Monday, May 27, 2024

Kitchen progress.

Last week, I promised y'all a look at the kitchen redo. It's not 100 percent done (more on that below), but I did finish the grout. So here are a few photos.

First, the before and after (in reverse order): 

After! Lynne Cantwell 2024

Before! Lynne Cantwell 2024
I discovered when the installers took the old microwave down that the kitchen originally didn't have a microwave above the stove. Instead, it had one of those old-fashioned range hoods, as evidenced by the backsplash tile pattern -- there are two more rows of those flower tiles, one behind the stove and one behind the microwave. Once they put the old microwave up, you couldn't see the whole backsplash design. After weighing various layouts for my new tile, and realizing that the Day of the Dead tiles were 4.25" by 4.25" instead of the 4"x4" of the solid blue, I decided to just do the whole area behind the stove in the Day of the Dead tiles. I did not, however, try to pull down the microwave by myself. So someday when somebody decides they'd rather not have a microwave over the stove -- surprise!

I decided on the spur of the moment to tile the whole backsplash on the stove side of the kitchen, hence the addition of the white tiles. I also went down an extra row of tile behind the stove, because eventually I want to get an induction stove (mainly because induction is safer for old farts) and most of them are slide-in models without the panel of controls along the back.

I bought the swirly knobs and cup pulls with the antique copper finish on clearance quite some time ago. Then sometime last year, I spotted the swirly switchplate covers, also in antique copper. I was so excited that I ordered them immediately. They have been sitting in a box because the old backsplash came up about a quarter inch too high for the copper covers to fit. When I put up the new tile on the sink side, you bet I made sure the new backsplash was low enough to accommodate those switchplate covers. (Interestingly, or maybe just interesting to me, when I pulled off the plain plastic covers, I realized the bottom edge of one had been trimmed off. Something tells me the tile guy wasn't communicating with the finish guy...)
Lynne Cantwell 2024
There's an additional issue for the plug on the stove side. I need to turn off power to the plug and raise it up to be flush with the tile, using spacers called caterpillars.

All the weeks I've spent watching old episodes of Ask This Old House have paid off. I learned how to: pop old tiles off a wall, patch a wall damaged by the countertop installers when they took down my old tile, install tile, and use a table saw. I sprung for a small wet tile saw after seeing the pros use them on the show (and after the nice lady at Artesano's here in Santa Fe told me that it's about the same price to buy a little one than to rent one), and used it successfully on this project -- which is to say that the tiles that needed to be cut were cut, and I still have all my fingers.

I still have to caulk the edges along the countertop, the tops, and the sides. I also need to seal the grout lines. And at some point, I need to paint (I'm 98 percent sure that I'm going with this color). But it's close enough to done that I unfurled the runner that I got from Ruggable. 
This is the way. 
Lynne Cantwell 2024
The details -- skip this part if you're already bored: Countertops are solid surface from Lowe's in Terrazzo Sea Glass; 50-50 split undermount sink was free with the countertops; faucet is the Ophelia by Delta; cabinet pulls and knobs were on clearance at Westwoods Cabinet Hardware; switchplate covers came from Switch Hits; Day of the Dead tiles are from La Fuente Imports. The grout is Polyblend Plus in (heh) Bone; the caulk is going to be the same color. This is the wet tile saw I bought; I'll use it again if/when I redo the bathroom. Total cost, not counting the appliances, was less than $6,500, $5,000 of which was for the countertops and plumber.

Funny story about the grout: The nice lady at Artesano's said not to get a goofy color, but to match it to the countertop. So I dutifully took my countertop sample to the big box hardware store -- and then I had to laugh. The countertop is white with terrazzo-style flecks of light brown and light gray. It goes with everything. I finally just picked a grout color at random. Didn't even occur to me that I'd grabbed "Bone" to go with the Day of the Dead tiles 'til later.

These moments of renovational blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Stay safe!

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