Tag: DIY

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

Sneak Peek at the Breakfast Room

Sneak Peek

Those of you following Econogal for the personal snippets in addition to the book reviews will enjoy this sneak peek at the re-freshening of the kitchen and breakfast areas. I don’t consider this a major remodel. But it is taking some time. My deadline is March 29th.

Changes

Vining fruit wallpaper on a breakfast room wall
A view of the old wallpaper in the breakfast room.

The key changes involve color scheme and tone. The before wallpaper was a print of vines and fruits. The paper had a gorgeous border and coordinating curtains. Since the original counter top was a medium blue everything blended.

But, in the early part of this century a major remodel of the kitchen included adding Corian counters in the kitchen. The counter top is now gray. I like the color and pattern and am happy with the surface. So, at this point I do not want to change to quartz counters. Yet a new look is appealing.

As you can see by a sneak peek at the pictures, the change in wall paper is dramatic. The homey country feel which was good when the kids were growing up is gone. Now, there is a striking flair to the breakfast room. The wallpaper reflects my artsy nature. But the highlight is the new chair rail.

Wall paper up without the chair rail.

Creative Additions

As discussed in the post Path Not Taken, my training is business, but my passion is design. I am at a point in my life where creativity can take a front seat. The breakfast room and chair rail are demonstrative evidence.

Picking out wallpaper is tricky. Often I use a wallpaper border either as an accent or to blend everything together. In the case of the wallpapers I chose for the kitchen and breakfast room refresh, no border accompanied the patterns. Indeed the bold print was marketed by a different company than the textured paper used on the bottom of the breakfast room and throughout the kitchen. Wall Quest and York were the two companies I used.

So, I needed something to tie the papers together. A chair rail provided this connection. But, this chair rail is tile, not wood. Taking another sneak peek at the pictures, one can see two tiles were used to create the chair rail.

Chair rail under construction.

Tile Tips

The inner tile, produced by Glazzio, came in 12 inch sheets. But at the show room, the tile was shown in a 4 inch strip. Thus, my idea to use it as a chair rail might not have materialized if I had simply seen the large sheet. To achieve the effect I wanted, the tile needed to be cut in strips.

The tile saw chipped some of the tile. But my acrylic paints covered the chips. One could cut the strips by hand (using scissors and snipping around the links) to eliminate the chips, but then one would need to cut the individual links for half pieces. In my opinion this would create a dangerous situation.

Both a laser level and a hand level were used to ensure the chair rail was installed correctly. The laser level allowed me to draw a pencil line atop the wall paper as you can see in this picture. Then I used a hand level as I installed each piece.

Instead of standard tile adhesive I used a clear silicon adhesive made by Onyx. This was left over from an installation of Onyx showers and sink tops. I did not want the white adhesive seeping through the basket-weave. But I still wiped immediately with a sudsy rag. The soapy water was changed often.

Cutting Tile

I save the tile cuts for last. So in the case of the breakfast room, I worked each wall until I needed to make a cut. Then I worked on the areas requiring cuts. Fortunately, the long wall was done without any cuts. But, there was a change in the basket weave.

Since I am always budgeting, I did not by a piece for each linear foot. However, the basket weave did not repeat evenly. So, on the long wall a point was reached where the interlocking tile ran out. At this point, I butted two different weaves and then filled the gaps with small pieces. The filler pieces were created with the original tile cuts. Always save the cuttings. You never know when they will come in handy.

After the basket weave was in place, I affixed the Questech Jolly pencil trim to top and bottom. Again, I used the hand-held level as a double-check. The bottom pencil required more “holding” time to adhere without sliding down. The cuts into the corners were the most difficult.

Final Touches Needed

Curtains and curtain rods are still needed. Currently, I do not know what I am going to use. However, I like how the existing wood work really pops. The chandelier continues this. So I would like to find curtain fixtures to continue this feel. As for curtains. I am toying with the idea of burlap. Stay tuned!