Counter Intelligence - Picking a Counter

When people come into our kitchen, one of the first things they ask about is our counter tops.  Some people mistake them for soapstone which I LOVE but just could not bring myself to sign up for the maintenance required.  So, I started looking for alternatives.  I did a load of research on many options.  My first criteria was that the counters had to be black or very dark gray (to get the soapstone look).  I also did not want anything shiny because dark, shiny counters seem to show everything including water marks.  Although, I originally looked into quartz counter tops, but the honed (non-shiny) finish was not readily available.

I really liked the look of the honed absolute black granite because it was somewhat close to soapstone (minus some texture), but thought that even granite was more maintenance than we wanted.  I went to four or five granite dealers all over Northern Virginia and became really frustrated and confused about the choices.  On the way home from a truly exasperating experience at one granite showroom (complete with rude and chauvinistic salesman), I decided to stop in at a store very close to my house - International Marble & Tile.  I found exactly what I wanted at a price that I thought was really reasonable.  Plus they told me they seal their granite with 26 coats of sealer so you don't have to seal it EVER - just clean it with dish soap and water or glass cleaner. 

I also had heard that honed dark granite shows a lot of fingerprints.  Before I ordered, I took a sample home and let my 3 year old daughter touch it as much as she wanted.  Fingerprints were minimal so I decided to go with it.  In fact, any greasy fingerprints or other stuff clean off really easy with a wet dish rag. Finally, they were able to measure the kitchen the next day and install within about a week thereafter which sealed the deal (pun intended).

The choice has worked out really well for us.  I love the classic contrast of the dark counters with white cabinets.  That combined with not having any maintenance made it a great choice for us.  Now I just have to figure out the tile back splash!