City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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My Single Biggest Kitchen Makeover Regret

What’s really sad is that I knew better. This was not my first kitchen design, far from it. But I made the fatal mistake that separates the pros from the rookies – choosing beauty over function. In my case, it was selecting the worst countertop material for a busy kitchen.


Looks like marble, doesn’t it? I wish it were. Instead, it’s onyx. Yes, my kitchen counter, which is in a space that sees a lot of activity, is made from a gemstone — one considered fragile.

Onyx counter 049

And while you note the translucent nature of the semi-precious stone, a relative of agate, notice the chipped edges in the foreground of the sink photo below.

The slightest bang from a pot, and there goes a piece of onyx.
This stone is far too expensive to end up down the drain. Literally.

What sets onyx apart from other stone countertops is that it absorbs natural or artificial light, causing it to glow. But purposely lighting it also gives onyx a flashy look, as in this kitchen.


I wasn’t going for flash, just a dressy stone counter that has some specific white and gray tones with plenty of movement.

Onyx counter 029

Sure, it looks great, so what’s the problem with onyx countertops in the kitchen? Plenty.

Unlike granite, which is extremely dense and practically impervious to dings, stains and etching, which dulls the finish when it comes in contact with acid — think citrus juices, tomatoes and even some natural cleaners — onyx easily cracks, stains and etches.

Yes, I’m that obnoxious person always sliding a coaster under my guests’ drink glasses, and hovering over their every move in the kitchen, passing out cocktail napkins for each morsel of cheese, and nearly hyperventilating when they want to squeeze their own lime or lemon wedges. Do these philistines not know what happens when a squirt of lime lands on onyx?

I admit it, I’m no fun at my own cocktail parties.

Blame it on the saleswoman who, when I questioned its fragile nature, told me that onyx has been around for thousands of years, so there’s nothing to worry about having it in a kitchen — as long as I was careful. The slab was so beautiful that I think I wanted to be led astray.

But, I have to admit that this is the most gorgeous countertop I’ve ever had. But, when it’s time to do it again, I’ll never choose onyx, and I hope you won’t either, no matter how tempted you might be by its sheer beauty.

Onyx counter 007

If you want some ideas on which countertop materials are best suited to your needs, check out this guide.

Do you have a remodel regret? Please share. I hate being alone in this. Send your photographs to or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #AJCdiy. We’d love to see your ideas.

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