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From Blah to Beautiful With Just Paint, Plaster, Stain and a Stencil

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Even though this house was built in 2006, the kitchen still reminded me of the 1970's. Plain and drab with no real interested. Well, that was about to change!
Being a stencil designer, I find I need pattern and contrast, and in my own home, I need to feel I've put a bit of my own personality and vision in to the home in order to feel I'm a part of it.
Light is fine, but I personally like deep colors.
The look of dark cabinets has always attracted me. They look so elegant! So that's where I started. Minwax has a great product that combines stain with polyurethane which eliminates the step of varnishing the cabinets.
  • kitchen redo with paint plaster and stencil, countertops, flooring, home decor, kitchen design
Next came the counter tops. I hated these light cream formica counter tops. They stained easily and you could see every teensie crumb. I was constantly wiping them down. So I gave them a faux (fake) granite finish.
  • kitchen redo with paint plaster and stencil, countertops, flooring, home decor, kitchen design
After cleaning, a light sanding, then priming the counter tops, I began by sponging black acrylic paint over the entire surface with a paper towel. Light dabs are the key to making the finish look more like true granite.
  • kitchen redo with paint plaster and stencil, countertops, flooring, home decor, kitchen design
After sponging dark brown "spots", I then blended the edges just slightly with a dry, natural bristle chip brush.
  • kitchen redo with paint plaster and stencil, countertops, flooring, home decor, kitchen design
Creating streaks of brown paint to mimic deep veining breaks up the pattern and adds interest. I blended the edges slightly to create softly blended "streaks".
Larger spots of black paint were blended over the surface to create deep gray/black pockets here and there on the surface. 4 coats of polycrylic now creates that beautiful shine of polished granite and protects the paint surface.
The white linoleum floor had to go! No, I can't install the hard woods I ultimately want quite yet, so I gave it a much prettier look with Behr's Porch and Floor Paint instead!
I taped off a large rectangle on the floor and first painted it deep cream color and then sponged medium brown paint over the area.
On the outer border, I flipped the order. I painted that area medium brown and then sponged the cream color over the top. It's very interesting how the same paint colors can create a completely different look depending on the application order.
I designed a new stencil specifically for my kitchen and first used it with paint to border the floor.............
Then used the same stencil design with joint compound to create a lovely back splash panel above the counter tops.
Yes, I know, I need to replace the white appliances, and that will come in time. But now, my kitchen has taken on a much more elegant look with just paint, joint compound (plaster), stain, a stencil and varnish. So if you are sick of your outdated or blah kitchen, take a tip from me; Dig out those brushes and give it a new look!

To see more: http://www.victorialarsen.com

  • Lisa Aragon Gabrielson

    What an amazing transformation!

  • Shawn
    Shawn Chase City, VA

    This make over looks awesome.... I especially think the floor looks like artwork!

    • Victoria Larsen
      Victoria Larsen Los Lunas, NM

      @Shawn Thank you Shawn! I love that floor so much that I'm getting ready to do the floors in the bathrooms (which both have that blah white linoleum). Glad you like it!

  • B. Enne
    B. Enne Canada

    Now your counter faux finish looks real! So many of the ones online look like 80's sponge painting gone bad.

  • Victoria Larsen
    Victoria Larsen Los Lunas, NM

    You're terribly sweet! It's really the technique of blending, creating vein lines and natural spotting.

  • Melissa Smith
    Melissa Smith Abilene, TX

    Absolutely beautiful. You are one talented person! the Countertops are amazing.

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