A shiny black countertop

In my real life kitchen, I picked out the countertop first and then spent a crazy amount of time finding backsplash tiles that would go well with it. I ended up with tiles in the same color family as the countertop, but a few shades lighter.

I wanted to do something similar in the Victorianna so I started by painting a green stone-like countertop, using the dry brush technique I’ve used in other kitchens.

Short version: it looked bad! The backsplash is busy and I didn’t have the right shades of green to paint something that looked good against it. I didn’t even take a picture. I covered up the green with a watery coat of Bleached Linen (the same paint I’m using for the cabinets) and put it aside for another day.

I looked online at pictures of white kitchens with green backsplashes and saw a lot of black countertops. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to try black, but why not? The nice thing about paint is you can cover it up. (And I usually have to a few times before I get a countertop right!)

For years I had a little bottle of black craft paint that came out nice and dark on the first coat. When that ran out last year I bought a bottle of Craft Smart paint that’s much more watery. It always takes several coats for full coverage. The middle piece in the picture below is after one coat of black — I didn’t like the brush strokes. So I tried sponging it on with a sponge brush instead. That plus the white base coat came out looking stone-like, as you can see in the piece on the right.

After sponging on one coat of black, I let the pieces dry and then sponged on another coat of black. Here’s the result.

I sanded the painted pieces with very fine sandpaper, then used gloss varnish to add shine. This is water based varnish that comes in the same little bottles as craft paint. I love matte varnish for giving things a stone look, but in the past I haven’t been happy with the gloss varnish because of the brush lines. This time I had an epiphany — if you use enough varnish, the brush lines disappear! I really glopped it on, and then let it dry overnight. Nice and shiny!

This isn’t perfect for a countertop. It has a sort of crackle texture, plus some little bumps where there were bubbles in the varnish. There are surely better ways to get a smooth, shiny finish. But since my cabinets are far back in the room, and the room is pretty dark, you don’t really see the flaws.

Next I glued on the countertops. To do this I put the glue on the cabinets, then put the cabinets in place and slid the countertops in place on top of them. Since everything is such a tight fit, this ensured I positioned the countertops exactly right.

In between steps on the countertops, I finished painting the cabinets and added all the knobs. The cabinets were a perfect fit when they were raw but the paint added some depth, so I had to do a bit of sanding to get everything to fit again.

Ta da!

All I have left to do in here is the backsplash over the sink and add trim. The window sill overlaps the sink backsplash so it’s a little complicated, but I have a plan. Oh, and I still have add a clock to the microwave, and to paint the stove. I’m dreading painting the stove so I’ve been putting it off.


  1. sharon

    Wow! It looks fabulous!

  2. Alayne

    The kitchen is coming along so beautifully and the black counters give the room an elegant look to be sure. Lovely!

  3. Diane

    Looks fantastic!

  4. Sheila

    I really love how the counters look! So shiny the backsplash reflects a bit and you get the hint of color. Very posh!

  5. elizabeth s

    The surface shine on your new countertops looks to be exactly right and perfectly in scale. I also LOVE the elegance and sophistication you’ve achieved by incorporating the black which sets off the tiled backsplash even more!
    The painted cabinetry with its lovely hardware along with the stainless steel make this a kitchen ANYONE would love to spend LOTS of time in- Really BEAUTIFUL Work !!!

  6. chris v

    The black really looks good. It makes the other colors pop. Great kitchen!

  7. Jeanne

    It looks just like the soapstone piece we’ve installed in our real-life kitchen as a trial run. Yours looks lovely with the tiles, too!

  8. Gail

    This is incredible. I really thought it was your home kitchen.
    You, Emily are amazing.

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