Kitchen Remodel

Tile back splash
The new back splash

There are times when you want to update part of the home without making major changes. This was the case with the kitchen remodel I recently completed. The minor changes included wall paper and back splash. I also added a chair rail in the breakfast nook. The end result is a space that feels brand new.

The replaced wall paper dates from the turn of the century. I love it. The back drop of fruits gives a homey feel. But the best part is a wall paper border with an irregular edge. This adds a touch of class.

However, the kids have flown the coop. So, creating a vibe of comfort, reliability and permanence for the kids to come home to after school is no longer a need. Instead, we want to signal our ongoing vitality with a 21st Century vibe.

Out with the Old

I highly recommend utilizing the tips in Painting Secrets if you need to take down old wallpaper. Otherwise, stripping the old wallpaper is an arduous task. Not fun at all.

Removing the old tile back splash was another story. Quite a few of the tiles came down intact. One was a bit pesky and there was damage to the dry wall beneath. I made an effort to carefully remove the tile. But I can see how one could release some pent-up energy by smashing down the tiles.

Close up of tile demolitionMore Tiles Knocked OutPlastic scraper taking off dried adhesive.Back splash dry wall with coat of KILZDrop Cloth underneath tileView of wall paper between cabinets and countertopFruit border with straight edgeWall paper and curtains with trailing fruit designOpen Doorway Bordered by Wall Paper

Prepping for the New

Preparation is essential for success in a kitchen remodel. Surface repairs were the first element involved. While I could fill in nail holes, I had a contractor repair the damage to the drywall above the stove. He also relocated wiring for a vent that vented to nowhere. A new LED light bar replaced the vent.

Then, I used a wall paper primer over most of the wall space. Sealer was applied atop the drywall repairs. These added steps add time to the project since a drying and curing time is essential.

Other preps included assembling the needed tools for the job. In addition to a wall paper brush and a wall paper roller, an Exacta knife with a blade pre-scored to make snapping the dulled end off easier is essential. The use of multiple rulers including a yard stick and plastic rulers greatly help with measurement.

The plastic rulers are 2 feet long and six inches wide. Their original use along with the cutting mats is for quilting. I found both types excellent for doubling as tools for wall paper.

Finally, I picked out un-pasted wall paper. So wall paper paste was a must. I used some re-cycled heavy-duty plastic to book the wall paper. Un-pasted wallpaper is quite different from pre-pasted in prep and handling. There are pros and cons to both.

Tile Preps

The tile back splash and chair rail utilized the above rulers. Also needed were levels, tile adhesive and a wet tile saw. The old adage measure twice and cut once applies for all tile applications. It would have also helped to have multiple sets of hands since the tile application was on a vertical surface. Most important of all is a drop cloth to catch all the shards.

Since I was tiling alone, extra time was spent holding the tile in place until the tile adhesive had begun to set. This would be very tough for a beginner. As it was, a few choice words escaped while working on the back splash. Thankfully no one was around to hear.

Pattern Choices

The tile choice takes precedence over the wallpaper. Tile has permanency. It is harder to replace. I chose an Italian tile for the back splash. Décor Prism Mix is made by Fiordo Industrie Ceramiche and sold through Panaria as part of their Genesis collection. The measurements are metric. The size in the kitchen back splash is 20 x 20 cm. (This converts to just under 8 inch square.)

The tiles remind me of quilt patterns and are very neutral in color. But I did not like the online examples where they butted up against one another. So my design resembles a sampler quilt.

I separated the various designs of the Décor Prism Mix with sashes of Gemstone Cool Listello Tile (519 A) by Florida Tile. Then with just one sheet of Florida Tile Silver Aspen Art Bliss Mosaic I connected the sashes. The entire back splash is framed by Questech Jolly Wrought Iron Egg, a pencil thin edging.

Chair Rail

The chair rail also utilizes the Questech tile. It serves as a lower and upper edging to Koala Grey Basket Weave Matte Glass Tile. This tile also comes in sheets. But I divided the tile into thirds for a railing. Acrylic paint covered the cuts in the tile.

Two different wall papers adjoin the chair rail. Below the tile edging is a textured wall paper by York. The Tuck Stripe Unpasted High Performance Wall paper is scrubbable. I bought the paper in two colors, Black/Grey for the lower half of the breakfast room and Beige for the kitchen.

The second wall paper in the breakfast room is made by Wallquest. They have an ecochic line which is environmentally friendly. The paper does have a large repeat. I ended up rotating back and forth between two rolls to avoid waste. I did have to piece one very small area. The piecing went well-I can’t even tell! This paper is also un-pasted and needed booking.

Booking wall paper is easier than instructions sound. The booking allows the paste to set-up enough to stick to the wall. There are some great online videos found by searching the term wall paper booking.

Kitchen Remodel Time Table

The time table for the kitchen remodel was about a month. I needed to make a visit to Florida during the renovation. This extended the actual loss of use. Fortunately we have a dining room in addition to the breakfast area so we could enjoy all our meals there.
Overall time was also extended by a one man workforce.

I love working on projects. Perhaps it is the satisfaction of completion that drives me. Unending tasks such as dishes and laundry are not fun. But designing an updated interior is. Unbeknownst to me while picking out tile is the resurgence of the Americana look represented by the back splash. Either that, or like many things in life, the style becomes noticeable once you have adopted it. I hope you enjoy the slide shows.

Tile back splashBreakfast table

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