Home & Living

A Pretty Penny

Inside Baltimore photographer Christopher Myers’ Overlea kitchen.

FEET FIRST: My wife and I have a very eclectic, hodgepodge type style. I’m pretty handy and really not scared to jump into things. A lot of it is repurposing things and tinkering with weird old stuff to make it look cool.

BREAK THE BANK: Overall, the finished counter top is about $70 worth of pennies. Some of the pennies I had accumulated in jars and things over the years, but I did need to go to the bank for more. After some weird looks upon requesting $25 worth of pennies, I finally told the people working there that I was using them for my counter. I went back a couple different times to get more pennies and they would recognize me as the “guy with the penny counter,” and I would update them on how it was going and show pictures.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: The original counter was just one of those average laminate nothing counters, and it was pretty ugly, so I just used it as the base.

IN THE MAKING: I worked from the back, laying down lines of super glue and placing each penny down as I slowly worked forward. When I would get to corners or edges that were only able to fit half the width of a penny, I would use metal snips and snip the pennies to fit for a clean look.

SHINE ON: Once I had all the pennies down, I took ketchup and spread it over the entire surface because the acid in ketchup cleans copper. I let it sit for 15-30 minutes before rubbing it all off, which made the pennies nice and shiny.

FINISHING TOUCH: I used black grout in between the pennies and then a polyester resin that locks everything down so you don’t get stains or crumbs in the grout and makes sure the surface is hard and level.

POP OF COLOR: I added the blue ceramic tiles to the room because they have kind of an arabesque lantern design that I thought paired nicely with the pattern of the pennies. I like the way the copper plays off the blue. They’re sort of like complementary colors, so it makes it really eye-catching and colorful.

COIN IT: The image hanging is a close-up macro shot of a penny that is rusting. I shoot old coins, and I did a series of close-ups of coins that were beaten up and looked scarred and scratched. I chose to hang it there to kind of tie everything together.