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Countertops for Midcentury remodel

by Steven Herbert last modified Jan 03, 2006 03:07 PM
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Countertops for Midcentury remodel

Posted by Steven Herbert at December 23. 2005

I'm getting ready to begin a remodel on a midcentury designed house that is in a lower end but central austin neighborhood. The remodel will land it squarely on the high end for the area, though.

I'm updating the home with modern kitchen cabinets and need a counter that says sophisticated modern, but says it less expensively than the 50/square foot that they want for Granite or Silestone. I'll go that route for lack of a better option, but I'd need to do it at the lowest price possible.

Does anyone know where I can get something that has a similar look for less, or a good place to get Granite at the lowest price. Formica is too cheap IMHO, and I'm not loving tile at the moment.


Steve Herbert

Re: Countertops for Midcentury remodel

Posted by Mark Meyer at December 29. 2005

That is a tough one, especially if formica is out. Silestone or Avonite are probably your best bet if you want a solid surface material. I'd pick Avonite over the Silestone though, as it has more of a translucent look to it. It is similar to Silestone in that it is a quartz/resin compound.

Have you considered formica over exposed 3/4" baltic birch (double up the 3/4" at the exposed edge or a 1 1/2" exposure)? It looks far better than formica edged counters as the formica is used as a surface covering and not trying to hide the substrate. You'll find a similar loook in a few MCM furniture peices designed by the Eames'.

The above image is from Kerf design and show what I'm talking about.

Tell us more about your project!! Where are you located? Who's doing the design and construction? We are interested...

Mark Meyer

Re: Countertops for Midcentury remodel

Posted by paul schuster at December 29. 2005

FWIW, it's hard to beat home depot's price on silestone and granite. I prefer silestone and just had it installed in my kitchen. it inclided two large L sections and a bar top for $2100. that was just $39 per sq ft, not even the basic low end silestone.

but I think what you might be looking for was a product that used to go by the name of RICHSTONE. it was a green material that was workable w/ commonn wood working tools but had similar properties as stone. like the materials on biology class desks in the 80's.

this stuff used to be very affordable but they got bought out by the big players and suddnely their product became priced as as the other options and was a dealer install only.

YET, try ecodepot...... jeez its hard to type this late at night,,,,,, but that;s neither here nor there... try this link for what they call paperstone

(a default expert at demolition)

Re: Countertops for Midcentury remodel

Posted by Steven Herbert at January 02. 2006

Hey Mark-

Thanks for the great advice. I've seen that furniture by Kerf and really liked it. Is it Birch or Plywood in that Kerf picture? I had previously assumed it was some kind of plywood. You are right that it's actually a pretty cool look. If I knew where to get some, I'd consider it. On the other hand, I just found this site which has Granite at $38 and $42 per square foot, which is less than I recall paying for the Silestone in my own house (which I really like). I'm thinking of buying some Maple Butcher block to put on a section of the counter on the back side that sits between the fridge and stove, which will reduce my expense somewhat and provide a cool looking and handy workspace.

As for my project, it's in the Highland neighborhood north of St. John on Crestland. We start this week. I'm attaching a picture of the front of the house. We are gutting and remodeling both bathrooms and the kitchen, putting in wood floors, new roof, new electrical, new doors and sliding closet doors, new canned lights, knocking out a 4th bedroom to make room for larger living space, adding a pantry, and either restoring or replacing windows as needed. There will also be some work done to create modern slatted fence in the front, as well as some landscaping. The design concept is primarily my own, and I'm working with my sister who is an interior architectural designer out of Chicago.

Thus far, I'm having a great time, but keeping the project on budget is extremely tough. We begin work this week. I'm worried about not being able to save the casement windows. I really want to keep those to maintain the midcentury look of the house. If you know of people that can refurbish these older windows, I'd appreciate the referral.



Re: Countertops for Midcentury remodel

Posted by Mark Meyer at January 03. 2006

Ha! I know that house. I had some clients that were looking to buy it to renovate as well. I think your winning bid was a few grand more than their's. It is a cool house. I'm working on a renovation right now, turning a concrete block bungalow into a house that has very similar lines to this (an Eichler-Like-ler as I heard someone else say) We are using a panelized roof system that is allowing us to have a finished ceiling, insulation, structure, and roof decking all in one go.

We actually got rid of the original steel casement windows, as the clients HATED them due to their inherent drafty-ness. You CAN get them refurbished, but you'll probably have to source out all of the seperate jobs, and cart the window frames all over town. You'll want to pull them out (carefully), remove all of the glass and putty (saving the clips if you can) and take them to get bead-blasted down to bare metal again. Then any rust eaten areas can be repaired with bondo, primed, painted, and have glass re-set. You can istall them with the galss in place or install glass after fram install. You may have trouble with the cranks, as many that I've seen are comletely stripped. I've never tried to source replacement gears, but I imgine it would be possible.

BTW, have you had the foundation checked out and levelled? That area is notorious for clay-ey soils and heaving and settling of concrete foundations. I can't remember how plumb and level everything looke during my 3 minute walk-around, but it can't hurt to have it checked out professionally before you get into the other stuff.


Re: Countertops for Midcentury remodel

Posted by Steven Herbert at January 03. 2006

I'm a Realtor myself, but I am actively pursuing remodeling modern residences as a business. Maybe we should talk about collaborative possibilities.

The windows on that house are in bad shape as far as both looks and appearance. I spoke with Alamo glass about fixing the hinges and they seemed to think it was pretty easily doable. They were quoting me 50 bucks a window to fix the hinge, replace broken glass, and reputty properly. Then, I'd just paint. I hadn't considered what you were saying about taking the whole window out and having it blasted. That sounds terribly expensive, and I'm wondering if replacement of the bottom (broken) portion would be more cost effective. If I'm just going to paint over the metal, wouldn't sanding off the crappy paint and rust work?

I talked with someone from Windowwerks today about custom making an awning window to replace the lower portion. It would be single pane aluminum frame, but thicker than the original, which wouldn't be an issue since the top part is just fixed glass. If I do that, I don't have to worry about fixing the broken hinges on the bottom windows, which are almost all busted. He suggested to me that just the bottom window would be about 150 minimum each.

The most expensive option is to replace the whole window, both upper and lower with new double pane windows. I'm reluctant for cost reasons, but also for looks reasons. Do you know of a good window supplier with reasonably priced product that will retain the 50's or at least present a clean, modern look?

I like the sound of that paneling system for the roof. What's the cost on something like that? I'm getting the roof reshingled and new canned lights put in, but that's about it. Sounds like your option might provide better energy efficiency. I have to be really cost conscious on this flip, because the high end is only so high...


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