Saturday, October 29, 2011

Kitchen Chronicles

The Original Kitchen
It's been awhile since we have finished our kitchen but I though I would give a little chronicle of the process.  Ever since I moved in our house about 7 years ago, I have wanted to tile the kitchen area.  There is a hallway from the garage to the kitchen that is carpeted and just gets nasty with all the traffic.  The kitchen is all infested with a pretty ugly type of lineoleum that has layers of caked in dirt.  This stuff needed to go.  You could say why did I not replace it years ago.  It was not motivation, it was more about Rachael finding the right type of tile.  Unfortunately or fortunately (in hindsight), she had bigger plans for the kitchen and wanted to update the whole kitchen including cabinets, countertops, and appliances (especially the microwave).  Of course, after seeing the price tag of new cabinets, countertops, and appliances, Rachael and I had to compromise.  We set a budget of $5000.  So we found that we could not get new cabinets or no new appliances.  We could however replace the backsplash, get new countertops, tile the floor, and at least paint the cabinets...and everything but the countertops had to be self installed.  Let the process begin.
Tearing down the sheetrock

I don't know about y'all but when I have a project to do I just want to get it done.  Rachael on the other hand has to be happy with the scheme.  It took awhile (according to my timetable), to find the right countertop, backsplash, and tile that we agreed upone, that matched each other, and fit within our budget  (I think Rachael's careful planning was well worth it).  We were even able to get the countertop during a sale and we found a groupon at a tile store.
Rachael painting the cabinets

So we made an appointment for the installation of the countertop which required myself to remove the existing backsplash.  I thought it just be a piece of cake in which I could just easily chisel them off the wall.  Not the case.  I ended up just tearing down the wall and putting up new sheetrock  The one benefit was that we decided to put in a hidden outlet that is controlled by an existing light switch for cabinet lighting.

Countertops installed
During the sheetrock installation, Rachael got an idea to take off some of the cabinet doors to at least start painting the cabinets.  I think Rachael had the idea just to do this in her leisure.  Unfortunately, it gave her ultra-motivated, yet one-sighted husband the green light to paint the cabinets.  Hell-week began and we hammered out those cabinets. We degreased, sanded, put on 1 coat primer and two coats white paint inside an out.  We we able to finish just in time to have the countertops installed.  Rachael's sister Becky visited at the time and graciously helped us out and put up with my stubbornness.  I don't think we would have finished them without her...thanks Becky!

A Master Tiler
After painting the cabinets, we had to install the backsplash.  I thought the backsplash was going to be one of the most difficult jobs, but we were able to put it up in a day (not grouted or sealed), and probably could have finished much sooner had we not been taking care of a very curious and energetic 1-year old.  During the process, I discovered that Rachael is an excellent installer of tile.  I just had to cut.  We ended up finishing around 11:30 that night, after our new neighbor came by to complain about the excessive noise from the tile saw..oops.  At least I was able to go finally meet him the next day and apologize.  Rachael and I were able to finish the grout and sealer in the next few days which did not take long.

Amazing!  The kitchen progress actually took less time than what my aggressive internal timetable was expecting.  Other than the tile floor, we were finished most of the difficult work.  Over the next few weeks we did the finishing touches of adding door hardware, cabinet lighting, caulking, and doing some touch-up painting.  Now for the floor.

Everthing Finished but the Tile
Doing the floor would take some pick the type of tile.  We were, however able to find a groupon for a tile store and could get the tile as a substantial discount.  The other issue was figuring out when to install the tile with a one-year old.  Rachael had a idea to have her nieces down in TX and then return them to Nebraska a week later and stay in Nebraska for two weeks with Caleb.  I did not have the vacation time and found that it would be the perfect time to tile the floor.  I would have to tile kitchen, pantry, hallway, bathroom, and hall closet (around 450 sq ft).  Not an easy job and definitely NOT a no brainer.  I won't go into details, but I am happy with the way somethings turned out and not happy with other things.  Most people who come see it are impressed, so maybe I am a perfectionist.  I was not able to finish before Rachael made it home so it took about 3 weeks on nights and weekends which included installing shoe molding, caulking, painting and reinstalling the sink and toilet in the bathroom.
Installing the Tile

 So you may ask, did we stay within budget?  I think so.  The countertops were $2600, the backsplash including grout, mortar, and tools were around $550, the paint, sandpaper, and degreaser were about $200, the tile floor (with groupon), grout, mortar, and shoe molding were around $1000.  We also bought a new kitchen faucet and garbage disposal which cost about $325 and we bought some slideout shelving which cost around $300.  This gives a grand total of $4975.  I am sure there is some extra-miscellanous stuff that I forgot to take into account which probably took the total above the $5k mark, but hey not bad at all considering others end up spending way above $10k for the same updates.
All Done!!

In hindsight, there are things that we would do differently, but I think Rachael and I are well-pleased with the results and greatly enjoy the look of the new updates as well as the cabinet lighting, new faucet, deep-single sink, and the slide-out shelving.

You might ask what is the next project?  Well after burning out Rachael and realizing that I had some issues with getting too focused on finishing a task and ignoring more important priorities like a son and a lovely wife, we have decided to take a break for awhile.  Rachael and I signed a contract so that we will not do projects in 2012.  Might be difficult, but I think we are up for the task.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

I think it is beautiful! It definitely looks like a relaxing place to cook! You guys did AMAZING!

And with that sweet baby girl coming in 2012 I'm sure you'll find it easier to not do any projects.