Countertops!

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.


New Solution to an Old Problem

As you may already know we had been sitting on our kitchen cabinet project for quite some time. We were living without doors on our cabinets for a few months. The cabinet project as a whole was a bit ambitious from the start, and saw a few roadblocks along the way, but I’m happy to say, it is complete.

Kitchen Remodel Before & After

You’ve seen the dramatic transformation twice before when we did a lot of work early on. We had some big ideas about using polycarbonate Lexan and replacing the old clear plastic brown windows. This proved to be more difficult than we had planned, and I ended up cracking some of it by using the wrong tools. Side note: the recommended tools used from scoring and snapping the Lexan don’t work too well either.

Beadboard Paneling for Cabinets

We put Plan B in motion while we were off from work between Christmas and New Years. It developed very quickly and at a much lower cost than anything involving plexiglass. We re-purposed some beadboard to fill in the cabinet windows. This is the stuff that would normally be used as wall paneling, usually with wainscoting.

Cutting Beadboard with a Jigsaw

This stuff is easy to cut, and since I already had the measurements from the plexi attempts, this was a simple job for me and my trusty jigsaw. However, after making the first few cuts, I noticed the edge where I was sawing was starting to fray. In a moment of mild concern I called the mill work department at Lowe’s and asked them how they’d do it. They suggested using blue painter’s tape along both sides of the cut.

Using a Jigsaw to cut Beadboard for Cabinets

Cut Beadboard

The blue painter’s tape really saved the day and stopped any and all fraying.

Liquid Nails for Cabinets

The next step was to pop the cut pieces into place. For this I used Liquid Nails. This stuff has been our go-to for strong holds and worked really well when we needed to get new molding to stick to our tile wall in the kitchen. With the beadboard in place, I just had to weight it down over night before mounting the doors back up onto their respective cabinets.

Cabinet Doors

As it turns out, no two of our cabinet doors are the same size (fun!) and it was a bit of a challenge to figure out which one went where. Stay tuned for part two of the final phase of our kitchen cabinet project – pictures of the finished product will be included!

Our Kitchen Makeover Project

Now that the wedding and our vacation are behind us and we’re getting back to work on the house, we have really been working our arses off! We’ve spent a lot of time cleaning up the yard and working to re-do the drop ceiling in our basement (post about this coming soon!), but our biggest achievement to date is definitely our brand new kitchen! And now for the big reveal (if you haven’t already seen it on Twitter and Facebook)…

The old brown and yellow linoleum floor:

Old linoleum floorOld linoleum floorProgress…

Progress on kitchen floor makeover projectThe finished product before building the island:

Kitchen floor makeover projectAnd with the island:

New kitchen islandWe’re usually not braggers, but seriously, that is one hot kitchen! Sure the counter tops are still mismatched and we are still putting the finishing touches on floor base and thresholds, but what a HUGE difference this new floor and island have made!

We used Pergo laminate flooring that we purchased from Lowe’s. With the flooring itself, some threshold and other molding, along with the accessories needed for the floor installation, the entire bill for this project was under $550.00. We’re pretty psyched about the outcome. I’d say it came out looking even better than we thought! We were going to opt for flexible wall base (because that’s what was there previously and we really didn’t feel like removing the old adhesive), but we found a nice, inexpensive white molding that was the perfect size to cover up the yucky old adhesive gunk.

White floor base moldingWhite floor base molding under base cabinetsWe started with a few 8 foot pieces of the molding and used a jigsaw to cut the sizes we needed. With a little help from our friends at Lowe’s, we opted to use Liquid Nails to affix the molding to the tiles. We also got some white tub & tile caulk to run along the top of the molding. Since the tiles create an uneven surface and make it a little tricky for the molding to adhere properly, you end up with a few, albeit, small uneven gaps between the top of the molding and the wall. Thus, the white tub & tile fills these gaps and gives the finished product a nice, clean look.

As for the new addition to the kitchen furniture, you can see, our island layout plan really worked!
New kitchen islandWe got this Home Styles kitchen island from “EZBuyFurniture.com.” Yea – we were really hesitant about this one, but they really offered the best price and they had phenomenal reviews! It arrived very quickly and it was really easy to assemble. This island is really the heart of the kitchen. It’s what’s going to keep things functioning properly, because I think we almost doubled our storage space and counter space with this one (or at least it feels like it). Once we fully complete the floor base molding, we will be moving the refrigerator and pantry back into place. Then we will be able to put everything away, utilizing our new storage space. The counter space has already proven to be very helpful!

Needless to say, we’re clearly pretty proud of our latest achievement and our feelings toward the kitchen have taken a big turn for the better. It makes being in the kitchen so much more pleasant and this really rounds out the upstairs projects. Of course, we still have the bathroom remodel to worry about, but we’re handing that job over to the professionals. We will have a new bathroom before Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas to us!

We really cannot wait for everything to be complete. Of course, we will never be done working on the house, but finishing off the kitchen and bathroom projects will make the house feel brand new to us!