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Young's Big Move: Episode 7 (The counter is IN)

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Episode 7: The counter is IN

Missed the last episode? Here it is.

 

Okay, so you know that I've been talking about building a two-tiered kitchen counter, and that's been one of the 'major' highlights of my new home. I told the interior designer that it had to be outstanding and something that really catches you by surprise when you enter the space. Mostly, because I had been researching about kitchen counters, and I especially love these ideas!

In fact, if you pore through our Home & Decor website, you'll find an endless list of counter ideas too:

Such as this one about peninsular counters in HDB flats.

Or this one about counters with overhead storage.

Or even this one about quartz countertops. 

 

Suffice to say, there's a lot of things to talk about when it comes to counter top design. 

Initially, I wanted a long and straight countertop running through the length of my kitchen area, mainly because I wanted to turn it into a lounge/bar space for my friends to hang out in when they come over. However, my ID mentioned a practical concern, which was that it may become rather uncomfortable for people to sit on bar stools or high chairs for an extended period of time. 

So then, I decided to tweak the idea. I converted half of the length to a table height, while the other half remained at counter height. This meant that instead of a long counter, we'll end up seeing a double-tiered one. I wasn't really sold on the idea at the beginning, because I thought something sleek meant that it shouldnt have so many levels, but thankfully, my ID pressed on and convinced me. 

Next came the dizzying task of deciding on a material for the counter. Now I know most people prefer to go with a nice marble top, but as you know, marble is a rather fragile material and requires a lot of pampering. That means not leaving wet blotches on the counter, and being careful not to spill coloured fluids on the surface because it is very porous and easy to stain. Marble also needs to be sealed and re-sealed regularly. I wanted a material with a nice texture, but that is easy to maintain and really durable as well. 

The solution, I found out, was a quartz-composite material, which comprises a mix of quartz and other materials to create a super-hard and durable surface. 

There are a few brands out there offering quartz-composites, but I was interested in a particular design from this Spanish company called Cosentino. It carries a line of quartz-composite surface called Dekton, which utilises sinterised-particle technology (that means subjecting the quartz material to high temperature and pressure, similar to how it would be hardened when buried deep in the earth over thousands of years) to create a super tough ultracompact surface. 

I was intrigued! So intrigued that after corresponding with the company, I decided to make a trip to their HQ in Almeria, Spain to learn more. 

This is me and Francisco Martinez-Cosentino Justo, President of Cosentino. He had founded the company that began producing marble tiles from the mines in the area, before creating a new material out of quartz called Silestone. I spent some time learning about the production process, as well as how different the quartz-composite material is from natural stone. For one, the material is resistant to heat and scratches. It is also non-porous and non-combustible. So you can put a hot pan right on top of the surface, without using a trivet. Cool eh.  

For my bachelor pad, I wanted a raw yet tasteful look, and after going through the catalogue, I decided on the Trillium collection.

This is how the swatch looks:

 

And this is how it looks as a countertop:

 

This is what it says on the website: 

"Inspired by the industrialized look of oxidized steel, Trillium is composed of a mix of volcanic shades of grey, brown and deep black to create a rusted effect that is unexpectedly smooth to the touch. Its light to dark contrasting forms a somewhat metallic effect that gives the surface an extremely genuine appearance. With an edgy look perfect for trendy projects. Building on Cosentino’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, Trillium is the first recycled color within the Dekton line. This newest addition maintains the key features of the material but also represents important eco-friendly values." 

 

"Waaaahhhhh. Sure or not! I was impressed. Not only was I getting a countertop, I'm also saving the earth leh!" I thought. So of course, I decided to get it. Price-wise, it was quite an investment though, while slightly cheaper than marble, the material still costs more than laminates. But when you think about it, why save on giving your home the best because it will reward you in so many ways over the years ahead right. 

Seven weeks into my renovation, and my ID sent me these pics this afternoon, informing me that the countertop had been laid. I was blownnnnn away! 

So this is my two-tiered counter...

I really love the look of rusted steel! It gives the whole room a very different feel. 

 

Texture-wise, the countertop feels smooth as glass! So you get the beauty of a rugged corten steel without the rough feel. Perfect!

The design looks very natural, and so intricate. I can't believe this was made from recycled materials. 

The side view of the counter. 

 

I specified for a mitre-joint, so you don't see the side profile of the raw material. It does cost more for the installers to create such joints though, so bare that in mind when you are designing your own counter. 

I'm satisfied with how the counter is progressing, and can't wait to show you the rest of the home in my upcoming episodes. Stay tuned guys!