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.

 

who needs ceilings?

does anyone else spend hours cleaning but when it's over your house isn't even clean?

i feel like i spent the entire weekend cleaning the house but all i have to show for it is ONE clean bedroom. ONE! it took me hours because sometimes it's just easier to start over. pull everything out of the room, clean it & then put back everything that actually belongs in there. it's tedious but oh so satisfying.

while i was at it i figured it was time to temporarily fix the falling plaster ceiling until we replace the whole thing. i felt really confident about this project. i went into it thinking i was totally going to kick that ceilings ass...

it's looked like this for awhile & that major crack has just been slowly getting bigger for months. i was worried that when our house gets worked on next week, it was going to come crashing down on our dogs (they're crated in this room) & i really don't want to give PTSD to my dogs if i can help it. so, i bought plaster washers & got to it.

oops. i took care of that problem, didn't i?

 

bathroom: before & after

let's just jump right into it because i'm excited. the feeling you get once a room is finally finished is indescribable. i am very happy with how it turned out & it will do just fine until we can put some big money into it later on for a full remodel.

door

shelves

sink

the black door is my favorite, let's just not talk about how it looks from the hallway ( it's very bad right now). one day i'll have a sink with storage so the cart will no longer be necessary. speaking of the cart- i spray painted it & learned that i don't really enjoy spray painting. now that i know, i probably would've opted to just buy a new cart in black for $40. the only thing missing is a hamper. i'm not putting one back in there until i can be 100% happy with my choice so for now, we'll be hamper-less. so that's it! i hope you enjoy it as much as i do (not really)! i think i have to go finish my bedroom now since ryan actually asked me yesterday if i planned on ever having a bedroom door again or not. oops.

sources: shower curtain / bath mat / turkish bath towels 1 & 2 / hand towel / cart / vanity light / trash can / towel hooks / tp holder

 

bathroom: week 4

WHAT. realizing it's been four weeks makes me feel reaaaal dumb. side note. i was going through flickr to download the pictures i needed for this post & the "auto-tag" that flickr put on them was "hallway" & "monochrome". HA.

the important lesson i learned this week is that having a good electric drill makes life a lot easier. iiii have a piece of shit drill that can't even make one hole in my stupid walls without dying 3-4 times. what should've been a simple half hour project quickly became a two and a half hour project. shoot. me. needless to say, a new drill was immediately put at the top of my wishlist.

2016-11-152016-11-15-2

i didn't give up & got the job done so that we no longer have to remember to grab our towels from the hallway before we hop in the shower. i had a really hard time picking out towel hooks but i'm glad i landed on these. there are so many options out there that it's a little overwhelming. i also really hate towel rings but i kept second-guessing myself that it would be weird to only have hooks. in the end, i decided that i wanted it to be a very simple & cohesive look so 3 hooks lined up with the medicine cabinet knob is what i went with. and i don't care how "on trend" turkish towels are. they are the best. i don't see myself ever buying another kind of towel. the hand towels are new & they were really cheap so the verdict is still out on those but i love my bath towels from dandelion textiles & cacala.

this weekend i need to man up & finish this shit.

it starts with finishing this door*.

2016-11-4

*the paint under the white on ALL the bathroom woodwork was pink. that beige color was UNDER the pink. who were these aliens that previously lived here??

have a good weekend guys. IT'S FRIDAY.

 

let's talk bathrooms

the bedroom is pretty much done but i'm interrupting all of the bedroom talk to tell you about my bathroom because as of last night, i think it's killing me. my bathroom was disgusting. like i was embarrassed & i was the only one home to see it. so last night i scrubbed it clean from top to bottom, primed the shower walls/ceiling & took out the old target bookshelf we've dragged around with us for the past 8 years. it was satisfying until i was finished, put everything back together & then stepped out of the room to look. i had a little panic about how ugly my bathroom was. i've never LOVED our bathroom but it's never bothered me. maybe it's because the rest of the house is finally coming together & seeing this pretty untouched space made me realize how much love it really needs.

2016.08.31

proof. i'm embarrassed to even show this. my best friend kept trying to reassure me that it was fine. i am aware that this might be dramatic but nothing about this is fine. if it wouldn't have been 9:30pm on a work night, i'd have been in there, paint brush in one hand & ripping down the shower curtain with the other. why was i ever okay with keeping that paint color from the previous owners? why did i think that shower curtain looked okay? better yet, what did i even see in that shower curtain to begin with? why did i buy orange towels? where do bloggers put their laundry hampers & how do you get a pretty one that won't cost you your first-born child?

 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12

this is my goal for the overall look. white walls, black accents & plants (surprise!). i'm either going to spray paint my blue ikea cart or buy a new one in black. the topic that is up for debate is paint. i'm really tempted to paint the ceiling black. am i crazy? my gut tells me that am & that i should do it.

if i had money, i'd start gutting this room immediately. i seriously cannot wait for that day to come. one day i plan on having black hexagon floor tile with white subway tile on the walls/shower. until i can afford that, i'm breaking the renovation down to three phases; each one being a step towards the final project & complete overhaul.

phase one: (done!)

  • paint everything
  • replace the shower curtain, orange towels, hand towel hoop, toilet paper holder, air vent cover & storage
  • restore the door, replace the hinges & paint it black

phase two:

  • replace the sink with a basic cabinet sink & black faucet
  • new lighting
  • anything else from phase one that we couldn't afford

phase three:

  • new flooring
  • gut shower & redo with white subway tile & black hardware
  • every other disaster that is going to come our way when we start ripping shit out

that's about it. i can't stop thinking about it. i need to clean my house for ryan's birthday weekend tonight but my heart is telling me to prime those walls.... we'll see who wins.