Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our 3 day kitchen face-lift

Back in November, I wrote about our work-in-progress kitchen and the gradual transformation over the past 8 years. I am very happy to report substantially more progress recently occurred. Here is a quick reminder what our kitchen looked like weeks ago.
On Wednesday night (Dec 1st), we began prepping for the install of the much dreamed about new quartz counter-tops. We had to empty out all of the lower cabinets and drawers. This is where I have to shamefully admit to finding a lot of things I had totally forgotten were there. {I am a closet hoarder and should probably be seeking treatment when I have more time.} On Thursday night, Steve had help from one of his good buddies to actually remove the old laminate counter-tops and disconnect the sink/faucet. Nothing looked stranger than seeing our topless cabinets.
Near 10:00 AM Friday morning, the magic began. Two guys from Granite Unlimited out of Fargo pulled up in a big truck and began moving in three large pieces of quartz. Those guys definitely ate their Wheaties because the largest piece was nearly 400 lbs! I was so very impressed with their speed and professionalism. Within two hours, they had installed, caulked, put in the sink & used a really slick hydraulic marble press to create a virtually invisible seam.

Buh-bye, pink speckled, chipped laminate with sharp corners...

Hello, beautiful, smooth, warm colored quartz... love the rounded edges!! No more stabbing myself in the hip every time I walk around the peninsula. Friday night, Steve (a.k.a The Plumber) installed the fabulous new faucet and connected all of the sink, disposal, dishwasher stuff. The stainless steel, under-mount sink totally rocks.

Saturday morning, Steve & I were ready to go with putting in the tile back-splash. Although, we have never worked with mosaic glass tile before, we have done two smaller tile jobs on our entry way and in our downstairs bathroom, so we had all kinds of confidence. We tried out a new product called SimpleMat, which is a tile setting mat and takes the place of using thin-set. It applied like contact paper and was really handy to use. Figuring out how to get started with placing the tile was kinda trixie because they are offset. The challenge was we had to start with cutting. First Steve tried a wet-saw, but the mosaics were too floppy and didn't cut straight. Then he tried a 4 inch circular saw with a carbide blade, but that chipped the glass tile. The winner ended up being the hand tile cutter, which scores and then snaps the tile... slow, but steady. Once a cutting solution was determined, we started with tiling. With the SimpleMat, you just place the tiles and press firmly. After an hour or so, we got into a rhythm and made great progress. We just skipped making all the tiny cuts around the outlets and the window.

By the end of day 1, we were feeling great about the project and proud of the progress we had made. All of the full-sized tile were placed and only 1 run to Home Depot to get one more 12x12 tile. We ended the day by treating ourselves to a fun family night out with the Hubert family.

Unfortunately, day 2 came with a few more challenges and took us much longer than expected. We got started after church: Two more trips to Home Depot to get the right grout {thanks, Lance for that save}; cutting lots of tiny little tiles to fit around the windows and all the outlets; mixing up grout, applying grout, running out of grout, mixing up more grout, etc. FYI... grouting tiny mosaic tiles is tedious. It took 6 hours to complete all the cuts and grouting and another 2 hrs to buff, buff & buff some more. When that was done, Steve worked on bumping out the outlets with spacers, which ended up being more frustrating and caused another trip to Home Depot. He added stainless steel plate covers that look really sharp.

By 10:30 PM, on Sunday night... our kitchen face-lift was complete...

We are in love with our kitchen. Here is the after...The counter-top, the sink, the faucet, the tile back-splash... all came together. I don't know which of the 4 items I love the most. Now I am busy running around like a lunatic, meticulously wiping out the sink, all stray crumbs and clearing away every random bit of counter-top clutter just so it stays looking this good. I'm sure that will wear off in a few more days, right? Otherwise, Steve will probably be seeking medication for me.


Heather said...

It is BEAUTIFUL! I love the transformation. I think my favorite is the sink and faucet....BUT I LOVE IT ALL!!! I would just sit at the counter and stare at it if I were you!

Lori said...

I LOVE it!! It looks amazing. Your quartz is beautiful. I bet you do sit and stare at it every now and then. I know I do that to mine ;)

Kathy said...

What a "lift" it gives to your kitchen. I LOVE the sink and faucet!!! I have decided you can never spent to much money on the faucet because it does really make a difference. I would have ran out of patience some where along the second run to Home Depot. You guys had to save a ton of money with Steve being able to do the plumbing and both of you doing the back splash. If we do the kitchen I am sure it will be paid for and not installed by Steve. He can create great products but he isn't a handyman :)

It will be fun to look at your kitchen day 1 of moving in and now. That would be quite the change for sure!

Congrats on a beautiful job and in plenty of time for Christmas!!!