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Creative Kristi: 'New' Counters on a budget

Creative Kristi

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

'New' Counters on a budget

*Warning: kinda a long blog post! lol*

My husband is the sole provider money-wise for our family. This comes with a set of challenges when you live in an older home. When we do our budget each month I consistently come out with $0.64 left over for 'home repairs that are not immediate' can you imagine how long it would take me to save up for a kitchen re-do?? We live in a house built in 1932. Let me tell you about some of it's charms: LOVELY trim everywhere you look- really it's amazing- none of that 3" wide trim that is in every. single. house. built today. Here let me share some pictures of it:

Now those are views from my dining room table taken just now with my iphone. I also have about 9" tall baseboards (yes BASEBOARDS) throughout my home. All that door trim is repeated on every window and door in my house. I LOVE IT! These will be painted white in the future because I don't love the almost 70's looking varnish/clear coat but the trim itself: LOVE.

Another charm of our little abode is hardwood floors. Original hardwood floors, my guess is they laid it as a 'sub-floor' and covered it with wall to wall carpeting because I can see the holes from tack strips and it's in unimaginably great condition for being so old. We thought we didn't have it in the kitchen under not one, not two but THREE layers of laminate/vinyl flooring but we pulled them all up and voila! There they were!

Ok I also pretty much like the layout & size of rooms (would like more size in the bathroom and bedrooms but downstairs suits our needs). My husband and I both say we love the house- hate the location. I am seriously looking into moving the house. really. That way we can keep the house, get a flatter piece of land not on a busy busy road and add on the back part of the house.
Whew! Ok now onto the point of this whole post. We live in a older home. Things need to be updated and repaired. We have $0.64 a month to do so. Our kitchen was updated in 1980 I'm guessing by the um, lovely, white laminate office type cabinets, baby blue laminate countertops with matching wall paint, and vinyl flooring (which as we've established is now GONE!).
We can not afford to rip out and start over. We can't even afford a new faucet. But those darn baby blue counters were haunting me. I HATED them and I can usually live with things for awhile until the money is saved. But oh those countertops. UGH. So I started searching the internet for green, affordable ideas. Love the idea of cement counters with a built in farmhouse sink (all made from cement you pour yourself then polish- they are gorgeous trust me) but still- expensive. Love recycled glass countertops- but still out of our price range. And I kept coming back to my mantra "the greenest item is one that already exists" (because no more energy has to be expended to make it) but those blue countertops already existed and while I think I'm fairly green, I'm not about to live the rest of my days with blue counters. Sorry mother nature- I love ya but not unconditionally.
Let's take a look at those counters & cabinets shall we?

oh yeah- and not a single knob or handle on any of the cabinets. Go figure.
Anyway lovely aren't they?
Ok so the greenest item is the one that already exists (hence why I want to move the house not build new) Well here's what resulted from that mantra:

Oh hey! New counters! Granite? oh heck no! Not on $0.64 a month (I'd have been like 175 before I could afford that!) So what is it? It is blue laminate countertops...that I painted. YES painted. Oh I can't tell you how excited I was to find that info on the internet that laminate can be painted and many people had painted their countertops! So it took me a bit to 'talk' my hubby into it but I did it and I love it!
It's just Kiltz primer rolled on like you are painting a wall (tape off your cabs & wall with painter's tape) then I took craft paint (yes those tiny little bottles) to match a picture of granite I found online that I liked (search for granite images and find one you like) So there are 4 colors here: grey, brown, black & ivory plus I used a toothbrush to add some gold to look like the metallic you see a lot in granite. Then I added 7 coats of a clear high gloss sealer. Yes, 7. BUT you are able to put another coat on after only 2 hours drying time so I could do 3 or 4 coats in a day.
I just ripped up pieces of paper towel, dipped them into the craft paint and 'sponged' them on the counters. I tried a real sponge but hate the fake look it gave. This way I could re-scrunch the paper towel and get a different 'image' so it looks more random and like natural granite.
After all the topcoats were on (I did a really thick one as the last coat) I let it 'cure' for a week before putting anything back on it. I think it is still curing 3 weeks later because it's so darn humid out but after some cool breezes this fall I'm sure I'll be all set- a lot of people I've talked to about topcoats like this say it's common for items to stick a little bit to it if it was applied during the summer because it takes so long to cure.
Anyway that is step two in the kitchen remodel (step one was finding those hardwood floors- they must be stained because they are unfinished but they are there!) & it only cost me with paint and supplies: $60 and no I didn't save those extra $0.64 each month- my husband had quit smoking for two months so I took that money to pay for it. He has since resumed so I'm back to the $0.64 lol!
Tell me what you think! Would you ever do this to your counters?

Linking up to: A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day

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At September 13, 2009 at 2:11 PM , Blogger zazu and mufassa said...

Wow! This looks amazing. I am so tempted to try it!!

At September 14, 2009 at 12:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What type of "craft paint" did you use? I'm anxious to get started!

At September 16, 2009 at 9:24 AM , Blogger LollyChops said...

I am seriously impressed. I have an entire kitchen with laminate in a nice soft faux marble grey (went wonderfully with the blue flowers wallpaper I had in there before). This would look stunning and it's so affordable! Are they holding up pretty good?

At September 16, 2009 at 9:29 AM , Blogger Kristi said...

Thank you! and I used those little bottles of acrylic paint. The brand I used is Folk Art. Sorry can't find the left over bottles right now to tell you the exact colors but that is really a personal choice. Just find a granite sample/picture online (a close up) print it and take it to the craft store to match up colors.

At September 16, 2009 at 9:38 AM , Blogger Kristi said...

Yes they are amazing! The first few weeks if water sat on them for any length of time they 'clouded' up and I worried that was permanent but after wiping up the water it cleared on it's own and stopped doing it at about week 2 of 'curing'.
I never chop or put hot pans directly on my counters and it's not recommended for laminate anyway so there's been no change there. (I've heard people have after painting them though! But I'm not willing to risk it, plus it gives me an excuse to buy or make cute hotpads & chopping boards!)
There has been no chipping or staining or anything. I clean it (as I do most of my surfaces in my house) with a 50/50 mixture of water & vinegar.
thanks for stopping by!

At October 12, 2009 at 11:27 AM , Blogger Lili Tankersley said...

What kind of clear sealer did you use? They look great!

At October 12, 2009 at 4:32 PM , Blogger Kris said...

Wow - I LOVE that idea!! I'm going to work on talking my hubby into letting me to that. I've got tan/beige/blah countertops that I hate - but I think I could totally do this. Thanks for the inspiration!

At October 12, 2009 at 7:59 PM , Blogger Rami Rachel said...

Im so excited to see this. I have counter tops that I would love to change also but Im on a budget that doesnt allow new ones. I love the colors you choose and would love to do my countertops just like yours. You did an amazing job it looks great.

At October 23, 2009 at 8:51 AM , Blogger Melissa's Thoughts said...

Holy cow your countertops are beautiful. Thank you so much for shairing your process.

At February 9, 2010 at 7:16 AM , Blogger Astrid said...

What an enormous difference painting the countertop made! Awesome!

At February 9, 2010 at 9:21 AM , Blogger Sarah @ Hennessey House said...

WHOA!!!! they look AWESOME now :)

At February 9, 2010 at 7:52 PM , Blogger TexNan said...

I've been checking out painted laminate counters for at least ten years, not because I need them--I don't--but because I think they're so creative. This is the best paint job I've seen, including those in magazines. Very well done!

At February 9, 2010 at 10:59 PM , Blogger Cat said...

That looks amazing. I have a countertop I so want to paint but i've been scared. I would do it if i knew it would turn out like this!!
Love your old house by the way. I know it's not perfect but so much wonderful charm!

At February 10, 2010 at 12:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so great! I can't wait to show my husband. It would be great if you could post a close up image of the design/pattern--I know my husband is going to ask. ;-)

At February 10, 2010 at 9:34 PM , Anonymous Addie said...

Great job, Kristi! I intend to paint my countertops, too... one of these days. They are a spectacular pink right now. Yeah, pink. Thanks for posting about this so I have one more vote of confidence.

At February 12, 2010 at 4:05 PM , Blogger Kristi said...

Thank you all so much for your kind words! I just did a new post on these countertops with more photos and specific color names (& closeups of the pattern I created with the paint!) Please check it out if you have any further questions!

At February 13, 2010 at 12:19 PM , Blogger Candi said...

You did an amazing job! I used to clean apartments for a living when I was younger. Instead of purchasing new counter tops, the apartment complex painted the counters. They lasted a long time!

At April 29, 2010 at 8:25 PM , Blogger Keleigh, Cecilia and Family said...

I totally love this and i LOVE how you paid for the paint. I feel for you!!!! I can't wait to do this in my kitchen!!! i'm so excited


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