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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

counter kitchen help - combine high end laminate with stone?

djbarnettNovember 17, 2012
Could anyone make a recommendation on a granite or stone that could be used on my very visible "island" that opens into my dining/family room that would either match or complement one of the high end laminates like Formica's fx 180? I haven't seen the FX180 in person and i am wondering if I can actually combine the two without the Formica countertop looking awful. However, price is an issue. I assume that even with FX180 and an Ideal Edge, I am looking at $35 installed...does that sound accurate?
The other thought was to have a stone on the island that is different enough in color (matching more my family with ivory leather furniture/gold tones/lght burnt orange on walls) and then a Formica carrara marble or silver travertine on the rest of the countertops. I've been known to cut corners I later regret so I am throwing this question out to the community hoping you'll keep me out of design trouble! Many thanks, Deborah
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Hi Deborah,

I would recommend going with either all Formica or all stone. You will regret mixing the two materials if you do so. The stone will look so different from the Formica once it is installed--it will end up making the Formica look very cheap.

If you decide to use all Formica and cannot match the island and perimeter colors exactly, then go for contrast. Light perimeter and darker island or vice versa. You don't want to make it look like you tried to match and then missed the mark.

Best of luck!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:24AM
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Don't mix surfaces unless you must. It never looks just right. You wll be throwing good money after bad. If you must mix with formica, have it be something less obvious than granite or marble.
    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:25AM
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Thanks - that was my fear. Have you actually seen the fx180 live? I've heard good things but my local Home Depot staff knows nothing about it.
    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:26AM
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No, sorry, I have not. We strictly deal with solid surface stone materials--granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, etc--no Formica or Corian. I wish I could be more help! Try going to your local countertop or stone shop? You can always call first to see if they carry the product before driving over there.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:30AM
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ct design studio
The fx series does look nice as it is, but next to the real thing it will still be obviously fake. I agree on all one or the other. For $10/sft more you could have something real. Also, regardless of which material you decide on, I would not attempt to tie in the adjoining room with ivory, orange etc on one part and do cool whites and grays/carrara look on the rest. The results will clash and be really busy. Good luck!
    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:13AM
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Thanks, CT design....love some of your postings!
    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:08AM
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Monique Jacqueline Design
I would not mix Formica with natural stone. I think that if you are looking at a cost of $35 per square foot, you have natural options that will fall into the price range. Granite has come down in cost in the past few years. Make sure that your natural stone is not porous if you utilize your kitchen to it's fullest capabilities. There is a lot of maintenance in the more porous products, ie: slate, travertine or marble. Granite is a fantastic material that is extremely durable and is not considered to be as porous. You could accent the island or peninsula with another natural stone, but usually man-made and natural to not highlight each other well.
    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:29AM
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i've not seen granite for that price that isn't one of the 4 Home Depot varieties that I don't like. The problem is that getting beyond the initial per sq ft charge, there are install and edge charges, so you really are looking at something closer to $60/$70 all in, aren't you?

I'll keep researching. One thought is rather than have a long piece and waste the cutout for the sink (I've got a deep sink that I'd love to keep, even though it's not an undermount), I could actually get two pieces, with then two very small skinny pieces for the front/back of sink. Assuming a thin color coordinated grout line, that might reduce cost a little bit.

thanks for your input. It's all very helpful!
    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:35AM
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ct design studio
I'm in the Cleveland market and granite here starts $45-49 installed with edge options, not sure what the rest of the country is charging. Check out some local fabricators, not just the big box stores. Also, you would be better just getting a full slab with a sink cutout rather than piecing it together. To be honest I know my installers would never agree to it. It would give rather than one long seam somewhere in the run, that can be nice and tight, 4 little seams, in an area with a lot of flux. Also cutting, edging and polishing little pieces is more labor intensive so I don't see any significant savings here.

Thank you for the compliment! Hope I don't seem to be raining on your parade, just trying to help :)
    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:02AM
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How would you feel about something like this? It is formica callled "oiled soapstone".
It is in our cottage and I actually love it more than the granite I have in my home. The formica is visually warmer than the granite, it is physically warmer feeling than my granite, things don't break easily if dropped on it, I don't stress about special cleaners, and it was super affordable.
My first choice would have been real soapstone, but that would have been way over budget.
Anyhow, friends don't realize it is formica until they walk right up to it and touch it. I made it look a bit more "real" by having it fabricated at a thinner 'thickness' than the standard formica.
Just an affordable option you could consider, and if you find your budget changes in the future and you want real stone, all you would have to change out is the sink.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:15AM
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We are in the Philadelphia metro area and our granite (templated, fabricated, sealed, and installed) starts at $50/square foot. We also have specials going on for kitchens that are up to 40 square feet. Not alot more expensive than Formica.

Check your local slab galleries! Most also do price matching.
    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Don Jason Remodeling
We were recently introduced to Granicrete which may be a lower cost option for you. It is resurfacing your countertop with a concrete mix sealed with epoxy that they can manipulate to look like granite without all the cost of granite. There appear to be a few pictures here under products. We've never tried it, but it may work for you.
    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 7:59AM
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Don, thanks - interesting. So is it the black countertop that is the granicrete (love the name, LOL)? I will do some research. I had sent pictures and specs to a company called Stone Sheets for a quote. They essentially use granite (or other stone like limestone, quartz, etc) as a thinner sheet on top of a very strong honeycomb frame so lighter/cheaper than full slabs. Sadly, I have not heard back from them in spite of my attempts to reach out.
    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 9:06AM
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Don Jason Remodeling
As I said, we have not used them, but I did a search on Houzz.com under Products for Granicrete and it came up with 46 photos - for both inside and outside projects. There are several countertops shown as well. But you can find them online at www.granicrete.com. My understanding is they have local franchisees throughout the states, so you may be able to find one close to you.
    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 10:06AM
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