How my Kitchen Grew Up

DIY Counter and sink feature image

After living in the same house for 15 years we decided it was time to freshen up a few things – especially now that both the kids are away at school most of the year. We are hoping to take our space from a “Kid Friendly” place to a calm, mindful and tranquil “Adult Friendly” environment.

The plan

My inspiration comes from the different elements I’ve introduced into my life, my blog and my followers over the past year – the beach glass I collect with my husband along Lake Ontario; the healthier choices I am making for food and drink; and the calmness I am exploring through meditation and a supportive women’s circle. All these elements are changing me for the better. 

Kitchen makeover - colour inspiration for DIY Counter

The beach inspired my colour choices.

To begin with we decided to tackle our kitchen. We’ve needed new appliances for a while and our counter was old and, frankly, gross. It was a beige melamine number with the years starting to show through. Our kitchen sink was a boring standard aluminum with a drippy, droopy facet. It was definitely time to deal with it. 

Kitchen reno before DIY Counter

Before – So plain and dated.

We reviewed the many different materials available on the market for counters including granite, marble, composites, and wood. Based on a 158 inch long ‘L’ shaped counter, the costs were prohibitive. We would have had to have anything we picked custom made and installed from between $4000 to $6500.

The counter

A close family friend invited us over to see what she was doing to replace her counters in the kitchen and bathrooms of her home using concrete. We fell in love. Since we wanted to get Phase 1 done in the winter our friend suggested we do a pour in place counter – versus a counter prepared in a mold that would be flipped outside and carried into the kitchen. Plus it would have been way too heavy for us to lift it. 

The actual process for making the countertop was quite interesting. My husband has spent 3 summers pouring artisanal concrete patios, driveways, walkways and more with a friend. In each case though they made a frame where it would live forever and not ever have to be moved. Things were going to be a little different for our kitchen counter – as we discovered. 

DIY Counter making steps

These are some of the steps involved in making a concrete counter.

There are many informative resources on the internet to learn about this process. Some of the things we did include: framing, mixing, pouring, extensive sanding, and finally the big finish. Suffice it to say – in my husband’s words “It was easier than I thought it would be.” It is solid, sturdy and reflects our personality in the little details we added. Oh and did I mention it cost us less than $200 total? 

DIY Counter colour

This picture shows the dark colours that make up our counter – and the gorgeous shine.

We decided to go for a darker colour on the counter and will be adding light accents to the sink, cabinets, walls and backsplash in the next phase. 

The kitchen sink

My next thought was for my kitchen sink. I didn’t think aluminum would look right next to this natural material but found the perfect match in my sister’s new sink from BLANCO. Not only are these sinks made in Canada but the one we picked is made out of a natural granite composite material called Silgranit. It is not shiny and cold like aluminum but instead has a finish that is warm and slightly textured.

DIY Counter with sink colour options

These were the colour choices available for our sink.

We think it looks organic and couples up perfectly with our dark concrete counter. And to bump up the ‘wow’ factor we went with white after researching the product and learning that Silgranit is a repellant material that does not absorb any liquids, acids or stains. We also read that it has exceptional resistance to heat, scratches and impact.

DIY Counter with BLANCO sink installed

Our lovely BLANCO sink.

The style of the sink we selected, (the Diamond 210 in white) has rear positioned drain holes allowing us to maximize the usable bowl and cabinet storage space underneath – something I was concerned about when we decided to go with the concrete counter that required additional framing to support it. This sink is nice and deep so my cookie sheets and roasting pans fit into it perfectly for washing. Plus the flat bottom goes all the way to the sides of the sink and I like that I can stand up wine glasses without worrying they will tip over. 

I will admit I was initially skeptical about going with white as I was concerned about staining. Shortly after we installed the sink my husband did a load of dishes and submerged a pot from the spaghetti sauce to soak. I came into the kitchen to see my beautiful white sink turned a solid orange. After draining the water I put some Vim on my sponge (as recommended,) and cleaned it all off with no effort at all – I have to admit I was happily surprised about that. And my husband moved back out of the dog house.

DIY Counter while sink being installed

You can see here how the variable texture of the counter is beautifully matched with the BLANCO Silgranit sink.

I’m delighted with our decision to add a BLANCO Silgranit sink to our special and unique kitchen counter. It is a breeze to clean up and the surface is very forgiving with delicate glasses and dishes. Installation was straightforward and the white makes our kitchen look fresh, modern and all grown up.

DIY Counter white sink

I love this deep, flat-bottomed sink and how it does not stain.

The faucet

It was only natural that we picked a faucet from BLANCO to compliment our sink with a matching white finish. From the wide assortment of gorgeous designs available, we decided the BLANCO Artona Kitchen Faucet suited our vision best. It has all the features I wanted and I just love the pull-down sprayer head with the swivel feature. It was super straightforward to install onto the Silgranit sink and the single lever moves smoothly.

DIY Counter and faucet fixture

This faucet, from BLANCO, matches the colour of my sink perfectly.

Phase 1 complete!

I would like to share some more information with you and some of the tricks we learned during this renovation but I’ll save the rest of the details for the next part of the story of how out kitchen grew up after we’ve finished the painting the cabinets and walls… In the meantime, Phase 1 is finally complete!

DIY Counter, sink and faucet installed

This is the before and after shot for our sink and faucet… The walls, backsplash and cabinets are phase 2.

Disclosure: While I was not paid for this review, I did accept a sink and faucet from BLANCO in exchange for writing about our experience with them. All opinions are my own. 


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