Finally, our DIY butcher block countertops! And DIY faux beam install! #stanley09sreno week 10

Oh boy, we conquered some milestones this weekend! On Thursday and Friday I was feeling like a total Scrooge about the snow because our flooring delivery was scheduled for Thursday, and the shipping company's warehouse was practically shut down and is now all backed up for residential deliveries. We were SO excited to get our floors here and in. We still feel sort of like we're camping or living in a construction zone because we've only brought in the bare minimum stuff to sit on the painted subfloor while we wait.

But, of course it all worked out fine and we had plenty of projects to do in the meantime. We were able to pick up our butcher block countertops at Lumber Liquidators and installing those was our primary goal this weekend! But we had already started our faux beam installation project so we wanted to finish that first.

So, the beam. It's from AZ Faux Beams and it's this high density foam that's been carved and stained to look like wood. They actually used something very similar in Season 4 Episode 1 of Fixer Upper! They come in all different styles, like super rustic barn wood or ski lodge splintery, and lots of colors or unstained. They're super easy to install. We had already cut it approximately to size the other week so we just had to install the 2x4s and mount it this weekend. We still need to fill the holes where the screw heads are.... but it's up, which is huge! (They sent it to me to review--I will do a more detailed post about it soon!)

And here it is!! I couldn't really capture the whole room with it with my lens but it really helps with the scale, and anchors things a little better rather than the huge void of the high ceiling. It will look even better with flooring in!! ;)

And the countertops!! We decided to go with Lumber Liquidators butcher block over IKEA because the pricing is actually pretty similar for some of the woods/colors and it is solid wood rather than particle board with wood veneer like some of the IKEA ones are. Butcher block is probably the most affordable countertop option there is, right?? and while it's great for just an island, our kitchen is so small we don't have room for an island or a lot of variety in countertops throughout the room, and I love the look of it, so we are doing butcher block for all of it. And, we can do it ourselves!! Husband has been following this tutorial from This Old House and we borrowed saws from my dad, and wow, this is one of our greatest DIY projects ever. Husband spent most of Sunday in the 33 degree garage cutting and sanding. So grateful.

We got two of these 8' maple countertops (they both fit in my Prius and the door closed just fine, thankyouverymuch)

Per the tutorial, we drilled holes in the mount structures to allow the countertops to expand slightly with temperature.

We measured and did a lot of math, and finally cut and sanded the pieces.

Once installed (screwed in with a washer, and glued around the edges), we oiled them with butcher block oil.

We still have to do the piece that goes behind the sink... more math and thinking on that one... but we now have three mounted countertops!!! What a joy! (These were also provided for me to review and I will be doing a more thorough post about them when we're done!) Oh, this also means I'll be able to reinstall the cupboard doors under the sink! And of course we can do the tile backsplash soon. (And, last week I installed the hardware, but then I changed my mind so now I need to get an install the new ones.)

We also had some other little goals this weekend... like fill, sand, prep, and paint a couple of small windows I hadn't gotten to yet on the big door/trim painting project, and install a new bamboo blind on the kitchen one. Finally, privacy when cooking at night!

This windowsill really took a beating with the previous owners/tenants. So beat up. I scraped and filled to even it out.


Then I did my primer plus two coats of Benjamin Moore Advance like I did for our doors and trim, and it's looking great! (The wall around it will be tiled so I'm not worried about fixing it up right now.)

But I really wanted to get this window done since I've been pretty tired of being totally visible from the neighbors across the back yard when I'm cooking dinner. It's not so bad during the daytime or if there were leaves on the trees. But now my bamboo blind is up!! These things are SO easy to install and all custom sizes so they fit perfectly.

What an improvement from that first photo, right?!?

Also, just want to say, realized--most used purchase for the reno so far: this many-piece "drilling and driving kit." We've had screwdriver bit sets before but this one is SO useful and easy to carry around since it has the drill bits in secure spots right there with the screwdriver bits, and it has the extender for screwing in curtain rod brackets or tall things, plus the spade bit we used for making the bigger holes for the countertops. Love this set!


So, we're feeling very accomplished after this past week and weekend despite the delay in flooring arrival--and now our schedules are a little more clear for starting on it next week/weekend. Making all this progress is a really good feeling!

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