Jan 27, 2012

Kitchen Makeover Part 4 - DIY Counters

So with just a few weeks until Christmas and 15 people set to come that day - we set out to finish the last phase of our Kitchen Makeover!  'Cause that's how we roll - the busiest, kitchen messiest, people visitingest time of year is obviously the best time to reno your kitchen counters and sink!

Or not!

Just saying.

But it's done now and it turned out better then I could have hoped!!

Here's the ol' before photo.

Getting up close and personal with the counter.  It was in great shape, no dents, scratches or what have you, it was just....dated.  No offense if this is your counter and you love it but it just isn't us, nor did we think it would be conducive to selling.

So hubby tore out the old barker tile back splash and added a plywood base to put the new ceramic tile on.  Our kind neighbour gave us the plywood, thus reducing the budget that little bit more. :)

So here is where the most ingenious and inexpensive kitchen reno bit comes in.  We have a twelve and a half foot length of counter and this is not cheap to replace!  We are not even talking anything fancy, just to replace them with a more modern laminate counter top would have ran us around $1400! 

You have to be kidding me!

So we did some ol' research and LOW AND BEHOLD....you can actually PAINT laminate counters!

No, seriously!

Ah ha!  A challenge if I ever saw one! 

So we bought a can of anywhere primer and went at it.  Just coated the whole thing. I figured even if we messed it up we wouldn't be any father behind then where we were.

Looks purdy, don't it! ;)

Okay, so sometimes you read things and you are like, "That's great for them, but there's no way that would happen for me.  They're just blessed/lucky/fortunate!"  But can I just say that God loves to provide for us in the smallest, tiniest ways!  Oh sure He can and will do big things for each and everyone of us - but I like to think He shows His real care and personal touch in our lives by providing for us in the smallest details.

And this is a little story of how He did it for us.  Simple, sweet but just that gesture that says to me, "You know I'm there!"

We discovered, that in order to paint the counters, all you need is regular acrylic paint, you know, house paint - the same stuff you'd use to paint your walls!

Yes way!

We wanted just a few shades of brown, to match an existing piece of newer counter that we already have in the kitchen.  So we went to the local hardware box store.  We really wanted to keep this whole project cheap and weren't sure what to do about the paint.

So after mulling about for a while, we decided to take a quick glance at the 'oops' paint section.  If you have never checked out the 'oops' paint part of a paint place, DO IT!  You'd be amazed at what you can find and it is so inexpensive too.  If you are not sure what I mean by oops paint, it is what the stores label paint that they mix wrong.  So it is often great paint, just the wrong shade for the person who originally wanted it.

Anyways, there wasn't much selection in the ol' oops section that day....except for a few of the little sample cans.  You know the ones where you can get a tiny can to take home and paint a big splotch on the wall to see if you'll like the colour.  Well guess what??  Two of the colours we needed were sitting right there....yup!  Sitting there, in tiny perfect sample size cans, just enough for a project such as ours, the two perfect colours.....

....I'm still in awe of it!

Oh and because they were sample size and because they were 'oops' they were A DOLLAR each!

*stunned look*

Yay...okay so maybe you don't find this all as exciting as I did...but seriously, pretty cool none the less!

Okay...so back to the DIY bit of all this. :)

Once the primer dried we painted a base coat over it of a nice brownish/tan colour (also an oops purchase from the summer...but I won't go into details on that one....not this time - but it was a pretty cool story too!)

So yes, primer, base coat and then the fun bit.

I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper (ask me how much I love parchment paper, 'cause I really, really do!) and then poured a big glob of paint on it.  Take a plastic grocery bag, scrunch it up and dab it into the paint splotch.  Then just start dabbing away at your counter. 

Try to be very random - don't think about it at all!  Just remember to get the rounded corner of where the back lip meets the counter top and the very front edge.  Oh and dress appropriately, I've never gotten so messy painting and I do a lot of it - in case you haven't figured that out by now! HA!

Work in layers of each colour, allowing each layer to dry before adding a new colour.  I recommend two things:

1.  Less is more - don't over do it, the beginning looks like junk but once the layers come together you will see it all working out nicely!

2.  Work in at least three tones, dark, medium and light (you can add more but this should be sufficient for most beginners.)  I would work in this order; base coat (which is the one solid colour, I recommend it being close to your medium tone), then dark tone, medium tone (this I made by mixing a bit of my dark tone with my base coat), then the light coat.  If you like, another layer of the medium should finish it off nicely.  But go with your gut feelings though all of this!

Finish with a water based varnish, we used semi gloss, two coats.

And Voila!

Sooo, do you like it?  Because we really do!  It turned out so good!  We have fooled just about everyone who has come to our home, including our agent! ;)

Now a quick before and after.

And hey, don't our floors look fantastic?!?! Crazy, it's really just a different angle and maybe different lighting.  But you'd swear we had waxed them or something.

My tile talented brother-in-law tiled the back splash for us and my hubby grouted it.  So that only cost us feeding the brother-in-law a steak dinner and materials.  Oh and we had to get a new sink as ours was rotten out in the drain, but we found a great one on Kijiji for $40! :)

So I think for the entire Kitchen Makeover we spent just under $600!  That includes:
-tiles for back splash (purchased on sale! Oh yay!)
-grout, glue and other tile associated things
-paint, paint and more paint
-new pillows for my beloved window seat  (I could have saved money here...but hey, that's why I cheaped out, went inexpensive on the counters!)
-varnish and primer for the counters
-new sink
-and other supplies that I can't remember about! ;)

One last note on the whole counter thing, once you do this it is no longer 'food safe'.  Meaning something like - don't cut food on your counter....not that you should anyways, but they just are no longer 'safe' to do so.  Though there is no product out there that truly is...it's just the legality of it all okay?!? 

If you want to see the complete Makeover from start to finish, here are the other links:

Kitchen Makeover Part 1: Kitchen Cork Board
Kitchen Makeover Part 2: The Coffee Corner
Kitchen Makeover Part 3: Kitchen Shelves

So there you have the completion of our suppose to be long weekend makeover project....from August! Hahah!

I'd truly love to hear your thoughts and learn any inexpensive home reno projects you know of!  I love a good DIY and a DIY that saves real money...money to spend on pretty things, like pillows...is a good thing! ;)

Happy Homemaking!



  1. Incredible! I've had the benefit of seeing it in person but these pictures almost do it justice! You guys are so creative :)

  2. Thanks Steph! Now you have the step by step to go at your bathroom counter! ;)

  3. Wow! Those counters and the kitchen look amazing!! You are gifted..gifted..gifted!!!

    ♥Lee Ann


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