change is a coming: part 2

Alright, here we go. Part 2 of 3,4?? parts...in our apartment flipping saga. When I last left off, we'd torn out our pantry and shuffled it across the kitchen. We'd also taken off all the cabinet doors to be repainted. 

In came Noal - a phenomenal carpenter at Scovell Wolfe and Associates - to begin building us a new workspace for the kitchen. We'd decided to expand the room by creating an 'island' so to speak, that was in fact pushed up against the wall. And thus not an island at all. But what makes it island-ish in my mind (work with me people) is that it would accommodate a couple bar stools for en eat-in area. You following? 

My dad came over and measured every inch of the kitchen and diagrammed it out shorthand.

He cleaned it up because God help any man who'd need to decipher that and turned it into this sketch that was given to Noal. 

I know. It still looks crazy. But when you've worked with my dad for 15+ years like Noal, you learn the Jim language. And here we go. This is what Noal came up with to build on the blank wall  from the bread crumbs of information he was given.

Perfect for a normal kitchen, but I'm weird and wanted something even weirder. If you can tell from his plan, the bottom left was to be a false front hiding a knee hole space where we could fit one barstool. I had simply told him that I really wanted a place for a high chair so that Annie could be buckled in eating a snack while I cooked. He put the false front to match the right side of the lower cabinets because that's what normal people like - symmetry. 

I should mention that I wasn't paying for full-service treatment where Scovell Wolfe comes in and accounts for everything from the lumber to the paint. I just wanted the carpentry done and I'd do the rest. We're on a budget here, people. So, Noal was doing this as a sort of favor on the side. Thus, we didn't go about it very logically where we'd normally meet first in my kitchen to discuss together my desires. It was all second hand speculation through my dad. I should have saved Noel the trouble of drawing his sketch until he'd seen my inspiration pictures. 

I'll grant you that luxury instead. 

Emily Henderson
I loved the white square tile and exposed shelving.

Again, the white tile with darker grout felt like a perfect backdrop for exposed shelves. And let's give a shout out to that range which is to die for. Although that's exactly what would have to happen. Someone would have to die so that I could take their life insurance money to afford that range and hood. Probably not going to happen. 

Ford Wheeler's Home
But this picture of Ford Wheeler's kitchen was what really stirred the pot. At first glance the tiles over the countertop look like a backsplash. But, my friends, they are not. Far from it. They are a ledge. What's that? Yes, a ledge in the kitchen. I loved it. His floor rocks my socks off also, but our floor was staying blah, so I wanted to pack all my punch in backsplash tile. And if I did it all the way up the back of the wall it would have been too busy. And to do the first 12 inches in funky tile and finish tiling up to the ceiling with white squares seemed odd to me. The ledge was the answer. Noal was thrilled. Except for the part where he wasn't. Because this project went from basic to still basic, but now very annoying because it was so odd. He'd have to really brainstorm here. 

The final plan involved building a lower unit with 6 drawers and two knee hole spaces for, count 'em, two barstools. The unit would be pushed up against a tiled WALL or ledge. Bam. Then, given that I wasn't doing this the full service route, I had to prime, paint, find a countertop, tile, etc...

Noal worked out the logistics on his end and pointed out all the problems with my sketch. There was no shortage. Sorry to say I don't have it for you to see. It was classy to be sure. Written on the back of an envelope. But it worked well enough and off Noal went to do his magic.

In the meantime I found the white square tile and bought a LOT of it at a great price - $1/sq foot. Major sale. And then I searched high and low and far and wide for fancy tile that tickled my fancy. But, alas, fancy tile has fancy price tags and something about $75/sq foot was hard to swallow on our we-don't-have-a-job-yet budget. I only needed about 15 square feet of it but 15 times 75 is not going to happen, said my sweet husband. 

So I stood at the International Tile Store tapping my foot sadly on the floor as I shook my head to the sales lady. No sale for you today girlfriend. And then it happened. I looked down at my tapping foot and saw Saltillo Mexican Tile on their ground. Boom. That was it. It's cheap, it's got a great color and it's a throw back to my breakfast room growing up. I'm cheap, so I went across town and ordered it from the Tile and Stone Warehouse where prices are friendly and smile at you.

Saltillo tile ordered, we headed home for the fun to begin.

Did I mention that I'm cheap? Well I forgot to mention that I'm also pretty lazy. Like, wait, what? I have to pull that backsplash down in my existing kitchen before I put up the white squares? Silly you. I'll just tile over it. Boom again. And that's what I did. Because tearing down tile is real bad hard to do.

Bad lighting but you can see below the original backsplash on the right of the picture below and the too cool for school new white tile on the left. 

This was my first rodeo and I definitely fell off the bull a few times with bad tile cuts. AND I was a hot mess. Mortar in my hair, under my nails, in my teeth. Ok, not in my teeth. That's gross. But things were getting abused in that kitchen. Thinset would fly off my trowel and land on the fridge. I know, you want my number now. You're going to hire me to tile your kitchen because I sound so professional. But, don't hate. My methods may be unorthodox - the whole tiling over tile thing - but I have a baby who likes to get attention from time to time so I reduce my workload however possible. And I'm lazy. 

Besides I still had to paint all the cabinets. Although at the last minute I chickened out and sent the doors off to have them spray painted so they'd be super smooth. I don't regret it for a minute. They looked crazy good in Benjamin Moore's White Dove.

Then a few weeks later Noal called and was ready to install the lower cabinets. DANCE PARTY! Except the day he was supposed to drive it over in the back of his truck it rained and we had to delay. Major bummer. But he's awesome and came over the weekend to get 'er done. There was also electrical work, etc to be done by an electrician but I won't further bore you.

I later took the metal brackets off the wall and cut out dry wall to sink them in and then tile over. And the drawer fronts look a little lame in this picture, but I didn't want anything goofy. No shaker style or what have you. Just clean lines. And the drawers themselves are totally pretentious. There is slow-closing, amazingness every time you shut them. You know what I'm talking about? They slide like butter and stop an inch before they shut and then roll in at perfect pace. It's lovely and I love them. 

Then came the cement board over the mexican tile wall and it was not lovely and we did not love it. It's hard to cut, heavier than heavy and straight up obvious. We covered the drawers with a thick wool blanket to protect them and got to chomping. Mama was ready for this project to be DONE. And yes, John is wearing the 3D glasses from the IMAX that we wear for all our particle-flying home improvement projects.

Cement board in place, we started in on the thin set and tile.

Voila, the tiled wall. This part of the project was annoying for so many reasons, I won't even begin to tell you why. Or maybe I will next time. This is enough for today! Part 3 coming soon...

UPDATE: Read Part 3 here!
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