Today we’re working away on demo-ing out the old balcony where the new deck is going to go (since Mother Nature rained us out yesterday) so we hope to have more photos to share of our progress soon (Monday at the latest if all goes well!).
In the meantime, we thought this awesome budget-friendly kitchen idea was such a smart solution. We never really considered stainless steel counters, but after seeing Linn and her husband make it look so easy (and affordable) we’re definitely into it. Here’s Linn’s note:
I wanted to share a DIY tip for countertops which isn’t really that common, but it’s a great idea if you’re on a budget and you don’t mind doing some work yourself. When my husband and I renovated our kitchen we were able to get awesome looking stainless steel countertops for the bargain price of $400 (for a small 20 square foot counter). A big box hardware store quoted us $3,000 to put in and install basically the same thing!! Here are our old formica counters during our renovation:
We made a plywood template to the exact size of our counter and worked with a local sheet metal shop that cut and bended a piece of 20 gauge stainless steel around our plywood template.
Then we installed the plywood on top of our old Formica counters…
… and added the steel on top of it (it’s covered in a protective sticker in this shot)…
This option proved to be so much cheaper than many other materials around, so if anyone else is contemplating what type of counters to put in, and they don’t want to spend all of their budget on granite or marble, then I would highly recommend this method!
Stainless steel looks great, is super durable, and requires no maintenance whatsoever!
We really love how it turned out! – Linn
Obviously a lot of other great stuff went into Linn’s transformation, so hit up her blog for more details about everything – from those awesome stainless steel counters to the kitchen project as a whole. Have you guys considered stainless steel? Did you know you could get help from a local sheet metal shop to accomplish something like this for thousands less than buying stainless counters the traditional way?
UPDATE: Since a lot of the comments are asking about long-term care and durability of Linn’s counters, here’s a link to a post she did with her thoughts on it.
Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner, so click here to see if it’s you.
Katrina @ 'Sota is Sexy says
Love this look! Do stainless steel counters scratch easily?
Here’s hoping they drop in with that info! I think maybe they can be buffed smooth again?
Kasey M. says
I was wondering the same thing! I hope they drop by with answers.
[email protected] says
We did the same thing for our outdoor kitchen (http://www.alittlebiteofeverything.com/2011/06/outdoor-kitchen-update/) and it works great! Love this makeover :)
Carly @ Createlive says
Ainhoa- Are you aware of how it does with scratches, etc?
[email protected] says
Hey Carly! Since it’s an outdoor kitchen we don’t use it so much. We mainly use the sink area because it’s a lot bigger than the one in our actual kitchen. It does have a few scratches but I don’t mind the look at all (although ours was “brushed” stainless steel if that makes any sense, so maybe scratches don’t show as much).
Krystle @ Color Transformed Family says
Wow, that’s a great transformation! I love the way the stainless steel counters look in her kitchen. And since the wrapped the plywood with them to give it the 1-1/2″ thickness it doesn’t look like a commercial stainless steel counter. It turned out to be a beautiful counter.
I LoVe this!! :)
I’ve never understood why stainless steel isn’t used more often as a countertop. After working in the restaraunt business, I always thought it was such a great choice. I love the black and white in this kitchen, but you could easily incorporate more color in the room and it would look more festive for the color-lovers out there. Nice job!
I love the counter and just about everything in this beautiful kitchen! But, please turn those knives in the other direction. I’m afraid someone is going to slice their arm open while reaching for a salad bowl from the cabinet . . .
that looks fantastic! However, I am wondering about scratching… We have a stainless steel sink and it has gotten pretty scratched up over the last couple of years… I would be too worried to have counters like that. I am just not careful enough!
Here’s hoping she drops in with that info. We think some scratches can be buffed out so it looks like new again!
It looks fantastic! I became very fond of stainless steel after years of working in restaurants.
Zandi @ Radical Possibility says
oh wow, that is genius! i always wanted an island with stainless steel top, but never thought to do ALL the countertops that way!! it looks lovely, too!
Kristy Swain says
What a great idea! Turned out awesome. Will have to go and pin it!
Was this kitchen featured on Apartment Therapy at some point? I swear I’ve seen this kitchen redo before! It looks awesome in any case! :)
I’m not sure! Maybe Linn will share a link if it was!
I’m guessing you’re thinking of remodelaholic? http://www.remodelaholic.com/2012/03/affordable-stainless-steel-countertops-diy/ I’ve had it pinned for months – such an awesome idea!
LOVE this. I really like the design of an industrial kitchen – maybe it’s because I build them for a living. We have great new granite counters in our new home but are considering stainless subway tile as a backsplash
Carly @ Createlive says
Wow! I love this. It looks wonderful. Also wondering how it holds up with scratches, etc.
J+H @ Beyond The Stoop says
LOVING stainless steel countertops right now. we have a stainless steel island (yep, like in restaurant kitchens!) and it’s so nice. you can cut on it, put hot things on it, it cleans easy… pretty much as good as granite (except not as expensive or pretty) wish i could do ALL my counters like this!!
I have a stainless steel counter from a restaurant in my art studio. got it used and it was already kind of scratched, but it has a nice patina/worn in look to it and the used look doesn’t bother me a bit!
Me likey— especially with the dark wood cart countertop across the kitchen. What an ingenious way to get stainless steel. Great idea.
Oh wow, that’s super cool. I wouldn’t even mind them getting scratched. I like character. They go perfectly with the subway tile. So fresh and so clean (clean)!
Rubber mallet for demo?!
Haha, you’ll see why when we post about it! It’s a very odd little balcony…
Great counters — and paired with the warm lighting and the butcher block you guys really said KER-POW to a white, sterile kitchen. Looks amazing!
Megan W. says
Here is a cool blog post from The Pioneer Woman – she gives info on her stainless steel kitchen island, plus shares her experiences with other counter materials, including galvanized steel and concrete!
Thanks Megan! So interesting!
Heidi P. says
I always wondered about that steel look! I love it but never realized you could do it in your home.Yay! And wow, Ree has a LOT of different countertops!
Ooooo I like that counter! Unconventional choice and it looks fab!
I love the idea. I hope they post about if it scratches, but I also wonder about if it dents?
I am subletting an apartment where part of their counters are steel – just the section around the stove/oven. It’s an older kitchen, not sure when they installed the counters but I imagine it’s been a couple decades at least. I’ve never liked them. There are significant scratches, dents and dings, and they’re kind of a pain to clean. You’ve got to really wipe hard them down to avoid wipe/scrub marks and I’ve always felt they’re not as forgiving on showing crumbs, marks, etc. You’re dealing with the same issues you have with stainless steel appliances, I suppose, but on a thinner sheet.
I have stainless steel counters too and I feel exactly the same. Mine are about 6 months old and there are some scratches (I rarely chop directly onto them) but they are just never clean enough! When the kitchen’s spotless they look awesome but that is pretty rare in our house! Plus the only thing I’ve found to get the water marks off them is limescale remover.
Do stainless counters make a noise when you put things on them? Like, do they clang or anything? Maybe that’s a dumb question…
I had the same question! They look really cool though…
No more than any other counters! I think they are quieter than granite or formica. We can put hot dishes on ours too…right out of the oven!
LOVE them! I work in a bakery, and there is something so awesome about cooking and baking on stainless steel counters! When I’m at home cooking or baking, I always wish I could just do it at work!
I love the end result but I’m a neat freak when it comes to my kitchen. I would think this would scratch a lot and you would constantly be wiping it down because it will show everything- especially water streaks (just like my stainless steel fridge!).
Staci @ My Friend Staci says
I loooove stainless steel, especially after working in a restaurant I know that it can take a beating and still look insustrial-chic! Especially with the wood butcher block on what I’m assuming is their kitchen cart/island, the warm and cool elements are totally rocking it in this space!!
Tiffany @ The Mister and Missus says
Such a great material for a kitchen! I love it for my appliances, so using it for the actual countertop is awesome. Definitely keeping this in mind. Love it!
they’ve got me thinking now!!
Hi guys, This is Linn from The Home Project. Thanks you for all this awesome feedback on our counters! We love them, they’re just great. For those who wonder if they scratch easily I would say no. Sure we get tiny scratches all the time, but they’re no big deal and you can’t even tell unless you go up really close. Plus, if we were crazy about getting those scratches out then we could easily buff them out with a stainless steel product. However, we don’t really care, since you can’t even tell.
I would highly recommend going this route if you’re debating what counters to install in your kitchen. These are so durable and practical – you don’t have to worry about putting hot pans right on the counter, or smashing in to them, or getting water stains, or anything. They’re easy to clean and I love the way they look.
Oh, there was somebody wondering if the kitchen has been featured on Apartment Therapy and it was a couple of months ago: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/before-amp-after-a-1940s-kitchen-gets-an-upadatethe-home-project-164589
Again, thanks for all these sweet comments! We couldn’t be happier with the way our kitchen remodel came out!
I loved the look of the stainless steel counters that were in our last house when we bought it, but soon grew to resent them. Scratches, water spots, smudges – they never felt nice and clean. Our cleaning ladies we’re able to work magic when they came, but the first time I used the sink it was ruined. They were tough and perhaps there’s a difference in quality, but based on that experience I’m not considering them for our new house.
Yes, this has been on Apartment Therapy twice I think! (I’m a little addicted to that blog too.) But it’s ok, because they focused on other things, and definitely didn’t give the counter-top play-by-play. I just remember it from the floor. :)
Love the counter tops… but holy floor batman! Thanks for sharing this blog… I feel a change coming to my kitchen floor…
It looks great but I would NEVER be able to keep the SS looking clean. Still love it though!
[email protected] says
I love this! I saw stainless counters in Apartment Therapy once, and I’ve wondered why more people don’t consider this option. Adore the floor, too. Thanks for sharing. Off to check out the blog!
Beautiful! Do knives on a magnet scare anyone else? I just get visions of Chandler losing a toe in his wicker sandals on Friends!
We redid our kitchen about 5 years ago and had a local metal fabricator make stainless steel backsplashes for us. One piece went from wall to wall and it was a little tricky to get in place (because the walls of our old 1950s house are not-so-straight) but otherwise, it went in really easily and was pretty cheap too! You can read my post about installation here:
http://www.2054miles.com/2007/08/sooo-close-now.html OR just look at a pic on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3812152073/ . It is easy to clean (with a good stainless steel cleaner) and we still are happy with it 5 years later.
julia @ life on churchill says
love this! we just put in new butcherblock countertops today…countertops make me excited right now!
I’m wondering how long ago they installed those countertops? Sure, they look amazing at first…I’m an architect in LA, and we did SS countertops for a portion of the kitchen of one of my projects. They looked sleek and contemporary and beautiful. After 2 weeks of finishing touches and getting the client moved in? They had to have them buffed/polished because they were so scratched up. And since then, the client has had to have that done at least once a month (they didn’t choose SS for the cost-factor, so they can afford to bring people in to buff out the scratches…)! Yes, they are cheap and sound like a good idea, but I promise the maintenance isn’t worth it! Go with something more durable like caesarstone or quartz!
Linn has actually commented with her experience with them, so scroll up to see her thoughts. Hope that helps!
I would have to disagree, or maybe I’m just not picky (that’s a lie, I am picky). I worked with stainless steel counters for a couple of years in the same restaurant and they always looked great and never needed or recieved any buffing or maintenance. They are super easy to clean and wipe down and great to work on. I don’t understand some of these comments that claim they scratch easily and therefore look bad. Maybe it was an inferior product? I don’t know.
Hi all. I’m a fabricator of custom stainless steel kitchens for commercial use, so I can bring a little practical knowledge to this conversation. A few things that are just matter of fact:
1) Stainless scratches. That’s what it is, it’s meant to do so. Anyone who wants stainless to look perfect for a lifetime chose the wrong product.
2) When you’re polishing stainless over and over, you’re abrading the surface, so at a point, you will ruin the stainless finish and they will have to be replaced.
3) Stainless is clean. Why do restaurants use it? They can chop chicken, wipe, beef, wipe, veggies, wipe and it’s not going to cross contaminate. You never have to worry as long as the surface is properly prepared. Stainless isn’t porous so once it’s properly wiped down it’s ready to go.
4) Stainless is the most durable surface around depending on the gauge of it. This is where the dents and dings come in. We fabricate most counter tops at 14 gauge, is it more expensive? Yes, but the dents and dings don’t occur. If you have a top that’s getting dings it’s probably 18 gauge or higher and not properly braced underneath. Part of my business is schools, if we know the counter is going to be used for day to day prep, stainless is always used. If it’s going to be decorative, we will use stone (granite) or quartz (Cambria,etc) products.
5) Not all stainless is the same. There are different grades of stainless steel, they all have different qualities and cost associated with them. The commercial kitchen industry uses 304 grade stainless. It has less more nickel content making it less corrosive and less magnetic as opposed to 430 which is usually found residential appliances like refrigerator doors, it’s still stainless but it’s not as resistant to corrosion.
6) Last, I have granite and Cambria in my kitchen at home and what’s easier to keep clean? It has nothing to do with the type of material as much as the color, our black granite we clean with a window squeegee otherwise it’s never “perfect” the white torquay Cambria just needs a wipe down and it’s amazing. Stainless, if you want to really clean it, and I know this may make some people gag, you can use paint thinner on it to remove any water spots, it won’t ruin the surface then you can buff it dry with a towel or use those “stainless cleaners” that keep it looking shiny.
I hope this helps everyone. Best of luck with your remodels. -Greg
Lots of great info- thanks Greg!
Hey YHL – I had a technical request I wanted to throw out there. When I click on a link someone else posts in the comments, I’d prefer it to open in a new tab or window instead of taking me away from YHL. Is that something you can control in your code? You guys seem to think of everything, so I’m guessing there is a reason you didn’t do it this way if it’s even possible, but who knows! Thanks! -Laura
So sorry- we don’t think that’s something we can control, but hopefully pushing “back” will get you back to our blog?
Michelle McCormick says
I noticed that too, but I just mouse over the link, right click, then select “open in new tab” :)
Just right click and choose “open in a new tab (or window)” That’s what I do. All YHL links open in a new window, just not all the comment ones.
Sorry, I feel like an idiot for repeating the advice Michelle gave, but it wasn’t there when I wrote mine, promise!
No worries! Things sit in moderation together, so we totally understand!
Janelle D says
If you’re using PC laptop, ctrl and a click of the touchpad also works! If you’re on a mac, I believe it’s command and click.
THIS IS AWESOME! Love it!
Jamie B. says
Working at Starbucks made me want to install stainless steel counters and backsplashes in my entire kitchen – they’re SO easy to clean!
I had a huge kitchen with all stainless steel countertops (and this crazy awesome wall mounted dish drying rack) when I lived in Harlem… I still miss it to this day. Best. Countertop. Ever. And so easy to clean, and work on.
My parent’s house was built in the 1940’s and the counter top was stainless steel. They replaced it with Formica when they remodeled the kitchen in 1984. They really missed the stainless steel.
I just finished a cooking school in Italy and every kitchen had stainless countertops. The Italians make everything directly on the countertops which made cleanup so easy!
We seriously considered stainless steel counters when we were looking for budget countertops. We ended up DIYing concrete counters because we had so much more square footage on the countertop and I thought steel would look too cold. But I love the way it looks in their tiny kitchen with wooden island!
The reveal (rest of house was still under construction): http://mattandallisonkelly.blogspot.com/2011/10/concrete-countertops-part-5-reveal.html
How we built our entire kitchen for $2,500:
We have stainless steel counter tops, that were installed in 1948. It was a HUGE deal then, to have metal counter tops, since World War II had used most of the available metal in the United States for the war effort. My house was even featured in a local magazine in December 1948 when the kitchen was renovated (its a Victorian house).
They are still in wonderful shape, even after 64 years. I absolutely love them. You can put anything on them – hot pans, etc. with no problem. And they are still shiny as well. I never want any other kind.
I am SO excited. I can’t wait for my husband to get home to show him. We actually currently have stainless counters that were here when we bought the house. We want to redo our kitchen, and the counters won’t fit with the new layout. We wanted the same counters, but didn’t want to spend the money for basically the same thing. Can’t wait to show him this! THANKS!
I have a stainless steel bench top in my apartment (bought it like that). It does scratch, but not really… It’s hard to explain, but basically it’s not like a gouge, just superficial things. But I think it adds to the character. I also have an Ikea stainless table, (didn’t know it was IKEA, I bought it from the last tenants). I love it all – in my loft apartment, it’s perfect and quirky, and to be honest, I’m not sure what I’d rather want for a bench top or a table (I’m not a huge wood person). I love that I don’t really have or need an trivets either!