Fall 2023 ORC Week 3: Dark Butcher Block Countertops

We’re done with week 3 already and unlike last time, I’m on schedule to get this room done in time for the One Room Challenge! We last left off with new hardware and a new oven. This week I really made some headway. Let’s see how this kitchen looks now!

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Replacing Laminate Countertops with Butcher Block

My new builder-grade kitchen had not-so-lovely laminate countertops. I’m not a fan of laminate to begin with, but this manufacturer didn’t even try to make them look realistic. Notice the obvious cardboard edges, yikes!

Quartz is not in my budget right now, but I just could not wait to change these out. I’m a big fan of butcher block for islands, but this time I thought… what about the main countertop space? Since I’m going for a traditional European aesthetic, I wanted dark stained countertops. I wasn’t planning on buying them pre-stained but I found these really pretty ones at Lowes! This saved me from testing stain colors and second-guessing myself over and over. Decision made for me. These pre-stained countertops happen to have a lovely espresso color.

The Demo

I must say this is the easiest demo I’ve ever done. The sad two rows of backsplash came off so easily that I didn’t even have to replace the drywall, which has never happened in the history of my removing tile. Says a lot about the tile work, but hey I’m replacing it with mine anyway, so I call it luck.

Removing the laminate countertops was even easier! The first one came off by just pulling them off with are hands – no joke. The rest was just a small crowbar and voila! This was a huge time-saver. A complicated demo could take all day, and this demo took less than an hour.

Prepping the Butcher Block Countertops

Normally I would stain the butcher block after cutting them to size, but since they were already satined, I had to roll with it. Using a circular saw, a 140-tooth blade, and sturdy makeshift sawhorses, I cut them to size. This was very simple because these countertops flank either side of the oven, so we’re talking one straight edge on each piece, no corners, no holes for sinks. Simple!

Plus, the factory-finished edges would go against the oven where they’re more visible. Then my edges could go against the walls where any imperfections would be less noticeable.

Installing the Butcher Block Countertops

Any countertop will be installed using some type of construction adhesive. As this was just wood (as opposed to stone) I didn’t need anything super heavy duty. I used Loctite Powergrab. Just apply the adhesive to the top of the countertops, and maybe add a bracket to support them from underneath, depending on the length and how sturdy you think your cabinets are.

Once they were installed, the mood in the room immediately changed from somber to warm! Who knew such a cost-effective choice could look so good?!

Whats Next?

I’ve started on tiling the backsplash and converting the above range microwave to a vent hood. I’m going with travertine tile since I scored some for cheap on Facebook Marketplace and really think I can make it work!

I plan on over-grouting it to get a stone look, and try to cover a lot of the orange-ish coloring that is inherent in natural travertine. Below are some of my inspiration photos:

And here’s what’s remaining on the checklist…

One Room Challenge Checklist

  • New range
  • Add cabinet hardware
  • Replace laminate countertops with espresso butcher block
  • Replace backsplash and bring it to the ceiling
  • Swap out microwave for DIY range hood
  • New faucet
  • Install vertical panelling on surrounding walls
  • New countertop/built-in microwave
  • Incorporate open shelving
  • Sconces?
  • Gallery rail above cabinets?

Check out the blog next week for the backsplash reveal!