Hiding "the Brown Circle": a tale of countertop catastrophe (and mini kitchen update!)

Or: how my husband burned the kitchen countertop.

Right before Christmas, I was working late in the office (something that, thankfully, does not happen very often at all).  My husband was in charge of picking up the kids, making them dinner and putting them to bed.  I even made life easier for him by making pasta and meatballs the night before so all he had to do was pop them in the microwave.  Then I got the following email (copied word for word):

I place a hot pan on the counter top which made a brown circle.  What do I use to get the circle out

Um ... OMG.  Our countertops are white laminate - old white laminate.  They are a devil to keep clean and stain-free with normal stains like coffee and wine and food.  But a burn mark?  Wanna see it?  It's really hard to capture on camera, but I assure you: it is there.

It is nowhere near as bad as I thought.  It's more yellow than brown and located all the way back toward the sink.  And while I can't believe that a grown man of almost 38 did not think to use a pot holder or trivet under the hot pan, I'm not mad ... especially since we'll redo the kitchen eventually.  However, given this experience, I know white marble countertops are not going to happen.  

Anyway, the "brown circle" is here to stay.  So I needed something to hide it.  It was really simple.  I bought this fake (but looks real!) plant at IKEA a long time ago and just popped it in a white ceramic "pot" (actually it's a tumbler from the bathroom section at Home Goods that I got for $3.99).  It previously lived on the window sill, but now it will be on the counter.  

I measured the "brown circle" and it was about 12 inches long by 8 inches deep.  I knew a tray would be my best bet, and it had to be non-porous and easily wipeable because of the close proximity to the sink.  Lucky me - I found one at Target for around $7.  I just put the little plant on it.  Even though several friends suggested that granite would "get the brown circle out" (ha!), this solution is a much cheaper option for the time being.  Here is the "brown circle" all covered up:

Speaking of kitchen renos ... ours is still a few years off (barring a huge lottery win), but wanna see my inspiration photo?  I pinned it on Pinterest and it is the *exact* layout of my kitchen! Here's my kitchen (before we moved in and yes, that is a microwave basically on the floor - it's a convection oven tied into the gas line so I cannot move it) and here's my dream kitchen:


From Pinterest
Look at that deliciousness!  The floor is the color I want. The wall color is my grey.  The layout - it is my  kitchen!  The counters and cabinets are white!  And hello - maybe one day we will be able to add another patio door to our (eventual) deck near the table and chairs like in that picture.  I'm dying over that narrow little island too ... maybe that's how I can get my marble? That's the plan!

Also, big news here: I've also decided to bag the sliding barn door idea between the kitchen and laundry room.  I loved it and know I would have loved it in the house, but decided against it for two reasons.  First, I could really use that wall behind the kitchen table for storage ... just like in that picture with the hutch.  Second (and more importantly), I realized that the floor-guides for the barn door would have to be drilled into the floor, and our floor has asbestos tiles.  Our home inspector said the tile was perfectly safe as long as we did not disturb it or tear it up - and that if (no: when) we redid the floor, we should just lay the new flooring directly over top of the current.  I certainly do not want to disturb the floor.  So, for now, that doorway will remain open (and that means I need to pretty up the laundry room pronto!), and eventually when we redo the kitchen, I will add a door on hinges.  [on that note, if you're interested in barn door hardware, I'm selling mine!]

So back to the "brown circle" - do you have a similar temporary fix for a big problem? Please share!  And if you know of ways to get a burned "brown circle" out of a laminate countertop, I am all ears. 

See you swoon,


  1. That is some serious kitchen deliciousness!! I think your solution to the "brown" circle is perfect!! Husbands never cease to amaze me, but you got to love them!! :))

  2. Hi Shanna, I, too, have old white laminate. I spend most of my time cleaning it! You are so smart to use the plant to hide the brown circle. I keep a placemat sized "Corning" trivet on the countertop to hide imperfections and to give hubby somewhere to place hot items out of the oven!

  3. I love that inspiration kitchen. Marble is my dream countertop too, so I heart that island.
    I really like that little plant from Ikea-it's the perfect solution :)

  4. Shanna, you must have this kitchen right NOW. It is amazing and the same layout you have! I am so excited for this!!

  5. Oh my! I would freak if my husband sent me that email. You're right to not get mad about it thought. It happens, right? I guess you could play up the guilt factor though until you get new counters... just sayin :)

  6. I'm glad you guys like the inspiration kitchen! I love it. And ha, yes, my poor husband has been teased mercilessly over this. Another favorite suggestion to "get the brown circle out" was "time machine." Ha!

  7. OOOH i can just imagine those elements in your kitchen! Gorgeous! Your room has so much potential! I dont have any recommendations, but all i can say is that I feel your pain! We have OLD OLD white laminate countertops in our house too, and i DREAM of the day we can get rid of them! All I can say is that it is a wayys away and I have very strategically placed kitchen accessories myself :)

  8. Fabulous...You gays did a great job!

  9. Wow - amazing! You guys have done such an amazing job! The counters look exactly like the ones my parents have in their house - black with gold flecks and black grout lines. Their counters are absolutely stunning Lynnwood Granite Contractors