Monthly Archives: February 2018

Kitchen Reno Week 7: Countertops

The Griner brothers tackled cabinet adjustments this week – one upper cabinet had to be re-hung, and one lower cabinet re-configured.

In the meantime, we moved on to selecting a counter top.

I will not bore you with the ins and outs of choosing a counter top material. Suffice it to say there are dozens of options and lots of price points. Lucky for me, I already knew what I wanted. When we involuntarily remodeled our kitchen after our last house caught on fire, we chose quartz counter tops (the existing counter tops were quartz, so it didn’t cost any more to replace with the same material). I LOVED those counters. They were beautiful, durable, and maintenance-free. And sparkly.


(That’s Silestone Stellar Night, if you’re curious.)

As much as I loved my black sparkly counters, I knew I didn’t want to repeat the color if the lower cabinets were also going to be black. I went back to my original inspiration photo for, um, inspiration.


I liked the idea of white counter tops with a little bit of “movement” (which is apparently the technical term for “fancy squiggles”). I finally selected this:


The contractor installed temporary counter tops so we could get used to the width of the peninsula and adjust it if necessary.


The end of this week saw a dramatic increase in activity as we push for the finish line. On Tuesday, the electrician arrived and put in outlets, switches, and light fixtures, AND the appliances were delivered.

APPLIANCES. And LIGHTS. All the pretty things!

By the end of Tuesday, the kitchen was a giant beautiful mess:


And now it’s time to introduce you to the very first thing we bought for our kitchen, the oh-gee-wow piece that is the literal center of the whole thing.


It’s a giant old copper wash tub that some enterprising soul flipped upside down and turned into a light fixture. Jason and I bought it at the Westside Market, our favorite antique/vintage shop in Atlanta, on our way home from Thanksgiving weekend. I have been patiently waiting for it to be installed.

And now it has been. And there was much rejoicing.



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Kitchen Reno Week 6: Cabinets!

The cabinets began arriving Friday afternoon, and honestly I couldn’t have been more delighted if they had been delivered by a parliament of Hogwarts owls.

Here’s where we’ve been since last Wednesday:


Our cabinets were made by the Griner brothers of Havana, who are always slightly grumpy. They keep a pay-by-the-minute phone, and when it runs out of minutes, you are SOL if you need to contact them. Our contractor once drove to Havana and left a note on their car when he needed to talk to them.

They are national treasures. But they make nice cabinets at reasonable prices, so we’ll let it slide. They arrived with a trailer full of awesomeness.


They worked most of Saturday afternoon to install all the cabinets, and now the kitchen looks like a kitchen again.


I am so impressed by the work the Griners did. I love all the details – the side of the fridge enclosure, the back of the peninsula.


I am deeply relieved that I love (LOVE LOVE) the matte black finish we chose for the lower cabinets. It looks great with the floors.

But my favorite thing in the whole room is this beauty right here:


It’s a giant, floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet whose proportions match the original butler’s pantry you can see over in the back right corner. The Griners repeated this proportion on the panel that encloses the fridge, too.

The cabinet hardware arrived, as scheduled, on Valentine’s Day. This seemed like the logical next step:


The next week will involve a few cabinet tweaks and then on to counter tops.




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Kitchen Reno Week 5: The Final Flooring Chapter (Honest)

The floors are, finally, done.


Butterbean Sparkleface approves.

The tilesetters (from J&J Carpet in Cairo, GA) worked all day Thursday to finish laying the tile, sealing it, and applying mortar. This picture was taken before we swept up about a pound of mortar dust, so the color looks better in real life.

It’s amazing. It looks like it’s been there for 90 years, which is just what we were going for.

The next big phase will be cabinets. I ordered the hardware today. I picked these knobs, because they match all the old glass doorknobs in the house:


(Not actual size!)

And for pulls, I chose simple bars in the same champagne bronze finish. I went with the larger, 5 1/16 center-to-center length.


Yes, these are all over Pinterest. But I like them. SO THERE. And they’re arriving today! What better way to celebrate our tenth Valentine’s Day together?



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Kitchen Reno Week 4: Wait for it….

Week four began with a pause. The original tile crew took one look at job and tapped out. “We usually only do spec houses, slab on grade stuff,” they said, and left.

This was frustrating.

Our contractor quickly found a replacement from Cairo, Georgia, who started putting down cement board on Friday. He left our house at lunchtime, drove to the hospital, and was promptly diagnosed with pneumonia.

This was unexpected.

A backup from the same company arrived Monday and finished the cement board, then spread a level layer of mud over the small concrete slab by the back door, so that it’s flat with the rest of the floor.

The dog managed to screw that up in about an hour.


Le sigh.


On Tuesday, the backup-backup tile guy began laying the tile, and oh my stars is it beautiful.




I am 100% in love with these floors. And I know, we’re not supposed to love¬†things, but hot damn. LOOK AT THEM.


He got about a third of the room done yesterday, including the difficult bit by the laundry closet, so I am hopeful the floors will be completely done by Friday.

After that, it’s just a matter of cabinets, countertops, backsplash, appliances, and lighting. No big deal.


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This Month in Home Improvement: January 2018

Last year, I recapped all the books I’d read in any given month. This year, I will recap all the home improvement projects, large and small, we undertake ourselves. This is partly to demonstrate that home ownership is way more involved than styling mantels, especially in an old home, and also to keep us accountable.

In January…..

We painted Tyler’s room. Not only did his room have numerous drywall patches from the electrical work, he had a gigantic drywall patch from when we moved the closet door from his room to ours (which was almost a year ago, oops).


He chose Steamed Milk. Well, let’s be honest – he didn’t care and we had a few gallons left from previous painting projects. I also made him deep-clean his room, which was a contentious and eye-rolly process. Whatever. Here’s the finished product:


Total cost: $0

We added light fixtures. During the re-wiring, we were obligated to add light fixtures in a couple of areas in the house. Apparently the building permit division frowns upon having completely unlighted stairways and laundry closets. Pfffft. You call it a hazard, I call it an adventure.

Back stairway, before:


After, with an adorable tiny schoolhouse light:


We also replaced the bare bulb in the laundry room with this fixture (I cannot contort myself enough to get a decent photo of it, so use your imagination):


I ordered both fixtures from Wayfair. Total Cost: $92.43.

We painted Jensen’s room. We expended all our leftover paint in Tyler’s room, so we had to buy new paint for this project. Whomp WHOMP. She asked for gray, so I picked a moody blue-gray. We also sprang for the one-coat paint at Lowe’s, and MAN was that a good decision.

Before, the room was a caramel-y tan color, with drywall patches:




Total Cost: $45 for one gallon of paint.

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