Selecting Your Material at Epic Stone LLC

 

You have decided to invest in beautiful stone countertops… now what?

Epic Stone in DavenportThe good news is that selecting your stone can be a fun part of the process. Village Home Stores is not going to send you on an epic journey to Chicago or Des Moines to select your stone, instead we will send you to Epic Stone in Davenport, IA. We are so very lucky to have such a large selection of materials without a long drive to see them. Epic Stone, LLC is the warehouse that our countertop fabricators purchase the material from for your project. They open their warehouse to our customers so that you are able to select the exact slabs of stone your tops are made from.

Shopping for granite in the Quad CitiesWhat should you have with you when you visit Epic Stone? It is best to come prepared with whatever you have available for your project. Backsplash and flooring samples, cabinet stains, or other important finishes that may help you select your stone. Epic will ask  your designer’s information so that material amounts and fabricator information can be included on a tag once you have selected your stone. Your designer will be able to tell you how many slabs of material your project requires. You do not need to have your kitchen or bathroom layout with you.

Keeping an open mind as you walk the aisles is most important. Bring a camera or have you smartphone or tablet ready to take pictures of favorites and labels during your visit. There are so many stones to choose from. You are able to browse a gallery on their website and following them on Facebook gets you immediate news of new materials coming in.

what do granite price categories mean

As you make your way around the warehouse at Epic you will notice each stack of slabs are labeled. There are three important elements to these labels to make note of:

  • The Name of the stone is important to note as some colors have many variations of the same name and this may change the price and color if the wrong name is given. The label shown above indicated that we were looking at a slab of “Super White Brushed” “Brushed” is important to note in this case because these slabs of “Super White” are not a polished, glossy stone and are priced a full category higher because of the “Brushed” finish.
  • A price category is indicated in the bottom right hand corner of the label. Categories range from 1 on up to the high teens. The lower the number, the lower the cost. Your salesperson at Village will get the full estimate together for you, they just need to know what category you have selected.
  • Another element to the material labels is the origin of your stone. This is what makes natural stone so amazing and unique. The stone slabs you see at Epic are mined throughout the world. How wonderful will it be when someone visiting your home asks what the name of your stone is and you can reply with a name and location from where it came?

granite warehouse in davenport, iaEpic Stone, LLC is located at the bottom of North Division Street, in the former Franks Foundries complex. The warehouse is a gigantic warehouse of stone slabs, so it is cold in the winter months and can get very hot in the summer. Dress prepared for the current temperature. While they have open hours, it is always best to call ahead to make an appointment. This makes your time spent at Epic more focused. Materials change so frequently so making an appointment also gives you the opportunity to ask if colors you are considering are there.

Epic Stone QC hoursIf you are just starting the process of shopping for granite or marble countertops for your home, your first step is to contact a designer at Village Home Stores. You can do this via our website or call us at (309) 944-1344. Your designer will walk you through the process from estimating to installation. We have selected the best fabricators in the area who are experts in their field of manufacturing, installing, and seaming your tops. Maintenance of natural stone tops is minimal and we wrote a short post about it here for your reference.

Natural stone is a fantastic choice and a material that is timeless and rich in history. With Village Home Stores and Epic Stone, LLC your stone countertops will look great for years to come.

Marble Institute of America

Rustic Selections Reveal Super Solutions (Lynn Center, IL)

This beautiful home in Lynn Center, IL came with spectacular views of Illinois countryside out of every window. The kitchen at first glance looks like a space right out of a magazine but open a few doors and drawers and this kitchen also reveals some amazing storage secrets!Rustic kitchen by Village Home Stores

This rustic finishes in this kitchen add a lot of texture and character to the space but keep the whole room warm and inviting. Full-overlay Rustic Beech cabinets in the “Briarwood finish sit in a great room that connects to the Dining and Living spaces. Full-extension soft-close drawer guides and soft-close hardware on the doors make this kitchen beautiful and functional.

Let’s start a tour of the space by revealing the secret kept behind those tall doors to the left of the refrigerator. A matching walk-through pantry front has been installed and behind them is a hidden pantry space anyone would love!

Hidden pantry in kitchenPlenty of open shelf space for dry goods, paper products and even cleaning supplies. A motion-sensor light has been installed so that the space lights up when the pantry door is opened. 

Super Susan corner cabinetThe expected cabinet upgrades like a pull-out wastebasket and large pots and pans drawers are included in this space but there are a few other specialty cabinet worth mentioning. This corner cabinet has been upgraded to a “Super-Susan”. Replacing the center pole susan style with a fixed center shelf and a revolving tray atop it that allows for full use of the space and no opportunity for items to fall off and go missing in the back corner.

Another one of our favorite parts to this design can be found in the area above the refrigerator. Inset doors above can be slide into the cabinet to reveal an area for a flat-screen television.TV Above RefrigeratorBuilt-in oven below counterA built-in wall oven has been installed below the counter with a smooth electric cooktop above. By installing these two built-in appliances in place of a freestanding electric range, a truly custom look is the end result. The oven door sits back flush with the cabinet doors. Whirlpool has recently redesigned their oven doors to include a wider glass “panoramic” window. Did you know that opening the oven to check on items in place of just flipping on the light changes the temperature by around 25 degrees?

Nobody like a coffeepot taking up space on their counter. The Brew Express countertop coffee system installed into this kitchen adds another custom element to this space. This system (available at Village Home Stores) recesses some of the components of the coffeemaker into the wall and leaves just half of the unit exposed. We get excellent feedback on these systems and can arrange for them to be installed for you. Brew Express Built-in Coffeepot

Stemware holders installed below the wall cabinets keep glassware within reach for entertaining and also offer a unique way to display your items without taking up shelf space.

Undercabinet Stemware Holder

Decorative glass inserts have been added to the corner and ending wall cabinet doors adding an artistic craftsman touch and an area for items to be displayed within. The “Vintage” granite counters in this kitchen are perfect!  Great natural characteristics and just a little but of added sparkle and flair throughout.

Village Home Stores

Undermount sink in granite

Have you seen anything in this kitchen that you would love to work into your new space? These are just a few examples of how our designers can work with you to maximize your space to fit your lifestyle. Get even more ideas for your project over on our Pinterest boards and see a full galleries of photos from this project visit our Houzz profile. The first step to your great new space is setting up an appointment. Contact us today so start the conversation. Stone surface on back of island

Kitchen Remodel With Great Storage Cabinets! (Rock Island, IL)

I could not have picked a better time to stop by to take some final pictures of this kitchen in Rock Island, IL. It was the end of the day last Friday and the homeowners were hosting some friends for cocktail hour in their new space. Seeing customers enjoying the finished project and showing it off to friends is the absolute BEST compliment we could get. I felt like I was walking into a commercial for our Full Project Management service. The owners of this beautiful new kitchen were so enthusiastic to share how easy the estimate and execution of the project was from start to finish with their guests.

Kitchen remodel by Village Home StoresWhile the shape and configuration of this island may appear strange at first glace, I got to see first hand how perfect it was. The raised bar-height top on the right end was the perfect place for guests to lean and set a drink and snack while the user is working in the kitchen. The location of this section of the island is actually where a wall was located previously. Here are some photos to get a better grasp of how we opened the space up.

Before Photos of KitchenIn the “Before” photo you see that a wall formed a narrow hallway behind the refrigerator and pantry. This wall was removed along with a beam that spanned the width of the old space. The temporary wall you see in the “During” photo was put in place until a new supporting header could be installed in the now wider kitchen. Now for the full tour of all of the great storage cabinets included in the new kitchen.

Pullout Spice RackA pull-out spice rack was installed adjacent to the range area for easy access to spices and cooking oils. While this cabinet happens to be a wall spice rack, base cabinet versions are available as well. A great secondary use for a base pull-out rack is to hold cleaning products near a sinkbase.

The new island also had great access to pots & pans storage in deep drawers immediately behind the range user. A pull-out cutting board located in the island is actually one of two installed in this kitchen. With two active users in the kitchen, there can now be many stations to prep and work in the space.

Kitchen Remodel Rock Island

Tray Storage Above RefrigeratorMy favorite storage solution in this new layout was hidden where you may least expect it. As I was taking photos of the island the customer exclaimed “Oh and you haven’t seen my favorite one!”. In the cabinet above the refrigerator were wood tray dividers and a wonderful deep space to store small (but tall) appliances. Now the reachable space in the base cabinets can house everyday items in place of these.

Cubby front to match kitchen cabinetsAn opening that once sat on the end of the old hallway area is now included in the new design. A face frame and door was ordered to match the new cabinets and create a custom look covering the cubby. Now access to this deep storage area looks like a well planned element of the new space. The customer plans on adding shelves to make for more pantry storage in the kitchen. While face frames and doors make up a significant part of the cost of a cabinet, sometimes the purchase of one and some added trim can make a great custom impact.

Cookbook storage

Angled base cabinetCookbook storage and an angled base cabinet were two other areas worth noting in the new kitchen design. Angled end cabinets can be a great way to add storage an not intrude on traffic paths in a space. You are able to extend the counter and storage an they make a great cap for row of cabinets in place of an abrupt square stop. In this case a table was just beyond the end of this counter and now a seated guest will not feel crowded.

Do you have a kitchen that may be able to be widened or reworked for a better solution? Just having a hard time figuring out how it will work best? We would love to talk to you about it. Our team at Village Homes Stores can show you full-colored rendered images of your new space before any walls or soffits get torn down. This way you can visualize your new space before any mess is made. Contact us today for an appointment so we can begin the discussion with you. We would love for you to be our next “Before & After” story!

Kitchen Remodel In Rock Island by Village

 

 

Use & Care: Granite and Quartz Counters

 

Your beautiful new kitchen from Village Home Stores is finished. Gorgeous stone counter tops are shining back at you…now what? How can you keep your Granite or Quartz counter tops looking as fantastic as they do now for years and years to come? Here are some tips from the experts here at Village Home Stores.

how to care for graniteIt’s no secret that Natural Stones and man-made Quartz surfaces are extremely hard and durable materials. These surfaces still remain the most sought-after choices for kitchen projects all across the industry. Granite and Marble mined from sources all over the globe are selected for their beauty and uniqueness. The fact that these colors and patterns occur in nature is pretty amazing. That is why many people fall in love with the look and concept of installing natural stone in their homes. However, there are some things that can harm these surfaces.

Man-made Quartz counter tops are non-porous and cannot be damaged by foods and liquids. Natural stones vary in density and sealant absorbency. Because of the natural properties of Natural Stone, with Granite or Marble surfaces you will want to avoid the following:

  • Acidic foods and liquids coming in contact with your stone. They can etch the polish of a stone or even stain them in some cases. Citrus fruits & juices, tomatoes and tomato sauces should never be left on your Natural Stone surfaces for long periods of time. Wine, coffee and soda spills should also be kept clean.
  • Abrasive cleaners should never be used on your stone surfaces. Granite and Marble are very hard surfaces but the sealants on some may break down faster over time if abrasive cleaners are used. We will expand more on cleaning your counters below.
  • Leaky oils & soaps can slowly be absorbed into natural stones so make sure to keep an eye on any dispensers or containers.

Cleaning Granite TopsCleaning your new counter tops will surely become part of a day-to-day routine in your new space. There are many mild cleaners formulated specially for use on Granite and Marble surfaces. These are all safe to use but for quick clean ups warm water and basic liquid dish soap will be just fine.  Avoid excessive use of soaps on your Natural Stone tops so you do not begin to form a build-up of soap and dull the shine of your surfaces. Never use abrasive cleaning products on your stone. For difficult spills and food stains, the flat side of a straight razor blade can be used on your Granite or Marble top.

Granite Counter Top SeamsMost kitchen layouts require a seam in the material. Seams can be expected with both man-made Quartz and Natural Stone products. These seams are constructed of epoxy products that may react to heat. Avoid placing heat directly on seamed areas of your counter tops. While some stones may need to be resealed every 4-5 years, some may never need more sealant than the initial installation. The best way to test if your sealant is working is to place a few drops of water on your work surface. If the water soaks in quickly, then it is time to reseal. If it beads up, then it is protected.

Below is an infographic for your quick reference. Feel free to “Pin” it or print and save with your project information. Making this information available to all members of your house, house guests or even babysitters will help protect the investment you have made in your new space. Selecting stone tops for your kitchen was a great choice. By creating good care habits in your new space, you will ensure that they will look as beautiful 15 years from now as they do today, If you have any questions about what you have read here on the use & care of your stone tops, please Contact Us today.

Items that can harm natural stone counters

Use & Care: Cultured Marble Surfaces

 

Bathroom vanity tops and some shower units are commonly installed using cultured marble or acrylic materials. These products have improved in color and customizing options to get you the look of some natural stones but still remain a softer product that requires some care and maintenance. The most popular brands of these bathroom products we sell in the Quad Cities region are made right here in the Midwest: The Onyx Collection (Belvue, KS) Classic Marble (Arthur, IL) and Bertch Oasis (Waterloo, IA). 

The most important part of maintaining a scratch-free and shiny surface is using Gel-Gloss Polish & Rejuvenator. Gel-Gloss has been around for ages and continues to be the industry choice for any cultured marble or acrylic surface. It is a very inexpensive product and can be found in most hardware stores and even online. It comes in many forms because it can be used on more than your bathroom top (i.e. boats, some furniture, chrome and porcelain). Here is how you use it: 

STEP 1: SPRAY & APPLY GEL-GLOSS The best way to have Gel-Gloss on hand for your home is in the spray form. This makes application and use easy. You will need two clean, dry cloths to use the product. Use the first cloth to apply a coat of the Gel-Gloss over the entire surface you wish to clean. If the time of year allows it, crack a window as the product does have a scent and most bathrooms are not large spaces. 

STEP 2: DRY TIME Allow the product to dry completely. You will start to notice a film or haze forming everywhere your coated the product. Once this haze has formed and dried you are ready to buff your surface. 

STEP 3: BUFF & SHINE Using your second clean and dry cloth, buff your surface to reveal a luster. You can repeat the process as often as weekly. The Gel-Gloss product leaves a smooth, sealed surface that help protect it as well as prevent water spots. 

As mentioned before, cultured marble and acrylic materials are a softer material than a true granite or marble. Once installed in your bathroom there is very little that can damage the product from daily use. You do want to remember the following when caring for yours:

  • Never wipe or clean with anything abrasive. Cleaners or tools that can scratch your surfaces if they have abrasive elements to them. Most sanitizing household cleaners are safe to use as long as they are labeled “Non Abrasive”
  • Protect the bottom surface of items placed on the counter. Jars and containers should have soft surfaces where they contact the material. If they feel rough to the touch, they could cause tiny scratches over time. Applying stick-on felt pads can help avoid this.
  • While many vanity tops are tested to be strong even against some nail-polish removers and many beauty products, avoid contact with products that could stain or damage the product.
  • Heat can damage the gloss coating atop many of these cultured marble and acrylic surfaces. With some flat irons and curling irons marketed to give you high-heat for better results, make sure you don’t leave them in direct contact with the surface. Never leave a lit cigarette on your surface.

If you have any questions about the many products available for your bathroom don’t hesitate to contact us. With new surfaces and finishes changing every day, there are so many choices. Village Home Stores can help you find the right fit for your home and lifestyle.