It started a week ago Sunday - Father's Day - when The Kaiser, The Hawk and Sumo arrived Chez Rougie at 10am sharp. It ended 7 days and I've lost track of how many trips to Lowe's later when the last tool was finally put away, the last tchotchke artfully arranged, the last of the touch-up paint carefully applied and the new tile floor was vacuumed, Swiffered and finally mopped.
It's a kitchen. No big deal. And yet as I sit here and try to write about the last week, I am overwhelmed - to the point of tears. I walk into my kitchen and I catch my breath. Tears spring to my eyes. The happy kind but still - tears. Because I have friends who care about me that much. Who are willing to give me their time, their energy, their know-how without asking for anything in return. Because I am THAT capable. Because apparently I am something of a DIYer. Because suddenly I am starting to feel like I live in a home, not just a house.
As I said - I am overwhelmed and I am struggling to write even the basics. Hopefully within a few days you get a little bit more. Like my views on grout. And the fact that I now go out and inspect tile work down to the joint alignment, joint spacing and grout work. Or how I walk into Lowes and no less than 5 people know me by name. But for now, you get photos. Lots and lots of photos.
This is the old kitchen right when I moved in. You can see the wall colors. And the dark (and crooked) molding. The wallpaper border. You can see the linoleum floor. And the fucking duct tape. You can even see a hint of the old blue & white curtains. What you can't see is the paint. I am shitty at before & afters so my cabinets and windows and trim and doors kind of look the same in both because, well - they're white. But just imagine in the befores that they are a dull, flat white and chipped within in an inch of their lives and in the afters they are a nice semi gloss and nary a chip in sight!
This is a close up of one wall after I'd stripped the molding but before I'd stripped the wallpaper. I am spatially challenged but even I can tell how crooked that paneling on the lower half of the wall is. That also meant that the molding was crooked because it ran along the top border.
This is a close up of the wallpaper border above the stove. Also? That round thing is a plate plugging a hole that used to be where some kind of pipe or chimney or something ran out from the old stove.
One of the many surprises I discovered after stripping the wallpaper.
I call this a Redneck Paint Job. You see once upon a time there was a countertop hot water heater. It sat in the corner and apparently painting behind it was a challenge. The thing is, the hot water heater 1) leaked and rotted out part of the floor (more on that shortly) and 2) eventually disappeared and the thing that took its place (the old microwave cart) was not built in so you could see the Redneck Paint Job pretty easily by the time I showed up.
My pitiful attempts at ripping up linoleum.
Even scarier behind the stove on account of the 30 year old grease embedded in the linoleum. the old asbestos tiles AND.....
...the rotted out floor. AWESOME.
Now on to the good stuff.
That's The Hawk laying the first tile. And let me just say - while tile work is normally supposed to start in the exact center of the room and work outwards, Hawk put his architecture background (and some fancy schmancy software) to work and started where he did instead. The result is that even all of the specialty cuts along the edges are of equal size and there are no slivers.
And here I am (in Umbros from 1987) laying the last tile.
That's me, giving The Kaiser my best "We're done!!" face only, we weren't done. The upcoming post on grout (and oh yes - there's one coming) might actually give you some sense of why.
One view of my new kitchen: emphasis on new floor and fresh paint since most everything else stayed the same.
Second view of the new kitchen. Does the white paint look a little brighter? Do my Glazed Pear walls look a little cleaner? (no comment on the cord from the microwave which is DRIVING ME CRAZY!)
For those who have never actually been Chez Rougie, this won't mean that much. But for those that have and who once upon a time saw the filth-laden, rusted-out registers that used to sit in my kitchen floor, hopefully you'll appreciate. And while part of me wishes I had better documented the "before," part of me is glad I'll never have to look at those filth-laden, rusted-out registers again.
A close-up of the floor because, really, this is what it was all about.
A close-up of the shelves underneath one of the cabinets. Once I put everything back it looked the same as before except for the paint. Part of me wishes I had captured the chipped up, dull, flat paint on camera.
And finally, a look out my kitchen windows and the cute little shelves that line them. What you don't know is that once upon a time there was a dirty old mirror tacked up on that beam between the 2 windows and above the sink.
In some ways it's not much. A coat or 2 of paint. Some new molding. Some tile. But in many ways, it's so much more. So much more.