My other sister J has also agreed to guest blog for me...she and her husband have been slowly remodeling their house. One room they just finished was the kitchen, which looks fantastic, and she's going to share:
younger sister here (not sure if i have a code name or not? but i'm the mother of denise), guest blogging again. here for a kitchen makeover story. if i had my own blog, this post would take up a least a month on my blog, instead you get the condensed version in 2 days.
Does anyone else’s projects ever grow beyond the point of recognition by the time you are finished? This past winter, the husband and I decided to tile our floor. It used to be white linoleum… that our loving (and occasionally muddy) dogs had turned a lovely shade of grey-ish brown that no amount of mopping, scrubbing, and bleach could return it to white. Additionally, there were holes, yes holes, in the linoleum. When our golden retriever tried to tell us she hated the linoleum floor. And was determined to rip it up one patch at a time. We needed tile. Something nice and hard, dog resistant. And perhaps in a nice dark color (brown?) that didn’t show mud as easily - since our kitchen is a dual purpose mud room from the back yard (ugh).
So there we are, tax return money in hand, headed to the tile store to look at tiles for the floor. We are browsing through the store and keep looking at wall tiles. We are loving the glass mosaic tiles, pretty colors etc. we don’t need wall tiles, or do we? Well we do have this seriously ugly stainless steel backsplash behind our oven and a painted laminate backsplash over the counters that could seriously use some upgrading. And we do have some money burning a hole in my pocket… yes, we should probably get a new backsplash. Ok!
ugly before picture:
So who knows what happens next? Of course a new backsplash should not be paired with old counters. Unheard of! Especially when said old counters are ridiculously old laminate countertops that you painted a faux stone pattern on a few years prior, and have since decided is rather ugly. Ok, we can get new laminate countertops fairly cheaply to finish off this mini kitchen re-do. What? Your grade 1 granite is on sale? And we can get it for just a little more than laminate counters? Well, we obviously need granite countertops. Granite comes in various grades depending on the rarity of the stone – and the prices vary accordingly. Grade 1 is the lowest. The two granite places we looked at, had grades 1-4, I have no idea if there are even rarer stones (higher grades) that are for sale at super rich people stores I would never step into? Anyhoo. Apparently the husband and I both have champagne taste too (just like my sister). We blindly picked out the stone samples we liked. All grades 3 or 4 – which comes with a price tag approximately double of the on-sale grade 1. However, once we decided we liked the granite, there was no going back to laminate counters. And we certainly weren’t going to buy grade 1 granite when grade 3 and 4 were so much prettier!
I won’t get into how many inspiration picture I looked at for ideas, or how long it took for us to select the counter, floor tiles, and various backsplash tiles, and how many tile stores we went to. But we finally got our materials, and were ready to go. We did want to save some money by DIY even though neither of us had ever tiled before. Plus we actually enjoy learning new skills, so we were all over tiling the floor and backsplash. We did leave the counter installation to professionals. Heavy granite counters are not for amateurs. We started with the floor.
First we pulled up the old laminate. Which took way longer than anticipated.
Next, you normally put down hardy backer. We bought a fairly new product – it’s a plastic padding layer called blanke underlayment that acts as the hardy backer, but cuts so much easier and cleaner than hardy backer, dries significantly quicker, and comes with a ridiculous warranty. More expensive, but way worth it. that layer went down super quickly.
And you can start tiling about an hour later (hardy backer in comparison needs a full day to dry). Laying tile is not quick. Between figuring out where to start so you don’t have tile slivers on the edges of the room, doing dry runs, and making cuts, getting the spacers just right so your tiles are straight, and that we were doing this after work in the evenings – it just seemed to take us forever. Did I mention I was 5 months pregnant doing all this?
Finally the floor is finished! (we obviously also grouted and sealed the floors once we finished laying the tile, but i won't bore with the details - we just followed the instructions on the bottles).
Stay tuned tomorrow for the counters and backsplash.