updates in black

things are slow-going at the house. okay fine, the progress is pretty much non-existent right now. i have no reason for this other than that i just haven't been working on it. we're currently sporting open shelving in the kitchen because i have yet to finish painting the fronts of the doors. they're just sitting, piled up on our counters & taking over half of the living room. i desperately want our house to be put back together but obviously not too badly.

i am so happy with the bottom cabinets though. i love the black & i love the brushed nickel hardware on the black. i contemplated doing black hardware but i think i made the right decision. 

cabinet latches. why don't more people use latches? i love them so much, especially if you're in an older house, get on board with the latches. i find them so beautiful in the simplest way. (i took these before i had done any touch-ups.)

 

in another part of the house, black makes me happy too. i haven't shared anything about it in a very long time... the bedroom. one day i'll maybe actually finish a post about it but for now, this is where we're at. i'm never certain about any of my decisions that are bedroom related. i know what i like but figuring out how to incorporate what i like into what also works for our house & how we live, that i struggle with. the debate in my head about beds & whether i want a real one or not is constant. that debate is closely followed by "what if i tried a dark deep color on the walls to make it cozy". it's a never ending cycle. i've mostly learned to just ignore it & do whatever i want in the moment. sometimes it works. sometimes i end up buying a bed frame & headboard, only to sell it about 6 months later. eh!

one thing i did finally settle on is that i needed a dresser in the bedroom. i haven't had one in years. i've been storing my folded laundry inside of baskets in a cabinet in the other bedroom. in the other bedroom where none of my other clothes or belongings live. i know that it doesn't make sense but the minimalist in me had refused to by something unless i knew what it was i was looking for.

well, i found this antique dresser last month & it's exactly what i'd been looking for. it took months & months to find something that checked all the boxes for what i wanted:

  • small enough to fit well between the doors but big enough to hold the tv
  • two drawers
  • long legs so that it was up off the floor
  • antique
  • under $200 - preferably under $100
  • & a plus if it still has casters!

i finally found this at an antique store/flea market & knew when i saw the casters that i had to jump on it. my only problem? i can't figure out how i feel about the finish. the drawers are beautiful but the base is some sort of pinkish tinted whitewash. i actually don't hate it but it doesn't feel right to me & i have no idea what to do with it. do i try sanding it all down to its natural state & staining it? do i paint it? what color? i've been living with it, hoping that the longer i did, an answer would come to me but i'm not any closer to a solution that i feel good about.

on the other hand, those black doors always make me so happy to see. if only i could finally settle on what i want the rest of the room to do...

 

 

the kitchen marathon

it hit me yesterday when i got home that my kitchen no longer looks like my kitchen. as i looked around, standing in the middle of this mess i had created with cabinets doors lying all over the floor & the counters filled with various things & paint supplies, i felt so proud. i still have a lot of work to do but it's time for an update because so much progress has been made.

it's no secret that i'm not a huge fan of the holidays. they trigger my mental health issues more than any other time & although i'm still feeling that black hole (that watching lady bird did not help), having a large project to focus on during christmas week seemed to really help me deal. i was fortunate enough to get 11.5 days off work & i had a hard time deciding whether or not i should start right away or wait until after christmas. well. our heater broke on the 21st (because something ALWAYS seems to happen right before christmas) & while we were waiting on the technician to fix it, i "got curious" & started messing around with the counters. before i knew it i had ripped off the trim and started chipping away at the tile. 

the counters on this side had to be completely replaced. the tiles have been coming up for years around the sink so i knew that water had definitely gotten underneath them & was a little terrified of what i'd find. fortunately for us, there was a little mold underneath a couple tiles but it didn't appear to have ever spread to the wall or into any of the cabinet (pretty much the only thing that worked in my favor during this). 

one thing i didn't account for was just how hard chipping those tiles off would be. i couldn't remove the counter without tearing up the cabinets unless i did it so over several DAYS, i worked hours & hours to remove them one at a time. what made it more painful was realizing WHY it was harder than it should be...

just one more reason to add to the list of "i hate everyone who ever lived here before me". that is paper. someone thought it was a good idea to use counters made of paper around a kitchen sink. i sat there staring at this for so long. i am still dumbfounded.

the best day i had was the day i pulled out the old sink, managed to find a way to move 4 ft. x 8 ft. boards, used a jigsaw for the first time in 15 years, cut new counters using 23/32 inch plywood & cut a hole for the new sink all by my goddamn self. i felt like a queen. it was challenging & i loved every second. i had no idea how much fun i would find in something so tiring.

now. the counter resurfacing was another story. the only thing enjoyable about it was just the fact that i was trying something new & working on the house. the actual process of concrete overlay was not really enjoyable. it was messy & frustrating & i might have cried thinking i'd made a huge mistake halfway through. is the process itself hard? eh. no. you mix concrete & spread it on. would i do it again? maybe. i'm glad to not have to look at the tile. i'm glad to have not spent several hundred dollars on new counters. i'm glad that i tried. but am i proud of my work? not really. 

this is what it looks like after the first couple of coats & it was a little terrifying. you kind of just cross your fingers at this point.

i put a lot of effort into it. i followed the directions. i watched videos & read blogs. turns out, i just wasn't very good at it. it took 4 boxes of henry feather finish skimcoat & a bazillion sanding discs on my orbital sander. the concept is pretty easy. you mix up very small batches of concrete at a time, spread it on your surface in very thin layers & sand them once dry. i think my mistake was not doing thin enough layers or not sanding enough in between. i don't know.

all i know is that about 3/4 of the way through i cried to ryan that "i was sorry for ruining the kitchen & i hope he's okay with rustic concrete". they've grown on me but i can't help but be so disappointed in how they turned out. i was not expecting as much color variation but i am so happy with how smooth they are. they feel like stone counters (so hey, something went right)!

when i finally gave up my efforts of smoothing them out, i sealed them & opted not to put a top coat on for now, as i really don't want them to have any shine. i'm also just being cheap if i'm honest. ;) so far anything that's gotten on them has not soaked in & has wiped up pretty easy. we are still babying them though. ryan keeps reminding me that we have to start treating them like normal counters at some point. ha! 

i also installed a new sink that almost killed me. this is something i'd also never done before & i went in feeling pretty confident that i could figure it out. i eventually did but only after having a screaming/crying meltdown while i was laying under it trying to put the mounting clips in. the plumbing had to be completely reconfigured to account for the extra depth of the new sink & from going from 2 bowls to 1. i even threw in the towel at one point & asked for suggestions for plumbers. a couple of hours later i was sitting on the couch, had an "aha moment", went to home depot, & bought almost every plumbing part i could find; determined to find something that worked. i did. & it was way too easy for how hard i had made it. 

the new sink is a dream. i don't know that i'll ever opt for two bowls ever again. it's so nice to be able to emerge our largest cutting boards & pans in there. also, praise jesus for having a sprayer again. & a faucet that's tall enough to actually fit shit under. AND THAT I DID IT MYSELF. when i turned it on for the first time & had zero leaks, i cried... & then ran around the living room with my hands above my head. that's the kind of shit that gets me excited, guys. i think that's the reaction my mother wanted me to have on my 16th birthday when she handed me keys to my first car, instead of the smile & "awesome, thanks!" that she got. if you really want to see the only time i will act like a fool from joy, let me have a day to myself to accomplish a new task.

in the last 2 weeks, i've been focused on paint. it would've made more sense to paint first but i didn't have time in order to get the counters done while i was on break. i'm opting for painting the backsplash white for now & it's made a huge impact! down the road, i'd like to do a classic subway tile above the sink & the entire stove wall. it's only been primed so far because, in true jana fashion, i got distracted by another project before i finished.

the base cabinets got painted last weekend & the doors just need one more coat before i can hang them. it'll have to wait though because i hurt my spider knee crawling around on the tile.

paint is so satisfying. i can't wait to get the doors back up. even with the uppers not being painted & still having the old hardware on, it'll be so good to see it almost there.

& maybe one day i'll have a normal leg again that won't constantly ruin my plans...

 

 

kitchen remodel inspiration

i have a plan. it started innocently enough. like most of them do, it started with reading a blog. blogs & podcasts, man. the amount of each that i consume on a daily basis is a little frightening. anyway, i've recently been back-reading jenny's blog & though her style doesn't line up with my own a lot of the times, i find a lot of inspiration in her projects. i came upon her laundry redo in 2013 & i've read many blogs over the years about the ardex concrete counter technique but i never gave it much thought since our counters aren't a smooth surface. for some reason i got the inkling to do a little more digging around for anyone that's tried it on tile & found this! so i'm hoping that over my christmas break our countertops will be getting a complete overhaul & we'll end up with beautiful concrete counters. our plan has always been to replace the counters & i think this might just solve that problem! all i know is that i personally HATE tile counters & i can't wait for them to be gone.

just like i did with my bedroom inspiration, i turned to pinterest to help hone in what it is that i really love in a kitchen's aesthetics. i wasn't surprised at all by the results. apparently, i prefer simple kitchens with white walls, two-tone cabinets, open shelving, light stone or wood counters and black details/accents.

sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

one thing i've also noticed is that my favorite kitchens are small, one wall european style kitchens which work for me because i don't enjoy cooking & when i do, it's minimal. we don't require much kitchen cabinet space so my first thought has always been to take out our upper cabinets but my growing love for saving old homes has made me realize that i probably don't want to. enough of the character from our house has been destroyed over the years; i don't want to contribute.

if i look at these enough will it motivate me to start? other blogs i've read over the years have acted like repainting cabinets is no big deal but i think they have to be either lying or they did zero prep work. the dread of all the prepping is what's making me drag my feet on this one. please, people who have repainted their cabinets, exactly how much prep did you do? did you sand them all the way down to wood? did you just do a light sanding? did you just say fuck it & prime right over those bitches?

all i know is that i'm really ready to say goodbye to our tile counters & backsplash. i want to start the demo right NOOOOOOW.