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Archive for the ‘Home sweet home’ Category

About a  month after my husband and I had moved into our first home, one Saturday we woke up and decided “let’s paint our kitchen today!”

Originally, the plan was to just paint over what was currently covering our walls. (dark blue paint)

We knew that there was wallpaper buried underneath a few layers of paint from previous owners, but it didn’t look bad so we figured we could just paint over top of it like they had.  Well, as we were taping up the kitchen in preparation for painting, it turned out that some of the wallpaper behind the stove was peeling off – surprisingly easily.  Curiosity got the best of me and I began to peel, and peel some more, and peel some more… before long, we had peeled the wallpaper off of about half the kitchen, and discovered that there was one very thin layer left behind on top of the drywall (there were no less than 3 layers of wallpaper on our walls to begin with, maybe even more).  Crap.

We googled a bit and figured that the best solution for us would be to use a vinegar and water solution, spray it on the walls, and use a spackle scraper to help us peel off the remaining layer of wallpaper.  This was much easier said than done, and the process of removing the remaining wallpaper took us well over a week of spraying and scraping what we could when we got home from work in the evenings.

Needless to say, it was not a fun job, and looking back on it, we’d have probably been better off knocking out the drywall and installing new, because the amount of putty we had to use to patch the dents we made in the wall with the scraper was astronomical.  A lot of this was due to our frustration and desire to “just get the wallpaper off!”, but some mishaps were inevitable and we’d have probably saved a lot of time in the long run if we’d started with a clean slate.

See all that orange-colored stuff? That's the final layer of wallpaper that is still stuck to the drywall.

After we’d finally gotten all of the wallpaper off and gently washed the walls with a dawn/water mix to remove all of the glue from the wallpaper, we were finally ready to spackle, sand, tape, and prime our walls for our new color.  We had the same color in our kitchen in our old rental home and loved it so much that we wanted to use it again in our new one.  For anyone interested, it’s “Dry Earth” by Valspar.

Ah… doesn’t it feel so much better already?  To me a kitchen should be airy and open-feeling, and changing from a dark blue to a light beige-green makes the kitchen so much more inviting and pleasant to be in!

What do you think?

Stay tuned for yet another DIY kitchen project that we just finished tackling – the last major kitchen project until we replace the countertops and add a backsplash next year. Hint: starts with “new” and rhymes with “babinet boors” :)

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So, when we moved into this house, we knew that we’d have to do some things to the kitchen to update it and make it more our style.  There wasn’t quite enough counter space (the “island” below wasn’t there when we moved in), and the cabinet faces were super outdated and had so much gunked up paint on them that they weren’t salvageable.  At first, the kitchen was an odd mix of colors, navy, maroon, and beige:

But before we went to work on changing the color scheme to something that fit our style more, we wanted to go ahead and build an island so that we’d have more cooking and food prep surface.  As you can tell in my about me section, I love to cook, and a kitchen without enough counter space was a deal breaker.

We started by drawing out our kitchen in CAD software (yes, we’re engineers) to help us figure out how much clearance we had and how much we’d need to keep between the island and the fridge and the oven so that we could still open everything all the way when needed.  We decided a 33″ base cabinet would work, so we purchased a premade cabinet from Home Depot.  Before we purchased anything else, we brought it home and set it in place for a few days (and even used the box as a temporary countertop) so that we could be sure it wasn’t going to be too large or too small.  It turned out to be just right, so we proceeded with the next step.

Then, we went out and purchased a pre-finished toe-kick from the same manufacturers of the cabinet, a piece of outside corner molding, and a sheet of primed wainscotting to cover the unfinished back (all from Home Depot). We had already decided to do a butcher block counter on the island, so we shopped around and it turned out Ikea was our best bet for that.  Their countertops had great reviews and it was also the cheapest option by far.

To put it all together, we cut to size the toe kick, corner molding (2 pieces for the corners on the “back” of the cabinet), and the wainscotting to cover the unfinished back.

Then, we glued the toe kick to the front with liquid nails and let it dry while we were cutting the butcher block countertop to size.  After the glue was dry, we attached the wainscotting to the back with the TINIEST nails we could find.  This was crucial, because the cabinet we bought was particleboard, and larger nails would cause it to split.  This was by far the hardest part, since there isn’t much of a lip for you to nail the wainscotting into.  You just have to be careful and patient.  There may be a better method to this, but we just kind of went with what we knew.  We didn’t use many of the nails, probably only 12 total around the edges of the cabinet box.  After we’d attached the wainscotting, we glued the corner molding over the back corners, and the cabinet box itself was done!

Voila!  Much better already.  We lucked out because the primed wainscotting was exactly the same color as the rest of the cabinet (and it was evenly primed), so we just left it as it was and didn’t bother with paint.

The countertop was simple in theory – all we had to do was cut the ikea countertop we bought to size and then sand the heck out of it.  However, when you’re not totally careful sometimes you have to re-do things, like we did.  We let our circular saw slip a little bit at the end of the cut, which meant wood splintered in a lot of messy directions, so we had to cut it again to hide our mishap.  After we did that, we sanded, sanded some more, and then sanded some more to hide the edge that we cut.  We followed the directions that came with the countertop to attach it to the cabinet, and…

TA-DA!! An island!  No, it doesn’t match our cabinets exactly, BUT, it cost us under $300 to do, whereas purchasing a similar custom-made island would have been well over $800.

We loved this project, and it only took us one Saturday to complete!

Have you ever built an island?  I’d love to hear about yours!

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