In Defense of Messy Countertops


IMG_0310One of the best parts about being back in our newly renovated home, aside from sleeping in my own bed, is having a kitchen that I can dirty up. Now that I am at home (technically 60 days, if you don’t count travel) I’ve finally dusted our new countertops with flour and got hands into some dough. A messy kitchen, is a well-loved kitchen.

IMG_0307When we started this renovation with McDonald Remodeling, we were looking at it from a functional standpoint; how do we maximize the space we have to fit our lifestyle? However, my ultimate goal was to figure out what countertops will be hardworking enough to handle all of the spills and chaos that go into food preparation, but still work within the design aesthetic I wanted. Bearing all that in mind, we visually split the room into two different sections (“work station” and “entertaining”) and chose by looking into two different substrates for the countertop. Then came the questions: What could we afford? What would require the least maintenance? What could we use to prevent the kitchen from looking dated?


We had to do a bit of research to get to this decision, mind you, but it was well worth it. Ultimately, we worked with the team at Cambria, based right here in Minnesota, with the selection and installation. The team was great to work with and kindly let me hold on to samples probably a bit longer than they had expected (it was a really hard decision to select the finish).


Some of the reasons why I am so happy with our new countertops:

  • Low Maintenance
    • I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Joe and I travel for work. A lot. When we are home, the last thing I want to do is spend precious time together meticulously cleaning. Our new countertop doesn’t stain or scratch. Perfect for the red wine/big clumsy dog pairing happening at my house these days.
  • Nonporous
    • Quartz is completely nontporous, unlike some of the other materials we were considering (granite and concrete), which means no worries about bacteria. Or that red wine/clumsy dog situation I spoke of earlier.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing
    • Liveable Modern, is what I like to call our collective taste. We wanted to have the countertops balance the bold cement tiles we used for flooring. Our final select, the Ella, has a clean, simple design that paired nicely with the rest of the kitchen. Cambria, also had a wide range of options to choose from, color and design-wise, which is why all the samples they lent me were consistently returned late.


My kitchen will be getting quite a bit more use in the next few weeks, which means my countertops will stay messy, in preparation for celebrating the holidays with family and friends. While I love the look of marble, we made the right decision going with quartz from Cambria. We’re very excited for our first holiday season in this newly transformed space.

Sources: Design/Planning by McDonald Remodeling // Benjamin Moore White Dove // Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron // Cement Tile Shop– Star // Quartz Cambria’s Marble Collection, Ella // Lacanche Range // Blu Dot Hot Mesh Counter Stool 

BY Kate Arends - January 5, 2016

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January 5, 2016 9:17 am

Stunning! I love the idea of an entertaining area and a work area. We entertain a lot, and I’m always spending the first few (OK, maybe twenty) minutes that guests arrive finishing up work in the kitchen. It would be nice to have a clear area for them to hang out with a glass of wine while I can work and chat with them without anyone feeling like they’re in the way.

January 5, 2016 9:35 am

Absolutely in love with your kitchen!Those countertops are amazing and that cement tile! Love!

January 5, 2016 11:07 am

My mom always said that a clean kitchen is a sad kitchen! Haha I’m also in love with your kitchen. Everything is so amazing and cute!
girl C

January 5, 2016 1:52 pm

It’s perfect! Very crisp and clean, yet still homey! Great job!

January 5, 2016 3:12 pm

Ah beautiful. Keep your countertop messy and keep the food and wine rolling!

January 5, 2016 4:33 pm

Looks lovely, Kate! And I love how you were able to combine functional with aesthetics.

January 5, 2016 7:33 pm

Thx for the post! We also travel a ton & our building a house. Quartz seems like a great alternative to marble!


January 5, 2016 8:26 pm

Beautiful kitchen. I am envious! And obsessed with the standing wood broom and pan. Where did you get it???

January 6, 2016 1:35 pm

I’ll definitely be considering quartz whenever I get new counter tops in the future. Yours are absolutely beautiful!

January 6, 2016 2:46 pm

Kate your home is beautiful and that kitchen is WOW ! I love the counter tops and how you’ve mixed in the black/ white cabinets and that tile is perfection.


January 6, 2016 3:16 pm

Love love love!!

January 8, 2016 10:24 am

My apartment has marble, and let me say: NEVER again if I have the choice.

Carol Fox
January 8, 2016 5:17 pm

Beautiful kitchen! Would it be possible to tell who manufactured the black and brass light fixture over the kitchen table? Thank you.

January 8, 2016 5:52 pm

Your kitchen space is beautiful! Very inspiring. The color are perfect too!

Thanks for sharing, Lissa

January 8, 2016 9:27 pm

I love your kitchen, it is so perfect so calming. The color of your cabinets is really beautiful, i thought it was the same color i am getting ready to use onmine. It’s called Coos Bay Blue and i happen to live in Coos Bay so it fits. It’s such an interesting color for a kitchen because it’s very moody and cloudy too ( : Definitely my interpretation ( : Thanks for letting me peek into your home, it’s just lovely <3

January 27, 2016 11:41 pm

I dream of quartz counters! So beautiful.

Also, this post made me feel better as the only way I can keep my kitchen clean is to spend a weekend somewhere else.

February 22, 2016 2:30 pm

Love your kitchen! I’m considering the Ella countertop too and am wondering what edge profile you chose? Love the clean look of your countertop but wondering if the straight edges will be durable.

February 27, 2016 8:04 pm

I saw your kitchen on Pinterest and I am totally in love, and then much to my dismay I read we live in the same city and so I cannot, obv, say to a builder, “make me this exact kitchen” because probably you live like three blocks away and it’s like stealing your neighbor’s baby name. It’s just wrong.

[…] other stone, which is why I love using the material in my home. I partnered with Cambria for my kitchen countertops and I was really excited to incorporate one of their classic designs into my […]

[…] this look? You’ll probably also swoon over this kitchen from Wit & Delight, featuring Ella countertops and a similar design […]

[…] Combine design styles for a custom look. In her kitchen renovation, Kate Arends of Wit & Delight wanted to maximize the space and showcase her style sensibilities while still preserving the character of her home. By incorporating modern accents into a traditional design, she achieved the perfect “old-meets-new” vibe. Her new kitchen features traditional cabinetry, contemporary lighting, floating wood shelves, subway tile backsplash, and Cambria Ella. The countertops were a big decision for her remodel. “My ultimate goal was to figure out what countertops will be hardworking enough to handle all of the spills and chaos that go into… Read more »

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