For either kitchen or, especially, bathroom countertops, I believe that Carrara marble laminates are an authentic vintage choice. I blinded myself searching for them among the 8 retailers of laminate in the U.S. today. The number-one choice, I think, is going to be from Wilsonart — their White Carrara, shown above. Read on for some history and learnings… and for two more Carrara laminates to consider –>
Two points of interest:
- Grace Jeffers, the materials expert who advises Wilsonart, wrote about the use of laminates that imitated marble in her write up for Wilsonart on laminates in the 1950s. She also shows laminates that mimic travertine, and points to the influence of modern designers. I tend to believe, though, that carrera-style laminates were even more popular in 1960s. Remember, you can also get Formica White Onyx – which we know for a fact has been on the market in its present form since at least 1963.
- Researching this story, I learned about the difference between Carrara marble and Calacatta marble. Both are named for areas of Italy. Carrara has denser, smaller, lower-contrast veins and is light-grayer in its overall effect. Calacatta has much larger veining and, as a result, a grey-on-white effect. The larger-scale Calacatta is being pushed for contemporary homes today – both Formica and Wilsonart have it, part of the appeal seems to be that it has a huge repeat – 5′ – which means that in a kitchen it will be even less evident that it’s not real marble (real marble would have no “repeat”). Don’t ask me why, but I am guestimating that Cararra — not Calacatta — was what we had in old-skool times. Part of this guess is based on the fact that carrara marble has been in my conscientious forever — it’s been around. The big veining of Calacatta? I think that must have become “a thing” with McMansions.
Wilsonart’s White Carrara laminate — Get samples via their website here.
Abet Laminati’s Luc laminate — On their website here.
Arpa’s Marmo Sierra Beige — On their website here.