A Reader Inspired Change for My Kitchen

Today I am turning the tables here on the blog.

I am sharing something vintage, but brand shiny new for my kitchen. Adding this item wasn’t an idea I came up with though. It was inspired by one of you… a reader.

A few months ago, Shari R. wrote to me about something she uses in her kitchen. She wrote:

I can’t remember if I ever shared this with you when you first did the countertop makeover …
Your “wood” cutting board insert to the left of your cooktop looks like the Vance Industries Surface Saver I had/have in my previous and current homes. If you are interested in replacing the wood-look section with something that blends in more with your countertop, you might be able to get a replacement insert

1970's brown wood Kitchen before makeover

Say what? The original tempered glass cutting board in my kitchen before I made it over was 40+ years old – from the 1970’s Avocado Green decorating era. I didn’t even consider when making over the kitchen that the company that made the cutting board still existed or what that company was even called.

Butcher block cutting board in set in kitchen counter with stainless steel friend.

All I knew was that I didn’t want the avocado color, so when making over my kitchen, I figured out a way to fill the cut-out in the counter by having a large wood cutting board I bought at HomeGoods cut to size to place in the original metal frame.

Photo of a kitchen painted white.

This worked and looked just fine for a few years, I was very happy with it. But, time changes things – like the color of my kitchen floor.

Over the summer, goodbye orange floor, hello… Bona stained floor in the color of Driftwood Grey.

After the floor update, the color of the butcher block, even though we didn’t use it to cut things on (I wanted to keep it as nice as possible) was becoming orange with age. I didn’t like how it looked anymore.

So when Shari wrote telling me what the tempered glass cutting board I originally had was called, I did a Google search and found that the company was still around and they even had a website.

The cutting boards are still sold, no longer in avocado green, but in more neutral colors… white, beige, black, grey graphic grid, and even a few with floral motifs.

Still available after 40+ years!

Here is how the company describes their product:

Built-In Surface Saver® allows you to build a tempered glass cutting board right into your countertop, providing a sanitary, durable, heat-resistant surface that resists stains and odors. Often used to repair damaged countertops, the Surface Saver can be installed into an existing surface or a new installation.

How to install a Vance Tempered Glass Surface Saver

Since my countertop already had the cut-out opening, I looked on the website to see if they still sold the board in white in the size I needed. They did… on Amazon. I bought it.

We did have to trim a little of the counter at each corner with a jigsaw for a perfect fit, but once we did that…

Vance Tempered Glass Surface Saver cutting board set in the counter.

…the shiny, brand new, 40+ year old tempered glass cutting board fit right in. :-)

Once the cut-out in the counter is made, the cutting board pops right in. It is secured with screw-on clips that are attached underneath. All I needed was a Phillips head screwdriver to install it.

Grapefruit being cut on a tempered glass in-set in counter cutting board.

What I am loving about it is that it is so easy to keep clean. I can even actually use the area now to cut things or place items hot out of the oven on. Unlike the butcher block that stained easily and began to have an odor.

Tempered glass in counter cutting board on kitchen counter

Being able to cut anything now without having to bring out a cutting board is also extra nice since my kitchen counters are painted Formica to look like Carrara marble that we can’t cut or put anything hot down on.

free standing island for small kitchens

My kitchen is small, so I have to be creative in finding ways for it to best function for our needs.

Last year, I added a rolling metal industrial style table to the center of the kitchen to act as a kitchen island. It has been wonderful. Now I could not imagine my kitchen without it.

Small kitchen counter with glass cutting board in-set into counter.

I think that is what my new, but vintage style, tempered glass cutting board is going to become for me – How did I live without it?

How to Hang Framed Art on a Tiled Kitchen Backsplash

Update: A few readers have left comments asking how I hung the framed art that I bought at Hobby Lobby on the tile backsplash shown in the photo above.

I used Command Brand Picture Hanging Strips.

  • To hang a picture frame on a kitchen counter backsplash, use Command Brand Picture Hanging Strips. If you are not familiar with these, they come in different sizes to be used with light, medium or heavier weighted objects. I used 2 of the medium size to hang this frame.

One thing I truly enjoy about writing a blog is the interaction I can have with readers far and wide. All of you hold ideas and knowledge about so many things.

Since other readers can read all the comments in any post, it is a great place to share ideas that can help someone you may not know in real life.

So don’t hesitate to comment on posts when you have ideas to share. All of us can benefit from your knowledge.

Thanks Shari for telling me what you knew. XO

Photos showing the process for installing a Vance Tempered glass kitchen counter Surface Saver

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  1. I’m so happy to have come across this information! I have an in counter cutting board that is wood with a metal frame around it and it looks so gross! I’ve never used it. It might be original with our house but I always just put a dish drying mat over top of it. We’re currently making some cosmetic updates to our kitchen and I decided to search what could be done about the cutting board and now I’m so happy to see that I can replace it with what you put in. On Amazon I only see white and I’m currently painting my countertops black but my cabinets are white so I’m hoping it’ll look okay to add the white cutting board. This will be so useful for me and I won’t have to keep hiding that useful space on my countertop! Thank you!!!

  2. Your writing seems to be totally an inspiring one. Thank You!!

  3. I had one of those too, and I loved it for setting hot things on or when making sandwiches, but I rarely used it as a cutting board; glass really dulls your knife blade. Looking good in your kitchen Diane!

  4. I love your ideas and I’m new to following you. Your kitchen is beautiful. I smiled when I saw the picture because I have a tea pot just like yours. What is your favorite tea? Looking forward to your next emails.

    Nancy C.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Nancy – I LOVE LOVE hot tea. I drink quite a lot of it daily. My favorite is St. Dalfour France Organic English Breakfast Tea. I order it on Amazon ( https://amzn.to/3aVQ9VP ) since they don’t sell it anywhere near me.

      My daughter’s in-laws are Chinese. They have given me many tea varieties. I like most of them Jasmine, Ooolong and black teas. I also like citrus herbal teas. I don’t like green teas. They give me headaches. :-(

  5. Lisa Martin says:

    Beautiful! I love your blog, thank you for sharing

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Lisa and thanks for reading and taking time to say hi!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Looks great – but I’m here to comment on your new cook top. Did I miss a post regarding it or is it upcoming? I love it! Looks fantastic, and I’m sure you’re loving it with your new double wall ovens you put in a while back.

  7. Uh oh! Don’t think folks realize how bad tempered glass cutting boards are for keeping knives sharp and how hard they are on the blades themselves! Sorry to put a damper on the topic, but if one wishes to keep blades pristine for cutting tasks…USE BUTCHER BLOCK! Some plastics are fair to good to use, and bamboo is good; but the best surface for knife working is wood. The tempered glass does look nice, tho…

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks for taking the time to tell me. I will use my new counter Surface Saver for placing hot things on and use my wood cutting board for cutting. :-)

  8. Hello! I love the look of your new cutting board. Your whole kitchen is an inspiration to me and looks fantastic! I will be moving in about 3 months to a fixer upper and I am drawing from your kitchen posts for my inspiration to re-do my kitchen. Any way, not sure if you know, but cutting on the glass cutting boards does dull your good knives quickly. More so than wood. Just wanted to give you the heads up so you don’t ruin a very expensive knife! Don’t mean to rain on your parade, or dull the excitement of your new board. It is still fantastic for hot pots and also very sanitary.

  9. Hello Diane
    I love my glass cutting board! I had one installed when we built our home and had one in our previous home. I really don’t know what I would do without it. It’s so reasonable in price and so worth it!!
    Love your blog!

  10. I like the new cutting station. I have a pretty glass cutting board I found at Goodwill years ago that lives next to my stove top. Its got a photo of fruit as its design and seems super dated, but I love it. Your kitchen looks so fresh and clean!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Gina – Thanks. When I was growing up, my mom used a glass cutting board with a fruit design like you describe on it. I loved using it and thought it was so chic. My mom had it leaning against the counter backsplash when not in use so it looked like art.

  11. Jason Myopic says:

    I love the look of the glass cutting board! It looks retro but also classic. How do you keep water or anything like that getting under the metal bezel piece? It is amazing how changing something small can make sucha huge difference in aesthetics. The wood accent in the floow really warms up the white, I love it.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jason – The metal frame around the glass cutting board is in super tight. I didn’t mention in the post, but will add it. When placing the frame and board into the cut-out in the counter, you add a bead of caulk all around the underside of the frame. Once in place, water or any spills, does not get underneath.

      1. Jason Myopic says:

        That makes sense! I was just imaging everything you wipe up gathering under the edges!

  12. Laura janning says:

    What a great tip from your reader The insert looks so good… and that it’s functional, even better.

  13. Betty Baker says:

    Hi there and a belated Happy New Year in your gorgeous home. How interesting to see your new “cutting board” I have one of those which slies between the counter and the stove. My next door neighbour,who is a carpenter, is going to be asked to see if he could install it. I will let you know the result. Great idea. Love from Betty Baker, Ontario,Canada.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Betty – How nice to have a cutting board slide between the counter and the stove. Easy to get to, but out of the way when not needed. I hope your neighbor can install it for you.

  14. PS I also made notes about the large clock at the Orsay museum and the Old Mill in Vernon, both of which are on our itinerary. Definitely going to use your wonderful suggestions. Can’t wait to read your suggestions about Normandy!

  15. Since you mentioned in this post you appreciate the interaction with readers, I thought I would tell you how helpful I found your posts about Paris, especially the suggestion to walk the city and not take the subway. I took notes for our upcoming trip, including the colonnade at Palais Royal featured in the Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant movie, Charade, which we just watched last week! I’m looking forward to part 2 of your Viking River Cruise along the Seine post this weekend.

  16. What a blast from the past….when my parents updated our kitchen in the early 70’s they put one of these Surface Savers in, but it was harvest gold to match our Formica!!! Now I know the name of the company….my parents know the people that recently bought their old house and it turns out that it is stuck in time and nothing has changed!?. Hard to believe because my parents sold the house in the late 80’s!!! Good to know…thanks ?

  17. Looks beautiful!

    I tried those command hooks…do your pics only have wire backs? I can’t get them to work with that zig zag metal hanger typically centered at the top of pic.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi June – You want to use the Picture Hanging Strips, not the hooks. When you use the Velcro like strips, you have to remove the metal ziz-zag hook first. You can usually pry them out easily with the tip of a knife or tine of a fork. Some have screws in them to hold them on, just unscrew this type. Then attach the picture hanging strips on the sides of the frame or one on the top and another on the bottom. The directions on right on the package. So easy and they hold FOREVER if you clean the surfaces where you are hanging items with rubbing alcohol first.

  18. I love the white for a kitchen so bright . Another thing you could do in the future is to purchase a vintage tea wagon, then painted it.
    Your kitchen looks cozy and just BEAUTIFUL. It is nice to see people just using what they have and make it there home!
    Take care, from Canada. you did a great job!!!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marty – I know.. :-) and to think I didn’t know they were still made when I redid my kitchen. I really like the clean fresh look it gives my counter now.

  19. What do you use to clean your glass cook top? It looks so shiny and streak free.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cher – I use a ceramic cooktop cleaner and scraper from Cerama Bryte. It is the only thing that removes the tough stains and build up. You can find it here: https://amzn.to/36yUKd1

  20. Diane, The new cutting board looks great. I have a similar one that is not installed but always out on my counter. I don’t usually cut on it though. Just wondering if glass is wreaking havoc with your knives?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cyndi – I haven’t really noticed the knives becoming duller than usual. I know glass can damage the blades over time. I think if I was a real foodie and was cooking and chopping all the time, I would want wood. For me and my cooking skills :-) , I am liking the ease of the glass and will sharpen more.them

  21. Cathy Beland says:

    I noticed you have a picture ‘hanging’ on the backsplash tile in your kitchen. How did you do that without drilling a hole??

    Thanks so much,
    Cathy – An avid Canadian fan

    1. Exactly what I was wondering!