My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

The countertops!

I actually just moved all of my goodies into the kitchen this morning and have to say..."I love it!"
I can't wait to share the finished project with you but it will have to wait for  a couple of something  somethings to arrive and be installed!
(ya know, secret stuff )
So in the meantime,
I found this uber cool paint that actually allows you to paint the existing counters without all of the headaches we used to have. (Previously, it took several products and about a week to pull this off!)

It's by Rust-oleum and is available at Lowes!
It took an afternoon and then the next morning to do but needed to dry for several days!
So I wallpapered!
First the walls under the cabinets were papered  with the crackled cream wallpaper!

Then inside the doors and cabinet interiors!

I used two papers for this! The gingham inside and the vine print on the doors and pantry interior!

But here are the steps to refinishing your own countertops.

Get your sander back out and a dust mask!
I sanded everything with 120 and then 220 grit sandpaper! Wipe them down...
Then with my small sponge paint roller did a first coat.

About an hour later...did a second coat!
This stuff has a toxic odor! 
I wasn't able to spend anytime in the cottage after I did this! So I pulled weeds again!
The next morning,
The third and final coat.
( I had to do three coats because I was using such a light color over a darker one!)
I actually sanded between coats with 220 grit paper because the roller was shedding!
First I rolled one way...

And then the other.

While it was drying...
I went outside and worked in the potager!

And planted an ivy topiary in Tinker house!

The next day, I started tiling the backsplash!
Here are the materials you will need... all except my tile saw which is on the porch!  (too messy!)

My hubby was actually home for this but just took pictures!( well, okay and cut my trim pieces for my next step) :)
I really do all the tiling projects here at our house!

This technique is called "buttering"
I like to install my tiles using this method since I am a little slow and don't want my  mortar/adhesive to dry too quickly!

Because I am a girl...and really don't like messes ( and because I have to clean them up) I wipe the edge to get any extra off the sides before...

I press it to the wall!
I then use these little tile spacers so that the grout line will be the same all the way around.

I also put tiny pieces of cardstock between  the counter and tile.
This created a small gap that I will later fill with caulk.
No pictures of this because I had a lapse and forgot I was actually blogging about this! Oops!
Speaking of which,
I must really love you guys! This was hard enough without having to stop and take pictures!
But I DO really love you and hope you will try this for yourself!
You really can do it!

So, Anyhow,


A tiled backsplash!
(We live for the TA-DAs! around here!)

After it least a day!
It's time to grout!

More stuff you will need:

Follow the directions on your grout and always mix it in a glass or plastic bowl!
(Don't ask me how I know this!)

On small projects... it is soooo...much easier to use your fingers and push the grout into the seams.

When the grout hazes over,
It's time to wipe them down with a damp sponge or cloth.
Next, I installed a piece of trim over the tiles to finish them off. (Yes, the trim hubby cut)
I just used a regular adhesive for this.

Ran a tiny bead along the edge of the grouted tile...

And pressed the trim into it!

This really finished off the new tiles!

After the glue dried...I caulked the edge of the counter and the tiles with white silicone.

And here it is!

I am tired! But really need to head outside and mow my yard!
So I will leave you with this!
Hopefully by Friday, 1or 2 of the 3 remaining things will be here and I can share the completed kitchen with you.
I will give you a hint about two of them.
These doors had the fronts cut-out...

Were then painted and waxed...

And have been sent away!


Notice anything missing?
Well, I just hope it gets here so I can show you what I had done to it! (hint: no...I didn't buy a new one!)

The third thing is we are getting a new sink and it will need to wait until next week! It's the one thing I don't think I should fool with on my own!
I just don't think I even want to learn how to install sinks that involve a garbage disposer!
At least not yet!
I am off to mow!
Until next time,


  1. WOW WOW WOW! First, what a great step by step and second, I love it all. I'd like to move in there! :)

    I am really loving wallpaper lately and would love to put it in my cabinets - yours turned out so darling.
    Thanks for showing us so much! Hope you get to relax today ~

  2. It looks fabulous... just like you!
    I am still in the studio...
    Can't wait for the you know what so we can see the whole shebang.
    Have a wonderful day
    love ya

  3. what a transformation!!! looking absolutely gorgeous~:) chris

  4. You are so smart. I am loving learning new things here and watching your progress!

  5. Hey Wonder Woman...It is looking amazing!! :) So you have to take the countertops off the cupboards to paint them? oh boy...I can see this happening here...NOT! ha ha!! Would love to try it though. Does it dry pretty fast? We would have to move out in hubbys workshop white I was redoing the kitchen...or eat out a lot and that is not good for a body that is trying to lose more weight! tee hee

  6. Oh my gosh Donna ~
    You pretty much amaze me!! Everything looks awesome!!

  7. I am loving these fresh, clean, a sweet cottage/farmhouse look.

  8. What a transformation this is, LOVE the light and bright new look! The wallpapers added to the inside of the cabinets look like a little French cottage! xoxo Debra

  9. Holy Moly girl, you get stuff done!!!
    One minute you have an idea... and the next thing i know, it's almost done. You're amazing! And, this is looking crazy wonderful! I'm in awe of it all!


  10. WOW! It's coming along beautifully! I'm loving the paper inside the doors! So charming.:)

  11. Everything looks so great! Love all of the colors and patterns and what a great and inexpensive way to update the countertops. I'm really looking forward to seeing the completed kitchen - I can tell it's going to be amazing!!

  12. yes, we live for the TA-DAs!! And you have had a ton of them lately!! Love that countertop paint, it looks amazing! Such a pretty kitchen with all the special details that you added. You really killed yourself on this one and it paid off. Like someone commented yesterday, I do feel lazy when I read your posts! Now even more surprises are on the way~yippee!!

  13. its looking gorgeous!!! ok are the bottom cabinets grey...I just posted about wanting to do this, kinda chicken...but yours are soooooo inspiring!!!!!

  14. Oh my Sandi!
    No! The countertops are painted in place...just mask off where you don't want paint to go. I didn't have to do this since I was wallpapering!
    The tiny sliver of countertop was for another project...details soon!
    Thanks for giving me a chance to clear this up though!

  15. Very inspiring and lovely. You've done a fantastic job. Looking forward to seeing more pictures.


  16. YOU are truly amazing my dear! This is looking fantastic. Your labor of love is coming right along. Happy finishing...

  17. I bow to seriously! I bow..
    Looking at the floor and my dirty tootsies right now!

    it's official I am a slouch in your shadow!


  18. Donna, You are amazing! WOW!!! Your kitchen looks fabulous! I can not wait to see what you are doing with the stove!
    Thank you so much for your comment on thre book!
    Have a pretty day!

  19. I agree - WOW. All that then you went out to mow!! I'm truly humbled.


  20. Donna,
    You are a woman of MANY talents. Is there anything you can't do???
    I have never heard of people painting their kitchen cabinets-what a great idea and paint resource!
    Your kitchen looks beautiful ans so airy. I'm assuming you have found yourself a charming little stove/oven??
    Your projects always amaze and inspire me.


  21. You truly are a jane of all trades. Tell long does the pe-yew smell last. I don't like to weed.

  22. Looking good and my husband and I have done all our own tile work in our house. Backsplash and sun room and master bath floors. Hard and messy, but saves tons of money. Can't wait to see the reveal.

  23. I bought the identical tiles. They were discontinued from the store so I bought all they had. Don't know what I will do with them yet, but they were so beautiful I had to have them. *Smiles*

  24. Hello Donna ~ I love it! I just showed my husband your post, I want him to get crackin! It's so charming.
    However on to your outside, I must say I'm totally mesmerized by your Tinker House.
    Hugs Rosemary...x

  25. It's all coming together beautifully! Question...when exactly do you sleep?!?!? :)

  26. Donna, You could have your own design show on hgtv....honestly. I love the little cottage kitchen make-over. Smiles, Susie


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné