Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the things we do to get what we want

We hummed and hawwed for weeks over countertop material for the family room and mudroom cabinets. We knew what we didn't want (laminate) and I knew what I really wanted. I just had to talk Mark into it. And get a quote for everything else under the sun to see how it compared and justify the cost.My top pick was Cambria. (photo above is from the website's photo gallery, not our house) It is a natural quartz product that is completely non-porous (unlike granite) and extremely hard. It's the only quartz product made in the USA and (my favorite) the colors are more consistent (again, unlike granite or other mined stone where you can pick out your slab). And, because it's non-porous, it is resistant to stains and bacteria growth. Not a big deal in the family room or mudroom, but since we wanted the same material in the kitchen, that was very important to me. While making lasagna one weekend, I pulled out our Cambria sample (which is practically white) and put a dab of pasta sauce on it. After I got our dinner in the oven about a half hour later, I wiped it clean. No stains. Other people have tested it with fruit juice and felt tip markers with the same success.

The kicker is the cost. The granite that we chose was comparable in cost to Cambria but I wasn't feeling the love with granite. We even quoted Corian just to see where the price was at. Less expensive, but the look is so much different too. From paint to tile to cabinets, we are very lucky to have connections with industry professionals and get great discounts. Even so, we started cutting back on some other renovation expenses to start 'saving up' for Cambria countertops.
  • We saved $150 by changing the depth of our mudroom closet shelving from 20" deep to 16" deep. We didn't realize until after the fact that the extra 4" was completely unnecessary.
  • We saved over $200 by opting for a Home Depot closet organizer in our bedroom instead of Ikea.
  • We saved $150 by changing the size of our bathroom tile from 6" x 24" to 12" x 24". This savings was kind of a blessing in disguise because the 6" x 24" size was out of stock.
  • We saved over $200 by reconfiguring the sizes of the cabinets for the mudroom and master bath. We actually gained more space by going with shorter but deeper cabinets - much more versatile for all of our potential storage needs.
  • Mark carefully removed all of the old door and base trim and reused every little bit that he could because it was perfectly salvageable. Not sure how much that saved - I'm guessing several hundred dollars. No reason to put all of that wood in a landfill just to buy new trim.
Our countertops for the family room and mudroom were templated last Friday and it should be 2-3 weeks by the time they get our slabs in the shop and fabricated. No worries though. I'm glad we investigated all of our options. Plus, countertops are not holding us up from moving on with the rest of the renovation.


  1. Awesome! I really like the Cambria also. I'm so excited for you! Nice update on the savings. Makes you feel good to know you saved some money and still got what you wanted.

  2. Awesome countertops...glad to hear you got what you wanted too =) Can't wait to see them once they get in!