Monday, December 25, 2017

Time to Remodel

While recuperating from my hip replacement last year I spent some time watching HGTV and decided it was time to remodel the kitchen. Fortunately Brian went along with the idea.
The kitchen had very dated pickled oak cabinets, cheap laminate countertops and the floor tile was old and chipped. The guest bath had the same cabinets and tile.

We spent much of the spring looking at numerous options and purchased most of our materials at that time. When we returned after our summer travels on the East Coast and Canada we got the rest of the materials and got started. Following is a very brief description of some of the steps we took.

We tore out the old cabinets, but had to assemble the new cabinets before we could install them. The new wall cabinets go all the way to the ceiling, and the new base cabinets are drawers.

When we were shopping for flooring we had a difficult time deciding what to use until we came across Karndean Looselay Luxury Plank Vinyl.  Absolutely love it.  We didn't have to tear out the old tile or remove baseboards and door frames. Brian roughed up the existing tile with a sander and filled in the old grout lines. We installed the planks, and Brian was able to do the cuts with a utility knife. Some of the cuts were complicated, but he figured it out. The photo below shows the guest bath floor before installing the new flooring. We did the flooring in stages depending on what the next part of the project was.
We also got rid of the old cabinets in the bathroom. We purchased new cabinet doors in the Shaker style to match the kitchen. Brian painted the doors and cabinet frames to match, which was a much easier option than trying to tear them out.

We did much of the floor in the kitchen and laundry room before starting on the base cabinets. Once they were installed the next step was to get started on the granite tile countertops.

Our choice for the countertops was 12x24 granite tiles. I chose a tile I really liked but of course it didn't come with a bullnose option. Among other things, Brian invested in a tile saw, and a tool that bullnosed and polished the granite tile. It was a tremendous amount of work and really did a number on his back but he did a great job.We had to set up our cutting/bullnosing/polishing shop in the garage since it was way too hot to be working out in the sun.

We tiled the stove side of the kitchen first - the goal was to keep the kitchen functional while we were working and we pretty much accomplished that. In addition to laying the tile on the countertop we had to cut and lay tile for the fascia. Once that was done everything had to be grouted and sealed, quite a production but done in stages.

One of the biggest challenges was the kitchen sink. The company that we ordered our cabinets from didn't have an option for a farmhouse sink cabinet so Brian modified a wall cabinet and built the support for the sink around the cabinet. He also designed and built a pull-out drawer under the sink - took several days but he's a meticulous planner and it turned out really well.

The floor under the base cabinets of the sink side was anything but level so it took a while to get that accomplished so the flooring could be installed, the base cabinets installed, and the dishwasher re-installed.
Once the base cabinets on the sink side were installed and level we began the tiling project on that side. We spent a lot of time making sure the sink was properly installed and level. Brian installed all new plumbing for the sink and new faucet and came up with a clever idea for leveling the sink. He put metal on the side supports for the sink, then installed bolts that he could adjust up or down as needed while I held the level on top of the sink and countertop.

Once the cabinets, dishwasher, sink and tile were pretty much done we got to work on the bar. We tore out the old bar and built a new countertop base and fascia which we tiled, grouted and sealed. 

Almost to the finish line and we still had to decide on a backsplash. When we returned to the place that we bought our granite tile one of the designers showed us glass subway tile that we thought went pretty well with the countertops. Brian came up with the idea of using a few lighter tiles to break things up and I think it worked out quite well. We thought the backsplash would go up pretty quickly but it didn't. It came in sheets with 8 tiles on each, and the spacers we had to use kept falling out. It took close to 3 days to install, very difficult but it turned out well.

Obviously I've skipped many steps and this is just the basic description of what we did. As usual with projects like these challenges kept presenting themselves, but we got done in about 6 weeks which is pretty good for a major remodel. We're very happy with the results!


  1. Nice to see you're keeping Brian busy!

  2. I like to try and keep Brian from getting bored - I'm not having trouble thinking of more projects ...