Tuesday, May 8, 2012


M first took the sledgehammer to our sheetrock in October of 2011. The way most houses are designed in our suburb, the entrance to the (typically unfinished or 1980s style finished) basement is through the kitchen. Since the houses are all pretty small this renders the kitchen even tinier and less efficient. After living there for a few months, we formulated a game plan: blow out the wall in the living room to create a "new" entrance to the basement, and wall up the doorway in the kitchen so we can put in more cabinets and counterspace.

This is how the kitchen looked when we bought the house: 
 The doorway to the basement is back beyond the fridge. Yes that is a sawed-in-half door you see,.. we have no idea either. I loved the rest of the house but this room was "meh" to me. Ugly counters, and with the color of the walls, the cabinets were very unappealing as well. First thing I did when we moved in (literally the night after we closed) was painted the room a sage green color. It was amazing what a difference it made AND I didn't hate the cabinets anymore! The spice color of the cabinets was competing way too much before with the burnt orange kitchen.

After a month or so of work on the weekends, we sealed off the wall and had a new doorway in the living room. From there we ordered cabinets to fill in the gap.  I had contacted the former owner to find out the brand of cabinets and we eventually determined they were American Woodmark brand from Home Depot. Yay! Here's the kitchen with the different paint, and added cabinets. Those 3 cabinet doors on the left used to be doorway and wall. So strange.

(see the crusty tiles along that back wall?...yes.. needed to go.)
SO, we FINALLY had more cabinets! We used the floor boards that we cut up to install the new lower cabients as a "faux countertop".. which is how it stayed for over a month. Finally, we were ready to start shopping granite. We knew we wanted a lighter color to pick up on the floors, with darker flecks to pick up the cabinets. 4 weeks ago we ordered our granite. Last Tuesday, M ripped out the old counters, and the granite installers came on Thursday.

Here she is! The stone is called St. Cecilia. It's a golden color with sparkly flecks, black flecks, browns, reds, etc. It is BEAUTIFUL. We just needed one last little thing: a backsplash. This would've been something we could have waited on, if a) see back in the corner there? that's exposed sheetrock and plaster from the door-fill. Not attractive, b) we didn't have pre-existing cruddy tile on 1/3 of the wall and not the other 2/3, and c) I hadn't invited my entire family over for Mother's day next week. woops. Oh well, it lit a fire under us to get this project DONE.

Off to Home Depot on Saturday to look at tile! I learned 2 things on this trip: M is colorblind, and I can't count or add. He's not really colorblind but not to toot my own horn TOO hard here, I was the one with the "vision" for the backsplash. (That sounded super cheesy...). Ever since doing some research for my dad's kitchen, I have loved glass tile. In moderation that is, as i think if you have a busy countertop design, it can be a bit too much. I knew I wanted a "strip" of glass tile running around the backsplash. SO we picked a cream color (looks white in the photo but it's not) and a mixed-stone and glass tile design for the strip. We measured it out so we would have to do as little tile-cuts as possible (PAIN. IN. THE. ASS). The browns and creams picked up on the counters and I loved that the glass tile had a light green color that picked up on the walls.

SO, while M tried several methods to cut tiles so we could fit them around the outlets and awkward corners, I started laying tile. Applying mortar to a small section, then starting with the bottom row of tile working my way up, putting spacers in all the while. (Thanks to HGTV I had a false sense of confidence) --> but it paid off! Every foot or so I'd do, I'd step back and SQUEAL at how good it looked. Seriously. With the exception of graduating from law school, this backsplash is the thing I am MOST proud of in terms of manual labor. I did 3/4 of it myself (the "easier" wide open spaces, and M handled the smaller section that had the most tricky cuts. I just plowed through and left the spaces blank where tiles needed funny cuts.)

and here she is:

Our ridiculously beautiful new kitchen. New stainless steel sink with our new sexy faucet too. I am so in love with it. If you had told me 5 years ago even that I'd be THIS jazzed up about a kitchen I'd have laughed at you, but there really is something to be said for walking into a room every day and knowing that YOU paid for this, YOU worked on this yourself. Definitely a milestone moment in adulthood.

M grouted it yesterday, and I wiped off the excess. Today we'll seal it up so it's waterproof. It is a huge sign of relief to finally be done with this project. It seems like forever ago M first knocked a hole in the wall to start this process. Isn't that how it goes though? It always takes longer than you think it will ;-).

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