Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our New Countertops

Let me start this post by announcing butcher block was not my first choice.  It wasn't really my second or third....because I didn't have a second and third....LOL.  I was head over heels in love with a beautiful countertop and there was no other that could live up to it.  If you remember back in my Kitchen Inspiration post I talked about a dream home that had my close to perfect kitchen.  Here is a reminder.

Isn't it gorgeous.  Those are Vitrazzo countertops.  They are made from recycled glass, sometimes shells and concrete.  I LOVE THEM.   I had picked out Emerald Coast for our countertops which is made from blueish green glass bottles, oyster shells and concrete.

It is beautiful and perfect for our house and the vision I had for our kitchen.  Why did I break up with them, you ask?

Because I finally got an estimate on how much it would cost for our kitchen and it was WAY OVER BUDGET.  Estimates ranged from $200 - $350 a square foot.  WHAT?!?!  How is that possible?  On most forums I had read and on other sites I researched,  people said it was comparable to granite.  UH, NO!  According to the fabricator in our area the price is high because each job custom.  They build molds for your counter's shape and they are poured to size.  So now what do I do?  As I said, there was no second option. I hate granite.  I don't like quartz.  I don't like marble in the kitchen.  AND I LOVE VITRAZZO.  After a short grieving period I knew I had to move on and find something else.

I went to the granite yard and reminded myself how much I hate granite.  I spent hours on Pinterest and Google looking at kitchens I like to see what they were using.  I also, went to the local Lowes just to see what was available and what kind of pricing they had. I came across I few things that were in budget that I liked but nothing that I loved.  Then when I was at Lumber Liquidators shopping for floors, I saw they had butcher block countertops.  It can be bought in 2 different lengths and 4 different types of wood are available.

I had never considered butcher block for ALL my countertops.  Just for an island.  I wasn't sure if I wanted that much wood in my kitchen and I wasn't sure if it could handle the use and abuse it will get.  I cook almost every night and we do not eat processed foods so that means lots of prep work and chopping veggies.  I didn't know anything about protecting it from water around the sink or if that was even possible.  Pretty much I knew nothing about making it a "countertop" and not a worakable prep space.

So back to Pinterest and Google.  I looked up kitchens with butcher block to see if I liked the overall look and I read many blogs about how to protect it.  I found that when you are using it as a countertop and not for food prep, there are special products to help from moisture and makes it stronger.  I slowly started liking the idea but I had to convince Brian.  He is very visual so I found some really good pictures to show him to sway his vote to the butcher block.  The other factor that helped us decide was price.  Butcher block is very affordable and you can install it yourself which saves a lot of money.

After some discussion and research we decided to go with American Walnut butcher block.  We needed 3 pieces (1 - 12 foot section and 2 - 8 foot sections) for our kitchen.  Those 3 pieces, plus the waterproofing/protection products, plus the joint fasteners was less than $1,500!!  Way under budget!  That made me love the butcher block even more.

Now a quick reminder of what I started with.  Off white laminte countertops with the seamless transition to the backsplash.



I am so happy with how it looks!  Tomorrow I will post the tutorial.  Brian and I were both anxious and stressed when it came time to make cuts and install but I want all of you to know, this is a doable DIY.  Anyone can do this.  Having said that, there were some tense moments.   Here is an example of some of the things said:

BLittle (this is what I have called Brian since before we got married): Are you ready to do this?

Me:  I guess.  We have to make cuts at some point.

Blittle:  Well, how do you want to do this?  And don't tell me you don't know how.

2 beats of silence

Me: I don't know how.

Blittle made a priceless face.  One that said he was shooting daggers at me with his eyeballs.  Kodak moment.

HAHAHA.  I really did know, I just wasn't confident in myself since this was my first butcher block experience and a wrong cut meant spending more money on another block and waiting for it to come in.  There was some pressure to not mess up.  This project challenged us but it ended up being easier than we both expected and the finished product was worth the tension.

Check back tomorrow to see the DIY tutorial and to see that it isn't that hard to install the butcher block yourself.

Click here to see the finished kitchen.


  1. Looks amazing . My son has butcher block island and loves it except for the upkeep . Keep up the amazing work , you are truly an inspiration to all .

  2. I was thinking in our next house I will go with butcher block. I love the dark color of yours! Great job on the cut. I actually had a nightmare the other night after my husband and I were talking about butcher block, that I completely cut them wrong and everyone was out of them. Oh the things DIYer's dream about...Visiting from Habitat Link up!

    1. I had the same nightmare in the night leading up to us finally making the cuts! We were so NERVOUS. Neither one of us wanted to be the one to mess up. Even after the cuts were made and we tested the fit, I still had anxiety. It didn't go away until there were installed and finished. Thanks for visiting!

  3. I love your new kitchen. What a beauty it has made. One question... The cabinets were stained is what I'm thinking. Did you use a sander to take off stain and then paint them white? Or am I confused? Mine are stained a walnut color now. 35 years old and I'm thinking of all white. Just wondering how you did that. Can you give me advice on how you did the cabinets? I look for ideas all the time. I love what you did and you have inspired me!!! I would appreciate any info on the cabinets if you don't mind. Thanks. I will post my before pictures soon. My name is Karen Farmer if you want to have a look. I'll look forward to this transformation. Hope I do as good as you did. Yours is absolutely gorgeous!!!

  4. I just saw your post on Hometalk and it's a mirror image of my kitchen. Our layout is different, but the colors and counters are the exact same. We even got ours at LL too! We also installed ours, but we have a unique twist to our install---my hubby is completely blind. He lost his eyesight about 9 years ago, but was a home builder/remodeler for 25+ years. He did all the cuts, routered the edges, made the cut out for a single basin farm sink and then installed everything. We just finished the counters about 3 weeks ago. Still in the process of oiling/waxing them. But I LOVE my kitchen now and I also cook everyday and no processed food here either! Now we're on to the next project: installing red oak hardwoods in our living area--kitchen, dining room, hall and living room.