Make it work for you

Look­ing to in­ject a touch of lux­ury into your kitchen with­out blow­ing the bud­get? Fol­low Anna’s lead…


Some­times you’ve just got to fake it to make it when bud­gets are tight. How­ever, in the case of nat­u­ral mar­ble work­tops, many find opt­ing for faux mar­ble over the real deal is ac­tu­ally the bet­ter op­tion, re­gard­less of cost. This is be­cause mar­ble is a rel­a­tively soft stone that can stain and scratch with­out due care. So if nat­u­ral age­ing doesn’t charm you, fak­ing it could be bet­ter a choice for you.

Q What is the cheap­est op­tion?

Laminates are with­out a doubt the most af­ford­able choice. Plus, im­prove­ments in pho­to­graphic and print­ing tech­niques mean there are now some very re­al­is­tic de­signs on the mar­ket. To sus­pend be­lief a lit­tle fur­ther, look for laminates with a tex­tu­ral fin­ish, that mim­ics the tac­tile soft­ness of real mar­ble. But laminates can be tricky to joint, and you’ll need to be care­ful with your choice of sink, es­pe­cially if you want an un­der­mounted model.

Q And if lam­i­nate’s not for me?

The next best so­lu­tion is solid sur­faces (aka com­pos­ites). Anna’s kitchen fea­tures Min­erva’s solid sur­face, which is made from poly­mer resins, a min­eral filler and pig­ments. Min­erva can be cut with nor­mal wood­work­ing tools, which means it can be cut to size on site. Co­rian is an­other brand of solid sur­face, but any tem­plat­ing is done off-site. Un­like laminates, scratches or stains can be gen­tly sanded out.

Q Bud­get aside, what’s best?

Quartz com­pos­ite sur­faces come in var­i­ous mar­ble-in­spired de­signs. The ben­e­fit of quartz lies in its dura­bil­ity. You should still use triv­ets and chop­ping boards, but quartz work­tops are in­fin­itely more re­silient than mar­ble and look shiny and new for years.

Q Will it look re­al­is­tic?

That’s down to the edges. On real mar­ble and solid sur­faces, the vein­ing runs right through its core. Whereas most laminates, and some quartz, only have the mar­ble print on the top. How­ever, there are a few quartz op­tions that are veined on the edge pro­file, too, such as Ra­di­anz. For laminates, your best bet is to go for a curved front edge and hide the end pan­els against walls. Also, try to avoid pat­tern re­peats in the vein­ing. Nat­u­ral mar­ble is unique, so any ex­act matches will scream ‘fake’.

“Do or­der sam­ples be­fore you buy – it’s im­pos­si­ble to tell how re­al­is­tic the mar­ble de­sign is from a screen, and you will also get to feel the fin­ish ” SI­MON BOOCOCK, MD, CRL STONE


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