Waiting for the Right Piece

Hey everyone! A fun little story for you if you are in the no-man's-land of scouring Craig's List and antique fairs for "just the right thing" to finish your project.

Our kitchen was complete, except for one small part. We hadn't found a countertop for the main island. We knew we wanted butcher block. We had a standard one from Ikea that was just OK. It wasn't quite large enough (we bought it for another project), and as you can see from the photo below, the overhang didn't completely cover the drawers. It looked like our island had put on a pair of pants that were one size too small!

I kept saying that if we were willing to be patient, we would eventually find exactly what we were looking for! Brent kept telling me my expectations were too high. (He's usually right.) I wanted something with some age and character, not a new piece. I wanted to know it's story, and of course I didn't want to spend a fortune. No big deal, right?

A few months ago, we were off for a 24 hour getaway for my birthday, in nearby Adams County, Ohio. We happened to drive by this handwritten sign on a quiet country road that said "Antiques" with an arrow pointing to a farm. OK, why not, right? We didn't have any of our kids with us! We pulled in to discover a retired farmer with a barn FULL of cool old stuff. Of course we asked him if he had any butcher block that would be big enough for our project, fully expecting the usual No, Sorry. But he led us over to this:

It was 12 feet long. It was beautiful. It was old. It had all these cool markings on it. It used to be in a nearby butcher shop, so yeah, it definitely had a story. It was $125!

I had to clamp my mouth shut so I didn't squeal.

A few months later, and that countertop is now living in our kitchen! We cut it to fit the length and width we needed (um, easier said than done, as usual, very thankful for my handy husband!). Then we just gave it a light sanding to knock the grime off without losing the many markings and etchings.

Since we don't plan on cutting food directly on the surface, I felt fine about using a standard polyurethane to seal the wood. (If you plan to cut directly on it, you should use a food safe finish of some kind.) I chose a satin finish because that's what was available in my store, but if I could have chosen a matte I would have. I really didn't want it to look shiny. It's a humble workhorse and I think it's beautiful in it's most natural state.

One of the best parts (in addition to fitting my kitchen island's size perfectly!) is how thick it is. Standard kitchen countertops are 1 1/4 inches thick, but this piece is a full 2 inches! It just has so much presence in our kitchen!

So now, there you go, you thought you were finally done hearing all about my kitchen remodel, and then, nope! I'm like that person at a party you can't get away from.  :)

Thank you for humoring me, friends! I thought you might enjoy this story because I know many of us are "on the hunt" for something specific for a house project, and that can take time. We looked for over a year before finding this piece. SO worth the wait, and I am glad we didn't give up due to my usual impatience with unfinished projects!  

Can anyone else relate?