Choosing Tile for the Backsplash

SO, this is where we've been sitting for a few weeks, that last 5% push is reaaaaal hard. When your kitchen is back in 'working order' it's like, OKAY, put the hammers away let's have some margaritas!! BUT, I need to finish this 5% NOW (or it'll get done in like 5 years and i'll be sad I didn't have beautiful tile this whole time). 

FIRST, let's back up a bit. YOU SEE, in order to get the countertops to work I had to build out the walls a bit so the depth of the counter would reach past the cabinet doors (I could have gotten 2 wider pieces, but then i'd have more seams in the butcher block and i'd rather not have that). So I had to build out the walls about 1/2". I used 1/4" plywood with 1/4" hardiboard over it. Hardiboard is a cement board and is what you should be using below your tile. Plywood would SOAK up water. You CAN tile over drywall (if it's painted) - as you can see in the image above, the beautiful laminate counter tops were extended up the wall. So I just plywood-ed over that. BOOM.

K now back to today. Since I had to add some depth to the wall, I added some nice molding around it so the edges of the tile would look all legit n such.

For the past few weeks I've ordered tile from 2 online stores, and have been to Home Depot, Lowes and The Tile Shop. I was looking for a glass tile in a fun color. Since my walls are yellow, teals and greens were popping out beautifully.

It's a strange thing when you are not only designing a space, but you are also making yourself responsible for installing everything. My favorite tile from the get-go was going to be a little tricky to fit, so I ordered some samples in smaller sizes (above, mosiac sizes). But still, I was bored of those after a few days, and still liked the subway tile size.

SO, here is the winner! Loft Spa Green in frosted glass tile from The Tile Bar. NOW, i'm not sponsored by them, but let me GUSH for a moment. I felt like they were my friends from afar helping me out. I sent for samples twice, each time they came within 4 days (with super cute gifts attached!). My ONE issue was that the tiles were not labeled! The colors online/in person are tricky, so I e-mailed them a photo - to which they responded quickly with the correct name. NBD, but it'd be nice if the samples had names :)

ALSO, they donate tiles to less fortunate "Smiles4Tiles", so I dig that too!

SO, these babies are ORDERED, and on their way. can't wait to get them installed...hopefully this weekend!!

How to Paint Paneling

Did you think that the ONLY paneling in this house was in the dining room?! Not ONLY is there also some in the 2nd bed room, BUT the entire basement is COVERED in paneling...yay...

I took ANOTHER break from the kitchen renovation this weekend, due to an inner struggle with the backsplash tile choice (which will hopefully be resolve this week?). There is another bedroom on the main floor, that I don't think i've ever spoken of on the interwebs. I mean, why wouldn't I, it's SO PRETTY.

LOL. Those are photos I took whilst touring the house for the first time. So, sorry I don't actually own that beautiful comforter. The furniture was sold, and the curtains were dismantled almost immediately - along with removing the carpet and refinishing the hardwood floors. 

THEN, the room sat in a poor and dark state for a YEAR. It went from function to function...bedroom, workroom, craft room, makeshift kitchen, tool storage, landfill. Now that high speed renovation mode is winding down, I can FINALLY start to move some tools back into the basement and claim this room, well, as an actual room.

First, I unloaded the room, patched any holes, and TSP-ed everything. It's pretty incredible/disgusting how dirty WALLS are. I guess I never clean walls (do normal people?). TSP is great because it removes anything that could compromise the paint sticking to the paneling. 

Painting paneling isn't all THAT hard. The hard part is making sure your hand doesn't cramp and you're cool with painting one room 4 times.

For painting over wood trim or paneling, I ALWAYS do 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint. What's super fun about paneling is having to paint all the cracks! *sarcasm*

I painted 2 coats of primer on EVERYTHING Friday. Primer is awesome because it only needs like 30 minutes to dry between coats, It took me about 2 hours to get around the room (thank god for Netflix to keep me company!). Then I painted one coat of Vintage Linen on the walls, and one coat of BM Simply White on the trim Saturday. Sunday I did a 2nd coat of Vintage Linen and SW and was DONE. Also, Caulk is your BFF with paneling, I caulked where the paneling meets the ceiling and it made a surprisingly HUGE difference in making it not look janky. #paintingtricks 

Vintage Linen is a top contender for a favorite color in this house, it's pretty subtle, but brightens up the room so much. I'm obsessed. Wanna see a before and after? SURE YOU DO.

Now all this rooms needs is new outlets, curtains and a light fixture. But first, that tile backsplash...

DIY Picture Frame

You know when you're on vacation, and you see a cool print at the market and you're all like OMG I need that i'll totes find a frame ASAP when I get home and hang this on my wall! Does that ever actually happen? No. I barely even print out photos from my vacations anymore, which kills me...I should do something about that...hmm...

WELL, today i'm going to go over a SUPER SIMPLE way to frame a tricky print. YOU SEE, whilst in the land of Cambodia last year, we were temple hopping and found a nice little family selling prints. They said, in broken English, that their family had been drawing on rice paper for years, passing it down generation to generation. Obviously I needed one. Because once I got home i'd totally build a frame for it!

Fast forward almost a year and it's done! HA. OK, so obvi you could run to Target and grab a frame, but when something is drawn on Rice paper, you kinda want it out of the frame to get the FULL effect.

Wooden dowels - cut 1" larger than the length of your print, painted
Staple Gun
Screw Eyes

FIRST, paint your dowel and attach screw eyes to both ends of ONE rod.

Staple the print to the dowel, about 3-4" apart

I didn't want the weight of it to be resting on the staple marks, so I added masking tape over it all to keep it snug.

THEN, grab some string, thread it through the screw eyes and hang on the wall! SUPER simple, huh?!

GRANITE countertops are IN

Alternate title to post: True Life: I hire contractors from Craigslist.

There are a PLETHORA of places to find contractors these days. Angies list, Home Advisor, your next door neighbor. For previous job/quotes around the house, I went to Home Advisor (it's free, Angies list isn't, and i'm cheap). They have great reviews, the people seemed legit, whatevs. BUT, the contractors had some jacked up prices, and I got a MILLION e-mails/phone calls from Home Advisor people which made my eyes twitch.

So, one day, whilst needing someone to install butcherblock for a REASONABLE amount of change, I pursued craigslist... Under Services > Skilled Trade. A few things I ALWAYS look for prior to e-mailing:

>>Pictures of work!
>>Legit title (not like @@@@%%%%%EXPERIENCED ROOFER%%%%@@@@) <--actual title
>>Complete sentences and no misspellings in the listing (it's weird, but shows how much time they spent/cared)
>>Quick to respond to e-mails**

**This one is huge to me. If they are going to take a week to get back to you, imagine trying to get a hold of them when their plumbing job is now leaking all over your bathroom.  


BUT, let's back up a hot second. SO, before I even ripped up the old countertop, I started to e-mail a few companies. One responded quickly, had great prices and was very responsive (even if it was just a one worded e-mail, whatevs). I asked him to stop over and check out the area I wanted Granite for (don't worry parental units, I had others at the house when he stopped by). He came by, measured everything out, had a sample of what I wanted and was on his way. I told him i'd call once I was ready.

Fast forward a month. I'm ready, so I call him up and am all like "hey let's do this!" So I went to his shop to pick out the exact piece of granite (he didn't have a huge selection in the color I wanted, so this was quick!). We agreed he'd come the following Thurdsay to install. On Tuesday, I shot him a quick - here's my address see you Thursday, to which I got a quick response of "Sorry, sold that piece to a vanity."

WEEKS of communication with him in the trash - and antsy to get something installed. 

FORTUNATELY, this story has a happy ending (obviously). I found another guy, EPIC Granite out of Minnetonka. He was pretty responsive to my e-mails, so we went to his shop to pick out the piece of granite. All was fine and dandy, he was going to stop by the following Friday to measure the piece, SIMPLE.

THEN, Friday came. It was a minute past the time he said he was going to stop by. Not that I expected him to be punctual, but I just KNEW this wasn't going to be easy. So, I called. And he's all like "yeah i'm on my way!"....called back 30 minutes later "Hey, can you just measure it for me?". OKAY, not a horrible request. I measured everything (adding 1" to all sides, knowing they'd fit in place on-site).

The following Monday, the two installers showed up with a RATHER small slice of granite. Like 1 FOOT short on both sides. Because, measuring is hard? I'm sure the look on my face had them fearing their own life, because they were very nice and apologetic, saying they'd be back the following day with a bigger piece. LOL, the following day. JOKES.

ANYWAYS, I put on my bossy pants and was all, THIS SHOULDN'T BE THAT HARD. FINALLY, a week after they initially were to have it installed, IT WAS IN. And I am semi-satisfied with it. I'm not saying I could have done a better job, but i'm saying the perfectionist in me probably won't go through them again.

Once they left, I got busy adding trim around the cement board to add a nice edge to the future-back splash. SPEAKING of back splash. The first round of tile samples came in. I'm going a little different route than I initially thought i'd go. I was thinking of doing a darker backsplash, long skinny horizontal pieces in a mosaic. As I was searching for the perfect pattern, I found myself getting sick of the colors. Which ISN'T good, since you don't just like switch out back splashes erryday. So I decided to go with a LIGHTER color scheme, haven't chosen the size quite yet...

What's your fav?! I have a fave in this batch, so I ordered a few more samples like it so I can REALLY be sure I chose the right one. More on that later though...

FOR NOW, let's just oogle over this: