Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Confessions of a Project-holic

A few days ago our kitchen looked like this...


At the exact same time, a small part of my bedroom looked like this...


Hello, my name is Sally, and I am an obsessive project starter!

I get these ideas in my head and it doesn't matter what I'm working on or what I've already got stashed away in the closet, I can't rest until I buy the supplies I need. Then one of two things happens. Either I start on it right away and then get bored with it so it sits unfinished, or I put the stuff in my craft closet and never start on it at all because I've already started thinking about something else.

It's a pretty vicious cycle. One that I'm determined to break. So, I buckled down and pep-talked myself into finishing one of the projects I started this summer. Refinishing our kitchen counters.

I had been wanting to do this for quite a while, but I was nervous about putting paint on my counter tops. I read a lot about the process on the Internet to make sure it would hold up, and then I consulted my Dad who is a contractor, who then consulted his painter for me on what product to use. And guess what? The painter said that it is perfectly fine to paint counters. In fact, he does it all the time.

Before I get into the "how to" part of my post I want to show you a picture of what our kitchen looked like when we bought the house. Keep in mind that we bought it as a fixer upper. There was no kitchen sink, but they did leave us a can of paint.


Then, after some hard work it looked like this...We removed the paint can and replaced it with fly paper. Nice huh?

Definitely a major improvement, but I still wasn't completely satisfied. The beige counters and white cupboards just weren't jiving for me.

So, here is my solution to ugly Formica counter tops...

First you have to clean the counter really well. I used vinegar and water.

Next you want to rough them up as best you can with sand paper and then clean them again to remove all the dust.

After that comes the primer. If you are using a dark color I would recommend a grey primer.

Now you have a couple of options. You can roll on a solid color, you can do a rag technique with several colors to make it look like marble (see example here), or you can do what I did and use stone effects spray paint.

I will say, that if I ever have to do this again I probably won't do the spray paint. I love the way it looks, but spray paint is extremely messy especially in a kitchen. It costs about $6.50 a can and I ended up using about 10 cans so the price was higher, and in order to get a smooth finish you have to sand it down with fine sandpaper really well and then put at least ten layers of the top coat on to make it completely smooth. Basically I'm telling you how to do something and then saying "don't do it like me." Is that dumb? I like to think of it more as sharing my live and learn knowledge.

OK, so no matter what technique you use the final step is the top coat. I read a lot of conflicting reports about what product to use, but in the end I went with what my Dad's painter uses. It's from Benjamin Moore and it is called Stays Clear. Something that I didn't know is that most polyurethanes tend to yellow, but this one won't.

You'll want to avoid setting anything on the counter for a couple of days to make sure it is completely dry, but then you get to enjoy your new pretty counters. If you look close you'll notice that I still haven't taken the tape off the edges, but I'm taking baby steps. Maybe my daughter's dress will actually get finished by Easter.

13 comments:

Bloom said...

Oh my goodness, Sally. I thought they only did things like this on HGTV and Trading Spaces - with a team of workers and a resident handyman :) You are amazing! They look great.

Bloom said...

p.s. that first comment was me, Em.

We live in a Zoo! said...

The tape looked like paint and I was worried. Looks great! :D

Diana said...

Oh, you're singing my tune...I'm the same sort of project starter animal! I've made a commitment to myself not to buy new supplies until I finish what's already started, and am really trying to work from my current fabric stash before investing in new stuff:-)

Sugar... said...

Wow, I never knew you could do that! It looks great. Nice job! I too, am a project starter, and it's hard to finish because I just don't have time!

Linds said...

There's something so satisfying about pouring yourself into a project, especially on your own house. Great job!

Steph said...

I've wanted to paint my counters too! Thanks for the info-- it was very helpful. Yours look fabulous!

Kris said...

I honestly thought I was the only one who did this stuff...
I wanted to add (because I did this in our last house) that the counters are not very heat safe. My crock pot left 3 tiny burn holes in the paint. Maybe my top coat wasn't very good, but just in case, it doesn't hurt to put a cutting board underneath anything hot.

Sally said...

Kris, thanks for mentioning that. I forgot to say that in order to keep the counters looking nice you do need to use hot pads and always use a cutting board.

Bloom said...

I LOVE:
-that you have the gumption to do such things

-that you can paint your counters (who knew? not me!)

-the dark gray with the white. that is my favorite color combination in a kitchen--white cabinets, dark gray counters.

you are inspiring, Sally!

xo
anne

Valerie said...

Wow good job it looks awesome! I am also doing tons of projects right now (pregnant & nesting) and painting our crib white has been by far the hardest. Painting the dresser and rocking chair, no big deal...but I don't know if I will ever paint a crib again! too bad I don't have your expertise to help me, your counters look amazing!

Jenn said...

It looks so great! When you first told me about it...seems like it was years ago...I wasn't so sure about painting your counters. But they look amazing. I'm glad you did it. (too bad you only get to enjoy it for a few months!) And can I just say how talented you are. Not only did you do your countertops, but you also made your curtains, you are making your daughters Easter dress, you make jewelry, and the list goes on and on. Amazing!

Betty Rollins said...

WOW!!!!! My son is a genius for marrying you.