Kitchen Completion

It’s no secret, we’ve been working on our kitchen since we moved in. We set some goals early on, and now we’re finally meeting them. One of those goals was to paint the 4″ x 4″ ceramic tile that goes around almost the entire kitchen.

Kitchen Before Paint

That’s a before shot. With our coffee bar and decor removed, it doesn’t look that dissimilar from when we moved in. We knew we wanted to paint the tiles and also add some color to the walls, but there were more important things to be done in the kitchen first, so we put this off.

Covered Countertops

Our latest and greatest investment, our new countertops, were carefully covered with brown paper.

Kitchen Partially Painted Vanilla Steam

We worked our way top to bottom, and painted the trim and the drywall first. We went from a stained off-white color to Valspar’s Vanilla Steam. We were worried the color might be a little pink, or that it might be a little too subtle, but once everything dried, it was bold and matched the swatch pretty well.

3M Blue Painters Tape

Since we were snowed in and we wanted to finish the project in one day, we used Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces on the freshly painted wall before priming and painting the tiles.

Valspar Multi Purpose PrimerTo prepare the tiles for priming and painting we used Klean-Strip Odorless Mineral Spirits, an eco friendly alternative to regular mineral spirits. We were worried about the paint not sticking to the ceramic tiles going into this project. We tested out Valspar’s latex multi-purpose primer on a few loose tiles we had from the bathroom and it worked really well. We ended up using one quart to cover the entire kitchen, which has tile about 4 feet high the whole way around.

Valspar Primer on Tile

Valspar Primer on Backsplash

To cover the grout and tile evenly, we went around with a brush in the hard to reach places and then followed up with a roller. This worked for both the primer and the paint itself.

Kitchen Painted Vanilla Steam

We used the same color paint we used on our cabinets and trim, Du Jour by Valspar. To cover the tiles we used paint and primer in one in a semi gloss. The decision to use semi gloss was sort of unintentional, because that’s what we had already purchased for our trim. It ended up working out really well, and we only needed one coat on top of the primer. I can’t say enough good stuff about that primer.

Final Painted Kitchen and Tile

There it is, that’s the finished product. Coffee bar and decor back in place, it looks modern and updated. This kitchen has come a long was since it was pictured in its listing photo, but there will be more on that next time. Stay tuned for a final detailed timeline of what we’ve done to the kitchen.



Happy 2nd House Anniversary to us! What did we get ourselves for this special occasion? Granite counter tops.

We bought our house in August of 2012, and we’ve probably spent the most amount of our time working on the kitchen. That’s not to say that we’re done with the kitchen, its just that there has been so much to do. To get you back up to speed, we refinished our cabinets, installed new floors, installed an island, built a coffee bar, and added a dishwasher. Now we can add granite countertops to that list.

We went to a granite company and picked out a slab from their warehouse a few weeks ago. We chose something called “Steel Gray”.

Steel Gray Countertop

We’ve already got white cabinets and light wood floors, so we figured this would be a nice compliment, without being totally black or too dark. Here’s a before and after shot.

Laminate to Granite

We’ve been living for 2 years with awful, stained and burned laminate counters. They had an ugly metal trim around them that did nothing but catch crumbs. We’re both big fans of clean lines and under mount sinks, so this upgrade was a no-brainer. The guys dropped the granite in and were done within an hour. I waited 24 hours and hooked up the plumbing. We needed a new, shorter drain so that no cuts needed to be made to our relatively new PVC plumbing under the sink.

Steel Gray Granite CounterWe love that little lamp, and it really looks a lot better with the granite than it did with the old laminate.

It took us 2 years, but here’s a pretty wild before and after shot. The before is from the day we moved in. And, yes, we did live in the house with the kitchen like that for a little while.

Kitchen Before and AfterNot only have we cleaned up our act with this kitchen, but we’ve really created a functional and comfortable place to cook, eat and hang out. Whenever we have people over, they tend to gravitate towards the kitchen, so why not provide a cool space to gravitate towards?! We’ve got more to do, to really finish this kitchen up, so keep reading and be sure to follow us on Facebook.

No Pain, No Stain

We’ve had unfinished projects before, but when I think of the one that caused me the most pain over the past 21 months, its the transition from our kitchen to dining room. When we moved in, there was a metal transition, the kind you’d expect in a garage or shed.

Old Transitions

When we replaced the linoleum flooring in the kitchen with laminate, we attempted to install the transition that came with the laminate flooring. This worked somewhat well as it went from laminate in the kitchen to the carpet that was in the rest of the house. Still, it wasn’t perfect, as there was nothing to secure it to below the carpet. We had to use glue. Glue that I ended up having to scrape up by hand after that piece of wood was removed.

Transition Left Behind Glue

When we ripped up the carpet and had the hardwood refinished, we discovered the problem went deeper than we thought. The reason the transition had nothing to hold onto was that the old exit from the kitchen to outdoors had never been replaced with regular flooring when the expanded kitchen was built.

Transition Flooring Gap

Let me back track a bit if that last part was confusing. At some point in the 60’s or 70’s the original kitchen became a dining room and an expansion was built and made into a kitchen. When this happened the old step to the outside became a transition into the kitchen with a roughly one inch gap left open.

We tried to reuse the transition we installed when the carpet was there, but that wasn’t the right size. We bought a new transition that matched the laminate, and again we glued it in place. However, after numerous bumps and trips, it didn’t hold and we ripped it up. There’s been a gap there for the past few months.

This time we bought a solid wood transition, and stained it to match the hardwood. Our hardwood is pretty dark, so it took a few coats of stain.

Minwax Polyurethane

Before putting a coat of poly on it, I screwed it into the floor with two very long wood screws. I filled this with wood filler, and stained it to match. In retrospect I probably should’ve installed it and then stained it, but I didn’t want to have to leave it there while the stain dried.

Screw to Secure Flooring Transition

A long running and frustrating project had a rather simple solution, we just needed to use the right supplies this time.

Finished Transition Hardwood to Laminate