Thursday, March 02, 2006

Shelling Out

The kitchen island has been a surprisingly affordable project up to this point. The savings have been due in large part to the salvaged wood and the free plumbing supplies and training from my neighbor Gary, and of course the top-notch labor has been free {cough}. Until today I think I was in to it for about $150 and that was for feet, brackets, trim, and assorted nails, screws, sandpaper, etc. That has all changed now that I’ve ordered the sink, faucet, and some electrical stuff. Last, and most certainly not least, will be the countertop.

I went with the copper sink here, in natural ($225), and the faucet here, in stainless steel ($107). I also needed the faceplate for the electrical outlet and garbage disposal switch, and the switch itself ($25 for both). I got those from House of Antique Hardware. The switch is push button and the cover is fancy cast brass and will match the rest of the house. I was a little bummed to see that they now offer the switch and outlet plates that I bought for the whole house a few years back in antiqued brass. Mine will have a nice patina in a 100 years or so but I don’t want to wait that long.

Another interesting thing about the faucet, today I had some time to kill so I went in to the one and only “Home Center” in the area to look at what they might offer in the way of countertop material. While I was there I strolled over to the plumbing department and saw the exact same faucet I ordered on-line last night. With shipping I paid $107 for mine. The same faucet in chrome was I think $98 on-line. They had the chrome faucet on display. It was the same manufacturer and model for - get this - $218!!! More than twice what I paid to have something delivered to my door. There is talk that a Home Depot will be opening here in the next few years. It will absolutely bury that place.

The countertop decision is this presence that follows me around like an 800 pound gorilla. My dream counter would be marble but at around $75 sq. ft. I’m looking at more than $1500 for the counter (The estimates I read about on-line says $50 to $100 sq. ft. installed). Needless to say, that’s a bit much. As a side note, I realize now a mistake I made in the design. I made the island exactly 3-feet wide. With the trim it is 37.5-inches wide. Since everything is priced by the square foot I’m probably going to have to buy a total width of 4-feet of material and then waste a lot. Had I made it 32-inches wide and then trimmed it out to 33.5-inches I could then use 36-inches of material for the width. Live and learn.

Of course there is always the cement counter idea. I’m not sure why this doesn’t just sing to me. It has all the elements I like. A solid, monolithic surface, inexpensive, a DIY project, affordable, won’t cost a lot of money….I could go on, but you get the point, it’s right up my alley. So why aren’t I jumping up and down about it? I don’t know, but I’m just not. Granite is out of the question. It is a beautiful stone but just too modern for my tastes. It also can be just as expensive as marble. I’ve been through this discussion before. Marble, slate, soapstone, granite, tile, blah, blah, blah. I absolutely dread this decision. Where the hell are those God Damned Fairies when you need them!!!

Ok, I’ve got to calm down about this. {calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean}

I was looking at tile today. Doing a nice tile countertop might be nice. One-inch or 2-inch hex tiles with a nice boarder. How bad can it be. It’s not the easiest to clean, and there is the grout lines…. Would it completely suck if I did tile?


Anonymous said...

Have you looked into marble remnants? That might be more affordable. Also, my in-laws put down some 12"x12" marble tiles (I think they were floor tiles) for a fireplace hearth. I don't know if they were real marble or not but they looked pretty real to me and I believe were fairly affordable. That might be another option. And lastly, isn't there a synthetic marble product?

Unknown said...

When I gutted my kitchen I did the backsplash and countertops in plain white 4x4 ceramic tile and a sink rail around the edge. It was an affordable option and I have been happy with the results. I staggered the grout lines so it gave it an older look and I also used black grout which means we don't have to worry about staining. It has been installed about 3 years now and the only negatives I have are - there are about 3 very small chips (on the sink rail) here and there that have happened (my wife is a klutz!)and the surface over all isnt that easy to wipe down since you have the grout lines and it's not totally smooth. We still love it and the money savings was totally worth it and we get alot of compliments on it. It looks just as nice as the day I installed it and we cook and entertain ALOT. Let me know if you'd like to see pics - I dont have any on my blog yet but I could email some to you.

Deb said...

the island will most likely become the most used space in your kitchen... a solid surface would be perfect- butcher block, man-made stone... and don't rule out the concrete idea just yet- after all, you can tint it to look like marble... i'm sure that you can add in more of the tint before it completely dries to give it the veins like in the marble. after all, it's quite cheap so if it didn't work out all you lost was a bit of time and a couple bags of rocks and dust.

Greg said...

All good points.

Probably not butcher block because the other counters are wood and I really want something that can take whatever I throw at it. The white tile with black grout is exactly what I did in my last house. I loved the way it looked but wiping off the tile was an exercise in futility, still, I like tile. Concrete – I don’t know why it bothers me. It’s still on the table at this point.

I have found 2 non-local sources of salvaged marble. Prices are around $25 to $30 a sq. ft. Marble can be cut and shaped with carbide woodworking tools. If I could get a piece shipped here for a reasonable price I could do it myself. That would be perfect. A beautiful monolithic white marble counter. Oh baby! That’s the stuff dreams are made of.