Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Counter Samples

My sister keeps throwing words out there like, obsessing.  Over-thinking.  Crazy-kitchen-remodel lady.  Okay, maybe not that last one, but she thinks I'm taking my decision making to the next level.  I say, I'm trying to make the right decision, based on the choices I have.

So here's the thing, I love, love, love marble counters.  In fantasy world, I'd walk into a stone yard and pick out my slab.  This is the real world and our budget will include laminate counters.  Period, the end.  So I've been obsessively strategically searching online for photos of faux marble counters.  I'm not really liking the limited results I'm coming up with.  The products are fairly new, so there aren't a whole lot of examples of them in real life kitchens yet.

Just for the sake of getting you on the same page as the picture I have in my head, there are numerous examples of my dream kitchen on my Kitchen Pinterest Board.  I was going to put a few photos of them in this post, but apparently I'm an idiot.  I can't for the life of me figure out how to embed a Pinterest pin into a post since they've changed the format.  What am I doing wrong???!!!

Anywho, I ordered laminate samples from both Wilsonart and Formica.  The majority of them are marble look-alikes, but there are a couple other "stone" ones thrown in for good measure.

Your job is to vote on your favorite.  I keep going back to the same one, but I don't want to sway your decision, so I won't tell you which one it is.  There's another one that's a runner-up, but I think I'll order another sample of it, because the pictures of it installed that I've seen online look quite a bit different.

Okay, enough blabbing, here's the samples:

She's crying 'cause I wouldn't let her play with them while I took pictures.
I know, mean mommy. 

So these four are the marble ones (there are actually five marble ones total, but for whatever reason I forgot to put it up on the sill - or maybe Baby knocked it on the floor - you'll see it further down).
From left to right we have, Formica Bianca Luna, Wilsonart White Carrara, Wilsonart Calcutta Marble, and Formica Calacatta Marble.

Here's the Callacatta and Bianca Luna again with Travertine Silver in the middle.

Some of them have an etchings finish like this one, and others are smooth.

These are both the White Carrara, smooth matte finish.

Calcutta has a smooth shiny finish.

Roman Limestone has a textured finish that's both matte and shiny.

Carrara Santorini is also textured with the matte/shiny combo.

 This one is Flint Crystall in both a smooth matte finish and an etched shiny finish.

Here's another angle of all of them.

So whadya think?
Are ya diggin' the fake marble or should I just say no to faux?
Am I living up to my sister's accusations of obsessive, over-thinking, crazy-kitchen-remodel lady?


  1. If I were remodeling my kitchen, I'd be a crazy kitchen remodel lady too. These are important decisions. I really think the Formica Bianca Luna looks most like marble except for the big blotch in the middle of the sample. Will that blotch be a repeating pattern on your counter top or just on that sample? I would avoid that and choose the marble that has the most natural look and flow in the marbling. I hope that helps a bit.

  2. Good grief my head is spinning. I like Wilsonart White Carrara, Wilsonart Calcutta Marble, and Roman Limestone - I think.

    I can't embed from Pinterest either so I just save the pic to my folders and then upload - stupid, I know.

  3. I very scientifically chose the Calcutta marble (closed my eyes, then opened them and noticed where my eye went). If it were me, I'd probably go for butcher block with a small embedded marble slab for dough making. Very practical.
    My other suggestion is to play the lottery.

  4. Mindy, go with Wilsonart Calcutta Marble or Formica Calacatta Marble - and don't turn back! They're beautiful and really do look like the real thing in your photos. Wow! (the fact that I also want white marble counters makes me an expert, in case you were wondering...) Over the two, I'd pick the Formica version only because it's a little more subdued.

  5. I also love real marble but I would never actually have it in my house. My parents have it in their house and I am nervous every time I put something on the counter or leave a drink I am afraid of the aftermath. I think you have some good faux choices from the pictures I am a fan of the Wilsonart. Good luck with the decision.

  6. Ok lady! You need to do exactly what you are doing...that way you will be in love with what ya get!!! Ok in the first picture I like the one on the very far right! I have no doubt that it will be beautiful! I love your red blooms in the background!!! When does everything start???

  7. Totally digging the faux marble!! Holt cow I had no idea that even existed!

  8. Okay here is my two cents: I would definitely stick with one of the faux marble patterns and ditch the other stones. I don't like that travertine silver one and I think that's probably why The Baby was crying. No mommy, not that one. Anywhoooo,....

    I googled the four remaining and the pictures that I saw were all gorgeous. You absolutely could not go wrong with any one of them. Based on the samples, however, I agree with Stacy about that blotch in the Bianca Luna sample, but I think that's just this particular sample and the actual counter top would be more random, I right? The Wilsonart white carrara sample (not the photos I saw on google) is too subdued and uniform. The other two samples look nice.

    So,....really, any one of those marbles based on the finished kitchen shots I've seen on google. Just by the samples, I'd say the Calacatta or Bianca Luna.

    Now,..fess up,...where were you leaning?

  9. Hi... Melissa here from Raising the Rhyne Brine, thanks so much for your comment. We went with the Wilsonart Carrara and LOVE it so much! I searched high and low for pics of it in a real kitchen and couldn't find any either, it was horrible and scary. We decided to go with it anyway and are stunned with the results. Although the marble pattern is more subtle than the others, I feel like that is what makes it look more realistic. I always felt like the other ones were too bold and would look too fake! Have you seen pics of older "marble laminate"? I felt like that is what the bolder ones would look like. In my opinion, classy looking marble usually has a honed finish, and yet another reason why I love the Wilsonart. We are about ready to put our house on the market and just had 3 realtors over to do some pricing. They ALL LOVED the counters and had to touch them to see if they were real or not! I haven't read through your whole blog but what IKEA white cabinets are you going with? I can send you more pics of our counter, just email me ( THe pics on the blog ( too far away and really don't do the counters justice, they are truly gorgeous! Even though they are subtle, you can still clearly see the marble grain. Our kitchen has been finished for about year now and I am still SO in love with the countertops! Email me... I could chat all day about kitchens!! I was the crazy kitchen remodel lady for 2 years before ours was finished, LOL

  10. O, girlfriend, some of the prettiest counter tops I've ever seen were faux much better than the real since it doesn't absorb moisture like the real thing.
    My daughter's husband made CONCRETE counter tops and they are so pretty, I could just die. AWESOME, as a matter of fact.....
    but...back to your faux marble...I personally love it. :))

  11. I like the white carrara and the roman limestone. and you're not obsessive at all. Our countertops are a fake marble too, but not near as pretty or classy as yours. i worried over them for like a week and then on the way to the cabinet makers' chris reminded me I had to pick bathroom countertops too so I just spun through the samples and chose in like 1 minute... that's me...obsessive and random all rolled into 1.

  12. I vote for Formica Calacatta Marble, unless you'll go nuts trying to "match" whites. In that case, I vote for Formica Bianca Luna because it has a grey undertone that will look good with any shade of white you might choose for cabinets and backsplash. I'm a fan of laminate, so I'm eager to see how it all turns out!

  13. Hi there,

    Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to post all the Wilsonart marble samples. I am going through the very same thing, but don't have large samples to compare. I've decided on my first choice, the White Carrara! It's beautiful & subtle. I can't wait for it to arrive. Again, thank you for this awesome post, it was more than helpful!

  14. I just looked at all your samples, and like others, closed my eyes to see what I was drawn to first (obviously not to give you my two cents since you've already got yours in, but to confirm for myself that I made the right choice for all our bathrooms).I was instantly bummed because I 100% am drawn to the 3rd sample (the Wilsonart Calacutta) when I was certain I had chosen the Formica. Just checked back in my records and it actually is the WIlsonart I chose, so I am very happy to know that I went with my initial gut feeling! :) Thanks for posting and comparing all the samples!

  15. I like the Wilson White Carrara but found one more newer one that I like by Formica. It's Carrara Bianco. Think the colors are similar but the Formica veins are a bit more irregular and a bit bolder. Any comments. The Calcutta's both seem too bold.

  16. As was the problem when I was trying to decide, I can't find a single photo of the Formica one in a real kitchen. Just the sample. It was the same thing with the Wilsonart White Carrara, which is what we ended up going with. The photo of the sample of the Formica Carrara Bianco looks VERY similar to how the Wilsonart looks in real life. And you're right, the veining on the other samples I had ordered are A LOT more bold, and more fake looking, in my opinion. I love, love, love the one we went with. If I had known about the Formica one that you've mentioned when we were deciding, I would have ordered that sample, as well. It most definitely would have been a close call. I think you should order a couple of the larger samples (at least two of each, they're free), and compare them side by side. Then go with your gut. Good luck, and I'd love to know what you go with!

    1. Do you have any pictures of the wilsonart white carrara installed? My husband and I are leaning toward that for our counters, but I can't seem to find any pictures anywhere.

    2. Hi Marinn. Yes, I have a ton! :)
      Here's a link to the post showing when they were first installed:
      This link has all our kitchen remodel posts, starting with the most recent, so you can see how they look in a more "finished" space:
      I hope that helps! I really, really love them and couldn't be happier with how they turned out.

  17. I have samples of the Wilson Calcutta, Formica Calacatta, White Carrara and Carrara Bianco. This is the first time I have seen larger sample of the Wilson Calcutta and the colors are perfect for my kitchen but afraid it might be too bold.. Want to see a larger sample of the Wilson Calcutta to see the whole design. My flooring is laminate earth tones much like that on the Wilson Virtual design. Cabinets are oak in golden wheat color but have darkened so there would be contrast with white colors. Also have dark brown granite sink. Like your idea of ordering at least two of each sample because then can see some of the pattern differences. Have enjoyed reading your blog and all the input from others

  18. I can't believe this! I am going through the same obsession with most of these same samples! I keep moving them around to look at in different lights and at different angles. I've learned much from the comments your posts and others' comments. We want to lighten up our small kitchen but we're now wondering if the Formica Calacutta may be too bold. We also like the Wilsonart White Carrara but are uncertain about the matte finish. Our sample does not look as shiny as the counters in your "after" photos. . .

  19. It's hard, right?! It's such a major commitment, you don't want to screw it up!
    The Wilsonart White Carrara is definitely matte. No shine other than natural light reflection. But that's one of the reasons I chose it. I thought it would mimic natural stone better than a shiny surface. Although, it's so hard to tell when you can't see them in real kitchens in real life. Good luck making a decision! I really do love ours.

  20. I can't thank you enough for posting this blog! I am in the middle of deciding which to go with and they are almost all the ones you have posted here! I just looked again and decided on the White Carrara and then I found your blog! Yes! Its a go. I am getting the same cabinets too! Thanks so much for posting pictures too!

    1. So glad it helped! I know when I was trying to decide, it was impossible to find any info or pictures of examples. I still love our choice - enjoy your NEW kitchen!!!

  21. Thank you so much for your comparison. I have been searching for a month and couldn't decide. This makes it so much easier


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