To-Do List: Countertops

While I'm not looking to build an award-winning (read: budget-busting) kitchen, I still wanted something other than cheap laminate countertops. I evaluated a number of options before arriving at my choice.

Option One: Concrete

I'd made this choice quite some time ago, before the house had even taken shape. But I hadn't done any research into concrete countertops, and when I finally did, I had to strike it off the list. It's more costly than I'd expected; it's all custom-fabricated using a complex process; and it's porous, so it requires sealing every 2-3 years, which is waaay more maintenance than I'd prefer.


Option Two: Quartz

This option had the appeal of being one of the most durable. But to demonstrate how ignorant I was about countertops, I thought this was a natural material closely related to granite, since the mineral quartz is a large component of granite. Turns out it's manmade and, ironically, one of the more expensive options available.


Option Three: Granite

Of the options I'd considered, granite was the least appealing, mostly because it tends to be a very "busy-looking" material, with wide variations in color and pattern, whereas I wanted something much more neutral or "bland," even though granite was one of the cheaper options I considered. Its popularity only added to my disdain for the material: I'm not one to follow trends.


Option Four: Stainless Steel

During my research into countertops, by pure chance I stumbled across an option I'd never considered: stainless steel. It's not especially popular because it tends to look "industrial" or "commercial." But such a look is actually appealing to me, and the stainless appliances would blend in perfectly. What wasn't appealing was the price: it was the most costly option on my list, even as a DIY project, as opposed to custom-fabricated, which I wouldn't have even bothered to price. (Hint: There are only two sources for it on the East coast, NYC and Philly.)


Option Five: Ceramic TileóWinner

While reviewing photos of my favorite architect's home, I spotted something I'd overlooked before: the countertops are ceramic tile, edged with wood (right). The effect was quite pleasing, and I immediately thought, "I can absolutely do that!" Even better, it would be the most economical option by a wide margin. So, this became my choice.

Ultimately I didn't choose ceramic tile; it's instead two shades of grey mosaic tile imported from Spain that's made from recycled glass (below). All of the countertops were finished by 31 October 2019 (bottom).



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