We just (finally) finished our kitchen renovation. We have a pretty small kitchen and I assumed it would take like, half of the time that it has. I’m quickly learning that home projects are much more involved than they seem before you start them.
Our house is from the 1960s but the kitchen definitely was not original to the home when we moved in. The previous owner had used floor tile for the backsplash and countertop 😭. It actually wasn’t terrible, and I was able to live with it for a year, but I knew that eventually I wanted it all to go.
Here is the before:
The first thing that we did when we moved in was tear all the weird frame things off the cabinet doors. Then we took the doors off the upper cabinets for open shelving and painted everything white. Later, I knew I wanted mint and copper so I painted my lower cabinets mint and installed copper hardware.
Let me tell you, cleaning in between grout isn’t fun and it really never felt clean to me. I went back and forth between quartz and butcher block for the countertops and really fell in love with the warm, rustic look that we would get from butcher block.
Luckily, my brother is really great at carpentry and I was able to buy two, eight-foot, unifinished slabs for pretty cheap. I guess my husband and I could’ve tried to do this part ourselves but it wouldn’t have been anywhere as neat and finished as my brother could do it. He came over after work for three days and finished it all up in those three evenings!! Impressive 👌
At this point nothing was glued down or plumbed so my husband and I were able to take each piece off so that we could stain and finish them. We first sanded and conditioned each piece and let them sit overnight. I read that this allows the stain to soak in more evenly and we needed all the help we could get. My husband then sanded again and we applied a two-in-one stain and sealant by Millwax.
After everything was sealed and dry, we moved onto the backsplash. I thought this part was going to be hard but apparently my husband has many, unearthed talents. He really did a great job laying the penny tile. Once the thin set is laid, you have about thirty minutes of wiggle room to get the tile sheets exactly where you want them. We didn’t want any of the seams between sheets to show so we would place two sheets next to each other and stand back to make sure they weren’t apparent from far away.
The thin set then takes another 24 hours to dry. Seriously, it seemed like we had to wait a full day in between almost every step. Add up all those 24 hours and you’ll see how long we went without a kitchen. The next day, we grouted. This is probably the easiest step. You just glob some on, work it into the cracks, and then wipe the excess off with a damp sponge.
The sink is really what the whole kitchen was designed around and what I was looking forward to the most. It also was the part that gave my husband the most trouble. Seriously, if you can hire a plumber, just do it. Once it was finally in though 😍. Doing dishes is even fun! And it is the cutest, most perfect place to give my baby a bath.
Was this fun? Sometimes. Was it hard? Absolutely. I am so, so happy with the finished product though. When you really don’t like a room in your house and you’re finally able to turn it into your dream, that is a wonderful feeling. Everything is much easier to clean in here and I feel it’s a much more conducive environment to the daily chores that I do in the kitchen.
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