Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Only Room in the House

The Kitchen: Some would say the kitchen is most used room in the house. In a loft like ours, it's the only room in the house! With that in mind I knew pretty quickly after we moved in, that I wanted to change out the pink toned contractor grade back splash tiles that were installed in the kitchen before we purchased our loft.

Another thing that was missing was a proper pantry to put away bulk food items and storage of cans, cereal, and other kitchen supplies that just didn't fit above in the cabinets. So one late Friday evening, instead of taking advantage of my weekend, I "took advantage of my weekend" to work on the kitchen make over.

It began by ripping out all the existing tiles in the kitchen. This wasn't too hard, I used a metal chisel to remove the grout in between each tile to help loosen them up from their hold on the wall and each other. 
This process didn't seem too hard and all the tiles were coming out pretty smoothly, until I got to the sink area. Apparently the sheet rock behind the sink had some moisture because once I peeled off my first tile from that area, it started to take out chunks of sheet rock with it.

The next thing I did was even more unexpected, I left the kitchen as it was and went on vacation with my wife and kids for 4 days! After coming back into town and back to the loft, seeing the mess I've made, I had a renewed sense of urgency to get this project completed. (I have since learned: When contractors redo a tile back splash, they completely rip out every tile AND rip out all the sheet rock and install new sheet rock in it's place. This makes for an easier install and quicker turn around for clients. -note to self)

After reinstalling a few sheets of sheet rock I was ready to begin putting up the new tile. I got the tile on sale at Home Depot and installed it sheet by sheet being careful of matching the seams to make sure they were the invisible and that all grout lines were the same thickness as the tiles do shift a bit once in place on the wall.

After getting all the tile in place and completed I wanted to tackle the pantry cabinet issue. As you can see from the first picture we once used a simple birch colored cabinet to store some of our pantry items but needed more space and functionality. We knew we wanted to go with Ikea cabinets as they were the most affordable. Our current cabinets were from Home Depot and were American Woodmark not the most affordable for what we wanted to do.  So we decided to go with the AKURUM cabinet series but had to make some customizations for it to perfectly blend in with our kitchen.
We chose to go with the plain white cabinet doors since the Shaker style doors from Ikea didn't have the same look. Next I wanted a way to make these new, non-matching doors to be usable while at the same time hiding the fact that that we went the cheaper route with our selection. So I decided to use chalkboard paint to give the doors some texture and some color, while allowing us a place to write messages for each other, recipes, etc...  While this is not the newest idea, it did work for what we were doing, and we didn't go over the top and paint all the cabinets. Instead we just used it as an accent to better blend our kitchen together.

 Some finishing touches were to add some under cabinet lighting and some task lighting along the upper cabinets to shed some light on my next project, learning to cook. The final product allowed us to have more kitchen storage and usability which the loft desperately needed.