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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Kitchen Makeover Part Two: DIY Wooden Countertops

Kitchen Makeover Part Two: DIY Wooden Countertops

Hey There,

Our kitchen had some outdated linoleum countertops that were already starting to peel off. We went to the home improvement store to check out what options were available, and I’ll be darned, I must have great taste… because every surface I gravitated towards was like a million dollars a square foot. So instead, Drew had the idea of doing wooden countertops like we’d seen in magazines. I am so pleased with the result and excited to share this tutorial with you!

Keep in mind, this is part two in the Kitchen Makeover post. If you’re interested in how we refinished the existing cabinets, click here.

Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project:

Tools:

Chisel

Mitre Saw

Palm Sander

Sandpaper:

  • 40 grit – extra coarse
  • 100 grit – coarse
  • 150 grit – medium
  • 320 gril – fine

Drill

Hand Plane

Hardware & Supplies:

Wood

1.5″ Screws to attach frame to base

1 tube of Liquid Nails

2″ Paint Brush

1 qt. Sanding Sealer

1 gallon Tried & True Danish Oil

The Process:

1. Remove Existing Countertops

For us, this meant stripping the linoleum using chisels and hammers like so:

2. Get the Glue Off

Using a very coarse sandpaper (we used a 40 grit) and a palm sander, exfoliate off any remaining adhesive from the base wood of the countertops.

3. Frame The Counters

Cut pieces of your selected wood to the length of your countertop. Using a drill, screw each one into place. Leave a lip the depth of your wood, for us it was 3/4″ like so:

4. Lay it out:

Start in the corners and work your way out.

5. Glue it down:

Apply a liberal amount of Liquid Nails on the base wood, then add pieces of wood one by one. I just cut a bunch of pieces in various sizes between 8-20″ for variation. As I got to the end, I cut pieces to specific sizes.

6. Even it out:

If you have some areas that are drastically uneven between boards, use a hand plane to shave off the top. Make sure to go with the grain of wood, this will help avoid taking off big chunks. Beware: there is a razor on the bottom of this thing. It’s REAL SHARP. Be very careful!

7. Apply Sanding Sealer:

With a dang respirator on your face, paint on a generous coat of sanding sealer. After it dries, it will feel rough to the touch. That’s totally fine. It will all come off in the sanding process.

8. Sand Until Smooth:

Start with a coarse grit of 100 and work your way up to a fine grit of 320 until that surface is smooth like butta. Between each run of the sander, rub the sawdust into the cracks. This will help seal in any gaps in the end.

9. Oil Lavishly & Rub it in:

Apply a generous coat of Tried & True Danish oil. With a clean, lint-free rag wipe the excess into the wood. Repeat until satisfied.

10. Stand back and Admire:

Just look at how pretty they turned out! For about $300 in materials, these wooden countertops have a big impact. Depending on the size of your countertops, each step may take a while– but the techniques are simple and super gratifying.

And finally, let me just say…

When we began discussing countertop options, I was very hesitant to the idea of preparing food on wooden surface. Not only was I worried about germs and stuff, but I was also concerned about how stain-resistent it might be. Red wine, coffee, grease all sounded like potential threats to a beautiful wooden countertop. But my sweet husband just said, “Trust me. If it doesn’t work, we’ll rip it all up and try something else.” And with trepidation, I said okay.

Here we are, six months later and I can tell you these countertops have seen it all– red wine dribbles, cold-brew-coffee-so-strong-it-could-be-used-as-self-tanner, bacon grease and condensating beverages. And I tell you what, they look just as gorgeous as the day we finished oiling them. So, without further ado…

Honey, you were right.

What do you think?

Do you like the way they turned out? Do you think you could/would/should try this at home? How about the post– do you like having all the photos between steps? How can I make this better? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

love, liz.

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DIY Kitchen Makeover Part One: Refinishing Cabinets

DIY Kitchen Makeover Part One: Refinishing Cabinets

Hey friends,

The Mister and I bought our home last summer and moved in late September. And we had one very ambitious goal– to host Christmas dinner for our families. Now that might not sound like a lot, but that meant we needed to replace all the appliances, refinish the cabinets, lay down new counters oh and prepare the meal. That’s a good chunk of work. (But we love it!) Here’s how we turned this greasy outdated mess into a bright, clean and lovely kitchen– just in time for Christmas dinner.

Let me also add that we did this on a small budget. Oh lordy, I wish we could have afforded to replace all the cabinets and countertops with nice new stuff from the home improvement store, but do you know how much that stuff costs? Like thousands of dollars. And y’all, I must have such good taste, because all the things I liked the were the most expensive. HA! So we used what we had and made it better. With our own two (four) hands.

First things first…

The kitchen needed a serious de-greasing. I mean, it was pretty much deep-fried from the cabinets to the appliances– everything was just covered. We’re pretty sure whoever lived here before us cooked a lot, but didn’t clean a lot. Actually, it was pretty amazing. Here’s some photos of the build-up we had to deal with. Buhhhh… I’m not even gonna show you the inside of the dishwasher or refrigerator cause I like you guys. Just know that it was bad. Real bad. (shudders)

Under the hood

Close-up of the top of vent hood. Kind of amazing, right?

Yeah, that’s what was built up right under the heat source. It’s amazing our home didn’t catch fire before it was ours.

Super-close-up of that nast.

If the oven face is this greasy, just imagine what the wooden cabinets felt like…

buhhhhhhhhhhh…

Check out all that grease just dripping down the sides of the stove. My tummy hurts just looking at it.

Gah, isn’t he a cutie? A pallette cleanser for sitting through all those photos.

So we replaced all those bad boys and will soon pay off those credit cards 🙂 Thankfully, I worked for a badass company that offered very nice discounts on one of our client’s line of appliances. Thank you unnamed maker of our new oven, dishwasher and laundry machines. That was totally awesome.

To re-finish the cabinets, we needed to put on our respirators and de-grease all faces of the cabinets, inside and outside. First we used a citrus degreaser, which should be fine in most cases. But for us, we still had a lot of gunk, so we had to bust out the big guns. TSP stands for Trisodium Phosphate and it used to be in lots of detergents and dishwashing liquids until we realized just how bad they are for us. It’s really nasty stuff and absolutely wear a respirator mask and open all the windows when using this stuff. You can read more about it here. Unfortunately that is just how intensely gross our kitchen used to be. 

The Steps:

  • De-grease using a citrus degreaser or, if need be, TSP.
  • Remove cabinet doors and any hardware from the shelving.
  • Label all your doors using a alphanumeric system. This will help reduce confusion as you try to figure out which-cabinet-goes-where in the end. A lot of times doors will look similar in size but end up being wrong– and if you don’t label them, you won’t find out until it’s too late and you’re cussing at inanimate objects. Don’t cuss at inanimate objects.
    • I assigned each segment of cabinetry a letter (West side = A, South = B, East, C) and then in clockwise order, I assigned them a number. So I know that A4 is the fourth cabinet door on the east wall. Ladies, your loving husbands might say this is an unnecessary step and that he’ll totally know which ones go where. When this happens, smile sweetly and do it anyway. He’ll thank you when you’re not scratching your heads.

  • Paint on a layer of sanding sealer.
  • Sand by hand with a medium grit sandpaper, 150 is fine. (Also, sponge sanders are helpful for the beveled curves)
  • Repeat last two steps until satisfied.
  • Paint on a primer like Kilz.
  • Using a basic indoor paint, go nuts on your cabinets.

Once we were all done with sanding, priming, painting and drying, we re-hung the cabinet doors and enjoyed the new look! Just in time for Christmas dinner.

Coming up next…

I’ll be posting Part Two of this makeover soon and show you how we did these awesome wooden countertops for about $300 bucks!

Trust in your hands.