We opened our shop on a very tight budget.
We didn’t believe in going into major debt in order to build a creative business. Our philosophy is to reuse, restore, upcycle and re-love items. This bowling alley countertop is probably one of my favourite re-loved projects to date! We needed a counter or “something” to serve our customers, we wanted something we could move if we wanted to realign the space, and we were trying to save on our reno budget (that was dwindling) and we wanted something fun and beautiful. We found a kitchen cabinet company that had some scratch and dent cabinet bases for sale, we used 3 kitchen bases. We didn’t care what they looked like as they would only be seen by me, but as it turned out they were white shakers with large drawers, not cupboards – sweet!
Many of you know that my landlord has some old furniture and “stuff” upstairs in what we affectionately call the raccoon room. (There was at one time a few living in the attic area – not anymore, but the name sticks). My wonderful landlord told me to “take what I want and use it” as it wasn’t doing her any good and they do at some point want it cleaned up. We’ve made a deal on the furniture and the wood and other things I’m welcome to use. I think once it’s clean and repaired it would make an AWESOME addition to Willow Yoga Studio (just my thoughts). Anyhoo..there is A LOT of stuff up there, for real, a lot!
A lot of the items are too far gone, but there are many bits and pieces, and I feel very fortunate to be able to have my own picking place right overhead!
While thinking of a counter “top” I wandered upstairs and wondered if there were any large pieces of wood or plywood that I could paint and use. And then I found this!
After close inspection and measuring, I casually asked hubby to come up and help me take it downstairs! My landlord had mentioned it was there and that I could use it and did I know it was a VERY old BOWLING ALLEY floor from the basement of an old building in our town! Very cool! My hubby is so great, he just said “you want to do what with what?” ok…luvs him!
We hauled those HEAVY suckers downstairs and started working on them.
We measured and brought it outside and had to cut the end pieces off (which I think gave my landlord a teeny tiny bit of stress) sorry Deb! But the end pieces have been saved and are going to be upcycled into very cool end tables soon!
It had a lot of holes and needed lots of sanding, so I “let” my hubby borrow my new Ryobi Sander – is it weird that I love this thing?
(He’s so not going to like this picture – but hey – it’s funny and shameless self-promotion for our other family business EverGreen Carpet Cleaners) :)
We filled the holes and sanded some more, then the FUN started!
Hubby was anxious to try to stain the top, so I mixed up some Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in CURIO as a stain (very thin 1 part Curio to 3 parts water) and HE stained the top. His first Miss Mustard Seed painting experience. He actually used a rag and a brush, brushing it on and wiping it off to get the desired stain. It was super easy and he was done in no time. There are NO fumes with milk paint and it dries very quickly, SO much easier than traditional stains. He then sanded a bit and added Miss Mustard Seed Hemp Oil as a top coat which is beautiful and oh so easy!
In the above picture, one side has been hemp oiled. It is SO easy, safe, has no smell and is beautiful to work with.
After the top was in place, we used some reclaimed cedar barn boards to frame the sides (the boards are actually from a fence at our home that is coming down)
Start to finish in no time! Shortly after this picture was taken our sign guy came in and the logo was supposed to go on a wall, but I HAD to change my mind – it HAD to go on here!
On opening day
All total we did not spend very much on this counter (only the 3 base cabinets and hardware total under $100), we reused some things that needed re-loved and it is practical and portable (kinda) if we decide to move it to another spot in the shop. I’ve been asked MANY times if the hemp oil is a strong topcoat. We only put one coat on this (due to being rushed and a little lazy) and it’s holding up beautifully. It is not babied, we have hammers and tools and cans of paint on it and no scratches. Love this about hemp oil!
What do you think of our budget-friendly, upcycled, re-love bowling alley countertop? Have you ever considered using Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint as a stain? Or a bowling alley as a counter?
Thanks for stopping in, so appreciate you all!
*This blog post was updated in September 2021. Front Porch Mercantile is no longer a physical retail store and has grown into Front Porch Lifestyle. Now Wendy offers her services as a business coach to other creatives while continuing a blog more focused on living a creative life.