source: residential architect Magazine
publication date: June 1, 2007

By Nigel F. Maynard

Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. But if you love the hunt like we do, it's bound to reward everyone involved. Yes, your products must prove penny-wise, but they can't look cheap or perform poorly. They must withstand the rigors of everyday life at least as well as their more precious counterparts.

Admittedly, cheap is in the eye of the budget holder, but we think the collection on the following pages is a bargain at twice the price.

scientific method

If the budget is tight, Kaplan Thompson Architects often turns to TopLabPLUS, a cellulose fiber-and resin-based surfacing material known for its sterility and imperviousness. (Its manufacturer, Trespa North America of Poway, Calif., claims the product is widely used for work surfaces in scientific laboratories around the world.) Thompson says the firm uses TopLabPLUS for countertops because it's “chemical- and heat-resistant, comes in a variety of colors and thicknesses, and is half the cost of Corian.” Panels can be milled using standard woodworking tools in 12 colors and four thicknesses. Trespa North America, 800.487.3772;