Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Granite Counters and Travertine Backsplash

I am so excited to show you my kitchen!!  It is not near finished yet—but the granite counters and the backsplash are finally done!  And I LOVE THEM!!!!

So once again—where we ended off at my last post:


Here we are about half way through the mini slabs being installed.  (And yes—I know we still haven’t patched the wall so I can paint it from where we took down the old cabinets!!  That will happen this weekend—and I can’t wait to stop looking at that horrible piece of wall!)


Anyhoo--the tops are done here—but the edging and grouting are still needing to be done.


And then Viola—the countertops are in—and my good man Steve is working on the backsplash. 


We fell in love with the look of tumbled travertine—we liked that it was fairly neutral and timeless (as much as we LOVE all the glass tile and everything that is out there now—we just didn’t want to be replacing the backsplash a few years down the road if glass tiles go out of style). 

So we chose to do a mixture of subway tiles on the top and bottom and an accent strip of 4” squares in a diamond pattern.  We really loved the pattern we came up with--we just had a hard time choosing what to do with the backsplash on the breakfast bar wall.  We debated FOREVER whether we should do the full backsplash all the way around or cut it short on that wall.


In the end we decided it would be WAY too much tile on that wall and would detract from the beautiful granite—so we decided to just do 2 rows of subways with a little pencil tile on top to finish it off.  then as you turn the corner of that wall—the full backsplash starts under the cabinet.


In the end I am SO GLAD we decided to do it that way.  I love that the main focus of the breakfast bar area is this beautiful granite—and the backsplash is just a nice neutral backdrop and not fighting for center stage.


And on this wall you can see the pretty pattern and texture of the travertine.  Of course it will stand out a lot more and be MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL after we finish painting up the cabinets white!  But even now—it is still beautiful.


And here it is with all my lovely kitchen essentials out on the counters.


I debated about whether I should tuck away our toaster and my kitchen tools and such—but the fact is that this is a working kitchen folks.  Having my kitchen FUNCTIONAL is very important to me—and if that means that you will see my pampered chef tool turntable on top of my counters—so be it!


This is a horrible picture—but I am having a major crush on my new stainless sink and faucet.  I REALLY don’t miss my white porcelain one that would scratch every time you put a dish into it.  And stain every time you washed some spaghetti sauce down the drain.  Stainless really means what it says—IT DOESN’T STAIN!!!


And my new faucet and soap dispenser ROCKS THE HOUSE!!!  I didn’t know how I would like the huge faucet with the LONG and curvy giraffe neck—but I must confess that I really, really love it!

And just another picture from a different angle of my beautiful granite!!  Doesn’t it look like a big old slab?  The seams really aren’t that noticeable! 


I am SO HAPPY with how this kitchen is shaping up!

Now all we need is a lot of this:


A bunch of these:

Drawer Knobs

And these:

drawer pulls

And a few of these:


Design House 517094 Bristol Mini Pendant Light, Satin Nickel


And then our kitchen will be complete.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kitchen Counter Time Capsule

I thought I would show you a little FHE project we did while our countertops were in transition. 

At this point we had taken off our old counters and our contractor had put on this plywood base that our granite would sit on.  We decided to put a little something special from our family into the project.  Kind of like a time capsule—one that will probably never be opened or seen again—but one that we know lies underneath our counters.

So here we are at work:


And this is what we came up with:

(And sorry--pencil on plywood doesn’t show up very well for pictures apparently)



Every member of the family was included in this project—even the furry one.


It was just a little project that didn’t take us very long—and was not done with great artistic abilities (as we have none in our family), but we all loved doing it and what it stands for. 

And I’m just sure that our countertops will stand a little taller and stronger now.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Never Thought I’d Get Granite!!

I can’t even believe that I am writing this post right now!  I am so excited to show you what we have been up to for the last couple of weeks! 

But first, let me start at the beginning (and sorry to say—this may be a long story—as I have a hard time condensing all the details).

When we moved into this house we weren’t in love with the countertops in the kitchen.  Here is a picture from the previous owners (because I didn’t take any before pictures).


They aren’t awful—just nothing special.  They look like just plain laminate countertops—but in fact they had the texture of Linoleum.  They were dimply and very textured and so they were hard to keep clean and not great for things that you need a flat surface for.

So—when we moved in we had priced out new countertops and specifically granite.  ONLY to find out that it was WAY more expensive than we thought and was going to be and so consequently was out of our budget for at least a few years.

Then I remembered a kitchen makeover I have been CRUSHING on a since forever.  The gal at Starter Home to Dream Home did this amazing kitchen makeover by painting her existing cabinets, getting new hardware, adding some fun chunky molding to her island and topping it all off with some awesome granite countertops.  AND the best part is that they did it all themselves—even the granite.  They used “mini slabs” (which we will talk about later) instead of slab granite and did all the work themselves and saved a ton of money.

Well when I looked at this—I was SO excited—I wanted to do it too.  However, my hubby took one look at it and said NO WAY was he going to make his first tiling project a granite countertop.  And I don’t blame him—it looked like it could be kind of tricky.  So I sadly tucked away my hopes and dreams for a new countertop.

That is until we met Steve.

On the 4th of July we met this awesome guy who is a tile and granite layer and was interested in trading services with my hubby!!!!  And the funny thing is that he does the EXACT same method of using MINI SLABS to make his countertops and gets his product from the EXACT same place (Oregon Stone and Marble) as my kitchen crush!!!  (How crazy is that?!)  And since most of the expense of Granite countertops is the installation—so by trading out the labor we could actually afford to make this happen!!

So all of a sudden—out of the blue--we were choosing granite for our new countertops!!!

So here is the low down on using mini slabs.  These babies come in 18x26” pieces and run around $15/square foot (which makes them a really affordable alternative to slab granite that runs a bajillion a square foot).  Most countertops are 25” deep.  So each piece can have 1”cut off the back of it and attached to the front underneath to create a finished front edge like this:

Mini Slabprofiles


We had several options to choose from (not as wide a variety as when you choose a slab—but not a bad selection either).  Click HERE to see all our choices—but just know that the real samples are often very different from the pictures you see on the screen!

We narrowed it down to these 2 finalists:

Giallo Santa Cecilia (the one from my kitchen crush)

Santa Cecilia

and Giallo Vincenza


So after much deliberation—we chose the Giallo Vincenza—because we loved the contrast of the darker countertops to our soon to be painted white cabinetry and felt it worked better with our current decorating pallet.  And this granite has TONS of fun visual texture and sparkly pieces in it.  It is truly beautiful.

So since we were going to be doing the countertops—we couldn’t put our old porcelain sink back in--of course we needed a new under mount sink.  I found this 16 gauge stainless steel sink on ebay for $119 including shipping:

New Sink

Which is a GOOD deal for a sink people.  Those suckers are expensive!!  (and it is especially a good deal because I just sold the old porcelain one on craigslist for $50!  So its really like I got this one for $69!)

And then we needed a new faucet (we honestly did—because ours has been on its death bed long for a long time).  I found this one on ebay also for $119 (this same faucet was $200 at Home Depot and Lowes) and also included free shipping):



And funny to note—After I had purchased it—I went back to my crush kitchen and found that she had the EXACT SAME FAUCET!!  I swear that I didn’t know she had this one.  I just found one I liked at a good price!  Again—how funny!

And finally—We are installing our new to us Down Draft Oven. 

jenn air stove

We bought this oven on craigslist for $600 before we even moved into our house.  We knew we would eventually take down the over head cabinets above the range and that would take the fan with it—so we would need an oven that vents down and out.  And these ovens cost between $1600-$2000 new.  So when we found this for $600—we jumped on it and bought it.  It has been sitting in our garage all this time waiting for us to rework the venting and electrical to get it in.

So we have been busy with demolition, and reconstruction for over a week. 

No stove and no sink:



Oh yah—and did I mention that we decided to do the counters in the little downstairs bathroom while we were at it?  So we had demo and chaos in there too.


And I have missed my sink and my stove/oven like crazy!!!   We have been washing all our dishes in our laundry room sink—thank goodness for that or we would have had to haul them all up the stairs to the bathtub!

It has been an inconvenience to have everything torn up.  But I feel SO blessed that we will have such a beautiful kitchen!  And I think it has been good for our kids to learn to work together to wash dishes the old fashioned way.


And it is now almost over!  I should be able to show you the finished product very soon!

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