Our Kitchen Renovation: Countertops

So you already know that we’re renovating our kitchen. But not a typical renovation. This all has to be done on a low, low, low, extremely low budget. Remember, we’re starving artists so the top two tools for this renovation are 1) Creativity and 2) Sweat Equity.

So we started with converting a kitchen closet into a semi-walk-in pantry. And then we got sidetracked by removing the floor. Then we got sidetracked again with testing out an idea I had for the countertops: Decoupage.

Below are images of the whole process. I’m thinking the pictures are not doing it justice because the counter turned out amazing! Have two more counters to go now!

We have two different countertops in our kitchen and as you can see, they're not in great shape.
I tore pictures from an outdated cookbook that was mostly all text. Then I wrinkled the pages and Mod Podged them to the countertop by applying glue to the pages and a thin layer to the countertop as well. I then rolled it down with considerable pressure to remove any air bubbles.
Continue gluing and rolling until completely covered.
Now the fun part — painting! First color down is a yellow hue that was thinned out with a mixing medium. Painted random strokes and then rubbed it in with a cloth towel. Then I mixed in a reddish brown color and applied to different sections and rubbing/blotting with the towel.
Applying paint and rubbing with a towel. After the yellow and orange/brown colors, two layers of different shades of gray are applied in particular spots to create the ethereal effect.
My part is done. Eric is applying the lacquer. Remember to wear one of those high-end filtered masks since this product has lots of fumes! We estimated about 10 coats are needed.
This is one of the final pics taken. Need about 4 more layers of lacquer and next I will decoupage the back edging to complete this countertop. We love the way it turned out! Especially how the colors change with the daylight and overhead lights at night.


Mr. Basketmaker Speaks: FYI…DIY

Holmes on Homes, House Crashers, Bathtastic, Rescue Renovation, Sweat Equity — Lynne has had the HGTV and DIY networks on nonstop lately. Well, actually, she watches these channels often but it’s been more than usual. This means she is getting itchy for some home improvements. Before I know I hear, “Let’s make a pantry out of this closet.” I try to ignore her and slowly make my way to the workshop. I know this is not the end of it but maybe, just maybe, she will move on to something else. There is always hope.

From the shop downstairs I can hear her working away. When I come upstairs, she has the closet contents emptied and the door off its hinges. Now I know I’m sucked into a life-altering home renovation project that will not end for weeks, maybe months or even years. It started with some shelves and within a few hours I was ripping up 30-year-old vinyl flooring and throwing it out our kitchen window. Now I’m lacquering a DIY decoupaged “artistic” countertop. Until this weekend I had never heard of that word. El DeBarge, Depeche Mode I’ve both heard of, both outdated bands from the 80’s like our vinyl flooring – what the heck is decoupage? However, I must give my wife credit. It does look great!

But now we have two more countertops to do in the kitchen along with a new sink. After ripping up the 80’s vinyl to expose the 70’s vinyl, there were a gazillion staples and nails to pull up. And we still have more that are stabbing into my feet. Also, against my better judgement, Lynne wanted me to keep removing the flooring into the bathroom. Of course, after a lot of profanity I kept going. Now, we are officially about to embark on a full bathroom renovation (this is the one that might take a year).

Editor’s (much-needed) Note: He is such a whiner! Life-altering? Pleeeeease. Do you see what I put up with?? LOL! The pantry took two days. Only because we needed paint to dry and he insisted on rounding off corners and making all the new shelving more detailed. I only asked for “simple shelving.” He gave me completely custom. In addition, he’s the one that went ahead and ripped up the floor! He cannot blame that on me. And I only mentioned a counter effect idea that I had. He’s the one that said “Let’s do it!”

I sooooo love getting the last word!! 🙂 Stay tuned! I’ve got lots of pictures to come!

Five Questions Friday: “Ouch”

Q: What kind of week did you have?
Eric: Very busy. Got a few orders out, made a list of materials I need to create for upcoming workshops but mainly I was able to get rid of that yucky white vinyl flooring in the kitchen for you! 

Q: How much do you love this heat?
Eric: I love it. Makes me want to move down South. (editor’s note: I don’t think he’s being sarcastic here.)

Q: Are you going to tell me that I was right regarding our new pantry?
Eric: I was not against the pantry! I was against all the work it would entail.

Q: What annoyed me this week?
Eric: I think two things. 1 – Your laptop just went bizerk and had to go in for service until next week (I know how you cannot live without it) and 2 – Pulling a muscle in your shoulder. I know all your whining over the last two days has annoyed me!

Q: Okay, other than my crying out in pain, what else annoyed you this week?
Stepping barefoot on all those staples and nails sticking out of the old linoleum when ripping it out.
(editor’s note: I told him to stop walking around barefoot!)