We’re taking a break this week from the kitchen remodeling, but made time for a small project in the basement. I removed some old linoleum at the bottom of the basement stairs, which was under the door jambs so probably original from 1979. Then I trimmed a couple of sections I had cut out when removing the newest layer of kitchen flooring to fit the area.
It’s been a few weeks since my last update on the kitchen and it’s because I’ve been putting in a lot of hours.
One of the first things we talked about before starting the remodel was colors. We wanted to go for an old farmhouse look. This photo we found on Google was a look we liked.
We browsed some color palettes and really liked this one.
After some trips to the hardware stores we had a pile of paint samples.
We decided to go with more of a green and collected even more samples. Here’s where we ended up, from left to right the colors would be used for trim, walls, and cabinets.
Some of the wall color has been shown in previous posts because we actually painted them before Thanksgiving, when Mom visited for a couple of days to help. We were worried about covering the red-ish walls, but after a coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer we were confident two coats of paint would do the job and it did. Mom was really impressed with the Dutch Boy® Dura Clean® Kitchen & Bath paint I bought from Menards. The room was much brighter and looked bigger already.
We removed all of the cabinet doors and drawer faces, numbering everything (including each hinge) with a sharpie and blue painter’s tape I numbered everything, so it could go back exactly where it came from. Then with TSP and help from chisels we cleaned everything real good. In order to paint them all I needed a storage solution. So I grabbed a bunch of scraps from my lumber racks and about 90 minutes later I had a simple drying rack. It turned out to be the exact size I needed.
Then I used Klean-Strip Liquid Sander Deglosser on all of the pieces as well as the cabinet frames. Since my cabinets were oak, which has a deep grain, I applied two coats of Aqua Coat White Cabinet Wood Grain Filler. You really want to use white instead of clear for something like this so you can see where you’ve applied it. I didn’t bother with grain filler on the backs or on the frames. The next step was sanding off the excess grain filler, which took me almost nine hours and brought the total time for the grain filling process to almost 20 hours! It did make a big difference, but you can still see quite a bit of the grain after painting. I’m not sure it was worth it.
It was finally time for primer and paint! I hung plastic sheeting from the ceiling to make an L and covered my work table. Then I built up a base with some scraps and put a swivel stand on top of that. Overspray got everywhere in the shop, but at least it was basically paint dust because the small particles were dry by the time they landed.
I sprayed primer on both sides of the doors and drawer faces and then 2 coats of paint on the backs and 3 coats on the fronts, using the green tips in my HomeRight Super Finish Max HVLP Paint Sprayer. I did thin out the primer and paint a little bit with some water. I did primer and 3 coats on the cabinet frames by hand with a 1.5″ brush and a 4″ foam roller.
The original plan was to spray paint the cabinet hinges black, but after cleaning them we decided to keep them as they were. It would add a bit to our rustic farmhouse style. Before we put the doors and faces back on, I let them sit on the rack for about four days to give the paint time to cure more. I did spray paint the two shelves in the lazy Susan (aka “snack Susan”) cabinet black. By the way, reinstalling that think was a huge pain in the ass.
Next up was flooring. The first layer to deal with was a floating floor Dad helped me install in May of 2013. I cut out a large section to reuse at the bottom of our basement steps, where Ninja has his litter box, food, and water. Then it was quick work to pull up the rest and haul it away; it was barely an hour of work to get rid of that entire layer. Under that floor was old linoleum that peeled up pretty well. The third layer of floor was luan, which was held down by 10 times more staples than necessary. Then a 4th layer to come up was even older linoleum. I filled up an entire Powerade bottle with staples and about 20 large nails. Those bottom 3 layers of flooring took two days!
Dad called and asked if I wanted some help, so he came down on Saturday morning and we installed the same Select Surfaces Barnwood Spill Defense Laminate Flooring from Sam’s Club I had put in the living room. After helping my brother install some in his house, this was my third time working with the product, so it only took us about 6 hours to do the entire room. We were able to continue it from the living room because I made sure to stop with full width pieces there. He ran up and down the stairs all day making cuts while I measured everything and installed each piece. It was a huge help to have him here.
On Sunday Brandi and I reinstalled all of the cabinet pieces after putting on new felt pads. Then I hung a new paper towel holder and installed a couple of LED under cabinet lights where old ones had been.
The weekend of work completely transformed the look of the kitchen. Our vision has finally become a reality and I feel extremely proud of everything we’ve done. Check out these before and after looks!
We’ll attach the island counter next weekend after the epoxy has fully cured, since we use it so much. I still need to do a backsplash, paint three sides of the island and the door to the basement, and do all of the trim work. Today is my first day back to work after a three month sabbatical, so progress on the remaining items will be slower.
I’m excited to say a second maker is emerging in the house. 🙂
In addition to helping with our 2021 Christmas ornament. Brandi wanted to make a few holiday decorations. First was an old sled that was her mom’s. She sanded off a pineapple and some wording, gave it a new paint job, and added some accessories. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of what it looked like before she started.
She also wanted some type of tall sign, so she grabbed a piece of twisted pallet wood from my scrap pile and sanded the rough edges. We found this barn red stain at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet for $4, which was perfect.
She wanted to paint the word “peace” on it and I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a Cricut, so I made the purchase and we created custom stencils. I love the use of a tree for the letter A. After a little spray paint and some hinge clips we had ourselves a place for Christmas (and my birthday) cards.
2021 started well in terms of making, building on the momentum I built in 2020. Then the home projects started. It was a year full of very large projects, which transformed a lot of the house.
- IKEA BILLY / OXBERG with Custom LED Lighting
- Learning From a Retractable Extension Cord Reel Restoration
- A New Hobby Desk and Organization
- Unclog a Bissell Carpet Cleaner
- Portable Soldering Station
- Dog’s Toy Box
- Shop Blow Dryer
- Mini Decorative Crate
- Bathroom Shelves with Towel Hooks
- Easter Basket Crates
- Pallet Wood Bedroom Art: It Was All a Dream
- Pallet Wood Art/Shelf With a Hidden Dimmable LED Light
- DIY Wall Sconce/Light
- DIY Square Ceiling Medallion
- Simple Kitchen Storage Improvements
- Kitchen Appliance Upgrades
- Cabinet and Counter Changes
- Homemade Christmas Ornament – 2021
For the last three months of 2021 I’ve been on a three month sabbatical from Automattic and I go back to work on the 4th. I’ve joked that I need a vacation now because I’ve been putting a lot of hours in to the kitchen. The last few weeks have been very busy and I’ve accomplished a lot, but the remodel will not be finished. I do have a post coming soon with some major updates.
Once the kitchen is finished I’m looking forward to tinkering with some electronics again and having time to work on much smaller projects.
When I bought my house I eventually got a tall dining table and I’ve hated it for years. It was a bitch to get in and out of the chairs and my legs bumped up against the apron when I sat down. It was definitely getting replaced during the kitchen remodel. After selling the table, we used a card table for a few weeks.
I don’t remember the first time I saw a live edge table, but I’ve wanted one for a long time. I would have loved to build one but as I started working on the kitchen, it was clear time wasn’t going to be on my side. Since the table would be the showcase of the space, I decided to have the top built for me. I found Ron’s Rustic Tables (no web site) on Facebook Marketplace, which showed some awesome work. I give him a call, visited his shop near Wixom Lake, and gave him the job. I love black walnut, especially with some of the sapwood, so that’s what I went with. A few weeks later he delivered this beauty!
It’s 2.5 inches thick, 73 inches long, and averages about 45 inches wide. It’s fucking heavy!
I thought about buying a table base kit online or having one made. We should have this table for a very long time and I wanted some part in it, so I decided to make the base. We’re going for a bit of a farmhouse kitchen vibe, so I went with a trestle base. I took ideas from these free plans as well as some custom tables I found on Etsy and Marketplace and I put my own twist on everything. For chairs we picked up four INGOLF from IKEA.
I still had a stack of the free reclaimed wood I picked up over three years ago and used up most of it for this project. Since there are so many different ways to do a build like this I’m not going to explain everything I did. Here’s a timeline of photos instead.
I bought a biscuit joiner, which I’d been thinking about getting for a couple of years anyway. It was my first time using one and it definitely got broken in. This was a fun project with a lot of challenges, so there were plenty of mistakes, solutions, and learnings. I’m glad I decided to do it myself.
What do you think of the result?
We needed to do something with the counters, especially after merging a couple. I had seen some cool videos about covering countertops with epoxy and love the rock face edge that can be done. I put in an order from Stone Coat Counter tops. Got their white Epoxy Undercoat, White Exotic Marble Kit, and Ultimate Top Coat.
I watched a ton of their videos and these were the most helpful for this project:
- Making A Realistic Rockface Edge
- How To Install Epoxy Over Old Countertops Ultimate Guide
- How to make White Exotic Marble with Epoxy
- 2nd Stone Coat Countertop Flood Coat
- The ULTIMATE Top Coat for Epoxy Countertops
The FAQ page has a lot of great answers as well.
First I took an angle grinder with a sanding disk and went at the edges. I smoothed that with 40 grit on a random orbital sander. Then I added Bondo High Bond Filler to the edges. After that I used a chisel and sanding to knock down any sharp spots. These pictures show one of the pieces of counter I had in the basement so you can see how the look progresses.
Here are other various pics from the process.
Since the walls were a mess where I tore off the old backsplash I decided to put up a layer of 1/8 hardboard to help prevent any debris from falling in the epoxy. Then I caulked the counter wall edges so the epoxy wouldn’t be able to escape.
I removed the sink and test fit the new one to make sure it fit.
I had kept the cardboard from the new range, so used it to create a wall in the kitchen and keep the cat out. Couldn’t have Ninja jumping on the painted counters or worse, on the freshly poured epoxy!
After cleaning the counters with TSP I applied a coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer and two coats of the epoxy undercoat, along with some light sanding. The white really made it pop and got me excited.
I applied a bit of spray paint to the rock face edges using a chip brush and plastic bag, like they showed in one of their videos.
Then we taped up plastic and masked the edges. Now came the fun part, mixing and pouring the epoxy. We rewatched the exotic marble video again before getting started, but used way too much of the silver metallic power, which overpowered our recipe. It was nothing like we wanted and, though it had some cool areas, it was terrible.
Glad we tried it out on the side counter first. We kept our mixes very light for the large counter and it turned out great!
The paint I had put on the edges looked out of place though, so we painted over those areas. We also painted over the disaster counter so none of it would show through. Then we did another epoxy pour. We wanted it to have a few darker grays than how the big counter turned out and we still ended up going a bit too far, but it turned out so much better than the first attempt.
We used some of the excess and drips to rub on the newly painted areas of the large counter and in a few fixed spots. A day later we did a clear flood coat on that counter. I had to order another gallon of the art epoxy for the clear coat on the smaller counter plus doing the island. After letting the clear coats dry we applied the ultimate top coat, which added a bit of texture, got rid of the high gloss, and hid most of the imperfections. We love this look much better than the extremely reflective gloss.
Here’s a look at some of the rock face edges.
After letting the epoxy cure for a few days I installed a new sink, faucet, and garbage disposal. We were more than ready to have running water and the dishwasher available again after using the bathroom sink for a week.
The island still needs to be done so I’ll remove the butcher block top and install some scrap wood as a temporary counter. This way I can work on it in the basement and we can keep a work surface in the kitchen while we baby the counters.
We also installed the final of the lights, over the kitchen sink, which really brightens it up.
People say math isn’t useful.
Brandi and I are starting a yearly tradition to make an ornament based on something from our year. 2021 was filled with a lot of home remodeling (to her house which is up for sale and our house still being worked on), so I thought it would be neat to make a mini pallet wood wall. It was a team effort and turned out pretty cool.
After moving the fridge, the corner space was ready for a makeover
I removed the rest of the backsplash tiles around the room. Luckily I didn’t have to be too careful with that process because the walls will all be covered up there.
Then I built an open shelf cabinet.
I’m repurposing the counter and drawer cabinet from the desk, so I put them out to get a feel for the spacing.
I made a bunch of measurements and got to chopping up the countertops. Then I removed several layers of old flooring across the area. I placed some new counter supports along the wall where the fridge had been, and adjusted the one on the right wall, which was pretty far out of level.
Next I worked on modifying the cabinet. I added extra support under the cabinet, removed three of the drawer slides, cut out the cross members, and added pieces to hold up a cover that’ll go over the remaining drawer. I also cut new pieces to extend the face frame higher since this cabinet is too short.
I measured a wine bottle and cut hardboard to box in an area that’ll be a wine rack.
Then I cut a bunch of 1/4″ thick by 3/4″ wide strips. It took some thinking to figure out how to get going, but making a 3-1/2″ square block to act as my spacer was the key, because that’s how large I wanted the lattice openings. I used glue and pin nails for assembly and then made a second lattice.
I cut strips for face frames and used a 45° to help with placement, making sure to maximize the number of full diamonds available while keeping things centered. This will give us space for nine bottles, which is more than sufficient. I made sure it would work with both lattices since they needed to match.
Then I was able to trim the lattice and attach the frame with glue and pin nails again. I used some of the off cuts around the edges so I could attach the frame to the back strips of the lattice as well.
At this point I had to make sure it was going to work. The width was a great fit!
I spray painted these pieces since it would be much harder to paint them when everything was put together. Everything needed several coats.
The cupboard is going right in front of the new outlet I installed, so I cut access holes.
I cut pieces to extend the face frame higher and made a new left side, since it’ll be somewhat visible next to the beverage fridge. I started securing all the different pieces in place. Then I used wood filler on gaps and nail heads.
After sanding I hauled the unit upstairs and had make a few minor mods to get it to fit. Then I installed the two cabinets and the two counter pieces. I guess I didn’t have the drawer in when I took this picture.
I’m so glad I was able to use the counter and cabinet from the desk. This was a lot of work, but it’s a huge improvement to the usability of our kitchen.