old country house blog




This is a very exiting day for me….I have waited for two years to be able to SAY



cabinets3There are still odds and ends and then one really big “ODD” the floor…but MOST of this makeover, which started in 2011 with the replacement of the doors and drawer fronts…AND HERE is DONE!!!.


before kitchen


before cabs


and the the OTHER BEFORE…


 and then one more BEFORE.IMG_8001


Each NEW feature of this room; the countertops, the appliances, the hardware….  represents hours and hours of price matching and figuring out…weighing the cost benefit of this versus that….etc etc…and mostly SAVING money….


HOW? You ask? “How did you save with Marble?”

I saved because these countertops ARE ACTUALLY NOT MARBLE.

actually I have NICK-named it “FAURBLE”- FAUX MARBLE



….and instead of costing upwards of $5000 to do my 60 square feet of countertops

…it was $850!!!

That’s $14 a square foot for you MATH whizzes…you can also get them for $30/sq foot installed, but then again, I thought” that means the installation adds almost $1000 to the cost? I am certain that I CAN GET these countertops in for much less than that!!!”

and I they did!


Here is how my thinking went…”this kitchen is 45 years old. In order to save money, we have decided to MAINTAIN the original footprint. We kept the cabinet bodies and replaced the doors and drawer fronts with an updated look and color.We chose white to keep the 4 walled space…space more open. I also have done most of the work myself. My ULTIMATE dream is to EVENTUALLY TAKE DOWN the wall between the Kitchen and Dining room and GUT renovate the space one day….so right now, I am going to choose to spend my BIG dollars on items that could be moved to a new space: appliances, faucets…even hardware.”


There is not a doubt in my mind that we could have saved an additional HUGE chunk of change had I gone with BUDGET hardware, LOW end inexpensive appliances, and an inexpensive knock off faucet. But we have DONE that and so this time my goal was to GET THE BEST (within reason) FOR LESS!!! and l challenge you to find any price LOWER than the ones I found for each of my purchases.

kitchen4On my blog this week…I am going to break down each step/purchase of this makeover…and focus on each individual expenditure and process …tell you my thinking behind each choice…and where I got the DEALS!!!!

kitchen2but, FOR NOW, I am going to finish up the grouting of the backsplash which I am so proud to say …  “I Did all by myself” and enjoy my bright happy kitchen!!!!

phoebekitchenNow, GO SPREAD THE WORD about “FAURBLE” , it truly is amazing..!!!!


for more on my Budget Kitchen Makeover Visit the following Posts:

1. the-kitchen-makeover-saving-and-splurges-and-lessons-learned






106 thoughts on “MONDAY MAKEOVER -KITCHEN PART ONE – The MARBLE Countertops?

  1. Lesli – the finishing touch is magic! Such a light, airy, absolutely lovely room. Love your rationale for the formica – makes so much sense and it looks perfect. Hard to believe it’s the same space. You certainly have sweat equity in this place. Love love love.

  2. Wow! It really is all formica?? The island has the boxier edge which I could imagine being formica, but the counters have such a fancy edge on them, it’s hard to believe. Congrats, it’s lovely.

  3. The kitchen is gorgeous! I applaud your decision on the Formica. We too used a laminate on our countertops, rationalizing that we could change them oodles of times before reaching the cost of granite or marble.

  4. I love those countertops. I have 25 year old black laminate countertops that I want to replace. Please repost in 6 months or so how you are liking the countertops. 🙂

  5. WOW! The before/after is incredible, Leslie! I love the “Faurble” & it looks like real marble…gonna pass this along to my gals on my DIY Facebook group!

      1. I thought they might be but I’ve never seen those hues! They are fabulous and thanks for responding!

  6. So inspiring…your make-over is amazing. This will be forwarded to everyone I know thinking of making changes to their kitchens— it’s a real kick in the pants! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. so great, I’m saving your kitchen for inspiration and going to tell my guy I want the same exact one! I thought I wanted a super color of formica, but now i want FAURBLE!

  8. Your kitchen is beautiful! The faurble is brilliant!! My MIL has real marble and it drives her crazy with stains….I wouldn’t want to deal with that.

  9. Leslie – I love your kitchen renovation and am curious if you’d mind if we (I work with Formica) feature your before-and-after photos on our Before & After Pinterest board (linking back to this post). Let me know. Thanks!

  10. Love the kitchen! How did you get the desk to countertop height? After seeing your kitchen, I measured my antique library table, commode and desk and they are all only 29 inches. Also, was the formica glued right to the desk top or is there particle board between the desk top and formica?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      The desk was 30″ prior to the makeover. The casters with wheels add about 2-3 inches and the Island top adds about 2 more. I am not at home so I cant measure it but it is a very comfortable height and works great with our barstools.
      The desk had a removable top to begin with. The original wooden top was screwed on with 6 screws – 3 on each under-side. It is hard to describe the hardware, I should and WILLntake a photo and out that on the blog.

  11. Thanks so much for your reply!
    Have you had any issues with staining on the countertop? I have solid white formica from 1995 and it stains easily-I think some of the finish wore off in the high traffic areas, making it susceptible to staining. It also shows everything, being solid white. Does the faurble pattern help camouflage at all?

    1. Hi Lisa, the only staining we have experienced is red colored juice, my sons gatorade stains, but it washes off with an all natural spray I use. I have not found the Faurble to be very camoflaged , but it looks very clean.

  12. I have been thinking about using these countertops in my kitchen, but the husband isn’t sold on the idea. They look great in pictures, but I am curious about how they look and feel in person. My fear is that they will look fake/cheap in person. Do you think most people that see them in person think they are laminate countertops right away? Also, you mentioned you might be getting a new island top, that was one thing I was worried about. The person who helped me when I was looking at them said my island would have to have the corner seams on two sides. Did you say your new top will have all finished edges with no seams? Thanks for help with making this decision! Oh, your kitchen makeover looks fabulous!!

    1. I would never tell anyone what to do, but I think these counter tops look amazing. They feel great, but are not cold to the touch like marble. My Island top does have the flat side, on two sides, but I actually heard from Formica this week that starting June 1, HOME DEPOT is supposed to be working with their fabricators to make the IDEAL EDGE available in all locations. I hope this is the case. I think the more the public is educated regarding their choices, the better they can make an informed decision. Ultimately it comes down to cost really. If you have money to get real stone, and real stone is what you really want, they get real stone. I wanted pretty countertops, and these ARE pretty, 99.9% of the people that come in my kitchen think they are real and when they find out they are not, love them even more.

      A commenter on Apartment Therapy said “Getting the fake stone makes it look like you can’t afford the real thing!” I was dumbfounded by this comment. What is he saying? That those of us who do not have or want to spend $5000 on countertops should settle for something that LOOKS as cheap as it is? I really don’t go too deep into it. They look good, we saved money. Period.

  13. Thank you for the response. We definitely dont have the money to splurge on real stone, my husband was wanting to try DIY concrete countertops. After showing him your post I think I may win! Thanks again for the insight. It is good to hear from somebody who has them.

  14. I now have “faurble” countertops with a breadboard backsplash and I LOVE the look! Stephanie-I had people over this past weekend and they thought it looked like real marble. It is not cold to the touch but I think that is a bonus as my hands are always cold. Plus I am clumsy and glass won’t break falling on formica like it would on marble. I have Ideal edge except on one edge of my “peninsula” bar counter-I painted the seam white and now it does not scream “Formica”. It does, however, make me think of fudge shops since they make the fudge on marble counters!!

    Leslie, what is the name of your all natural cleaner or the recipe if you make it? Formica told me to use something like 409 or Fantastic but I try to avoid chemicals.

    1. How exciting!!! I hope you will email me some photos!!!
      I use the Meyers products usually and sometimes windex if it is sticky…I am so happy for your new counters!!!
      where did you have them made if you don’t mind me asking, I am interested in the ordering process…and glad to hear you got the ideal edge!

  15. Thanks for the info!
    I ordered the counters and had them installed through Lowes. We removed and disposed of our old countertops which saved us about $700.00. We put up and painted the beadboard (There was a learning curve but we only ruined one panel in the process 🙂 I couldn’t find your e-mail address to send photos….

  16. I love your blog! I just stumbled upon it after seeing these countertops in a magazine. You said you installed yourself, can you tell me more about that? I didn’t see it in any of your other blog posts.

    1. Oh my gosh…installing countertops myself would have probably killed me! If it says that then I think it means, we measured and ordered the countertops and then we had a friend install countertops all in one day when they put the sink and appliances in. If electrical and plumbing are involved…I call in the experts! When we bought the counter tops we had a choice..buy them “installed” by Home Depot or one price…or buy them and we get them installed for less than half that price. I knew I could get them installed for so much less and in the end…that is exactly what we did!

  17. Love the countertops! I was thinking about an undermount sink (but it requires a Karran and suggested professional install). Can you tell me which sink you used? It has such a great profile over the countertop.

  18. Hi there! This blog post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept talking about this. I’ll forward this article to
    him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Hi Lesli – Hoping you can help regarding your kitchen countertops. I am IN LOVE with them (along with the rest of your house), but when I follow the link to the Formica Calacutta, it is no longer there. I’ve done a product search on their website and come up empty, too. I’m not sure how friendly you are with the Formica folks, but do remember you saying they replaced your counters to your original edge… Do you know if this has been discontinued? Or if they’ve updated it with a new name? Could you tell me the name of the edge your chose, too? Thanks so much!

  20. hi lesli; the husband and i are as good as convinced on putting in the formica counters in the same calcutta marble that you have. im wondering how your counters are holding up a couple of years post install? any visible stains at all or any difficulties that you encountered with regards to maintenance? also i love the edge that you used; which one was that? thank you so much; your blog really helped us in our countertop decision making!

    1. Sofia, we love our countertops two years later they are holding up great. No stains. No complaints! You will love them. The edge (the curved one) in the blog post is “Amore”.

  21. Beautiful! I love them, but I am having trouble with their website. I am only seeing that I can order a sample or pick a location “where to buy”, but nothing comes up on the map. What am I missing?

  22. I’m considering this for my kitchen. My only hesitation is that I need one seem.
    Do you have any? If so, is it more noticeable because the rest is so light?

    1. The seam looks no different than if they had a seam in a marble slab..it does not bitter me at all…you just need to make sure it is installed properly so that it does not shift. have fun!!!

  23. I just had the same countertop installed and they included a short backsplash but my installers didn’t caulk. What sort of / color of caulk do you recommend, since your wall/counter seams look good? Or is it not customary to caulk that space? There are black “lines” of space in places, so I want to fill that in so it’s not so noticeable. Love my counter!

    1. We have a subway tile backsplash and there is off white caulk at the edge. Regarding the seams…ours do not bother me, but I have a friend who took off gray paint and rubbed it along he black line to “mellow” it out….Good luck and send me photos!!

  24. Hi I would really like the information on your backsplash! I am getting the exact same counters and love your backsplash!

    1. Hi there, the subway tile is just the plain white from Lowes….easy-peasy, I watched a You Tube video and went for it. You will need to borrow or rent a tile cutter if you do not have one.

  25. I found your site on pinterest. I apologize if you discussed this in one of the blogs, but I haven’t seen it… above your cabinets, I see there is a bulkhead and that you added crown molding to the the ceiling, and painted it all white. My question is, did you paint the bulkhead the exact same white as the cabinets? And I think I see extra molding right above the cabinets to make them blend in? I can’t quite tell from the pictures. Any tips on how you made the soffit look so seamless? It looks fabulous! Thanks

  26. Hello, I am considering the same counter tops Formica 180. The with the bevel edge as he said I wouldn’t have a seem if I choose that one. Did you make your own our was your quote using a company? if so which company did you use? Thanks!

  27. Your kitchen looks fantastic!! I especially am admiring your faucet, would you mind sharing where you purchased it and a model or name of some sort? Thanks in advance!

  28. Do you still like the countertops or do you regret not upgrading to marble/stone?
    I’m getting ready to refresh my kitchen after 18 years and I really want to replace my laminate countertop to marble.
    I’m just worried about regretting any choices.

    1. You have to weigh it all out. I will never EVER regret getting my Formica countertops. They were and still are the PERFECT choice for our kitchen.
      Perhaps if I had done a GUT renovation of my kitchen and EVERYTHING WAS BRAND NEW….”Real” marble might have made sense. Or Quartz or some kind of solid stone surfacing. But I was doing a renovation, of a 40 year old kitchen on a budget and while maintaining the original cabinets and footprint of the kitchen. To put marble on 40 year old cabinets would have been a very dumb decision. I LOVE our kitchen, and I love our countertops and they have held up beautifully. DON”T make decisions out of fear – weigh it all out – the value of your home, your REAL BUDGET, and how you will use your kitchen.

  29. Love how it all turned out!! How difficult was it to install the countertops yourself? Did someone come out to do all the measuring for you before you ordered? My kitchen is an odd shape (lots of angles). I’m all about saving money. So I’d like to try installing them myself, but the whole process scares me.

    1. We ordered our cabinets through home depot but HAD them installed ourselves. The Price at HD “installed” was about $31 sq ft and uninstalled was $14 sq /ft . We knew we could get someone good for less than $800! And we did. It is an “easy job for a professional and I might tackle it now that I watched it done three times but what really is important is strength to get them in tight and I am not a very big person – though I like to think I am strong for my size! n
      You can hire a very good carpenter or home repair person, and still save money.

      1. Thank you so much for your response! So did HD come and do all the measurements and the cut out for the sink (etc.), or did your installer do that? How much did you end up paying for someone other than HD to install them? I wonder if my dad can do it. He’s strong 🙂 Thanks again!

  30. On your IdealEdge counters–is there a seam? I had the impression that the purpose of IdealEdge was that the covering formica was able to be sort of “rolled” over the edge to avoid a seam. But the IdealEdge I have has a seam. Just curious if mine was done incorrectly, or if my expectations were unrealistic. (I’d include a photo but I don’t think I can) Your kitchen is lovely!

    1. I am with you in that I find the “Ideal Edge” less than ideal…and confusing. We have had 3 tops made for our island. 2 were made with two flat, seamed sides (the old fashioned way) and one with the fabricators version of ideal edge. It was hilarious and sad, like I had made it myself…all I can say is that the folks at Formica are great and if you are confused or concerned write to their customer service and ask for help. Thanks!


  31. I have the same cabinet bodies in my kitchen, and I’m wondering where/how you found glass doors to fit yours. My cabinets are in excellent shape for their age (50yrs) and I would much rather replace the doors and paint the cabinets than to replace them altogether. Thanks for your help!

    1. We had the new doors made. The glass ones came prepared for a sheet of glass and I just went to our lowes and had glass cut. The hardest part was meticulously measuring each door and acconting for the overlay i wanted. In the end, only one measurement out of 50 was off…so I was pretty pleased with myself! The doors and drawer fronts excluding knobs and pulls was about $2500.

  32. I’m debating doing this laminate versus a granite (love the look of marble, but not the price and the other cons that go with it). I ordered samples in the two finishes from Formica. Why did you choose the etchings finish over the glossy? In the samples, the glossy seems to me to look more like real marble then the etchings finish does, but it is so hard to tell from a small sample. I had decided glossy, but yours looks so great with the etchings finish!

    1. Etching was the only choice, or at least the only choice I knew about, at the time of our kitchen renovation. I may have chosen glossy had it been a choice. The etching does not “read” when it is on the counter top, in fact, I actually had to go look at my counter top the first time someone asked about it!

  33. Hi there! I was wondering where you purchased your countertops from, and also, so they feel similar to the real thing as well, or not so much? Lastly, is there a seem on the edges or is it seamless, like a real stone countertop would be? Thanks so much! They look beautiful!

    1. Thank you!
      We got our countertops at Home Depot. They are not cold like real marble but have fooled people standing right next to them. A plumber once said “Oh, I did not know you had marble, I did not bring the right drill.” But I did not get them to fool people but because they light and pretty and were approx $4500 less than real marble would be in our kitchen. The edges are seamless the corners are seamed.

  34. Leslie, Is that the GLOSS finish or the etched? The counter top looks beautiful and we believe this is exactly what we are looking for. Thanks

  35. Sorry for asking about the finishes on your counter tops as I just read your notes above that you have Etchings but would have chosen Gloss if it was available.

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