We would have loved to put soapstone countertops in our new kitchen. We think that would be more period than the formica we are using, but we just couldn't afford the soapstone with all the other expenses.
I held on for a while, and then I gave in to formica telling myself we could change it in a few years. Also not in the budget, custom cabinetry. We went for mid-line Kraftmaid cabinets from Home Depot with some upgrades including: an Amber Glaze, dovetail drawers, plywood sides, and heavy duty drawer glides with a self-closing mechanism.
Anyway, today we made the template for the countertop, which Steve will fabricate at the local woodshop next week. But it's tricky because we selected a Farm Sink.
The farm sink can't be undermounted with a formica countertop because of the potential for water to penetrate the MDF particleboard and then it will fail. So, we are overmounting the sink, that is the sink will be raised by about 1/2" above the countertop. Farm sinks are installed both ways if you look around.
One of the other issues we have is that the farm sink is wider on top than at the bottom, so to make an accurate template that will fit tightly around the sink, we have to elevate the template with 2x4s to get it to the correct countertop height and therefore the correct dimensions. It's complicated, we know, believe me!
The soapstone would have cost us more money, but we would have had it fabricated elsewhere and installed by someone else. This formica is expensive in time and thinking-wise, mostly because of the farm sink. On a positive note, we love farm sinks and we were able to find a fire clay one, which is stronger than porcelain that was under $400, which is really a bargain. We got it at Community Home Supply The company that made it, Barclays , is from Argentina and sells direct to distributors, which our salesperson said explained the difference in price. We found most other farm sinks to be at least $700 and up.
So, really the fact that we chose a farm sink and then formica for our countertop has made countertop process much more exacting and demands precise measurements. Usually with a countertop there is a little fudge factor, especially when you do an overmounted sink. But, the end result is we will have a more custom look and a more period effect and we will have accomplished this for much less money than is typical. In a few weeks we'll have some photos of the finished job posted.