painting, staining, and tiling, oh my! (kitchen, pt. 8)

We have put our noses back to the grindstone and accomplished some great feats in our DIY kitchen remodeling progress. I think by condensing picture updates I’m telling myself the project isn’t taking that long. Right… 

Anyway, this weekend we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. This is great, because I love St. Patrick. (Here’s a quick recap of his life from last year.)  However, I couldn’t summon the strength to get excited about corned beef and Irish-style fine adult beverages this year. While this might be because it’s been unseasonably warm in Iowa, I’m guessing it’s because I exerted myself laying tile.

Yes, I was tiling. We have done a lot of work in the kitchen lately. This update is way overdue! Do you remember the blue wall? It’s no longer offending us with it’s brightness. We’re all cream, all the time now. Aaron’s height comes in very handy for painting rooms with vaulted ceilings.

All the backsplash tile is installed and grouted. The new wood around the island is in the middle of the stain-and-seal process, and the brackets are ready to install. (We also desperately need trim here. I know, I know.)

And what is this? Our garage looks like the tile department of a hardware store!? Get out of town! 

In order to get started on the tile project, we had to clear the whole kitchen floor. This means Aaron had to disconnect the stove and shuffle the appliances out of the way.

 We ripped up the carpet (a two-person, four-hand job, so no pictures), chipped up the cork and linoleum floors underneath, and started laying down concrete backer boards.
Incidentally, I was in a tank top the first night we did this and got concrete and fiberglass from the boards scratched all over my arms and neck. I was entirely miserable for about 24 hours, but then the real work began. Aaron says his thinset mixtures look like milkshakes.
True to our usual form, we would start these projects after dinner and work into the night while wearing clothing that’s pretty much inappropriate for the job at hand. (For further examples, see my skirt and bare feet in Part 3 and Aaron in part 7.) I’m also in flip-flops:

As frugal and responsible homeowners, we found encouragement to continue improving our home while listening to the Dave Ramsey radio show playing in the after-dinner time slot. It was motivating to yell “We’re (going to be) DEBT FREE!” every time one of his callers gave a debt-free scream. (Aaron, however, called the debt-free-except-for-the-house guests “cheaters.”) Our resolve to work late would wane about 10:30, when we both found ourselves really, really annoyed by the host of the next show. We may have just gotten tired then. The late hour may have had something to do with it, too, but we would get really cranky and complain about the radio programming while wrapping up our work for the day. Anyway, this was basically what we did every night from last Saturday until now, when we have ended up with this:
 I really wanted to find rectangle tiles to make a herringbone pattern, but tiles of that shape were out of our budget, so we used Rialto White tile in 12′ and 6′ squares. Since we’re extending the tile into the dining room – I mean, even two educated adults can’t manage to keep white carpet under the table clean – we’ve only laid half the tile, and I’m going to put the grout on for these tiles this afternoon. We won’t have the fridge and stove back up until Monday afternoon at the earliest.

Since I was laying the tile while Aaron slaved at the tile saw, I ended up in all sorts of strange body contortions trying to protect my knees and spent several hours a night doing the equivalent of deep lunges and squats. So I feel like the lower half of my body might fall off at any point today. And like I said… we have more than half the total square footage to go.

Installing the tile has been a much bigger project than we expected, but it’s pretty enjoyable and it looks AMAZING. Every time we walk past the work already completed, one of us says “This is unbelievably better!” Considering that the previous kitchen flooring was dirty, ugly, dark, thin carpet, I bet anything could elicit this response from us. But for now we’ll just revel in the excitement of an upgrade!

(PS: Wanna catch up on the kitchen work from the very beginning? Read all about it here.)

8 thoughts on “painting, staining, and tiling, oh my! (kitchen, pt. 8)

  1. WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!! just like you are going to be !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and your kitchen is looking great!!!!!!!!

  2. Nice job! I love it when people tackle their own home renovation projects and come up with fantastic results. It inspires me for the day when Matt and I finally own our own home!

  3. Thanks everyone! Grouting is now half-way done and we’re very happy with how it looks. I can’t believe what a huge difference this makes! If you live nearby (or you don’t, and you want to drive through Iowa), you should come see for yourself.

  4. Pingback: holy week and the death of dreams « a cheerful heart has a continual feast

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