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...