Help me fill this gaping hole in my countertop!

roulieFebruary 1, 2013

I'm starting the renovation of my 70s kitchen (see the message I just posted about refinishing the counters). When we moved in, there was a Jenn-Aire grill/griddle in the counter, next to the 6-burner stove. We don't need that much cooking space, so we removed the Jenn-Aire and now have a 33" x 21" hole in the counter and I need ideas for how to fill it! (I currently have a cutting board over most of the hole.)

** Replacing this whole section of counter is NOT an option. It has been discussed at length and vetoed by the powers that be. We just have to fill the hole. **

Here are some suggestions that others have made:

1. inset a piece of marble (preferably one that will match the marble currently set into the island for rolling pastry).

2. Inset more butcher block, maybe end grain for contrast?

3. Inset stainless steel sheet, flush with counter

4. Inset a recessed stainless steel sheet with holes cut out for recycling. (There are roll-out shelves in the cabinet underneath where we could put recycling bins.) Over this would be lids of some sort that would be flush with the counter, that you could lift up to access the trash holes. The lid could be in two pieces, so it wouldn't be so heavy to lift -- maybe one side cutting board and the other side something to put hot things on.

This last option seems overly involved to me, but I have been assured that it can be done. If anyone has pictures of anything like this, I'd love to see!!

What would you do??

Thanks in advance for any ideas, and especially for any pictures of how people have addressed a similar issue!!

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I think any of your ideas would work but I like the marble idea the best.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:25PM
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I think the most functional would be either an endgrain butcher block or the marble.
If you bake, the marble.
If you don't, the wood.

That's a heck of a big space in a very work-oriented area to use for just recycling or things like that.

I like your butcher block. What's it sealed with?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:29PM
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CEFreeman: Thanks! I just refinished the counters (did you see my previous post showing how beat up they were when we bought the house?) Currently, the perimeters just have mineral oil; the island has a combination of mineral oil, beeswax, and carnauba wax (a mixture that I bought at Home Depot and is called "butcher block conditioner").

I first put plain mineral oil on the island, but that's where my kids do their homework and for weeks after they had translucent homework papers, so I switched to the formula with beeswax and it's not nearly as greasy. I'm going to test the two (plain mineral oil vs. oil and wax) over the next couple of months and see which I prefer.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:52PM
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It seems like the cheapest and most useful way to fill the hole would be to put the Jenn-Aire back in. At least you would have a sturdy surface to put hot things on (as you mentioned a stainless insert would function) not to mention using the grill and griddle.

Won't it be difficult to shore up (from below)any of these "flush insert" options to make them sturdy and useful?

I understand that you don't really need or want the extra cooking area, but if it were my kitchen I'd leave it in rather than have the patchwork counters. That is, until I was ready to renovate.

Sometimes you want to get rid of something and/or just GET GOING with a change when your old kitchen is making you crazy, but it can be such a can of worms.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 4:06PM
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I like the marble idea. the butcher block would be nice too. Great job with the counters!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 4:12PM
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i vote for marble or slate if you can find it

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 5:26PM
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I had the same situation of the big hole when we moved our cook top only difference was that I have corian. I choose butcher block for mine. Either would work in your space.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:56PM
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If its near the stove something you could put hot pans on would be good. SS? What ever you do you may have to put it on top of the whole section as opposed to just filling in the hole.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:08PM
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I'd reinstall the Jenn Air rather than have a patched up countertop. There's already a lot going on in your kitchen; you don't need distraction on the counter top by adding another material.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:19PM
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momof2doxies: thanks for the photo! That helps me visualize. I think if I do BB there I'd have to do something contrasting -- either striped like yours or end grain.

shanghaimom and ci_lantro: reinstalling the Jenn-Aire as a functioning cooktop is not possible. We have a stone house and the exhaust vent to the outside is already covered up and re-stoned, so I can't hook it back up. (We had a lot of stone work/patching done before we moved in and had the vent patched at the same time, before we really discussed options for dealing with the big hole!)

This is a strange and quirky house, so the patched counters will just have to be one of its charms!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:42PM
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It's a shame you can't just cut it straight and install tile there. In my kitchen, I tiled over a piece of plywood and attached a strip of the maple butcher block to the edge for continuity. I love my tile section next to my butcher block, since it gives me a spot to set my hot pots and pans. Yours is even more handy, right next to the stove as it is. I would put in something that looked purposeful rather than filled in- like tile or stone.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:24AM
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I would go with a marble or a granite there. I am sure you could get a small remnant from a fabricator pretty cheaply.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Upthread, debrak suggested putting something to put hot pans on, and suggested "SS." However, I don't know if she meant stainless steel or soapstone. Just for completeness, I am suggesting here using slab of soapstone, which, as finestra points out for other stones, you can probably get for small money. This would allow you to take a pan right from the oven and set it down onto the stovetop.

Edited to fix typo.

This post was edited by Angie_DIY on Sat, Feb 2, 13 at 13:08

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:10PM
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I think either marble or soapstone would look good there. I guess it comes down to which would be more functional, how would that area be best put to use?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:34PM
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I tend to prepare ingredients as I'm cooking, so while the onions are browning, I'm chopping the carrots. For me, it would be PERFECT to have a single hole to push compost/trash through. I'd also want a surface that was safe for hot pots/pans because my instinct would be to place them there, and I'd want the surface to be able to handle a bit of water dripping if I washed veggies and put the colander down before chopping. In terms of material, I believe you're keeping the counters long-term; my thrifty New England self would choose a material that matched my vision of the finished refresh without worrying about how busy it looked right now.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:23PM
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