtlety to it for my rather monochromatic, simple taste. In other words, I loved every inch of this stone.
It sounds silly to be so invested in something. You can call me crazy and that is fine with me! God made me to love and appreciate beauty and nothing makes me more excited than seeing HIS creation around for us to enjoy and experience and appreciate and cherish. I hope this inspires you to chase your dreams and never forget that God’s beauty is everywhere.
Editor’s note (Will): And she says she’s not dramatic…
Where we discuss all things design, obviously.