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Mad Science Experiment – Cambria Countertop

Posted by on Nov 4, 2011 in Materials | No Comments

Hi.  Rachel Hulan, the interior designer here.  I’m going to start adding in a little about my end of the project each week.  Enjoy!

Although being an interior designer isn’t nearly as glamorous as many people seem to think, it is at least always interesting.  Sometimes it is downright fun.  Case in point…

my mad science experiment!  Here’s the story…

I had recommended using composite stone countertops for the Newport Green Home, and then Wayne and Shannon (the homeowners) said “Great, but we want to make sure it is extra durable”.  “No problem”, I assured them, “composite stone is much more durable and environmentally friendly than granite or other types of stone surfaces”.  “Terrific!”, they said.

I beamed.

“Oh,” they added, “and please make sure it is made in the U.S.”.

I groaned.

You see, most composite countertops are made in places like Italy, Spain and Israel.  This doesn’t bother me as much as it might, because most of the technology and raw material is based there anyway.  However, I also understood Wayne and Shannon’s desire for a “made in America” product, as I try to keep my dollars closer to home too.

My actual problem was that the only large scale composite stone countertop manufacturer based in the U.S. was Cambria, and I had never used their product before.  I had no idea how durable it would be.  There will be a lot of countertop on this project, so I couldn’t afford for the material to be anything less than flawless.

That’s where the fun began…

Here is the 12″ x 12″ slab of one of the lightest colors I had sent to me.  Doesn’t it look so innocent and unsullied at this point?

And yes, that is my kitchen countertop you see in the right hand corner.  And yes, it is ugly beige Formica from the 80′s, And yes, I hate it.  Don’t get me started!

So, anyhoodle…

First I tried scratching it with a knife (not a good one mind you!), some keys, and a pointy rock from my backyard.  Nothing.

Then I brought out the big guns: red wine, soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, concentrated blue food coloring, red wine vinegar, and Tabasco sauce.  I left those little puddles of goo there for 16 hours, at which point most had started to dry out and look nasty.

I moved the slab over to the sink, and with nothing more than water and a swipe of my hand, it looked like this…

OK.  Yes, I know, that is the Before picture.  In my defense, I didn’t realize that I hadn’t taken an After picture until I had already passed the slab along to the clients so they could have fun trying to destroy it too.  However, I swear to you, it looked exactly the same as it does in this picture.  Nothing stained it, even after leaving it on overnight.

We have a winner!

A big thanks to Susan Serra, CKD of The Kitchen Designer blog for giving me the idea to go all mad scientist on this slab.   Always ask the expert!

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