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Epic Failed Fake


Epic Failed Fake


I’m sure you’ve seen many of the “hack” sites out there showing us how to copy something someone else has created or is selling with cheaper materials. AND!? They promise you to have the same end result.

I typed in “IKEA hacks” in Google. In a mere .57 second…that’s not 57 seconds, as in almost a minute, but .57 second…as in almost a second…I had 865,000 results for IKEA hack sites. Amazing.

There’s an IKEA Hacker Facebook page. There are sites offering 20 hacks, 101 hacks, slideshows for hacks. And this is just IKEA.

All promising wonderful copies–generally at a lesser cost–that work just as well. I own a few IKEA things. They work fine where I have them.

Our master bedroom, bath, and closet are small and we needed shoe storage. We’re not 16. Squatting down for under-the-bed storage is not going to work. I found narrow, tilt-out-door, storage cabinets that work great.

But, IKEA is cheap. That’s their main calling card. Cheap, but cute. And now we have hacks for even cheaper.

This little lake cottage needed new counter tops–among the thousand other things we found it needed. We’d already run into too many issues structurally to add that to the bottom line. I may have already told you some of the issues we ran into when renovating. I should go back and check, so I’ll keep it short. Electrical, heat & air unit, flooring, sagging ceiling, plumbing. It was adding up. The dead bird behind the frig was the cheapest fix we had.

Granite, Corian, and anything similar were going to be about $2000. I didn’t want the plastic feel of Formica. I read about concrete counter tops. Pretty expensive to have them made and installed. Might as well get granite.

Then, I read about a DIY concrete. I read as much as I could find online. My guy read them. Ardex Feather Finish Concrete Mix. Miracle in a sack. We watched YouTube videos. It looked just like concrete counter tops at a fraction of the cost. And it could be done in a day. A win-win all the way around!!

I ordered the mix and had it in my hands in 48 hours. Amazon Prime and I are BFFs. The cabinets are white. The back-splash is small tumbled tiles in shades of rusty-rose/brown. And the floor is brown bamboo. I thought a black-ish concrete would look nice, so I bought some concrete colorant to add to the mix.

I wanted the edges to look chiseled, similar to a living edge on wood, but on concrete.

We followed the directions.

We mixed the concrete in an old cooler so we could close up the left over and it not dry out, if we needed more later.



FOUR DAYS later, we were still working on it. This little project took us a week.

Good news? It turned out exactly like they said it would.

Bad news? It looks like shit. Black cow shit spread out and dried for a counter top.

Other bad news? It feels like Formica. Exactly what I was trying to avoid.

Here are pictures to show you what we ended up with. These are all the finished product as we were so overwhelmed with being sick on top of the move, we never took any before shots. (My guy’s back went out right after we started, his shoulder was so bad, the doctors replaced it three months later, and I had pneumonia. (Note to self: Wait to move & renovate when you’re not sick.)


counter top 3


I found the tile at a home decor salvage store in Columbia, SC.  It’s a tumbled travertine and cost $5 a square foot. You can find something similar on for about $30 a foot. Or go to the Greensboro Airport departure gates. It’s in shades of tan on the agents’s podium in each of their gate houses.


counter top 4



counter top 1


Above is a close-up of the living edge. Not so chiseled as I envisioned, but this was day 5 of a 1-day project.

It actually looks better and works better than I sound here. But only because there’s nothing to compare it to in the same vicinity. It feels like Formica. It’s more involved to make than installing Formica. It probably won’t last any longer than good Formica. And it took FIVE days. Formica would have taken 2 hours.

In my book, it’s still an epic fail.

But the most amazing thing about this countertop  . . . people like it. First thing they’ll say is, “Wow, I like this.”

I don’t know  . . . maybe it’s growing on me.

Until next time. Be sweet.

Full BA Signature












PS  . . . April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day is celebrated almost universally around the world. And . . . no one knows why.


April Fools Day 2


One theory is that New Year’s Day used to be April 1st, then was changed to January 1st and those who refused to go with the new date were fools. But, that doesn’t make sense when other countries were already celebrating the day for playing practical jokes.

Some say the French started the custom by pinning a paper fish on the backs of unsuspecting souls. On April Fool’s Day, 1998, Burger King ran an ad for the “Left-handed Whopper.” And people bought it.

I think Mark Twain said it best:  “This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.”



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