Blank Slate

We’ve been busting our butts to knock out as much of the kitchen as possible.  After installing the ceiling planks, we turned our attention to the floors.  First, we had to take out the majority of the cabinets.  Everything except the kitchen sink, to keep things functional as long as possible.


With cabinet out-of-the-way, Ben used a rented tool to help pry up the tile.


Removing the tile was necessary for a few reasons.  The most basic is cosmetic; having never liked the look and wide grout lines, we didn’t want to work around it.  Secondly, the tile went around the cabinets, which is a problem because we’re slightly shifting the island.


Most importantly, the tile was installed over plywood.  Our subfloor starts with a layer of plywood with particle board over that, and then another layer of thin plywood.  All glued like a sandwich.  In wet areas, this can cause shifting and settling as water seeps under.  Which happened around the sink and fridge.  In fact, we discovered an area of prolonged exposure that rotted completely through to the basement.  To fix the area, Ben cut out the problem hole and some surrounding wood.


Adding a few braces to the exposed joists and topping it with new sub floor fixes it quickly.


What wasn’t quick was removing was prying up the top layer of plywood to get a smooth base.  Pulling up the tile and sub floor took a full two days.


Sucky, but totally worth it to properly install our new tile.  Ahh, a blank slate to start adding to.


It was interesting pulling up the top layer as it revealed the old kitchen layout.  Part of the kitchen (where the fridge and office were) was added along with the pool house.


There’s an area of particle board, then a filler strip where the exterior wall once was, and then the addition.  I’m guessing the stove went along this wall, based on the patched vent hole.


With the floors even and clean, we started laying Hardie Backer board.


Three and a half hours and 35 sheets later, we finished and let it dry.


Finally, the fun part – tile!  After laying out a row of staggered brick pattern, I made an 11th hour change and tried out herringbone.  With such a long area (29 feet from the door to the family room) it looked better to have a pattern that looked the same from every wall.  Rather than a brick pattern from one side and lines from another.


We used the same slate tile from the bathroom because we loved it so much.  It’s beautiful, easy to work with, gets a great anti slip rating, and we can carry it into the pool house.  Hopefully grout will happen in the next few days.


In addition to finishing the floors, we also needed to get the ceiling painted before cabinets can go in.  Tongue and groove is a pain to paint with a brush and roller.  I know this after painting the bathroom.  And that was roughly 1/10 of the size.  To speed up the process, we masked off the windows, both doors, and the floors to get spraying.  Ben uses this sprayer  at work often, so he tackled the painting while I looked for light areas.


Once the primer dried, we painted the ceiling with Sherwin Williams Snowbound in a satin finish.  Here’s the room before paint:


And right after:


The paint haze in the room was crazy.  Which makes it really important to wear a vapor mask.  After all that, here’s what the kitchen looks like:


A bare shell, ready to fill with cabinets, appliances, and all of our kitchen essentials.


We’ve officially passed the deconstruction and are on the construction side.  Although we will have to do a little more demo to replace the door.


But, that’s going to wait until we get back to a functioning kitchen.  You know, a room with a sink.  Speaking of sinks, this custom-made beauty arrived last week.


Love at first sight.  It’s 36 by 25 and 9 inches deep.  The makers also crafted a strainer basket, so that was a fun bonus.  So excited to get that stunner in and wash some dishes.  Until then, we’re washing our dishes in the laundry tub.


The washer makes a great drying rack.  🙂

32 thoughts on “Blank Slate

  1. Top to bottom, literally, looks fantastic. I’ll bet you’re ecstatic to be working on your kitchen…the room you undoubtedly spend most of your time in every day. Looks great and I’m anxious to see the finished product!

    1. Thanks, 3 little hops! We’re so excited to be working on the kitchen. Something we use and can enjoy everyday! Can’t wait to share more as we get things done.


  2. My goodness. Wow, you two are awesome together. That sink is absolutely gorgeous. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

  3. Hey! We ended up using the same slate in our kitchen/dining reno! We laid over 500 sf of it, and holy s*&@, it was work! We had to remove all of the existing tile, an entire subfloor, relay a beefier subfloor, lay the backerboard, and then finally lay the Montauk! It looks awesome, but as careful as we were, we do have some slight lippage on some of the tiles, which I wish I would have thought more about before choosing this tile. I think me wanting such a small grout line didn’t help much with the lippage though. I also think people need to know that not every structure can handle natural stone… the structure below is the first thing people need to take into consideration before using any stone, whereas it cracks easier and can be heavier than other tiles. The deflection of your floor is crucial and can be calculated with a deflection calculator. I would love to send you a couple before and almost afters seeing your blog was one of the final reasons we went with the slate… I picked your brain via the comments a while back after your bathroom post. I’ll look forward to your posts, especially seeing we are just about finished with ours… almost 9 months after starting, ugh! Happy renovating!

    1. Hi Dave!

      Yes, I remember you and your comments and questions! I’m so excited to hear back from you! You’re right, laying the tile was a ton of work! This space is about 420 square feet and it took 8 or so hours to get the tile installed. So labor intensive!! Your experience sounds very similar to ours. Not fun to remove that much, but necessary to keep the floors looking great. We have a few tiles that sit a little higher than the surrounding ones, regardless of our wiggling/shifting to get it flatter. Ben used a 3/8 inch trowel for slightly thicker mastic, which gave it a little more play to level everything out. I think that’s expected with slate and large tiles in general, but especially if you have small grout lines. Not much forgiveness there.

      You’re right about the weight of stone. Our floors don’t have much deflection, thankfully. We’re still going to play it safe and beef up from the basement with a support post. Please, please do send pics of your remodel over! My email address is I’m so excited to see the same slate in another kitchen! 🙂 Have you sealed your floors yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts on keep them clean in a kitchen.

      Thanks so much for your encouraging email and helpful tips/experiences!

  4. I am interested in hearing why you decided to lay the floor and then the cabinets overtop of the slate flooring? I know you mentioned that there was water damage on some of the subfloor but didn’t know if that was the main reason or if there is another reason? I am interested because my flooring is like your before but I was interested in doing the same…but didn’t know if that was a “thing” or if I was just different!

    1. Hi Kates!

      Great question! We like putting the floors under cabinets for a few reasons. One, it’s a nice, seamless look. Two, if something spills, it doesn’t seep into the sub floor. Three, if we ever wanted to change the layout, we wouldn’t have to replace the floors as well. It’s also a lot easier when cutting to be able to hide some edges under cabinets, rather than around. I hope that helps! 🙂


  5. Hey Amanda! The floor looks great! (Even without grout!) I was wondering where the tile stops in relation to the living room with the fireplace? (They are next to each other, right?) I’m sure it looks great, I just can’t picture that part! Hope things continue to go smoothly!

    1. Hi Ashley!

      Thanks so much! The floors stop about 13 feet from the fireplace. I’ll share pics of the two rooms together once we get the crap out of the way. 😀

      Thanks so much for the love and encouragement!

  6. Love the look of your plank ceiling! I’m about to try it for the first time, in the smallest room of the house. I’m curious how you plan to finish off where the planks meet the wall. Have you done something yet, and I just can’t see it clearly? I’d love a closer look. Thanks.

    1. Hey Monica!

      We haven’t installed the crown yet, but it covers the small gaps around the edges. Just try to cut as accurately as possible to minimize the gaps. If you don’t want to add crown, you can caulk the gaps and paint. Whatever you prefer.


  7. Wow! that was a lot of work and the ceiling is ok. how did you know? I don’t think I could paint wood, but it looks fine.

  8. Wow!!! You guys are amazing. Not to mention quick – and efficient! Looks awesome! I’m obsessed with your kitchen already and it’s only an empty space! Opening it up like that makes it look like a completely different house. I’m excited for you!
    Have you mentioned what color you plan to paint the cabinets?

    1. Hi Liz!

      Thanks, lady! We’re painting the perimeter the same white as the ceiling- Snowbound by Sherwin Williams. The island is going to be something completely different. I’m so excited for that. 🙂


    1. Hi Tara!

      The tiles are slate from Home Depot. Here’s a link: This is our third (but not last) time using this tile in our home. We love it! It cuts easily, but doesn’t flake. At $3.00 a square foot, it’s really reasonably priced, too. Check your local store for it. Ours used to carry it, but n o longer does so we ordered online and had it shipped to the store. If you have other questions, just ask!


  9. I enjoy watching your progress, and I LOVE that sink!! Can you share the brand, model, supplier, or something?? 🙂

  10. Amazing job! The two of you make quite a team and a team effort it was for sure! Absolutely love your flooring choice. Will you carry the planked ceiling throughout the common spaces? I just love it!
    Looking forward to the cabinet installation! Have you done a shaker style door?
    The kitchen is THE MOST IMPORTANT space in one’s home and you have aced it so far!
    Best regards and happy new year!

    1. Hello Donna!

      Thank you so much for your super sweet compliment! 🙂 We’re also in love with the floors. We’re only planking the kitchen. The rest of the main floor has smooth ceilings, so there’s really no need. We just hated the knock down and wanted an interesting way to cover it up. Of course, we could have added another layer of sheetrock, but where’s the charm then?! We did shaker doors in our last house and we’re planning on flat fronts here. Super simple so the other elements can shine. Happy new year to you as well! We’re off to a great start.


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