We’ve lived in our home since 1999. Our house was built in 1961 and based on what the house looked like when we bought it, I doubt that any changes had been made since that time. We knew very little about the house except that the builder was the original homeowner, a gun had accidentally gone off in the living room with the bullet ricocheting off the stone fireplace and someone had driven through the garage door after a night of partying… possibly indicating a colourful past!
We bought the house in March of 1999 and I recall the garden was blanketed in a heavy layer of snow. There were huge weeping birch trees on either side of the front walk and towering spruce trees in the back. It looked like a winter wonderland. Little did I know what lay beneath! Only when we took possession three months later in July, did the neglected garden reveal itself. To give you an idea of what it was like, we didn’t even have to cut the grass that summer! Weeds dominated the flower beds with quackgrass roots a mile long and in the back corner overgrown brush and shrubs under the spruce trees camouflaged a very large dog house. The spruce needles were a foot deep. Raking them up was probably the onset of my asthma!
The garden was left untouched that first summer as we did a major renovation inside the house. Walls came down, new walls went up, all the bathrooms were redone and a complete kitchen renovation. You may wonder why we bought this house. It was located in the neighbourhood we wanted to live in, the lot was a good size, and the house actually had good bones. In spite of the shag carpeting, multiple coloured plumbing fixtures and small bedrooms with practically non existing closet space, I could see the possibility of something that would suit our lifestyle. The curved bottom steps of the staircase sold me seconds after we entered the front door on the first walk through.
That was 22 years ago…where does the time go! Other than 2 bathroom renovations several years ago and cosmetic updates, nothing major has changed since the original renovation. Because that renovation was so extensive and over budget, I had to compromise on my original wish list. The first thing to go was the marble countertops. Instead, I chose black glossy arborite and in fairness they served us well.
Most of us have been spending so much more time in our homes over the past couple of years, and the renovation business has been booming. I, too, got the itch to make some changes and felt it was the time to upgrade the countertops. The current problem of supply chain issues (same old story) made finding a stab of marble that was just right a challenge. Realizing that this situation wasn’t going to change anytime soon, I finally settled on a slab this summer and had the countertops redone.
Most suppliers and installers will say whatever they can to dissuade you from using marble for kitchen countertop applications. It is softer than most natural stones and it stains and scratches easily. Maintaining marble requires a commitment to regular polishing and being aware of what cleaners and/or liquids that damage the surface.
None of this discouraged me from proceeding. I love that timeless look of patinaed marble. However, finding a slab that didn’t have really prominent veining was another story. My kitchen and pantry surfaces are not huge so keeping the pattern in the proper scale was important. I was lucky though to find one thick slab that was large enough to do both the kitchen and pantry.
I chose Carerra marble (photo above). I wanted a white marble with grey veining to subtly compliment the existing cabinets and flooring. Calcutta marble (photo left) is so beautiful and luxurious, but the pattern on the stone is bolder and substantially more costly.
The house was a disaster for about a month before the countertops were installed. In order to get the most accurate measurements, everything has to be cleared off the surfaces. That meant that the kitchen and pantry clutter landed in the living room. The addition of a new puppy and outdoor temperatures in the stratosphere with no air conditioning made for a trying time (putting it mildly)! In the end, I’m thrilled with the marble and know that it will last for the lifetime of this house!
and the before and after…
I also decided on replacing the original double sink and garburator with one deeper, single sink and have had no regrets. Watering house plants and cleaning up big roasting pans etc. is so convenient.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday if you are celebrating today.