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Laundry Room | ORC – Week 7, Countertops and Built-ins

This past week we have been making the final decor touches to the Laundry room makeover. I cannot wait to share the reveal with you next week. Week 7 of the One Room Challenge, is all about the butcher block countertop and base cabinet. Catch up on our weekly progress below.

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6

one room challenge guest participant

I am going to be very limited in showing photos this week as to not give away the final reveal. Actually we completed the room about 2 weeks ago, and it was just the final decor pieces we were waiting on. I bought the last of it this week and it looks AMAZING!

Countertop Install

When planning this project I wanted a countertop to enclose the washer and dryer and have a space or cubbies for storage baskets. Originally we were going to just use 3/4 inch plywood to make the top, but the cost of lumber…well, you know. We did purchase a piece of 4 x 8 ft plywood that we had Home Depot rip cut to length for us. But when we went to cut the final measurement of the wall to wall length, it shredded the wood and almost broke a saw.
We have no idea what is in the plywood, but it was not able to be cut.

I needed to rethink the material for the countertop. Another change, another challenge!

I remembered that the Salvage store (Southeastern Salvage) I purchased the wall cabinet at had some 1″ butcher block counter tops for a REALLY affordable price. So, instead of re purchasing new, better high quality plywood, for the same price, we could get the butcher block counter.

Countertop Supports

We actually placed the “cleats” for the counter top before we tiled. They also were the support board for the tile as well. We used 1×2’s, placed the top of them to a 42 inch height, leveled and attached into studs on all 3 walls.


Cutting and Placing the Countertop

Normally butcher block should not be stained, unless it is food grade approved, because they are mainly used in kitchens. Sticking with the design plan and to match the floating shelves above and in the laundry sorting center, we used the same Espresso by Varathane.

We cut the counter top to the length we needed.

**Pro tip: When using a circular saw you want to cut with the rough side up. Circular saws usually splinter the wood that’s facing up and cut cleanly on the side that’s facing down.

Doing so we didn’t support the piece that would be cut off. Butcher block is super heavy even thought it was only one inch thick (couldn’t imagine the 2″). So as it cut and pulled it did split the good side of the countertop. Always a learning curve!

Another pivot, being the farmhouse rustic design of the room, we just flipped it, sanded the “bad” side as smooth as we could and rolled with it.

We needed to make sure it fit before staining, so we carried it upstairs, placed it on the cleats. This was no easy feat due to the size of the room, the six foot length and the weight! We are not permanently attaching the counter to the cleats, because if something was to happen to our washer and dryer, we needed to have access and wanted it to be removable, so we just needed to make sure it was sturdy.

We also dry fit the base cabinet. It already makes a huge difference!

Realizing after we tiled, we did loose a bit of cleat on the back wall for support. Hindsight, we should have used a 2×2, so we added another piece of 1×2 to the front of the existing cleat.

Being the beast this thing is…staining was going to have to happen in the laundry room. I taped off the walls, used a wood conditioner, and used 3 coats of Espresso stain.

**Wood conditioner is a must before staining any piece of wood. It absorbs into the wood, and butcher block is very porous, thus making the stain soak in evenly and not cause blotching.

We did have one spot after the second coat, de stain? What the heck, right? I don’t know if the conditioner didn’t take or what. When this happened, I went googling a solution. All the tips said to sand it down back to the original layer.

We did so, and after a couple more coats it did even out, this particular spot did need some spot staining and we also used a stain pen to darken it so it matched the rest of the counter. 

Base Cabinet Built-Ins

Originally I was going to build a cabinet to fit the space between the dryer and the wall. I found some plans on Pinterest, but again the cost of lumber and all the hiccups we have had so far, we chose to use an unstained cabinet and remove the door.

Trying to find a 42″ base cabinet is impossible, hence they don’t exist. Someone should really make base cabinets for laundry rooms. My washer and dryer, and I am sure others with front loaders, have a height of at least 38″. Thankfully a Google search of 12 x 42 inch unfinished cabinet returned a search to a home warehouse in Chattanooga. ROAD TRIP!!

It fit perfectly under the counter and hid the cleat as well. We also purchased a trim piece of 1×2 to fill in the space between the left wall and the left side of the cabinet. Making it a seamless built in look. We painted the cabinet and trim in the Midnight Blue, just like the wall cabinet. This time we used our paint sprayer.

I don’t know why that thing intimidates me, but we got both painted in just a couple hours. Next time I paint furniture/cabinets…the sprayer is the way to go!

Again, we needed everything to be removable…just in case. So the cabinet fits snug, and the trim is attached with a piece of Velcro, even though it was so tight we didn’t really need to attach with Velcro. Seems a bit odd, I know, but if we had to lift the counter off for any reason and this trim piece was glued and nailed. There was a possibility of damaging it.

In the final reveal you will see the trim piece in all it’s glory. I am not going to show it here, painted and installed. That would give it all away!

You will have to come back next week to see the room reveal! I can at least show you the cabinet painted and installed! 

cabinet for laundry room blue