Kitchen Makeover with Granite Direct Ltd

Sometimes, it takes living with a room as it is for a good few years to truly understand how it needs to work for you. We absolutely love our kitchen space, and spend the majority of our time as a family here – as well as hosting parties throughout the year. For us, we had already been through two big kitchen transformations: sanding down and painting the cabinet doors [blog post here], and installing the brick wall [blog post here]. 

However despite this, we could never get past the black granite worktops that the previous owners had chosen. There was no denying that the black granite was good quality, but it just wasn’t us. The granite had sparkly flecks running through it that made it look dirty constantly, and to cut costs it appeared that they had used two different pieces with different finishes on the edge, meaning they never looked right close up (I always tried to disguise this in photos). 

When we initially moved in, we knew we couldn’t afford to fully replace the kitchen, and so set about re-designing what we had. In our minds, the exposed brick and pale grey units were always intended to go with a light worktop – it just took us nearly 3 years to make the leap! I’m so glad we did!!

When looking for suppliers, we knew it was important to find someone we could trust to remove the old granite from underneath the bricks without damaging anything, and provide us with a stone of the highest quality that suited all of our needs. Whilst approaching stone companies direct might seem like an easier option, we were still so undecided about which stone we actually wanted, and as there are so many suppliers who make so many different variations, it made sense for us to go straight to the experts: Granite Direct Ltd

Firstly, we sent over a brief of what we were looking to achieve, alongside images of the current kitchen at different angles, and they responded straight away with ideas! In fact, they were so helpful throughout the whole process – on hand all day every day to answer our million questions (even over the weekend!). Their customer service was so good, it actually meant the whole process took only a couple of weeks from start to finish! Ideal when you are a super impatient person when it comes to any type of renovation to the house. 

When it came to choosing the stone, turns out there were even more options than we had ever imagined, but the guys at Granite Direct Ltd sent us sample after sample after sample from a range of different stone suppliers to make sure we found the one that best suited both the exposed bricks and the colour of the units. 

We were intrigued to see the difference between the composite quartz and natural marble, and Andrew at Granite Direct Ltd was more than happy to send us anything that would help make our decision easier (unfortunately for our postman who essentially had to deliver bricks every day for a week!) As beautiful as the natural marble was, Andrew explained to us how porous and not very durable it is, which for us is a massive red flag – especially as some of the stone will be placed either side of the oven, and prone to sauce splashes etc. 

That meant that we were now focussed on the composite quartz. As you can see in the image above, the variations in colour and brightness of the white, as well as the amount and darkness of the veining, made it really tricky to decide on the right one. We couldn’t go for anything too warm against the warmth of the bricks, but we also couldn’t go for anything too grey as it wouldn’t provide any contrast to the cabinets. We also knew we couldn’t go for any samples that had too much veining or too dark veining as it would look too fussy against the bricks.

Eventually, after much back and forth, we deiced on the most beautiful white quartz from Arenastone Quartz, called Bianco Montagna – the perfect shade of white, and the most gorgeous natural looking veining. 

Once we had confirmed our chosen stone to Andrew, it was all systems go! 

In less than 48hrs, we had received a quote that detailed all of the following: 
– Templating
– Fabrication and Supply of Arenastone Bianco Montagna 30mm
– Installation
– Removal and Disposal of old worktops
– Disconnect and Reconnect of sink and tap

We were amazed to see that alongside the templating and installation, they would remove and dispose of the the old granite (a huge job!!), and would also re-plumb our sink and tap! We had explained to Andrew that our current sink and tap were old and likely to need replacing, and he explained that they would be more than happy to fit the new sink and tap on the day – even when we explained that we wanted a heavier ceramic sink, which would need a shelf support, Andrew confirmed that they would happily do this for us. We immediately felt at ease, and knew straight away that we had made the right decision. 

…Just 24hrs later, Peter arrived to complete all the templating. 

Our Templating appointment…

As soon as Peter arrived, we felt like we were in safe hands. He was so professional, and talked us through the whole process so that we understood exactly why he was doing what he was doing, and how long everything would take. Our worktops are just under 6m long on one side, with the addition or a window sill (that is underneath bricks on both sides), and two edges either side of the over. In other words, there was a lot that needed templating. Once our worktops were clear, Peter covered them in the templating plastic and got to work cutting them to size: marking certain points on them that needed highlighting, adding each length down, and securing them in place with grips so he could make a start on the next piece along.

Each piece or templating plastic was marked with measurements including the upstands that had to be made to fit exactly underneath our brickslips. Peter made sure that as we needed two 3m pieces of Quartz down one side, the join between them would be centralised (which it wasn’t before), and that the upstands would follow this join to keep everything as neat and precise as possible. 

When it came to marking out the area for our new sink (a slightly different shape to the old one), we jointly decided on how we wanted the grooves to be channelled down to the sink area, and the location of the new tap. We decided to go for an undermount sink again to keep the finish as neat and streamlined as possible. We have actually wanted a Belfast sink for a long time, however this would have meant cutting our current cabinet door in half, and replacing all of the handles etc. We were happy to admit defeat on this one, and keep the sink undercounted – this way meant a new ceramic sink, with none of the added work for us – bonus! 

Before he left, Peter made a note that we would need an extra body on the day of installation to remove the amount of granite already in place, and safely (and precisely) install the length of quartz we would need. Before the end of the day, our quartz order had been placed with Arenastone Quartz, ready to be cut to size. 

One of the main things that stood out from the whole process of using Granite Direct Ltd, was the speed at which everything was processed. After our templating appointment was finished, it took just one week for the quartz to arrive, be cut to size, polished up, and ready to install! 
[photo below of our exact piece of quartz that arrived to the warehouse ready to be cut to size!]

Installation Day!

As soon as we found out the quartz was ready to be installed, we booked in the installation day – we were so excited! Years of looking at that black granite and wishing we could change it was finally coming to an end! Andrew assured me that they would be able to remove and dispose of all of the old granite, fit our new sink and tap, and install all the quartz in half a day. We were dubious, as it seemed like a lot of work to complete in just a few hours, but excited to be there to document the whole process. 

The day soon arrived, and three of the Granite Direct Ltd team turned up bright and early to start work on our kitchen. First things first, they disconnected the sink and tap (easily enough), but then had the fun job of removing the black granite. As the bricks were put on top of the upstands, they had to remove the larger bottom piece of worktop first. This was a huge job in itself, and it definitely wasn’t easy as they were extremely heavy – however the GDL team made it look effortless, and within a couple of hours (and a few hammer and chisel bashes later) the main slabs of granite were removed without causing any damage to our bricks or units at all. As we had placed the brickslips around the window sill, meaning that the window sill was now in-set in the brickslips, we assumed it would have the be broken into pieces to be removed, however the team were able to release the glue from underneath and slide it out in one piece, again not causing any damage to the brickslips at all. 

Once all of the main pieces of granite were out, the guys were able to remove the upstands and it made such a difference! For the first time, we could start to see how much of a difference it would make having a lighter colour against the bricks. It was the first time we had ever seen the kitchen this way, and it felt huge. None of the bricks were damaged, and our units were in one piece – it felt like the worst job was finally out of the way and now the exciting bit could start! 

It didn’t take long for the new quartz to be manoeuvred into position. They had been cut to perfection, and slotted into place without any issues. As our worktops were never installed level (yet another treat left to us by the previous owners), the team spent time making sure the two pieces of granite were as level as possible with each other, and assuring that the join between them would be faultless. They then made sure the upstands aligned perfectly with the join of the worktops, and it just bought everything together. They were the perfect fit underneath the bricks, and completely finished off the space – It looked so much brighter! 

Andrew was right – just a few hours later, they were completely finished.

Thankfully, we only had to wait a few hours for the silicone to set before we could start styling the space!!!! (Which was good as we were absolutely dying to get our hands on it!!!) It also gave us the perfect excuse to buy some new bits to style it, and rearrange other bits we don’t actually use. We have never really taken any notice of how we’ve styled the worktops before, as we’ve never liked them, but now the space feels like us and we are proud to style it in a way that reflects our taste. 

We could not have asked for a better company, better quartz, or quality of service from Granite Direct Ltd. They exceeded our expectations tenfold, and left our house dust free, tidying up after themselves as they went, and even hoovered our kitchen at the end. 

Everyone now comments on how truly beautiful the new worktops are – Granite Direct Ltd have finally made our kitchen feel like OUR home. 

Xx

{*Granite Direct Ltd part-gifted us the worktops in exchange for this blog post, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.}

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This post has been written in collaboration with Granite Direct Ltd. The product was part gifted in exchange for this post, however all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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