Laundry Room Counters : Take Two!

So, the first go at the counters didn’t go so well. But the second – well, it went spectacular. I couldn’t be more excited with how they turned out.

We used the first set of wood, which already had the one and only coat of stain on it. I decided that I wanted to sand, dye, stain, shellac, and poly the counters with the trim already attached, instead of separately. So Doug cut the trim pieces, and we glued them up, and clamped them overnight.

One of Doug’s tricks that he stole from somewhere? Wrap the pipe clamps in pipe insulation – it keeps the iron from scratching the wood.

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After letting them dry overnight, we did a dry fit of the counters, and cut out the hole for the sink.

First, a template :

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Then, marking the cut lines with tape to protect the finish.

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We drilled pilot holes to start the cut. And we needed more light, so we brought in a lamp. But at least it’s a super cute antique lamp.

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We jigsawed out the hole, and dropped the sink in.

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This sink is the only thing that we kept from the original kitchen when we bought the house. It’s lovely and cast iron, and it looks better in this room than in the old kitchen.


I started with sanding and dyeing. Goodness. The dye worked SO MUCH BETTER on the maple, and I started to see the color I really, really wanted.

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After the dye came the staining. The color kept getting richer, and I kept getting more giddy.

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The only real issue was with the wood glue from the trim. I worked quite hard to make sure I got it all wiped off, and then I spent extra time sanding the joints just in case. However, I CLEARLY missed a spot, right in front of the sink. I was so mad at myself, but once the whole thing was done and polyurethaned, it ended up looking like old character, so I stopped sweating it. After all, even though there is monkey wallpaper and a chandelier, it’s still JUST a laundry room.

And, it still doesn’t look as bad as those floors. So that’s a plus.

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After the staining came the shellac –

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And the final step was multiple coats of polyurethane. I used a satin finish, because I really didn’t want this to look shiny.

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We made toppers for the washer and dryer to keep them from being scratched. Ironically, I have since become paranoid about the WOOD being scratched, so it’s sort of a moot point. At least they are pretty! Basically, we built what looks like giant cutting boards, and put rubber feet on them. This seemed to make more sense than trying to wrap around to the cabinets, or attaching the wood to the walls.

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While I was at it, I used some extra monkey wallpaper to line the drawers. It will make me smile each time I open them.

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When we went to install the counters, they were too big. ARGH. By 1/8″. Apparently they became a bit swollen, either with the warmer weather, or with the dyes and stain. The thought that my beautiful finish job might be marred by trimming them made me sick, but Doug, as always, prepped everything perfectly and they were fine!

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We built up the cabinets, and built in support for the counters to be the correct height with the trim, and to support where there is no cabinet. And we joined the cabinets together by building an apron using an upside-down piece of baseboard! Marina was clearly helpful during this stage.

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In they go!

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Doug is settling the joint in – but the install went perfectly after the trim.

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I LOVE THESE! The counters and the cabinets turned out great, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result. YAY!

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Next up : A dog crate, more woodwork, a sink, and a shelf!


  1. As always, it’s fun to see your progress. (I spent a lot of time in that kitchen back in the 90’s.) 🙂
    (former owner of #2 Martin Place)

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