It took me all of 5 seconds to decide to tear out that electric blue counter top and replace it with a more warm and natural wood, especially after a quick online Ikea search found the length and width that I would need for just $59. The Laundry Room was the very first room we painted (the weekend we moved in) and we planned to finish up that room completely within the first month we lived there.
Cue the sound effect: Wah-wahhhhh.
Turns out that Ikea wasn't down with my little plan, as the Lagan wood counter tops have been out of stock and back ordered since April of this year. Irene didn't do us any favors, slowing down shipping cartons to the East Coast and ultimately the entire country. Every time we've made a trip to Ikea in the last few months we'd stop by the kitchen section and inquire about them, but always received a "try back next month." So imagine my surprise when the last time we stopped in, the super helpful clerk said that she was getting a shipment on Wednesday, and if I called directly to their desk that morning they would hold it for me for 24 hours. Good thing she gave me the inside scoop, because by the time I got there over lunch that Wednesday they were already gone, all except the 1 they put on hold for me. Thank you Ikea Angel!
I bought one 8 foot section, and one 4 foot section for above the washer and dryer. On my way out our clerk yelled, "Don't forget the oil!" which stopped us in our tracks. Begyourpardon? She explained that these wood counter tops are unfinished, and therefore susceptible to warp or water damage. Ikea recommends a Behandla oil to seal them. She could have stopped there, but took another second to ask, "Wait, where are you putting them?" and when I responded in the Laundry Room, she suggested we skip the oil to avoid any residue getting on clothes, and finish it instead with a polyurethane. That's my second amazing customer service moment of the week, it's seriously renewing my faith in humanity.
When I got them home the first step was to install the 4 footer, which was a piece of cake. Now that my machines were nice and level, all I had to do was place little rubber stops on the bottom and corners, which protected the finish on the top of the machines and prevented the wood from sliding around.
|Sippy cups are like the Where's Waldo of my blog photos. Seriously, you can spot them everywhere.|
My first step was to cut the length, as I needed my counter to be 7'6", not the full 8'. I propped it up on a couple of sawhorses in the garage and measured for my line a half dozen times.
Then I took it really slow and careful with my circular saw. I made sure to prop saw horses on either side of my cut (but not underneath the cut) so that as I began to cut the wood, it wouldn't start to bend or give at the cut, causing my blade to slip.
Once I had the length right, it was time to cut down my width to just 17.5". Same process, I just had to be a lot more careful and very slow to get a nice straight cut. The benefit of a circular saw is that the blade is long, like 10", so it's easier to keep straight than a very small blade like on a jig saw. ( I feel like there's a "That's what she said" joke in here somewhere, but I'm going to leave that alone. You're welcome.)
I was left with some scrap pieces that I'm saving for some interesting projects down the road. Maybe some unique cutting boards, or a ledge of some sort. We'll see....
Since I had to finish both sides of the counter top to prevent from warping, I applied a coat of water based polycrylic to the underside of the counter out in the garage since it would be tricky, if not impossible to apply once attached to my cupboards. Back inside the Laundry Room, I just flipped over my 4' counter top on top of the washer and dryer to apply the finish to the underside of that piece.
|Oooh, Shiny. Just for now though, it's a satin finish and will dry matte.|
I've got to imagine that this wall paper was original to the house, and in it's primary colors I can finally understand why the counter was blue. Can you imagine this room back in the early 80's covered in the elementary school wall paper and bright blue counters? I've got to find pictures somewhere!
Next I got a work out and hauled the old one back out to the garage, and carefully carried the new one in. Unfortunately my new counter is just a smidge thinner than the old one, which means I'll have some spots on the wall where the wall paper once lived to touch up. It can never be easy folks.
Then I applied a thin and even coat of poly to the top side, (and the top side of the washer and dryer one) using these Top 10 Tips to Applying Polyurethane.
Apparently I was so anxious to take a photo of my new wooded paradise that I didn't even bother to pick up the wall paper scraps from the floor. Attention to detail Erin.
But we're not quite done yet. I've got a few more items to tackle on this little project this week, like a rug, fixing that wall and some accessories. What do you think so far? Anyone else embracing wood counter tops in their home? Katie from Bower Power did this quick and affordable switch in the Master Bedroom of her last home, and they seem to be all over Pinterest paired with white cabinets in the kitchen. I like how they add a bit of natural back to the room, after all the trim paint had been painted white.