Monday, November 26, 2012

Library Built-ins

I'm back with another update on the library built-ins.  In case you're wondering what we're up to, this is a mock-up I did nearly five years ago when we first started talking about this project.  Shockingly, the finished product is going to look pretty much like this, too!

I showed you the bookshelf progress last week, but I realized at some point that finishing the bookshelves will do us no good if we don't have a counter top to place them on.  The counter top issue has been quite a problem.  First, the width of this room is basically 10'8".  Guess what 'standard' lengths generally stop at?  Ten feet. Argh.  Also, you'll notice that I put in a black top--thinking something like soapstone or black granite would look nice.  I still think it would look nice, but I've never been able to convince myself that we needed to spend $1000 on a counter top in this not-too-frequently-used room.
Having given up on a high end counter, I decided that we should just use oak, which would blend nicely with the rest of the built-ins.  Unfortunately, I've been picky and didn't want to have visible seams (so putting two or three planks together was out).  For a while I thought oak plywood would work (it's what we used for the window sill, after all and that looks nice).  It turns out that 12 foot long pieces of oak plywood are nigh on impossible for a regular person to get their hands on  and anything shorter would result in unseemly seams.  After months of trying to make that work in my head, I've given up.
This brings me to today's field trip, to a cabinet supply shop down in Nicholasville.  Remember my trip to the stone yard in Louisville when we were working on the main bath?  This is sort of the same, except that this facility has aisles of laminate!

I took in one of the cabinet doors we finished and held it up next to dozens of sheets of laminate.  I picked two to get samples of to bring home to J, and then I'll be having someone make a counter for me.
Option 1: a faux stone "HD" laminate

Option 2: more of a matte, leather-like finish
Is this exactly what I had in mind initially?  No, it isn't.  Am I okay with that?  Eh, I'm okay with a finished product and being happy enough to move on to something else.  Seriously, I think that it is going to be very serviceable, it's going to look better than something I could cobble together myself, there aren't going to be any visible seams, and we're not going to bankrupt ourselves using materials that aren't necessary in our neighborhood.  And did I mention that it's going to be done?
So what do you think?  Is laminate the way to go?  If so, which of these options would you choose?


Anonymous said...


Yes, laminate is the way to go. Option no. two is the kind of laminate to go with. "faux" granite is another way to say "fake granite". "Real" granite would be cool. Fake laminate granite is fake.


JE Melton said...

In general, I agree. I'm not a fan of faking things, either. That said, I like the different colors that the stone-look laminates bring out in the woodwork. Option 2 doesn't really do as much in that way.