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If you want to try your hand at making and finishing a wood countertop yourself rather than ordering a fully finished product, Waterlox is the sealer and finish that comes up repeatedly. The company offers more than one product, and a combination of its sealer and high-gloss coating can create a finish durable enough to be used as a bar top.
While I was visiting The Joinery, I was showed a piece of wood treated with Waterlox in a satin finish. One of the employees keeps it on her desk and uses it as a coaster for her coffee cup. It was in perfect condition, with no stains or water spots. Although Waterlox is not currently offered as a prefinished option, the craftspeople at The Joinery will make an unfinished countertop for you and you can finish it yourself.
In this kitchen, the undermount farmhouse sink allows you to wipe water straight into the sink. Undermount sinks make it far less likely that you'll allow water to stand on the counter. Wall-mounted faucets also give you an entirely clear countertop, making it easier to give the area a quick wipe-down.
Consider going part stone and part wood, creating warmth where everyone hangs out while having stone around the business end of the kitchen. You'll still need to seal properly since people will set their drinks down here, but wood makes the breakfast bar a more comfortable place to rest your arms.
Architect Rob Kelley placed this wood counter on cabinetry away from the sink and had it finished with two coats of polyurethane floor varnish in a satin finish.