New Blingy Hardware

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Aren’t they pretty?  I’m so excited.  The amber color of the knobs ties in with the wood that we used on the island and above the bulkhead.  I got them from a seller on eBay for a pretty good price.  They were exactly what I was looking for.  It was really difficult to get them on there tight though.  The drawers pulls were even worse to install.  Previously the drawers had a single knob in the middle.  I had filled those holes before I painted the drawers.  We then used a template to drill new holes.

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Below you can see the old hole in the middle on the inside of the drawer front with the 2 new holes drilled on each side.

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And just to make it more difficult, the screws that were included with the handles weren’t long enough.  Balls!  We decided that the best solution would be to drill out around the new holes in the back so that we could get the nut on.

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It seems like I have a knack for choosing hardware that is a pain in the ass for various reasons.

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Ok, now we can attach the pulls.

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And…

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I like how they catch the sunlight from the skylight during the day.

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They really tie the room together.

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Subway Tile Backsplash

I used white subway tile in our last kitchen and I loved it.  It’s clean, classic, easy to install, and best of all, inexpensive.  So I figured that I would just do the same in our new kitchen.

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Because I didn’t have that big of an area to cover, I went with a premixed mastic.  It was so nice to be able to just open the bucket and start spreading that stuff on the walls without having to do any mixing/waiting/etc.

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I was able to get all of the tile up in only a few hours.  It probably would have gone even faster if I had better tools for cutting the tile (I was working with a hand held tile cutter and a rod saw).

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I went with a dark gray unsanded grout.

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Six rows of tile were a perfect fit from the countertop to the base of the upper cabinets.  Well, almost…There was a small section where I couldn’t quite fit that top row in.  I ended up taking 4 tiles over to Lowe’s to have them shave 1/16″ off the top of those tiles with their wet saw.

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Now I just need to caulk around the edges of the tile and I can all this job DONE!

Backsplash Be Gone!

I thought the 4″ granite backsplash in the kitchen was a bit underwhelming and that a tile backsplash would be a more aesthetically pleasing option, so we removed it.  Confession: It drives me crazy when people leave the backsplash up and tile above it.  I think it looks so much better to tile all the way down to the counter.

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First we scored the caulk along the top and sides with a razor knife.  Then it was just a matter of tapping a scraper in between the wall and the backsplash to separate the glue from the wall.

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80% of the backsplash came off looking like this.  Not too bad to deal with.  The back walls would be covered in tile and this side wall just needed to be patched and textured.  But then there was this:

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Holy gap Batman!  I debated on the best way to deal with the gap.  I finally settled on several coats of MH Ready Patch which is a spackling and patching compound (available at Home Depot and Menards).

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I love this stuff and have used it for years because it dries fast, is easy to work with, and it dries pretty hard and solid.

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This was after 2 layers of patch.  Because there was nothing behind the gap for the patch to hold on to, I had to build it up slowly.  3 layers did the trick.  You can’t see it in the above photo, but I left a tiny gap between the newly filled in wall and the counter top.  I was worried about the wall flexing and the patch cracking.  I’ll fill that in with caulk.

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It seems to be a thing here in the Southwest to have textured walls.  I personally don’t get it.  I think it is hard to deal with making repairs and I’m still wrestling with getting the wall texture right.  Anyway, you spray on the texture, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then “knock it down” or flatten it lightly with a scraper.

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I still haven’t mastered the technique to making it look exactly like the original texture, but I am getting closer.  I found that doing one layer, letting it dry and then following it with a second layer produces a better result.  This wall should now be good to go with some paint and a little caulk.

On a side note, we celebrated Slowhand’s birthday this past week and had dinner at a place called Pot Liquor here in Las Vegas.  It’s billed as a contemporary American smokehouse and it certainly delivered on the bold smoky flavors.  We went all in and ordered the “Lord Have Mercy!!,” which was a heaping platter of chicken, baby back ribs, spare ribs, pulled pork, and hot links plus 3 sides (we chose the greens, fries, and mac ‘n cheese).

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Lord Have Mercy is right!  There was enough food for 3 meals, but it was nice to be able to try everything.  I particularly liked the greens, but then again I am a greens fanatic and could sit and make a meal on those alone!  We’ll look forward to going back and dining there again sometime.

I Suck at Taking Photos

Ugh.  I keep missing opportunities for “big reveals” on this here blog because I keep forgetting to take pictures.  Dang it!  I have never been the person who takes lots of photos–even though modern technology means that I can do so whenever I want because of my phone and all.  As such, I missed out on doing an upper cabinet post for the kitchen.  So I guess now y’all get to see the upper cabinets PLUS the addition of more wood to the kitchen.

This is my singular photo of working of the upper cabinets in progress.  I went with a cream color.  As with the base cabinets, I sanded the uppers and used Behr Premium Plus Ultra brand paint from Home Depot in Satin Enamel.  I had it tinted to Sherwin Williams color #6127 Ivoire.

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So, I painted all of the uppers and then Slowhand and I got to work adding more wood to the walls above the bulkhead.

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This time around we used 8′ x 4″ bender wood which worked much better than the fence wood we used on the island.  It was thinner and much easier to work with.  For some reason we didn’t notice it at Lowe’s when we were looking at wood the first time or else we probably would have used it to begin with.  Live and learn I guess…

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The one drawback was that we could not find any gray-ish pieces like I had found for the island.  I wanted a similar look, so I improvised with some Rust-Oleum wood stain in Driftwood.  I just rubbed it on some of the lighter pieces with the grain to achieve a gray/weathered appearance.

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It ended up working out quite nice and I even added a little bit of the stain to some of the wood on the island.

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Grrr.  Those white track lights.  They irritate me ever time I see them.  They are on the chopping block for sure.  We’ve been busy bees and are close to finishing up the kitchen, so more on that coming soon!

More Kitchen Projects

Next up on the kitchen refresh: ditching the microwave, replacing the range, and painting the base cabinets black.

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I refuse to use a microwave for anything, so we removed the old one above the range and dropped it off at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The oven was not working and I knew that I would rather replace it than repair it.  As luck would have it, I was strolling through Home Depot in search of something else and stumbled on a floor clearance sale on the EXACT GE Artistry gas range that I was considering.  It was half the price of a new one and in perfect condition (well, sort of perfect…someone had stolen the knobs off of it, but replacements had already been ordered, so I just had to wait a few days).

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I love the simplicity of it–no goofy digital sh*t to deal with, plus it’s kind of retro and I miss my old 1960 O’Keefe & Merritt from our previous home.

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As for the base cabinets, I gave them a quick 120 grit sanding with a multi-tool to take the shine off.  I then painted 2 coats with Behr Premium Plus Ultra in black Exterior Satin Enamel–no primer (it was a paint + primer in one deal).  I have to say, I am super happy with the results.  The satin finish looks great and the paint is sticking well.  I haven’t had any problems with chipping or scratching.

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Bettie Lu was bored with the painting process and decided to sit this one out.

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Lots more to come, stay tuned!

Kitchen Island

It started innocently enough.  I saw an advertisement for a place here in Las Vegas that sells reclaimed barn wood.  Slowhand and I had been talking about using some rustic wood somewhere in the house, so we decided to go and check it out.  The place had some really beautiful wood, but at $7+ a foot, we just couldn’t stomach the price.

Later that day we decided to stop in at Lowe’s for some light bulbs and decided to check out their lumber department “just for the heck of it.”  Well, wouldn’t you know it, but $20 and one hour later we were in the midst of adding some fence wood to the front of our kitchen island.  Here are some before shots (the first is from the real estate listing before we moved in):

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We removed the wooden support brackets and covered over the electrical outlet on the front.  There are outlets on both sides of the island, so the one in front wasn’t really necessary.

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We decided to miter the corners which was a lot more work than just butting the ends up together, but I think it has a more professional look.  We attached the wood with an air nail gun and liquid nails.  Lord help whoever tries to remove that wood in the future (hopefully it won’t be us!), because that wood is on there!

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We chose a combination of redwood and cedar for color variation and staggered the boards.  This caused a whole mess of headaches because the redwood boards were slightly wider than the cedar boards.

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As usual, Bettie Lu supervised the project.

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All in all, we are very happy with the results.  This project has jump started a whole kitchen makeover, so more on that to come.

Thrift Store Frame

Just the facts: I buy an old Wrangler jeans advertisement off of eBay because it is vintage, western, and funny/weird.  Needs a frame.  I go to Goodwill and find a $3 framed picture that I think will work.  Take it home.

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Nice rustic frame, clear glass.  I disassemble it.

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Bonus: The mat boards come apart and one fits my advertisement.  The little cut-out at the top even mimics the southwestern detail on my fireplace.   Reassemble and pow!  New/old picture to hang.

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Extra bonus: I recycle the old mat boards/picture and keep the unused 30 cents in stamps!  Happy dance ensues.

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