We have now hit Stage 3 on our big DIY Kitchen Remodel – installing the tile!
Installing tile yourself is a great way to save money on a kitchen update. And I have a few tips to help you learn how to install tile.
If you remember, this is where we left my parents’ kitchen remodel last time. At this point we had completed a few days of Stage 1 – Demolition, and Stage 2 – Texturing and Painting the walls and ceiling.
Removing the old vinyl flooring wasn’t easy and we weren’t really happy with the state of the subflooring when we were done. We decided to replace the top layer of subfloor with cement board – which is usually something they recommend you put down before installing tile.
Look what we found when we pulled up the old subfloor. The original parquet vinyl tiles – ha! I had completely forgotten that was what the floor looked like when I was little.
We opted to cover it right back up again with the new cement board.
In case I haven’t mentioned it before – you do have a set or two of good work gloves, don’t you?
You’ll thank me for this one, especially when moving large sheets of wood or cement board. That cement board is not fun on your bare hands. And if you’re lucky you can find some girlie ones like THESE! 😉 I have purple work gloves and they make me happy.
#2 on the list of useful tools of the day – a handheld drill. I don’t know how many screws we installed in that cement board but it was a LOT. And don’t forget a spare battery! You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of a project just to wait for your battery to charge.
While we’re on the subject – grab yourself a pair of knee pads too. If you’re installing tile you’re gonna spend hours on those poor knees. We used construction knee pads, which worked just fine. Though I did find myself wondering if a more flexible pair like THIS might have been an even better option.
So. Cement board installed. Time to get down to business with the tile.
I have been very interested in the wood look tile that is gaining in popularity lately. We decided to try it out on this project.
I think it was a good choice. Looks realistic, doesn’t it?
I wanted a random look, but I’m too much of a perfectionist to just grab the pieces as I go. So we laid out the tile pattern ahead of time to make sure everything looked good.
The last decision we had to make before beginning to install the tile was where to start. Our goal is to eventually continue the tile through the adjoining living room since my parents have dogs and tile is a lot easier to clean than carpet. We decided to start with a clean line of tile in the archway between the two rooms.
As this was our first big tile project, I will leave the step-by-step installation instructions to the experts (just check Google or Pinterest – you’ll find a lot of great ones). I do, however, have a few tips that you may want to keep in mind.
–See those little spacers? Buy a lot of them. Like, twice as many as you think you will need. They’re cheap so it’s not a big deal. We used 1/8″ size like THESE.
–This would be a good time to send the kids (and dogs!) to Grandma’s for the weekend. It was really, really hard to keep everyone (even the adults!) off the floors until they were completely dry. Adequate, undisturbed drying time is a must. (Any time I have to wait on a project is torture, but we have to do it right?)
–Pay very close attention to keeping the edges of all the tiles level with each other. We thought we were doing a good job of this, but later discovered a couple of places where one tile rode a little higher than its neighbors. This may have been due to someone stepping on them wet. Maybe not.
–It’s super important that the subfloor is level and free of debris. Double check all the edges where each piece meets the next one. We found a couple of spots where the seams formed bumps. We took care of this with a knife or the hammer. In one case near the stairs, we missed a high spot and a couple of tile pieces came loose. It was a pain-in-the-you-know-what to gouge out the dried mortar and replace those. Save yourself the trouble.
–Have a partner help with the install. Unless you’re a pro, it’s always nice to have some extra help with the big projects. You really do have to work in small sections at a time in order to get it done before the mortar starts to set. It’s useful to have another set of hands for all kinds of reasons.
Back to the actual install photos. 😉
By the time we had laid a whole line of 3-4 rows the husband who had once been skeptical about my insistance that we could handle this tile project was heard saying that we would have no problem tiling the living room when the time came. (It’s nice to have my optimism proven right!)
And there we go. We were very pleased with ourselves when we got to this point. (And our knees and backs were so glad to get a break!)
I think I’m in love with this wood look tile. Pretty sure I want to do something similar in the entire main living areas of our new house – whenever that may be.
All in all, the tile took a grand total of three days to install. One day to replace the subfloor. One day to install the tile. Skip a day for the mortar to cure (which happened to be the first day of school for the kids). And one day for grout.
I don’t feel like we went any faster or slower than the average person would, so I think that’s a fairly reasonable estimate to expect if you tackle your own tile project. And if you do – I’d love to see photos! Always feel free to drop me a comment on here or Facebook.
Want to see the first couple of phases of the remodel? You can check out the Before photos and the first couple days of demolition HERE or the wall treatment and paint HERE. Or get a sneak peak into the final result when you check out the Farmhouse Barnwood Sign I made to decorate the wall above the kitchen sink.
Until next time – let’s go make something great!
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A few months ago we tackled our biggest project yet – a DIY Kitchen Remodel for my parents. We completely re-did the entire kitchen from the ground up. New floors, new walls color, new cabinets, new everything (except the stove). It was quite a project.
Last week I posted the first of the series about the kitchen remodel – the demolition. Whew – that part of the project was a lot of work!
The next step is the walls. But first a quick recap.
And at the end of the first blog post the kitchen looked like this:
The demolition portion of the DIY Kitchen Remodel took the better part of three days. In that time we cleared out all the furniture, appliances and old cabinetry and removed the wallpaper from the walls.
Those walls had held wallpaper for over 30 years, the latest edition being at least 20 years old. Once the wallpaper was removed the walls behind it weren’t exactly in great shape. In fact, in some places the walls were in rough enough shape I was very glad we planned to put up a tile backsplash so I didn’t have to waste a lot of time patching them up.
Thankfully, the walls in the dining section of the room were in decent shape but had never been textured. We borrowed a texturing machine from a friend for that step.
In preparation for the walls we filled any holes, caulked along any cracks in the corners (there were quite a few of those along the ceiling), and added a couple of outlets (for the dishwasher and microwave).
*When caulking anything you intend to paint double check that the caulk DOES NOT have any silicone in the ingredients even if it is labelled as paintable. Learned that one that hard way and had to do a lot of touching up later as the tape pulled off the paint over the caulk. Urgh.
Texturing a wall isn’t hard. In fact for small patches you can buy a spray can like THIS. (I have used that in other rooms – works great!)
For larger jobs, first fill any nail holes and patch any dents and sand smooth. Then take the time to cover anything that you don’t want textured (that stuff gets everywhere!). We taped plastic over all of the light fixtures, trim, heaters, and openings for doors and windows. We didn’t worry about the floor because we knew we were going to remove the first layer of subfloor and replace it before tiling the floor. That’s why we chose to do the texturing at this point – fewer things to cover up and protect from overspray than at any other point in the install.
As I said, we borrowed a texture spray gun from a friend. It looked similar to THIS ONE, which really isn’t a bad price. (I may just have to look into getting one when we build the new house. Something to think about…) Or if you don’t have an air compressor you could use a texture spray gun like THIS.
Once you’re all set up, simply mix the texture to the right consistency (roughly pancake batter in our case – it will depend on the texture you desire) and experiment a little bit on a scrap piece of cardboard or something.
There are a number of different texturing techniques. We went for the simple “orange peel” look.
-move quickly as you don’t want it to build up on the walls. You can always go back and apply another thin coat if needed but it’s not so easy to remove something that was put on too thickly.
-apply using a more circular motion (as much as possible – the sprayer is kind of awkward) instead of straight lines.
-try not to be a perfectionist. Remember – no one looks at the finished project as closely as you do when you are putting it together.
Let dry completely before removing the tape and protective plastic. In our case we applied the texture as the last thing we did on Day 3, at 8:30 PM. *sigh*
There you can see the walls with the texture applied. Sorry I forgot to get a close-up at that stage. Most of the photos were snapped quickly with the cell phone while everything was in process.
As you may notice from the photo, after texturing the walls we started painting. If you’re smart about this step you can save some time by not having to tape everything for each step.
We started by painting the ceiling and trim white. I suggest satin or flat paint for the ceiling, semi-gloss or high gloss for the trim. The glossier the trim is, the easier it is to clean later.
Then I taped off the ceiling and trim and started on the wall color.
I love how productive painting the walls feels. Suddenly the mess of a kitchen starts to look like it’s coming together. Amazing how a little bit of color can do that.
Well, that a good place to stop for today. Next up – installing the tile! (and yes we did it all ourselves – it’s easier than you think!) Check back soon!
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Spring is on its way (I hope, I hope, I hope) and what better way to get in the mood than by making your very own Spring Tulip Wreath?
I posted this tutorial last year right after I make this quick and easy wreath for my Mom, but the post seems to have been lost when switching blog hosts. Just in case it looks familiar too anyone 😉
Making decorative items for spring is one of my favorite things to do. There are just so many options and color combinations and ideas. I have a soft spot for wreaths, so when my Mom asked me to put together a wreath for her similar to one she has spotted at Pier One, I was happy to accept the challenge.
Want to know my favorite place to buy afforadable silk flowers? The dollar store. You can’t guarantee the selection, but often I get lucky and find some great options.
In this case, I picked up the flowers shortly after Valentines Day so they still had a selection of roses as well as other spring flowers. I noticed that a lot of the roses were kind of tulip-looking and when I was only able to find a few bunches of tulips I decided to improvise.
It is a pretty simple to turn a silk rose into a pretty good imitation of a tulip. I just remove a few of the petals, dicard the leaves, and cut the plastic around the base of the flower into a more compact rounded shape.
Once I had a nice stack of flowers with their stems trimmed to only a few inches long, out came the trusty glue gun. I started glueing the flowers onto the grapevine wreath base, all facing the same direction and alternating colors and styles of flowers as I went. I also added a few sprigs of silk grass here and there to give the wreath a little more texture.
In under an hour and with less than $20 invested in materials…
I’ve said it before (and will probably say it a hundred times again): making something pretty does not have to be hard or expensive. A little time, a little creativity, and a few tips along the way and you can make something beautiful.
I would love to hear about your favorite wreaths or other ideas for spring decorations. Please feel free to share!
Let’s go create something great, shall we?
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Linking to: Creativity Unleashed Party, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party, Homemade and Handcrafted Party, Saturday Sharefest, Merry Monday, Made By You Monday,
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This past fall we tackled our biggest project yet – a DIY Kitchen Remodel for my parents. And whew! That was a lot of work.
My parents built their house on their own when I was a toddler. (Guess we know where I got the DIY gene!) I’ve heard stories from them about moving in before it was finished. The well running dry when my sister was a baby at the same time everyone had the flu. How my Dad built the cabinets himself, working first on the bottom cabinets and adding the upper ones a year later.
My parents put a lot of work into the home and eventually finished the entire thing. However, life rolls right along and often home improvement projects and updates take a back seat to other things. This had definitely happened for my parents. They wanted to remodel the kitchen. In fact, they had new-to-them cabinets sitting in the garage. And those replacement cabinets sat in that garage for years.
When we moved back home, updating the kitchen quickly became something I wanted to help my parents do. The vinyl countertops were bubbling and lifting up. The kitchen faucet had more than its fair share of hard water build up (and the sprayer hadn’t functioned in a long time). The fan light no longer worked smoothly. And then the dishwasher died.
Weeks of hand-washing dishes soon had me putting the kitchen remodel at the top of the list – as soon as my husband got home from deployment to help. I’m ambitious and not afraid to tackle projects myself, but I knew I was going to need the extra hands, muscles and carpentry skills for this particular project. So in that space of time after deployment but before he went back to his regular job we tackled that kitchen.
Overall the kitchen was still functional. No truly broken cabinets. But drawers were sagging and sticking and the lazy susans in the corner cabinets never seemed to have less than half a dozen items tipping over or fallen off in the back corner. Let’s face it – everything was looking pretty dated.
When the floor looks like this, it’s definitely time to replace it.
The first step of any DIY home improvement project is giving yourself a blank canvas to work with. That means ripping out the old, right?
I know a lot of the DIY shows on TV list “demo day” as one of their favorite times of the project but frankly? I don’t believe them. Emptying cupboards, removing all the old cabinets, pulling up the floor, and ripping down the wallpaper – it’s a LOT of hard, long, tedious work.
Sorry folks but there is NO “easy way” to do this. Yes, I scoured Pinterest and tried a few of the tips and concoctions I saw recommended over and over. When it came right down to it, the best method I found was a steamer and a paint scraper. I didn’t go quickly, but it was effective. Just hold the steamer above a small section of wallpaper for a few seconds to loosen the adhesive then peel the wallpaper from the wall.
I used a small handheld garment steamer (like this PurSteam Next Gen Fabric Steamer, Fast-Heat Aluminum Heating Element With Travel Pouch, 180ml Capacity Perfect for Home and Travel ) but I think a full sized steamer would have been even more effective (like the PurSteam PS-910 Heavy Duty Powerful Fabric Steamer with Fabric Brush and Garment Hanger)
Even worse than wallpaper removal? Taking up the old vinyl flooring. Yuck, yuck, yuck. That stuff did not want to come off.
I’m told there are machines you can rent to aid in removing the old floor. I highly recommend you check into that. We didn’t have one of those nearby so we used the brute force method. Fun, fun. I’m sure the machine would have saved some aching backs and blistered palms.
If you do want to go the low tech method, that little tool pictured above (similar to Warner 790 Tool 4-Inch Strip and Clean Scraper, 12-Inch Steel Soft Grip Handle) turned out to be the best one for the job. (We tried at least 3 other tools, trust me.) The husband could get the upper layer of the flooring off with that tool, then I went back in with a spray bottle of water and soaked the lower layer of the flooring. After a couple of applications of water and letting it soak in for a few minutes after each application, the remnants of the flooring and the glue holding it down lifted up fairly easily. For any of the stubborn pieces my husbands “favorite tool” the mini pry-bar (similar to Titan Tools 17005 Stainless Steel Prybar and Scraper Set – 2 Piece) did the trick.
By the beginning of Day 3 on the DIY Kitchen Remodel, the kitchen looked like this. No more demolition, time to start the actual work on the remodel. Can you guess what we tackled next?
Stay tuned for the next stage in the big DIY Kitchen Remodel – on a budget! Until then, check out more home decor inspiration like my Master Bedroom Update, Laundry Room Redo, or quick and easy 5 Minute Floral Arrangements.
Add a little life to your home decor quickly, easily, and inexpensively by making your own 5 minute floral arrangements.
When we can’t find any signs of spring outside yet, it’s ok to fake it right?
Besides, I’m not the best at keeping house plants alive. (Tell me I’m not the only one!) I can force a bulb or two (check out my current amaryllis “race” on Instagram) but if someone gives me a ficus, that poor thing is bound to die of neglect a few months down the road. In fact, I’ve been known to purposely kill a plant or two when I got sick of watering them. Give me automatic sprinklers any day.
When I want to add a little color or greenery to my home decor, I almost always go for the stuff I can buy at the craft store.
Aren’t those containers cute?
It’s my turn to host to host Bunco in March and my mom has been itching to have some girl time out shopping together so last weekend we headed out to find some Bunco prizes at a couple of my favorite places for home decor inspiration. Not only did we come home with a few things for the Bunco ladies, I couldn’t help but get inspired to make some quick floral arrangements for myself.
I particularly fell in love with this tiny teacup with the ruffled saucer.
And these succulents. Super realistic looking right?
Succulents in home decor are everywhere the last couple of years and I have yet to hop on the band wagon. Figured this was as good a chance as any.
Tiny teacup + succulent = perfection.
And so simple too!
Need a tutorial? Naw, probably not, but I was in the mood to put together a quick infographic for you anyway. 😉
See? Cute and easy (my Big Two when it comes to crafting!) In less than 5 mintues I had this adorable floral arrangement.
I had plenty of the succulent left to work with, so I used it again in a second container. Same process as the teacup.
Foam and moss.
Succulent floral stem.
Less than 5 minutes people – have I mentioned that?!?
And to change it up. I added flowers to the little blue flower pot.
In under half an hour I had almost half a dozen floral arrangements (that’s right – I haven’t shown a couple of them to you yet. Stay tuned!). It seriously took me longer to photograph everything than to put together the 5 minute floral arrangements. Probably spent less than $20 on all of them too.
Do I have you convinced? You totally need to make one too, right?!
Well, go do that and report back. I’d love to see your takes on this simple and inexpensive project.
Let’s go create something great.
Looking for more DIY inspiration for you Home Decor? Why not try your hand at this Farmhouse Barnwood Sign for the kitchen, update your Master Bedroom or Laundry Room, or get really ambitious and Reupholster a Chair.
I picked up this lovely chair on a shopping trip with a friend at a Habitat for Humanity Resale Store. We completely filled the back of the SUV on that trip – hehe!
This chair in particular cost a whopping $5. Yup. FIVE DOLLARS! I figured at that price even if I messed it up I wouldn’t feel too bad. And it obviously needed a little TLC.
Then I started pricing upholstery fabric – yikes! I mean, the cost wasn’t exactly a surprise because back when I was doing interior design it wasn’t unusual to order $125/yard fabrics for custom chairs. But that doesn’t work for my budget. I eventually found a small discount fabric place not far from my home, but after a couple trips I still hadn’t found anything I loved and most were still upwards of $12/yd. Luckily I stumbled onto a link to fabrics.com and found some great deals.
Eventually the fabric arrived and it was finally time to tackle the chair. I did a quick review of a blog tutorial for reupholstering a chair, then grabbed the pliers and dove in.
My trusty sidekick helpfully had her nose in on the fun most of the time.
Look! It even looks good close up! And yes, I painted the base black before attaching the fabric. I almost forgot to do that part LOL.
-Take lots and lots of photos as you pull the old fabric off. It really helps to be able to go back and see the process in reverse, or look at a few details on how to attach the tricky pieces.
-Carefully label (number it when removed, where it went, and which side is the top!) and set aside each piece of old fabric as you remove it. Not only will you be able to use them as patterns to cut out the new fabric, but you can also refer back to them when you are assembling the chair.
-Take your time! This is a labor-intensive process and it takes its toll on your hands and your patience. When my hands were cramping up or I found myself annoyed or ready to rush through a step I would stop for a few hours or the rest of the day. The last thing I wanted was to “mess it up” and then have to see my blunder every time I looked at the chair. So take your time and do it right (or fix it right then) as you go.
-Best paint for quick and easy refinishing? Buy something with primer in the paint and a semi-gloss or gloss finish.
The chair happily took up residence in our master bedroom. Looks pretty good there doesn’t it?
Raise of hands – how many of us have been putting off that master bedroom update?
Maybe it’s because we don’t have the time. Or the money. Or the motivation. (Valentine’s Day is coming up – that might be motivation enough, eh?)
I too am needing a little reminder that projects don’t need to feel intimidating or expensive so I thought I would revisit update on my master bedroom in our NC house. (Won’t stop missing that house until I get a new on built. *sigh*)
The experts say so, the novices say so, and I say so. A gallon of paint and a roller go a long way.
This blue took us a couple of tries to hit on a shade that was relaxing and not too bright. That’s what paint testers are for, right?
Even before we all fell in love with Fixer Upper I was a fan of personalizing spaces with lettering. So when I ran across these giant wooden letters at a craft store for 50% off I grabbed them.
I love that they are already embellished and the colors went great with the room.
Those unfinished (and super cheap!) scrolled wooden frames always catch my eye at the craft store and I finally figured out what to do with one of them! The wooden “&” came unfinished from the craft store as well.
It felt like the perfect way to tie the monogram letters together.
The bedding – all made by yours truly. I rarely sew but sometimes I get a vision stuck in my head. When that happens I know it’s useless to try to find a match in stores (hours and hours of searching, people. Exhausting.) and out comes the sewing machine.
I knew I wanted a mostly white bed with accents of black and a tiny bit of blue to pull in the blue from the walls so I just grabbed a few fabrics that worked with that idea and ran with it. The duvet cover is actually made from flat sheets that I cut into strips, gathered half of them, then sewed them back together.
On the other side of the room is a console table the husband built and a chair I reupholstered. A $4 chair from Goodwill, 7 yards of fabric, a little paint and a million staples – that one is worth its own blog post. I’ll try to write about that soon.
Now, I know not everyone is a fan of having a TV in the bedroom. I, however, am a horrible sleeper and have found it’s better to just let the TV get my brain to turn off instead of spending hours laying there with thoughts swirling in my head. So the TV stays.
I don’t like a lot of “visual clutter” so I keep the accessories down to just a few photos, lamps, and that silver vase (that I’m pretty sure we bought with a gift card from our wedding). Simple. Zen?
The shelves on the console need a couple more knick knacks but I still haven’t run across any that feel right.
That’s pretty much it. Simple, inexpensive, but effective – don’t you think?
Feel free to laugh at the Before. That photo was taken the weekend we moved into the house. Our closing was delayed a day, which meant the furniture delivery was delayed about a week so we were basically camping out in the house. Air mattress for the husband and I, blankets on the floor for the kids. They elected to sleep in the big storage closet in the playroom, so I’m sure it felt like an adventure to them. As for the grown ups – we were very happy when the furniture arrived.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts or your own projects that may have been inspired by this (or any other) post. Or check out my Laundry Room/Mud Room, or Farmhouse Barnwood Sign for more design ideas.
I’m having a hard time believing we are only two weeks into summer right now because the time seems to be going by so quickly. Before we know it, it will be the 4th of July – my favorite summer holiday! We have been finalizing plans for the holiday over the past week and I’m happy to see that so many of our traditional activities are coming together. I even remembered to buy rodeo tickets!
So, with Red White and Blue on the brain I thought I’d share the fun 4th of July subway art I put together last year. In true craft-hoarder fashion I was able to dig up exactly what I needed in no time at all, including some scrap wood that was the perfect size (approx 13″ x 24″) – I didn’t even have to sand it! A simple coat of blue paint, a few pieces of vinyl and it was all ready to go up on the wall.
The husband turned out to be a big fan of this one too – yay! (He has a soft spot for anything patriotic, I think) It didn’t take long for him to route a keyhole on the back so I could mount it on the wall.