An Old Snob Has A Change Of Heart Over Laminate Products

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hehe… Let’s dish, about laminate Laurel. And who’s the old snob?

 

Uhhhhhhhh… the old snob is me.

Tomorrow, I will officially be old enough to collect social security.

Huh???

Not that I’m going to, because it’s a crappy deal, but the point is that I’m old enough. (and no, that is absolutely not a ploy to get more wonderful birthday wishes. Thank you so much !)

 

But back to the snobbery over laminate.

 

It’s not that I think that I’m above using laminate.

 

For years on end, I couldn’t afford as much as a scrap of it from the trash heap. So, I made do with the genuinely horrible laminate countertops our townhouse was born with.

Oh, and the laminate cabinets. With the hideous wood trim on the bottom.

Alas, it’s a snobbery born of ignorance, I’m afraid.

I never really looked into it– until recently.

However; I’m required to write about all of the sponsors of the Modenus KBIS Blog Tour— no matter what. They are not paying me, but the trip was 95% free which is awfully nice.

Mouldings- no problem. I’m a classical girl.  And the unkitchen girl. Anyone who’s read this blog for at least a year knows that! And it’s not that I don’t also like some great classic contemporary designs, because I do.

But, in all honesty, the Wilsonart showroom at KBIS is a tough sell for me.

And here is why.

When I think back on it, all I see is–

gray.

and brown.

gray

and brown

gray

and brown

and…

And the lighting OY!!! We’ve been through this and I’m sure that it’s not Wilsonart’s fault. But the lighting at the Orange County Convention Center, in particular is a red-hot-poker-straight through the cornea into a migraine even if you never get migraines. But, unless the vendors work very hard, it is like that in a lot of the booths.

Here, I’ll show you.

It’s those damned LED lights. I’m not a fan; not of these kind, anyway.

Still, I’m going away as stated in last Sunday’s post and with a deadline, looming, needed to suck it up and do the post.

And I know… the people at Wilsonart are probably having a massive stroke reading my review of their booth at KBIS. But if I’m not honest, you guys are going to see right through it and that’s no good.

 

But please don’t worry. I’ll stop complaining because while the booth sucks, the products, themselves, are an entirely different matter.

 

They don’t suck at all. In fact, if I thought that they did, I would’ve buried my obligatory mention inside another post and that would’ve been that.

But no. Wilsonart gets their very own post because the truth is, after hours of research, in the quiet solitude of my home, lying serenely on my Serena and Lily Harbour Cane bed, fan blowing softly (24-7), I’m truly convinced of Wilsonart’s awesomeness in their innovation and myriad of engineered surfaces that are as beautiful as they are practical!

 

So, let’s jump in because there’s a lot to cover. And I do hope for the rest of you hardened “surface snobs”, that you may never look at a laminate product in the same way again when I’m through with my coverage.

 

And, it’s vast. Too vast for me to go into great detail about everything. So, I am going to try to focus on the products that truly butter my biscuits. However, in every product line, there’s something that I love.

And that’s the point. There’s something for everyone.

First of all, if one thinks that all that Wilsonart makes is laminate counters, they would be mistaken.

Not only that, but they also have a beautiful line of quartz, cabinet doors, floors, and wall surfaces. And more!

They have hundreds of products and not everything is brown and gray. Far from it!

And did I mention the cabinet doors? You can reface that tired kitchen in one of their beautiful finishes.

 

Let’s begin with their little visualization tool.

 

Oh dear. Remember the last time we did that?

With the encaustic cement floors?

Well, this is the same idea only you can change the counters, cabinets, walls and floor.

Oh dear, is right!

How dare they have this insanely addictive gadget on their site??? ;]

Don’t they know that we have WORK to do?

People sometimes get the impression that I’m quite disciplined. Really?

Well, it’s time we set the record straight. I have absolutely NO discipline. I spent all day yesterday playing with this thing. All day! Okay, fine. This IS my work. But ALL DAY? And for about two hours today, too! That’s how much fun it is!

Each of the designs has a choice of cabinet, wall, counter and floor. In some cases, the wall is only a solid and in others, a choice of hundreds of patterns!

I want to share with you a few of the laminate and engineered surfaces designs I created and a couple of tips for using the visualizer.

But… before I do that…

 

Let’s take a look at some things I saw at the KBIS show.

 


Hate scrubbing grout in your steam or regular shower?

 

We were just discussing this!

Well, Wilsonart purchased Wetwall;   well, at least that’s what I read. So, what’s goin on here? The deal is that these are actually laminate panels that can be applied very easily in your shower or bath– Even over existing tile. How does that sound?

For more info, please read the image below. :]

How many different designs are there for showers? I’m not sure, to tell the truth. Despite my best efforts, I could not find that info on their website. But that’s just how new this wonderful technology is.

Here’s another one for you. I bet that you didn’t realize that Wilsonart carries natural stone, did you?

Well, you’re right. They don’t.

 

This my friends is LAMINATE.

 

Where’s the ugly black line, you ask?

I know! It’s too awesome for words! This is the new laminate. This is not your mother’s laminate. Or even *my* laminate since I’m probably old enough now to be your mother. Well, some of you! Tell, me that’s not cool. And BTW, just like natural stone, it is slightly cool to the touch and is as smooth as silk.

I love the textures on this contemporary island. Wilsonart makes laminates specifically for end pieces, like the sides of doors as well as big sheets.

 

wilsonart pantry vignette laminate

A laminate vignette for a pantry or bar area. Please note that I put this image into a heavy edit to warm up the lighting.

And I love these doors that are new at Wilsonart. You can get either brand new doors or the parts to cover existing doors. I believe that this is the same material that is also available in sheets for ends, etc.

Oh, those shadows. See what I mean? Presentation is everything!

But they more than make up for it with their visualizer app. I probably created 50 different kitchens and baths. Hahaha!

sick.

 

gray kitchen-cabinets-butcher-block-countertops-cost-lowes-wood-countertops-diy-rustic-wood-countertops-pantry-kitchen-cabinets looks like Wilsonart laminate counters and cabinet doors

It’s difficult to find kitchens I like using their products, but this is one that looks like it could be from their products or very close. (Source unknown.)

Let’s take a look at the Wilsonart Visualization app and what it can do!

 

This is their kitchen. No comment ;] I guess we all know how I feel about granite by now.(even faux granite)

This is one of the rooms in the app where the wall can only be a plain color. And this is pretty darned good for a computer generated image. It’s a great app. Wait until you see!

 

Let’s take a look to see what can be done using only Wilsonart laminate and solid surface products. The rest of the images are my creation using their app.

 

That’s better! Well, I think so.

There are different edges available for the counters, but I think that for all of these, I just used the plain square edge. I love the way the wood laminate warms up the room. And Wilsonart’s wood laminates are awesome!

Here are some images from last year and you can see some of the wood finishes. There are dozens from rustic to quite refined.

 

Wilsonart laminate counters, cabinet doors, kitchen floor, backsplash- product visualizer- light blue-green walls

Okay, please forgive me, but there are only a few things that get my eyes all knotted up. I guess that we all have them. One of them is when people spell “mantel” (like fireplace mantel) as MANTLE. That is a different word. It is MANTEL. Thank you.

The other is when they mess up the name of this marble. “Calacatta” and they call it Calcutta, like it’s from India. It’s not. It’s Calacatta which is from one quarry in Italy.

That’s what they did here. There is no such marble as Calcutta. And I hope that doesn’t make me sound too much like a condescending fool, but my aim is solely to not perpetuate the inaccuracy.

Calacatta is a relatively rare marble and that makes it quite expensive.

The other thing is that this laminate is very pretty but it looks more like Carrara to me. But, no matter, I’m liking this kitchen too! Carrara is the first cousin to Calacatta. And to further confuse the issue, Wilsonart does have a pattern they call Calacatta which is quite gold. I will allow them this artistic license, however.

I think that it’s quite handsome with the loden green walls.

Wilsonart laminate counters, cabinet doors, kitchen floor, backsplash- product visualizer wood floor

And I went back to the light blue-green and tried it with a wood laminate wood floor. This is going to be a tough decision! And even if you’re using a real hardwood floor, it’s terrific to be able to compare how it would look with other floor options.

Wilsonart laminate counters, cabinet doors, kitchen floor, backsplash- product visualizer loden green

This one is nice, but not my favorite. Plus, we would most likely have a tile backsplash.

Wilsonart laminate counters, cabinet doors, kitchen floor, backsplash- product visualizer black counter

I thought it would fun to try a soft black countertop.

By the way, this countertop is a smudge resistant product.

 

Wilsonart Laminate Kitchen number two

 

This is their version of the kitchen. And with this one, there is a huge choice for the backsplash material. Plus one can do two different materials for the upper and lower cabinets.

 

Too much fun!!!

 

The first thing I did was change the counters and backsplash to the Calcutta. (Calacatta) :]

 

And then I messed around with a bunch of different variations on a theme.

I’m very much loving the lower blue cabinets.

 

This is a surprisingly beautiful pattern for the backsplash.

I wish that they had done something in this for the show.

I guess what I’m saying is that I wish that at least one of their vignettes was more traditional.

 

But I do love these classic contemporary kitchens too.

 

The visualizer did not give an option to change the center cabinet to something different from the shelves. If so, it could be the same as the bottom and just have the shelves be wood.

 

Blue and white looks fresh. I’m not sure if I would choose this one, however.

Wilsonart laminate products

You can also save your products, (from the scene above) by clicking on the square icon at the top of your screen. (see below)

wilsonart visualizer app

And on the left. You have to play with it. But to see more product, click on VIRTUAL DESIGN LIBRARY.

This one’s pretty interesting.

Isn’t it great that we can see mistakes made before we make them? lol

That’s better. But, I’m not so sure if I would do a chevron no matter.

 

We discussed this trend way back.

 

For more interior decorating trends you might regret click here

 

This is a sleek, contemporary look. It does look a little stark; however, it’s good to remember that the addition of a cool painting on the shelf or vase, trays, flowers, etc. can make all of the difference. And maybe I’d do the shelves in black.

And what about color?

Oh, Wilsonart has lots of colorful laminates! If you want color, you can have it!

 

LOL. Got a little crazy here, but I think that this would be fun in a nursery school or daycare.

Oh another wonderful thing about this laminate from Wilsonart is that it has antibacterial properties, and is very easy to maintain.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed this view into the thousands of products available at Wilsonart!

Can you see yourself using laminate or any engineered products in your home?

Of course, I’m never going to say that this would replace natural stone. But natural stone is at least double the price and sometimes quadruple the price. And marble does have some disadvantages as well.

xo,

 

 

PS: Don’t forget to check out this week’s update hot sales!

 

  • Lauretta Cook - March 5, 2018 - 11:13 PM

    I’ve just recently begun following your posts-I love all the info and pics! I get lost linking on everything! I have had my “Formica” laminate 23 years; couldn’t afford Corian at the time. The laminate has actually held up very well! I’ve been assuming I will use quartz on the next kitchen remodel, but now maybe not. Can the Wilsonart laminates possibly be as durable as quartz or Corian (scorch marks, stains, etc.)? I have been pretty careful with my laminate, so those issues haven’t been a problem.This post also made me want to mention my experience with “cultured marble”. I wanted solid surface bathroom counter and shower walls, but many options were cheap looking (fiberglass) or WAY too expensive for a guest bathroom. I(hesitantly) settled on cultured marble (manmade to our exact measurements) in a white/gray matte finish marble look. I really, really like it….what are your thoughts/experience with this product? I think the available finishes look much better than they used to….Thanks for your great blog posts!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 6, 2018 - 12:00 AM

      Hi Lauretta,

      I’m not as familiar with cultured marble as with other countertop materials, so I had to research it. I think that for a bathroom it would be fine. Of course, some of them look better than others, but it sounds like you found a winner. Here’s an excellent article regarding quartz vs cultured marble.ReplyCancel

  • Annette Holbrook - February 26, 2018 - 8:12 AM

    Laurel, I recently discovered your blog and have been reading through in every spare minute.
    On numerous occasions you have stated that something was passe, or an unwise design choice “unless you live in a log cabin”. Well, I am the new owner of a log cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains. I’d love to hear your thoughts (maybe a good topic for a post, hint hint) on design in this setting while keeping the ubiquitous bears and moose prints out! Surrounded by knotty pine and oak that my husband loves and is loathe to change. We recently inherited a huge Persian rug, so my challenge has begun. Your blog is so enjoyable I’ll keep reading along for the insight and wit. Even if it doesn’t always apply to my current surroundings!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 27, 2018 - 5:13 PM

      Hi Annette,

      Changed my mind. Hang on!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 26, 2018 - 11:26 PM

      Hi Annette,

      It’s difficult because you’re in a minority group– like maybe 1% at most. Although some may have more rustic-type homes, those are not as common either. Although, some of it is regional.

      But I can say off the top of my head that assuming your Persian has rich colors, to key off of that, but remember that all rooms need some white and some black. And maybe do a search on pinterest.ReplyCancel

      • Annette Holbrook - February 28, 2018 - 7:56 AM

        Thanks for the reply. I am putting a dry bar on one wall and planned on black cabinetry. I have no white other than lampshades as of yet so will work on that! And Pinterest is always up in my background lol.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Diamond - February 23, 2018 - 10:05 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    First I want to tell you that I adore you. When I read a while back that granite sucks and looks like barf, I laughed so hard I cried.
    I lived in Washington Heights for 10 years. I totally get the moulding, inlaid wood floors, separated rooms, etc. I have now relocated to NJ. I’m in a cute 1950’s cape. You know those. There are literally MILLIONS of them in the US. Believe it or not, I actually have wall sconces – yay! I cannot bring myself to remove them and put in those tacky NJ ceiling cans that everyone here seems to have. Which brings me to my point. Yes, I stumbled upon that Wilsonart app and spent the whole night playing with a kitchen. Seriously though, as a designer, would you really, truly recommend installing a laminate countertop? Yes they have improved and look much better than before. Would you install one in your own kitchen? Or tell a homeowner it’s ok for resale? Honestly, honestly? Cause in NJ it seems to be go stone or go home.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 24, 2018 - 9:49 AM

      Hi Jennifer,

      This is not an easy yes or no answer, of course. I mean, if you live in a 4,000 sq ft home in Montclair or Summit– some place like that, selling for $3,000,000.00+++ absolutely not! That would be bizarre, to say the least.

      However, it was darling, insanely talented William McLure who made me see the light. BUUUUUUUTTTTTTTT… look at the REST of his fabulous place. I would hire that boy, in a flash, to do my place, give him the keys, check out for six months and come back to heaven-on-earth.

      And that is the rub. No product is for everyone in every home, but the main point of this post is that laminate has come a long way and if appropriate for your needs, for a myriad of reasons, is well-worth considering. And that is everything from countertops, to walls, to cabinet doors and floors.

      Of course, I would prefer natural stone for my own place, but if it was a choice of a beautiful laminate or a quartz composite and 95% of the granite options out there, I would take the man-made, any day!

      And BTW, the also insanely talented Nancy Keyes who lives in Red Bank, NJ and I were having this very convo the other day and we are in 100% agreement.

      Both of us are easily old enough to be William’s mother and we are phenomenally impressed with this young man’s talent.

      I predict that he will be the Albert Hadley of the 21st century. That’s just HOW good he is! If he can do laminate in his kitchen and have it look that amazing, so can the rest of us!

      As for the perception of 99% of the rest of the buying public, well, that’s a very hard nut to crack.

      One nut at a time. ;]

      ReplyCancel

      • nancy keyes - February 24, 2018 - 10:15 AM

        Ha Ha, As I was scrolling through I thought someone had recorded our conversation!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - February 13, 2018 - 5:52 PM

    As a young snob without the budget to back up my taste… this was really good for me to read 😉

    How do you feel about engineered hardwood floors these days? They seem to be the default solution EVERYWHERE, and I still kind of hate them, even the nicer ones don’t have the seamless look of finished in place wood. When I mentioned my love of reclaimed wood floor to my design/build team, the (lovely and talented) interior architect’s response was “But you usually can’t get reclaimed wood that has been finished already!” As if pre-finished was a good thing?

    All this is to say, I realized that some things I thought meant one thing mean another–when I say I want the entire house redone with real hardwood floor, I have to THEN specify that I don’t actually mean the pre-finished stuff. Now I’m questioning all of my assumptions about the meaning of words…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 14, 2018 - 11:46 PM

      Hi Sarah,

      Okay. Just because a wood floor is pre-finished doesn’t mean that it’s engineered. Engineered, yes, is always prefinished, but regular wood floors come both ways.ReplyCancel

  • Kiera - February 9, 2018 - 2:40 PM

    I am totally surprised at how much I love this laminate. I am bookmarking this post for the day we finally get to redo our kitchen (and its granite countertops) and/or bathrooms (and their red marble counters and floors, which I actually think I hate more than the granite countertop because it chips so damn easily).

    Laurel, I am wondering if you have done any posts on tips for hiding the ugly utility boxes that sometimes have to be put in awkward places in one’s home? I am currently panicking a bit because there are guys outside installing our new fiber-optic cable and the only place they can put the hub of wires is in my bedroom, in a really ugly black metal box that will soon be sticking out 4 inches from a very narrow corner wall, at an unbelievably awkward height, because that is apparently the only place it can go. I imagine I am not the only person who has had to deal with an ugly utility box in a place that is hard to conceal? I mean, I know I can paint it the same color as the wall, but then it will be a really ugly blue metal box, stuck in the middle of my wall. I’m thinking a screen might work, but that’s the only thing I can think of. Are there better design ideas out there? Would that be interesting enough for a post? If so, I would definitely read it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2018 - 10:52 AM

      Hi Kiera,

      Oh dear. That sounds awful. But this issue is not one that I’m familiar with as I’m not a builder and I’ve never encountered this situation.

      However, what I would do is google the problem. Most of the time, there will be lots of information/solutions/alternatives. Best of luck with that!ReplyCancel

  • Patti Smith - February 8, 2018 - 7:02 PM

    My second writing about this article, I can’t help it!! You hit the nail on the head big eff time!! I absolutely loath granite and it’s so freaking busy, all browns and blacks and sparkles!! And dated!!!! Keeping my wilson art counters!
    Enjoy your vacation!!!ReplyCancel

  • Mid America Mom - February 7, 2018 - 11:27 PM

    Love the marble laminates I am seeing. Recently we were in a home with quartz that was trying to look like a veined white marble. Heck No it was way too fake. I would take one of these look alike laminates over that any day.ReplyCancel

  • Ann Chapman - February 7, 2018 - 8:57 PM

    I just wondered if there are issues with using laminate in areas like kitchens that have high exposure to water. I know when I was researching kitchen flooring, laminate wasn’t recommended due to potential for water damage. If I remember correctly, laminate flooring is actually a printed picture of wood or stone with a waterproof transparent coating. The picture itself is usually printed on paper or other material which is water sensitive if the water-resistant coating fails.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 9:35 PM

      Well, I’m not an expert in the science behind Wilsonart’s laminates. And I don’t know anything about the products you were looking at or where they came from.

      But certainly the products meant to go on kitchen counters can get wet.

      And of course, there are the products that are fine to line showers.

      Sorry to be brief. I’m supposed to be on vacation. :]ReplyCancel

  • Maria Killam - February 7, 2018 - 7:57 PM

    Haha great post Laurel, I would take their lovely marble laminates over bad, dated granite any day! MariaReplyCancel

  • Sue - February 7, 2018 - 6:51 PM

    I’m currently living with 25 year old laminate countertops that are original to the house. Surprisingly they are light colored and just sort of fade into the background unlike a busy, dark granite that would likely annoy me daily…lol. When it comes time to remodel I will definitely look at the Wilsonart products.

    Happy Birthday and have a wonderful vacation!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 8:29 PM

      Hi Sue,

      We had the same thing in our townhouse. They were that almond color, but slightly lighter than the horrible cabinets. I had a guy nail on moulding to the cabinets and he sprayed them white and they were gorgeous! And then we did a black and white checkerboard floor. it’s a great look but the vinyl tiles are not very practical in terms of scuffs. But, anyway, didn’t mind the formica too much. We had neighbors who put in this black granite with big sparkles. But, that was only the tip of all of the ghastly things they did!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - February 7, 2018 - 2:19 PM

    Hi Laurel
    Love how you highlighted so many positives on these laminates. We have a smallish cabin we use in the summer months in the Adirondacks that could use new countertops and backsplash. I already bought an Ikea sink ( still in the box). I was thinking butcher block counters but these new laminates will be so much easier to maintain.
    We are the same age and my oldest is also 41. Thank you for being so real, honest and talented. I have learned so much from your blog. You are an inspiration.
    Happy Birthday Laurel,
    LeslieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 5:34 PM

      Hi Leslie,

      Thank you so much! Don’t know if that’s a typo, but my oldest son is only 27. ReplyCancel

  • Patti Smith - February 7, 2018 - 12:01 PM

    Dear Laurel, Thank you for your GREAT advice!! I don’t get to read every blog but I am so glad I was able to read this one. I have used Wilsonart laminate for years and have never been disappointed. Laminate does get a bad rap but part of that is that many designers and magazines have made us feel like we are less than, because we couldn’t afford “the good stuff”. I want to thank you for not ever doing that to us in your blogs, your humor and welcomed sarcasm to “the rules” is a breath of fresh air!! You are a Jewel!! Happy Happy Birthday!!

    ps. As a BC survivor I took my SS ck as soon as I could and can still work pt as long as you don’t make over a certain $$ amt. Wonderfully the choice is our own!!

    Enjoy your Birthday you spring chicken you!! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:48 PM

      Hi Patti,

      I’m so sorry that you have had such a horrible health issue and yes, there are situations where it makes sense to take the early coverage.

      And thank you so much for your kind words! xoReplyCancel

  • Marilynn Williams - February 7, 2018 - 11:52 AM

    Excited to see this. I am in need of a bathroom shower solution for a flip. Will have to check it out.
    And, I understand your feelings about chevron. But here in the Southwest it’s considered a traditional old world pattern that’s been around forever! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:46 PM

      Hi Marilynn,

      Chevron IS a classic pattern, yes indeed, but not in dark blue and white as a kitchen backsplash, IMO.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - February 7, 2018 - 11:51 AM

    picked up a WilsonArt sample chip at the home improvement store the other day, was wondering if laminates had improved so we don’t see the ugly seam line in the countertop.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:43 PM

      Hi Susie,

      So glad to get this timely post out! The line is out!ReplyCancel

  • nancy keyes - February 7, 2018 - 10:38 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    When I first read that William McLure’s counter was laminate I also reversed my snobbery. It is gorgeous, but he could do just about anything and I would love it! I have been thinking about having white pedestals, like his, made for the corners of my living room. I had some years ago. What is old is new again. Happy Birthday and Bon Voyage! XOReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:42 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      I know. That boy can do no wrong! Immense talent! And thanks so much for your kind wishes! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Susan Nicholson - February 7, 2018 - 9:17 AM

    Happy Birthday Laurel! Enjoy your blog and your designs, especially all of the posts you write with English decor. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:33 PM

      Thanks so much Susan. I felt completely at home in England– in every way!ReplyCancel

  • Madonna Gorriaran - February 7, 2018 - 7:28 AM

    I am the not-so-proud owner of THE ugliest granite counters in the country. They are hunter green with baby blue, off-white and gold. They are beyond hideous. I never liked granite, but even if I had these would have put me right off. The former owners were, I’m sure, nice people, but my preference would have been jerks with great taste. There must be a lot of nice people with horrible taste because many people have walked into my atrocious kitchen and loved it. Why did Abraham Lincoln say? That God must love common men to have made so many of them? I wish I could box up my kitchen and send it to the people who genuinely like it. Alas. I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m just ungrateful. The kitchen is huge with plentiful storage, the tile floors are indestructible, and there is plenty of good light. Maybe I’m an ungrateful jerk, but I’m one with good taste, damn it.

    Here’s to your changing the country’s mind about granite! Good on ya, Laurel!

    MadonnaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:32 PM

      “Jerks with great taste.”

      lolololol!!!

      At least it’s not brown, orange and gold granite. I had some clients who the previous owner “upgraded” before putting the house on the market. It was phenomenally ugly and they got a twofer, because he so generously put it in the master bathroom too!
      ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - February 7, 2018 - 7:04 AM

    This is such a helpful post! We are planning a kitchen remodel for our beach rental and waffling on how high end to go with materials because we don’t want to over improve for the market and plus RENTERS 🙂 Anyway- my husband and I went to the new Ballard store/showroom in charlotte this past weekend and when I touched the “marble” counter they had at the register (because I can’t help myself and always have to touch marble like a weirdo), I stopped because it just felt the tiniest bit off. Sure enough it was laminate but, just as you mentioned, you could barely tell- even by touch! By the way I just love you and your blog. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:27 PM

      Well, there it is! And Wilsonart has a huge commercial end of their business as well as residential.

      And I don’t think it’s weird at all to want to touch marble! It feels like nothing else!

      Thanks so much too, for your kind words! xoReplyCancel

  • Joanna Pearson - February 7, 2018 - 4:57 AM

    I too, am coming out of the closet, perhaps it’s something to do with age, laurel. it’s like

    the poem that says as you get older wear purple. I am at a stage where although I like it

    when people love my home, if they don’t & I do, it wouldn’t cause me sleepless nights.

    SO…I am finding myself craving largish black & white floor tiles to lay in a chequerboard

    pattern..nothing original, nothing worrying about that, I hear you think.

    BUT I want them in lINOLEUM for my kitchen floor…bring back the days when the rubber

    was soft on ones feet, gave a little bit of faux give, & when dishes were dropped, they

    bounced, not shattered into thousand of little pieces.

    Dirty dogs, ( real ones ), could be wiped up easily after muddy walks.

    Obviously there is a caveat, I want a good looking, tastefully realistic, heavy duty

    linoleum. Probably as expensive as the real thing.

    Perhaps I haven’t changed much after all. ( but I do wear purple & fuchsia ).

    Celebrate your age Laurel, you will not get any younger than you are today, YOUR MIND

    IS YOUNG, so original & you give joy & smiles, so hold that thought..you are definitely one

    of those rare & timeless, women. xReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:24 PM

      Oh Joanna,

      What a lovely, poetic note! Age is not just a number. Believe me, it’s not. But it is a feeling.

      I remember when I was taking a karate class with my son at age 41 and I had to write down my age, I wrote down “old.” And that is because that is how I felt at the time!

      But after taking the karate, yoga and then finding my way back to ballet 9 months later, when I was 42 no longer felt old. I find that exercise and stretching are super important. There are women in my ballet class in their 80s!!! They are astonishing!ReplyCancel

  • Gaye - February 7, 2018 - 1:22 AM

    Well, Lady, you might be an inch older, but nobody can tell it from your blog! You’re doing a whole new life, and it looks like a good one. Keep celebrating.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:16 PM

      Hi Gaye,

      Yes, it is a whole new life. I’m incredibly blessed because I don’t think that everyone gets that opportunity. I often think that if I could see myself now, ten years ago, I would be beyond shocked and amazed! I would’ve said an emphatic “IMPOSSIBLE.”

      Very glad to have been wrong. haha

      Blessings to you as well, dear Gaye!ReplyCancel

  • alison alison - February 7, 2018 - 12:50 AM

    ugh, you poor dear. but you did it—you did the wilsonart plug as well as it could possibly be done. mercy, you deserve that vacation, and a very happy birthday.
    i’m going to go look at art now, because i missed it in your post, lol!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:12 PM

      Hi Alison,

      Thank you so much! I love the art too and get a lot of inspiration from it.ReplyCancel

  • nancy - February 7, 2018 - 12:43 AM

    White marble is all over Italy and looks great even though it’s 2000+ years old and dirty. However, I remember my parochial school had white/gray marble counter tops in the bathrooms and the 1st grade bathroom was pretty rusty looking. Apparently, it can rust deep down and you can’t tell if it will? and you can’t fix it.

    HB to you and to me, I will be SIXTY MF YEARS old, but at least I’m not dead and I’m healthy to boot…………ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 7, 2018 - 12:09 PM

      HB to you and me and good health is the greatest gift of all! Hooray!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - February 6, 2018 - 10:50 PM

    Wow. this is so interesting Laurel. My kitchen is way overdue a remodel, but alas it’s still not No.1 on that long list of to do projects. This new laminate looks so much better than the old. I might even consider these Wilsonart surfaces !
    I have considered Quartz for whenever I finally get around to the kitchen, but who knows, maybe I would consider this product. Funnily enough, I don’t hate my 20-year old laminate countertops. I actually kind of like them even though I’d never ever have chosen them myself. I should hate them but I just don’t. Maybe because they have served me well through many home cooked meals and I have a nice feeling about that. Or maybe it’s because I can take a jar of Bonne Maman preserves and bang the side of the lid right on my countertop to get it to open easier. Could never do that on granite lol. What I do hate in my kitchen are the stupid, ugly, cheap fake white wood cabinets that can’t even be painted. They’re criminal. Can’t wait to replace those. Thanks for all your great posts. Oh, and a very Happy Birthday to you ! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 6, 2018 - 11:45 PM

      Hi Maggie,

      Wilsonart also makes a quartz product, but it’s probably inline with all of the other ones on the market. Thanks so much for the wishes too!ReplyCancel

  • Diana Bier - February 6, 2018 - 10:19 PM

    Thank you for this post on laminate. I always said I’d rather have laminate than granite any day. Now I’m obsessed with doing a retro ’50s kitchen, complete with boomerang laminate!

    And I SO AGREE with you on the mantel/mantle, Calacatta/Calcutta thing. Drives me crazy. (Even now, the program is telling me that there’s something wrong with “Calacatta”–it’s underlined in red!!)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 6, 2018 - 10:25 PM

      Hi Diana,

      I’m with you 100%. I’d even take laminate with the black line over most granite. Some of it is okay. The ones that are more marble-like. But some of it is so hideous, IMO.

      And I grew up with that boomerang laminate in our Indiana home built circa 1957. And here we are, 60 years later!ReplyCancel

  • MiMitten - February 6, 2018 - 9:43 PM

    We’re building a new home and selected Wilsonart laminate for the counters in our laundry room and the workstations in the office. The Calacatta laminate is so similar to the Cambria quartz in the kitchen that even our designer was fooled. And we had several edge choices that eliminated the dreaded black edge! Very impressive and very reasonably priced.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 6, 2018 - 9:53 PM

      Oh, that’s wonderful. I love that your designer was fooled! And the hi-res photos show how beautiful it is! ReplyCancel

  • Julie Nolta - February 6, 2018 - 9:37 PM

    Laurel, this stuff is fantastic!! I had no idea Wilsonart had all these products. Fabulous solutions if you don’t have the budget for the real thing. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy Hopper - February 6, 2018 - 9:35 PM

    I dunno, Laurel . . . . . not excited. Just sayin’ I’ve lived with laminate in a few bathrooms for too long. Cannot wait to rip it out!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 6, 2018 - 9:50 PM

      Hi Sandy,

      I understand, but this is a different animal than the old formica laminates. These Wilsonart engineered surfaces have come a long way. ReplyCancel

  • Phyllis - February 6, 2018 - 9:21 PM

    You’ve got me thinking that I now want to rip out my ugly granite counter tops and replace it with that beautiful marble looking laminate! Real marble would never hold up in my house, and I do NOT like the look of the man-made quartz products that try to resemble marble. How expensive are those higher end laminates,like the marble one that doesn’t have the black edge lines? Just wondering. Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 6, 2018 - 9:48 PM

      Hi Phyllis,

      I’m not sure. I did find a website and I truly do not know how accurate it is. I always feel with these things that they underestimate everything. But here’s the link to at least give you an idea.

      https://www.remodelingexpense.com/costs/cost-of-wilsonart-laminate-countertops/ReplyCancel

      • Linda from MA - February 6, 2018 - 10:12 PM

        There is a lot of really fun laminate out there. Several years ago I asked for ballpark pricing from a local place. I was looking at funky etched stuff, textured surfaces, grass-clothy looking samples, not the simulated stone. Sadly, for materials and fabrication it was very similar to lower end stone in price. More recently I had a small countertop made for a rental with entry grade laminate and that, too, was more costly than I anticipated. It was just under $198 for a 30″ counter finished on 3 sides with the regular old edge, and a rectangular 4″ slab backsplash. Lower priced at my local place than at the big orange store. Approx five sq feet, $40 per.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - February 6, 2018 - 10:22 PM

          I think that the problem is the word “laminate.” It’s had such a bad rap. But in truth, the finest antiques in the world are laminate.

          But I also read somewhere that Calacatta is $180/sq foot. Ouch! Carrara of course, is less.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Henderson - February 6, 2018 - 9:13 PM

    I love the beige counters and lower cabinets with patterned beige backsplash as well as the Calacutta on the counters and backsplash with blue lower cabinets! Love these. Makes it a lot easier to do a new kitchen with these Wilsonart! Thank you for sharing this!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 6, 2018 - 9:47 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      It’s really funny, but by coincidence Eileen Lonergan who helps me with my website wrote me about the app the other day because she was using it for her new kitchen!ReplyCancel

  • Diana mclean - February 6, 2018 - 8:57 PM

    Hi laurel
    Design, decor is wonderful but I want to talk about social insurity. Never collect at 62 or 63 as they have scre— u. Please wait until u r 66 plus.
    I must call u on this as I want to protect u from hurting urself. I almost fell for this but wise advice said no.
    U r a dear lady and by the way HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a wonderful kind benevolent lady who truly shares her heartReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 6, 2018 - 9:45 PM

      Hi Diana,

      Thanks. No worries. Not collecting for as long as possible. And thank you for your kind words! xoxoReplyCancel