DIY Renovation: Thousands of Choices - One Countertop
As you may know if you've read some of my earlier posts, my loving, amazing, gem of a man and I are embarking on probably the biggest project either of us has ever taken on: renovating our entire home, inside and out. Happily, the tears and frustration have been primarily limited to my need to have a schedule (see post DIY Renovation Planning). Once we got our schedule up on our wall (where it will remain until the wall comes down), I have been much happier and we are steadily moving forward along our timeline!
For those of you who are planners, or designers, you know the importance of making product selections early. Like 3-4 months early. This way we ensure that product is available and ready when we need to implement it into the project. To that end, we are making progress. We've just about agreed on the kitchen's basic elements and design, we have selected the tile for our downstairs bathroom shower and, thankfully, we have finally, after staring at many walls covered in samples and trudging to supplier after supplier after coffee shop, er, I mean supplier, found one we both love!
How To Select A Countertop
I cannot say this process was easy. And while I would love to say it's easy for designers and here's how to make it easy, it isn't. I will say this: selecting a stone countertop (granite or quartz) is far easier than selecting a laminate countertop. And I believe the reason is this: there are far less options in stone than in laminate. We spent hours staring at walls like this:
Feel like your eyes are blurry? Yep, that's how we felt after about the fourth supplier. Here's how we finally figured out what we really loved, would be able to design around and would be excited to look at day in and day out:
We Bought A Slab
By far one of the most difficult things about choosing a laminate is that the samples are so small. For most individuals, the tiny 1.5"x2.5" pieces are like imagining a dress by looking at the hemline. It doesn't give you a sense of how it will look when it's all grown up and living on, in our case, 16 square feet of our kitchenette. There are three ways to alleviate this problem:
- Pick up as many of the little samples as you possibly can and place them all together to get a better picture.
- Go online and see if you can find installed images of the sample in question - sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.
- Buy a ready-made slab that is standing proudly in the store.
We went through steps 1 and 2 a number of times and we had found an option we both loved but then couldn't seem to find it in the length we needed. Imagine my disappointment at having to start all over again. However, in looking again, we turned over every slab 8' long or longer in every store we went to to see what we would see. And low and behold, we found her!!
I Call Her Bessie
Well, I'll call her a number of things depending on the situation. I call her heavy when we're moving her, beautiful when we're looking at her, and Bessie when I'm talking with you! Here's what we loved about Bessie:
Bessie had all the elements we were after. She's got some lighter tones, even into cream running through; she also has colours that are more to the medium-dark end of the spectrum (something I wanted to see to help give our space a bit of a grounding element and allow us a greater selection when choosing a backsplash). She has a little bit of texture, enough to keep a plate from sliding away but not so much that everything gets stuck in it. And, she has a beautiful movement in her pattern.
And the best part? We could take her home immediately! So now Bessie is resting comfortably in our basement, propped and weighted to straighten her out - she is a little bowed from standing so proudly in the store - and soon she will be trimmed up and installed into our kitchenette!
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