Friday, February 22, 2013

DIY Trim on an Island Part One - The Prep.

I started the first step in trimming out our island today.  The first challenge was to find a paint brush!  I am normally pretty organized with painting supplies but not today.  

The plywood we reinforced the island with is good one side 3/4".  We opted for 3/4" because its structural and we wanted it to help carry the load of the counter.  I used the primer I used on the cabinet doors and a high density foam roller.

One coat of primer. 

Two coats of primer and it its looking pretty good.  Would you believe I made those stripe cushions out of Ikea Tea towels 5 or 6 years ago?

I am going to trim the island in the same fashion that I trimmed the soffitt:  square, simple and pretty.

This is the general profile I'm looking to achieve but not in marble.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kitchen Counter Choices - A Tutorial

When it comes time to choose a kitchen counter, there are lots of options out there to consider. Should you do wood, laminate, stone, concrete....its enough to make a girl bang her head aganist - the counter.


Chances are, if you bought a builder house like I did, you have laminate counters.  Laminate is a realatively cheap alternative and comes in a variet of different finishes.  It scratches and has a limited life in a busy kitchen.

Laminate has been around for a long time.  The 1963 bungalow I grew up in had "gold nugget" in the kicthen.   My current kitchen had "colorado slate" Formica.

I considered replacing my counters with new laminate.  The quote for new Formica FX laminate came in at a whopping $1500 just for my island because the island is a custom funky size.


One of the lowest priced counter top options, is butcher block from Ikea.  The sizes are limited but if your lucky, and the size matches, your counters could be as little as a few hundered dollars.

One of the most popular Ikea optons is the Numerar wood butcher block counter.

Numerar can be stained and trimmed to fit.  My friend successfully stained them dark in her kitchen and they look great!  

Ikea was out because my island is 83" and their island piece they sell is only 80".  I didn't want a seam down my island.  Ikea butcher block is the low end of wood counters.  There are some incredibly beautiful wood counters made from exotic woods that were not even a consideration for us.  But oh they are beautiful.

Cost wise they were out of the budget. I decided that I could not deal with the manintenace of wood because we are just too messy.


For years, I had a fantasy that I wanted concrete counters.  I love the dark grey color and the idea that its hard but not quite stone.  I even went as far as getting a book about how to DIY concrete coutners.  After a lot of research, I realized that it was beyond my super handy DIY skills.

For those of you intersted in DIYing concrete counters,  Splatgirl has excellent instructions.  Her counters are so pretty but the process is not for the faint of heart.  Its a lot of work and they are heavy.


Another option I considered was stainess steel.  I love the look of stainless counters and that you can mould a sink right into your counter seamlessly.  It was one of the most expensive options I considered.  My island, wihch measrues 83" by 36", was going to be over $3,000.  I didn't even get a quote for the rest of the counters!  I knew stainless wasn't an entirely practicle choice because it scratches easily and with three kids it would look awful in no time flat.


What can I say.  I am a marble girl.  I love LOVE love marble.  I did a lot of research and soul seraching and came to the conclusion that I could not do marble in my kitchen.  The quotes I had for marble ran between $6,000 and $9,000.  Marble is porrus and will stain.  My neighbour has gorgeous calacatta marble and red wine stains and all.

Isn't that just the prettiest counter EVER?  This is what mine would have looked like.  Marble stains look like this.


Grainte is a go to stone for kitchen counters.  Its durable and can take day to day wear that marble can't.  When we first moved into this house 11 years ago, I got a quote to redo the counters in Kashmir White Granite.  I never did put in granite and lived with yucky laminate for years.  The quotes I had for granite ran from $4000 to $6000 to do the whole kitchen.


Soapstone is the anti-marble.  Its black with white veins.  I briefly considered soapstone.  Its suppose to be pretty durable and relatively carefree.  I couldn't get over the science lab look though.  I spent way too many hours sitting behind soapstone counters when I was in school which pretty much killed the thought of bringing it into my house.


Acrylic counters are sold under many different name brands, the most popular being Corian.  I really like some of the newer corian designs but I coudln't get past the idea that it scratches easily and can burn and melt if your not careful.  The colors and texture have improved a lot over the years. The uside of solid surface is that sinks can be molded in with no seams. Scratches don't penetrate the color because the color goes all the way through.  This is really pretty and natural looking.

Corian of yesteryear.


Quartz is a bit of a misnomer.  Quartz isn't acutlaly quartz but a man made "stone" material.  Its the hardest man made material currently manufactured.  Its very durable and is easier to live with than pretty much any other material because it is super low maintenace and doesn't require resealing like granite and marble.

Quartz ended up being our winner.  We had quotes from $3500 to $6000 for quartz. I really wanted white counters and I knew that qartz would be the easiest to live with.  I had quite laminate counters in my old house and I knew how easily they stained.

Hopefully this tutoiral helps you make your counter decision a little easier.  There are a lot of great options out there!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pinterst T-Shirt Drawer Organization ROCKS!

There are several photos going around pintrest lately of how to organize your t-shirt drawer. Perhaps you have seen one, there are piles of them out there.

 Mine drawers are always a disaster.  When I was putting laundry away today, I thought what the heck, I'll give it a go.




Its super easy.  Fold the t-shirt in half.

Fold in the sleeves.

Fold up the bottom.

Then fold again.  Some of the longer ones I had to fold fourths instead of thrids.

Voila!  My organized t-shirt drawers where I can now see everything in one glance.

I was SO inspired by the t-shirts, that I used the same method for my ktichen towels!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It doesn't end with the Quartz Counters

In the never ending journey of the kitchen, the counters are in but its not the end.  The fun this weekend was doing the plumbing - more on that in a bit.

I found some more pictures I took on install day with my phone.  They aren't the best because my phone WASN'T the best.  That's right, my phone rolled over and died during this.  Ugh.  When it rains.....

The installers laid down plywood before installing the quartz.

Quarts for my kitchen waiting on the truck!

All the plywood and the hole for the sink cut.  Part of this process was making out island one level versus an island with a breakfast bar.  We had to pull off the support for the breakfast bar and install a sheet of plywood as a new back for the island.  My kids want to paint it with chalkboard paint.  We are in negotiations on that one.

 They put the piece by the fridge in first. 

They had to prop it up because it dove tails over the other piece.  The penguin my mother-in-law gave me is hanging from the cabinets!

Crappy picture but it was two guys that lifted in the big piece.  I asked them how much it weighed and they said over 400lbs!

The island is in!  Lots of clamps.

Here is a shot of what the counter looks like.  The ipod is for scale reference.

Now to the sink.  The big decision was what strainer basket to use.  I seriously over thought this to the extreme. The sink came with a set, but the stopper part was sharper than I would have liked.  We ran out and bought several different designs at three different stores and brought them home and test drove them.  The two most serious contenders were this one ...

And this one....

The top one is a Blanco and the bottom one was Moen.  I really liked the screw mechanism on the second one but the shallow depth of the first one won out.

All of the plumbing is now done and not only do I have a functional faucet and drain, but the dishwasher is also re-installed.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Quartz Counters

For the first time in years, I can actually SEE in here.  Its FINALLY bright enough.  And sitting at the island at counter height instead of bar height is SO much more comfortable. 

white quartz kitchen counters

Helga modeling the kitchen.  

white quartz kitchen counters

white quartz counters

Ignoring the top bit that we still have to do....can you believe that that once looked like this. These messy kitchen pictures are pretty embarrassing.  I took these particularly awful pictures for a contest. I must be high on the glue we've been in inadvertently sniffing all day to post these for the world to see.

I think its pretty amazing how good our white stove looks with the white.  The installers even commented on how great it looks.

Next thing to do restore running water.