Organizing Small Spaces: Kitchen

My daughter and her roommate live in an apartment with a fairly small kitchen. She’s had apartments before with bigger kitchens and one with a very small kitchen. But no matter how big the kitchen is, I think it’s the amount of storage that matters. Today’s post is the last in my daughter’s series of  “Organizing Small Spaces” and she is talking about a couple of ways they maximize the space in their kitchen. If you missed her any of her other posts in this series, be sure and catch up HERE, HERE, and HERE.

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Kitchen: Maximizing kitchen space is difficult because often times you are stuck with what you have and integrating baskets or helpful organizational items is difficult. One of our tips is to keep dishes clean as much as possible. We make use of leftovers as often as we can, especially when it comes to taking lunch to work, so we go through a lot of Tupperware and to-go containers. We used to think that we didn’t have enough to keep up with our storage needs before we realized how many were sitting in the fridge with uneaten leftovers for a week or two longer than they should have. We found that, if we were honest with ourselves about what we would eat and cleaned out the fridge often, we had plenty of containers. And let’s be honest here—drying the containers is our absolute least favorite thing to do. It takes up so much time! So the fewer Tupperware containers we have to dry, the better!

What’s the catch, then? You have to keep up with your dishes and clean them out often. In the same way that doing dishes often allows you to live with four plates instead of eight or with six forks instead of twelve, doing dishes often allows you to save space by using only a handful of to-go containers instead of taking up an entire cabinet space with a 40-piece set you saw on sale at Target. The same is true of all of your kitchen utensils. It might be annoying at first to do dishes more often or run the dishwasher every other night instead of once a week, but it saves space and time when you get down to it.

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Just recently, I sorted through all my plastic containers and threw out any that didn’t have matching lids or bottoms. I was surprised at the amount that didn’t have mates and were just taking up space! Although I do have to confess…I bought some new Sterlite plastic containers a couple of weeks ago. They are freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe, as well as BPA-free. They have easy snap-on lids with vents and each lid/bottom is color coded! That way you know exactly which lid goes to which bottom.

Sterlite containers

I hope she has given you some helpful tips these last several weeks. If you missed any of her past organizing posts, you can read them here, here, and here.

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

My Trash to My Treasure

You know that saying, “Someone’s trash is another’s treasure”? Well, this is my trash and hopefully my next treasure.

A few years ago, we picked up a small, 4 drawer chest of drawers at an auction that we went to on Monday nights. I initially was going to paint it and use it as a table in my entryway at our previous house in Oklahoma. But before that could happen, we were packing up and moving to Houston! And for some odd reason, once we arrived in Houston, the top two drawers had disappeared and cardboard adorned the top 1/3! I suppose this is the consequences of a company being in charge of your move, as some things are never quite the same when they come off the semi on move-in day. But hopefully, our moving days are over for awhile.

Anyhoo, I’ve been wanting an island in my kitchen and I believe this little chest of drawers will fit the bill. Now my kitchen isn’t super wide and the online kitchen “experts” state you should have at least 36 – 48 inches of walk space around your island. One website said that if you don’t have at least eight feet (96 inches) of walk space, “don’t even think about an island!”. My kitchen “walk space” is 6′ 9″ (81 inches) from one side to the other. So theoretically, my island can only be 9 inches wide with a 36″ walk space! Well…that’s not going to work! Therefore, I’m thinking if I put wheels on the island, I can just move it out of the way when I’m not using it! Problem solved! (and if you read this post,  you’ll remember that I did what the “experts” said not to! Which by the way is still holding up wonderfully.)

And for the top of the island, we have a piece of quartz left over from where they did the cutout for the cooktop when we had our countertops installed.

Enough yada yada yada, I’m sure you’re just dying to see this lovely chest of drawers which I want to miraculously transform into my new kitchen island!

Nothing to write home about, right?

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And here is where I will draw my inspiration from. 🙂

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via Refurbished Ideas

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via Etsy

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via Refurbished Ideas

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via The Virginia House

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via DIY Network

So hopefully in the very near future, I will be using an island in my not-big-enough-for-an-island kitchen!

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

Updates and New Projects

Hope y’all had a great weekend! We made a quick run to Oklahoma for a meeting that Mr. had; therefore, we got to see my mom and Mr.’s dad. Thankfully, they only live about 40 minutes from each other. My mom just finished painting the closet bi-fold doors in her two guest rooms and they turned out great! I would love to show them off, but I absent-mindedly forgot to take pictures!

We’ve still yet to start the backsplash in the kitchen, as I’m still on the fence on what I want! Backsplash is sooo unlike paint! If I don’t like it or it just doesn’t look good, I can’t just redo it! Well….I guess I could, but I don’t think Mr. would be a very happy camper. So I’m still looking at lots of pictures on Pinterest, in magazines, and just about anything that I can get my hands on! Who knew that the backsplash was going to be this difficult to pick out?

Therefore, I’m moving forward onto other projects that I want to work on. (keeping the backsplash on my mind at all times) And the first project that I’m working on is redoing the inside of my kitchen cabinets. I’ve wanted to paint them ever since I saw this picture on Pinterest!

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On the bottom cabinets, I decided to paint the inside white and line the shelves with some colorful shelf liner paper. Then on the top cabinets, I’m going to paint the inside turquoise to match my kitchen and use white shelf paper. (since you mostly just see the bottom shelf of the top cabinets anyway, why spend big $$ on shelf paper no one will see.)

Here’s a before picture of the one cabinet I’ve completed so far:

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And here’s the after!

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I absolutely love the transformation from blah and boring to bright and cheery!

I found this shelf liner at Hobby Lobby of all places. So let me give you a bit of advice….if you find something at Hobby Lobby (such as shelf liner paper) that they normally don’t carry, be sure and buy ALL that they have at that time so you will have enough to finish your project!!  When Mr. and I went back the other night to buy enough to finish the kitchen (as I only bought one package), the paper was not in the same place as it was before and not a single employee knew what we were talking about. After about a 30 minute store search and me slowly coming to the realization that I may have only one cabinet with cheery and bright shelf paper, Mr. found three packages stuck on top of a shelf!! My Hero! (we bought all three packages!)

I also want to paint a couple of statues we’ve recently picked up. Mr. had been wanting a mermaid to put out by the pool and he found one a few weeks back on one of our trips to Galveston. She came already primed, so all I have to do is add the color!

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And I found this owl at Michael’s over the weekend for 80% off! I’m thinking of adding a piece of glass to the top and some paint and using it as a side table in the Gypsy Room.

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And last but not least, we have made some progress with Stray Cat aka ?. He let me sit about 10 feet away from him yesterday while he ate. And this morning when I went out to feed him, he only ran a few feet, turned, and meowed at me.

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Y’all have a great week! Later gators!

 

I’m Having a Love Affair…

…with my new countertops! Every time I walk into the kitchen, I get giddy. I knew I would love them, but I LOVE THEM! They have made such a huge difference in the looks of the kitchen.

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I was super nervous on Friday that the installation wasn’t going to happen. And let me tell you why…. we started this countertop mission back on August 29th with a “big box store”. On September 13th, we were told by the ‘big box store” that our countertops would be installed in 7-10 working days, which meant we should have had new countertops no later than September 26th. But that didn’t happen. There was a lot of “big box store”/installer blaming that went back and forth and I was stuck on the phone in the middle of all of it!  I did a little research online regarding the installer and found some pretty bad reviews, which is why I was so nervous. BUT on Friday, the installer delivered and installed my wonderful countertops! AND on the date THEY said they would. I will be writing my own review this week, singing their praises! Not so much praise for the “big box store”!

And with that behind us, we now have to decide on backsplash! I thought I knew what I wanted, but we made the mistake of going to Home Depot (another “big box store”) this weekend and I found two more styles/colors that I really like! I knew from day one that I wanted gray countertops, but I just can not make up my mind on the backsplash. Here’s what we have so far: (and I say so far, due to the fact that I’m still looking at colors/styles online. But don’t tell Mr.) 🙂

Tiles – frosted glass and rough, white stone (I found a frosted glass tile to finish the edges for this choice)

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Tiles – mixture of white and gray (ignore the plastic wrap)

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Tiles – mixture of white, gray, and charcoal

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So many choices!!

And just so you don’t forget where we started in this kitchen, here’s a flashback of what the kitchen looked like not quite two years ago.

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And where we are today. Such a difference!

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And another item bites the dust off the kitchen to-do list!

  • paint the cabinets (keep to save $$$$)
  • remove wallpaper and paint
  • replace formica countertops
  • replace backsplash
  • replace hood vent
  • replace the flooring
  • replace hardware
  • change out the breakfast area fan/light

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!

The Dust is Finally Settling…

The bad thing is the dust is settling ALL OVER the house! And I mean all over the house. It has found its way clear into the master bedroom, bathroom, and up the staircase. We have been working for the last month on the kitchen walls where the backsplash will go. The tile came off in spots really easy with very little damage to the drywall.

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 In other places, it wasn’t pretty!

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I spent hours, and I’m talking hours, chiseling and scraping the plaster off the drywall, only to realize I did it for absolutely no reason! Except maybe to let y’all know…DON’T DO IT! Just replace the drywall right off the bat so you have a new and wonderfully flat surface to tile on!  The only scraping you really need to do is around the edges, where your mud and tape will be.

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And if y’all are wondering, why yes, that is cardboard where my quartz countertops should be! We ripped out the old countertop weekend before last expecting the new one to be here last week. Mr. “installed” the cardboard on Saturday, when we found out that the countertop installation wouldn’t be happening until this Friday. With a few bricks, plastic bags, and zip ties, Mr. was also able to hook the dishwasher back up, even though there isn’t a sink! This was so I would no longer have to do the dishes in those wonderful, shallow, shell-shaped sinks! 🙂

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 Y’all have a great week! Later gators!

Kitchen Countertops It Is!

If y’all read this post, you’ll know I was deciding whether to spend our saved $5 bills on a cruise or new kitchen countertops. As much as I really want to go on another cruise (we even drove by the ships in Galveston this past weekend), I have been dreaming of new countertops and backsplash since we moved in almost two years ago. So with a little hesitance, I chose countertops. We had them measured last week and are hoping to have them installed the first part of October. We’ve picked out a Silestone in Grey Expo. I think it will look great with our white cabinets and black appliances. And will even look better someday when I change out to stainless steel appliances. 🙂

grey expo

And to save roughly $1000.00 dollars, we are doing the rip-out of the countertops and backsplash ourselves! I’m positive Mr. was jumping up-and-down (inside) when I suggested WE do the rip-out! But he did a terrific job at hiding his enthusiasm. 🙂

So at 8:15 last night…we started the demolition!

Here is what it looked like last night before we started. And if you want to see what it looked like before this, be sure and check out this post and this post!

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Five minutes into this fun, the dremel tool that we were using to remove the grout quit. So we continued on with screwdrivers, a putty knife, and a hammer! The first section of tiles came off pretty good. No cracked tiles and not much drywall damage.

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But the next section…we weren’t so lucky! One tile completely took the sheetrock with it and Mr. had to break a couple of tiles to get them off. So after 1 1/2 hours, we called it a night. Mr. had to go back to work today after being off yesterday, so I’m getting ready to go back downstairs and see how much damage I can accomplish! Wish me luck! 🙂

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Y’all have a great week! Later gators!

Did Someone Say Turquoise Door?

I have begun to think that the items on the “To-Do list” will never get scratched off. This is mostly due to me getting side-tracked. 🙂  Such as painting the back door!  But it was so ugly…and yucky…and black. And what you can’t see is the previous paint job was not good. Not good at all.

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And since the weather was so nice over the weekend, we had the doors open. Therefore, here was a yucky, black, bad paint job door in my bright and cheery kitchen. So….we painted it!

Mr. taped it off and we primed it. It already looked better just with the primer, don’t you think? (We’re only painting the outside of the door. The inside will stay white to match the trim work.)

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Two coats of both primer and paint later, and I have a “new-to-me” door in my kitchen! 🙂

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And here it is from the outside. I love it!

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The To-Do List!

Today is moving day! So you know what Mr. and I will be doing. While packing up the last bit of things last night, I started thinking about all the projects I want to do on the house. So far we’ve done some changes in the guest bathroom and kitchen. We still need new countertops, backsplash, crown molding and floors in the kitchen; and a new sink (most definitely) and maybe floors in the guest bathroom. The other rooms downstairs are the living room, dining room, entry way, laundry room, and the master bedroom/bath. I’ll update this post with links as we do these projects.

We don’t have a lot to do in the dining and living rooms. (mostly just paint) The wood floors in these two areas are new, so that’s something we don’t have to worry about. Yay!

Let me apologize right now. This post is long. But I hope you’ll hang in there with me and let me know if you have any advice for us. We’re just a couple of DIY dorksters and it’s all hit and miss with us!! So with that said, here’s a list of what I would like to do: (I’m posting pictures from when the house was on the market when we bought it. That way you can see what we are working with.)

Kitchen / Breakfast Area

I jumped on this room first! See the changes we’ve already done here and here.

  • paint walls
  • paint cabinets and install new hardware
  • paint trim and baseboards
  • install new backsplash
  • install new flooring
  • replace countertops
  • new lighting in kitchen
  • new fan/light in breakfast area

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Dining Room / Entry Way

  • paint under the chair rail (I’m thinking maybe a yellow of some sort)
  • new chandelier (spray painting it – maybe white?)
  • paint the inside of the front door and side panels (only if I can get up the nerve!)
  • change out the entry light (will have to hire this one out, as it hangs from the second floor ceiling)
  • install some type of window treatment above front door

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Living Room

  • paint an accent wall or two (thinking about bringing the color from the dining room onto these walls)
  • change out the ceiling fan (haven’t decided if we will replace with another fan or a light/chandelier)

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Guest Bathroom

As you can see, the walls had to be covered up quickly! Check out what we’ve already completed here.

  • paint walls
  • paint vanity
  • replace countertop
  • replace flooring

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Master Bedroom/Bath

These will be the last rooms we do, as they were updated with carpet, tile and paint before the house went on the market. Although we will probably sneak a new ceiling fan/light in there before we’re through with downstairs!

  • paint (thinking a pretty coastal blue)
  • replace flooring (we’re not fans of carpet)
  • change fan/light

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Laundry Room -The realtor didn’t take pictures of the laundry room. So you get to see it in all it’s glorious messiness!

  • paint walls
  • remove old and install new cabinets above w/d
  • remove metal shelving
  • install bar for hanging clothes
  • install floor to ceiling cabinet
  • replace light

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Now moving upstairs… This is where all the fun starts again!! There are two bedrooms, game/craft room, bathroom, and Mr.’s office.

Spare bedrooms #1 & #2

  • paint walls (white – I’m going to pull my colors in with accessories and furniture)
  • change ceiling fan/lights
  • paint desk in bedroom #2
  • change hardware on desk

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#2

This bedroom is tiny and has a tiny desk tucked in the corner. Can’t find a pic and it is covered up with boxes right now. 🙂

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Game/Craft room

  • paint an accent wall/walls (the wall on the right that isn’t shown extends out over the entry way and I won’t be able to paint it myself)
  • organize…organize…organize

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Bathroom – This room is just yuck!

  • paint walls (depending on what time of the day it is, these walls either look blue or lavender. Seriously! Not sure what color I want to go with.)
  • replace tiles in tub area and walls (I would like white bead board on the walls, not sure what we’ll put around the tub yet)
  • replace faucet/showerhead in tub
  • replace flooring
  • install new countertop and sinks (sea shell sinks again! Two of them!!!)
  • replace faucets
  • replace or frame mirror
  • paint cabinet (will keep to save money)
  • change out lights
  • replace hardware
  • take door off linen closet
  • toilet (still trying to get the rust stains out. So not sure yet if it will be replaced.)

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AND last but not least…. Mr.’s office!

We’ve already been able to cross off two items since we moved in.

  • paint walls
  • remove filthy, paper fan in window
  • replace broken blinds
  • decorate & organize

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So there you have it! Are you still with me? I hope so, and I hope you will come back and check on the progress as we make it room to room.

Have a great weekend!!

Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend….

…unless they are dark green ceramic tile diamonds! Or maybe they’re suppose to look like an argyle pattern. They’re just not as cute as an argyle sweater or socks! And they sure weren’t cute on my kitchen backsplash. When we were looking at houses, we looked at a couple of the builders houses who built ours and almost every house he built in the 90’s, had this pattern in the kitchen. And for some reason, no one has updated any of them!! We will eventually…as soon as I can decide what I want. Until then, I painted them!

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My mom has previously AND successfully painted the ceramic tiles in a bathroom, so I decided if the paint could hold up in a bath/shower area, it surely would hold up on a backsplash. Figuring out what type of paint was the biggest question. I had decided that I wanted to go with a silver/grey color and maybe something with a shimmer to it, So I was off to Hobby Lobby to check out what they had. I had it in my head that I wanted to try some type of leafing, but wasn’t sure if it would stick to ceramic, as I had never used leafing before. This paint stated it would, so home with me it went! I really lucked out in discovering a paint that did the job on the first go-round.

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I know a lot of people will tell you that you need to rough up the surface if it’s slick, but I normally don’t. (I like quick and easy makeovers!) I always check first to see how well the paint covers and I go from there. And besides, this is just a temporary fix, right? It did take several coats to cover, but I think part of that was due to it being dark green. This paint adheres great to ceramic, as once it dries it DOESN’T COME OFF! I got a few specks on the white tile and it’s still there! You can’t even scratch it off.

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I ended up using a little over two jars of paint. But I used my Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon, so it cost me less than $10 to makeover the tile! As you can see, it looks much better now than it did before. Money well spent!

It’s not U..G..L..Y any longer!

We had a good visit with my mom last week. We went shopping for curtains for her living room, but ended up with only a valance for her kitchen window. Spent a day in Galveston, eating lunch and going to a big, tourist, gift shop on the beach…Murdoch’s Gift Shop. I love touristy shops! I’m a sucker for ’em and all the stuff in ’em! I bought the cutest shell mobile for my kitchen.

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I was finally able to get my table and chairs finished for the breakfast area. Spray painting and the Houston humidity does not jive well together. Especially in August!! I painted the table inside the house but spray painted the chairs in the garage and then put them outside in the sun to dry. It was overcast and every time it would start sprinkling, Mr. and I would make a mad dash to get them back inside the garage and then back outside to dry in the sun.  This went on for several hours.  But I am sooo happy with the outcome. The color is Glidden Canary Song and I finished it with MinWax Paste Finishing Wax.

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I bought the table and three chairs at a junk store in Oklahoma and the bench came from IKEA. I had already started priming the pedestal when I remembered that I needed to take a before picture! I still need to find some fabric and make cushions for the chairs and bench. I’m thinking something colorful and cheery.

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Phase 1 of the Kitchen makeover is complete. And what a difference paint makes!!  The kitchen was “U..G..L..Y!!!  You ain’t got no alibi. You UGLY!!” (those who watched SNL in the ’90’s will understand my little UGLY cheer) ;0)  The wallpaper was blue with mauve roses & light green leaves, cabinet hardware was gold (which matched the hardware throughout the house), and the diamond, backsplash tiles were dark green!

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The upper cabinets were in decent shape, but the bottom ones had mild water damage. (looked like the previous owners would hang wet towels/dishrags over the doors to let dry, so the finish was coming off) The electric cooktop had also seen better days, as all the coils were sprung. Therefore, all the oil would stay on one side of the pan, which meant you had to cook on one side of your frying pan! :0) Of course the new cooktop wouldn’t fit in the old hole. So with a little painters tape and a saw, Mr. cut a bigger hole and installed a new ceramic cooktop.

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But the real change came with the paint.  We painted the cabinets in Valspar Enamel white, the walls in Valspar Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue, and the desk in Valspar Nautical. We changed out all the hardware (pulls, hinges and door knobs) to a brush nickel finish.

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I’m still up in the air about what type of countertops I want.  I know I want a light grey color, but can’t make up my mind whether I want grey stone or concrete countertops. But for now, I’m pretty excited about how it looks so far!