New Glasses

A more appropriate title would be “Random Kitchen Stuff we Finished Over the Weekend.”

First up, we got glass in those cabinet doors.  Wednesday morning, I removed the doors from the cabinet frames, leaving the hinges and knobs on the door.

The boys and I hauled the glass-less frames to a local glass shop.  While holding E and keeping my eye on V, I carefully started unloading the boxes from the trunk.  Luckily, the man working there saw I had my hands full and took the doors out of my hands.

Once inside, E pointed out the taxidermy elk and deer (so Montanan) while the kind man and I discussed the doors.  Yep, I want plain clear glass in each of these.  He told me about their process and the precautions the take to prevent damaging the furniture.  That made me happy.  After giving me my total, only $30.60 for the glass and installation, I asked when the doors would be ready.  His response: well, we open at 8:00 tomorrow, so come in any time after that.  What?!  That’s quicker than I thought it would be.  Wahoo!

Sure enough, on Thursday afternoon, I picked up the ready and waiting doors.  And they looked wonderful.  Driving slower than a 90-year-old lady, we finally made it home.  Shortly after hauling the doors in the house, I decided I couldn’t wait to get them back up.  Four screws later, the cabinets were officially done.

Sorry for the glare, too.

On Sunday, Ben finished up some lighting.  Specifically, rope lights inside the glass-fronted cabinets.  He started with two packages of rope light and several strips of rope light channel.

After cutting, peeling, and sticking the channel, it was simple enough to push the lights in.  The lights were a little long for the cabinets, so we coiled the extra length at the top of the cabinets.

During the day, the lights barely highlight the dishes.  At night, the real magic happens.

I think our dishes now look like a jewelry display at a department store.  And I love anything shiny or sparkly.  The soft glow is pretty kick butt, too.

Update:  We’ve had questions on the lighting placement.  Our cabinet face frames overhang the cabinet by 3/4 inch, so we stuck the channel to the back side of that face frame.

Then the lights run up the side, and coil around the top front (to stay out of sight), and back down the other side.

Remember this ugly stove leg situation we have because our cabinets are taller than your average bear cabinet?

Well, it was finally time to take those legs from frumpy to fabulous.  After discussing our options (painted PVC pipe, wooden legs, adjustable bolts, etc.) we decided to buy blots and 1 1/2 stainless steel pipe for a slip cover effect.  Ben called from the hardware store to tell me they didn’t have brushed stainless pipe, only polished.  I told him to get it because a. we didn’t have a better option and b. fine sand paper should fix that.

When he got home with the pipe, he pointed out it was stainless plated brass.  I started sanding with 400 grit paper, being careful not to sand through the plating.  Happily, it worked like a charm.  See the difference?

While Handy Sammy held the stove front up, Ben screwed in the bolts, adjusted for height, and slipped the pipes over the bolts.

Oh, and I added a small strip of left over rope channel to secure the loose end of the rope lights.

For only a few bucks, we made matching stainless legs.  With the height adjustment, the top of the stove sits nicely against the counter tops, too.  While none of these projects will make a dramatic impression, it certainly helps the kitchen feel more polished and finished.

Just a little more sanding (the ceiling) and this small patch by the dining room, a few more trim pieces, some paint and we’re finally done with the kitchen.

What have you been working on this weekend?  Any sanding?  Installing lights?


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?

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?

Cap and Crown

As I mentioned yesterday, we spent most of our weekend relaxing, but we did slide a little kitchen work in there.  Ben installed the crown moulding in the kitchen on Saturday.  We didn’t want to pull the good crown from the dining room, so Ben cut a small piece to fill the gap between the old crown and the new cabinet.  Then he wrapped around to cover the cabinet:

Remember the gap above the marble back splash?  Before Ben could put crown up, he nailed a filler strip in place.

Then tacked the trim to the filler strip, keeping it flush with the ceiling while covering the gap and a little more of the marble tile.

See how nice that finishes the tile off and makes everything seamless?  Love it!  (And, that’s a peek at the grouted back splash).

To match the other cabinet, we wrapped the trim around the upper cabinets.

For some reason, the small back entrance and stairwell never got crown moulding.

Problem solved.  After a few coats of the same blue paint from the stairs and dining room, everything will flow together.

One of the reasons we chose the vent hood we have is because we wanted the rest of the kitchen to shine.  To make the fan as un-noticeable as possible, we agreed (after some debating) to carry the same trim around the vent hood.

I considered adding different trim and painting the box white, something kind of like this.

But Ben persisted that this was the best way to go.  I have to say, I agree.  White paint on the trim and blue in the middle will give this side a splash of color, too.

Now we need to caulk the cracks and joints, sand everything smooth and slap some primer/paint combo and we’re done.  With the trim.

What kind of vent hood do you have (or like)?  Sleek stainless?  Painted white?

P.S.  I used my new camera to take these pictures.  On my desktop, the pictures look fine, but on my laptop, a strange gradation/solarized thing happens.  Is anyone else seeing this?

P.P.S.  A few more readers took the survey (thank you!!) and I got a few requests to share some Photoshop action.  Consider a post in the works!  Oh, and to the surveyor(?) looking for bookshelf decorating, check out this post, or this one, this one, and this one.