I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues

Elton’s feeling blue.  I was feeling blue.  And now our kitchen is, too.  Yep, we’ve got color on those spackle speckled walls.  Well, I sanded the spackle before painting.  If you remember, here’s the before.

Yeah, the three-toned wall color wasn’t working for me.  So, I busted out my sanding skills to smooth out the walls.  I know, this should have been done months ago, but Ben and I both hate sheet rock work.  So we procrastinated.  The time had come though.  After sanding the walls, filling the small imperfections, and sanding again, I was ready to get started.

I prefer to paint trim first, working the paint into the crack by the wall.  Once that dries, I get started on the color.  Knowing that, I painted the trim Vermont Cream, color-matched to a Glidden satin latex paint.  Why Glidden?  Ben uses it in the apartments and loves it.  I didn’t like the work-ability (or lack of) the Behr.  Either I’m a slow painter or Behr dries especially fast.  But I also hate the durability (again, the lack of) of Wal-Mart’s paint.  Glidden seemed to bridge the gap.

Anyway, two coats of paint on the trim and about 24 hours of dry time later, I was ready for some color.

The same mis-tinted paint used in the dining room and theater room to be exact.  I bought another gallon at Wal-Mart (their paints are fine for areas with less traffic and/or use).  Rather than hauling the old can to the store, I took a picture of the label.  To say the paint gal was confused by this is an understatement.  Seriously, she was perplexed that I would do something so strange.  Finally, I explained to her what I was looking for and we got the paint mixed.

After spending an hour taping off the trim, I got painting supplies together.  Brush?  Check.  Paint tray?  Check.  Paint?  Check.  Roller and cover.  Oops.  I ran out of roller covers.  Gah!  Off to the hardware store the boys and I went.  We got the foam rollers, did our grocery shopping, and headed home.  After unpacking the groceries, I realized the covers were the right length, but the hole for the roller cage was too big.  Boo.  Luckily, I used the same color for the insides of the upper cabinets, so I searched for my used roller cover.  Found it…in the trash, still in the bag.  I cleaned the paint boogers off and used it.  Yes, I was desperate to start painting without going to the hardware store again.

I started painting, cutting in around the top of the casement.  It didn’t have to be perfect because anyone under seven feet tall wouldn’t see it.

Painting a flat wall was a breeze compared to the detailed trim.  Rosettes are the most difficult trim to paint.

Shortly after the first coat dried, I started with the second.  When I finished the second coat throughout the entire kitchen, I peeled off the tape.

Frog Tape prevented the majority of the paint seepage, but I did have a few peeling issues.  I think this was because I didn’t peel the tape off as I was painting, so it was starting to dry.

Touch ups are in my future.  Good thing I’ll have the same color out when we repaint the dining room.  I had to hold off painting the blue in the dining room because we’ve got to repaint the lower part white.

Here’s where we’re at now.  You can see we chose to paint the vent hood like the rest of the walls and door frames.  No special treatment.

Crown, casement, and door frames are white.

For better flow, I painted around the back door, too.  Now the color wraps from the stairs, around the kitchen, and into the dining room.

Now I need art to fill this blank wall.  I like what we had before, but I’d like something larger with more color.  Pinterest, here I come!

Up next, another layer of mud on the ceiling.  Then sanding, priming, and painting.  Again, we’re aware this should have been done long ago.

In addition to the ceiling, Ben has to install a few more trim pieces in the dining room, then more painting.  But we are getting another thing crossed off our list as I type this.  We took the cabinet doors to a local glass company.

Hopefully you’ll get to read and see more about that on Monday!

Have you been painting any rooms recently?  What color(s) did you choose?  Do you prefer to paint trim first?  Like Ben, do you hate sheet rock work?  Who’s excited that we’re almost done with the kitchen?  (Quickly raises hand).

Cabinet Doors? Done

Almost.  I’ve got some touch up painting to do, but I’ll explain that later.  On Saturday, Ben built eight cabinet doors including two glass frames.  Details to come later, but you can bet I filled the doors right away.  Sunday morning I sanded those babies down and filled a few areas again.  While impatiently tapping my fingers waiting for filler to dry, I dreamed about installed cabinet doors.  A few hours later, I gave the doors a final sanding and started painting with my two in one Behr paint.  Love that I don’t have to prime.

I don’t know why, but Behr paint seems to dry faster than any other brand.  Which is good news for me because I got two coats of paint on the fronts of the cabinets on Sunday.  Then I flipped ’em over on Monday and gave the backs two more coats.  Tuesday morning, I flipped back to the front for one more coat.

Once that coat dried, I hauled the doors up to the kitchen and propped them in place.  You know, just to get a feel of what they would look like.  Because I’m impatient like that.

That’s when I discovered a problem.  The two glass door frames were about 1/8 inch wider than their lower counterparts.

Ben happened to come home to get his wallet during this and I pointed out the problem.

When Ben got home that afternoon, I politely asked begged, pleaded, and whined for him to install the cabinet doors.  He ripped down the glass door frames to make everything even and flush.  Then he started with the install of the fridge and bar doors.  To install the hidden hinges, Ben measured and marked his the hole locations.  He carefully drilled into the frames to hollow out a hole to recess the hinge in.

I admit, I was holding my breath while watching this.  Ben is skilled (as you all know) but I imagined him drilling too far or popping a screw through the front.  Luckily, everything went smoothly, other than one screw head breaking off.  Then he popped the hinge in, used a square to keep it straight and put 3/4 inch screws in to hold it in place.

Handy Sammy was over for dinner, so he held the door up for Ben to hang.  I’m too short, I can’t reach.  Okay, I’m not that short, but it is nice to pawn a job off on an unsuspecting guest.

We didn’t want the wood cabinet frames to split, so Ben used a small drill bit to make a pilot hole, followed by a 1 1/4 inch screw in each hinge to hold the door in place.  After the two bar and two fridge cabinets, Ben called it quits for the night and took a shower.  While I was in the shower, Ben did a little more work.  I walked out to see two door knobs in the fridge cabinets.

Speaking of the knobs, I had a little trouble deciding on the placement.  Like Goldilocks, one was too low; centered in the bottom corner.

Another was too high; the outer edge of the knob above the bottom edge detail.

But one was juuuust right.  And Ben agreed.  Centered width wise on the edge detail, but also centered on the cross edge.

Fortunately for me, this made measuring a cinch.  I just lined my ruler up with the raised detail and marked 1 1/4 inch from the edge (because our banding is 2 1/2 inches wide).

Yesterday afternoon, Ben finished installing the doors.  Where’d the microwave go?  Oh, it’s hidden behind a cabinet door.  Sneaky us.

And now you can’t see our pile of mail or the toaster.  But you can see our pretty dishes!

Add a few sparkly knobs and we’re done.  Wait, we’re not.  I’ve got to paint the crown moulding, those MDF brown trim pieces we’ve added, repaint the edges of the glass frames, and, oh yeah.  Get glass!  Notice the lack of glare?  Ben thinks we should leave the doors glass-less so we always have clean and clear glass that’s under control (not to be confused with the face cleanser).

And I’ve already made this a long post, so why not make it a little longer, all in the name of eye candy?  Oooooh, shiiiny.

I did realize why the knobs were so cheap, though.  Some of the bolts are bent.  Nothing Ben and a little man muscle can’t fix.

Edit:  Here are the pictures I promised to add.  I’ll have to touch up the paint on the glass frames.

And, here’s something I really love.  Ben bought soft close hinges.  No more slamming doors.

We’ve got tons more storage on the bar side, too.  So far, the only thing inside is Ben’s food dehydrator.

We used three hinges on these heavy guys.

Once we get the glass in the frames we’ll have a full cabinet building post.  I’m just excited we’ve covered the gaping holes and you can’t see our junk.  Before, it was like we left our zipper down, but no one told us.  Well, we figured it out.

One more thing checked off our to do list, one step closer to a finished kitchen, but it’s finally starting to look finished.  Just a little more sanding, priming, and painting…  Of course then we’ve got organizing and little building projects to do, but nothing that has to be done.

What do you think?  What’s your favorite part?  Who’s excited to see some paint on those walls?

Fill the Cabinets

Yesterday I got to do something I’ve wanted to do for nearly four months.  Get all of our dishes out of the guest bedroom closet and into their permanent homes in the kitchen cabinets.  Yes, I was nerdy excited to put things away.  What can I say, organizing is the jam to my peanut butter.

You can see in this post we already had our main dishes in the cabinets.  But you’ll also notice we had a few unpainted shelves.

I finally got my arse in gear and primed and painted said shelves.  Which means I had a place to set the dishes.  Before I started putting dishes in the cabinets, I hauled everything out of the guest bedroom and set it on the counters to assess the situation.

My process of arranging the dishes is very similar to arranging a bookshelf.  Most often used items are easiest to reach, which for shorties like myself is the bottom shelf.  Least used things up at the top.  That means you, gravy boat.

Of course I couldn’t just toss things in there.  Nope, I didn’t want a block of white ceramic and then another chunk of clear glass.  I made sure to mix glass with ceramics on the same shelf and staggered going up.

Don’t be fooled.  I moved things around several times until I landed on the right spacing (gotta maximize) and layout.

Everything from the stack of plates up will have glass door fronts, but we’ll cover the ugly mail and toaster up with a solid door front.

But that little elephant there?  Yeah, he came from the Dollar Tree.  It’s a cute little bank for Ben to toss his change in instead of leaving it on the counter.  E often asks to “pet el-phant?”    After petting it a few times, he walks off and carries on with his day.  When we get the big kitchen projects out-of-the-way, we’ll build dividers to separate the mail and cover the electrical box.  Gotta get some doors first.

Who else likes to organize cabinets?  I know I’m not the only one.  How do you prioritize your dishes?  Do you have a cute bank?

Paint it Up, Paint it In

Let me begin.  I came to win.  Battle me that’s a sin.  I won’t tear the sack up.  Punk you’d better back up.

That’s right, I got some painting done in a few painting sessions last week and over the weekend.  I thought of House of Pain the entire time, especially when I told E he’d better back up.  He has a tendency to lean against the cabinets (or climb in them), getting wet paint on his hands.  That’s what we get for having an open floor plan.

Anyway, back to the painting.  The bar cabinets in the living got a coat of Behr’s Vermont Cream Two in One paint, the same paint we used for the upper cabinets in the kitchen.

True to my nature, I was in a hurry to get the cabinets painted and did a few things backwards.  Like painting before I had filled and sanded the screws in the sheet rock.  It wasn’t a big deal though, I just got a head start on the cabinet painting.

I decided on white because it matches the entertainment center cabinets and the white below the chair rail in the rest of the living room.  (And your votes pointed to white)  For better flow, we agreed to paint the wall part white to mimic the chair rail.  The real truth?  I’m the one painting and I was lazy and didn’t wait to dig out the gray paint and tape off the cabinets.  So everything got a nice coat of white.

If you’re wondering what the boys do during my painting sessions, see exhibit a:

While I’m talking to them, they play in the living room, make a giant mess.  The kitchen doesn’t get as much action, but you can see I’ve neglected put off cleaning until cabinet painting has come to a close.

After one coat of paint on the cabinets, I broke down and filled the screw holes.  I let everything dry, sanded smooth, filled any holes again.  Let it dry, sanded smooth, vacuumed up the dust and painted another coat of white paint on the cabinets and wall.  Then again.  And yet again.

I was so excited to pull up the tape.  And that’s where I got a little annoyed.  I used Frog Tape along the edges, which did limit paint seepage.  But the Behr paint is so thick and dried quickly (which can be good) which made it impossible to pull the tape up while the paint was wet.  So little chunks of paint peeled off the cabinet right along with the tape.  I guess I’ll have to remember that and peel the tape off one small section at a time.

Enough of my whining though.  Did you notice Ben installed the shelves in the cabinets?  And do you see how nicely the bar stools pop against the white wall?

But that’s not all the painting I finished.  No siree.  I painted the half wall and the white chair rail walls around the back door.

No more Frankenwall.

It’s nice to see that wall a solid color again.  No more nicks, nail holes, or mismatched trim.  Plenty more trim painting to do, but I’m waiting until Ben sands and paints the ceiling.  Then I’ll have the pleasure of painting what feels like miles of crown moulding and casement.  Sometimes painting in phases is annoying; cleaning up each time can get old, but it also has benefits.  By limiting myself to small areas, I can get painting done quickly (often during nap time) and I don’t have to keep the boys away from the entire house.

Do you like to get all your painting done in one go?  Or do you work in small sections like I do?  Did you do any painting this weekend?  Install any shelves?  Maybe you sat on the couch and watched the football games?  Cough Ben cough.  Okay, he didn’t watch the entire game, he did install the shelves and started sanding the ceiling and walls.

Oscar the Grout

We’re already shared our crown moulding progress.  Now that we’ve installed and grouted the marble subway tile kitchen back splash, we’re ready to share the details.  Ben likes to use pre-mixed mastic for small jobs like this.  Our tiles are relatively small (3 by 6 inches), so a 1/4 inch notch trowel worked perfectly.  For the most seamless look possible, we used 1/16 inch spacers.  Ben borrowed a wet saw from work to get the job done.  Before grouting the tile, we waited a week to give the tile adequate time to set up.

We had white unsanded grout left over from our bathrooms, so we used what we had.

Before mixing the grout, I taped off the cabinets and counters.  Grouting is a messy job and we wanted to protect everything as much as possible.  Then Ben mixed up some grout in a large stainless steel bowl.  Like nearly everything mixed material in home improvement, you want the grout to have the consistency of peanut butter.

Using a foam float, Ben applied the grout, smooshing it in the cracks and wiping the extra off quickly after.

Be careful not to wipe off too much, though.

For the tighter strips along the window, Ben used his fingers to push the grout in the cracks.  After finishing up the wall, Ben sponged most of the grout off the tile surfaces and the window trim.

Next up, the stove side tile.  Again, the float was too wide to get this tile, so Ben applied it with his hands.

And now waiting for the grout to set up.

Here she is, all grouted and lookin’ pretty.

Here’s my favorite shot, showing almost every kitchen detail:

Everything except the awful soap color.  Why does Palmolive make their soap glow in the dark green?

Any suggestions for pretty dish soap?  Hand soap is easy enough to find.  I like that this pump holds two different kinds, but I’d like something prettier.  But doesn’t the grout make everything look so much better?  And finished?  And preeeety?