Updating outdated bathroom inexpensively

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Because these thick wood-slab tops have their edge or end grain exposed, they are stronger than wood laid on the flat.

That means they resist warping and nicks better than laminate and almost as well as stone.

contractor Tom Silva started his carpentry career over 35 years ago, he often built the kitchen cabinets he installed for his customers.

"Back then, it was still cost-effective for small shops to build them," he recalls.

Butcher-block islands mimicking 19th-century worktables are perfect for toning down the coldness of stone counters and metal appliances in modern cook spaces.

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If you're going for homey and cozy in your kitchen, skip the built-in cabinet-base island and instead make the central work area a furniturelike table with a butcher-block counter.

If you're a bit tentative about working with electricity, don't worry.

This installation is simple and shock-free, as long as you cut the juice at the breaker box first.

For full step-by-step instructions, shopping list, and tools list, see How to Reface Kitchen Cabinets.

Make the most of your kitchen's existing storage space by installing a pull-out shelf in one—or all—of the base cabinets.

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