This is where we are now:
But let's start from the beginning, shall we?
THIS is where we started back in 2004 when I bought the house.
Harvest gold appliances, baby! I know you're jealous!
If we could ZOOM in on that tile backsplash, you would see these beauties:
Uh huh, your eyes are not deceiving you. My kitchen backsplash had lobsters and hard boiled eggs on it! The OTHER accent tile had ka-bobs. (I wish I was kidding!!)
So..... step one was to rip those countertops and backsplash OUT! Buh-bye! Back in 2004 when I bought the house I was 25 and cash poor - so I put in laminate countertops and painted the drywall for the backsplash.
Step two was to paint the cabinets. <-- click for a great step by step tutorial!
It was a big improvement, but it wasn't done. (Oh, and I was into painting the ceilings the same color as the walls back then.... I'm over that now.) I thought that green and black looked amazing back then.... now I look at it and cringe a little.
In 2012, I started getting real about round two. Some close friends of mine had just remodeled their kitchen in order to sell their house - and were regretting that they had not done it sooner. They wished they had been able to enjoy the beautiful upgrades!
I knew I would have to replace my countertops before I could sell someday, mostly because the husband did this with the fish tank heater one day while cleaning the tank. (BURN MARK!)
So one day while looking at Home Depot for glass accent tile for the master bath project, I came across this tile on clearance. It was beautiful - and more importantly, CHEAP! I forget what I paid for it now, but I think it was around $2 per square foot. It's not my "perfect" tile..... but the price was right, and I felt that it was neutral enough that future buyers would be ok with it. I was afraid if I chose MY perfect tile, someone else might not like it. And since this is not our "forever" house, this was a great choice.
Then, as you can see, I also started looking at laminate countertops. (That little sample chip next to the class tile in the picture above is a laminate countertop sample.)
As I started looking into it, I found the prices of solid surface countertops really wasn't that bad. And surprisingly, granite was actually the most affordable of all of the various choices. I went to Home Depot just to get ideas, and found this - Crema Perla. With the current sale they were having, it was only $31.50 per square foot INSTALLED, with no sales tax (which is almost 10% in Tennessee!). Having already spoken to a few friends about what they spent and looking at an estimate a friend had just received for her kitchen, I knew this was an amazing price. I took the sample home to the hubs to make sure he liked it, and then we jumped on that deal!
We liked that it incorporated the black from the cabinets, with some brown tones from the backsplash tile, while also being lighter than the old black laminate ones. It was the one I first gravitated towards on the display, and it just so happened to be the cheapest one in the store. SCORE!
So off came the old countertops. And get this - I sold those bad boys on Craigslist for $100! Instead of having to haul them to the dump and paying the dump fees, someone paid me to come pick them up. AND I got an extra hundey bucks to apply to the project. Win/Win!
Oh, and I tore off that stupid scalloped 1970's thing from above the window and replaced the raw lightbulb with a hanging fixture. Like the shade? It's a bamboo bowl that I cut a hole in the bottom of. Yes, I know it's not centered. That's a project for another day.
And the next day, the granite arrived. It was so beautiful - glistening in the sunlight! I immediately fell in love with it.
Here is granite-installer-extraordinaire drilling the holes for the (new) faucet.
And here they are in all their glory!! (Do you hear that "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!" angelic sound like I do right now? I know, right?!) But they looked like crap with the old green color, so I could not wait to get started on the backsplash!
OH!! And notice the new microwave shelf? I had hubby build me a box to hold the microwave. We made it the same width as the current cabinet, which left a small space in the new cabinet. Hubby said "you'll never find a toaster oven to fit in that space!" CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! And lookey there? It fits! (I've never met a shopping challenge I couldn't beat!) Both are now UP and off my beautiful new counters - love love love!
I did the next part 100% myself. ALL OF IT. Football season has started, so hubby is not much help these days. ;)
I started by putting in a bunch of nails into the drywall to make sure it was nice and tight against the wall. You see, this kitchen is actually covered in thick, solid pine knotty wood boards. (Not paneling - SOLID wood circa 1964!) We put the drywall in front of the wood rather than trying to remove it (the cabinets were installed over top of it, so removing it would have been nearly impossible.)
Then came the adhesive and the tile install. My back STILL aches from it all! It took two days to put it all up, and another two days to grout. Just like in the master bathroom project, the white unsanded grout shrunk when it dried and needed a second coat. It was tedious work, but well worth it!
I used mosaic glass tile cutters that I bought from Hobby Lobby to cut the tiles. They worked ok, but not perfectly. There are some slightly jagged cuts, but I knew I would cover those with caulk in the end, so it was ok. They did NOT work to cut these skinny tiles lengthwise, and my internet research shows that that was nearly impossible to do no matter what you used - so I had to plan accordingly.
The below photo is before the grout, and shows how I chose to end the tile on the one side that did not end in a corner. I bought some "shoe molding" from Home Depot and covered the edges with it. I also added an extra little piece of half round at the very top, because the tile did not come all the way to the top of the drywall and I wasn't able to cut the tiles lengthwise. I painted it white, and voila!! I also added the same shoe molding under the window, because again - I needed like 3/4 width of tile and couldn't cut it that way. It makes the window look more established and with a little caulk and paint, you can't tell it wasn't always like that.
Before the grout went in:
Grout, grout, and more grout! I also used white silicone caulk for all of the places where the tile but up against a cabinet, and against the countertops. I lined each edge with painters tape, caulked it, smoothed it with my finger, removed the painters tape, and then smoothed it again. This made sure I had nice, clean lines and did not get the caulk in places I did not want it.
Everything done - new outlet overs and new faucet, too. Next step - a floor upgrade and paint!
Oh, and I spray painted my knife block blue and labeled it using my Silhouette Cameo, just for fun. Isn't it cute?
1. Painting the grout on floor - DONE
2. Painting the walls - the perfect shade of gray is ever illusive! But I found it!