Monday, August 1, 2011

The Big Reveal...My Kitchen

I know you have all been waiting with bated breath...

Finally the kitchen is [mostly] done! (Save a few minor tweaks.)

Here's what we started with so many years ago (Sorry, we weren't in the mindset of "before" pics, so these are actually pics with family and friends in them. Just look at the background.)

Look at this sweet laminate, peel-n-stick "parquet" flooring.

I wishI could blame this horrid color choice on the previous owners, but...well...this was all us. And notice that portable dish washer (with the microwave on top) in the bottom right corner of the picture.

Maybe the color wouldn't have been SO bad...if it was an ACCENT

Believe it or not, we actually LIVED like this for over a year...hideous color and NO cabinet doors!

This monster fridge was in the garage of this house when we moved in...
Later we thought, "Hey...there could have been a body kept in this thing and here we're using it for food..."
It was GROSS! Rusty, it "bled" something gross and black from the bottom and made all kinds of weird groans and noises.

Here's the sliver of room we had to squeak through to get down to our finished basement.

How dirty and unattractive.

One can never have too much laminate sheeting counter top...and chipped at that. Nothing says home like fake butcher block.

I got a little demo happy one day and decided we'd remove the tile backsplash. I made it all the way through the plaster and lath.
No, I'm not proud of THAT or of this patch job done by yours truly.

Beauty shot...the underneath of our sink and the broken garbage disposal.

Then we got a hair up the bum and decided to rip off that nasty peel and stick and see what was underneath. Here's what happened with that:

Oh this is just awful. It's reminiscent of the floor tiles in the nurse's office at school. But look at the lovely pattern they came up with. And notice the water damage that had obviously seeped through layers of old flooring. Our portable dishwasher overflowed one night and flooded the kitchen. I'm sure that wasn't the FIRST time that had happened.

And then Joe set out to peel every single one of those suckers up. He worked for 3 days straight.

And this is what we were greeted with. Tar paper. The left over glue from 3 layers of linoleum, peel and stick & vinyl tiles.

As far as the eye could see......and why would they have taken up the first flooring when they could (and did) just  throw down the new stuff ON TOP OF the old???

So...that's what we lived with for so very long. We actually had a path of throw rugs on the floor to keep the kids from walking on that tar. I can't remember exactly how long it was like that, but I know FOR SURE it was too long!

We exhausted every avenue to remove the tar paper...we rented a commercial sander and tried every chemical known to man--both organic and poisonous. We interrogated every Home Depot & Lowes flooring employee and stalked many discussion boards online.

Nothing worked.

Finally, we decided to give locking laminate (non glue) flooring a try.

Joe camped out in the garage with a borrowed table saw and a hack saw, cutting the laminate pieces.

And swearing.

A lot.

I was convinced that he would come screaming into the house with a severed limb.

Thankfully, he didn't.

I found this really cool idea online on how to put a faux finish on your laminate countertop. It involved sanding, priming and painting your existing laminate. And then sponge painting the look of granite. Then, you pour a special food safe glaze over the top, allowing it to self level and using a blow torch to pop any bubbles.

Yeah, the blow torch was a little scary, but soooooo cool.

Here's how those two endeavors turned out...

We also painted the cabinets and drawers white.

It actually looked FABULOUS!

LOOK at that shine!

The floor looked fantastic too!

Er...if you didn't look too closely...our house is almost 70 years old and I guess they didn't believe in right angles back in the 1940s.
We lived with it for about 2 years. But the countertop didn't seal right and food started staining it. We just had to hold tight for a bit. After all...we could only afford so many makeovers.

I entered us into many, many HGTV makeover contests, but no luck.

I can't remember when we decided to give it another go. But we did.

Joe took up the laminate floor and we shook our heads AGAIN at the stubborn tar paper.

And then promptly covered it with MORE peel and stick tiles. Ones that looked more like ceramic flooring. It actually looked nice. And we knew it was only temporary until we could afford to lay real, ceramic tile.

And then...I came across an article in This Old House magazine. A lady re-did her kitchen floor and described how she'd used a wallpaper steamer to remove all the tar paper.


Then, in conversation with my Father-in-law, he told me that he used HOT water in a squirt bottle and a putty knife to remove wallpaper.

I chewed on that for a couple of days.

And day I was preparing the kids' lunch in the kitchen, and the corner of the tile I was walking on flipped up and caught my toe.

I saw stars and decided I'd had enough.

I lifted the tile and peered at that nasty tar paper below. Then I heated up 2 cups of water for 2 minutes, poured it into a plastic squirt bottle, and squirted it all over the tar paper.

And waited.

Tentatively, after about a minute, I started to scrape at it....AND IT STARTED TO COME OFF!

This is 6 tiles in. It got so exciting and addictive to watch that stuff scrape right off. Who woulda thunk it...WATER! After all the other stuff we'd tried.

When Joe saw, he got just as psyched as I was and we waged an all out war on that tar paper. For about a week straight, we took turns scraping.

Joe working away...feeling like Ground Hog's Day since he's spent a good bit of his life in this house on his knees in the kitchen.

We could see the fruits of our labor though, so it was so worth it.

And now....we are [almost] finished. and we love it!

And then I sanded the entire floor with a hand held sander.

Here's some before and after action (cuz I'm a sucker for those!)







 More gratuitous AFTER shots...

*sigh* LOVE!

I plan to frost the glass on those cabinets since we don't have "pretty" stuff in there. It will still make it feel more open than a regular cabinet door.

LOVE this rug (on sale at Target for $23) even though the one I found online was slightly different

This one I found online was also about $125 MORE expensive!
 Things we still have to do:

*Fix the quarter round that broke under the toe kick of the sink.
*Frost the glass on the smaller cabinets above the stove
*Add a valance over the window above the sink (I'm going to try my hand at making one using ironed seam tape)
*Buy a microwave cart (to put where the portable dishwasher used to be) to free up more counter space.
*Some kind of decorative moulding to dress up the ends of countertop.

Isn't this spot just calling out for a microwave cart?
Ohhhhh can't wait!

And that was done on a lark when we started hacking up the laminate flooring we'd originally put down. But I LOVE IT! I have SO MANY more plans for moulding in our house now. Much to Joe's chagrin. =)

Here is our ist of supplies/labor:

Counter top: Ikea. Amazingly, we spent less than $130 for two pieces (NOT EACH) that were fit together and the the seam was caulked. Love it! We paid a handyman to cut and install it. Waaaaay above our skill set. The same handyman also replaced those tiles I hastily ripped off the wall.
*My brother-in-law Rick made the cabinet doors and drawers. He was amazing...he came to our house (they live 2 hours away), took measuremements, had me email ideas of what I wanted, went home and created everything, and then drove back a few months later and installed them! $300!

*We bought a new fridge and stove in the meantime. The fridge was from Lowe's and the Stove was from Best Buy. Both were scratch and dent (hardly noticeable) and discounted!

*The light above the sink was bought at Lowe's and replaced by my honey.

*The wainscoting was also purchased and cut at Lowes and installed by Joe.

Just as we were standing back and oohing and awing at all of our work....we thought..."Hmmmm. Wonder what's under the tiles on the basement steps and landing????"

And guess what?

Well, that's to be continued...

I am linking up to Show Us Your Kitchen On Thrifty Decor Chick today!

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