Kitchen Source List

In case you missed it, our kitchen is officially transformed from this:

Small kitchen design

To this!


I’ve had a few emails asking for all the details and sources, so here you go!

Kitchen Source List

Hood | Pendant Light | Paint | Backsplash | Hardware | Counter Top | Cabinets | Oven | Faucet 

And a few thoughts on the whole sha bang…. First, if you’re local – our counter tops were a great deal, from Stone City – great guys in downtown Raleigh. Super fast and their pricing was just over $50 per square ft installed including a sink. At the big box you’re looking at over $70…

Cabinets warrant an entire additional post :) Overall though, we really like our cabinets! We DIYed the install this time which was much more affordable. We used Cliq Studios (an online retailer).

My all time favorite GE appliances are still cafe, but we saved a bunch doing profile this time. All the functionalities and features are the same – just don’t get the industrial style handles.

Our paint color is Benjamin Moore Pale Oak – we have that throughout most of the downstairs.

I love our little octagon hardware too – such a cute detail!


Price breakdown:

  • Appliances: $3,890
  • Counter: $1,590
  • Backsplash: $220
  • Faucet: $70
  • Hardware: $125
  • Vent Hood: $189
  • Cabinets: $6,143

If you’d like to work with me to design a kitchen for your home, contact me! :) For $75 I’ll source the whole sha-bang and pick out every last detail so y’all can just get to cooking :) Or get to eating, I prefer the eating part myself 😉

LGI Logo

Gutting Kitchens Is My Jam

I know, I know…. I owed y’all an update 😉 For anyone that’s been following along since house 1.0 on the blog (2.0 in real life) you know that we, well, we like renovating kitchens 😀 This house is not different – it had some things I wanted to change from day one. I’ve been waiting almost 8-months – in Mary time, this is eternity.

And this is what we’ve landed up with.


Yep, another white on white kitchen, ha! We DID put in some slightly different details in this reno and for the first time, we did everything ourselves vs ordering from Lowes or Home Depot.

First change, we opted to install a marble herringbone backsplash (we used this one). Although I like the texture it adds to the space, it was rather beastly to install. We even went out and bought a new tile saw mid way through since our current version was virtually impossible to use with tiles arranged in a sheet. We had to go through and basically cut tiles individually for the corners and edges. Funnnn.


This style landed up requiring that we did a lot of individual cuts which was the biggest pain in the patootie. I’m glad we did this style vs subway tile (although more expensive, too), but yo, be prepared to give it a solid weekend of slaving.

We also added in a fancy pants hood above the oven this round. We cook a lot at home and I wanted a fan to help vent out some of the skillet smoke we get going up in here from time to time. So far, it’s work great – although it’s not silent (are any vent hoods, we’ve never had one before?) We didn’t pay much for this, it was around $200, so I’m sure more expensive models are quieter, but I’m usually trying to drown out a child screaming for apple juice come about 5 o’clock soooo, I find it rather soothing.


Some of my other favorite finds in the space are these cheap as dirt light pendants from amazon. I love the look of the really meaty substantial industrial style ones too (like this), but the thing I love about this model is the clear glass doesn’t block the view from the living room / eat-in area to the kitchen, so it’s nice to have that clear view through.


I spotted these barstools on craigslist and jumped into the car stat to get them since they were like 60% off retail and virtually new. I think we paid $100 for both! Woo hoo!


Here is a photo of what this angle looked like before. The higher counter really cut off the room and chopped up the visual IMO. I much prefer the larger counter across – it’s great for prepping and cooking with H – he comes right up to the barstools to help.

Kitchen layout for small kitchen

We still need to add crown at some point but I’m not hustling too hard on that front these days. Perhaps in a few months! I’ll have a cost break down up in the books for y’all soon. For now, I’ve got some posts coming in the next few weeks to do a holistic update of where our house updates are right now! :)


Home Depot Kitchen Wrap Up

Our home depot kitchen, aye ca rumba, our kitchen. In my head, I always think that hiring things out will make them faster and better and well – something I don’t have to worry about. I think it’s because we do almost everything ourselves that I sorta forget that it can suck to depend on someone else to finish things/start things/do things. I mean – totally – don’t get me wrong … it can also suck when you have to do it, but at least you have control over the project. If everything looks like a big fat zero at the end, it’s sorta on you. 😀 Or your husband. 😉

And so, when we bought this house in APRIL, and started our home depot kitchen renovations, we thought the 4-6 week time frame that Home Depot gave us is what we’d be looking at. My friends, we were wrong. SO WRONG. I kid you not, the last details on the kitchen officially happened last week. As in late-November.

It may have taken half of 2014, but man, was it worth it.

Kitchen Before

Do y’all remember when our kitchen looked like the photo above?

Now. my friends, it looks like this.

White Kitchen with Quartz Counters

A little rough around the edges (ahem, keep your eyes off the ceiling) but it is a legitimately functional space now.

Martha Stewart Wellston Cabinets

Mmmmm, suggga. Love, love, love it. And I knew we would, but to be fair I also thought the kitchen in our last house rocked pretty hard.

Here’s a shot of that bad boy.

DIY Herringbone Backsplash

And here’s the kicker – it took 6-weeks instead of 6-months.

Now I know I gave a comparison in this post, but now that things are completely settled, I thought it would be nice for all of you to hear some of the main differences we had with our Lowes installed kitchen vs. our Home Depot kitchen Install. Here is a full home depot kitchen review for you:


It’s a bit hard to compare apples to apples on this one, since the kitchen layouts were different for each house, but overall, after lots of shopping around I have to say Lowes and Home Depot are nearly identical on their pricing.

Obviously your price is going to be swayed by add ons (interior organization, lazy susans, etc) and the overall size of your kitchen, but we found their pricing to be extremely similar.

They both run promotions often, so my advice would be to scope out the door style and manufacturer you like best, and then jump when the promotion is good. We found Labor Day weekend to be a great time to buy, since they often throw in an extra 10% off for those few days. At Lowes last year they gave us a gift card for 10% of the purchase price, and at Home Depot, they just took 10% off the order.


Now, this landed up being my Achilles heel on this kitchen renovation. I fell hard for the Martha Stewart Wellston style cabinet.

I love a simple shaker cabinet, but I especially loved how unique the double insert panel was on the Wellston cabinet.

Here is a close up of how the doors look on the cabinets.

Martha Stewart Spice Cabinet

And here is a shot of the drawers in action.

GE Cafe Oven


This is where our Home Depot kitchen started to suck it big time – at least our experience, with our Home Depot. Like slurpee until the end of the time. Lowes said 6-weeks, that’s what we got. Home Depot said 6-weeks, and that’s not what we got. Big fat sad face. It literally took 6-months to get this bad boy installed. Whoa nelly.

To be fair, we’ve always had really good interactions with Home Depot, so I really think it was the particular store we went through locally. That being said, its a bit of a gamble to know if your store might also fall into that category!


At the end of the day, it would have been one thing for Home Depot kitchen staff to just be really behind with their schedule, but the customer service was pretty atrocious along with it. Cue another whomp whomp. Again, I’m going to give the chain the benefit of the doubt and say it was just our local store that was having such a tricky time with it all. We did notice that they had a general manager switch mid-way through the reno, and that communication improved after, but still – it. was. bad.

Things like matching our end cabinet door took the longest, but you guys, it finally matches. Whattt!!!??!! 😀

Martha Stewart Wellston

In the end, my best advice to you would be check out all the local options available to you and go with the one that gives you the best gut reaction. Feel free to snort laugh here, but we decided to go with Home Depot this round since we thought they’d be so much quicker than going custom, or through a woodworker. Given that we’re down here in the furniture making land, we were probably totally wrong on that. What’s done is done though and it feels pretty high faluten’ fantastic to say that the KITCHEN IS DONE!

Finishing Touches

Our kitchen had a pretty big day last Friday. Now, I’m practically weeping as I type this, because it’s actually still not done, but we did finally get a trip out here from the guys at Home Depot, to keep things moving along. Das es good.

As I’ve said before, once we’ve got the whole shebang done and over with, we’ll do a full review of our experiences. For now though, I thought I’d offer a glimpse into the kitchen, as it looks today.

We recently unearthed all our artwork, so I’ve been busy adding a few finishing touches to our little white and bright kitchen.

Gold Accents in Kitchen

Everything was feeling a bit too white and sterile in our kitchen, so when I spotted these two little gold frames in the bottom of our art box, I snatched em up and brought them right downstairs for their moment in the sun.

Just look at the little orange boy’s baby picture. If that doesn’t warm your heart while you’re cooking up some dinner, I don’t know what will.

Benjamin Moore Sandy Hook Gray

To remind us a bit of our last home, we also added a big Ann Arbor poster, which we now proudly display in our eating nook. That little city holds so much of our heart, it makes me smile each time I see that guy hanging up there now.

I even got super industrious and crazy and put some outlet covers up on the wall. Ha! 4-months coming on that one, y’all.

Adding Outlet Covers

We also had a big, empty wall above our toaster, so I decided to mix things up with a twofer on this wall. Jay’s parents got us that nutcracker for Christmas one year, and although I know you’re actually supposed to use it to, crack nuts, I vastly prefer it as a piece of artwork on our wall. The wood is just so darn beautiful, I think it looks great up on the wall, and that it adds some more warmth into the space.

Kitchen Artwork

On the cabinet front, we also made some progress. Alas, getting the right cabinet door installed on our end cap was not them. Whomp, whomp. I kid you not, this is the 3rd time the store has ordered the wrong cabinet door.

Wrong Door On Cabinet

One thing that does have a whole new look is our spice cabinet. When the cabinet installers left 4-months ago, they also left this guy, not able to shut.

Martha Stewart Cabinets

We were actually super nervous about the fix for this, since the new cabinet guy that came out warned us that the only way to fix this issue would be to cut the cabinet. Cutting into our brand new cabinets had us a bit weak in the knees, but in the end, it came out looking fantastic.

Martha Stewart Spice Cabinet

An extra bonus, the door now completely closes.


That makes me one happy camper.

Spice Cabinet Drawer

Can’t say it’s always been easy, but man it feels good to have the kitchen well on it’s way.

Water Boy

Things that make me feel fancy these days include, but are not limited to: dishwashers (that wash your dishes!), counter tops, and running water – coming out of your fridge. I know, it’s like sci-fi out of this world, right? To me, I pretty much feel like I’ve been updated to Kardashian status, not going to lie. Growing up, we never had a water dispensing, ice making machine – and since Jay and I have been married, we’ve been in that same boat. Which, ya know, was actually totally good! We got along just fine without it! But folks, I’m thinking it’s like the day my great great grandma got her indoor plumbing. Once ya got it, there’s no turning back. 😉

Ice Ice baby.

So first things first, we had to move our hunka chunka fridge out, which was actually pretty simple since it’s got wheels up on the front of it.

Moving Fridge

My favorite part of this whole boon doogle was that it only set us back ten bucks for some ice cold, freshly filtered water. I call that a win.

Other than 10 feet of PEX (pictured later) this is what we needed for our little water install.

How to Install Water Line

Oh and this guy. We most definitely needed him as well. Here he is with his gear all ready to go into the crawlspace (fun!) to connect the lines. Snicker.

Installing Water Line in Crawlspace

But before we could get to that, we had to do some fancy footwork upstairs as well. Namely, we had to connect all our pieces together so that we could feed our PEX into the basement and have a finished line to feed the water into once we turned it on.

One upgrade we made with this install, was purchasing a shut-off valve for right at the fridge. For $5 extra, we both liked that it provide some peace of mind in the event of a water emergency. The last thing we wanted around all our brand new cabinets was a bunch of water leaking!

Shut of Valve on Water Line

Before we fed the PEX down into the crawlspace, we had to add a small hole behind the fridge so that we could access it.

Making Hole for Crawl Space

For this job, Jay used his favorite drill bit, which has a sharp screw on the tip, for extra biting power. 😀 Looks like a torture device, right?!

Drill Bit for Wood Floors

After that, we just had a few small connections to make and we were game on.

We had the PEX, which went down into the crawl space, the braided water line, which connected directly to the fridge, and the shut off valve, which sat at the floor as the final piece before the crawlspace.

Shut off Valve for Water Line

Here is a close up shot of Jay making the final connection, with the metal connector piece to attach the fridge line, to the braided line that will eventually sit right behind the fridge. We used a shark bite piece for this – super easy!

Connecting Water Line to Fridge

And then … the moment of truth was upon us. Jay fed the PEX line (the blue line) down into the basement and the cat and I waited on baited breath.

Installing Water Line

Malcolm was ha-larious. He heard Jay talking and scuffling down in the crawlspace and was well, pretty perplexed by the whole thing 😀

I think he thought the floors had eaten his daddy-o. 😉

Cat Being Cute

For how incredibly simple the upstairs component of this little DIY was, the downstairs component was considerably less pleasant. Jay can barely fit in our crawlspace, so seeing him awkwardly shimmy down there (amongst who knows what) made us both wince a bit. He told me he definitely can’t gain any weight if he’s going to have to pop back under there again!

Needless to say – this is as close as I got for Jay’s action shot. 😉 See that light shining way there in the back? That would be my husband. Thrilled as can possibly be.

Installing Water Line in Crawl Space

But the good news, y’all? Mission SUCCESS!!

We now have water coming out of our fridge – whatttt?!!!

Water Line for Fridge

A Nurse and a Nerd | Guest Blogger!

You guys are in for a treat today! Laura over at A Nurse and A Nerd is telling all y’all about her a-mazing kitchen reno. It’s quite the before and after! Here’s Laura, to give you the deets!

Hi there everyone!

My name is Laura!  I blog on a little place on the web called A Nurse and A Nerd.  I work as a nurse by night and a home renovator/blogger by day.

Back in May of 2013, my husband and I bought this.

Our circa 1975 cape cod that was screaming to be loved… and demolished. So we started out with a huge Phase 1 renovation that took us down to the studs and back again.  Why would we do such a thing?  Well because we are crazy!… and because this house was perfectly situated with a panoramic view of the river and directly next to my family’s apple orchard and farm.  It’s been an adventure to say the least, but after 6 months of renovations we moved in and have been settling in for the past 7 months.

Mary was kind enough to invite me over here to Lemon Grove to share with you our kitchen renovation.

Here is the kitchen on the day we closed on our home.

Let’s go on a 360 tour – clockwise.

It was a bit dark and a bit dingy – with a great big layer of grease all over everything to top it all off.  Not really our style.

So we gutted everything.  And knocked down the walls that were closing in the kitchen.

We removed the exterior door, the soffit, the linoleum and all the drywall.

And now?  Well I’d say we’ve made a least a mild improvement.

I’m a simple, timeless, country cottage kind of girl.  So that’s what we went for.  White inset perimeter cabinets.  Black beadboard island.

On the island we used a white quartz that has a cararra marble look.  Its called Bianco Carrara Quartz.

And on the parameter we used a granite called Silver Wave.  I love that it grounds the white cabinets.  Plus the busy pattern hides a lot of messes while I’m baking cookies for my cookie monster husband.

I love the timeless simplicity of subway tile, so that is what we used as the backsplash – not to mention I found the tile for about $20 total at the Habitat ReStore!

The farmhouse sink is Kohler. It’s super special to me.  You can read about that here.

One of the other favorite parts of my kitchen are my copper lights.  They just are the icing to my cake.  The cherry on top.  The chocolate syrup on my sundae.   

Newsflash: I like sweets.…And I also like my copper lights.

The counter stools are IKEA. And I love how they pop next to the black island.

We absolutely love our kitchen.  The biggest thing we love about it?  The openness. The opportunity to entertain and be in on the action. We’re big extroverts.  So the idea of keeping everything open and flowing was our #1 priority in our kitchen renovation.

We just finished painting and sprucing up our living room and currently have our eyes on the bedroom.  I hope you stop by and see the progress we make!

Thanks again to Mary for inviting me over and thanks to you all for taking a tour around!

Tearing out My Heart

Demo is supposed to be the easy part, right? So why, why renovation God’s have you forsaken me? Sometimes, home renovations move a bit slower than you’d like. Case and point – our floor demo process. So, if you can’t tell from the previous posts, Jay has been the main guy stationed in the kitchen area these days and he’s most definitely on demo duty. Rip it, rip it good. I’ve been continuing my cathartic wallpaper removing ritual and Jay bird’s been tackling this beast of a kitchen.

See this linoleum floor. Turns out I just wasn’t able to fit this beautiful pattern into my design for the space, so heave ho, out it goes.

How to Remove Linoleum Floor

And although removing linoleum floor in itself doesn’t sound so beastly, it turns out when there’s 3/4 inch of additional flooring hanging out underneath it, it’s a bit of a task. Sad truth, somewhere down the line someone definitely put linoleum floors right on over wood ones and totally and completely ruined them. In the end we decided to rip everything out, down to the subfloor since nothing was really salvageable with all the nails and glue on it.

After considering lots of options, I’m super excited to say that we’ve decided to install wood floors in the kitchen, which after everything gets sanded down, should match up with the rest of the house. I think once it’s all finished it will make everything look a bit more intentional in the house, and aesthetically, I think it will help the kitchen and dining space flow into each other nicely, too.

How to Remove Old Subfloor

We also noticed a bit of leaking under our sink in the kitchen, which was leading to some wet flooring underneath that needed to be ripped out. Look, here’s the amazing job the previous plumber did under the sink. Saaayyyy what!! It’s like a roller coaster in there – and none of those million little ups and downs have a good seal on them. People, I’m telling ya!

Since we’ll be moving the sink location over to our new peninsula, a plumber will help to cap off this old (obviously not functioning location) and help install the new one. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about the prospect of some new plumbing 😀

Bad Plumbing Under Sink

So the combination of our desire to tie in all the floors in the house for a cohesive look, coupled with the fact that a lot of the flooring had seen better days, meant that replacing the flooring in the room was, in our minds, the best option.

We tried a variety of tactics, and found in the end that it worked best to remove the plastic linoleum sheeting first, since it was essentially binding everything into one piece, making everything that much more difficult to pop up.

How to Remove Old Linoleum

Once we were ready to start taking out the actual wood underneath the plastic (seriously, I find it kind of crazy that a floor can peel up like the photo above), we had to move on to the using the big guns. A mallet and a crowbar. Going old school here, people.

Tools to Remove Subfloor

To get at the subfloor, we just took the crow bar and tried to nudge it right underneath the flooring (as much as possible) and then tapped it a few times with our hammer. And slowly, but steadily, the flooring started to come up.

How to Remove Subfloor

Needless to say, this was quite an undertaking. The 3+ layers of flooring really had us feeling whipped after a full evening of working. When we were finally coming around the corner toward the double door off the eating area, we started to notice that the flooring underneath was not the same wood we’d seen throughout the rest of the demo. With older homes, you really never know what you’re going to get.

From the looks of it, it appears that some type of porch used to be over here, and they closed it in to make the larger eating area. There was all kinds of weirdness over here, including shingles that we’re used to shim the floor to bridge the gap between the two surfaces.

How To Replace Subfloor

After we had the majority of the floor removed, we moved on to taking out the kitchen cabinets. Luckily we found someone on craigslist who was willing to take these off of our hands. Since we just wanted to get rid of them, and they were quite old, we just listed them for free and they were out the door pretty quick.

We knew we wanted to try and sell the other items in the kitchen, including the large cast iron sink, so we were very careful to remove it without damaging it. We just scored the edge of the sink (where it meets up with the counter) until we were able to pry it right off.

Removing Cast Iron Sink

After we had all the base cabinets and flooring removed, the room was looking like this! Almost ready for some nice wood flooring! :)

Replacing Floors in Kitchen

Anyone else have exciting projects going on this weekend?


Can You Say Kitchen?

I like to eat, a lot. Therefore I like kitchens, a lot. I also like kitchens since designing one, in my book, is a barrel of monkeys worth of fun. Sit me down with some graph paper and images of pinterest kitchens dancing in my head, I’ll have a layout down on paper in no time flat. I like designing a kitchen space in concept, but the long and short of it, is that when reality wakes you up from your dreaming and scheming you realize that kitchens cost ya top dollar my friend. With our last house’s renovation still fresh in my head, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what this next kitchen will set us back. That being said, there are some wrinkles and differences between the two houses, so we’ll have to see how the cookie crumbles at the end of the day.

We’re not quite to the price everything out phase yet (although we do know what our general budget will be), so I thought I’d start with the fun stuff first – i.e. the design for the space! 😀

This is what our kitchen looks like right now – from this angle – pretty vintage chic cute, right?

1940's White Kitchen

Upon closer inspection, there are a few issues though. Like this cabinet. It’s so close to the dishwasher that it actually doesn’t even open. #fail


Or the bundle of cabinet doors that don’t actually shut. All the doors are super tricky to open, too. You need an on demand Popeye hoisting the door open to grab your cereal spoon each morning. Fo realz.


When you’re actually able to get the cabinets open, it looks more like a rustic lodge camping kitchen, than the tres chic look I’m going for 😀


In all honesty, I’m pretty bummed that we’re not able to salvage the cabinets. When our realtor sent us the MLS listing she mentioned that the kitchen would need a complete gut and when I looked at the pictures I was all naaahhhh – I can work with that! But once we actually got into the house to see things up close, I could definitely tell where she was coming from. Although I love the traditional style (and I’ll definitely recreate the white shaker look when we start the reno), the kitchen as it is just really does not function.

We are going to try to be really careful when we remove them, so that we can find another home for them via craigslist, or perhaps for a workbench area in the basement. That being said, when we were looking at them up close last night, it’s hard to even tell if these are boxes (where you can unscrew them, and remove them) or if the cabinets are actually built right onto the wall.

The upside of our catastrophe of a kitchen, is that we’ll get to renovate it! After this vintage ensemble, I can tell you it’s going to feel a-mazinge to have all updated digs (soft close doors! Crisp and new!) As of right now, this is the general direction I think I’ll be going in for kitchen reno 2.0.

Kitchen Mood Board


If you were around for the last kitchen renovation last summer, you’ll definitely see a lot of the same finishes. What can I say – we liked it, and it worked! We’ll probably tweak things here and there, but for the most part, it’s going to have the same look and feel as the last house.

Although I really liked how things turned out last time, I do look forward to adding some subtle accents in, to keep everything from feeling too stark and white.

One of our all time favorite things about our last kitchen renovation, was the HUGE impact we had from taking out the wall between our tiny dining room and our tiny kitchen. Since we were amazed with how much this small change opened up the room and the flow of the space, we’re doing the exact same thing in this house. Yep, that walls down and things are looking so. much. better. in there! We’re still cleaning the room up a bit post demo, but I’m so excited to show y’all how things are looking tomorrow.

For reference, when we moved in this was the general layout for the kitchen/dining room space.

Changing Kitchen Layout

On the left side wall of the kitchen, the only thing that was positioned there when we bought the house was the fridge. In a smaller sized kitchen (11’6″ x 10′) – that is a just a waste of space! With the door opening location though, it was really the only thing you could put on that wall and not restrict traffic flow through the room. Here is a shot of that kitchen wall, as it looked on move-in day. Definitely not optimizing the space!

Removing Wall

Since we’re removing a wall, our game plan is to reconfigure that area with a much more functional peninsula, which will have our dishwasher and sink on it. We wanted to avoid the pitfalls of the current kitchen, where the only spot the dishwasher fit meant that you had a cabinet drawer that didn’t open …

Removing Wall Between Kitchen and Dining Room

The layout above is what we’re hoping to go for when we reinstall the cabinets. I’m super excited about adding this peninsula and think it will be great to have the sink and dishwasher loading area facing out toward the dining room, which allows you to chat with guests even if you’re rinsing off dishes.

Now, let me tell you, since we’ve always owned and renovated older homes, I literally never thought we’d have a house large enough to accommodate any type of island, so I’m so excited about putting together some ideas for this one. Here’s a basic sketch of what I think the peninsula will look like once we’re finished with it.

Custom Kitchen Island Plenty of room for storage, including a little built-in nook for our microwave to keep the counters clutter free! Squeeee!! (I think you can add that to my never thought I’d ever have this feature in my kitchen list, too!) 😉

Overall, we’re so excited about the transformations we have planned for this space. I’m pretty sure that once it’s done, it will be my favorite space in the house! Has anyone else undertaken a kitchen renovation lately? Any words of advice as we embark on this new adventure?


The Best of 2013

Pretty much a year ago today I started this groovy little blog. A whole lotta home improvements later, I thought it would be fun to do a best of collection for 2013. Hold your pants, America, cause there were some pretty epic transformations going down in this place.

Best DIY Projects of 2013

You betcha. We’ve been busy little beavers. Here is a recap of the year’s most popular posts.

Kitchen Renovation

It was one hairy beast, but our kitchen is finally in a non-renovation stage (unless you count me trying to cook something) 😉 We said goodbye to our light oak cabinets (and a wall) and hello to some brighter and whiter stunners! I think we’re both pretty smitten.

DIY Herringbone Backsplash

Bathroom Renovation

Our bathroom went from 80’s to oh la la when we added some sweet little details like our herringbone tile shower. We loved the pattern so much that we even popped the same style in for our kitchen backsplash.

Herringbone Subway Tile

Built-in Bookcase

Even though it’s got me on the hook for a new (larger) TV for the hubster, our built-in bookcase was a pretty big hit around here, too. Best part was, we paid a fraction of the price of a pre-fab (non-builtin) option, with the entire project coming in at just over $400.

DIY Built In Bookcase

Floor Refinishing

It was one of the more painful projects we’ve under taken to date, but the floor refinishing really made a big difference in our house. Overall, I’m really glad we tackled this one and stretched our DIYing wings to try something new.

How to Refinish Floors

Refinishing Furniture 

Sometimes a $20 thrift store find is pure magic. Since we started refinishing the old furniture we find, we’ve been able to turn some pretty beat up pieces of furniture into some pretty chic new (to us!) furniture. All for pennies on the dollar.

How to Refinish Wood Tables

Crown molding 

Fit for a King, our crown molding made a h-u-g-e difference in our kitchen. We went for the bulky thick stuff and I’ve got a mega soft spot for it. Lurrrvvee.

Installing Crown Molding

Basement Bathroom 

True to form, knowing me, if we were doing one bath you’d better bet I was going to do the other. (My poor husband) We laid down some 12″x12″ marble tiles and got things looking a bit more classy. Better than the kermit the frog walls we had rocking the place before :)

Northern Cliffs Bathroom

Attic Renovation

Granted, this one is DEFINITELY still in progress (drywall being installed as we speak!) but this attic is on it’s way to being what I think will be my favorite space in the house. From insulation to bathrooms, we’ve been busting this one out for the last few months, and we are ready to be donzo.

Framing Bathroom in Attic

Weed Killing 

Leave it to the powers of pinterest, but this weed killing post was the MOST POPULAR post of the year. Who knew that some dish soap and vinegar would be such a hit! 😀

How to Kill Weeds Naturally

Happy New Year, blog friends! Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by to read the blog, it’s always nice to have you!

Hello Herringbone!

See, the thing about me, I know what I like. That can lead to efficiencies. It can also lead to weekend long headaches for my dear, sweet husband. But in the end, I just can’t help that the good Lord made me one head strong, determined little lady 😉 Our kitchen was driving me batty, which turns me into bat woman, and bat woman is fierce. Like Sasha fierce, with a power tool. Be very afraid.

We had made some serious progress the past few days (i.e. here and here), but it was still very construction zone esq and I was ready as can be to have some lovely backsplash up so we could call this space good and done. Cue the headache for the hubby. Cause I knew what I wanted, and turns out, it’s a wee bit of a pain … Here is what the kitchen was looking like pre-backsplash. A little rough around the edges.

White Shaker Cabinets

Getting closer, with the cabinets and counters in, but still lacking some fundamental finishing details :)

Since we had already tackled this DIY project in the bathroom, I was mentally prepping him the week before that this was going to be e-asy. Walk in the park. Slice of pie. We can DO this, Jay! But, alas, each project has it’s own twists and turns, doesn’t it 😉 Before we get knee deep into this one, let’s get a good look at the before. Remember this kitchen?

Removing Kitchen Tile Backsplash

Unfortunately, it wasn’t really possible to repurpose the old tile, since we intended to wrap the pattern up around the window. Plus, the tile we had before had a green stripe through the middle we weren’t crazy about and it had a few spots where the tiles had been cut to fit cabinets before. Out to the trash pile it went.

Before we started laying the new pattern, we had some general housekeeping items to check off the list. Learning from past experiences, the smoother, and more consistent your wall is, the better your results will be. The last thing you want is a tile popping up because you didn’t prep the space properly. Although you can trouble shoot these areas to a certain extend as you go, it’s much easier to take care of them beforehand, when you don’t have a tile covered in mortar that you have to pop off. We just took a chisel and tapped away in areas that looked raised or particularly problematic.

How to prep wall for tile

To install the herringbone tile pattern, you want to essentially create the triangle shape below, over and over and over. You’ll see it in you’re sleep 😉 It’s best if you’re able to center the bottom triangle where you want the pattern to originate, we opted for directly behind the sink. Seemed like a good place to have the eye go to. Since we provided a step by step tutorial on herringbone install during our bathroom renovation post, here, I thought I’d focus a bit more on the unique challenges we came up against with this install for this post, which, unfortunately, were bountiful.

How to install herringbone tile pattern

Hard as you try, especially in an old house, there are going to be inconsistencies in your wall, leading to a pattern that doesn’t always match up the way you want it to. This was our first time wrapping around something (aka the window) where the tile had to match up on the other side. We kind of held our breath, and tried to be as meticulous as possible with each measurement, but much to our utter dismay, as we started to wrap around the window with the pattern, this happened.

See the difference in the gap! Eek! Panicked moments ensued.

Herringbone Tile Backsplash

Before we got to that point, we were just coming around the window, thinking that everything was peachy keen. Singing a song, bumbling along. As we inched closer and closer, it was pretty obvious that the space we had to fill, and the tiles we had to fill it, were not at all compatible. Freakity frack.

Installing Herringbone Tile

A la this photo. Oh. no. Do you see the gap there, not going to work Senor. It was about an inch. When you’re talking tile spacing, that is a lot. Never a good moment when you’ve been slaving for days. Oye.

Herringbone Tile Installation

Sadly, the only way to really fix it at this point, was to back track and remove a good chunk of the tiles from the wall. Whomp whomp. Our basic strategy was to come back through and kind of adjust the pattern by hand through sliding the tiles around so that the gap was at least a bit more spread out, vs. concentrated all in one place with one huge, 1 inch gap. Not the look we were going for.

It definitely wasn’t the perfect solution, but other than removing every single last tile, and starting from scratch, we kind of had to work with what we had. Plus, there was no guarantee that if we did that, that it would drastically improve our lot, given the possibility that an uneven wall surface or window surround (likely) were causing it. Obviously getting to this point in your install and having to turn around is a b-ummer.  But sometimes you just have to role with the punches, my friend.

Installing Herringbone Tile Backsplash

Overall, as we were finishing this wall, the side immediately to the right of the window was a bit of a problem child, but other than that, it was looking half decent. Half. Decent. Jay and I definitely notice it, but in all honesty, it really isn’t the end of the world, right?

Definitely a little more gap action than we’d normally go for, but by George, it was done. Plus, in an effort to minimize the glare of any of our mistakes, we opted to use a white grout, which will hopefully help those gap-a-rific areas, to be a bit less noticeable. Craft camouflage, following me?

Herringbone Subway Tile

For all the grief the sink side gave us, the backsplash behind the oven was a piece of cake. We worked together laying the tiles and in total, it took about an hour and a half. Wootie woooot!! I would slather up the tile and hand it off to Jay for placement, and help adjust each piece as we went. Cooperation makes it happen.

How to install subway tile

Before we knew it, we had this beautiful little backdrop, that was only in need of a few periphery cuts to get us donzo. Granted those take the longest, but we developed a pretty good rhythm by the end where Jay would measure and cut, while I would lay each tile in place.

Herringbone Tile Installation

With no obstacles, save the end of the pattern, we were able to get this side looking pretty swakified if I do say so myself. I pretty much want to kiss it every time I walk in the kitchen, bare minimum high five it. The grout lines feel a lot tighter on this side, which makes for a beautiful little backsplash. Since the space was so small behind the stove, it was pretty straight forward, and difficult to have enough deviation in the pattern that it would lead to a noticeable gap.

After a full weekend of slapping these tiles up, the hubster was one happy camper to smack that last bad boy on the wall. Done.

How to Install Subway Tile

Here is a sneak peak of how the oven side turned out. Fancy pantalones.

DIY Herringbone Backsplash

I gotta tell ya, this turned out beautiful once we added grout and sealed it. I’ll have all the after pictures in a kitchen reveal post, tomorrow, which will include a cost breakdown of how much this kitchen reno set us back. It’s going to be epic. :)

Check out lots of great other DIY projects over on Liz Marie’s Blog!

Liz Marie Blog