Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Almost-there Kitchen

In my experience, renovation projects strongly resemble marathons.  You think it's a great idea!  You get ready!  You take off strong!  No problems!  You run the first half.  You work through the tough moments.  You think "I can totally do this.  Hard, but doable!"  You hit mile 20.  You think "what the hale was I thinking??"  You quickly go to "can I stop now?  No, I'm so close!"  Which quickly turns into "OMG, what the HALE was I thinking?  Slap me if I ever want to do this again."  You slowly lurch over the finish line and lay in a heap panting.  Once your legs have recovered you celebrate and you sleep in equal measures.  Two months later, the pain is forgotten and it seems like a GREAT idea again.

Yeah, ok, I've never run a marathon, but at least that is exactly what renovation feels like.  We're currently at something like mile 24.  Accomplishments to date: new countertops, new sink and PAINTED cabinets!  (This last one is a miracle of truly epic proportions.)  Accomplishments to go: painting the walls, fixing and painting the trim.  I wanted to wait to write this post until we had flopped over the finish line, but it looks like we're going to be hobbling along for a bit, so I figured I should celebrate our accomplishments so far.

Check it out, our "new" kitchen!
 Yee haw!  OK, the knobs are still hideous, but we're working on it.  Check out that beauteous countertop and the gigundas sink!  As I'm fond of saying, you could wash a turkey or a two-year-old in it. 

Full confession, I really failed on my portion of this renovation.  The manfriend was going to do the scary carpentry/plumbing/countertop shaping and I was going to do the painting.  How hard can it be, right?  Yeeeeah, if you saw my last post, you know that it was not a cakewalk.  After my fourth attempt, my far more anal-retentive marital partner took over and started from scratch.  In two very light and very careful coats, he turned out passable cabinets.  I made Easter brunch.  Whatever, when in doubt, play to your skills.  (Because he knows how important Easter brunch is to me, that exemplary piece of manflesh stayed up all night on Easter eve painting and putting the kitchen back together so there would be a finished kitchen when the guests arrived.  That, my friends, is true love.)

OK, so you've heard about the process of painting the cabinets.  In a less nightmarish vein, the zinc counters were surprisingly easy to install.  First we bought the zinc from ($200 for the whole kitchen's worth, woot!)  It comes in a big roll.  We laid it out to loosen any set and tried to get it as flat as possible.  As previously covered, the husband made a support for the sink and put a bullnose edge on the front of the counter.  We measured out how big the countertop pieces should be including the backsplash, cut the sheet with shears, and bent the backsplash into shape with a piece of wood and a hammer.  (Had we used a plastic mallet, we would have done better, small hammer marks can be seen in the backsplash, but it just adds character, right?)  We wrestled the zinc sheet into the kitchen, set it on the floor, laid a thick layer of construction adhesive down on the counter (I got to use the adhesive gun, super fun,) squeegeed the adhesive out flat, put the countertop on and sat on it till it adhered.  Just kidding, we weighted it down with buckets of water and cinder blocks.  After curing overnight, we (ok, really the handy husband) bent over the bullnose in the front, secured it with galvanized nails and we called it a game!  We repeated this process with the end piece on the far side of the stove, and on the short L next to the fridge and we were done.  Truly, that part of the renovation was easy as pie.  We had some hiccups, in one spot the adhesive wasn't thick enough and the counter didn't adhere all the way (you can "pop" it in and out.)  But overall, I think they turned out awesome and they're already developing patina.  We didn't do anything to finish them, in a couple weeks we might do a light sand and a coat of beeswax to try and get the patina a little more even.  I think it looks especially good with the white sink:
Beauteous!  Shall we do a before and after?  Oh let's do.

OK, the cabinets don't look that much different in my terrible night photography but it really does look better, you'll just have to believe me.  Yay for new counter and washing cake plates in the sink is no longer an exercise resembling yoga.  I'm so happy!

We're still crawling towards the finish line.  The window trim in this kitchen is a disaster.  We have succeeded in picking out a paint color ("Porcelain Skin" by Behr, a light warm apricot/peach color, all the yellows we debated looked too eggy with the wood beadboard), but the time to tape and paint has not arrived.  I have a full week planned next week and then I'm going on a two-week vacation to Croatia so it may just have to wait till the end of May!  Ugh.  Again, limping sloooowly towards that elusive finish line, but we'll get there.  Meanwhile, I'm gonna go wash something.  :)


  1. Sweet Hannah Barbara Bat Man, your description of the DIY marathon is so, so very true. But when you get there, oh baby oh, it is so rewarding!

    Found you through the blog share on wb, and am already enjoying your blog. :)

  2. Your kitchen looks great! I'm in the process of redoing just about everything in my house so I totally understand where you come from here!

    Found you through the blog share on wb too and am excited to see all the changes your house goes through!