Step #11: Countertops and Sinks


Once we began this conversion, I realized how strapped for funds we were becoming and told myself that I would just have to settle for the gray countertops we had purchased (for dirt cheap) out of another bus conversion. Later I realized that I needed a larger sink. Then I started measuring the stove/oven and it seemed like it might be smaller than the hole that had been cut for a stove/oven. But most importantly (well, to me, that is), I am not a huge gray fan…in fact, it is probably my LEAST favorite color. Sure, I like misty, gray skies next to a forest full of crisp, fall leaves and I think soft, gray kittens are cute, but that is about as far as the color gray and I go. Gray is just not my color.

I had purchased the sheets of faux cherry wood laminate a while ago, but had given up hope on ever using them. Then, when I started daydreaming about the bathroom and thinking about how beautiful the countertops would be next to the Brazilian cherry wood we had, I knew I needed to make it a reality. I asked Jenson if he knew of any good cabinet guys…he led me to Todd…the rest is history.
Todd and his friend, James, were able to create some beautiful new countertops yesterday. I have probably around 50 pictures and was going to go into every nitty gritty detail, but I will give you the speedy version. I asked Todd about just covering the old countertops. He told me that he had some press board that we could use for the job, because he didn’t want to go over the old stuff, too much of a chance of it separating later on.
Todd began by cutting the new deck and measuring for the holes he needed to cut. It was a good thing we started from scratch. I found a used 33x22x8 sink earlier this week and the stove/oven that Scott gave us via Atwood quite a few months ago, were both different sizes than the original holes. That, and the fact that it would have had more of a chance of separating made this the best route.

Once the holes were cut, he had to cut out the wall that was next to our old RV sink…now in the middle of our new sink. I am so happy to have a sink that is the same size as the one in our kitchen. I think it is the perfect dimensions and curvature….sigh. I know most people don’t like stainless steel sinks anymore…they are so out of style. But I love them…they just seem to get cleaner than any other type of sink I have ever seen. Can you see the piece of wood paneling I cut and screwed over the insulation and painted windows behind the countertops?

Once the holes were cut, Todd and James cut and applied the edges. Todd showed me how to mix glue and sawdust to fill in the seams…this guy is truly amazing at what he does. I loved that he let me follow him around, asking him so many questions for around 4 hours….such a sweet guy.

While the glue was drying a bit, he and James cut the wood for the backsplash and figured out which pieces of laminate would be used where…there were a couple of marks from being moved around in the garage so many times over the past few months. They attached the laminate on the edge pieces and filed the edges down.

Then Todd sanded the countertops down and prepped them for glue. This glue was not like the cement glue in the brown jars I remember from kindergarten. This stuff looked like milk and didn’t have much of a smell.

They glued both the pressboard…

…and the back of the laminate. Then let them sit for a few minutes, until they were good and tacky.

Once the laminate was attached, Todd hammered through the opening and cut out the holes for the sinks.

He continued filing the edges until they were smooth and rounded the way I wanted them.

I had him move this sink (that I found, along with the faucet and fittings for a total of $25) over as far as we could to the right, so that we could have 7″ on one side of the sink instead of 3.5″ on each side. I am so excited to see what it looks like with the walls done and the mirror and light up…sigh.

This is the view as you enter the bathroom, from the hallway/kitchen.

This is the view from the shower…which I hope to finish up sometime this month. The wall material, alone, will cost us around $100.

Here is the new sink. See how much more room it takes up than the eensy weensy one we used to have? We positioned it over towards the stove, and I will eventually create a cutting board that will fit down inside the sink so that I will have more food prep room. Also, there will be a little bit of room to the left of the sink for any little helpers to help me to prepare food, without being underfoot in the narrow kitchen area. It is so nice to know that I will be able to wash up baby Simon and easily wash my stock pot that will get plenty of use while we are out on our adventures, with this new (used) sink. Todd explained how to change the drawer to the left into a door that opens up with a little cubby for my sink stoppers and scour pads, like the ones I have in our kitchen right now.

Todd also explained how easy it will be for me to cut and slide in some of my laminate over the current fridge doors…that will be so nice to have done. Maybe next week? I need to buy myself a score-all and some liquid nails for all of the laminating I plan on doing with my leftovers. I may even line the bathroom cupboards if I have any left over. It is a beautiful laminate and I hate to see any of it go to waste. 😉

I had Todd leave the side and top of the kitchen backsplash open, as I am planning on adding wood that will be painted to match the cabinet doors, once I get the upper cabinets installed and the electric ran. Todd also took a look at the openings and drawers and told me how to make them work…that is nice to know. Saves me a ton of guesswork…sigh. I think these cabinets will be beautiful with a fresh coat of paint and glaze and new hardware…although that is all a ways off, still.

I gave Todd the measurements and the laminate for the 2 tables and he will hopefully have those completed this week so I can show them off, as well. He quoted me an unbelievably awesome price for all of it…I can’t even tell you because you will be so jealous. Not only is Todd absolutely fabulous at what he has been doing since he was seven years old, with his dad as his teacher…he is also a very compassionate man who is willing to help out others along the way. Thanks, Todd!
Pura Vida!
Mrs. C
(that C would be for Cool Countertops)

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