How To……Revamp a Tired Old Coffee Station
This week I decided to tackle a revamp of my tired old kitchen island, I have been using it as a coffee station for the last year or so and it definitely needed something to perk it up a little. As any other military spouse will know, base housing does NOT have nice fitted kitchens, we’re stuck with run of the mill mid tone wooden cabinets, plastic looking counter tops and no back-splash, its pretty dire. My idea was to brighten up an oh so very dull space with a splash of color, my thinking is that it will also help brighten my day from the start, so to give you an idea of what I’m dealing with, here is the poor old thing.
Wanna know a secret? I’ve hated this thing since I got it years ago! I mean really hated it, its orangey pine color, the nasty tile top and don’t even get me started on the fact that the tiles aren’t even level and the grout is manky. But at the time, I needed a little extra counter space and storage in my tiny kitchen for a home business and this was all I could afford at the time, and tbh all that would fit.
So it was time to say goodbye to the 1990’s IKEA look, I started by taking out the drawers and removing the baskets and knife block (no idea why I thought it still needed a knife block attached to the coffee station, maybe in case of a random early morning coffee snatchers?) I gave everything a good clean to remove any grease, grime or dust bunnies and let it dry off thoroughly.
As I was waiting for it to dry I decided that the tiles just had to go. Unlike most people who refurbish or re-purpose furniture, I very rarely start with a plan, I’m more of a ‘make a start and see where it takes me’ kinda gal, so that was exactly what I did. I did a quick look online to help me figure out how to take off the tile without damaging the wood and I cracked on (see what I did there?). Digging out an old pair of snowboarding goggles of my husbands in place of safety glasses I took a hammer to the first tile. Oh the satisfaction!! If you’ve never taken a hammer and smashed something I would highly recommend it, the stress relief was so awesome I’m considering a new career in demolition, it was amazing.
Anyway, back on track. When the first tile had been cracked, I took a screwdriver and placed it in the grout lines around this tile, each time hitting it with a hammer to kind of loosen the grout, as I worked around the tile I then started trying to lever the screwdriver under the edges, tapping it with the hammer until the first bits started to lift away, once this was done and the first tile was gone it was plain sailing. Literally a case of break a tile, lever it off and so on until they were all gone and I was left with a blank slate. At this point I still had no idea what I was going to replace the tile with, or even what color scheme I was working with, time to get my thinking cap on.
The next stage was to prep the wood for painting, as I’m not using Chalk Paint for this project I gave it all a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper, just enough to take the shine off and ensure good adhesion when you apply the paint. For this I am using Behr Premium Plus Ultra which is a paint and primer in one, the color I’m unsure of as I found this by accident in the returned section at Home Depot, someone had obviously returned it as incorrectly mixed and the label was covered with old paint. But when its reduced to $9 a gallon I wasn’t going to be too choosy, I knew I would use it for something. This paint goes on really smoothly, has great coverage and something like this should probably only take two coats, using a small brush due to all the fiddly bits I have the fist coat finished. As you can see its kind of streaky and you can see areas of the wood showing through, don’t worry about it at this stage, a second coat and all will be smooth, even and wonderful! What you can’t see very well from these pictures is that the paint is a gorgeous mint green, unfortunately it was getting dark out and the light isn’t great in my garage.
Time for the second coat, at this point I decided that I wanted to replace the old tile with nice white high gloss tile on the top, I also decided on a white high gloss paint for the drawer fronts. I painted the second coat of the mint, and then thought up a genius idea for taping off the drawers and handles to spray paint them gloss white, another amazing use for grocery bags!
These and a few pieces of Frog Tape and I was good to go…..or so I thought. In Delaware right now we have ridiculous heat, and humidity, and I’d forgotten that this affects paint, especially spray paint, this is what happened to my lovely smooth drawers! Nooooooo! I ended up having to sand this back to being smooth and redo it with gloss paint and a brush, the finished look is still good though.
When this was all done, I moved on to thinking about how I was going to finish the top of this piece. I had decided on white tile so off I popped to Home Depot to see what they had that I could use, I settled on two pieces of the smaller tiles already glued together (no idea if these have an official name), I picked up these, some combined adhesive and grout, and a tile cutter. Now, I have to point out at this stage that this is the first time i had done ANYTHING with tiles, I had no idea where to start, so being me I just waded right in…..and made a mistake! I started with cutting off the small squares from around the edges, these I cut in half with the tile cutter to fill in the gaps around the edge, all good so far you think. I spread the adhesive over the island top as per the instructions, and placed my two tile pieces in place, and then realized I’d cut the squares that should join the two pieces in the middle, grrrrr! I have no words to express how mad I was at myself at this point, another trip to Home Depot, more cash on another tile piece just so that I could use four of the little baby squares to fill in these gaps, you live and learn I guess?
So, after waiting the required 24 hours for the adhesive to dry, I then applied the grout, following the instructions carefully and my tired old coffee station was finally finished! Note, if you ever tile and grout for the first time, please for the love of everything with caffeine, wipe the grout off of the tile after 4 hours as recommended, I waited until the next day and that stuff took a ton and a half of elbow grease to get off, mostly the hubbys’ elbow grease but hard work nonetheless. But onto the finished product, I love it! In fact it even makes me look forward to waking up in the mornings and I didn’t think anything would do that. Please leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.