Pros: Laminate is at the low end of the price range for countertops, is scratch- and stain-resistant, and comes in a tremendous range of colors. It’s also easy to install, making it a viable DIY option for the handy crowd. Cons: Because laminate countertops are created by layering pieces of plywood and plastic, edges can chip off easily, and the surface can even melt if too much heat is applied directly.
Architectural interventions are restricted in the historic apartment. Claus takes it a step further, however, and refuses to make even minor repairs. “It would destroy the pristine character of the space, which is just as it was when Perret’s wife died in 1961,” he says. “We are just passing by.” The plumbing in the bathroom, for instance, no longer works, so his wife uses the room as an office, working between the original stone basin and bathtub. The couple brushes their teeth and bathes in the kitchen, where Claus installed a makeshift shower. Reflected in the bathroom mirror is a photograph of a Perret-designed building in Le Havre, shot by Dutch architectural photographer Kim Zwarts. “It’s impossible not to pay homage to him within the space,” says Claus.
Guess used inexpensive graded pine plywood so that he would get heavy grain patterns on the surfaces. One of the main goals in the kitchen was simplicity. To that end, he opted for a poured-in-place concrete island. "We didn’t know if we could afford to do that, but we found a great subcontractor [Nate Francis of Countertop Creations] here who had never really built anything like that," Guess says. "Because he was interested in giving it a shot and adding it to his portfolio, he didn’t charge an exorbitant amount of money because it was sort of an experiment for him as well." The kitchen features a GE Profile refrigerator and KitchenAid range, microwave, and dishwasher. The sink and faucet are from Kohler. The project's builder was Joe Doherty with Custom Homecrafters of Austin.
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