Thursday, February 9, 2012

Counter Redo

What do you do when paint alone is not enough to fix a decorating problem?  Our kitchen counters in our 1990's kitchen were worn out. They were in bad shape and the joint in back of the sink was swollen from water damage. I would have loved to get granite counters but I just could not spend that much with a child in college. I couldn't stand the counters anymore and did not want to wait another 5 years until everyone was through with school. I decided to try tiling them.
Our house when we first got married had 4x4 square tiles in a light tan and brown. After 30 years they still looked pretty good. I thought white square tiles would look like a french bakery. 
I figured the tiling part would be easy except for the corner by the sink. Bill and I have tiled quite a bit, so I knew what to do but I was putting it off because of the mess that the tile saw makes. But it is a wonderful tool and it is well worth the money if you are doing a big project.  
I got enough tile to do just the long buffet. I figured if it didn't work I could do a different kind of countertop and I wouldn't be out too much money. Mixing materials in the same kitchen was being done quite a bit so I thought it was worth a shot. The old Formica peeled off in one big sheet. I tiled right on top of the plywood. I didn't even do anything to clean off the old glue. I have had no problem with the tiles staying put. 
The walls in the old paint color: Sherwin Williams- Halycon Green. 

The kitchen color now: Kilim Beige also by Sherwin Williams
It was so easy, I went back for more tile. This corner was also a piece of cake.
The island required some figuring out to get the cuts in the right place. 

The challenge was the corner by the sink. I knew that I needed Mr. Bill's help with that. We took out the old sink and discovered that there was mildew and water damage from the old counter. Bill and a friend rebuilt a new counter out of plywood topped with hardy board. We shouldn't have the same water problem again. 

This project typifies Bill and I and our spending. He thought we should splurge on the sink because we were saving on the countertop. I seem to always want to do things inexpensively. In contrast he knows when and where we should spend to get a good look. I think the Elkay sink is beautiful.   

The lighting is from three different stores, Lowes, Home Depot and a lighting outlet. We just went with Oil Rubbed Bronze with frosted shades. 
I see my pup slipped in the picture before the timer when off. I was looking for her too. 
We have replaced the appliances as they break. We now have 3 out of 4 in Stainless. All from Sears. (Now if that white refrigerator would just...)
I suppose you are wondering about the wall color. I painted the Robin's Egg Blue in 2006. I loved that color but felt it to be somewhat dark. Someone also told me they thought blue in a kitchen was unappetizing. I think they were right because something always felt off to me. I thought about repainting many times but just didn't feel up to it. This kitchen has a lot of cutting out around cabinets and doors. Finally last summer I was ready for something neutral. 
I love accessorizing with a neutral kitchen. I had fun pulling out my blue willow last summer which had not been out for a long time. Next I may go with red.
I am wild about red kitchen accessories. 
I have had friends that have gone with 12 by 12 granite tiles. They look fabulous. 
If I had it to do again. I think that is what I should have done. But I was afraid of cutting granite.
I knew that my white tiles would not be maintenance free. I bleach the grout every two weeks and have had to float some more grout in a couple of spots. One tile has cracked (no one has owned up to that) and a couple have chipped.  I hoped that this fix would be a five year fix. And that by that time we could afford a solid surface. Tiling was worth it to get rid of those awful laminate counters.  

Sprinkled with tiles,


  1. Wow, great tiling job! What a difference it makes in your kitchen.
    Glad to be your newest follower, Mary Alice

  2. Looks so very nice Katie Sue. I think you did a great job. Cannot imagine 12x12 tiles on a cabinet.
    Audrey Z @ Timeless Treasures

  3. Thank you so much, Mary Alice. It made a big difference in how I felt about the kitchen especially because it is open to the living room.

  4. Great job, Katie! Tile makes such a difference in a room's d├ęcor - no matter where you use it. Hubby helped our son tile his foyer and kitchen floor in time for Christmas. And it really looks fabulous with his new wood floors.

    Thanks for linking to Time Travel Thursday. I hope you'll join the fun each week. Be sure to stop in tonight, and see yourself featured. ;)

    Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage