One Room Challenge Week 2: Taken for Granite | New Quartz Countertops With Cost Breakdown

Hi, my honeys! I hope you're ready for a super exciting transformation this week! If you've followed me long enough, you have definitely heard about my desire to swap out our old tan and brown granite countertops for quartz! When Linda from the One Room Challenge reached out to me to ask what room I wanted to tackle, all I could think about was our kitchen and how badly I wanted new countertops! Well, my friends, the time has come!



The only problem is I've never had countertops replaced before, so I have to say I wasn't quite sure where to start! We knew we wanted quartz countertops because granite is not really my style and marble is too much upkeep and more expensive. We also learned that quartz is more durable, anti-bacterial, and requires much less maintenance than granite. I also love how many different styles and patterns you can find with quartz counters! I made sure to take some preliminary measurements and make a drawing of the layout, so when we went to some stores we’d have an idea of what the price would be.




We did check out the big box hardware stores first for a little inspo, and we even scheduled an in-home consultation with Home Depot to get an idea of the cost and different options. I have to say, we really enjoyed the experience of having the free Home Depot in-home consultation because the rep was very knowledgeable and helpful. We fell in love with one of the countertops from Cambria called Newport. The only problem was when we had it priced out, the cost would have been over $10,000. I'm not saying Cambria quartz isn't worth the price because it is high quality, but we simply could not afford it.


I then visited several local cabinet and countertop places, and I was really stressing about the time frame. The One Room Challenge is done in 8 weeks, but since I had a little heads up early that I would be a featured designer, we were able to start on this project earlier this summer. Even still, many of the places I went to for counters were booking out 12-20 weeks for install--that was not going to work!


I remembered a counters and cabinets place from my radio days, a place I used to read the commercials for called Cabinets and Granite Direct. This is the type of countertops place where they have a huge warehouse of slabs in stock, and you get to pick out the exact one you want! Not only is this usually quicker since they don't have to order the slabs from a manufacturer, it also tends to be cheaper! I also love being able to see the giant slabs in person, because sometimes I find it really hard to tell what a counter is going to look like with just a small swatch or sample.


I walked the warehouse with a super sweet and knowledgeable associate, Bianca, and I loved a quartz slab the second we walked in! It literally was like the first slab in view once you walked in, and I was like, "Yep. I love that one." I did keep walking through the facility, though, just to make sure. I did also really like one of the big white high contrast faux marble quartz slabs too. I sat down with Bianca after checking out the slabs, and she wrote up a couple quotes for me for each of the slabs I liked. She also mentioned they could get the new counters installed in less than 4 weeks--umm SCORE!




After a couple days of number crunching and decision-making, my husband and I agreed that we loved the first quartz slab I found there, and we wanted to go ahead with the install. I was required put 70% down to hold my quartz slabs until they came to measure. I could cancel anytime and get my money back up until the day they came to measure. The guy they sent to measure was super nice, and it was actually fascinating to watch him use the laser device to map out our countertops. It's pretty cool how these companies know exactly how to get all the right measurements to make sure the install goes smoothly. I also made sure to have our new sink on hand to give to them so their fabricators could cut the right size hole for our sink. I was gifted a GORGEOUS granite/quartz black sink from MR Direct.

I cannot say enough good things about MR Direct! They were so knowledgeable and helpful when we were picking out our sink, and it shipped super quickly to our house! We had to have an undermount sink because that is what was installed before and what our sink cabinet supports. However, I am so thrilled to have one large basin instead of the divided sink. I’m also obsessed with the cutting boards they gifted me that fit right over the sink with a hole in the middle to sweep your extra cuttings into. The sink came with a metal grate as well to prevent scratching and help with drying. The guy who came to measure for our counters took the sink with him for the fabricators to make sure the opening for the sink in our countertop was just right.


We ended up needing two full slabs of quartz for our counters which included the peninsula, sink side, our breakfast bar, and a waterfall over the edge of the peninsula all the way down to the floor. The waterfall was a bit of a splurge, but I thought it would be perfect in our home! We went with the mitered edge for the waterfall, which was also a small upgrade ($150 for the butt-up joint and roughly $500 for the mitered joint install). We decided on an eased edge, which is a modern style squared-off edge that is still soft enough you won't hurt yourself on the corners.


Just a few weeks later after much anticipation, it was time for our current countertops to be demoed. We did not want to attempt this ourselves, because we've never done it before, and we wanted to be sure we didn't damage our kitchen cabinets in the process. We are keeping our kitchen cabinets, so sometimes you just gotta know when to hire the pros so you don't mess something up! LOL! I hired a construction company to remove our old granite counters and backsplash for $500, and they came back to put up new drywall where they had to cut out the backsplash for $300. They did a great job and were efficient and quick!



After the demo and drywall install, we were ready for our countertops installers! They came just a few days later ready to rock! They really were quite efficient and clearly knew exactly what they were doing, because the whole operation looked like a well-oiled machine. They walked in, took some measurements, and immediately started bringing in the giant slabs on this dolly thing. Of note, they cut the mitered edge for the waterfall on location in my front yard, and they cut the hole for my new matte black Speakman faucet. Make sure you have your new faucet on hand the day of countertop installation so they can cut the right size hole. Speakman gifted me a gorgeous simple faucet, and I just love the sleek design, matte black finish, and pull down sprayer. I knew it would be hard to match my faucet, pot filler, lighting, and cabinet hardware all the same color so I opted to make the potfiller and faucet match and the lighting and cabinet hardware match.


It's also worth mentioning that the countertop installers use a very strong smelling glue to adhere the countertops to the cabinets, so be aware that your house will smell like straight up acetone for a few hours after install. Since I am so sensitive to chemical smells and had just had a bad migraine, I stayed mostly outside while they installed, and I spent the night at a friend's house until we could get our house aired out. My husband stayed the night in our home, though, and he said the smell went away after just a few hours with the windows open.


Our countertops installers did install the sink for us, but I had our trusty plumber Bryan come back to hook up the water, the faucet, new water line for the potfiller, the dishwasher, and a gorgeous new brass flange for the sink drain. My plumber charged us $375 for all of these things - he is extremely trustworthy and does great work, so I never question his pricing. He was here for several hours, and he had a lot of tasks to do.


If you haven't already scrolled to the bottom, it's now time to finally show you how the countertops came out! I am absolutely thrilled with the calming, light taupey-gray quartz counters. I swear the lighter color makes our kitchen look much bigger, and I love the white veining in the quartz. It seriously looks like water or little waves! I really would never have thought this is what I would pick out, but when I saw it, I just knew it perfect for our Calm Chateau kitchen! From a distance, the countertops appear to be more white or light greige, but up close you see more of the taupe tones. The counters also look different in various light settings, which I love!



Let's talk cost! The total cost for our quartz countertops including the measuring, install, and upgraded waterfall with the mitered edge was $5,335. I actually think we made out quite well with this price considering the amount of square footage we needed--we actually have a ton of counter space for a small kitchen! I compared our price to other quotes in the area, and most places were at least $1500-$2000 higher, and I mean Home Depot quoted us $10,000 for Cambria counters. We saved more than $600 on the removal of our existing counters and backsplash, because Cabinets and Granite Direct would have charged us $1100 to remove our old countertops and haul them away. That would not have included backsplash removal. As I mentioned before, we paid a company $500 for removal of our old counters and the backsplash, so we definitely saved there. I would also like to note that we saved up for these for a really long time. Truly, I had a little nest egg savings account specifically for new countertops because I wanted them so bad! I highly suggest you get an app that rounds up your purchases to the next dollar and puts the change into a savings account. It may have taken me almost 6 years to save up the money for the counters, but it was worth the journey! LOL!


Overall, I am thrilled with our countertops, and the installation just made me so much more excited to complete this kitchen renovation! I am starting to see my vision come to life, and it's so so fun! I want to thank Linda from the One Room Challenge and our media sponsor Better Homes and Gardens for creating such an amazing event that has given me the impetus to finally get my dream kitchen! Thank you to my sponsors for this part of the makeover MR Design (sink) and Speakman (faucet)! Be sure to follow me on all my social platforms: Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and Pinterest, and subscribe to my blog here! Come back next week as we tackle our stairs, which are right next to the kitchen!


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ORC Featured Designers:

Albie Knows | At Home with Savvy | Beth Diana Smith | Eclectic Twist | Erika Ward Interiors

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