Our house on Pennlyn Place in Ocean City was built in 2001. When we bought the place in 2005, it was just 4 years old. At that point, we’d spent 20 years living in a house in Mineola that was approaching 90 years of age. Having 4 year old electrical, plumbing, cabinets, counters, etc was a new experience for us, and one that we loved. In those early years, although we loved being at the house, finances dictated that we rent out the house for 9 to 10 weeks every summer. Although we did painting and updated the furniture, we left the basic house the same. As you probably know, in 2016 I joined Susie in retirement, and in 2017 we sold the Mineola house and officially Ocean City became our home! Now it was time to make the house ours!
We’d always wanted a wine fridge, and after doing a lot of research, we bought a new “under the counter” model. This meant that it vented from the front so it could be buried under a counter. Then we added a glass doored cabinet to the end of our existing cabinets, which would hold glasses, and reside above the wine fridge. Now, all we needed to bring the whole thing together was to extend the counter over the wine fridge and under the glass cabinet!
The term “Builder’s Grade” denotes the quality of items that a builder puts in a house as part of the basic build. Our countertops certainly qualified as that! Built of Formica over plywood, they were serviceable, but without the cache of stone counters. In the beginning we figured that they were the perfect thing for a house that was still being rented. Unfortunately, they were also green as was the matching fireplace surround. In order to match the greens, the furniture we’d updated in our early years of ownership stayed in the green palate, even though Susie always thought that a beach house should reflect more the nature of it’s seaside environment, and blues and beiges would be much better colors. Now it was time for another updating and for a color change!
Susie did a lot of research on the type of counters she wanted, and everything she read led to manufactured quartz. That decision done, then it was time to select who we should turn to for help with this job. Once again Susie researched, checking out all the kitchen places in both Cape May and Atlantic counties. After several days of combing reviews and ratings, the answer looked obvious to her. Merlino Marble and Granite in Oceanview, NJ had by far the best reviews. Our next question was “How much was this going to cost us?” We took pictures, drew a diagram, and measured what we needed, and then we visited their showroom to see what was what.
We met with with Matt in the Merlino showroom in Oceanview, and talked about the job. He showed us what was available and took our measurements and promised he’d have a quote to us later in the day. After looking at all the samples in the showroom, we went home with 2 samples to choose from, and told him we’d be back the next day to return the samples. Remember, at this point, we still had no idea what it was going to cost us, but we’d pretty much decided that whatever it was, we would do it. That afternoon, true to his word, Matt emailed us a quote and we were surprised by how reasonable the price was. Having selected the quartz we wanted, when we returned the next day, we also told him we wanted to add in the fireplace surround. As quartz wasn’t a good material to use around the fireplace (doesn’t like heat), we walked the yard and quickly picked out a slab of marble we liked, and that worked well with the quartz we’d selected. He once again took our measurements of the fireplace surround, and using the material we’d selected, wrote up a contract.
The next step was to have the official measuring and template done. Here we had a little issue because we had to have a wall built for the far side of our wine fridge, so that it could be integrated into the cabinets. Once that was done, however, I called Charm at the Merlino office, and she sent Chris our way to do the design work. Using a laser, and computer, as well as a good old fashioned tape measure, Chris spent about an hour and a half plotting our counter tops, the island, and the fireplace surround in his cad program. This had to be exact (the reason for both the laser and computer and the tape measure back-up), as the cuts would be made in our quartz based on the design he was preparing. We were once again impressed.
This past Wednesday morning, at about 9:30 AM, Tim, Alex, and Dan showed up and first removed our old counters (goodbye green), and then started to do the prep work for the quartz installation. We had no idea that there was so much prep that had to be done, but they explained that having a good surface made the installation that much better. They used their crane to remove the old counters, and to bring the new quartz up to our porch, and in short order, our new kitchen started taking shape. When they put the first piece in place, we were thrilled, and as the work continued, our thrill level increased. The 3 guys worked very hard, with Tim taking charge of the counters and island while Dan and Alex worked on the fireplace. About 2 and3/4 hours later, the end result was nothing short of perfection, and Susie and I are thrilled at the transformation, and how our add-on cabinet and wine fridge now look like they were there since the place was built!
The entire process, from the first day we walked into the showroom took less than a month. From working with Matt and Charm at the showroom, to having Chris over to template the whole job, to the installation of our new counters, island, and fireplace surround by Tim, Alex, and Dan, Susie and I could not be happier! Everyone at Merlino was professional, and wonderful to work with! It was a real pleasure to have this job done by Merlino Marble and Granite…all home improvement stories should have such a happy ending!
BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES
Next task is picking out and having someone install the backsplash….wish us luck!