Cornered!

This little corner of our kitchen has been through a lot the past 7 months. To be honest, it is hard to remember how far this space (and the house as a whole) has come since we live here every day, but seeing these pictures side-by-side makes me feel really proud. We poured our blood, sweat, and tears (literally..I’m not even exaggerating.) into this kitchen and I think we are both really happy with the results so far.

This is the original real estate listing photo :

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And this is from after we moved in:

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We decided to take out the paneling so that we could flip the boards over and whitewash them. In the process of doing that, we realized we had to rip out the floor, as well. This is that stage of the project:

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After we took out the floor and white washed and re-installed the paneling, we prepped for tile (and then covered the hardi-board with paper for our housewarming party (picture below):

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Then, we deglossed, sanded, and primed the old baseboards and chair rail and re-installed it. We also replaced all of the trim surrounding the doors and windows so that it all matched. The room originally had four different styles/sizes of trim. Oh, and we added another tiny tiny detail-270 sq. feet of tile on the floor.

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All of this time, the baseboard heater covers were tucked away in a distant corner in our garage. We lightly sanded the rust off, spray primed, and spray painted the covers over one really nice weekend at the end of January (when we painted the door yellow), thinking we’d install them the next day. The next day, we realized we didn’t have all of the parts painted. So, then we waited…and waited…and waited for another warm winter day. Meanwhile, we painted our hallway, installed our pantry shelves, painted the dining room, etc.

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Finally this past weekend, we got a warm enough day to spray paint the rest of the pieces, and we got everything installed! We also moved our former pantry shelf in to the kitchen and hung a piece of artwork to tie in our cheery yellow door.

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!!!!!!!!!!! That’s all I can really say right now about that. I do want to find a small table and some chairs to put in here and the shelf may not last forever in this spot or may get painted or may get moved due to a table coming in, but it works for us right.this.second. and it will stay until it doesn’t. ¬†But really, PROGRESS! ūüôā YAY!

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Also, I just want to say Thank YOU to everyone who reads along with us on this journey. I went to Mason Homecoming a few weeks ago and was completely blown away by everyone’s support of our little bloggity corner of the internet. (See what I did there? CORNER.) Ya’ll are the bomb and we love ya. ūüôā

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Over sink lighting!

One thing we were glad we accomplished before Thanksgiving was the over sink lighting. Washing dishes for 10 people after a big meal would NOT have been fun with this oh-so-bright light over the sink-:

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Long story short, we ripped the other light fixture out when we started sanding the cabinets and didn’t have a fixture for a few months. On one of my trips to Lowe’s, I took my obligatory “Hm, I think I like this!” picture so that I could text it over to Josh. Turns out he liked it and a few days later on another trip to Lowe’s, we bought it!

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The great thing about it is that you can choose your own glass shades to suit your style (or when you get tired of a set, you can go buy another set without having to get a whole new light). We initially chose a clear glass shade, then decided we would rather go with a frosted glass so that we could get the energy efficient light bulbs.

YAY for little changes that make a big impact!

Mortar, and Tile, and Grout-OH MY!

It took us a few trips to several stores and lots of samples for us to come to an agreement on the kitchen tile.

One of our first “we love this” tiles was a special order tile from Home Depot that¬†I cannot hunt down online. It was a dark grey (almost black) tile that was very textured and came in the long rectangular tiles that I really, really wanted. Those tiles were ~$4 per square foot, so it was on the high end of our budget AND was a bit too dark/modern looking for our little rustic home.

The second one we loved was from the Floor Trader. The man who assisted us at Floor Trader was amazingly helpful and truly helped us narrow down what we like/dislike/etc. We took a few samples home with us and really fell in love with one in particular called “Fitch Rainbow.” It was a really beautiful gray colored tile with a bit of brown/taupe mixed in. We weren’t sure why it was called Rainbow, but we decided to take our search to google to hopefully see¬†the tile¬†in action in a room. This is what we found:

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Uh…what? The tile on our sample board looked nothing like that, although it did have a note on the board that said the color variation between tiles is ‘high.’ We determined this one was definitely not for us. It was too busy for such a large space and again, was too modern and too expensive at ~$5 per square foot. Plus, it just kind of looked weird to us. I don’t know. (Fitch had some really beautiful lighter colored tiles, so I am by NO means talking bad about the brand..This particular tile just wasn’t the right fit for this room right now.)

This is when I had my ‘a-ha!’ moment with the long, plank-like tiles. They were definitely what I had my heart set¬†on after seeing many, many inspiration photos on pinterest.¬†They are lovely, but they just aren’t the right fit for our house and they were far more expensive than the more widely available square tiles. So, we went back out on another trip.

This time, with¬†our eyes re-opened to the possibility of square tiles, we stumbled upon this little gem at Lowe’s:

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Heyyyy. It is gray and has a little bit of beige/taupe in it AND was under $1.50 per square foot. We bought a sample to take home and finally decided that this one was definitely a winner. Plus, with the price and the fact that it is an in-stock tile = major winner.  After doing all of the prep work, we were very excited to get started with the installation process.

The measuring/planning process was the hardest part of the entire installation. Our instructional book (we call it “The Bible,” and it was a gift from my dad for our housewarming party) told us to center the tiles on doors, sinks, or other focal points in the room. Uhh…it has four doors, a sink and a huge fireplace/brick focal wall. To make the planning process simpler, the book told us to create a ‘Guide Stick’ so that we could mark where cuts would be in the corners of the room without having to literally place tiles in each configuration during the planning process. Below is Josh making the guide stick.

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We ended up deciding to center the tiles on the brick wall/fireplace because it required the least amount of awkward cuts and in our opinion is the star of the show in the room (after my baller gourmet cooking, of course). After coming to that decision (four hours after we started!), we snapped a chalk line to mark the center of the room so that we could start placing the tiles!

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About five hours later, we had completed the installation of over 100 tiles!

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Where the hearth was previously, we poured several batches of self-leveling concrete to make it level with the rest of the cement board in the room. We debated using a different tile or natural slab to make the hearth different, but decided to save time and have one less decision to make that we would install this tile all the way up to the fireplace.

While Josh was out of town, my friend Taylor and Josh’s brother Aaron (who really should just be a freaking character in our blog from now on. I might put a picture of¬†him on our ‘about us’ section)¬†came over to help install the rest of the full sized tiles. I think Josh was totally worried the whole time we were working on it, but our section ended up pretty okay, other than a few things that the grout ended up masking a little. haha! We’ve never said we were professionals!

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When Josh came back home, we jumped right in to the grouting process. Josh went around the room to scrape off any extra mortar that smooshed up between the tiles so that the grout would evenly distribute and I made sure the tiles were vacuumed and cleaned really well.

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For the grouting process, Josh mixed and spread the grout and I wiped everything down with the grout sponge. YAY. We love it. It is awesome. I want to do snow angels in the center of the room and snuggle with it.

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Now all that we have to do to¬†completely finish the floor is seal the grout! Merry Christmas to us!!! ūüôā

Cabinet Hard(erthanwethought)ware

The Monday following our housewarming party, my sweet husband came home to a package on our doorstep!!!!!

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Wahoo! Cue the excited fist pumping and holding them up to cabinets/drawers to make sure we liked them. We definitely loved the style, although we did decide to buy the knobs for the bottom cabinets, as they were a bit awkward to open with the pulls. We jumped right in on Monday/Tuesday night to install the pulls on the drawers. Cue even more excitement and high fives. We were on a DIY high and feeling very confident that we could get the doors completed before my vacation.

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On Wednesday night (the night before I left for vacation), Josh¬†started to install the first of the doors with the new hinges. Turns out, we didn’t take into account the fact that the hidden hinges we ordered would also take up a few mm of extra space in order to make the doors close fully. Womp, womp. Cue Josh being angry and me feeling guilty about going on vacation and leaving him with this hellish we-thought-this-part-would-be-easy project.

After making this discovery, we realized we had two options: 1. Order new hinges that screw in to the face of the cabinets. or 2. Chisel out those extra few mm to install the ones we already have/prefer.

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As you can see, we ended up deciding the chisel option, thus causing our perfect application of primer and paint to look imperfect. Hmph. IF ONLY WE HAD THOUGHT OF THAT! No one notices it in person except for us (and now the three or four people that read this blog now that I’ve mentioned it. Hi Parents!) and repainting those imperfect spots will be an after the-rest-of-the-kitchen-is-finished project.

While he was doing that, I was enjoying my time in San Diego with my girlfriends for our BFF Lauren’s baby shower.

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I think choosing to go this route, though more difficult in the short term, was a very good decision and the cabinets look great and the doors close, which is awesome!

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Our focus was shifted to the floors when I came back from San Diego to get it done prior to Thanksgiving. Spoiler alert: We didn’t, but we were close! Haha-this is definitely a developing theme here at The Whole Damn House! Better get used to it, ya’ll. because we have about 11 more rooms to go..

P.S. If anyone is wondering what the thing is on the second drawer from the sink, it is a Scrap Trap. Best Christmas present I ever bought myself (and my mother in law… and my sisters in law). Just saying, it is amazing. Add one or 15 to your Amazon shopping cart today.