And we have crossed the finish line people! The kitchen is done! Although I have to say, we saw some printed splashbacks the other day, so watch this space! Still.. All that was left was the not-so-small job of making the waterfall butcher block island which I was secretly not looking forward to so there was some procrastination. But with a little help from a friend and an awesome new product discovery the island is done and looking awesome. One of the most important tips I’d give to anyone attempting a DIY project like this is to make sure you have all the tools you’re going to need beforehand. There is nothing more frustrating than reaching a good point then realising it’s going to be a few days before you can continue, because you need to source and buy a new tool. Always read tool reviews first too, click here for some examples, so that you’re not repairing or replacing them all the time. So, how did my experience pan out?
Here’s what the island looked like before. I love the space it gives me but I was NOT loving the cheap and dated laminate counter. I’ve always loved the look of butcher block and the waterfall design and thought combining them both would be a great way to warm up all the black in the kitchen as well as tie in to the wood above the kitchen and throughout the loft. (you can see the full before pic in the original kitchen inspiration post)
Keep reading to see how I created this waterfall butcher block island. It was quite the learning experience.
NOTE: all of us regular people refer to it as ‘butcher block’ but if you’re shopping around for quotes and calling kitchen decor stores be sure to refer to it as wood countertop. The real deal butcher block is like a million inches thick and meant for actual butchering and a small fortune. Wood countertops looks great but they are NOT meant for cutting on. If you didn’t know, now you do!
I bought 2 of the NUMERÄR beech counters (update: now listed as HAMMARP) from Ikea. If you’re looking for the 96″ option, it’s a hot commodity and almost always out of stock. I had to do some serious daily stocking until one popped up.
This is where I called in for some help from the true DIY expert, my pal Kristen from Storefront Life. She came over with her super awesome saw that can cut 2″ thick wood and we cut the island pieces to size.
This is how you ‘make it work’ when you live in a loft. It’s during these few times that I actually envy those who live in the suburbs with their fancy garages and basements. Oh and did I mention that this was the week before Christmas? Forget snow, holidays in the loft were covered in a blanket of sawdust.
And oh yeah, just to make things easier, I also had to deal with an outlet.
I painted the front of the island in Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams to match the cupboards that were spray painted by Paint it Like New. It takes more guts than I thought to take a roller of black paint to a clean slate. Also it should be noted that it would’ve made wayyyyyyy more sense for me to do this before the counters were on. But I was lazy. Let my mistake be a lesson to you.
This is where I discovered the most amazing product ever in the world of DIY wood projects. If there was an oscar for this category, Rubio Monocoat would win. Everywhere I read online told me to use Waterlox for a food-safe seal for wood countertops. Like every. single. site. So I wasn’t going to fight the internet, I was going to use Waterlox. But who knew something so popular would be so hard to find. My search brought me to Exotic Woods in Burlington. While I was there they introduced me to an alternative called Rubio Monocoat.
I’m about to compare wood finishing to hair removal but stay with me. If you’ve ever tried sugaring instead of waxing to remove body hair you were probably like “sure, they both do the job but this is sooooo much better, why isn’t more popular and why isn’t it offered everywhere?” That’s how I feel about this product. You will never go back to that multi-step stain + polyurethane monkey business after trying this.
Here’s the awesomeness that is Monocoat:
• as per the name, you only need ONE coat, which also is more economical.
• it also comes in tints so it can be a stain and seal in one (vs 5 layers to do my shelves)
• it’s 100% VOC free, so not only is it food safe but you could drink it if you want
• it’s wayyyyy easier and dummy-safe to apply
• it’s also wayyyyy easier to do spot touch ups in the future vs doing over a whole piece with stain.
For the record – this is not a sponsored post. I just can’t get over how great this product is and it’s not everyday that I get so excited about a wood finishing product.
For best results, apply Monocoat to raw wood. Give it a really good sanding, working up to a really fine 220 sandpaper. The smoother the wood, the nicer the finish. If you just want to keep the natural colour of the wood, just use the clear Monocoat. I used Iced Brown.
Make sure the wood is totally clean of any wood dust and dry before applying finish. Then follow the directions and mix the Monocoat solution. To apply you just need a straight edge, you can even use a credit card. Unlike stain, if you go over the same area it won’t darken more (wayyyy more user friendly). So just pour or paint on a small amount of the Monocoat then use the straight edge and spread it across the surface until you cover every inch.
And another amazing thing about this product is that, although not recommended, it’s not the end of the world if you make a huge mess like this. You can just wipe it up and it won’t stain your floor (as long as it’s sealed and finished).
Then you just sit back for 24 hours and admire your work. After 24 hours you can place items on it if you really need to but you can’t wash it or let it get in contact with liquids for 6 days to completely dry.
Then you’ll have something like this:
You’ll be able to see it in it’s full glory in the final reveal coming really soon. If you haven’t been following along, you can see all the kitchen updates here.