DIY WOOD COUNTERTOP

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In case you missed it, I recently gave our upstairs hall bathroom a major renovation. I made my own wood countertop for the vanity (which I also made myself… tutorial coming), and I love how it turned out!

The countertop ended up being one of my hardest decisions for this reno! I considered going with a white quartz or marble countertop hoping to find a remnant for a discounted price, but I’d still have to pay someone to install it so the price was creeping higher than I wanted. I then considered doing a wood countertop because we have friends who installed wood countertops in their kitchen themselves for a low price and it looks great! I realized that regardless of the price advantage, the wood countertop actually fits the boho modern casual style of the room better than the marble or quartz does anyway.

My only hesitancy was whether the wood counter would be durable enough to withstand repeated exposure to water and all the products that tend to get used in a bathroom, especially because this is the bathroom my children use and they are not the best at cleaning up after themselves 🙂 . So I ended up doing some research to figure out the best way to make a wood countertop as durable as possible. I came up with three things I could do to help make sure it was able to withstand the conditions of a bathroom:

  • I chose to make my countertop from hardwood instead of a softwood like your standard pine is. Hardwoods are more durable and less porous than softwoods.
  • I made sure the joints between each plank were nice and smooth and tight with no cracks for water to seep into.
  • I sealed the countertop with three coats of Waterlox Original Tung Oil. Based on all of my research, this seemed to be the sealer that gives the most durable finish.

I actually ended up spending a lot of time researching EVERYTHING about wood countertops—from lumber options, to construction, to how to install them. If you’re considering using wood countertops in your home, here are some tips and instructions based on what I learned from my research and my experience making my own wood countertop. Hopefully it can give you some insight and save you some time!

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The species of wood you choose for your countertop is important because it will affect both the durability and the overall final look of the counter. As I mentioned, wood species are generally divided into two categories: softwoods and hardwoods. Softwoods include spruce and your common pine, and as the name suggest they are usually softer and more porous, making them easier to nick or absorb water. Hardwoods include wood like oak and walnut, and they are generally more durable and denser, making them harder to cut or drill through.

I highly suggest going with a hardwood for your wood countertops. It will not only give you a more durable countertop, but it’ll also offer a wider range of choices in color and grain to get the exact look you’re going for. Your local big box home improvement store is not going to offer many choices of wood species so you’ll likely need to go to a lumber store.

I considered using walnut for my countertop because I’m a big fan of the look of the wood in general, but it was more money than I wanted to spend. I ended up going with ash instead. It’s a wood commonly used to make furniture, it’s very durable, and has a really nice grain to it. Plus it was about half the price of walnut! I went to a local lumber store where I could look at all of the pieces they had in stock and choose the exact boards I wanted (some boards had a much prettier grain than others).

chosenlumberone of the boards of ash I chose

REVEAL: A NEW BATHROOM ON A BUDGET!

I am so excited to announce that I am done with the renovation of my kids’ bathroom!!! Bathroom renovations are never fun as you usually have to spend some time living without a useable bathroom. We spent three months without a fully functioning bathroom, including the holiday season when we had guests staying with us, but fortunately we do have two other full bathrooms in the house. I literally had a couple days in December where I spent all day out in the garage building the vanity, working hard, covered in sawdust and paint, and then quickly had to clean up to look nice and rush off to attend a Christmas party. It made for a unique and extra busy holiday season but it was all worth it!

Let’s get to it… Here’s a reminder of what the bathroom used to look like:

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And here is the new bathroom!

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I wish I could have gutted the tub/shower combo and replaced it with a new tub and tile surround, but our limited budget kept me from being able to do that. As much as I wish I had a nice new tub area, I still feel like it was the right decision to not invest money in that.

So let’s get to the details of this reno…

NEW PROJECT #2: A POSH GIRL’S BEDROOM

Happy New Year!

I had mentioned a little while ago that my kids’ bathroom reno was not the only project I was going to be working on. Shortly after posting that, we had dear friends of ours who now live on the other side of the world ask if they could stay with us for a little while during the holidays. I, of course, said yes and was looking forward to seeing them, but realized that the bathroom we had just started renovating is the bathroom that they would normally use as overnight guests at our house. Ugh!!! I felt a time crunch to hurry up and get that bathroom finished before their arrival so I put my other project on hold so I could go full force on the bathroom reno.

Well, the holidays are now over and we had a wonderful time with our friends! But sadly the bathroom reno was not completely finished when they came 🙁 . I made a lot of progress but still didn’t have any functional sinks in there. Yikes! Fortunately, they are gracious people and were okay with it… And fortunately we have two other fully functional bathrooms in the house.

I am now close to finishing up the kids’ bathroom, but I’ve also gone back to doing some work on my second project so I’ll give you a look at that today.

My daughter, who recently started middle school, has spent the last year and a half asking me if I could give her bedroom a makeover. She’s watched me redo other rooms in our home and enjoyed the final results, so she thought it’d be fun if I gave her own bedroom a new look—a more mature look now that she’s so old.

Here is her current room:

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I decorated her current bedroom when she outgrew her crib ten years ago. I’ll never forget the experience! My kids spent a week with their grandparents out of state, and I spent nearly every hour they were gone transforming my daughter’s room into a new “big girl” room so that it would be completely finished when she returned.

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I created my own stencil for these daisies on the wall which go all around her room. With my OCD I had to get each one perfect, so I ended up touching up every line by hand which took about three straight days of work! But it was all worth it in the end because my daughter came home so excited to see her new “big girl” room!

Now that she’s getting close to the teen years, she feels like this is a “little girl” room and she wants something cooler. I was happy to oblige! I have to admit I was excited about the idea of redoing her room for her. It’s fun having my daughter as my client and getting to create the perfect bedroom for my favorite girl in the world!

My inspiration for the design of her room came from old New York City apartments and brownstones. So many of the old New York buildings are filled with so much character and detail. They tend to have a traditional look influenced by various European styles. Just take a look at what I’m talking about…

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DON’T FORGET THIS IN YOUR NEXT MAKEOVER…

When giving a room a new look, most people regularly add some paint to the walls, replace the floor and update the furniture and decor. But there’s one area a lot of people forget to consider: THE CEILING! The ceiling offers a great opportunity to complete the look of your room or to create something unexpected. Ceiling treatments have also been quite trendy for awhile, so now’s the time to jump in and try it!

clng-beforethe bathroom’s old ceiling

As I mentioned in my last post, I am giving my kids’ bathroom a major renovation. After giving the walls a much needed coat of fresh white paint, I turned my attention to the ceiling. As you can see it’s boring and basic. I wanted to give it some style without spending too much time or money. I decided to start by adding some color so I painted it a medium gray (BM Coventry Gray).

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That alone was enough to create an immediate improvement, but I wasn’t done yet! I then added some trim to the ceiling. I wanted something more interesting than basic crown molding…

I started by installing 1×6 pine boards flat against the ceiling.

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Then I added 4.25” baseboards on top of them to create a layered affect.

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I finished off the edges with a simple 1×2” pine board running along the top of the wall.

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I caulked everything and coated it with white semigloss paint, and here’s the final look:

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I used a nail gun to install everything, and this was honestly a very easy project. All totaled, it only cost me about $135 (for paint and molding) too. For that price, I feel like I got a lot of bang for my buck!

My bathroom ceiling design is just one way to address a ceiling, there are many other more creative ways to give your ceiling new life. Here’s a roundup of some ideas (with pretty inspiration photos of course)…