Lesson: Pick Granite Counters From A Slab, Not A Sample

The excitement began yesterday when we visited the stone yard to check out our granite slabs. And ended when we laid eyes on the giant hunk of Blanc Noir. The small, white sample with gray & black flecks that we fell in love with months ago looked nothing like the huge, gray, polka-dotted abomination in front of us. We weren’t about to put that busy 101 Dalmations-esque pattern anywhere near our tiny kitchen. We had to hunt down another option. And fast.

Thankfully, several trips to Home Depot and a few local stone yards led us to our one true love: Pashmina. It’s everything that Blanc Noir isn’t: much lighter and less spotty with much more natural “movement” (think big wave patterns and veins, not heavy repetitive blotches on every square inch of the thing). Check out the side-by-side, close-up and full slab comparison below to see for yourself- but keep in mind that those full slabs are 20 feet long, so those unassuming grainy dots on the Blanc Noir are much bigger and more alarming in person:


I’m happy to report that the huge “sample” chunk of Pashmina granite that the stoneyard lovingly let us keep passed the home test and sent Blanc Noir running out the door, spots and all. It looks pretty darn perfect in our space. Subtle. Sophisticated. Not like a dog that a fireman would own. Here’s Sherry’s photoshopping to give you a sense of the old choice of Blanc Noir in our space, and the newer, lighter, more marble-esque option of Pashmina, on the right:

blanc noir countertop pashmina countertop

Note: Blanc Noir actually doesn’t even look that bad here, but covering every countertop in the entire kitchen with it would have definitely been a whole lot busier than our newer option. I think we just have a thing for a more organic, muted, understated and varied look- not something that’s grainy and high contrast.

The good new is that it’s actually manufactured by Stonemark, the same company who makes Blanc Noir, so the switch was relatively painless. Of course our new granite is in a slightly higher price bracket than the last, but isn’t that just how it goes? The few added bucks will completely be worth it in the long run, so now we’re just waiting to here if we can still keep our installation scheduled for next week. Here’s hoping!


  1. YoungHouseLove says

    Amen sista! Thanks for your encouragement. Fingers crossed it’ll go smoothly from here on out…


  2. says

    oh gorgeous! Honestly I think both look great but with such a large investment it’s SO important that you absolutely LOVE it. :) And it seems that you do! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  3. YoungHouseLove says

    Thanks Kelly!

    We’re super excited about the installation. Of course we’ll post pictures the second that gorgeous hunk of 500 year-old rock is in our kitchen. Thanks as always for taking the time to leave such kind words for two house-crazy fools like us.


  4. gilttrip says

    We are doing a reno of our house as well. It has pink noir granite. I kid you not. It isn’t up on my blog yet http://www.mygilttrip.com but it will be when we tackle the kitchen. You are right. Anything too spotty starts to give you vertigo. It looks like you are moving faster on your projects than we are (and great work too) so I’ll be sure to come back to see your tips!

  5. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey Gilttrip,

    No way. Pink noir granite? This I gotta see. Thanks for reinforcing our thoughts on spotty stone. No thank you. Stay tuned for an exciting “after” shot (or fifty) of our completed kitchen makeover, which should be done by Wednesday night. Fingers crossed.

    Off to check out your blog…


  6. Jerry Cormier says

    We are having the Blanc Noir put in later this month. I like the look in our setting. Our cabinets are a dark cherry and we were looking for something to make the area look bigger and brighter. The photos here are of a kitchen with a lot of white to start with. That might be the difference.
    Matt finished light grey tile backsplash with a putor boarder is going to offset some of the “Gateway” effect of the granite. It all looks good from the samples we took home and set up. Reading this post gave me pause in the chouce we made because it is an important decision. I will take some before and after photos if anyone is interested in seeing them.
    Thanks for the advise, but full steam ahead and damm the spots. :)

  7. Mary Evers says

    Pashmina isn’t listed on the Stonemark website. I wonder if they don’t carry it any longer.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Mary,

      Good point! We actually heard a while back that Pashmina was discontinued through Home Depot but any stoneyard in your area should have the exact slab that we selected (it will just go by another name). You might want to describe it as white and gray with veins like marble and small garnet flecks in it. Hope it helps! Happy hunting…


  8. Melinda Donelson says

    I work for a granite fabricator located in Desoto, Texas & Pashmina is a made up name for Home Depot the true name of the granite is Bianco Romano


    • says

      Thanks for the tip! We have heard it called by many names depending on the stone yard or the location. Hopefully the name you provided will help Mary track it down!


  9. Misty says

    It’s amazing how different the vibe of your kitchen changes with the different granites. I think the one you chose is perfect for your spot..But tell me…wouldn’t the other look fabulous with a black and white kitchen????

    • says

      Accents like selecting countertops and wall colors are definitely a personal preference thing. I think since we wanted a less contrast-y look we’re so glad we went with the granite that gave us a more tone on tone effect. But there are definitely people who would prefer the other choice (especially if they loved the idea of a black and white kitchen) – to each his own!


  10. Misty says

    I agree! The granite you chose is so much more soothing, and really works very well with your paint color and cabinets. And I love how you mixed the warm wood floor with what would otherwise be a “cool” color-scheme overload. LOVE! Black and white is not really my thing in decor, other than pictures, but I think the other granite would work well in a kitchen with that scheme.

    I just LOVE how you have made me so brave in decorating. There are things I am opening up to that just would never have done. I had preconceived notions of things before like, a room must be all cool-toned or all warm-toned. Thanks for making this obtainable!

  11. gigi says

    i think we have the same granite, we are building a house, and just got the granite installed, only mine is called river white. it’s gorgeous!

    • says

      We’d just check a slew of places because anyone could be running a special. From local stone yards to places like Home Depot you’re sure to find a deal somewhere. Happy hunting!


  12. Johanna says

    Hey there,

    I’m not sure if you havent already addressed it in another post but I have a pricing question about renovating the kitchen. We think about a future total renovation as well but in terms of budget we have heard everything from 10 – 30 k alone for the kitchen renovation. Does it really have to be that expensive? Have you been able to keep a tight budget while renovating the whole kitchen?
    Thanks so much!!

    • says

      Hey Johanna,

      Here’s a post about our kitchen renovation budget. Of course some of our readers have taken on 1K kitchen makeovers (by working with the cabinets and the layout they have and replacing inexpensive items like subbing laminate counters for butcher block ones from Ikea). Hope it helps!


  13. says

    Hey guys! I know this is a comment to a REALLY old post, but I was wondering if you have learned anything about the pros and cons of dark vs light granite countertops? Is one easier to clean or keep up? Is a dark granite countertop going to be a visual black hole? ALSO, did you guys reseal your granite or did it come with some super fab finish that you never have to reseal? We are going to replace our 28 year old formica countertops a lot faster than planned, but I don’t want to rush anything. Here is the “dark” that I was referring to (Home depot’s ubatuba) http://www.solieque.com/images/Color%20Swatches/amazonUbaTuba_large.jpg

    • says

      Hey Charlotte,

      Our had Permashield protection so we never had to reseal it, but the new ones will have to be resealed by us from time to time. As for keeping things clean, our light colored granite was a dream to keep clean. We just wiped things up when we saw them and really didn’t have any issue. Oh and we love Ubatuba! My mom actually has it so it’s a great choice. It’s really all about preference when it comes to light or dark since in our experience it wasn’t harder to keep our lighter counters clean. Hope it helps!


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