Sunday, November 8, 2009

Goodbye Blue Matrix

For the last three years or more I've been trying to figure out how to get rid of the blue laminate countertop in my kitchen.

It was an unfortunate decision of mine about fourteen years ago when we were building the kitchen on a shoestring budget. I wanted a blue and white kitchen and settled for this solid blue color formica. Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. But my indifference changed over the years to strong dislike. I take full responsibility for it too. I had been warned.

In the mean time I had my blue and white kitchen, complete with my own hand made tile back splash. It was followed by a yellow and blue "Provencal" kitchen. Now I'm in a more bold gold phase.

Over the last several years I've looked at every possibility under the sun for new countertop. I've looked at ceramic tile, concrete, Silestone and Corian. I've consulted with two different contractors and driven 100 miles to a place that sold granite slab remnants.

Finally, I found a product that looked like a compromise, both in price and ease of installation.

Grantite tiles that are 31"x 18".

"Easy" is relative, though right?

Unfortunately, after I purchased enough of this product for my kitchen, my contractor pulled out of the job. Now I had the materials but no labor.

I decided to trust my son with the job. He's a can-do kind of guy and was temporarily out of work as an electrician in this down economy that we are in. Though he had never laid tile before, Neal has done lots of jobs requiring different skills with his dad and even spent some time building houses in Hawaii so I knew that he would have the confidence to do the job. It would also be a good learning experience for him. I know he'll have occasions in the future to again use the skills he learns here.

The first phase was to re-do the island. It was a good way to learn about the handling of the materials and the finishing techniques. We decided to reduce the size of the island so that it would be the size of four whole tiles.

Neal brought along a friend and they proceeded to fling sawdust all around my kitchen.

They next covered the laminate with backer board. This gave Sammy a chance to step in and help. Doing the big boy jobs is his favorite thing in the world.

The next day Neal mixed up some mortar and started laying the tiles.

He worked like a pro.

He was meticulous with detail and finished in a few hours.

I love it.


  1. Wow!! Totally awesome! Looks fantastic! (Too bad you had to cut it down, though...)

  2. Beautiful just in time for Thanksgiving.

  3. Yes, that was the message I got across to my son. We will have at least eighteen people here and I can't have the kitchen torn up. So the rest of the countertops will be done Thanksgiving weekend while we eat leftovers. God willing and the creek don't rise...

    And Katie, I don't mind that it got cut down. It was huge before and now it's just fine.

  4. What a difference! It looks great and your son did a fantastic job.


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