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SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I frequent a café whose service surfaces are largely Silestone -- perhaps "Green Fun" in the Life series. The material mimics stained and glazed 3/4" MDF, to the eye: the same thicknesses and visual textures which I find pleasing in a constuctivist mode, though the color in this case isn't one I'd be likely to choose. The material is holding up well in its fourteenth year, I'd say. The surface is still sealed-looking and at least semi-glossy, with edges to match; where arris-chipping has occurred the material is revealed to be satisfyingly monolithic and seems neither entirely natural nor obviously synthetic -- if that's possible -- and appears virtually uniform throughout. I had assumed this is an amalgam of some sort; if it's actually natural quartz so much the better . . .

SDR

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

Thanks for the recommendations!

We previously used black impala granite in the past in both a honed and gloss and it worked great for baking, we never had any issues with staining, but I think granite will look out of place against those stone walls and cypress. I've never used quartz but will definitely look into it including the Jasper Stone Co., thanks, Roderick.

We will keep the same color (orangish red) concrete with the 2X4 grid. Although I love red and oranges together, I tend to stay away from red because of our location. In Columbus, everything is red and grey because of OSU…it's crazy! (my husband roots for his alma mater-Notre Dame so buckeye colors are be be avoided). I did see a FLLW orange linoleum that might be bold, although in quartz not linoleum.

SDR, I'm a BIG fan of that Silestone green "fun". I had that chartreuse color (the first hint of foliage in the spring and duckweed on a pond!) throughout my last house as well as my wardrobe. If we were having natural color concrete, (we're not) I would go for it, but not too bold with our colored floor. I think I like monolithic as well.

No likes on stainless? I recall liking the Kentuck Knob counters. Seems easy to work on. Too bland with stainless appliances? (My husband nixed any attempt at retro appliances in fun colors)

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I would prefer stainless to almost any other option for your house. Why ? Because there's already enough masonry in the material palette. I like to see either a monolith (brick throughout, or stone -- but never both other than stone trim) or a different material for each function. Two kinds of stone, or of concrete: not on my watch ! The floor surface is, for some reason, the lone exception; that is, a brick or stone house with a concrete floor slab breaks no rule, for me.

The fewer colors and textures that are added to the basic material palette -- for permanent, built-in pieces -- the better. At the decorative extreme, as at the Eames residence, for instance, where a riot of color and texture are present, the structure itself is extremely quiet -- just black steel, and glass, and cementitious panels, and whatever the floor and ceiling planes are made of.

These "rules" simply reflect what I see in the work of the most admired modernist architects of the past century or so.

SDR

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

Thanks, SDR. Those who have visited will attest to the fact that Gunning is very dark despite the ravine wall of glass, especially when there are leaves on the trees. My kitchen counter will have the same counter level windows as before and the clerestory above but the space is still dark. I'm thinking the stainless counters might lighten up the space, as well as give it a neutrality keeping it clean. I can always add color by stacking my colorful Fiestaware on the original shelf unit that abuts the stone wall.

I really liked the wood trim against the stone in DRN's kitchen. Perhaps cypress trim against the stainless will work in ours.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Remember that less is more. If you can't imagine the original designers doing something in the house, that's a clue that it wouldn't belong ? I see that's your guiding principle, already. "Too delicate" might be a hint -- though perhaps there are other trimmed panel situations that would support this one ?

(I make no judgement about what's happening in Dan's kitchen -- which looks super nice. Steel makes its own unimprovable edge, it seems to me, and the bent edge stiffens the panels naturally, in addition to turning a surface into a dimensional object -- in keeping with the architecture ?)

What will the backsplashes be made of ?

Interesting house that might be compared and contrasted to Glenbrow -- in its gutsy use of material, at least: http://www.designboom.com/architecture/ ... 8-11-2015/

SDR

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

The backsplash is the glass of the horizontal windows (currently boarded up due to a mis-measurement on one wall and the stone of the other, as seen in the old photo below:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125471081 ... 444413635/

You are correct: less is more!

peterm
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Formica, linoleum, and in rare instances stainless steel.. Those were Wright's specifications for Usonian houses. Would stainless work for your baking?

Kentuck Knob workspace:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/344103227749492162/

I agree with SDR. The cool, reflective, machine quality of the steel would contrast perfectly with the irregular stone and warmth of the wood.

I also like the butcher block, and would be inclined to go that route, (assuming that was the architect's choice...)

egads
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Location: Long Beach CA

Post by egads »

I once had a section of stainless, around the sink, in a kitchen. (The rest was Formica) I can whole heartedly recommend it for baking especially. It is really worry free. You can put hot stuff out of the oven directly on it without worry. (It was opposite the wall oven) It also sucks the heat up, cooling things faster. Having it sloped to the sink makes a large draining area. if you get a stainless sink meant to be under mounted, the fabricators in seamlessly integrate into the counter. I don't think you need an edge detail, the stone is going to always draw your eye. That and the bold colors of Fiestaware.

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

The stainless looks great against the stone walls, as well as the warm wood at Kentuck Knob. Thanks for the photo. Clean and simple.

Yes, Egads, stainless works great for dough... easy to clean. I also think it will also address the darkness that occurs when there is full foliage outdoors. We will insert the small piece of original butcher block (maple) that we found. I do want one large stainless sink as opposed a 2 compartment sink more common to the period. It is much easier to fit large roasting pans to wash than in those smaller dual sided sinks.

BTW, we will be restoring a beautiful cypress butcher block vanity for my son's bathroom. The sink and faucet were stolen but I heard there was a stainless sink at one time.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

For the ultimate stainless kitchen counter, see Jack Hillmer's late masterpiece, the Ludekens House, possibly the most beautiful kitchen of the 20th century. The only problem I see with stainless is if there is any direct connection with stone. Scribing stainless to fit the contours of stone defies the nature of steel. Making a connection that is as natural as stone and as precise as steel might prove a challenge.

Paul Ringstrom
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Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

FLW's Lykes House has stainless steel kitchen counters.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

Thank you for suggesting the Ludekens House-beautiful! I especially loved the lignum vitae bathroom sink!

I'll have to check our stone wall. I believe the stone has been ground to flat at the level of the counter but I see that would be an issue if it is not.

We have a very competent carpenter who worked on the last large piece of cypress that needed scribing (between the french doors to the sculpture garden and the stone wall that will be having the built-in sofa returning to it). The piece took almost an entire day and looks like a piece of art. Speaking as a lay person, you never really appreciate good scribing until you see the amount of effort that went into it.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Scribing wood to rough masonry is a lot of work; in stainless steel, even more so. And I always look for ways to reduce tedious labor. But, assuming the job in this case is physically possible, it will only need to be done once, while the satisfying result will last a lifetime. Sometimes biting the bullet is the right thing to do ?

Perhaps a lightweight pattern can be made onsite, and the metal laser-cut in a shop . . .

SDR

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

SDR, my husband believes, like I do, that the stone is smooth at the level of the counter. If not, he said he would add a detail that would furr out the wall rather than attempt to scribe stainless or other material.

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions, everyone!

dtc
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:04 am

Post by dtc »

Which houses did Wright specify stainless steel for counter tops?
I'm not aware of one where it was originally designed and installed.
Mrs. Hagan rejected the red Micarta that was specified by Wright for her workspace, and requested stainless. She also passed on the poured floor with module lines and integral color. She also wanted the cork floor (who said Wright was not accommodating?)
As for the Lykes, the stainless counters were installed by its present owner during her remodel of the home. Lykes at one point had ceramic tile counters.

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