Although it was exciting to have a blank slate, it was a tough decision to choose the material of the new counter. We wanted the look and feel to reflect the informality of a cottage kitchen, but match the Victorian vibe of the house overall. I also wanted the counter to be made from a slab that was one whole piece to create a solid feel.
Granite? Too trendy. Also, too cold. Butcherblock? Too much potential for mold/funkiness. Tile? Maybe.. but it was so satisfying to rip out the old tile, it didn't feel like a good permanent solution. Concrete was also in the running, but of course the artisanal, locally-produced concrete we wanted runs upwards of $4,000 for our modest kitchen.
The solution turned out to be PaperStone, a composite of recycled paper and nut resins. It's eco-friendly, warm to the touch, and comes in giant 5x12 sheets that are cut to fit with minimal seams. Plus, the installer can create custom beveled edges and grooves. The friendly folks at the Alternative Building Center in Eureka hooked us up.
A new range, sink, and faucet were also part of the renovation. A lucky trip through the Sears appliance section yielded a stainless steel Bosch gas range that someone had returned. The $1,100 range was ours for $450. Score! Thanks to Overstock.com, a new stainless steel sink and sweet Grohe faucet were also in the works.
With the fugly tile, backerboard, and mysterious 2/3 switchplates removed, we were ready for our countertop guy to get cracking on the Paperstone.