Our counters were white laminate and they are 47 years old. They are in pretty amazing shape for being 47 years old! There were a few chips on the edge from where the newish dishwasher was installed (prior to us). They got marked up every time someone opens a can or puts a newspaper on them. But the white laminate cleaned up perfectly with a little soft scrub with bleach.
So the laminate wasn’t terrible but I thought our kitchen could look a whole lot better with a solid surface counter top. There are a lot of counter top options and they all have their pros and cons—granite, quartz, solid surface (Corian), laminate, and there are others. Here was our thought process:
Granite—it looks nice in other people’s kitchens but it just didn’t feel right for our kitchen. I’m not a big fan of how cold and hard it feels and the shine didn’t seem right with our simple mid-century aesthetic. Plus, I didn’t want our kitchen to look like every other kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances that you see on HGTV.
Quartz—I like this a bit better than granite but at the end of the day, it’s still cold, hard, and shiny.
Corian—I never ever thought I would like Corian until I saw the Martha Stewart counter tops last year at Home Depot. It was solidified when I saw an Ikea kitchen a few weeks ago with the new Corian Private Collection, which is similar to the Martha Stewart line. I simply fell in love with the matte finish, and the directional variation is extremely similar to honed natural stone. Plus the feel wasn’t cold, which was a detractor for the granite.
Laminate—while I think laminate has come a very long way, I really wanted to upgrade beyond laminate for our kitchen. If we had to sell our home, we’re in a price level that requires a solid surface so I really view it as an investment in our home. We love our house and have no plans to ever sell, but realistically, I work in corporate America so you never know what’s going to happen.
So what did we decide on? (drum roll please…..) It’s no surprise that it’s Corian from their new Private Collection! I wanted something light to contrast with the dark cabinets. I fell in love with Corian’s Rain Cloud a while ago. It looks like marble—which is beautiful but not as durable as I wanted. Sandalwood and Witch Hazel are also stunning. Our timeline was accelerated when I saw Lowe’s had a sale on Corian’s Rain Cloud and it was marked down from $83 to $56/square foot installed!! We were thrilled!
The counter was installed by Solid Surfaces of Rochester. The entire process from ordering the counter at Lowes to template to install took about 4 weeks. A free sink was available but I wasn't happy with it. Our vintage sink was HUGE and we wanted something more modern than the free ones we had to choose from. We ended up ordering a new sink from Overstock.com--it's a Vigo undermount. They sell the same one at Lowes but I got the one from overstock for $100 less and in 3 days. I love the modern look of the undermount and the zero radius corners.
The install took about 4 hours. The guys did a good job and I was happy with their workmanship. There are 3 seams in our kitchen but you can't see them. 2 of the seams were created at the fabricators and one was created during install. It's amazing how they are able to make Corian appear seamless. This was one of the things I loved about solid surfaces.
The other nice thing is that we were able to keep our original subway tile. One broke when the guys were tearing out the old counters but we actually had extras that the previous owners left us so it was easily replaced.
Next up--removing old drapes, removing old wallpaper, paint--ceiling trim, and walls.