For sharing the link to this article about rethinking laminate.
I did have to laugh, though - the nice young man excited about the laminate product is excited about a countertop that looks too much like the stuff we had in our first house in Florida, in 1982. That wood-look laminate is hardly a new thing. It's great that it's now made with recycled materials, definitely, but I'm still not that crazy about the wood look. If you scroll down and click through, there's a really great example of upscale laminate.
I also laughed at the commenter who pointed out that there are buyers who won't even LOOK at a kitchen that doesn't have stainless appliances and granite (or at least brand-name solid surface) countertops. SO true, and that's why I'm going with the Silestone and stainless in the kitchen. Not because I think my kale will taste better cooked on a stainless steel stove, and I'd be fine with Formica, but because I probably will sell this place at some point, and stainless and solid surface are the standard in the community. The bathrooms and former useless wet bar will have upscale Formica, and future buyers can bite me. I could have saved a ton of money by going with Formica throughout, but yeah, I know what sells in this market, and I managed to respect that without blowing the budget.
Resale is always at the back of my mind when I spend big bucks like this. Right now, it's not so much of an issue. There are so few properties available in ANY condition, buyers don't have a half dozen options to weigh. But in five years we may be facing the flipside of low inventory, so I want to at least be "up to snuff" with the neighbors.
And dammit, I really, really like the Silestone I chose, and I'm so glad I found it. It's warm and glowy and full of dimension and life, and when I'm done with this vanilla-blah condo, it's definitely going to look like it belongs in the 21st century.
I got the installation cost news today - over $8900, for putting in the cabinets (kitchen, former wet bar, master bath) countertops (ditto) including plumbing and electrical related to the ripping out and reinstalling of the cabinetry. A big hunk of that is bringing the electrical up to code - I'll be gaining at least three new outlets to meet code, and they are moving that swagged dining room fixture to the place where you'd actually put a dining room table so I can lose the swag crap, and they have to re-wire the kitchen to accommodate the new range and separate microwave (right now it's on one circuit, circa mid-80s.) A big hunk is that damn wet bar - reworking that space is as much as installing the entire kitchen, because it's so odd and angled, and thus entirely custom and non-stock-anything.
I don't have my flooring cost yet, and I still need light fixtures, and the stove, microwave, and dishwasher, and oh yeah, a new washer and dryer. (Betty and Elmer are way overdue for retirement - when it's time to rip out the flooring down the hallway, they are going off to the Ancient Maytag Farm, where they can run and play and share fond memories of mangling clothing.) The new washer and dryer will be white and fairly basic, thankyouverymuch. I don't need humongous stainless front-loader monsters, just a decent basic pair that can wash and dry a load of towels in less than ALL DAY, and wash a load of clothes without DANCING AROUND TURNING IN CIRCLES and nearly taking out a wall with her out of balance thumping and bumping. (Glares at Betty.)
So, the last spending suspense is the flooring - and we still don't have an answer back from the estimator. Tomorrow I'll call HD and bug them a bit. There's plenty of time; nothing is going to get installed until the end of August/beginning of September, but I'd like to get the numbers now.