Kitchen Countertop Options: Pros + Cons

March 26th, 2014

We’ve been doing a lot of research lately on countertops since the fixer we’re buying has 25 year old Formica tops in the kitchen which will need replaced – more details on the house coming soon! Seven years ago when we were choosing countertops for our own kitchen I exhausted myself researching all the choices that were on the market and finally settled on a marble countertop + wood on the island combo. I’ve never regretted it, I’ve loved those choices ever since. But seven years have passed and much has changed in the world of kitchen countertops.

We have other kinds of countertops in our home, white laminate in the laundry room, wood in the hall bathroom, and modern cultured marble in the master bathroom. All have performed well based on our expectations (images here). Innovation is inevitable, trends come and go, so the decision as to which countertop to choose in a kitchen remodel requires much consideration. Let’s start with a classic favorite.

Marble

Marble will never go out of style so for the price you pay, you do get the “timeless” label with the investment. Always elegant, it complements both Old World and modern kitchens equally; for bakers it’s a favorite, no surface is better for pies and pastries.

marble kitchen countertops

better homes & gardens

Properly sealed marble cleans up easily with a mild cleanser and cloth. Marble can stain so it must be sealed, and since it’s softer than granite, it can chip easily (we’ve suffered several small chips around our kitchen sink).

emprador marble kitchen countertops

christopher gaona

Any acidic food like citrus can etch the surface or leave white stains. There are two varieties of gray and white Italian marble that are similar in appearance, both milky white with gray veining, and they are Carrara and Calacatta. Carrara has more delicate, lighter veining; Calacatta is a rarer, pricier stone and has bolder more defined strokes, yet both are a desirable luxury stone. Calacatta Gold and Crema Marfil marbles have brown or gold veins and offer homeowners warmer tones. Prices vary between $40 and $250 per square foot based on the type of marble chosen.

 

Wood

Wood countertops are having a moment in the spotlight right now with butcher block being so affordable from sources like IKEA and many bloggers installing natural and stained versions in their kitchens. Wood countertops are higher maintenance than stone, they require sealing with various natural products like beeswax or mineral oil, or waterproof varnishes like Waterlox.

bhg wood kitchen island countertop

better homes & gardens

Wood countertops cannot withstand heat which requires the consistent use of hot pads or trivets. Water spills or rings can leave permanent marks if moisture is left too long, but they have classic appeal and add a warmth that no other countertop can compete with, especially in traditional, craftsman, or cottage style homes.

 

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Beautiful Bedding Giveaway

March 25th, 2014

Rainy day greetings friends… Today I’m hosting a great giveaway from a favorite bedding company Crane & Canopy, a San Francisco based bedding brand that delivers high quality beautifully designed bedding, duvet covers and sheets, without the department store markup. All their bedding is 300+ thread count and made from extra-long staple cotton.

I love the entire Linden collection, the Monaco blue and coral borders are so chic! There are several other stylish patterns and colorways to choose from, I so love their embroidered sheet sets, don’t miss their decorative throw blankets and pillows too! With their signature duvet, they’ve made bed making easier by combining a top sheet and the duvet cover for the look of a perfectly made bed in just one fluff every morning.

crane and canopy bedding

Crane & Canopy is offering three winners a $75 shop credit!

Eligibility to be one of three winners:

1) Visit Crane & Canopy and pick a favorite item then name it in a comment on this blog post.

2) For a second chance to win, share this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook, then leave a second comment telling where you linked (Twitter or FB).

Three winners chosen at random, giveaway ends Saturday March 29, 2014 at midnight PST. By entering this giveaway, you agree to this site’s giveaway policy and Official Rules of Entry.

Good luck!

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Built-In Banquette, Part One

March 24th, 2014

I was having coffee with our pastor’s wife a few months ago in their home, we were talking about all of of her plans for fixing up the house on a very limited budget. (Out of respect for their privacy I can’t share her name but let’s just call her “Carrie”.) She shared that the biggest dream of hers was to install a built in wrap around bench in their U shaped breakfast nook for their family of six and cozy it up with cushions and pillows. I wholeheartedly agreed that a banquette would be perfection!

We started scheming how to make it happen and a few weeks later she called me in excitement to tell me they were going to build it in a shop with a carpenter friend who’s also member of the congregation. He guided them from start to finish on the build. Six weeks passed as the bench slowly took shape over time and I’m so excited to share the first phase. Let’s call it a “before” and “during” because there are many more details to come … 

empty nook

 

built in bench in nook

 

The pieces for this built in banquette were constructed in this order: first the three boxes then the face frame, next the drawers, drawer fronts, and finally the top.

boxes and drawers in shop

   

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