DIY Kitchen Makeover at Better Farm Is Country Chic at its Finest

A year and a half after installing a custom table into the dining alcove at Better Farm, the rest of the kitchen has undergone a total makeover: new countertops, island top, sink installation, cabinet redress, revamped hardware, and the demolition of a kitchen unit long past its prime.


Better Farm's kitchen has gone through many incarnations. From the '70s: the '80s: today:

The kitchen itself is spacious, filled with beautiful lighting, and offers a great view of the horse/alpaca/goat paddocks. But with cabinets (and hardware) installed in the '80s, a rotted and outdated kitchen sink, broken and peeling laminate countertops, and a beaten-up church altar found in the barn across the street, we had our work cut out for us.

The Game Plan

Here's a short list of the improvements on the docket:

  • Butcherblock countertops
  • New kitchen sink and faucet
  • Replace cabinet hardware
  • Sand down, repaint cabinets
  • Remove old kitchen sink unit and section of cabinets
  • Replace altar top with butcherblock

Step One: Reface the Cabinets

To revive the cabinets and give them a fresh farmhouse feel, all the wood was sanded down and painted with a high-covering white paint.

Step Two: Give the Kitchen Island a Facelift

To tidy up the kitchen island, our group of volunteers first pried the old, oak boards from the top of the island (to be upcycled later, don't you worry). While we worked to get a plumbing line from the altar to the basement (thank you Tim Plumb!), our friends the Masons worked to stain the birch wood. Next was installing the birch wood countertop on the alter, cutting a hole for the sink, and installing a sparkling new faucet.

Birch countertop from Lowes; stain from Zar; cast-iron sink upcycled from a friend's farmhouse (thank you Mary Shannon!) and stamped "1938".

Step Three: Install New Countertops

The old linoleum-over-composite-wood countertop gig was long past its prime. With the outside actively peeling off, we'd resorted to stick-on, fake laminate just to hold things together and buy us another year. That only sort of worked:

Yeah, not so much. So on we went: ripping out the existing sink unit, hooking the basement plumbing to the new faucet, pulling out the old countertops, and installing the new. It wasn't pretty work, but it was reasonably fun. And once the white cabinets were touched up, it was all worth it:

Huge thanks go to Tim Plumb, Kenny Lavezzi, the Masons, Mollica, and David Magbee for their muscle, might and know-how; Scott Smith for donating plumbing materials and always offering advice and expertise; Mary Shannon for the stunning farmhouse sink, Laura Caldwell for that stunning new bread box, and the Lake of the Woods boys for their powers of observation. As always, no Better Farm project is made possible without the love and support from the people in the amazing Redwood community.