I’m feelin’

Matte black faucets

I’m considering going that route for my new kitchen faucet. Here’s a round up of some possible contenders (and a bathroom sink faucet).


Black Faucets




Cleaning oiled butcher block

Our peninsula counter top is edgegrain walnut, and since the area also has the cooktop, it’s the surface that most prep work is done on. I used tung oil initially to seal the wood, and mineral oil these days (disclaimer – I’m not sure if you’re supposed to do that, but I ran out of tung oil and had mineral oil on hand.) I don’t ever put raw meat on the counter, but cutting onions and garlic happens pretty often. I noticed that the countertop could use a thorough cleaning and deodorizing.

That’s when I remembered a super quick and natural way to clean the butcher block. cleaning butcher block counter

Remove any debris from the counter, and pour salt on the surface. I used just plain iodized table salt.cleaning butcher block counter

Quarter a lemon, and rub the wedges over the salt, making a paste. cleaning butcher block counter028

Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, and wipe down with a cloth and warm water.cleaning butcher block counter cleaning butcher block counter

Re-oil after it dries, or don’t. I’m not here to judge. cleaning butcher block counter


7 months

Is how long I lived with my kitchen having un-painted joint compound walls, un-grouted and unfinished tiles on the walls, exposed studs (and ceiling) and a bare bulb hanging for a light.

It became the norm, and was loads better than the several weeks of no stove, no kitchen sink, and months without a dishwasher.

In an effort to be thrifty (I pretty much always fail at that), I decided to work on my kitchen since I had most of the materials.

I grouted, siliconed, tiled some more, grouted some more, replaced drywall, taped and mudded, sanded the skim coat, primed, painted, and added chair rail.

After all that, it still somehow didn’t seem like ENOUGH. Like a big enough change, worthy of the internet. I kept thinking, maybe after I get a new light shade, maybe after I get art? Maybe outlet covers would help.

To be honest, it’s just not done. And it won’t be until I save up and plan for the rest of the cabinets. I am struggling between wanting to finish the kitchen, and putting my efforts/time/money into the rest of the house, so it doesn’t look quite so crack house. But, you know what? The kitchen works. It functions so much better than before. I have a sink, I have a dishwasher. I have painted walls! In fact, the kitchen walls are the most finished. Ha.

Such is life!


The walls got painted Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor in Matte/Flat Aura 25% Darker. This color is gorgeoussssssss. I love complex paint colors, that change with the lighting. Sometimes this paint color looks very navy, and in the sunlight a beautiful emerald green. Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor Aura Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor Aura

The cabinets were custom made by a company that works with the Amish. They were made to my specifications in a modern shaker, inset and slab drawer style. The color is Sherwin Williams Snowbound 7004 with a catalytic conversion varnish.

The hardware is the Duluth pull (4″) in polished nickel and the Chatham knob (1″), also in polished nickel, from Restoration Hardware.Restoration Hardware Duluth Pull Sherwin Williams Snowbound 7004 Restoration Harware Chatham knob Sherwin Williams Snowbound 7004

The trim is painted with Sherwin Williams Snowbound 7004 in Floor and Porch enamel.

The subway tile is the Imperial Bianco Gloss 3 x 6 from the Tile Shop.the tile shop Imperial gloss subway tile The Tile Shop Gloss subway tiles

The perimeter counter tops are the numerar from Ikea. They are only in place until I have all the cabinets, and then a soapstone slab selected! After the wall was removed (which was a quick last minute add on to the cabinet installation and not very well planned), I had no counters for the new and make-shift cabinets. Which prompted a trip to ikea with my sister, and some finagling of the countertop into the car. Sure, she couldn’t see anything on the right side of the car while she was driving home, that’s why she had me over there. Don’t tell our mom.

This tiny tiny sink was also supposed to be a stop gap measure. I actually have a stainless steel 24″ apron sink, sitting upstairs in a spare room. Speaking of the tiny sink area, it’s an ikea cabinet that I painted in gloss oil black paint, a dishwasher, and a piece of 3/4″ thick plywood painted black. Classy, right?

Our peninsula countertop is walnut butcher block, and it is super lovely. We have it oiled and I adore it both for its beauty and it’s function. I ordered it from the Hardwood Lumber company, ordering was easy and the delivery went without a hitch. Although, I had this super heavy and massive pallet sitting in my living room for awhile.

I have a Bosch 300 series Induction cooktop, which was discontinued soon after I purchased it? Anyways. LOVE LOVE LOVE that thing. I had always used a gas stove previously, and was a little worried to change. It’s amazing! I don’t even have to worry about my 4 year old daughter sitting right by the area when I am cooking. I really can’t recommend switching to induction enough. GET IT.Bosch induction cooktop

Underneath the cooktop, I have a Bosch 300 electric oven? I actually don’t remember! It seems like they discontinued it as well. It’s electric, and so far, no complaints. Bosch induction cooktop

Lighting. I have 4 can lights installed with LED light bulbs. I purchased the Harding fixture in natural brass from Schoolhouse Electric. There is sat hung, without a shade. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with the lighting in my very traditional looking kitchen. I want to mix up lots of styles, but sometimes, I get stuck in a one style state of mind. That’s when I remembered what Christina from Full House did with her Harding pendant. I purchased the pendant shade from Antique Lamp Supply. I really like it! Definitely not enough light for the average kitchen solely, but good low lighting. Schoolhouse electric Harding pendant 12" Special Half-Frost Industrial Style Pendant Shade, 6" fitter

Here’s mostly where I’m at with the kitchen!059 058 050 Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor Aura the tile shop Imperial gloss subway tile walnut butcher block counter walnut flooring Bosch induction cooktop painting vinyl windows

A ceiling, the radiator put back (by where the stools are), and a new wall sconce are still needed. We will see what 2015 brings.

If the kitchen walls could talk

Ya’ll ready for some mundane wall talk?

Back in April of 2014, when I demo’ed the tile floor to make way for new walnut hardwood, I got a little feverish and pulled down all the dry wall, removed the soffit to expose the ugliest radiator pipes, and demanded that my husband remove all the drywall/plaster/lath from the ceiling. After washing off the debris and horror of what I had just done, I was left with this:

It's the only 'Before" photo I could find!
It’s the only ‘Before” photo I could find!


Cracking yellow plaster walls, ugly radiator pipes and insight to how my 100 year old house is being held up (which gives me night terrors that the house is going to collapse, some things just shouldn’t be seen (it’s structurally sound, my anxiety knows no bounds))

After the house being jacked up, new flooring installed and part of the wall was removed, I started tiling the walls above the baseboards and skim coating/patching the remaining walls. I got two coats of durabond 90 on the walls, and abandoned it. I didn’t finish the cuts in my tile job, either. tile wainscotting

The cabinets were installed, and because nothing in old houses are plumb, the cabinets didn’t fit. So the contractor removed part of the drywall, and installed the cabinet. I was not at home at the time, and by the time it got to this point in the project, I pretty much loathed the contractor and wanted him to get the hell out of my house, finished or not.

So. It all sat like this, until, I announced that I would continue working on it. Erm, back in December.

On a whim one day whilst I was working at home, I got up and finished all my cuts for the tile on the wall, and grouted. I hadn’t started on the backsplash yet.

I removed the rest of the 1/2″ drywall down to the top of the base cabinet. I changed the light switch receptacle for a shallow one, since the wall cavity was less than 3″. shallow light receptical

Of course, even my 1/4″ thick drywall didn’t fit between the  upper cabinet and the middle stud. I could have cut the drywall to butt up against the cabinet, and not go behind it, but then it wouldn’t have any support behind it. I made a make shift cleat but using a spare piece of wood and screwing it into the stud, so the drywall could attach to it. Kind of hard to explain, and I’m sure not the professional method. 007

But! It worked. Moving on.

After all the seams in the new drywall and joints between the plaster and drywall were dried, began the sanding. Since I was not very skilled or meticulous about skim coating, all the wall surfaces needed to be sanded. Ooft.008

My husband helped me tape up plastic on most of the cabinets and doorways. It still crept everywhere. Natch. 011

My momma didn’t raise no fool. I used a palm sander on the walls and 80 grit sand paper to smooth everything out. It took me about an hour and a half, and a lot of climbing up and down a ladder. Talk about dustayyyyy. 010

After everything was cleaned up, I use the word ‘clean’ loosely in this household, it was time for priming the walls.

I decided to use my new gallon of Zinsser Oil Based Primer. I had never used it for such a large surface, but guys, it handled its shit. I may always use it on walls that have had a lot of patching. Yeah, you end up throwing the roller away, but I only used a 1/4 of the gallon, where latex may have been 1/2-3/4 can. I did follow up on the walls with a second coat of latex primer as well. 012 013

So much better, right?

Since I was already on a week long bender, high as a kite on paint fumes, I figured that I might as well paint the vinyl windows while I was at it.

I removed the latches (and spray painted them gold), and gave the window a super thorough cleaning with acetone. Meticulously taped everything off and cut little squares to size of painter’s plastic.Spray painting vinyl windows

I used Krylon Fusion in Gloss black. The inside stop had previously been painted black (see above above pictures), and after the vinyl part of the window was black, it felt like way too much black. I am very good at creating more work for myself, I taped it all off again, primed and painted about 5 coats of white on. I like how it turned out, and will probably continue to paint the upstairs vinyl windows, too. Painting Vinyl windows Painting Vinyl windows

Christmas happened, and I took a kitchen break to enjoy time with family.

I got back to it, by tiling the little cabinet nook back splash. Let me tell you, even inside in the basement and with hot water put in the wet saw, it is COLD to get sprayed with the water. Let alone the fact that it sprays into your lap, leaving the sensation that you’ve just peed yourself. gloss subway tile - the tile shop

I had removed the window apron before the tiling and cabinet installation. I didn’t want to make a lot of cuts on the tile or have the tile be thicker than the apron,, so I used all full tiles for 2′, putting that underneath the window apron. I shimmed out the area and put the window apron back on, after cutting it in two pieces to allow the peninsula cabinet to be flush with the wall. 023 025 026

It left some noticeable gaps along the side of the window, and the tile wasn’t capped off. 027

I went to the lumber yard about bought a basic profile, pre-primed pine chair rail. I think I put it upside down? Idk. I liked it better this way, and feel it mimics the baseboard nicely.

Everything got patched, caulked and painted.The Tile Shop Gloss subway tiles

All the trim got a fresh coat of Sherwin-Williams Floor and Porch paint in Snowbound 7004, and the walls were painted Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor, mixed in the Aura line and 25% darker. I haven’t used the Aura paint before, and I’m not sure if it’s the paint itself or how much goddamn pigment was in that can, it covered beautifully!Sherwin Williams Snowbound 7004 Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor Aura

I was dragging my feet on updating about the kitchen, because I feel disappointed that it still doesn’t look DONE. That might or might not have something to do with the fact that there isn’t a finished ceiling. No, it can’t be that simple of an explanation. I am way deep and complex, guys.

Somehow this post got over 1000 words, damn. I’ll continue in the next post with more updates.


I have a couple more boring things to get from the hardware store, like outlet covers. Also deep clean all the dust, but it almost kind of looks like a real room, barring a ceiling. Always with the missing ceiling and dust.


I am hoping this weekend to get back to the lumber yard and get some lumber and moulding to start on the wall opening between the kitchen and dining room. At this point, it seems like a novel idea to have both a kitchen and a dining room without power tools.

Get it done

After 4 new tires, continuing to pay off debt, daughter’s private school tuition due at the end of the month, life and a tiny eBay spending spree, I am feeling poor.

I have limited myself to finish started projects in which I already possess the materials. Ugh. Spending money bans are the worst.

Moving on.

Let’s take the kitchen walls for example.

1 step forward, 1346564 steps back

I have two skim coats of mud on the walls, and half a bag of durabond 90 left, 1/4″ drywall in the garage waiting to replace the missing piece on the wall, and the paint.

I am putting it out there, in the ether, that I would like to replace the drywall, joint all the seams and sand the walls smooth for paint – by this Sunday.

The ceiling still won’t get done anytime soon, my aims aren’t that high. Ha. Ha. Get it? A ceiling joke.

Also, it’s normal to purchase things like light fixtures, for rooms that aren’t even a little bit ready for them. Right? I am hoping it will light a fire under my ass for yet another unfinished room.

Fingers crossed.

Progress! I mean, if you consider making work for yourself as progress

This weekend, I got the sudden urge to tear down drywall, while I was drinking coffee.

So, I did.

I removed all the drywall in the dining room. It was at about this point that I was all “Ahhhh! What did I do?!”

See - dust and debris everywhere!
See – dust and debris everywhere!


I make poor decisions.

Then, I spent several hours with a drill, removing hundreds of screws. And I have concluded that I am worse at screw removal than the average person.

Action shot, courtesy of my 3 year old daughter
Action shot, courtesy of my 3 year old daughter

The walls are not in terrible shape, actually. They need a very, very thorough cleaning. Most of the damage is from the screw holes from the drywall.

Now, I’m trying to convince myself to not just embrace the green, and to prep the walls for new paint.

As of right this moment, green is in the winning. Retro dining room

I did get the second coat of Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor (25% darker) on part of the kitchen wall. The color is so amazing. I’m glad that I discontinued the hunt for the perfect gray and went the opposite direction. I found the color accidentally, by googling Benjamin Moore colors – and this picture popped up:

untitled (1 of 1)From http://design-crisis.com/tag/dark-harbor/

I just knew that I had to get that color in my life.

Here’s how it looks with the brick, and walnut floor:

Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor
Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor and walnut floor
Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor and Sherwin Williams Snowbound
Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor and Sherwin Williams Snowbound


Kitchen plans – loose ends

On some level, I know that a lot has happened in the kitchen. It still feels so unfinished, probably because it really is. This whole thing has been a multi phase process. We only got the first couple of cabinets, because we weren’t planning on removing the wall yet, and wouldn’t know exact measurements until we did. We were trying to be responsible and save and pay with cash for the work and materials. We did a pretty good job, for awhile. Well, after the floor, jacking up the house, and removing the wall and all the miscellaneous (omg. so many random expenses) – way over budget. As I’m sure most people can relate to.

The credit cards are cut up, and the next year is dedicated to paying off all debt and saving, again. So the remaining cabinets are going to remain a fantasy, for awhile.

But! That’s ok. It gives me an opportunity to wrap up loose ends. And work more on DIY.


  • 3rd skim coat
  • drywall seams
  • sand, sand, sand
  • prime
  • paint walls and trim
  • chair rail
  • base shoe
  • hack ikea cabinet (another post, when I finish)

So. The list will continue, but it will be more helpful with a visual. The wall that was drywalled and will have tile backsplash – needs to be drywalled. again. Yes. I guess our cabinet was 1/8″ too wide or something, so the contractor decided to just remove the drywall there. Yeah, thanks for that, guy.


1 step forward, 1346564 steps back
1 step forward, 1346564 steps back

I have a panel of 1/4″ drywall in the garage for this. The other issue is that the space between the outside walls is only about 2″. The light switch box is too deep, and sticks out too far. I ordered a shallow one, and will switch it out when I re-drywall it.

List continued:

  • switch light switch box
  • drywall
  • tile the backsplash and up the side wall
  • grout
  • get grout and cap pieces (side note: decide on cap pieces)

Someday list:

  • More cabinets (new sink/dishwasher cabinet and cabinets depicted in below illustration)
  • A ceiling – now I just sound spoiled
  • crown moulding
  • door frame moulding
  • Pantry
  • ugly radiator pipes (I don’t want ugly radiator pipes, but I don’t judge you if that’s your thing)
You like my mad paint skills?
You like my mad paint skills?


I have been working on the new drywall, so things are making progress, maybe?

I forgot how to kitchen

I lived with a partial kitchen, no sink – but a stove, or no stove – but a sink, for a long time (about a year). It seems like every couple of weeks I was disassembling it more, and removing more (all) wall cabinets. Why? Because I am a glutton for punishment.

Here was the kitchen on a GOOD day:

Terrible befores, make for Good afters.
Terrible befores, make for Good afters.

Yup. No prep space, no landing spot next to the stove.

It was very stressful planning out a new layout for my kitchen. I am not a designer, I didn’t want to PAY for a designer. I am talking about a lot of sleepless nights, before I paid for our custom cabinets, and a whole lot of sleepless nights afterwards. The people over at gardenweb would probably tear my layout apart.

But, you know what? My kitchen.

And also. Can I remind everyone, 1 huge window and 4 doorways, a radiator?

I did keep in mind adequate space for walkways around our peninsula (42″+), and so far it’s worked really well.

The biggest change that we made was moving the cooking to the center, in the peninsula (it’s connected to the wall on one side – semantics). It. Is. Awesome. It’s the little cooking epicenter, it has the Induction cooktop, oven, butcher block for prep work, the trash can, and spice pull out. There’s enough room behind the cooktop that my soon-to-be-4-year-old can sit back a safe distance, but also lean forward to help me stir (while supervised).

Moving the fridge into the kitchen was pretty good, too.

The drawers across from the peninsula have the pots and pans/Tupperware.

Soft close. Holla.

Here’s what the cabinets look like as of today:067085 070 068

Can we just talk about the behemoth of a fridge surround? It’s 107″ tall, 31 3/8″ deep and 36″ wide. My outside doors are not that wide. I carefully measured my INTERIOR doors, and they were wide enough, so I ordered the cabinet. Only days before the cabinets were to be delivered, did it occur to me to measure the exterior door. Oh. Em. Gee. Too small. How am I going to get the cabinet IN the house? It’s ok, if I remove part of the doorway jamb, it will squeak through.

Yeah, turns out that I was not familiar with pre-hung doors? I guess it’s all one solid piece. I have lived in 100+ year old houses for the past 20 years, and door frames were put together of individual pieces of molding. In a fit of frustration and panic, I beat the hell out of the door frame with a hammer and a crow bar. I did this:

There's supposed to be another strip of wood and about 1/2" thicker
There’s supposed to be another strip of wood and about 1/2″ thicker

The cabinets show up. There’s a brace on the back of the fridge surround to keep it stable. It doesn’t fit. Tears were shed. Curse words hurled. Luckily, it could be stored in our garage.

For install, our contractor was able to remove the whole frame, so that it could fit through the door. I was the only one home when that happened. It was me, and him, and we had to get that thing from the garage, through the back yard and through the door, and lifted up into position. I am tiny, 5’2″ and rail-thin-kind-of-tiny. Boy, was my body sore the next day.

Turns out that it was good that our ceiling was torn out, otherwise, the geography of getting the cabinet up, would not have worked. Small victories.


There’s still so much to dooooooooooooooooo. At least it feels like progress.