Sunday, March 30, 2008

Faux Stone

If you've been reading my posts, you know that I didn't start building this house with a budget. I've had to consider (and make some compromises in building materials) along the way, but I now believe that all of these variations from my original ideas have resulted in a house that will better serve me rather than vice versa.

In the kitchen, I had decided to go with Corian for the counter tops, but when I started working out the details with Cindy Miller of Empire Baths & Kitchens, she strongly urged me to reconsider. Her concern was with the fact that I wanted dark counters (to blend in, even recede) in the design. She explained that Corian actually scratches and cuts fairly easily, and she believed that CaesarStone would be less expensive. Was I surprised? You bet. I've known about CaesarStone for a few years. It's a manufactured stone that's make with quartz and looks very "real."

As it turned out, she was right, and the resulting installation is beautiful. I went with a polished surface, because I like the glow and feel that they look really clean with a quick wipe. The design of the kitchen also called for back splashes behind both the stove and the sink. Here, I really wanted the material to have the look of real stone, because the back splashes are very prominent. Behind the stove it rises to just over six feet where it meets the vent hood, and behind the sink it rises to meet the first open shelf.

I chose a color of CaesarStone called Raven. It's very dark, but not severely black. I wish my photos had more detail because the material has a pleasing lightly mottled appearance, almost like fossilized remains in real stone.

For the sink I chose Kohler's simple farmhouse style. With limited space I think your one sink needs to be deep and generous in size. You can pile it with dirty dishes as well as dump in a basket of garden vegetables that need to be washed. Counter to what most people would expect in a farmhouse like mine, I chose Kohler's modern Simplice faucet. I like the bold, clean almost pipe-like shape and the easy to use single lever water control. Another unplanned surprise that I've become addicted to is the retractable spray nozzle that comes right out of the faucet. It's efficient and makes clean-up extremely easy.

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