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The counter is in. It is my dream come true…a wall to wall workspace!
I had to customize the counter, because my beloved Martha Stewart craft space cabinets are 28″ deep. Standard counter depth is 24″. I knew I wanted a wood-tone planked look. It wasn’t until we started using bamboo flooring for another project (that you caught a glimpse of in the mirror), that I realized how perfect it would be for my counter.
With one box of tongue and groove bamboo flooring from Home Depot, I made my custom 30″ deep and just over 9′ wide counter. I quickly figured out if I moved the base cabinets out an inch or two, I could fit eight planks deep with no cutting. Ripping bamboo flooring lengthwise is not my idea of a good time.
I installed the counter much like you would on a floor. Three pieces of flooring fit perfectly across the back, if I cut off the tongue on the short side. I top nailed those three pieces to the base cabinet. This keeps them in place when I tap in the rest of the planks. It also keeps them level, since the cabinets don’t extend all the way to the wall. Before nailing they had a tendency to slant into that gap.
At the back edge of the counter I left the tongue on the planks pointing toward the wall. It appears to leave a small gap between the counter and wall. At first I did it, because I did not want to cut off the tongue. Then I realized it actually works out better this way, because the wall is uneven. If I had tried to fit the counter up directly to the wall all the way across, I would have been very disappointed in the result. It looks cleaner with the tongue causing a small gap all the way across. It makes the 1/2″ bow in the center of the wall much less noticeable.
I staggered my seams for the other rows, just like they recommend for the flooring installation. In the middle where there is no cabinetry, the back plank, middle plank, and front plank span all the way across the gap. The tongue a groove holds all the planks together. It is quite sturdy.
With the tongue facing the wall, it meant the front edge of my counter has a groove. The planks are also only 5/8″ thick. I wanted to give the counter a chunkier profile.
I found 6′ ft lengths of matching quarter round molding at Lowes (they don’t carry it in stock at Home Depot). I bought three pieces to fit together for the front edge of my counter. I used wood glue to glue them together into a half round configuration. I wrapped painters tape around them to hold them in place while the glue dried. I ended up with a 9′ piece of 2″ thick bamboo half round molding.
I cut it to the right length and nailed it on the front edge of the counter. I made the top of the half round flush with the top of the planks. The half round is thicker than the bamboo planks and extends down to cover the top of the Martha Stewart craft space cabinets completely. I used my nail gun to nail the half round to the cabinets at the bottom edge and the countertop at the top edge. This last piece helps hold all the boards in the counter tightly together. Without it the tongue and groove boards could split apart.
I can’t express how excited I am to have this amazing workspace. It is the perfect height for standing. The space between the two cabinets is also large enough for a stool. I plan to add a stool for sewing here. My sewing machine does not have a pedal foot, so I can use it in the higher surface.
The planked surface does have some tiny grooves, but they are hardly noticeable. This flooring is designed to have flush seams. If I ever find the need to have a perfectly smooth work surface, I have my fabulous zebra wood desk only steps away.
Whew! This was a huge project for the office. It is really making this space come to life. With these wider angle shots you are seeing a little over half of my studio space. That means there is still a lot more to come on the other side of the room!