Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kitchen update and tiling

I haven't died- we are just super busy. I spent 10 days in Idaho at my Father-in-Law and Mother-out-law's house. (They aren't married but she is very important to me.)   Husband, the kids, and I always love visiting there.  It's so peaceful. So relaxing.  It's a bit dusty this time of year but it mmakes 4-wheeling that much more entertaining. 
(The dusty trail on our way to the top of the mountain.) 

 Then 4 days after that we scooted off to Georgia for one amazing, extravagant wedding at the Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro- what a place!  We had a wonderful weekend and the rehearsal dinner cake I made even survived the long drive! 

Back to the house:

It's pretty likely that your first ideas of redoing a house don't happen after you've already closed on a fixer upper.  It's likely something that's been a goal or idea of yours for quite some time.  If you're like me, you've got a whole board dedicated to your perfect house on Pinterest.  It's fun to browse other peoples successes (and sometimes even failures) to see what you'd choose if given the option.  Expansive chef's kitchen? Check. Giant timber frame living room with towering windows? Check. Perfect little built-in reading nooks? Check. Lazy river in the backyard? I'll think about it. 

And then an opportunity presents itself and you have a chance to actually redo a house.  Now what?  While you're waiting for documents to be processed, and filed, and shuffled, and passed onto the next person, and refiled- you hop on your trusty idea board.  That giddy excitement is instantly replaced by fear.  All of a sudden I realized I had 14 very unique kitchens pinned.  On top of that I had 7 master bedrooms, a handful of bathroom plans, and a literal ton of grand living rooms. None of it seemed to go together. 


In Lala Land it's ok to have a farm kitchen, rustic lodge living room, modern bedroom, and French provincial bathroom.  But that's Lala Land.  As fun as it seems it would be to hop between time periods and countries when walking around your house, it just wouldn't work in real life.  There would be no flow.  I'm big on flow.  So I had to narrow it down. Way way WAY down.  I started with the general basics.  What was my favorite color scheme- something muted with a bright accent.  Did I want warm or cool- warm, cozy, and very welcoming.  

And then I remembered a little jar I had packed away when we moved.  It used to sit unassumingly in my old kitchen.  It never matched anything there and yet I loved it.  It was an old blue Ball jar with sea glass in it.  
So I dumped the sea glass out onto a plate and picked through it.  
I chose these pieces to base my house around.  The center stone is my wall color.  It reminds me of sand in the shade.  Just to the right of that is my counter inspiration.  I pulled the brushed silver color out of the far right rock for metal necessities (drawer handles, outlet covers, that kind of stuff). The blue rocks are my bright accent- my backsplash and pendant lights.  Finally, the far left rock- it got a free pass to stay just because it's pretty. A little extra pretty never hurt anything.  

When searching for my exact kitchen choices, I fell in love with my counters before my cabinets.  I originally thought I'd go with a gray washed cabinet to mimic driftwood.  Well we aren't on a beach and we didn't buy a cabin.  Too beachy seemed cheesy.  I went with the modern gray.  If you didn't 'know' the kitchen was based around sea glass in a vintage jar, you would probably never guess it.  

And yet there it is- just like the seaglass. 

So here is the kitchen with the counters, cabinets, and wall colors.  

To remind any of you newbs- here's the old kitchen:
The online rendering I did using Ikea's website: 
The actual kitchen now: 
It's beyond my expectations.  My peninsula has a 12" deep, 10' long breakfast bar.  Finding stools is a challenge- but I'll track them down eventually.  I still have to paint the trim, tile the backsplash, and make/ wire some pendant lights.  Sadly there are only 24 hours in a day, the kids need to be cared for, and I do need sleep. Life's not always fair. 

It took me the better part of a month to track down my backsplash tile.  I knew I wanted smallish subway tile. I knew I wanted them to have a crackly ice effect. I knew they had to be Mason Jar blue.  I had a vision that didn't exist.  In my searching I found Solistone Juniper subway tile. It fit everything except my color.  All the pictures of it looked like a deep teal- too dark and too green for my vision. 
 I passed over it. 

A couple weeks later I had no better options and decided to order it anyway since I kept thinking about it.  I would tint some mason jars to match and make it look like it was my intended color.  
I had a plan.  My stone arrived in 2 small boxes that were shockingly heavy.  I opened them up and the tile was perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better Mason jar blue color!  The pictures online were very deceiving.  Had I been anticipating the color online, I would have been disappointed in what arrived.  However, in my case, this was one extremely happy accident!!! I was giddy.  I called Husband and informed him I intended to make babies with this tile. I loved it that much.  

Laying glass backsplash:
Like many options on the market, my tile came in neat 12" square segments held together with mesh.  Instead of laying each piece one by one, you can slap up a whole bunch at once.  Instead of evenly spacing every.single.tile individually, you just have to adjust the gap between large sections.  It's much faster and the final result is just as appealing.  I laid out each section and cut the tile to the appropriate size.  I used a pair of glass tile nippers like these to cut some of my pieces in half and trim edges around outlets. 
Once the tile is in place I'll cut the trim and put it back around the door where the dark edge of old wall paint currently is.  I removed it so the counter installers didn't have to cut around it. Make sure you get the right adhesive and grout for your project.  I got the powdered mix as it costs half of what the premade buckets cost.  There are million and one tile laying tutorials.  I won't go into extreme detail there.  But if I can offer one piece of advice- MEASURE! Measure again. And then lay them all out and measure again.  You absolutely do not want to get the adhesive on the wall and then realize you miscut something. Go ahead- ask me how I learned that lesson... 
But I learned it none the less.  When it came time to put tile around the outlets, I began taping the cut tile to the wall to test fit them. Speaking of outlets, make sure you turn off the power, unscrew the switches/ outlets, and pull them out of the wall! They need to rest on top of the tile to allow your covers to fit properly. I cut the tile away from where the screw holes are so that I wouldn't have to drill through the tile later. 
The tile nippers I bought cut through the tile with ease but the edges were left pretty jagged.  I hid my raw edges behind outlet covers wherever possible as it looks like I hired a rabbit to chew them to size.  

Tomorrow I can grout it and put on my brushed stainless outlet covers.  I ended up with 3 sheets of excess tile. I am toying around with where to use it and I think I'm leaning toward framing them and hanging them in the attached dining room to pull the blue into there.  

We are very fortunate to travel as much as we do but it is always nice to come home.  This place is just beginning to feel like a home.  Hopefully in another month it will be mostly done and we can just enjoy it. A big cup of cocoa on the couch and some college football on the TV.  Football is my favorite sport to watch. Go Green! ;)


I wired some vintage blue mason jars as pendant lights over the peninsula and made curtains.

Here are a couple pieces I've found that match so wonderfully. 

And I got 2 cool counterheight benches to put at the breakfast bar. 


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