Category Archives: Kitchen

Kitchen Shelf

It’s finally done! This has by far been one of the biggest projects we’ve taken on and I’m so excited that it is finally done and looking amazing!

As you may remember from my last post (Kitchen Wall), this is what our kitchen looked like when we first moved in… cracked wainscoting and a weird granite table that was awkward and an inadequate use of the space.

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So, Andy and I decided to completely renovate this area and design a shelf that would fit perfectly – using the space more efficiently by adding shelving and opening up the kitchen.

My inspiration for this project came from Ana-White Easy Kitchen Island Plans. While our kitchen is not designed in a way applicable to a kitchen island, I decided that this island could be modified to fit the space perfectly and serve as a type of shelf.

So Andy and I hit the drawing board.

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We wanted to design a shelf that was the exact length of the window but with a very narrow depth to free up space in the kitchen.

We went to Home Depot to get the pine for the body of the table. We got the finished wood so we would have to only do minimal sanding and prepping. Then we went to Hardwoods Incorporated. Man this was by far my favorite part. So many different varieties of hardwood to choose from (they even had Zebrawood)! I could have stayed there all day! I eventually settled on a beautiful 2 1/2 inch thick piece of Red Oak for the top.

Let the building begin! This was a very drawn out and tediously slow process for us. Not only did we have very limited time to work on it, Andy and I are both perfectionists and newbies to the DIY building game.

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Our first visual of what the finished product would look like…

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Lots of painting and sanding…

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And finally, the finishing touches. The Red Oak was slightly warped, so Andy decided to buy an electric planer to ensure an even and smooth surface. We used Shellac to finish and protect the wood.

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Once we got to this point, we needed to go ahead and completely finish the wall so we could put everything in place. We filled the gap under the window with wood and the gap between the wall and tile with Great Stuff Gaps and Cracks Insulating Foam Sealant to ensure adequate insulation and to keep the roaches out… I HATE roaches. After that we installed the molding and wa la! Imperfections fixed! I also painted the entire window frame in order to spruce that up some.

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AND FINALLY! What you have all been waiting for (OK, maybe only me and Andy), the shelf has been finished and is finally in place! Wow this was a long process, but I think the results were totally worth it.

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And because Whiskey Boo Boo couldn’t be left out…

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Another successful DIY project!

 

 

Kitchen Wall

If one word was used to describe my interior style it would probably have to be clean. I don’t want to live in a sterile environment – this is not the clean I am referring to. I am referring to the absence of unnecessary material. I despise useless clutter. Don’t get me wrong, I love decorations like paintings and pictures, within moderation; however, knick knacks and messiness make me shudder. While my sense of style is in no way modern, I think there is a very happy compromise to be found between traditional, homey, comfortable, and clean.

As you can probably tell, I’m having a hard time describing my disdain for the wainscoting that was in my kitchen. I say was because those wooden panels are gone now! I don’t have anything against wainscoting in general, if done properly and in the right setting, I certainly think it can add style and value to your home. However, I do believe that the cracked and thrown together wainscoting in my kitchen was neither stylish nor clean.  Instead it just looked like crap and it drove me insane.

The following picture is slightly dated, as I retrieved it from zillow.com. Yes, once again I forgot to take a dang before picture. I got too excited.

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The walls were yellow when we moved in… a color that I don’t hate but it certainly did not match our new backsplash (see Kitchen Backsplash). You also cannot really discern the state this wainscoting was in. It was cracked and poorly thrown together. It was also not the clean look I desire in my kitchen.

The “table” pictured is actually a heavy slab of granite resting on a cafe style metal leg and glued into the wall. Fine for a restaurant, not so fine for my kitchen. We never used this as a table, only as extra counter space. It was awkwardly located, jutted out into the kitchen, and relatively useless considering the small size and lack of shelves. So, like the wainscoting, it had to go.

Which leads me to these pictures…

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Yep – we ripped that sucker out. And then we went to Ace Hardware, and I purchased my first crow bar. And boy did I got to town with that baby.

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I highly recommend ripping wainscoting off a kitchen wall for anger management purposes. It was very rewarding!

But look at the wall… Beyond the thousands of small nail holes, there were also a couple of large holes caused by overzealous hammers (definitely not my fault) and just all around shitty construction. I have no idea who dry walled this kitchen, but it is the shoddiest work I do believe I’ve ever seen. It is a patch work of scraps, so it seems, with – wait for it – duck tape in places! Not to mention irregular pieces and concaved areas. What a disaster.

The tile was also a joke – it went to the wainscoting, not the actual wall. So now there is about an inch gap between the tile and wall. Fabulous.

So back to Ace I go to purchase a huge jar of spackling paste. First I used our electric sander to sand down the entire area as best as I could. Then I spackled the entire wall. Then sanded. Spackled. And sanded some more. My arm at this point was about as tired as it gets. And since Andy was having a great time at the lake, I get to take full credit for this project. My right arm still hurts as I type this actually…

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Told you it was bad.

Finally I got it to a point where I could finally slap some paint on it. While still not perfect, which irritates my OCD to no end, it will definitely past muster once we finish and move our next project into place (get excited for this one!). Until that time, I still say it looks a hell of a lot better than it did with shoddy wainscoting and a cafe style granite table!!

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Not so bad if I do say so myself. Even if my arm does feel like it may fall off.

Utensil Drawer

When Andy and I moved into our new house, we both loved the updated and open kitchen. Obviously it needed some fixes (i.e., the kitchen backsplash), but overall, it was a pretty awesome kitchen.

However, one of the first things we realized while moving in was that the drawer we needed to use for silverware/utensils was too narrow to fit any of the pre-made plastic holders that you would buy at the store. Well, that’s obnoxious.

I remembered that I had seen a pin (sorry for mentioning pinterest Chelsea…) that had a custom made utensil drawer for just this problem. So I looked up the picture and handed my phone to Andy. After a couple of days designing something that would work for us – because, as I’ve mentioned before, Andy can’t do anything without extensive planning first – I came home one day to find this:

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He had designed the inserts to get shorter towards the back for easy access… sometimes planning does pay off I guess! Well, and dating a legit rocket scientist. So simple, yet it adds so much to our kitchen. Thanks baby!

Kitchen Backsplash

The first thing I thought when I saw our new kitchen was “wow, this is nicer than I expected.” My second thought was “it needs a backsplash!”

Tiling. Not something I ever thought I would learn to do. But when a friend asked me to help with her backsplash I thought it was as good a time as ever to learn! Mess up hers so I could get mine right. (I didn’t say that).

There are several changes I want to make to my kitchen over the next few years, but this was the biggest and scariest project – so of course, I tackled it first.

I’m a big believer of backsplashes and the value they can add to a kitchen if done properly. They are also much easier to clean and hide dirt better than a painted wall. So, the interior designer in me started to plan.

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(Our kitchen before we bought the house – note different counter tops)

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(Our kitchen prepped for backsplash)

I went to Home Depot several times to look at options for the backsplash. It needed to look classy and timeless, while remaining within my budget. My budget for the entire project was about $500, and I believe we managed to stay within it (for once). This even includes the small RIDGID wet saw Andy insisted on buying for our one tiling project.

I had an interesting color scheme to work with. My preference would technically be light cabinets and medium granite counter tops, but beggars can’t be choosers. So I was left deciding how to lighten up the kitchen some, while not contrasting too greatly with the existing color scheme.

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The first few samples I brought home simply did not work – too light, too dark, too brown, etc. Finally, I found a combination I really liked. Here is the sample I brought home…

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Only problem? Andy had serious doubts as did a couple of my friends. Only my sister was able to see the potential, but we all know she could have just been lying to make me happy. So regardless, I was stuck with a vision of greatness that no one could see. But luckily my stubbornness persevered.

Andy and I often have trouble working together on projects – especially when we have the same level of knowledge (i.e., none). We are both type-A personalties and we are quick to snap at each other or get impatient. Luckily, we quickly found an arrangement that worked for us with this project – he stayed outside cutting for the intricate spots like around the outlets, and I stayed inside and laid the tile. Here are a few progression shots…

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Looking pretty good, right?! Let’s just say that Andy was finally starting to see the light.

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Finally day one was done. We had to wait an entire day to let the mud dry and make sure the tiles were holding strong. Unfortunately (for Andy) I had a meeting the next night, so he ended up grouting solo. But he did a great job!

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FINALLY, a day later, we were able to caulk and seal the tile (as required for natural stone tile) and grout! I still can’t believe how great everything turned out!

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Hopefully, Andy will never doubt my interior design skills again.

Another DIY success story 🙂