2016 Year In Review

2016 has come to a close, so I wanted to look back at the progress we made. This was a busy year, with both of us still adjusting to our new careers and planning our October wedding. But I think we made enormous progress on the house, and reflecting on all that we accomplished will hopefully be motivation to keep up the hard work this year.

In early 2016, we finally wrapped up the trim and painting on the stair column – at this point, we still need to add some base and top trim, but we’re planning to install the crown molding downstairs sometime this spring, so that will be the final step of this job. Apparently I haven’t taken a picture of the column after it was painted, so this is the best one I’ve got:

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The next big project of 2016 was our downstairs powder room. What began with a new toilet seat resulted in a gutted room and complete renovation. We painted, tiled and grouted the floor and backsplash, installed a new vanity with a new faucet, new mirror, new towel/toilet paper holder fixtures, and a new threshold.

We installed all the chair molding trim in the dining room, completed refinishing the china cabinet, and got our dining room furniture all set up to finish this room.

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We built 2 raised bed gardens which did pretty well last year. I just bought seeds for 2017, which I’ll start inside next month. I’ll be planting cucumbers (pickling size and regular), bush string beans, snow peas, eggplant, jalapeno pepper, bush zucchini, roma and grape-sized tomatoes, spaghetti squash, mescalin, leeks, garlic, and various herbs. If anyone wants extra seedlings, let me know!

Our furniture work this year was pretty pitiful, and I hope we have more time to do furniture projects in 2017. The two big pieces we did this year were building a front porch bench, and redoing  a small set of shelves for our master bathroom:

Our biggest renovation of the year was the kitchen. In this room we replaced the flooring with our engineered hardwood, sanded, primed, and painted all of our cabinets and installed one more new cabinet on the far wall, added new cabinet hardware, got granite countertops and a new sink and faucet installed, tiled/grouted/applied sealant to the backsplash, got all new appliances and mounted the microwave over the stove, created open shelving on 2 walls, and painted the walls.

In this room the final projects for this spring are installing cabinet crown molding at the tops of the cabinets, finding and installing new light fixtures, and building our island, which will have matching granite.

We also bought a new HVAC system (gas package with AC and furnace) and just updated our laundry room with a new washer and dryer last month, but these don’t make for fun pictures, just not-so-fun expenses. But they are upgrades nonetheless.

So what’s on the list for 2017? First we want to finish up the final tasks downstairs: cabinet crown molding in the kitchen, ceiling crown molding in the entryway, living room, dining room, and possibly powder room, building a functional kitchen island, getting a stupid banister installed on our stairs (still hasn’t been done!), and adding new light fixtures for the kitchen and dining room. I also want to get my gardens going in March, and finish creating a bordered backyard flower garden out of the extra jungle gym wood. We also are ordering new blinds for almost all the windows on the house that will be the thicker wood-look blinds, so we’ll have to install those when they come in. We also need to have the house washed and gutters cleaned (which we’ll hire out for lack of good ladders) as well as have the lawn aerated before we seed it.

The big project of 2017 will take place in the summer months when Nik doesn’t have a 2 hour commute twice a week for his teaching responsibility at UNC Pembroke: our master bath renovation. For this, we’re planning to tile the floor, refinish and raise up our vanity and add undermount sinks with a nicer (possibly granite) countertop, paint the walls, rip out the old shower, replace the shower pan and tile the walls, add a new glass shower door, and add new faucet hardware for the sinks, shower, and tub. After vaguely tallying up what we’ve spent on this house so far, we’re around the $15K mark, so we’re going to attempt to keep the budget pretty tight for the bathroom – ideally in the $2000 range. Cheers to 2017!

Kitchen Shelves and 100 Posts

Apparently this is my 100th post on the blog, which nicely coincides with us finally finishing the kitchen shelving. For all intents and purposes, I think this is good enough to call the kitchen DONE. DIY people seem to never quite “finish” a project because when you can do things yourself, there’s always something else you can add, or redo so it seems never ending at times.

We replaced the cabinet to the left of the sink with shelving, because when we were demo-ing the kitchen, and that cabinet came down, the room just opened up and seemed so light and airy.

Before:

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After:

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Nik immediately suggested putting shelves there, and I kind of agreed we could “try it,” fully thinking it wouldn’t happen. This is what happens when men are put in charge of renovations – they don’t think about the messy cups and plates that a solid cabinet door hides, but these are the thoughts women are plagued with. Fortunately, we received all new dinnerware and wine glasses and water glasses for our wedding, which can now be neatly displayed on our new shelves.

We wanted “bulkier” looking wood shelves, and unfortunately the hardware store only carries nicer wood planks up to 3/4″ thick. They looked a little underwhelming to us, so we wandered and came across stair treads, which are red oak, 1″ thick, and more than the 10″ deep that we wanted the shelves. They were a little pricey, at $27 a step, but the alternative was going to look for reclaimed wood at the Reuse Warehouse in Durham, which probably would’ve been comparable and would’ve taken up precious Saturday time.

We bought brackets off Etsy from Lithuania of all places, which were also pricey and came out to $155 with shipping for 9 brackets. But, they looked great and seemed strong enough to hold the shelves.

To get close to our floor stain color, we did a coat of special walnut and a coat of red chestnut Minwax stain. Then the shelves were sealed with 2 coats of water-based poly. Mounting the brackets into studs proved to be a bit challenging – especially the long shelf on the far wall, since there were no conveniently located studs for two of the brackets so we had to use drywall anchors. It took 2+ tries to find an anchor with appropriately sized screws for the brackets. But the shelves are up now, and here’s the finished product!

Far shelf (garage wall – we haven’t quite figured out what to put on this shelf yet, so as of now it’s extra bakeware and glasses and a decorative sign we got from Nik’s brother’s girlfriend for Christmas last year):

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And our left-of-sink cabinet (I think there’s too much stuff on this currently…but it doesn’t look as full in person. We might clear off some of the stuff if we can find space elsewhere).

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And to see how the shelves tie into the whole room, here are some further-away shots.

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We like how they turned out – and its exciting to have all those cups and plates up off the kitchen counter now!

In other news, we got our little tree up this weekend. There was some bickering about the slightly ridiculous star placement, and it seems as though my argument to leave it as is will win!

 

A DIY Wedding

This blog is more focused on fixing up furniture and our house, but since the principle behind that is DIY, I thought I’d write a post about some of the crafty DIY things we did for our wedding to personalize it and cut costs (read: we’ve barely lifted a finger to work on anything in our house in the last 2 months, so to keep this blog going I’m desperate to write about something DIY related). This will probably be long…but I haven’t written in a while so hopefully it keeps you entertained!

To start off with, here’s a wedding picture so you aren’t seeing all the other pictures of decorations and wondering what we looked like!

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Some of my favorite wedding projects that we did all ourselves (or that our wonderful friends/family helped with!) were our tall wooden vase boxes, our flower arrangements in lab glassware and all the girls’ bouquets and guys’ boutonnieres, our seating cards/favors, the bar menu, our cake and picture table, my printed food label cards, our programs, coffee cups, my  bridesmaid favors, and my veil. So today I’ll go through one by one and show pictures of each thing and say how we made it and the costs.

So first thing is our vase boxes. The reception hall had plain walls, so we wanted a few things along the walls to dress it up a bit. We ended up building 7 tall wooden boxes out of 1″x6″ boards.And by we, I mean Nik…

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When my parents visited a few weeks before the wedding, we stained them with classic gray Minwax stain and put a sprig of twirly twigs from Michael’s in each one. The wood cost for all of these was about $60 and the twigs were about $60.

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Our photographer didn’t seem to get a good picture of them, but we had them in various places around the room with an uplight behind each one (there’s one against the wall to the right of us):

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

After the wedding, we gave a couple to each of our parents to use in their house and we still have 3 in the garage that need a home! That picture also shows off our market lights, which we purchased 200′ of (lightsforalloccasions.com) for about $80 with a coupon, and hung them ourselves the day before (by we, I mean mostly our parents!). Actually, we got about 90% of the room set up with family and friends’ help the day before the wedding, which saved us cost of needing a day-of planner or a lot of hired set-up help. We had a few good friends supervise the final touches Saturday afternoon before the reception, and oversee 3 college kids that we hired to help finish set up.

Next is our flower arrangements. I know people can spend $5000 on their wedding flowers, but I wasn’t going to let that happen. Our flowers were from a local flower farm in Hillsborough, NC called Fernrock Farms. We ordered 3 large DIY buckets, $195 for everything! I was nervous when I talked with the flower lady there a week before the wedding and she said the “warm September with no rain had been detrimental to the flowers,” so I was planning back up trips to Whole Foods to pick up extra flowers if needed. When my mom showed up with the flowers Friday morning, we were blown away by how beautiful they were! This is how they arrived:

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My dad kindly put up with me when I asked him to drive to several different stores Friday morning in search of some white daisies to put in my bouquet – I think he was happy to do it, because they were in memory of my grandma (my dad’s mom) who had a bouquet of her favorite flowers – daisies – on her wedding day.

img_2848My two wonderful aunts and cousin worked for many hours the Friday before the wedding creating the girls’ bouquets, the guys’ boutonnieres, and all of our our table vases. None of them had done flower arranging like this before and everything came out beautifully – so it goes to show you don’t need to pay a florist $5000 to arrange your flowers if you have a few artistic and willing family members to help out!

Here are the bouquets and boutonnieres (for these, they used green floral tape to hold things together and the bouquets got a strip of burlap ribbon on the outside, and the boutonnieres got a pin in each one to attach):

My bouquet:

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Nik’s boutonniere:

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

So handsome =)

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

And here are some of the centerpiece vases and these little mini vases I found – our centerpieces were actual erlenmeyer flasks (borrowed for free, courtesy of my cancer research lab!), and the mini vases were used on other tables around the room and were about $20 for 12 of them.

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Next item on the list is our seating cards which doubled as favors. I found these cute little kraft-paper bags that have floral patterns in them on Etsy. They were the perfect size for a name, and on the inside we had a little scoop of native North Carolina wildflower seeds and a small thank you card. The bags were about $25 for 75 of them, and the seeds for $20.

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

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I loved how our bar menu came out – I found this rustic frame at Home Goods for $12.99, and I printed this menu on some textured cardstock on my work printer. Our caterer let us bring our own wine, and we had fun picking out the wines at Total Wine and More. I love coupons, and I actually bought the 7 cases of wine and champagne with a 15% off coupon, which allowed us to get much better wines than we would’ve gotten with any caterer in that price range. We then kept it all local for our beer options, and went with a great brewery from Hillsborough, NC called Mystery Brewing Company. And we also threw a cider on our bar list that’s originally from Virginia, but now is also brewed in NC called Bold Rock Cider.

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Our cake table was kind of an afterthought but I love how fun and special it turned out. We got our cake from a local baker who is the wife of one of Nik’s friends (Yellowbird Baking – she cooks unbelievable cakes in her tiny kitchen, which is inspiring to me as a fellow baker!), and she made us 2 single layer cakes for easier serving and then a small 2 tiered cake for looking pretty. I went on a mission to find wedding pictures of both of our parents and grandparents – which proved a little tricky, but we ended up with a beautiful collection of old photos. Nik is fortunate to have 3 grandparents around still (all of whom made it to our wedding from PA!), but all of mine have passed on, and it was really special to have photos of them on their wedding day at our reception. Getting prints made and buying a few extra frames at Home Goods probably put the price of these decorations around $30. And our cake was just decorated with a few extra flowers from the farm and some eucalyptus boughs my mom brought with her from her yard.

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Something small and cheap I made that I ended up really liking were our label cards that I made for items like the guest book, non-alcoholic drinks, and food choices. They were just printed on cardstock and cut out – about $2 cost total. Our table number cards were purchased from Etsy, and were kind of pricey at $37 but we thought they were perfect for our garden setting with different fern pictures on each card.

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

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Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

I also designed and printed our programs for the church. The printing was about $3 at Office Depot using my work’s printing discount, and 100 sheets of kraft-colored heavyweight paper was about $11.

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We wanted to serve coffee after dinner but didn’t want to use more rentals (our caterer tried to limit the amount of heavy rentals we used to keep the number of servers required lower) so we found some compostable cardboard coffee cups that we dressed up with some ribbon and a printed sticker. We had a ton of cups left over, which we’re awkwardly trying to use now, but the cost for 50 cups was around $15 and the ribbon and stickers added about $5 to that.

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Next thing that came out very nicely was one of my bridesmaid favors. I knew we’d be sipping champagne while getting ready, so I painted some replicas of our dresses on champagne glasses with glass paint and baked them so they’d be dishwasher safe.

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I think they came out pretty accurately!

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

The final DIY project I’ll write about is my veil, which I sewed myself. I wanted a very unobtrusive veil since my dress had a lot of pretty lace on the back and I didn’t want the veil to also have lace that would compete with it.

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

So, I bought some ivory tulle with a slight sheen to it (not the matte tulle), ironed it with steam to get wrinkles out and soften it, cut it to shape with raw edges – a rectangle the length I wanted with a slight curve to the bottom edges, and got ready to sew. After watching a tutorial, I set up my machine and did a single line of stitches about 1/2″ from the top edge. Then I did a second line of stitches about 1/4″ away from the first line. I grabbed the bobbin thread at each end from each line of stitches and gently pulled, and the tulle just gathered in the middle. Magic!

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Once I got it gathered to approximately the length of the comb, I tied the threads to keep the tulle gathered. Then I stitched it on to the comb. I think I did this the Thursday before the wedding…talk about last minute! Tulle is super-cheap so my veil probably cost about $4 total.

Here’s some pictures of the veil in action:

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Amelya Jayne Photography LLC

Alright, hopefully that’s enough DIY wedding crafts to satisfy you for life, because a) hopefully I’m never getting married again and b) I’m never doing that much work for 1 day again! But in the end, I think it was worth all the effort because the day came together flawlessly and looked more beautiful and unique than I had imagined it would. Some family friends from NJ who have known me since I was a little kid came to the wedding, and all of them said it was very different but they had so much fun and it had Louise written all over it. Our goal with this wedding was to have it be our own style, not cookie-cutter, not just doing something because ‘everyone’ does it at weddings, and most importantly, to have it be nice, but affordable. Nik and I know what the most important part of our wedding was, and we didn’t want that to be influenced by the pressure of spending so much on a single day.

It’s been about two months of lazy work around the house, but we’re starting to buckle down on projects again. We’re almost done creating and installing the kitchen shelves and we bought some kitchen cabinet crown molding to play around with and see if we want to add that to the cabinets. We’re making some wood-worky Christmas presents so that’s kept us busy as well. We need to install our stair banister still, and I think we have the style we want narrowed down. And once we’re in the new year, we are anxious to get started on our master bath renovation. As usual, lots to do!

Back to Reality

It’s been a while since I posted, but we made it successfully through our wedding and honeymoon! As fun as both of these were, I’m glad to be back with a much-reduced to-do list! With the time crunch on finishing our renovations and planning the wedding, I’ve forgotten how nice it is to do whatever you want to on a weekend or weeknight. While we’re still finishing up some minor projects in the kitchen and other places downstairs and working on a few fun new furniture projects as we feel like it, we’re not starting another large renovation until next year. I think we deserve a few months off =)

In the meantime, we don’t have our wedding pictures back yet so I’ll show some honeymoon pictures today. We went to Cozumel, which is a Mexican island off the coast of Cancun. I went there about 15 years ago with my family (8th grade I think!) to snorkel:

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…but after researching many other islands in the Caribbean I came to the conclusion that Cozumel was still the best destination for snorkeling. And we feel pretty lucky that I chose it since Cozumel was so far west in the Caribbean it was untouched by Matthew.

We chose a resort called the Explorean that had daily excursions included in the all-inclusive package, which ranged from bike rides, snorkeling trips, an island Jeep tour to the far side of the island with sandy beaches, various eco park visits, ocean kayaking, and an off-shore boat ride/snorkeling trip. Our resort itself was set back in the jungle with an accessible shore line through a sister resort that we could also eat and drink at. The beach wasn’t really a beach, it was a rocky shore with stairs going down into the coral reef which was pretty cool.

The views were beautiful, as was the wildlife (crabs, iguanas, geckos, butterflies, birds). Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip:

This weekend we worked on getting the rest of our kitchen shelves stained and brackets mounted. We ran into one issue with the larger shelf that is going on the far side of the kitchen so we’re still dealing with that. Next up is getting our banister installed on the stairs which I’m hoping is a single weekend job. Happy Halloween!

My Hope Chest

While I was out of town with my girlfriends a few weeks ago, Nik got to work on a surprise wedding present for me. He built me a beautiful hope chest, totally from scratch, and totally his design – he didn’t even look for plans to base it off of! He got red oak lumber from Lowes, and the feet were salvaged from a thrift store find a while back. All the lumber joinery was done with biscuit joints (Nik’s grandfather gave us this biscuit joint-maker device which I was certain would never be used, Nik has proven me wrong again) and the Kreg jig pocket hole drill I got Nik last year. The impending tropical storm got me home from the beach a day early and derailed his plans to line it with cedar boards…but this will come soon, when we have some time after the wedding.

Here it is – I meant to take some better pictures, but there’s a lot of other things distracting me this week!

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What is a hope chest for? Traditionally, an unmarried woman would have one to add special clothing items and linens to as she grew up, in anticipation of married life. I believe my grandfather (or great grandfather?) built one for his wife when they got married to collect items from their life together. Nik and I refinished this particular hope chest a couple years ago, and it resides in my parents’ bedroom: IMG_0447

So what will I use my new hope chest for? Well, it’s beautiful, so I imagine it will always be a special piece of furniture in our home, wherever we are.  I don’t know what we’ll put in it yet, but as I look forward to beginning my married life with Nik, there is so much that I hope the future will bring – and perhaps these hopes will help us fill the chest over time. I hope we are always happy and healthy. I hope we always have a home that we love with things in it that we love. I hope that we always enjoy the things we do, for work and for play. I hope that we have chances to travel to unique places all over the world. I hope that we can someday experience the joy of raising our own children. I hope that we can always remember to respect each other and our differences. And most importantly, I hope there is always love. I hope that our love for each other does not fade over time, but instead grows and changes with us as we get older. But hope is just hope – and I know it is impossible for all these things to happen perfectly as we go through our lives. I believe this is what a partner is for – to help each other get beyond the challenges life presents that may not have been hoped for.

I think these thoughts, these ‘hopes’, are what I’ll be stashing in my new hope chest for now, and they may end up being more important than the physical items that will accrue in there over time.  Together, refinishing furniture and our home was something Nik and I discovered a love for together, and working on and completing projects together has also helped make our relationship stronger and more complete. I hope this hobby is something we enjoy (and I can blog about!) for years to come, and I think Nik picked the perfect wedding gift to sum up our past renovation adventures and bring hope for the future.

There’s only 3 more days until our big day, and I couldn’t be more excited to marry my best friend!

As Finished as Can Be

My parents came into town from Friday to Monday to help us wrap up projects, and based on the amount of wine, beer, and martinis that were consumed over those three days you’d never think we could’ve gotten as much work done on the house as we did! That’s just how the Giffins roll!

I scrawled out a “to do” list to keep us on track, and every single item on it got checked off. For the yard, we had to hedge bushes, edge the driveway and sidewalk, plant some mums, mulch 5 garden beds, transplant 2 large tomato plants into the garden, and trim off some dead branches from a maple tree out back. Inside, we had to finish adding hardware to all the cabinet doors and mount them, nail the floor trim behind the fridge, finish the last row of tile under where our open shelves will be, grout those last tiles, cut, stain and seal the floor transition pieces for the living room and dining room, caulk all the cabinets and the seam between the backsplash and counters, put door bumpers on all the cabinet doors, add shelf liner to a few more cabinets, finish all the wooden box/vases we’re using for wedding decor, iron some wedding linens, and clean all the windows. The list makes me tired just thinking about it. But it’s done!

The only thing we’re waiting on for the kitchen is the open shelf brackets, which haven’t all come in yet. And eventually adding crown molding to the tops of the cabinets, but not before October. So here are the obligatory “before pictures”:

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New house Aug 2015 037

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Then we lived in this mess for a few months:

And here are our “after” shots!

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I liked the cabinet color before, but after getting the doors all on to really see the color, it’s even better than I had imagined. It’s a little less teal-ish and more green in person than these pictures show it. It looks so rich with the counters, and the subway tile is the perfect shiny touch that doesn’t make the room look too busy. And I love the hardware we picked – a little angular to keep it from looking “country,” but not too harsh. And the floor doesn’t make the room look as dark as I thought it would, it just adds to the richness of the cabinets.

Although, honestly, at this point it could look like total crap and I’d still be happy it was done so I could have my kitchen and living room floor back! So the fact that it’s done AND looks great is the cherry on top.

The cost of all of this was $2200 for the appliances (stove, microwave, dishwasher, and fridge) and about $3700 for everything else, bringing us in just below $6000. I think my budget for everything else was about $3000 or $3500, so we’re not too far off. We splurged on getting the sink/plumbing installed ($325 and $80 for an unexpected new disposal), and the shelves ($155 for the brackets, and if we use the stair treads we bought for shelves, they were about $105, but we might upgrade depending on what that wood looks like on the brackets). I have no idea if we’ll get all this money back when we go to sell the house, but I’m certainly happier cooking in a kitchen that doesn’t look like 1995, and I like to think that counts for something =)

 

3 Weeks to Go!

Well we have about 3 weeks to go till our wedding, and I’m pretty sure we have more than 3 weekends of work to do on the kitchen before then…so we’ll see how far we get, and our guests will just have to accept the slow reality of DIY renovation!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and since then I’m happy to say our backsplash is installed and about 2/3 of the way done with being grouted. Here’s some pictures of the backsplash pre-grout:

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And the cutouts Nik made around the window frame:IMG_1048

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And also the new cabinet in the corner:

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We had a minor set back Saturday, when we turned on the tile saw and smoke erupted out of it. We figured out it was the capacitor which had fried…and of course Skil is not opened on the weekend to help us deal with it being covered under the 1 year warranty. So we went to Lowe’s and just bought a new one for $90 so we wouldn’t be slowed down. Once we get the part to fix the old one…is there anyone who wants a tile saw?

After giving all the tiles time to dry out, we applied grout yesterday. We wanted a light gray, and tested out a few ratios of dark gray grout with white grout. We settled on mixing 1 part gray grout with 2 parts white grout:

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And then the fun (read: stress) began:

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Even though I’ve grouted twice before, and should know by now that IT’S GOING TO LOOK LIKE CRAP WHEN YOU DO THE INITIAL APPLICATION BUT IT’S GOING TO BE OK IN THE END, I still freak out when applying it. Grout is stressful because you have to apply it heavily to make sure you get it in all the cracks adequately which takes a while, then 20 minutes after application you wipe it down with a slightly wet sponge, then wait anther 30 minutes to buff it. But it takes longer than 20 minutes to do a few feet of wall, and then you want to keep going with the grout in the bowl to not waste it before it hardens…but it’s time to start sponging, and two people can’t be in the same place at the same time…and you see where this is going.

But after several near-nervous-breakdowns and several hours of time we managed to finish about 2/3 of the kitchen, and sure enough it looks wonderful:

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In retrospect, subway tile was a challenge – not because of the tiling part, which went very well, but because of how time consuming the grouting was. With larger tiles, it’s less work, but with these small tiles there are so many edges and you really have to ensure every edge of every tile gets good grout coverage. But I love the look, and I love the subtle gray grout color we made.

Our cabinets have made substantial progress (although not yet done). The doors all have 2 coats on the front, so just a coat of sealer and the fronts will be done. Then the backs need another coat or 2, and a coat of sealer. And the cabinet frames (in the kitchen) need their sealer.

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So what’s the plan for the next 3.5 weeks? Our goals are to finish the grout and caulk around the tiles, hopefully finish painting/sealing cabinets, drilling and adding hardware and re-mounting the doors, cleaning up the quarter round floor trim with some paint-touchups, putting our pantry door back on, and hopefully making and mounting the shelves for next to our sink. We bought these cool rustic brackets off of Etsy  for the shelves:

DIY Rustic Shelf Bracket Hangers Lip Metal Shelve Mounting Angle Industrial HANDMADE 2

And we’re actually planning to use 1″ thick oak stair treads for the shelf – which will be stained and sealed. But we’ll see how far we get – there’s lots of wedding-to-do-list items for the next few weeks too, and getting successfully married might have to take priority over the kitchen!