Pink kitchen counters and faux granite paint.

One of the biggest eyesores in our home (there were many, it was difficult to rank them) were the pale pink counters in the kitchen.  They weren’t even an awesome burn-your-eye-sockets-hot-pink.  I couldn’t even PRETEND to like them.  They were this weird, not-quite pepto pink, and they are laminate.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the rest of the kitchen (those reeeeeeallly bad cabinets and the horrible stick on tile floor) was all that great, but the pink just had to go.

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DH and I decided we really liked butcher block counters, so I went gung-ho on Pinterest pinning every picture of butcher block counters that I could find, until I realized how much it would cost to totally replace all the counters.  My next step step was DIY.  “Can I DIY the butcher block?” Again, I perused Pinterest with much ferver and slowly became more and more certain that DIY Butcher block counters we out of my patience/finance/comfort zone.  (http://loraine-breakfastfordinner.blogspot.com/2011/09/faux-butcher-block-conter-top-tutorial.html)

This woman’s DIY counters are beautiful, but I didn’t have the patience to do it: http://loraine-breakfastfordinner.blogspot.com/2011/09/faux-butcher-block-conter-top-tutorial.html

I can’t really remember if I stumbled on it, or something cause me to look for it, but one evening sitting on the couch with a glass of pinot grigio in hand, I saw a picture of granite counters in the DIY section on Pinterest.  It caught my attention because I was thinking “why on earth would someone pin this to DIY?” until I looked at the post in detail and realized they were PAINTED FAUX GRANITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   They looked great, and the best part was the price:  Under $100.  I showed DH the picture, gave him a brief run down, topped it off with the price, and got the nod.  Game on.   Here was the inspiration (Click picture to go to her blog post, that kitchen redo is amazing):

I wasted no time in getting started. We decided to try lighter counters, something we didn’t see too many examples of.  I knew that some companies made kits to do the counters with a faux granite finish in a lighter hue, but I wasn’t down with spending $75-100 on the kit when I could do it for under $35 at Michaels and Home Depot.  So I headed out to the stores and purchased some paint.  I got an oil based primer that I had tinted to match this “Cream in my Coffee”  color swatch:

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Then I went home and cleaned, then lightly sanded all the counters.  Just a quick sanding by hand was fine.  Then I wiped all the counters down again, and taped everything off. Once taped, I rolled on 2 coats of the primer and got this:

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No more pink!!!!!!

Here’s where things went sideways.  I should have done more digging and research on the color scheme for light granite, but alas, I did not. I grabbed my sea sponges and some grey and tan acrylic paint (the little craft bottles from Michaels) and started going to town laying it down. And then I realized that I REALLY didn’t like it.

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It just didn’t have that “granite” look to me.  I lived with it for a few days until I decided that I just couldn’t accept failure, and then I did even more research and realized that my first mistake was that the black of the granite shouldn’t look like it is on top of the other colors, it should look like it is UNDER them.  Soooooooo…….

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I started over.  I sanded down the top, and then covered it with black paint.  You might also notice in the pictures above that 2 of the cabinet doors seem to have disappeared during this process.  I decided after painting the counters black that those pretty Villeroy dishes needed to be shown off to the world, so I said goodbye to the doors, and decided to paint the inside of the cabinet.  More pictures of that process below.

We let the black cure overnight, and it was such a drastic change (and looked so much better than my failed first attempt at granite) that DH tried to convince me to leave them black.  I had to agree with him that they did look better black than 80’s bad italian restaurant beige and taupe, but I was still determined to try the granite again.  I went back to Michaels and got more paint (and some super fine glitter) and started the pattern over.

As you will find in most faux granite painting posts, the process is pretty much all the same.  Grab a sea sponge, wet it, wring it out, pick a paint color and go to town. And that really is about it.  Here are the counters with one or two passes of pure white.

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I had 3 different whites that I worked with.  White with a TINY bit of gray, pure white, and then pure white with super fine iridescent glitter mixed into it.  I just sponged it on until I got the coverage that I liked.  I also took some tan and mixed it with white to give the color some depth (instead of just being black and white). Here is the final result!

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Personally, I like it MUCH better than the first attempt.

After I let all the paint dry, I began the arduous task of topcoating.  I used a polycrylic so that it wouldn’t yellow over time.  I lightly sanded, then layer of polycrylic.  Sand, coat, sand coat….and so on.  I got a little overzealous at one point with the sander and almost had a panic attack when I saw the results.

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I filled in the over sanded areas with some white paint, and it blended in. Crisis averted, but after that, I put the sander away and went old school  using my hands and some 220 grit.

It was definitely a learning process, but I was very happy with the results.  Oh, and here are some shots of that random “painting of the inside of the cabinet” project that I decided to undertake midway through.

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And the results!!!

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I need a little touch up in the cabinets but all in all, it looks better!

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So there you go!  The kitchen is coming along nicely.  Shortly after I finished the counters, I replaced the light over the sink with a stainless steel pendant (Home Depot) and I bought some nifty magnetic knife strips and installed them vertically on the ends of the cabinets on either side of the sink which cleared up a lot of counter space by eliminating the need for knife blocks.  Now I am no longer (completely) embarrassed of our kitchen!

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