red kitchen countertopWe now have examples from two readers who installed vintage style red laminate kitchen countertops — using two different laminates. Above: Bonnie used Arborite Red Xabia laminate edged with aluminum trim from Eagle Mouldings. Trim pieces included (1) Face nosing 13/16″ (with holes drilled) A-274; (2) Cove E98 MFA for 1/16″ material to join counter and backsplash, and (3) J-caps 1/4″ E401 BA MFA for top of the backsplash (laminate on 3/16″ plywood).

red crackle ice countertopMeanwhile, Susan used red cracked ice laminate from Bars & Booths, along with aluminum edging purchased from the same company. Pros and cons of the two approaches, to the best of my knowledge:

  • Bonnie’s Arborite Red Xabia is a “stock” color from Arborite, so you should be able to order it easily and relatively inexpensively from any big box store. The Red Xabia has the right vintage-red color… and a bit of texture… so you certainly get the correct vintage vibe. See more of Bonnie’s 1950s kitchen update here.
  • Susan’s cracked ice (I also call this crackle ice) is a specialty laminate and more expensive. It does have the cracked ice effect a lot of folks want. See more of Susan’s project here.
  • Either way, I’d advise, though, to order samples before you choose — as large as you can get them. For example, the cracked ice laminate that I saw some years ago had too much pixelation in the digital printing for my tastes. And an update on cracked ice laminate pricing since Susan’s renovation: Check Heffron’s A Moment In Time Design also for pricing — last I checked they beat Bars & Booths’ pricing.

  1. linoleummy says:

    This article has become an inspiration and reference along with Bonnie’s and Susan’s kitchens. A couple of years ago I couldn’t have fathomed wanting red countertops but now the ball is rolling with Wilsonart Retro Hotrod and stainless steel edging. Pam & Kate you are doing a great service to humankind by putting color back into our lives.
    How bout an article on 2-story countertops? I’m trying to decide on keeping the peninsula one level at counter height or upping the sit-at side to bar height.

  2. Bobby OB says:

    Pam, our kitchen has the original red counters with white “smoky swirls” which I an guessing is the cracked ice style? Ours has dulled a little. When it’s wet, it shines beautifully but then, dullish again. Any polishing products that you or other readers would recommend? Thanks.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Bobby OB, see my Kitchen/Countertops category — there is a story in there about Countertop Magic. That may be worth a try…

  3. lynda says:

    Very nice. Glad your hard work paid off! I have to laugh whenever I read a story about metal cabinets. In 1972 my husband was drafted and was stationed at the Pentagon. He moved first and found us an apartment. When I got there, I cried because there were old fashioned metal cabinets, a pink tile bath (complete with a pull out pink metal hamper), radiators and parquet wood floor! I didn’t know then that I was supposed to appreciate that apartment!

      1. fresia brenes says:

        Congratulations on your restoring! I remodeled my Mid-Century, 1050’s kitchen recently, and eventhough, I changed the look to a more modern style with ceasar stone counter-tops and wood floors, I kept most of my metal cabinets. I had them powder-baked-painted in white and they matched the rest of the kitchen beautifully. The cabinets a their shiny, pretty handles give special glamour to the whole look. I have some finished pieces left over that I would want to offer for sale to people that may be looking for extra pieces. Do you have some ideas? Thanks.

  4. Pam says:

    I found a product, it is actually more for tiled countertops vs laminate, but you can get a bit of the ‘look’ of a retro kitchen. It’s Schluter-RONDEC-STEP and you can find it by googling. I am considering red tile with epoxy gout. Not exactly pure retro, but I like it. They are the ones that make that orange vapor barrier for showers that many of the home improvement shows on TV use.

  5. Lauryn says:

    We were looking into the grey cracked ice and YES, do order a sample first. Bars and Booths sent us the yellow and the red and we didn’t really notice the pixelation. My husband wanted to just go ahead and order the grey laminate, but I insisted on a sample, and boy am I glad I did. The pixelation in the grey is dramatically more noticeable than the yellow or red. And because of the narrower width of the cracked ice laminate, we were going to have to order significantly more to make our counters, putting our countertops in the same price range as much higher end counters. In the end we went with Nevamar’s Serene Stardom (a grey linen), had a local craftsman build them with aluminum trim from NY Metals we, and couldn’t be happier with the results!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Thank you for sharing this experience, Lauryn. I would LOVE to see photos of your countertop! Will email you!

  6. ChrisH says:

    Good info.

    Have you ever done an article on the installation process? Something that explains what all the various trim pieces are for would be helpful.

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