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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Countertops for the Storybook Cottage Kitchen

It’s been somewhat of a symphony of crickets here on the DTA blog.

The Fabulous Christine Dovey's kitchen.

After making it through finals I knew I had just 2 weeks before my next semester started. So I made a huge “to do” list and have been furiously making my way through it. On the top of the list was addressing the issue of our kitchen countertops. Most experts say that when you first move into a home you should live in it for a few months to a year before making any major structural or remodeling changes. I agree.

Now as a designer who did very well in the “kitchen and bath” learning portion of my interior design degree my eye instantly could see red flags when viewing our kitchen for the first time. To other eyes a first glance doesn’t look that bad…

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But on closer inspection it was revealed that granite tiles had been laid over existing laminate countertop. That’s no no #1. It’s a quick and cheap fix that in the long run can lead to a host of issues.

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The back splash was applied directly to sheetrock and when it didn’t work it was built up. Hence the reason for the super thick edge. This is particularly a bad move when done on exterior/outside walls. Moisture, mold, stability are just some of the reasons this was no no #2.

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You can also see that in the first photo the laser beam is very close to the decorative border on the left hand side...

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…but as you move further and further down the wall the laser gets lower and lower as the tiles were incorrectly placed.

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Adding insult on to major DIY kitchen injury is that several of the granite tiles were not laid level. Have you ever tried to work on an uneven countertop? It results in glasses constantly tipping over, liquids being spilled, plates and ceramic bowls being chipped whenever you mindlessly try to move then aside while cooking…

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As someone who takes pride in her work and cooks A LOT I wanted to strangle the individual who did the install by the end of the first week of moving in.

Not to mention it gave me the heebie jeebies that due to the dark pattern of the granite tile I could never tell if it was really clean or not. For someone who once spent 7 days in isolated ICU due to salmonella poisoning I am a bit finicky about my food preparation surfaces being clean and sanitary. So Mr. Décor and I were always doing a crazy clean up dance in which we would run our hands over the counter or squat down trying to capture the dirty spots in a reflective light.

The kitchen sink…well, it’s another ewww. This is as clean as I can get it due to years of stains, chips, gouges, etc.

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Of course the question is what countertop surface should we select?

My Pinterest kitchen board is filled with images of lovely marble island and food prep surfaces.

At the Beach:  An Inn That Became an Inn… That Became A House

So so pretty!

Marble Kitchens

But here’s the thing, marble is expensive. Sorry for stating the obvious.

Now marble would be a great option IF this was our end all, be all home.


Since Storybook Cottage falls more into our “next 7-8 years” home we had to think about not fun things like resale value. It’s no secret that we’ve already dumped quite a bit of money into our home just to make it safe and functional. I needed to look at other options.

So I looked into quartz countertops. Fantastic choice! Have you seen Kristin’s recent kitchen makeover?

But I just couldn’t find a color that I was REALLY in love with. Remember, we have 16 oak trees on our property that surround the house so its always a bit “dark”. I need light and bright!

White Corian countertops in Made by Girl’s kitchen.

Made By Girl: Where Did I Get That?!?! (Made By Girl)

Young House Love chose white Corian countertops after extensive research.

This kitchen made me think about what ours could be.

white Kitchen Cabinets With White Corian Countertop

As it just so happened Home Depot was having a sale on Corian, 10 off and a free integrated sink.

La Cornue CornuFe Range, Cottage, kitchen, Litchfield Designs

I haven’t quite decided on a backsplash. I do love classic subway tile.

We saved money using a standard 3x6 white subway tile from Home Depot.  Even though our backsplash tile choice was cheap, it's still a classic look and I really love the way it looks all the way up to to the ceiling behind the open shelves, and around the kitchen window.  I also really love the light grey grout we selected.  It is subtle, but really makes the tile a feature in the kitchen.

The contractor made the templates on Monday and our new countertops will be installed in about 2 weeks. So, I need to get crackin!

Do you have a countertop that you love?



Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

Laura, I'm so glad it's time to address your kitchen. As a designer myself, all of those previous owner no-nos would make me cringe, too! I love my quartz countertops, but I don't have a "dark" challenge like you do. Corian will be a great choice! As for my subway tiles... LOVE them! We made the budget-minded choice to install basic white tiles purchased off the shelf at Home Depot then dressed them up with colored grout. After 8 years, I still smile when I look at them. Will definitely go that route again in our next house. Can't wait to see how your kitchen comes together. The rest of the house looks great!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh Laura, this is going to be so pretty. I can't wait to see the new counters and backsplash. This will make such a huge difference. Loving this idea.

Auntie Em said...

Can't wait too see your finished kitchen! It is so nice to have new countertops and a new sink. And a light bright kitchen is definitely the way to go. Voice of experience here! lol
Don't wear yourself out before you start your next semester. You need a wee break with your feet up first. :)

Louise said...

Can't wait to see this. Tell Mr Decor you will ALWAYS have ti have a little glass bowl of pale pink roses on that counter

Lorrie said...

Such pretty kitchen inspirations you've shown. I'm looking forward to seeing your new countertops after installation. Bright, clean and light is the way I like kitchens, too.

Corina Taitt said...
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Corina Taitt said...

Looking forward to see what countertops you choose. I would like marble, too, but my husband is concerned because of the price, so I might have to compromise.

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I chose laminate for budget reason, as I still need to redo the whole upstairs, but quartz was my first choice and somehow I still home someday it will happen. Meanwhile, I'll get it virtually by following your renovation!

Jennifer Schmitz said...

Wow! I can't wait to see your new countertops! Your kitchen isn't bad now but its really going to be beautiful when its all said and done.

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

That's exciting. I like the product. I once gutted an old condo, and we did the integrated sink with Corian countertops. It came out really nice and clean up was easy. They used to make a Corian product for the floor and the same place received bleached "maple" floors. I look forward to seeing it. xoxo Su

Linda said...

The countertops in our home are just plain cream colored, not even sure of the substance - I guess it's some sort of laminate, but I'm fine with them. They are the countertops I choose when we had the home built. We don't really have anything fancy at our house except for our wood floors which we had put in last year at this time. The thing is, we don't live in a town where we'll ever get any of this money back on our home - houses don't sell here or if they do, they take a loss, so anything we've done to our home over the years, is stuff that we simply must have for our enjoyment and there are many things that we just leave as they are because they function and look okay. : )

Rita C. said...

Laura, Corian would be my choice for new countertops, and it may happen sooner rather than later. You go first, and let me know how you like them. ;)

Rita C. said...

Laura, Corian would be my choice for new countertops, and it may happen sooner rather than later. You go first, and let me know how you like them. ;)

Katie Mansfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie Mansfield said...

Let me try that again. We got our new counters installed last week. I'm thrilled with them. I hope you love yours and can't wait to see the reveal.