Monday, March 22, 2010

I Am In Love With My Counters

So, remember when I told you that we were getting ready to sell the house…

Yes, I know I might have mentioned it a time or twenty. Go with me on this people. It is the consuming thing in my life right now. And what consumes me spills over to you. The house topic is consuming me like I consume warm, yummy bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which just happens to be the perfect book. I am in love with that book too but I will talk about that some other time. Carbohydrate therapy might be in order.

Back on topic Deb.

Right. So, when we had that painful meeting with Joyce and Laura, house stagers extraordinaire, it was suggested to us that we might need to “do something” about our kitchen countertops. Our perfectly good and perfectly serviceable countertops. Our workhorse kitchen countertops that are still going fine and for which I paid good money.

Those countertops.

It wasn’t a surprise when they said this. I was just hoping against hope that it wouldn’t be asked. Hope springs eternal…..and then is dashed on the rocks of what is in style at the moment. Curse you HGTV for making people think that laminate, very expensive laminate, isn’t “good enough”.

Joyce could see by the stubborn and mulish look on my face that I wasn’t loving the idea. Joyce can be stubborn. I can be stubborn. No really, I can be. Ask HHBL.

IMG_4448This is what my kitchen looked like at the time of the great kitchen debate. Nice, neat, light and airy. Too light for said current tastes. The wall color had to go too we learned but that is for another post.

Joyce is not the boss of me. (I love that phrase and just had to sneak it in) She can’t “make” me do anything she can only suggest. And these were the solutions that she suggested.
     1. Granite or Granite composite
     2. More laminate that is the “right” color
     3. faux paint the countertops.

Granite???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, remember we have a budget Joyce. And we have 102 sq FEET of countertops. I wasn’t loving that idea but I did have an estimate done and… way in heck were we going to do THAT!

More laminate? Well, isn’t that what got us into trouble in the first place?

Faux painting? You can’t paint laminate…..

Oh yes you can.

I didn’t really believe it either but I had Michaela Harbor with Countertop Transfauxmations (Joyce recommendation) come over and give me an estimate.

Deb: Um, Michaela, I didn’t think that you could paint over laminate. At least not and make it look good.

Michaela: Oh that’s what they all say but it isn’t true. I have been doing this for 15 years.

I wish you could hear Michaela talk. She has this awesome English accent. I would have her come and do this just so that she could talk to me. With that accent how could I not say yes to having them do the countertops….that and the fact that the price was reasonable.

Lets see what they did.

IMG_5317A First day they prep. They tape everything off and thoroughly clean the counter. I thought I had cleaned very well…..but Michaela is more thorough than I. Then we say goodbye and farewell to the old counter tops as Michaela and her assistant, Heather, painted all the surfaces with an oil based primer.
IMG_5320 Counters after the base coat goes on. Oh I should mention that for the period of time that the counters were being treated they were unusable. I made coffee in the laundry room. Max was very confused. I also lost some brain cells in the first 24 hour period as the house absolutely reeked with the smell of paint. Oil based primer is stinky.

On to day two where the real fun began as they started to apply the base coat and then the actual “faux” colors. Michaela did a test spot so that we could discuss if it was what I wanted. Then tweaking was done and they were off
IMG_5321A IMG_5323A IMG_5327 This is just the first part of putting the paint down. I couldn’t believe what a labor intensive process this was. The paint is dabbed on and then blended in and reblended and reworked until Michaela had it just the way that she wanted. And once she got her “painting Mojo” going the work really flew.
IMG_5328 Notice Max keeping an eye on the situation. He wanted to make sure she was doing everything to his standards. And he was hoping for a pot holder or something to rip up.
IMG_5329A IMG_5333A                                                  The tools of a master.

Day three was more of the same. After all the countertops were faux painted they were sealed with three coats of polyurethane sealer with sanding in between each coat. Man does that stuff dry fast.

IMG_5341 Day four and Michaela was putting some finishing touches on the surfaces. Unbelievable. And when she was done the counters were usable that night. You have to be gentle with them for the first 10 days. Don’t let anything heavy sit on them and wipe up any water.

IMG_5355A And here is the finished product. Cool eh! So if you want to do something with your counters and you don’t want to sell your oldest child or a kidney to afford it then this process is what you should do. Heck you should do this anyways. Where I move next, if I don’t like the countertops the first thing I am doing is calling Michaela. She is a genius.

And when the walls are painted (that should be today).


I might not want to move.

Just kidding HHBL.


  1. WOW! I thought they looked great before, and if you could see MY kitchen counter (or lack of it), you would understand why. I'm coveting your kitchen!

    But, wow, what a change! (By the wya, I also love the whatever-you-called-it white paint in your kitchen. Very light and airy! I'm sure the NEW color will be wonderful too.

  2. Holy moly! They look awesome! Does Michaela travel to Texas? And work for free? Or manybe blog plugs? No? Then I'm out of luck...

  3. AMAZING ~ I must see in person though and am waiting for the great unveiling of the "new" Quigg home or soon to be "old" Quigg home! I have a friend who is trying to sell that I mentioned these countertops too as well, could you email me Michaela's pricing?? Congrats ~ it looks beautiful!

  4. Wow! Pretty impressive...I'd probably not want to make this a "do-it-yourself" project.

  5. Incredible!! Who knew you could do this to countertops?? I have to admit, at first I was cringing at the color, but the finished project ~ amazing!

  6. Deb, We loved working with you on your HUGE kitchen. It was fab before but looked great when finished - walls and all.This is something anyone can do but a kitchen this size is not the norm. It was a 2 woman job for sure! I must remember to smarten myself up when working in future... what the heck was I wearing?? If anyone has questions, I am more than happy to assist. Good luck w/the move.


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