Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Month 6 #PBJreno House Tour

Sometimes I sit in our kitchen and day dream of it being finished and spending our days there.  It feels like we're almost there... so close. 
Then I look around the rest of our house and I see things like this....

That would be our living room.  

And here's our laundry room.

And the stairs to the basement..... aka the dungeon.

This eventually will be our "TV room"... right now it's the construction dumping ground.

Jackson's room is at least unpacked.

And Baby Girl's room is the most "finished" as I've updating the trim, painted and refinished the closet.  But still far from livable.  

It's been 6 months since we bought this house.... this is one long journey.

However, we have at least made some improvements!
See what we HAVE done here at the #PBJreno house:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pull up a seat - at our beautiful breakfast bar | #PBJreno

Last I left you I shared our kitchen floor tiling process and with a similar image as below.

Except now I want to talk about this area...

That big ol' thang will be a big ol' breakfast bar!  I'm pretty excited about it. 
The final execution of it ended up being different than our original plan.  At first I envisioned it a little more "free floating" and open.  Something like this:

It's not really common to have a breakfast bar sit lower than the counter-top level but our kitchen and dining room space had a weird addition that made it be two different levels.  Where the kitchen is located - it's on the same level as the remainder of the house, but where we'll be having our dining room it's a 9" step down.  Some weird addition the previous owners did while they ruined lived in this house.  

PS. funny side story: My son J was at the house with me this past weekend and he was asking me, 

J: "Why did the people that used to live here leave?"
Me:  "Well hun because they wanted to live in a new house"
J: "So they broke the house first, then left, we got the house and now you're fixing it?"
Me: "HAHAHA, yup that's about right J:
Have to love those simple minded minds children have.

Back to our breakfast bar.  So our upper level kitchen layout is a combination of "L" shaped and Galley kitchen.  We decided we wanted to make the counter-top that was free-standing into the look of a big island, but since there was the step down we had to make it into a lower-level breakfast bar.  

After a lot of back and forth, and 6 months of watching our little girl climb onto EVERYTHING she possibly can, we decided to make our breakfast bar a little more sturdy.  Rather than just having the outer corner have a column support we opted for a hall wall for the side support. 

Plus, by doing a half wall we're able to sneak in an extra outlet... can't have too many of those!  

To keep it have a balanced look we did a half wall on the right side too.  We could have just used a long L bracket support drilled into the wall studs.  But, we just felt this would look more uniform. 

WHAAAAT.  What's going on up there...  :) Yup, that was the beautiful counter-tops being installed.

I'll be doing a little more trim and moulding work on this to make it look like the base cabinets.  I can't wait to have this big of a space up high at the counter-tops.  
It's a breakfast bar height which is 42" and traditional depth is 12" but we had the space and wanted it to be more of a comfortable work space so extended the bar out to 18".


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'll Walk all Over You | #PBJreno

Who wants to do a happy dance with me?  Perhaps a tap dance on our tiled floor?!

The kitchen floor was one of my biggest design struggles for this kitchen.  I just could not find a tile that I was envisioning and that also matched the space. I think we picked up about 12 different tile options before coming to a decision. But, now that the decision is made I'm SO excited.

Let's take a few steps back... remember when we ripped up the original flooring, and then re-installed the new subfloor.  So we had a brand new level floor in our kitchen to lay the tile down.  There's a million and one tutorials out there how to install tile and flooring so not going to do a full how to post. But, I will say laying down a 36" length plank is a lot more difficult than traditional tiles.  As the length of it covers 36" not only does your floor have to be level so bowing doesn't occur, but it can still occur when you lay to long tiles next to one another.  Natural bowing of the tiles can happen during manufacturing so it's easiest to stagger the tiles with a third distance separation.

As you can see we laid the tiles down and would stagger the tiles every 12".  I've seen a few different ways to do this but in our space being sure the tiles didn't overlap too much this is how we did it.

We used 3/16" grout spacers... this was another decision we had to make. We read a lot about lippage that can occur if your space is too small, and if it's too large you deal with dirty grout lines and greater risk of staining if spills occur.  We dry fit about half the kitchen first and went back and numbered each tile before picking it all up to lay the mortar.

All said and done --- VIOLA! We went with a dark grout to make it stand out more, and also help  eliminate risk of dirt and stains (darn those children).  There's still a big haze over the tiles in this picture so they almost look a bit cloudy. But you can tell the style and design of them... there's occasional hints of a wood grain, mixed with lines and varying of dark greys and whites.

I love them.

This is getting more fun to do with each project but let's do a quick flash back to the BEFORE:


I'm starting to wish we were able to change the layout more than we did but... it actually ended up  being the most functional as is.  We did expand the width of it by 12" (pushed the sink/island row of cabinets) and so very happy we gained that space.

Big changes huh!  I have a few more posts I'll be doing that show a few steps we've been able to do but soon enough any sneak peek reveals will be limited because ...... (dare I say it's actually possible) ... WE'LL BE DOING THE FULL REVEAL! (whaaaaat)


Thursday, October 2, 2014

What happens when you have project ADD | #PBJreno

When we were touring the house I remember having a moment of relief when I saw the upstairs bathroom, which we'd ALL be sharing.  From first glance it wasn't bad.  Fairly neutral colors, okay size, nothing that SCREAMED fix me now.  I was wrong. Oh so very wrong.

As this started becoming a place we cleaned our paint brushes and acted as a construction site port-a-potty I realized quickly this room was a DISASTER.  The shower was disgusting, they "caulked" the tub/tile seam with that inexpensive vinyl lining which really doesn't block any water or mold build up.  A closer look and all the tiles along the tub line are starting to bulge out -- which means there's water/mold behind them. YAY. 

The vanity sink was an under-mount that had separated from the vanity so any time water ran it seeped through that gap ... down to the ...

under cabinet area.  Where water just built up over time and had water damage all over.

Oh but hey there was a cute sign at least.

Again, do you see the poor caulk lines of the tile/wall, plus the tile/vanity top?  It was all begging for filth and mold to just build up in those gaps. 

So.  While we don't have a big budget, wait... we don't have a budget at all for a bathroom due to our kitchen renovation I had to get clever how we can "renovate" this space with practically zero money.

First plans:
Build a vanity from Ana White plans -- decide to maximize storage or maximize vanity top space.
Find an inexpensive vanity top for custom cabinet build
Clean the floor tile
DIY or Hire to reseal bathroom tub
Paint walls above tile
Redo window and door casing
Paint ceiling
Replace light fixtures
Replace fan

I quickly realized while building a custom vanity would be the most cost effective for that part, to find a vanity top that was 60" and a right-side placed sink would be VERY expensive.  So I decided to buy two vanity bases from Ikea, and then the MOST cost-effective vanity top I could find was to use butcher block.

Oh hey, do you see that gaping hole in the wall there?  Yah APPARENTLY the previous owner's thought removing their old medicine cabinet and vanity lights would be fixed by just leaving them... and covering it with a mirror.  
Actually, to be honest that's what we may do too SSSHHH.  But in the LONG run, down the road we'll be gutting this whole thing anyways so do we really want to fix a shabby plaster wall with big ol' holes in it? Eh. Mirror will cover it :)

So next I bought a butcher block top from Ikea which was about $120.  It was cut for kitchen cabinets so had a 25" depth instead of bathroom vanity cabinets of about 18".  We had to cut it down in length, and width but was easy to do, and big bonus is both those sides will be hidden against the wall so we can still use the finished exposed sides. 

Once it was cut to size to fit on top of the vanity drawers, we had to mark with our bathroom sink template where we needed to cut for the drop in.  Again, another easy route was to choose a drop-in sink rather than an under-mount for our purpose.  1 reason - easiest to install.  2 reason - it used up less space underneath within the cabinet which we want to use to maximize storage. 

Once it was all measured out, we used painter's tape to tape out the cut lines (helps reduce splintering of exposed wood) and used our jigsaw to cut out our sink hole.  It was easiest to start our cut lines by drilling a half inch hole at each corner.  This gave us a starting point for our jigsaw to drop in, rather than trying to cut into the big block at an angle.

VOILA.... a nice dry fit to make sure all is good.   Both our sink and faucet are from National Builder's Supply if you like what you see!

Once the cuts were completed it was time to stain -- yup! I wanted to stain our butcher block dark to give it a more custom look.  My hubs and I prefer dark wood and we have had to accept that our hardwood floors are the light honey color in our home so I thought this was the perfect chance to bring in the dark wood color for us.  
Ikea pre-seals their butcher blocks so I had to use an orbit sander with 120 grit and give it an all over to remove the layer of sealer for even staining. 

I tested out two different stains - my usual Minwax Provincial and tried out Varathane's Dark Walnut.  Typically I would ALWAYS choose Minwax Provincial, but typically I'm using it on reclaimed wood and the stain comes out a totally different color than this original wood.  It really accented all the different grains and variants in the wood and just didn't have the final look I was going for.  Varathane's stain to me has always applied more like a muddy paint, and then upon the wiping process acts more as a stain.  I really loved the rich look it gave the butcher block and it actually hid a lot of the wood variants which I wanted for this space. 

Oh yeah, apparently I put the wrong top back on it. Moving on...

Don't you LOVEEEEEEE the final color?! Oh my goodness.  I do. It looks so high-end! Once this dried I gave it a finish seal with Polycrylic Protective Finish which is a waster-based polyurethane.  It will keep the vanity top water and stain proof. 

Final updates of the bathroom to come.... as you can guess we aren't anywhere close to finishing anything in that house yet.

If you're interested check out other #pbjreno updates here!

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