As I said before, our gang of ladies live in a neighborhood of 1960s ranch stye homes that are bound to need some updating when we moved in. My kitchen had been SCREAMING for some attention for some time now. I mean green laminate counter tops with wood trim, yellow tile back splash, and yucky creamy cabinets. We felt like it was livable when we moved in and we chose to focus on other things, but it has gotten the best of me. It was time for a little change. My husband is an architect and has some big plans for a major renovation for our house, but this isn’t going to happen for a couple of years so I wanted to do something inexpensive in the meantime to spruce it up. I read a blog post one night about creating concrete counter tops just by laying the concrete over your existing laminate. Ding ding ding!! I was in! I just had to convince the hubs. DIY stuff is not his thing. He always would rather pay someone to do a job to insure it is done properly, which I totally appreciate, but sometimes you just have to give it a go and see how things turn out. I figured it could not get any uglier than it already was so I was going for it. He read the blog on it and shrugged a little as if to say, “ya I like it but I am not sold on the idea”…..but he had plans to go out of town soon for a guys weekend. YES!! Perfect opportunity. I figured if I couldn’t convince him that we should do this, then that totally meant I should just do it while he was gone and hope we would stay married after he came home. My Mimosa Moms asked me several times if I was sure….and YES.. I was sure.
I ordered everything I needed and had it delivered to Tara’s house so I did not get myself caught before I could put my plan into action. I, of course, made the Mimosa Moms commit to helping me even though they would swear to my husband that they had nothing to do with it when he came home and lost his shit, which they thought for sure was going to happen. A small part of me was concerned, but I was excited and on a mission. The plan was to get the counter tops and a new back splash up by Sunday.
I HAD TO GET BUSY! I think he was barely out of the driveway on Friday morning before I had torn down the old back splash. Woo hoo! Looking better already. Tara came over and we were ready to start our mission….with mimosas of course…duh!
First we used a hand sander to sand the existing laminate just to ruff up the surface slightly. Make sure to hang plastic in doorways and over furniture that you don’t want to get all dusty. This is a messy job, although not as messy as I had anticipated by what I had read. Then you mix the concrete. I used Ardex Feather Finish. I ordered 2 bags from Amazon, but only used 1 whole bag and a little bit from the second. One bag covers approximately 33 square feet. Mix small batches so that it does not get too hard by the time you get it on. We used small buckets to mix one batch at a time.
Just smear it on with a trowel and get it as flat as possible, but making sure to cover everything. The blogs that I had read talked about how much sanding would need to be done between each coat of concrete. I was anticipating hours of sanding alone from what I had read. I was equal parts dreading and worried about this. Tara and I got the first coat mostly done and as it was starting to dry we realized that the trowel was creating very small raised lines, which would be the tricky part to sand down. We started just taking a gloved hand over the surfaced to smooth it all out as we went. This was also the easiest way to cover the rounded edges. Wet your hand a little as needed to smooth areas out. This was key in reducing the sanding time significantly.
Nothing like the kids being in school and day drinking with your girlfriend while doing a house project and just hoping that the toddler doesn’t eat anything deadly while we were working. The concrete dried in a couple of hours and we were ready to sand. My good friend Jo came over and helped me sand the first coat. It really was not that bad. Use sand paper and not an electric sander for this part. Get medium and fine grit. Start with the medium and work your way down until it feels smooth. You don’t have to be to particular with the smoothness on this first coat. You have 2 more coats to work out the kinks. Jo and I got the second coat on and took a little break. By the evening on Friday, Mimosa Mom #2, Amanda, came over with dinner in hand for all four kids (hers and mine) and we got busy sanding! Man, do I have some awesome girlfriends! They didn’t even expect to get paid, although I did offer payment in form of pizza and wine on Saturday night. Amanda and I got the 2nd coat sanded and the 3rd coat put on.
Saturday came and the renovation was in full swing. We had to take a pause because as much as I wanted to jump back in a get rolling I had to do the mom thing and take one kid to dance, and coach the other kid’s soccer game. After finishing mom duty, I came home and got the 3rd coat sanded. We were ready to start on the back splash. Saturday was an awesome day! The whole Mimosa Mom crew was there, putting in some work. Our plan was to get up the back splash and a new oven range all while wrangling 7 kids. Did I mention that my husband was out of town with Tara’s and Angie’s hubbys so we had no back up for the kids on our 3 parts. Amanda’s husband bravely stopped by and we dumped them all on him for a bit. He took them all to the pool and let them get a little of their energy out. Thank you, Tony! Shew! After looking at the outlets for a bit as we got started on the backsplash , I got a little scared that our house would burn down any moment so I called in my friend Rico, who is an electrician. He came over right away and changed out some outlets. Bless you, Rico. You are brave for coming over and I believe you also said you would deny being there if my husband got mad. No one wants to be there in those moments including me. YIKES. Getting more worried about his reaction. But I so appreciate the help of all these peeps. There is no way this project would have gotten done without them. Of course, we lost power for a little while during the day on Saturday, so that was awesome considering all that we had going on. All things considered, we were rolling on the back splash. Angie can cut some tile like nobody’s business. Remind me again, what do we need those guys for? The ladies got this!
I used white subway tile, which I love and is so cheap, it’s crazy. I went with white grout, but a grey grout would have been pretty also. We got the back splash done, range hood up, soccer games coached, dance done, some playtime in, all kids fed and a couple of glasses of wine down, and all in all it was a successful day. What an awesome work crew!
Sunday was the big reveal. SCARY. I didn’t know what to expect. He was either going to be very happy or like WTF! He walked in a I was kinda trying to hide in the front room with the vacuum going so I couldn’t hear his reaction. He said “What happened in here? When did you do this?” “I like it. SHHHEEEWWWW! Okay. All is well. He liked it. I guess we are going to stay married for now. All the girls are in the clear, and he was very impressed at our handy work. I still needed to seal it which takes a few days so we couldn’t put them to use until that was done but I couldn’t wait. I used these two sealers…
I used 2 coats of each with about 12 hours of drying time in between. Use the 511 Impregnator first and then the Safecoat on top. It is non-toxic and food safe. Give about 24 hours of drying time after the last coat. The results are awesome. They are beautiful. I am so happy I decided to jump right in. This is supposed to be a short term update for us, but I would totally do this for the long haul. I also painted my cabinets with a fresh coat of white paint. I wanted to get all new knobs, but knobs are actually pricey so I got just a few new pulls for all of the drawers and spray painted the rest of my knobs black. This is great way to update your knobs without breaking the bank. I also white washed the brick, which is a very easy update that gives the brick a fresh new look. Our brick in particular is a very orange color and and I have never loved that, although I do like having brick in the kitchen. It adds something special. Here are the results. Pay no attention to the floors. Those will be re done soon also. I am thinking about trying something fun, so I will keep you posted on that. All in all including supplies and the new range hood I spent less than $500 to update my kitchen. I would say it was money well spent.
So it was a fun, exciting weekend filled with lots of teamwork and girl power. Even my dad was impressed. Thank you, my girls, for being so awesome. You are THE best!