Archive for November, 2007

Hunting For Granite For Our Kitchen Remodel

Do you ever feel like there are too many options in the world? If so, DO NOT attempt to pick out new counters. Or just make sure you’ve got a wifey with extensive internet research skills. (And if you don’t, hands off – this one’s mine).

Here’s what I learned from Sherry’s quick crash course. Laminate and marble were immediately out of the question. We already had laminate and wanted to upgrade to something more natural and less plastic-y. And as gorgeous as carrera marble can be (we loved it in our inspiration kitchen), it eliminated itself from the mix thanks to being much too expensive (about $100 a square foot) and not nearly as durable or stain resistant as other alternatives out there. We learned that granite could also pose issues with staining and durability, so we decided to look into solid surface options that we didn’t even know existed a month ago- like Quartz, Silestone, and Corian.

Sherry was excited about some of those products, like DuPont’s Zodiaq because she learned that there were now more natural looking color options – giving you the durability and consistency of manufactured materials, but the look of real stone (like granite or marble). But once we viewed the options in person, we were pretty underwhelmed by what we saw. All of the ones in our light color palette – even most of the Zodiaq options – still looked and felt too synthetic and plastic-y, more like a laminate than an actual stone slab. And while some of the darker samples looked better, we needed something light to keep our small kitchen from closing in on us. Needless to say, we didn’t find a single option that decently pulled of the white and gray look of carrera marble. Not even close.

Blanc NoirWhat we did find was this: Stonemark Granite’s Blanc Noir. It was light, but not all white (Nancy, our kitchen designer, taught us that white cabinets + white countertops = blah). And Nancy also calmed all our fears about granite, pointing out that Stonemark Granite has some new technology that prevents stains for 15 years, and never needs resealing (where other granite slabs need annual sealing- a costly and annoying thing to have to do every 365 days). And lucky for us, this color was in the cheapest – excuse me – least expensive granite category, making it no more than some of the fake stone (solid surface) options out there. Victory.

So, we officially fell in love… and as of two weeks ago officially purchased it. Now we just gotta get those darn cabinets delivered and installed.

PS: Stonemark Granite is only available at Home Depot (point HD), but I’d recommend Lowe’s website for a good pro/con list for the different counter materials (point Lowe’s). That’s for those of you without a Sherry or a Nancy at your disposal.

Image courtesy of Stonemark



Finding The Perfect Pendant For Over The Sink

In the interest of full disclosure, I might have a minor to moderate lighting obsession. So I couldn’t wait to show you my latest lighting purchase. She’s a sleek seeded glass pendant lamp- perfect for over the sink. The rest of the overhead lights are going to be recessed, but she’ll be a nice little accent fixture to shed light on our gorgeous new faucet, eh?

West Elm light

We got her at West Elm for 99 beans (actually less cause we had a gift card- thanks Emily!) and couldn’t be happier with our choice. She’s not too out there (we thought a big chrome lamp might be too loud in front of the window above the sink, so we were looking for something more subtle) and the seeded glass ads a bit of texture and interest.

The funny thing is that I sent a photo of this fixture to John a couple weeks ago thinking he’d love it and he thought it was “weird.” But when he saw it in the store he saddled up to it and said “what about something like this for over the sink?” After gently reminding him that I’d sent him a photo of it earlier and he had dismissed it, he mumbled something about it looking different in person and then quickly got in line to snag one of the last ones in the store.

Now she’s just sitting in her box on the floor of our kitchen (along with the other pendant lamp we got for over the dining table) until I can get an electrician to come out and get everything hooked up. A renovator’s work is never done.

Image courtesy of West Elm