Sunday, August 14, 2016

Kitchen Reno Part 3 - Subway Tile

YOOO. I left  you with just having laid our butcher block counter tops on top of the cabinets. I knew I wanted a backsplash and I just wanted something timeless and simple. A few years ago I would have probably went with something flashier and busy because that's who I was as a younger version of me. I am glad I've matured because this subway tile is perfect. I bought the tile at Menards and we got the sheets of tile rather than individual. It was easier and faster to work with which is saying a lot because this project took FOREVER. It was by far the most labor intensive project we've ever done to date.

Before starting the tile we did cut the hole for our kitchen sink.

I don't have a lot of pictures of this mostly because I had to go back to the store to buy a new sink. The one we had purchased was missing a part or had a dent...I can't remember! But I had to go back to check that our sink would work. It was the same sink as before just 3" deeper. Again if I did this over again I think I would have went with 1 bowl vs. 2. That's a hard choice. I also had already ordered the sink clips online so this sink would work with the butcher block.

My father in law and husband drilled 4 holes with the thickest drill bit they had then used the jigsaw to cut out the hole for the sink (they traced the hole using the sink or a template that was provided). It came out great! Except for a bit of an indent into the wood from the jigsaw bouncing. PRO TIP: Use some cardboard around your edge to prevent that from happening.

After the hole was cut, we laid out some plastic and got to work. I had purchased pre-mixed mortar. We followed some different blogs and youtube videos and this part was pretty easy. Work in small areas so it doesn't dry out, and keep it level. Simple enough.

Every time I see these pictures part of me regrets not using a darker grout. I went with the whitest of white mostly to hide imperfections. The grouting was the worst part for us and I think it was mostly because we had to mix the grout ourselves and did not have the proper tools so the consistency was wrong and while we followed the package directions to let it sit before wiping the tile with a wet rag that was the wrong choice and it did not come off easily.

I don't have pictures of this because like I said, it went fast and it was not pretty. We realized pretty quickly that the grout was setting fast so we were able to get it off of the area behind the sink but for the rest it was too late. We spent the rest of the night scraping each tile.

Here is the finished product:

The grout haze was a real pain. I went to the Tile Shop to buy grout haze remover and I swear Windex did a better job. The picture above it before I caulked the edge below the subway tile.

Using a tile saw was terrible, the grout job could have been way cleaner but in the end I really like it. It looks 'finished' and so much better than had we just left the drywall with no back splash. We also learned a ton for if and when there is a next time.

Fast forward to today. I took these pictures after getting a new phone with a much better camera a few days ago. One year our from the reno, two years out from the first time the cabinets were painted.

And Just for a reminder:

Untouched Kitchen

Phase 1
Three years in the making, but I am beyond glad we did it and we did it all ourselves. Saved a TON of time and money. Happy DIY'ing.

We also love our chalkboard paint inside the cabinets. I had two bare cabinets I had never drawn on and I told my husband I wanted some dumb puns! Well he surprised me with these winners and I'm never taking them down.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kitchen Reno Part 2 Butcher Block

Our kitchen remained like that, just painted cabinets, thrown together floating shelves and a cracked laminate countertop for probably another whole year. Then I jumped in to work on the sunroom and when I painted our door a dark gray, I had a vision. I didn't hate the gray I had on the cabinets I just thought it looked a little bland
It was supposed to be 2 shades darker than the wall color but with the lighting in our house it looked like it matched the wall color. (The wall is painted between the cabinet and the shade) So I did what ever young person does in this day and age. I posted the picture of one cabinet painted and asked if anyone thought it looked too dark.

Everybody responded well to it so I thought alright! Off to the races. I should add that I used a small sample of this color that I had from the door to paint my lowers. I did not buy ProClassic and it was in satin. I plan to re-do these cabinets with semi-gloss using proclassic. It is worth it as these have not held up as well as the uppers.

This is a good after. They looked awesome. They photographed more black than gray but man are they pretty. I finally convinced my husband after 3 long years of having these butcher block slabs in our possession to attempt to rip them and make them work as counter tops. I called around locally to see how much it would cost to pay someone to rip them for us and it was somewhere around $500 dollars. WHHHHAT. After looking around online I did see where you could cut the butcher block with a circular saw and a guide but you should invest in a nicer saw blade. I went to Home Depot and bought the Diablo blade and one spring day while Chris was asleep I went in the garage and did it myself. I bought a nice long guide and it was really not that big of a deal after all! Fast forward to 2015 Chris and I had a whole week off work and it took every bit of that week to get it done, but we did it.

Step 1: Remove old countertops
It's good to have a strong yet thin man to get in these awkward positions that I certainly could not fit in. HAH. 

After removing the existing counter tops which of course was way harder than we thought it would be we moved on to measuring and cutting the butcher block. I had already ripped them to size and sealed them.  I did this to save time. The biggest mistake we made was leaving the factory edge. The edges are rounded so where our two seams met, we had to use a lot of wood filler and the seam is noticeable. I sealed our butcher block with Enduro-Var from General Finishes which was recommended to me at Woodcraft. I was planning on using Waterlox which I had heard about on numerous blogs but wasn't looking forward to the smell or having to wait a day between each coat. Especially since I would have wanted 7 coats! Enduro-Var dried within 2-3 hours, and can be reapplied in 4. There is very little smell and it had just a slight amber color added to it so I didn't even stain these boards. I sanded them and applied the Enduro-Var. 3 coats on the bottom and 6-7 on the top. I used a plain foam brush and 1 quart was enough. It had held up beautifully! No stains, no water marks, nothing. I HIGHLY recommend finding Enduro-Var and using it. That product is one of the reasons I am even bothering to blog this kitchen reno, I saw very little information on anything other than waterlox and wanted to spread the word on Enduro-Var. BTW General Finishes doesn't know I exist, I'm not pimping their product for anything other than my own love. 

Installing these puppies we decided not to do mitered cuts. We worked out what would be best without having to buy additional boards. We had 3 boards 6 ft long. They make better methods for joining boards but we didn't want to spend any additional money at this point. Go visit this blog for tite joint fasteners. 

Added Support

We had to build up the back corner to hold the counter tops level also.

We found these to hold the butcher block together and keep them from pulling apart

Chris screwed in the other two from underneath the counter tops it was impossible to carry them in pre-screwed.

The seam from hell.

the Underside of the countertop with the supports we built.

Counter tops installed! Part 3 will round up these posts with some subway tile and how our kitchen looks today!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Kitchen Reno Part 1

Part 1 in our kitchen reno! I'm going to try to do less talky more pictures. Our kitchen reno spanned 3 years because that's how we roll over here in paycheck to paycheck town. We started with a pretty blank generic builder grade slate.
Move in state
It was just UGLY. And BORING. The dishwasher was broken and the knobs looked like marshmallows and what the hell is with the yellow outlets the 90's? Okay- moving on. My first idea was to paint the cabinets. Pinterest was a thing and super popular so the DIYer in me was living all day every day just pinning post after post on how to do it and what to use. Before I actually jumped in and painted anything I switched out our hardware because every blogger tells you to do this.

So here we are with some new knobs and a new dishwasher. We added some mini white shelves and some blinds and a bunch of mess. I am not a photographer so bear with me one thing is consistent with me and this blog, I take pics but I don't clean up or stage them hah.

There will be many changes after this point, we removed the upper cabinet beside the floaters and put legs on it and re-used it as a bottom cabinet and a holder for our new countertop. We eventually put in an above the range microwave and raised those cabinets and we built floating shelves not once, but twice where the little ones are pictures here.

TRIMMING up those flat fronts

Chalkboard Paint for the inside because I am RAD
Door front
Painting the cabinets wasn't really a big deal, it was just time consuming. I didn't sand these cabinet doors or cabinet frames down since they are not really wood. More like a laminate. I cleaned them up though. I also wanted to add a frame, to be more of a shaker style. Shaker style just added a bit more dimension instead of just the flat doors.
Another award winning photo from my old ipod

I did buy good expensive paint because sometimes you just can't go cheap. I bought ProClassic at Sherwin Williams and used a small foam roller. Protip! Sherwin Williams will often have 30% off a gallon or even 40% off just watch and wait.
Oh I guess I did prime the cabinets. I definitely didn't take anything out because who has time for that prep! Not necessary. After the prime I added the paint. I literally googled "Best white paint for cabinets" to get the uppers and picked a neutral-ish gray for the lowers or bottoms? I would love to tell you the colors but when I recently went back to Sherwin Williams they told me I was wrong when trying to match that upper color to my walls. Again- very successful blogging DIY here 3 years later my memory is quite impressive and super helpful.

After painting the frames & added some drawer pulls
Frames all painted

out of order but out thin floating shelves where we removed the upper cabinet
No I did not paint the inside because basically I don't care. Nobody is going to be staring at the inside of my cabinets but me and I do not mind even a little bit.
Picture of where we removed the upper cabinet

Here's the after picture of the microwave install and the floating shelves painted!

Door fronts on and new DIY window shade
AFTER! Well phase 1 after

Come back for the amazing part 2.... Butcher block counter tops