Kitchen Design Ideas: Wow Guests with Natural Beauty

After photo of wood countertops
Chris and Michelle Estes get a kitchen renovation 20 years in the making, featuring butcher block countertops and an apron sink.

Want to add some natural beauty to your home? One of the top kitchen design trends is a butcher block countertop — it brings the outdoors in and helps create serene surroundings.

For the last 20 years, this house has been home to the Estes family. Now, Chris and Michelle’s daughter, Kaitlyn, is off at college and they have the place to themselves.

And they have some time to focus on a long-awaited kitchen renovation — and we’re here to guide that project along!

The Projects

Replace countertops

Before photo of laminate countertops
These laminate countertops will be replaced with butcher block.

The couple installed laminate countertops about 15 years ago and they want to replace them with butcher block that they’ve already purchased.

First, we need to size the wood. Ordinarily, we’d freehand crosscuts, but not on a countertop. Its edges have to be perfect so we’re using a saw edge guide from Woodcraft to cut them as straight as an arrow.

After we complete cuts for the countertop sections, we also cut a piece of the butcher block for the bar section. Then we’re ready to dry fit them.

Before we install the countertops, we take them outside to sand them with 320-grit sandpaper, stain them with Beltex pads and wear our respirators to finish them with Waterlox Original Sealer / Finish.

Then we install corner braces in the cabinets with Titebond II Wood Glue and nails and adhere the finished countertops to the corner braces with Titebond Construction Adhesive.

Install apron sink

Butcher block countertops
This apron sink, from Kohler, is a major upgrade from the Estes’ old sink. In fact, there’s enough room for Michelle to bathe her small dog in it.

We’re adding a stainless steel apron sink that will require removal of the front of the counter in order to fit.

So we put the countertop’s seam right in the middle because the sink will be cut out from the front, and just a tiny seam in the back of the sink will be visible.

Once the sink is cut out, we mark the cabinets to accommodate the sink’s depth.


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