An expensive countertop can make a kitchen look predictable. We have the solution.
CHEAP + CHIC | If you were looking for a countertop material your design-loving friends would swoon over, would you pick granite, Caesarstone, another composite quartz, or marble from Carrara in Italy? These are luxurious and high-priced, but an expensive countertop doesn’t make a kitchen more interesting and could even make it look predictable. On the other hand, using an inexpensive countertop material in a creative way never looks cheap—only clever.
Right now our three favourite reasonably priced countertop materials ripe for inventive applications are Trespa, IKEA butcher block and glacier white Corian.
3 Well-Priced Kitchen Countertops
Trespa, shown above, is a composite flat panel material typically used in commercial settings as a cladding on both the inside and outside of buildings, or as worktops in science laboratories, so you know it’s tough. It can cost as little as $9.50 a square foot, one of the reasons architecture graduate Chris Greenwalt used Trespa Athlon for the countertop in the kitchen he designed for his family in Charlestown, Massachusetts, where he runs the design firm Bunker Workshop. He also chose it because it comes in sheets large enough to cover a sweeping six-by-10-foot island without a seam. Check out Chris Greenwalt and Bunker Workshop at www.bunkerworkshop.com See Trespa at www.trespa.com
IKEA butcher block is just $249 for an solid oak countertop 96 inches long and 25 inches deep, which makes it ripe for hacking—as Suzanne Dimma, editor of Canadian House & Home, and Arriz Hassam, her husband and principal at 3rd UNCLE design in Toronto, did at their getaway cottage in Haliburton, Ontario. As you can see from the image of the nearly completed space, they fastened two eight-foot lengths of countertop together to create an island with 32 square feet of work surface. More butcher block was used for the sides of the unit, giving them a contemporary waterfall edge. Organic, modern and inexpensive: brilliant! Read Suzanne Dimma’s editors blog at www.canadianhouseandhome.com Peruse IKEA butcher block at www.ikea.ca Check out 3rd UNCLE Design at www.3rduncle.com
Corian, at up to $99 a square foot, is not the cheapest countertop material around, but if you covet a solid surface material, you might want to check out “glacier white.” At $59 a square foot, this classic colour (a warmish, diffuse white), is the least expensive Corian countertop and one of the most sought after by sophisticated designers. The best thing about Corian is that no matter how you torture it (within reason), it can be restored to its original condition; plus you can create any size or configuration worktop you want without a single unsightly seam. Some people dismiss white Corian, imagining horrific permanent stains. I have this countertop in my kitchen, and I can tell you that whatever stain agent I’ve left overnight has been magically rubbed away with Vim. —C. Rule
See Corian glacier white at www.dupont.com
Photos: Greenwalt kitchen, Kate McElwee; Dimma/Hassam kitchen, courtesy Canadian House & Home; Corian kitchen, courtesy Dupont Corian.