Pictured below is our once dark and dingy kitchen corner:
Gives me the shivers just looking at it! But with some hard work and vision, we are very excited to share the new and improved result:
Isn’t that one heck of a difference?! If you are thinking ‘Boo- the black wasn’t that bad…’ let me tell you a brief story: Before we started unpacking all of our stuff into the kitchen, we took some time to clean out all the cupboards, sweep the floors, and wipe down the countertops. I just sprayed a paper towel with cleaner and was absent-mindedly rubbing down the black counter… and then I glanced at the rag before tossing it out. It was pure black. Gasp. I swear, I almost halted the move-in so we could do the countertop project right then and there – but Kevin convinced me otherwise. We just ended up avoiding that part of the kitchen like the plague that it was. We didn’t put our food near it and we washed our hands after getting to close to it. And finally, we got a game plan together to tackle it on Labor Day weekend.
It was quite the task, coming up with ideas on how to cover up / replace the problem corner. You see, we have future plans for a complete kitchen remodel and we didn’t want to invest too much into this temporary fix. I thought of buying contact paper to stick down and at least feel safe while making a sandwich. Kevin thought we could buy scrap slabs of countertop from the ReStore or a hardware store- but I wasn’t a fan of having to resize potentially super thick laminate. We considered moving up the kitchen remodel to this fall/winter, but in the end it just wasn’t in the budget. So, one afternoon we were walking through Menards, a big hardware store in our area. I pulled Kevin towards the kitchen department (a super bad habit of mine) and we found ourselves near the scrap laminate in the back of the store. While browsing and mulling over our kitchen ideas, we saw it. Just what we were looking for! Laminate sheets! There was an entire wall of super thin laminate surfaces to choose from. We instantly knew it was right for us. We ended up going with the color “natural limestone” and nabbed a 120″ x 40″ sheet of it for the low price of $33.
The next day we began the project. It’s a messy job, removing old countertop. Ours was a rubbery texture that smelled. I have no idea what they used to glue it down to the wood slabs underneath, but it was sure stuck. We used a couple of metal scrapers to remove the stubborn bits of countertop.
See how the previous owners must have just rolled that rubbery surface all the way up the wall as a makeshift backsplash? That’s so different!
It took the better part of the day…
…but we finally finished! Well, almost. See how the counter is made of wood slats with massive cracks in them? Any little piece of dirt (or adhesive) can just fall into the drawers below them. So we sealed them up with caulk.
I spread the caulk with my finger to create a smooth, even surface so that when we laid down the laminate, we wouldn’t have a problem with everything looking uneven. Then we let it dry overnight.
With the motto “Measure twice, cut once” chanting in our heads, we carefully outlined the shapes we needed from the laminate and scored them with a heavy duty box cutter. I used a straight edge while scoring to keep the edges as nice-looking as possible, but it definitely wasn’t perfect. Then we snapped the pieces out as carefully as we could. The sheet wasn’t quite big enough to just cut one giant shape out, so we had to make two rectangular shapes. Most countertops hide the seam of two pieces coming together with a diagonal cut from the corner of the wall to the corner of the countertop, like this:
Our cuts look like this.
The main reason for this was because we had a hunch that our scoring and snapping method might not yield perfect results, so we cut the laminate in a way that two perfectly straight factory cuts would butt against each other to form a nice seam. Good thing we thought ahead!
Next, we started the installation. Using a foam roller, we applied contact cement to the wood slats and the underside of the laminate. Once it was tacky, we stuck the two pieces together and used a rolling pin (not the “official” tool of professionals, but it works) to keep pressure on the two pieces, which gives it a strong bond.
And then we heaved a sigh of relief. New countertops for the win!
Okay. After a long discussion about backsplash options with Kevin including wallpaper, real tile, faux laminate tile flooring (I won’t say who suggested that) I finally blurted “Beadboard!” and Kevin said “Yes!” and we ran to Home Depot.
And it just fit in the car. We originally bought two sheets of it at $10 a pop, but we ended up returning one that we didn’t use.
Then… we called a couple professional do-it-yourselfers. My dad and my Uncle Paul. A huge shout-out to these two awesome fellas for making this project work. Couldn’t have done it without you! They brought over a table saw and a jig saw and showed us a thing or two about making a kitchen pretty. They helped size the beadboard and make the right cuts for light switches.
Once we had the beadboard cut and ready to go, I used some glossy white spray paint to finish the look I wanted. I always like to be able to wipe things down quickly and easily. Glossy paint is usually the right choice for anyone who feels the same way.
Once it was all dried and ready to use, we nailed it into the wall and got some quarter round (3 pieces at $2 a pop). Kevin used a borrowed chop saw to make cuts at 45 degrees.
The last thing to do was drill some pilot holes in the quarter round, since they were too thick to pound through.
So with the $33 laminate counter, the $10 beadboard, and $6 quarter round… We came out to just under $50 for a brand new look int the kitchen, plus the added bonus of feeling safe enough to make food in my own kitchen… I couldn’t be more psyched.
What little kitchen updates are you all up to that help make your house a little more you? New salt and pepper shakers? Replacing old cabinet handles? Let me know!