It's been a long, long month since the countertops went in and while much has changed In the space, It has not come without a cost. Mostly on the my social life, free time, and physical well-being. That's one of the things they never tell you… How incredibly hard DIY home renos are on your body. Over the last three months of projects, I've downed more Advil than I have in the last three years! Constant sore back, three, yes THREE slips off the step ladder, countless bruises, bumps and abrasions and one very nasty splinter--this is just the beginning.
The good news is that the grueling work that I (and a few very selfless friends) is finally starting to pay off. The biggest project in the space was the giant wall 'o tile.
Ambitious but absolutely necessary. And while I was ready to take on the actual tiling myself, I knew that making this crazy rough wall smooth enough to tile over was out of my league. So I called in the guys I found on Thumbtack once again. This was my third time working with them. By now, I trust them and they get what I'm trying to do.
At first, we toyed with the idea of redrywalling this whole area, but once the sink was installed, it was clear that we wouldn't have the space to add 1/2 inch to the wall behind the sink. Also drywall=expensive and super messy. I didn't want the cost or the hassle. So instead, they did a patch-and-smooth job.
It's hard to see how much of a difference in the before and after, but up close, but it is HUGE.
They did a terrific job, taking their time and making sure I was happy before they left. And just days after they finished, the cabinet doors and drawer fronts I ordered online finally arrived!
Suddenly, the only thing stopping me from tiling was, well, the idea of tiling.
Enter my friend Melissa, one of the world's best humans. She's strangely obsessed with tiling (no judgement from me. I'm a 34-year-old still obsessed with Buffy and Veronica Mars) and has the voice of a country angel. She actually volunteered to help me. Holy shit was I grateful. She even brought a bunch of tile accouterments to get us started. And she really does know her shit. Here she is in action...
The tiling went surprisingly smooth. After laying part of the first row using 1/16" spacers, I decided I wanted a tighter grout line. So we went spacer-free (outside of just under the bottom row so the tile wouldn't sit directly on the counter). The tile I got, this style from Home Depot, comes with small edge bumper things, so it ended up being a perfect, very thin and even grout line across the entire surface.
My equally awesome pal Megan also got in on the tiling action, saving my bacon as a relief hitter when Melissa finally came to her senses and headed home to her lovely family. Megan and I managed to finish the last, pain-in-the-ass top row on the main wall.
The next day, my 19-year-old sister Kylara came through. With my direction, she basically tiled the entire small wall by herself. She's very precise in her actions and really did a spectacular job. Be still my heart, I love her so.
I also managed to hang my beloved faux-fancy, swing arm over-sink light. Overall, a massive, but doable hurdle was crossed. A sigh of all sighs was sighed that evening. Check it off the list...
If only I'd known how awful the grouting process would be. So awful that it's still not complete even though Megan and I spent a good chunk of one Wednesday making a go of it. It is physically exhausting and incredibly tedious. More on this later. For now, let's distract ourselves with something happy. Oh look! I picked a cabinet color!
I went with Behr Alkyd semi-gloss in Starless Night. This paint is designed for use on doors and cabinetry. The finish is pretty damn glossy, but it has a REALLY slow dry time. But two coats and out (after primer) is not bad at all.
There's plenty to do in preparation for the next visit from my trusty contractor dudes. They'll be helping me install the new cabinet doors and drawer fronts and hang the brackets for the open shelving. Tonight, I'm working on getting the boards stained.
I originally planned on three eight-foot shelves on the wall above the sink, but I've changed my mind since, figuring that this might be overkill. The ceilings in my house are not high. I'd hate to overwhelm the space. Even with just two shelves, that's sixteen linear feet of storage, baby. Can't beat that with a bat. Here's the brackets I chose.
So I'm officially entering the next stage of the project and thankfully finishing this next one will allow me to finally have my kitchen back. I'll have drawers again. I'll be able to finally unpack all the dishes that have been in storage for a year. I even bought a pretty Kitchenaid mixer as a little gift to myself for all hours I've been putting in.
I've also purchased a few other cool additions to make my new kitchen more functional. Like this vintage-inspired storage box.
And this industrial-style knife holder. I may have to upgrade to nicer knives!
Overall, the styling is going to be something like this...
...a touch more modern and simplified.
So if sucking it up and finishing the grout is what needs to be done to get me to kitchen nirvana, I'll get it done. In the meantime, remember to follow all my progress on the 2 Sisters 2 Houses Instagram feed, where I've been updating my progress on the kitchen almost daily. And if you live in the Detroit area and you want to lend a hand grouting, the answer is "How soon can you get here?' Seriously.