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For as long as I’ve loved charming architecture and preferred classic materials in a home, I’ve LOVED soapstone. In fact, we put soapstone around our stove in our English Tudor! I would’ve used more soapstone but that kitchen had existing tile floors, so we wanted to go with wood counters to be a warm complement to the tile. The wood counters were absolutely beautiful, too! Our bathroom had marble and it also stole my heart.
So when we were deciding what type of counters to put into our current home during our kitchen remodel, I knew without a doubt I would choose organic elements again. This is our forever home, so it was important to me to choose something that would bring us joy for many years to come. Natural stone may not bring joy to every home or personality, but we knew it was the right choice for us.
We selected marble for our perimeter countertops many months ago (see our kitchen design mood board here), but remained undecided what we wanted for our island. Our first thought was to use soapstone, but we set that idea aside for a time because we thought we’d go with wood or a butcher block.
Once our wood floors were installed we loved them so much that after much discussion, we eventually realized we wanted to let them shine on their own as the “wood statement.” So at that point, we revisited the idea of soapstone and once we did, it felt absolutely right to us. We got extra excited about our kitchen once decided to go with soapstone! It felt like home to us. I’ve learned to take my time when there’s any indecision and not rush into anything that isn’t clear.
Soapstone stands the test of time, as does marble. Soapstone is often found in New England homes around fireplaces and kitchens, dating back to the 13 colonies as a tried and true classic here in the states. Of course, soapstone and marble are classics in Europe! I will never forget the beauty of real marble on the counters and tables in European cafes, there’s truly nothing like the patina of real stone.
That is the sense of history and patina we decided felt right for our home. You know how much I love a home that feels like cozy sanctuary, one that tells stories and reflects family history. My goal is not to keep a pristine showplace look for my home. Rather I want to feel, see and sense the beauty of life lived there. While we will lovingly care for our stone and it will bring us joy to do so, we won’t live with fear of them showing signs that we live here.
Stone yards, contractors and designers will try to talk you out of choosing soapstone and marble for the very reason I wanted to use them! I love that these materials will show a patina with age. Professionals who sell it are trying to make sure you know that, so it makes sense they add caution.
It seems here in America most people want their materials to stay pristine and perfect, so no wonder they get frustrated when marble and soapstone don’t stay “showroom new”. You definitely need to know yourself and your goal and ask questions before you make a decision that you could regret. While there are granites that mimic the look of soapstone, I am excited for the natural aging process and beauty of natural stone.
We put Quartz in our last two homes (our Seattle kitchen, and our craftsman house kitchen) and while it is beautiful in a different way, to me there’s just nothing like the organic and historic look of marble and soapstone in the right home. One observation I’ve had with other manmade materials we’ve had is that they are not necessarily fool proof or without downsides of their own. Our quartz still got some stains and etching, but it wasn’t repairable like soapstone. Plus it didn’t ever get that beautiful patina like the stone will. Soapstone is also heat resistant, and quartz is not.
We are so excited about our counters going into our kitchen! The delight these beautiful organic elements already bring to us has made us fall even more in love with our home. We are thrilled to make them a part of our family’s history here. I can share a lot more about them as well as the care and keeping of the stone once we they are in our home.
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