Dayle Laing

The ‘coolest shade of green’ is the sustainable choice. Dayle Laing is a Professional Speaker and Author who uses her experience and training as an educator, a designer and a LEED Accredited Professional to empower Conscious Consumers to make practical yet beautiful choices for sustainable living, reducing their carbon footprint while enhancing their body, mind & spirit.

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Dayle's 26 year old Kitchen

Time to select green interior design for my new kitchen countertop,

after 26 years my builder-supplied kitchen countertop was worn out, to say nothing of being very dated. I have designed many kitchens over the years and this was the first time I had the thrill of tackling my own! This was “finally -- about time” according to several of my more candid designer friends!

The surface of the plastic laminate counter was in remarkably good shape for a family that likes to cook, but the particle board underneath was disintegrating around the faucet and under the front edge. So, what would be the ‘coolest shade of green’ for my family’s requirements?

There are many considerations when going for green interior design. Lifestyle and practicality have to feature prominently because if the client is unhappy with the results, rapid replacement is even worse than not considering ‘green’ to start with! I really like the easy care and zero maintenance of the engineered quartz products and started to research which one to choose. I prefer the appearance of granite but rejected it on the basis of 40 – 50% waste of the stone from quarry to finished slab and the quantity of water needed to cut the slabs, and what happens to that water afterward. The worry about stains from red wine and the annual resealing also influenced my decision. What other factors should I consider?

After taking a tour of the local Cambria fabrication plant conducted by my sales representative Lewis Lanza, my choice was much easier.  From an esthetic point of view, the variation of quartz particle size made the product appear much more like granite. Since I required 2 seams for my design, their ability to select the best colour ‘match’ for slabs and to examine the product in different types of light was impressive.  They encouraged me to be “creative with curves” without typical large upcharges and to display the precision of the water jet saws. My kitchen is blessed and challenged with many doorways, which make a sweeping curve both impressive and highly practical for traffic flow.

Cambria recycles all their water from the saws and routers. All quartz off-cuts are recycled into road base material for local construction. Huge fans push the hot air back down into the plant, conserving the factory heat.  The installers are encouraged to return all cardboard packaging back to the shop for recycling too. 

The green story extends to both business practices and production, since the quartz is mined from Canadian quarries, where blasting into chunks yields only 10% waste, and quarries are returned to nature with regeneration of vegetation within 4 years, according to Summer Kath, Cambria's Director of Marketing.  Quartz chunks are shipped to Minnesota for production into countertop slabs.  The ‘local’ North American aspect of this story is more appealing than product shipping from Europe or Asia. Engineered quartz slabs contain 93% quartz (the hardest stone after diamond and topaz), and 7% resins and colour pigments.  The mixture is compacted and baked at 250°F to make it non-porous to liquids. Granite contains only 40-60% quartz and many other minerals which affect its porosity.

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cambria_templating_250.jpg Once the kitchen cabinets were installed, Eric, my ‘certified installation associate’ arrived for the templating. No cardboard templates for this design! He shot digital photographs using black dots that would translate into precise auto-cad drawings for the fabrication shop. Even my very crooked walls were no obstacle. The back edge of the countertop followed the actual contours of the wall!

Within 2 weeks, the well trained, professional, courteous cambria_installation_250.jpgteam of Ron and Martin arrived for the installation appointment. Undermount sink holes had been precut and polished in the shop. Only faucet and soap dispenser holes were cut on site with a vacuum to immediately remove the dust created.

cambria__hole_drilling_250.jpgI am very sensitive to VOC odours and I found the counters were odour-free and the seam adhesive had only a minimal smell which dissipated rapidly. Cambria contributes to 1 LEED point for “indoor environmental quality: low emitting materials”, and meets the “GREENGUARD Environmental Institute’s (GEI) indoor air standards for low chemical and particle emissions”. When my very experienced backsplash tile installer Alfie arrived a few days later, he was sure the countertops were granite and he had trouble finding the seams!

So, a quick wipe with dish detergent and warm water on my soft dish cloth, and I am all set for many decades of cleanliness and beauty. Let the entertaining in my gorgeous new kitchen begin!

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Dayle's 'after' kitchen with Cambria countertops

Dayle will be examining other aspects of her 'green' kitchen in upcoming issues of ‘Coolest Shade of Green’.  She invites you to pose questions in the section below.  To reach her for more information or to book your seminar, you may contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comments (4)

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Dayle,<br />I met you at Brentwood Classics and enjoyed your presentation. Your kitchen is beautiful!!!!<br />The curves in the countertop add movement and depth to the overall look. Excellent!<br /><br />Thanks for the info!<br />Gloria :D<br...

Dayle,<br />I met you at Brentwood Classics and enjoyed your presentation. Your kitchen is beautiful!!!!<br />The curves in the countertop add movement and depth to the overall look. Excellent!<br /><br />Thanks for the info!<br />Gloria :D<br /><br />Thanks Gloria. I am appreciative that you enjoyed both the seminar and this article.<br />Dayle

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Hi Dayle,<br /><br />Your kitchen is just gorgeous. I love the new countertop and really appreciate all the research you have done. I am looking at renovating my kitchen and the Cambria is a great option. Thanks for doing all the hard work!<br...

Hi Dayle,<br /><br />Your kitchen is just gorgeous. I love the new countertop and really appreciate all the research you have done. I am looking at renovating my kitchen and the Cambria is a great option. Thanks for doing all the hard work!<br /><br />Cheers,<br />Jennifer<br /><br />Thanks Jennifer. I am glad you have found this article helpful.<br />Dayle

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Hi Dayle,<br />Well, the newsletter is great as usual, but the big winner is your new kitchen. Wow! You must be loving it. I'm on the lookout for pendant lighting. Would you mind telling me where you sourced yours?<br /><br />Thanks, Lyn<br...

Hi Dayle,<br />Well, the newsletter is great as usual, but the big winner is your new kitchen. Wow! You must be loving it. I'm on the lookout for pendant lighting. Would you mind telling me where you sourced yours?<br /><br />Thanks, Lyn<br />By Design, Interior Styling & ReDesign<br /><br />Thank you Lyn. I'll send you an email on where you can source the lights locally. Do stay tuned for an article in the near future about the 'green' lighting I used in the kitchen.<br />Dayle

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Hi Dayle,<br /><br />We met a few years ago at the first CDECA function in Winnipeg hosted by Arnold. <br /><br />Your new kitchen is such a wonderful example of great design with a conscience. I really like the introduction of organic curves...

Hi Dayle,<br /><br />We met a few years ago at the first CDECA function in Winnipeg hosted by Arnold. <br /><br />Your new kitchen is such a wonderful example of great design with a conscience. I really like the introduction of organic curves into your space. It is a wonderful variation from the linear floor plan of the previous layout. I also like your decision to go with a slide-in range to keep the focus on the design features surrounding it.<br /><br />Cambria's "black dot" method of creating a CAD "template" is impressive. High tech with a green conscience!<br />Patricia<br /><br />Hi Patricia,<br />Of course I remember you and do thank you for the kind comments about my kitchen design. I am pleased you are interested in design with a 'green conscience'!<br />Best regards,<br />Dayle

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