When the Taylors of Upland, Calif., decided to remodel their kitchen, they wanted a project that reflected their personal and professional commitments to the green movement (Mrs. Taylor is an environmental lawyer). Surfacing Solutions Inc., Temecula, Calif., helped them achieve their goal by creating an environmentally friendly countertop.

"I was excited to work on this project from the moment I first saw the house and spoke with the clients," says Shawn Halverson, president of Surfacing Solutions. "Mrs. Taylor has a keen eye for detail, color, and design. She knew exactly how she wanted her countertops to look from the beginning."

Working with the Taylors was both rewarding and challenging, however. "Most customers allow us a bit of freedom to design and create with colors for a project," says Chris Johnson of Surfacing Solutions. "Mrs. Taylor had a very specific vision of the end product, so I knew we were going to have to work hard to meet her expectations. It was a good challenge for us."

Adding to the challenge was the use of several stains to create the colors Mrs. Taylor wanted to use. Part of her request was to incorporate multiple sage green stain tones from L.M. Scofield Co., Los Angeles. "The stains never do the same thing twice, but it's always fun to create new designs with stains," says Jared Denham, Surfacing Solutions' color specialist. The stain color was carried down the edges and through each piece. Everything was then sealed using Concrete Solutions Acrylic Urethane.

The size of the kitchen and weight of the countertops also presented challenges. The island countertop was 11 x 7 feet, so it had to be divided into three sections for transportation and installation. Its weight required a concrete leg for support. Surfacing Solutions was able to turn the challenges into opportunities by incorporating a curved design feature at the joints, which was continued on the the 10-foot x 32-inch raised bar countertop and the support leg. The shape and weight of the countertops required a crew of seven to help transfer, support, and install.