CCSRtip Tuesday: Countertops

Granite in CCSR Powder Bath Below

Plastic Laminate in CCSR Powder Bath BelowGranite in CCSR Kitchen BelowButcher Block in Kitchen Below

When it comes to countertops for your bathrooms, kitchens, or utility rooms – the choices are endless. In this post I thought I would break down the choices out there and give you some examples of what they look like – and then photos of places we have used these surfaces in our projects. Right now, we are quite partial to using Quartz in our projects – but any stone product seems to really increase value when remodelling a home.


Best For: Busy kitchens and baths. It is stain and heat resistant and low maintenance. It doesn’t need sealing and is available in vibrant colours and styles that mimic natural stone.

But: edges and corners can chip. Rounded edges help. Stone finishes can appear more uniform then natural.

Price: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.


Best For: a natural stone look. It can withstand heavy use and resists stains when it’s properly sealed. It also resists heat and scratches.

But: it can chip and typically needs resealing to resist stains. Appearance can differ from samples, so it’s best to choose a slab at the stone yard.

Price: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.


Best For: a contemporary look when made with large shards, or to resemble solid surfacing when finely ground. Resistant to heat, cuts and scratches.

But: chips and stains can be a problem.

Price: $60 to $120 per sq. ft.


Best For: a wide variety of colours and patterns at a budget-friendly price. It’s excellent at resisting stains and heat damage and is simple to install.

But: it’s easy scratched by knives and isn’t repairable. Most laminate have visible seams, though post-formed options are available.

Price: $10 to $40 per sq. ft.

TILE (ceramic or porcelain)

Best For: use near stoves because it’s heat resistant. Tiles comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns.

But: it chips. The grout between tiles stains, even when it’s sealed, and can mildew. Poor installation can increase those problems. Thinner grout lines and darker grout may help.

Price: $5 t0 $30 per sq. ft.


Best For: seamless installations. Many colours and styles are available, including those that mimic concrete, stone, and quartz. Solid surfacing is also stain resistant, and small nicks and scratches can be repaired.

But: it’s easily scratched. Stone finishes can look more uniform than natural.

Price: $35 to $100 per sq. ft.


Best For: adding the beauty of stone to a low-traffic kitchen. It withstands heat very well, and small scratches can be repaired. Slabs vary, so go to a stone yard.

But: it’s easily sliced, scratched, and nicked. Stain resistance is only mediocre, and the surface needs to be periodically rubbed with mineral oil.

Price: $50 to $100 per sq. ft.


Best For: customizing. It can be dyed or textured.

But: it can develop cracks. Its durability depends on the fabricator’s skill and the sealers used. Topical sealers, which resist stains but not heat, are best for bathrooms. Penetrating sealers resist heat but not stains and must be reapplied.

Price: $60 to $120 per sq. ft.


Best For: a modern-looking kitchen. It repels stains and heat and doesn’t rust or discolor. The countertop can be made with an integral sink for an even sleeker seamless look.

But: it show fingerprints and it dents and scratches easily. Matte or grain finishes hide damage better. It can look cold.

Price: $50 to $150 per sq. ft.


Best For: a country kitchen and for cutting produce. This natural material is also easy to install and repair.

But: it might need periodic sealing or even refinishing to remove surface cuts, dings and scratches. Its finish affects performance. Varnish improves stain resistance and penetrating oils decrease it.

Price: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.


Best for: a natural stone look without heavy veining or graining in a low-traffic kitchen, guest bathroom, or powder room. It withstands heat very well.

But: it’s a very soft stone that is easily sliced, nicked, and scratched. It’s also porous, so it stains easily even when it’s properly sealed.

Price: $50 to $100 per sq. ft.


Best For: a classic stone look in low-traffic areas, such as baking zone or a quest bathroom. It’s available in a wide range of natural colours.

But: it’s more porous than granite, so it’s not as stain resistant. It also scratches easily, isn’t very heat resistant, and needs periodic sealing.


Best For: show rather than daily use. It’s available in several different styles, including a parquet pattern.

But: it’s easily stained, scorched, sliced and nicked. The manufacturer may warn against using around sink, as moisture can warp the material. Bamboo may darken over time.

Price: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.

On a test that takes resisting: Stains, Cutting, Heat, Abrasion and Impact (out of 100) – Quartz (84), Granite (81) and Recycled glass (69) rated the highest. Butcher block – oil finish (24), Marble (14) and Bamboo (10) rated the worst. Laminate countertops rated 68 – which is why this inexpensive alternative still remains relatively popular.

Note: Prices include installation. A typical kitchen needs 56 sq. ft.

Taken from Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide | Consumer Reports 2012

Granite in Kitchen Below

Granite in Kitchen BelowQuartz in Ensuite Bathroom BelowMarble in Ensuite Bathroom Below

If you need any help determining what kind of countertop to use for your upcoming project or if you need help with pricing – please contact us at info@ccsrdesign and we would be happy to point you in the direction that best suits your needs.


Side Note: This is so cute!

Shannon, a friend from school did a blog post on a website that highlighted Sitcom Floorplans by artist Inaki Aliste Lizarralde. If you love you some classic good TV shows (grammar!), it’s just so cute! To check out her blog click HERE to check out the site click HERE.

CCSRloves: Juju!!! …Who???



I’m sure many of you are familiar with this beautiful design trend – The Juju Hat – the simply wonderful airy and lovely piece of art, that has found it’s way into many homes. Although you may have seen the Juju – do you know the background behind this incredibly unique hat? Non??? Then let me share what our local – The Cross Decor & Design – shop has to say about these dreamy decor pieces…


Home to a diversity of chiefdoms, kingdoms, and villages are the grasslands of the beautifully forested volcanic mountains of Cameroon. Some of the most important tribes include the Bamoun in the East, The Bamileke in the South and the Tikar east of the Bamoun. During royal court affairs, the celebrants of these kingdoms wear a spectacular headdress known as the Tyn or Juju Hat.

The hat is worn by the chiefs, senior dignitaries, prominent officials and important dancers. This large bright hat consists of multicoloured bird feathers. The feathers range in a wide variety of colours including white.

The feathers are carefully sewn onto a raffia finer base, covered with material on the outside that splays out into a huge circle. When not in use between festivities, the Tyn hat can be neatly folded in on itself for easy storage.

The feathers are utilized as rare objects of beauty, as a symbol of prosperity and for the wealth of positive qualities associated with birds.






Aren’t they dreamy??? Here is the really great part – a local blogger has posted a JuJu Hat Tutorial, so click away if you want to try this design trend in your home for a fraction of the price. But, if buying the real thing is more up your alley, click here to order your very own!

CCSRtip Tuesday – Lighting 101

When working with clients one of our jobs is always to do a lighting plan or reflected ceiling plan (RCP). Today, I thought I would share some lighting tips for planning where your fixtures should go. There are 3 types of lighting that one should include when designing –

1. Ambient (general) Lighting | This type of lighting provides the overall illumination for a room. Bright, but not glaring, it can come from ceiling fixtures, pendants, and chandeliers, and wall-mounted fixtures.

2. Task Lighting | Focused directly on a specific area where activities such as food preparation, cleanup, or ready take place, this type of lighting typically comes from pendant, under cabinet, recessed, or track fixtures.

3. Accent Lighting | This kind highlights design elements, such as items displayed on shelves. It comes from wall-mounted lights or pendants and should be significantly brighter than surrounding ambient lighting.

Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide | Consumer Reports | July 2012

See above Kitchen RCP Plan showing all three types of Lighting.

Typically for a Kitchen Design we normally choose to use recessed pot lights to take care of the Ambient Lighting – spaced 30″ from the wall and about every 4 to 6 feet. There are a few different types of bulbs for your recessed fixtures (and sizes – 4″, 5″, and 6″ typ.) – Par 16, Par 20, GU10 (line voltage) and MR16 (low voltage) lamps are most common. (Both come in great LED options – that cost so little to operate – they should really be considerations – they also can give off a great warm light – about a 2700 K)

“Pot Light”

PAR 20


MR 16MR16

Par Bulb LED


We take special care to note areas where more “work” is happening – and include Task Lighting in the way of under cabinet lights mounted in places such as a sink (overhead/bulkhead lighting) and then lighting the countertop and also the cooktop (choosing a hood fan with a good light source). Some options for under cabinet lighting are a 2″ puck light, a 12″ under cabinet light (Halogen/LED – Halogen much hotter than LED) or LED tape lighting – ($$$) which doesn’t allow any “dark spots” in the design.

2" Puck Light2″ Undercabinet Puck Light

12" Undercabinet

12″ Undercabinet Fixture

LED Strip Light

LED Strip Light

Strip Light Example

Strip Light Example – used on a stairway.

The Accent Lighting is usually represented by a pendant fixture or a directional wall mounted fixture – something with a little more “sparkle” or “pizzazz” about it. For use above an island –  the size of your island will determine if you choose two larger scale pendants or three smaller pendants. Want to know the height to hang your fixture above a table or countertop???…. 30″. To check out some great pendants – go HERE.

Pendant 1

Pendant 2

Pendant 3

Pendant 4

(we are using the one above in the kitchen shown)

Pendant 5


There is so much to learn when it comes to lighting – but there are some basics to get you started! Happy planning – and if you need an added hand with any ideas or tips – email us at or comment below!

CCSRloves: Our Family

Only July 12th we welcomed Baby Theo to our Family… and became a family of 5! We have continued working on our projects and are so delighted to have a job where family and work can co-exist. We look forward to getting back to blogging – as we cuddle our new little design intern!