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In Renovations

3 counter alternatives to Carrara Marble

alternative to carerra marble
This is my last post on counters until we get something installed. Here is where we are – we’ve narrowed down our counter styles to three.  Cambria in Torquay , Caesarstone in Misty Carrera  and last but not least, Corian Rain Cloud. Each of the three options gives me the look of Carrera Marble, but without the upkeep or stress of etching/staining that it comes with.

Although this is my last post on counters, our decision isn’t finalized. Truthfully, Aubrey actually loves one, and I another. Even though we haven’t decided on which one, it will be one of the three above. I thought that if you are looking for a counter that looks like Carrera Marble, but without the upkeep of Carrera marble, you’ll like to see these three styles together.  So getting specific, I will say that each of these samples are fantastic. If any of them were in my house right now, I’d be in heaven. But we just need to pick something that is right for our house, our style, and, budget. Here are some of our loves & concerns…

The Cambria Torquay was our first pick for counters in the beginning. I love the feeling of the counter. It feels substantical and looks gorgeous. My concern with this sample is that it’s a little “white” and may pose a problem with our “off white” cabinets from Ikea. The veining is a little less natural perhaps?
Cost: I’m not sure of the cost but I know it is not inexpensive.

The Caesarstone in Misty Carrera is gorgous, and feels like stone. Hard, and cold and I love that. I’ve seen gorgeous examples of it online, and some larger slabs in person. Now, the problem for me is that when I visited one showroom (Ciot) here in Toronto, I saw a big display unit made out of the Misty Carrera and it was a LOT darker than the sample. I was really thrown by that. I’m going to try to get a larger sample in, to see what I may be missing. The major concern is the varying colours.
Cost: The fabricator down the street quoted me $60.00 a square foot (approx) for installation, making it one of the more expensive options.

The Corian Rain Cloud was a game changer at the last minute. I think it helped that I saw it done in a setting like the restaurant to give me a really good idea of how it would look. And I was smitten. That being said I have a huge concern is that it’s a lot softer of a counter than the other two. It actually feels different to the touch. The veining in this option is gorgeous, and Aubrey thinks this one looks the most like marble, and I’m stuck on the “feel” of the counter. The other pro to Corian is that you can order it somewhere like Home Depot or Costco, which makes for an easy process as a busy Mom.
Cost: Cost wise, it’s also the most cost effective. Home Depot priced it at $100 Linear Foot. So for the 19 linear feet we need it would be under $2,000.

There you go! Three options I think are worthy of consideration if you like Carerra marble but don’t want the upkeep.

xo Linds

In DIY/ My House

DIY: Making a Seating Bench in the kitchen out of Ikea


We decided to make a seating bench in our eat in kitchen. I did a post about my desire to have a bench and in the reader comments, Vez, a fellow home blogger, reminded me that Samantha Pynn had recently done a project using Ikea cabinets to make a bench. That was the inspiration that made this project actually happen. (A nice reminder that I should post my dilemas on this blog, as the readers always seem to have the right answers) Here is how you too can make one.


(A) Get Ikea Cabinets (Lidingo Kitchen Cabinets, (34″ Deep, 15″ High) Ikea)
We bought 3 Ikea Upper Cabinets to fit our 96″ space. We brought in our dimensions to Ikea, and they helped us pick the right cabinet widths. There are 2 sizes of cabinets the layout. The middle is slightly wider. I’ll be honest….It wasn’t inexpensive to buy the cabinets. But the convinience of building them, and the extra storage this created, was well worth it.

(B) Raise the cabinets off the ground
We raised the cabinets off the ground using long planks of wood. One 96″ lengh at the front, and one 96″ lengh at the back, like a train track. This is so that the doors could actually open. If we hadn’t done this, the doors would scrape on the floor. We also did this to allow for air flow, as at the very right hand size of the bench, there is an air vent….and we weren’t going to move that!

bech 1
(Kitchen Bench, before cushion)


  • We added a 4″ foam cushion not only for comfort, but to bring the bench up to the right height needed for a table. (The right height is 18″ -18.5″ for a seat bench).
  • My Mom and I went down to Designer Fabrics here in Toronto to find the fabric for the bench. We needed A LOT of fabric. It’s 8 feet long, and we did it double sided so incase a spill happens, we can “flip” the cushion. So there is no bad side.
  • When Mom was making the bench cushion, she decided to wrap the cushion in dacron for some added plushness.

My Mom also made me a back cushion in the matching fabric by taking 6 standard pillows that we’re on sale for 50% off, and using the filler to create one long pillow. Shes a genius.

seat cushion - piping
Above: Our Cushion, made my by my Mom


Above: Our new kitchen bench

I ended up really not loving the pink & red fabric so I ended up re-doing the bench cushion. (Here is the post as to why I ended up not loving it) But below is the new and improved version of the bench! LOVE IT! here are the updated photos.




Ps., A little history….Why a kitchen bench?
For the last 20 years I had eaten my meals on a bench at my parents house. It was comfy to me, and just made a house a home. Below is a picture of my first bench…How awesome is this bench that we got to eat at for our childhood!! (I used to eat on the BLUE seat)

kitchen eat in
(Bench at my parents house, picture when they bought the house)

That bench stayed there until a few years ago, until when my parents renovated. We were sad to see the rainbow bench go, but thankfully, the kitchen bench just got “updated”….. not removed. 🙂

(Post reno, a kitchen bench is still there for me to sit at)
Resource List
New Chandelier – Hampton Bay, from Home Depot $139 View Online

Bench Cabinets – Lidingo Kitchen Cabinets, (34″ Deep, 15″ High) Ikea
Fabric + piping for the bench – Designer Fabrics
Inspiration for the Cabinet Bench, Pure Design with Samantha Pynn. Click here for episode