Coming up Daisies
Our renovation projects always come with a fairly tight budget, but for every project, I like to have one "splurge item." It's the feature in the new room that I'm not willing to compromise on, the one thing that will really define the project. For the cottage kitchen, our splurge item was the countertop.
If you follow sites like Retrorenovation, then you know that for kitchen countertops, Formica's Boomerang pattern is the go-to choice. Wilsonart still produces the style, in a variety of colors. They're also extremely generous in sending large-size samples that you can bring into the space. I ordered several samples and was ready to be thrilled.
But the boomerang—in any color pattern—was just too noisy for our simple little cottage. Dave and I both agreed that it just didn't work. But back at Wilsonart's website, we discovered the Daisy pattern. It's definitely more "Brady Bunch" than it is "I Love Lucy," but technically, still mid-century. We only ordered one color this time, "Wintergreen Daisy." As soon as Dave and I looked at it, we both said, "Yup, that's the one."
The new cabinets form a neat "L" shape in roughly the same shape as the old cupboards. One set of metal upper cabinets went into the same spot as the old uppers, but more spacious and sturdier. And we moved the sink, a flawless, top-end model that we found at our local Re-Store for $19, to a more logical location along the short side of the "L." The countertop wasn't terribly complicated, but accuracy was still key.
Menards, that pervasive home improvement mecca of the midwest, carries Wilsonart Formica, so we measured the dimensions twice (actually, several more times) and brought our measurements there. We sat down with one of their countertop experts and walked through the online tool that would make every easy and perfect. We got all the way to the end and when it came time to choose the style and color, Wintergreen Daisy was not in the list!
After some online searching and checking with the boss, our countertop expert told us that Wintergreen Daisy is a special order product, one that the mammoth Menards doesn't carry. That was probably for the best, since the online tool didn't instill a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of the final product.
Thus, we took our project to the Top Shop in Rochester, a local countertop specialist. Dave sat down with them and they carefully walked through the dimensions, the finished edges, the overhangs, everything. They were a little apprehensive about building countertops for a kitchen that was 325 miles away, but they agreed to do it.
When Dave went to pick up the finished product, the receptionist said, "Oh, Dave Anderson. Yes, they're ready. Hang on." And she quickly went in the back, seemed to call something out, and came back. "Just drive around to the back," she said.
By the time Dave backed his truck up to the dock, almost the entire staff was waiting for him. He looked around, paused, and wondered if they always do this. Finally, one of the crew said, "We just wanted to see the person who would order these countertops."
Wintergreen Daisy is perfect. Definitely worth the splurge.