Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Presto chango, part 2

Look at those laminate countertops. The copper-flake color seemed like
such a good idea at the time, which was 12 years ago when 
I didn't watch HGTV obsessively and cared only about where the barn would go,
not whether there was enough contrast between the floors, cabinets and counters in my kitchen.

Funny how a little white quartz can brighten up the place.

In a matter of three and a half hours yesterday, the new counters were installed...

...along with an undermount sink. 
I have to wait 24 hours for the glue to dry 
before I can hook up the plumbing and install the new faucet.

Until this kitchen makeover started a few months ago,
I'd never even heard of an undermount sink.
I think I'll really like how easy it will be to clean around the top of it. 
See the two holes next to the sink in the picture above?
I will mount the faucet in the top one and put a plug in the other one
until such time that I sell the place and have to re-install
the dishwasher airgap to meet code. It's butt-ugly, unnecessary, and
I refuse to let it clutter up my new countertop. So there.

Before we leave this picture, note that I've had a crisis of confidence
when it comes to microwave installation. All the youtube videos I've watched
show two guys removing the old one and two guys installing the new one.
I've convinced myself that attempting this solo would be a bad idea.
So if you've got nothing better to do sometime soon and 
want to lift and tip a microwave into place, let me know. 

p.s. The mistake in the backsplash tile pattern has never been so glaringly obvious.
Some day I'll tell you how that happened.

Anyway, I had hoped that the kitchen makeover would stop now and would not include 
the replacement of the tile backsplash. Alas, the color of quartz I selected
is not as warm as the grout color, and overall, the tile just isn't working for me anymore.
I was planning to simply grout the space where the tile meets the quartz,
but now it appears I'll be ripping out all the tile instead. 
What fun! What a mess! What to put up there in its place?
Excuse me while I go google backsplashes.


  1. Love the new counters. Going to be interesting to see the tile come down. The honey color of the cabinets does present a challenge on picking a new color. Classic white subway is always a great choice, then you can accent it with art for color....but with all the fun patterns, maybe you will fall in love with one. Or, for a super easy route they have peel and stick wall tiles too.
    Can't wait to see what you pick. move on the microwave install. I kept waiting for a photo with wood and car jacks involved!
    Lisa G in TN

  2. Two things: 1.) I'm so curious about the tile pattern story and I wonder if I'd have noticed it if you hadn't mentioned it. 2.) I guess you know how relieved I am about your delayed microwave installation. Someday I'll show you my scars from a microwave installation accident years ago.
    Well, maybe 3 things: When we were "talking" about your saw and I mentioned the new Dremel tool/saw, I see one of the new Dremel saws has a grout cutting blade. Maybe 4 things: Wallpaper is a fun backsplash option and easier to change when you get bored with it.

  3. You can change the color of grout if you want to keep your tile. ...Just sayin'.

  4. Do you ever get a rest? Hmmm ... wait ... renos are exactly what happens when you get time to sit down and look around. STOP looking! Get back out to the barn! ;)

  5. Looking great!! I'm amazed as always. Took me a while to see any kind of backsplash pattern mistake, by the way :)

  6. What a great choice in counter top! Brightens up the whole kitchen. I can't wait to see what tile you pick out. Isn't it one thing and then another??

    Sydney - NE Okla.

  7. Northern AB gal2/8/17, 8:19 AM

    Good luck with picking a backsplash. I found that a hard decision to make and one you can't change easily. I'm living with what I chose, but would do it differently if I could. Maybe some day. Would love to hear the story about how you messed up the backsplash pattern. Was wine involved? Have you thought about painting the tiles for now, might help in the decision process. Ever given some thought to whitewashing your cupboards?

  8. Try recoloring the grout before you rip it out. It is real inexpensive and easy. Then you can rip out if you don't like it. I had to study the pattern before I saw the issue. Most would not notice. My guess is there were two people installing or two different days and a memory lapse.
    I once had two brick layers working back to back laying a decorative feature to my front porch steps. At the end of the day one side was nice and straight and the other was nice and curved. Both pretty, but one had to be relaid to match.

  9. 1. Love your new countertop. 2. Can't see the problem in the tile. Don't let 2 make you doubt the veracity of 1. Aunt Jean

  10. Love it! I wish we lived close so my husband could help with the microwave. It would be hard to hold by yourself but you could prop something underneath it to help hold it while you worked. Can't wait to see the new backsplash so many choices.

  11. Good call on the microwave change-out, it is a heavy beast, a definite two-person job. Love the new counters. There are so many great backsplash options, it is overwhelming (which is why 10 years after renovation I still don't have one). (As an aside, I would not grout the seam between backsplash and tile. It is best caulked becasue of the different moment of the materials, you can get sanded or unsanded grout-matching caulk!)

    1. Boy I need to check my spelling before submitting. "Because" and "movement" not "moment". I'm really not that dumb...let's blame it on lack of caffeine...

  12. You need to stop watching HGTV. Those people cast spells. But, I do like the quartz counters and the sink.

  13. While I like the remodeling you're doing, I have to admit I'm puzzled. If you're going to sell the place, why are you remodeling? You do realize that the new owners will more than likely be tearing out what you've just done to do their own remodeling to their taste? Just a thought.... suzanne

  14. the white is beautiful and bright! I love quartz! I'm hooked on hgtv. :) looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the backsplash.

  15. Twelve years ago everyone was telling me to put in granite countertops when we built our house. I went with quartz because it was cheaper and had zero maintenance. I'm still happy with my choice. They are basically indestructible and even came with a warranty. Yours look fabulous! I'm really glad to hear that you're not going to tackle the microwave alone. :)

  16. I would encourage you to let someone(or two someones) install your microwave. I think this would be one of those aha moments, that even though you are totally capable of doing ANYTHING, it might be prudent to indulge this once to let a certified electrician get on board and do this. Just sayin'...

  17. I too love the quartz counter- it really does brighten up the kitchen. I had to look hard at your backsplash to see the pattern mistake but once I did- yes it is indeed glaringly obvious.
    My vote for a new backsplash is tin ceiling tiles. They can be painted any colour and have lovely patterns.

    1. I still don't see it. And I've been looking hard

  18. HGTV and GAC for shows like log cabin living have me constantly judging my home to see how it stands up. I love the programs but they do lead to debating whether I want to stay with what I have.

  19. I love the quartz counters! Although I think you're going to need to paint the cupboards - the pine is nice but it looks rather rustic with the bright white counters. Have you considered subway tiles for the backsplash? The Southwestern theme you had going seems to be 'going'. That's what a 'makeover' is all about! (please don't consider black for the cupboards- too cold).

  20. Hi, Carson - been following your wonderful blog for years but rarely comment. I just wonder if you have considered using that "extra hole" by the sink for a dishwashing detergent dispenser. I have one and use it daily for hand-washing some dishes and pots - so much nicer than having to squeeze some out of a bottle all the time. And yes, I do use my dishwasher!!! Great job on your DIY projects - I just love your "before & afters"!

  21. Very pretty! I still like the tile but understand why you would want to change it. I also can't find the pattern problem...oh well

  22. Oh gawd, you really are getting out of control on the revamping! And there was me all proud just because I had managed to clean out under the manky, skanky million-year-old sink cupboards and replace the paper in them. :D

  23. An American in Tokyo2/9/17, 6:02 PM

    Wow! All I can say! I'm looking forward to seeing more!

  24. See? If it's not one thing, it's another!