...because home doesn't happen overnight.
04.18.14 / Made Me Smile

hey you're awesome

How was your week? I felt like mine was full of busyness but I have nothing to show for it. Oh well. There’s always next week, right?

A few smile-worthy things to take you into the weekend…

*A DIY kitchen makeover that looks way more expensive than its $500 price tag.

*A modern, family-friendly deck.

*My new hanging planter arrived. You can never have too many houseplants, can you? The correct answer is no. No, you can’t.

*Long live the library! And one man’s photographic essay of interesting American libraries. (We visit our local library weekly. It’s such a huge part of our lives!)

*My favorite movie of 2013 is now available on DVD. It’s also one of my fave movies of all-time.

*On a similar note, if movies were written by kidsWarning: they’re snort-milk-through-your-nose HILARIOUS.

*Proud mom moment.

*The coolest video on instagram this week.

Have a very hoppy weekend! ;) And hey, you’re awesome.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

The weather was so nice this past weekend that I just had to tackle an outdoor project. It meant skimping on the kid / guest bathroom but it was totally worth it. My skin hasn’t felt warm sunshine in six months! So while the kids rode their bikes and played with neighbor-friends, I set to work scraping, sanding and painting our decrepit garage door.

We plan to replace the garage door all together within the next year but I couldn’t stand it’s peeling paint any longer. (You can see images of the original door here.) And I needed an excuse to be outside. I have a hard time being anywhere…I always have to be doing something. #busybody It’s something I need to work on. Can you relate? Tangent aside, I’ve mentioned painting the garage door several times to Steve but his response was always the same.

I don’t think it’s worth the hassle since we’re going to replace it eventually.

Guess what. It was worth the hassle.

stopgap garage door 1

I used an old school Red Devil paint scraper (similar to this newer one) to remove the peeling paint. It worked well but the garage door’s humble state became even more apparent once the paint was removed. The door’s frame is wood but the recessed panels are made of fiber board or the like. When I scraped the paint from the panels, I was left with a cardboard-like surface. Cardboard garage doors aren’t big sellers for obvious reasons. Sections of wood are splintering at the bottom of the door. So, yeah, our garage door is on its last leg but at least it’s going out with grace.

After scraping, I hit up the paint store for a few paint samples.

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I grabbed Benjamin Moore’s Steel Wool and Secret thinking they would pick up on the metal roof. (The photo above was taken after Steve went over the door and sample paint patches with an orbital sander.) Perfectly matching the roof is difficult because it reflects the sky and sun so it looks completely different on a cloudy, gray day than it does on a bright, sunny one with blue skies. At any rate, we chose Secret and bought two quarts of exterior paint from the Ben line to cover the door and our mailbox post which was looking rough, too.

The highlighted circles show where Steve and I spent an hour trying to scrape who-knows-how-old paint from the windows. I tried a razor blade, Goo Gone, fingernail polish remover…nothing worked well. We like the idea of garage door windows and wanted to reveal them. But after discovering how long it would to take to de-paint them and reminding ourselves that this was meant to be a quick and inexpensive temporary solution we opted to forget them and save days of our lives. (The interior side of the windows are painted as well so that would have doubled our work time.) Why someone would ever paint over perfectly good windows, I’ll never know (I’m guessing it was done out of fear of Peeping Toms or burglars) but we vow to buy a new garage door with windows when the time comes.

With the paint color selected and the decision made to keep the windows painted, I vacuumed the door and the paint chip-covered ground with the Shop-Vac. I wiped the door down with a wet cloth, let it dry then applied two coats of exterior paint in a low luster finish. I didn’t worry about primer. Again, STOPGAP. I also hit up the mailbox post (not shown) with the same taupe-gray as the door and brushed on two coats of white paint on the trim around the garage door.

stopgap garage door 3

I’m not 100% sold on the color of the finished door but it looks so much better. Steve and I joked that even a green door would have been an improvement. Steve also happily pointed out that the new color perfectly matches the DirectTV satellite. If you take away anything from this post let it be that Benjamin Moore Secret = DirectTV satellite gray. Haha. The safe thing would have been to go with white to match the trim but since we know this door isn’t staying forever we thought we’d try a color. I don’t know? I do think it would look better with windows. And don’t get me started on that awkward vinyl trim above the door. It’s so odd.

stopgap garage door 4

Admittedly, there was an ulterior motive for my madness. We’re scheduled to have our cracked asphalt driveway replaced with concrete in the coming weeks. I couldn’t stand the thought of having a nice, new driveway leading to a sad, peeling garage door. I have never been so excited about a driveway before in my life! We have saved our pennies for this. It always been on the renovation list.

As is, there is no “clean” way to reach our house. There’s a gap between the driveway and front walk. There’s a large piece of trodden yard separating the end of the driveway from the back patio where we enter the mudroom. And entering through the garage itself is a disaster and probably unsafe. The new driveway will be widened to meet the front walk and lengthened at the back of the house. We will add large square pavers with creeping Jenny in between them to meet the back dining patio. You don’t know how happy I am at the prospect of having (not one but) two paved ways to enter the house! Right now the majority of dirt in my house comes from dirty / muddy shoes walking up through the yard.

The driveway itself hold rocks, dirt, water and mud in all the cracks and low spots. It will be ripped out and excavated to make way for a wider and longer driveway. Concrete is our material of choice for its sustainability. It’s more expensive up front but will last longer and requires less maintenance than asphalt. Plus, we think it just looks better when driveways match their home’s walks and patios. Having a new driveway is really going to improve our home’s curb appeal. Our neighbors are going to be relieved. For two years, I’ve been cringing when I pull up to our house just because of the driveway. It’s baaaaaad.

stopgap garage door 5

So that’s how I spent my weekend in the warm weather. If you ask me, it was worth the $30 in supplies and two half-days of labor. The garage door is definitely looking better but I’d love to know your thoughts on the future door’s style and possible colors. White? A bluer gray that more closely matches the roof and decking? Also, what happens to that odd vinyl trim piece? Sometimes a third-party eye is better at this stuff.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Obligatory preamble rambling: When we were renovating our kitchen, I searched high and low for any information I could find on Ikea kitchens. The results were few and far between. We did end up with an Ikea kitchen (which we love) but I’d like to shed more light on Ikea kitchen renovations from the perspective of other real life homeowners. It’s something I wish we would have had access to when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen remodel. Plus, it’s fun to see how others use Ikea to suit their personal style and needs in the kitchen. I hope you find these posts helpful and inspiring – whether you ultimately end up with an Ikea kitchen or not. Enjoy!

texas ikea kitchen 1

Ashley’s home in Texas Hill Country has an innate rustic feel. When it came to remodeling the kitchen, Ashley and her husband, Bob, wanted to bring in more storage and modern elements while honoring the home’s rustic vibe. The results are nothing short of jaw-dropping. I asked Ashley several questions about her kitchen renovation. Find her answers and the amazing “afters” below.

wimberley_ikea_renovation_2

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

The cabinets, cabinet fronts, cabinet hardware, countertops, oven, cooktop and hood are all Ikea. Note: Ikea only sales a 24″ width butcher block so for the island we had two pieces professionally cut and bonded together.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

I started by looking for images of kitchens I liked. Googling things like ‘rustic modern kitchen’ or ‘barn kitchens.’ I found several I thought would really work for this space and after researching more I found that a lot of the products used in the kitchens I admired were from Ikea.

We researched Ikea kitchens, made several trips to check out the products and were convinced that it was the best route for us. To be honest, I had no idea that an entire kitchen could be purchased from Ikea!

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Who designed your kitchen? What aesthetic were you aiming for?

I designed the kitchen myself, along with help from my own personal interior designer who just happens to be my aunt. (I’m a lucky gal.)

Our house has a very rustic southwestern feel. I wanted to keep that vibe by choosing organic and rustic elements along with industrial and modern pieces.

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

My husband, Bob, assembled all the cabinets. When you purchase an Ikea kitchen it literally comes in what seems like a million pieces. We had boxes stored in every nook and cranny of our house. It is very overwhelming but you just have to take your time. Patience is key. Bob would put together one or two cabinets a night. A family friend who happens to work in renovation and construction was kind enough to help us with the install.

texas ikea kitchen 2

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

The great thing about an Ikea kitchen is that is easily customizable. This was our first remodel and in the beginning I was pretty intimated and a tad overwhelmed. The 3D kitchen planner that Ikea offers lets you work from the comfort of your own home to customize and visualize your kitchen.

I wanted lots and lots of drawer space and Ikea has amazing kitchen drawers so I included several of them. When I selected the stainless steel cabinets I was told that there were far fewer options when it came to cabinet selection in the stainless. This ended up working in our favor because where we had originally planned to have cabinet doors we had to put in large drawers and I love them so!

How long was it from design to the final product?

The kitchen was the first room we tackled. We are renovating every square inch of this house while living in it. I wanted to get the biggest inconvenience out of the way first. It took about a month from the first sledgehammer hit to where we are today. There are still a few things that need to be done such as purchasing a new fridge and dishwasher but because those items do their jobs just fine they keep getting pushed lower and lower on the list, making room for new floor, tiles, tubs and sinks.

We were, for the most part, solely dedicated to the kitchen renovation. We use and abuse our kitchen daily and were eager to get it done and functioning as quick as possible.

How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

We have had our new kitchen for about 8 months now. Our biggest issue is with one of my favorite pieces of the kitchen….the butcher block. There’s really nothing I love more about this kitchen than the combination of the natural rustic butcher block with the industrial feel of the stainless steel. But we have discovered that we may not be the best candidates for an entire butcher block kitchen. Like I said before, our kitchen is worked hard every day all day and the butcher block has not held up to the torture. We love it on the island and will keep it there but we are in the process of looking for a more durable material for the rest of the counters. We are leaning towards black leathered granite.

The butcher block around the sink has taken the hardest hit. The first ‘oh sh*t!’ moment came not long after we had it all finished. One of us had left a damp rag on the counter overnight and come morning the butcher block had buckled and cracked where the rag was. We need a kitchen that can handle the stray damp rag and water splash.

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What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

My favorite, hands down, is the storage space that the drawers and cabinets provide. I thought I had a lot of kitchen crap but Ikea has proven me wrong. I have several drawers and cabinets that aren’t even close to being full and some that are still empty!

My least favorite is unfortunately the butcher block. Love the way it looks, hate the durability or lack thereof. I’m going to be sad when we replace it but I will be oh so happy when I don’t have to look at the water stains and buckled countertops.

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?

Absolutely! I already have. The cabinets have been the greatest surprise for us. The space and the look of them are great. I don’t know if you could find a better bang for your buck.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

We have talked about this because our goal for this house has always been to fix it up and then sell it. I think we would definitely consider Ikea products for another kitchen; most certainly the cabinets and appliances.

Resources of note:
paint – Valspar pale bloom
open shelves – reclaimed wood we pulled out of a guest bathroom in the house
wood on the back of the island – also reclaimed wood pulled from the guest bathroom
backsplash – Lowe’s American Olean 42-pack urban canvas ice white (common: 4″ x 8″; actual: 4.25″ x 8.5″)
sink – Lowe’s Superior Sinks 16-gauge single-basin undermount stainless steel kitchen sink
light above island – Lowe’s Allen + Roth oil-rubbed bronze pendant
light above sink – Lowe’s Allen + Roth edison bronze pendant with clear shade
faucet – discontinued but this is very similar…Lowe’s Giagni Fresco stainless steel pull-down kitchen faucet
barstools – Tabouret 24″ metal counter stools (These stools are nice but clash with the stainless steel cabinets. I think a rustic wood and iron stool would do the trick.)

*BONUS* – The total cost of the kitchen was around $9,000.

texas ikea kitchen 3

Thank you, Ashley, for allowing me to feature your kitchen. I am so in love with the rustic / modern / industrial aesthetic! I have to say I never would have thought of combining stainless steel cabinets with white cabinets but it totally works. I’m also grateful for the honest review on the wood countertops. Maybe we could do a follow-up post when the perimeter butcher block is switched out? Out of curiosity, from one mom to another, I asked Ashley how she cleans her stainless steel cabinets. Her secret? She uses Method stainless steel cleaner. She’s tried other cleaners but was leery of their “keep away from children” warning on the labels.

Alright, folks. Another day, another Ikea kitchen. Are you enjoying this series as much as I am? Before-and-afters are THE BOMB but, hopefully, you’re learning stuff, too. See more Ikea kitchens here, here and here.

Do you have an Ikea kitchen (it doesn’t have to be 100% Ikea) you would be willing to share on House*Tweaking? If so, email me at housetweaking@gmail.com for consideration.

Pssst – Thanks to everyone who has already submitted an Ikea kitchen! I really, really, REALLY appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into bringing these posts to fruition. I have a slew of Ikea kitchens sitting in my inbox waiting to be featured. I apologize for the lapse in time between submission and the post going live. I’m buried in Ikea kitchens – in a good way! Keep ‘em comin’!

images: Ashley @ One Lucky Nest

noir hex grout 1

The bathroom floor has grout! The grouting process went smoothly and was a welcome “easy” step after the tiling fiasco. Steve says he would install tile all day long if the only thing involved was grouting.

I took some pictures to share with you. They’re under artificial lighting because it’s (big surprise) extremely dark and gloomy here today. We’re going to DIY a boat soon. KIDDING. I thought about waiting to shoot on a sunny day but I couldn’t! Still, these images are pretty spot-on for what the floor looks like in real life. It has some variation and variegation which gives it a natural, organic vibe. Just try to imagine white subway tile on the walls instead of that garish pink-red and be aware that almost everything has a pinkish / purplish tint to it from said walls.

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That’s the view from the hall looking in at the bathroom floor. The plumbing fixtures on the floor (left-hand side of this image) are for a claw foot tub. The rectangular hole is a heating / cooling register and you can see the toilet drain.

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And that’s the view looking back towards the hall. The plumbing fixtures on the wall are for the sink vanity. As you can see, there is a short hall that juts off from the main hallway and leads to a linen closet and this kid / guest bathroom. The door to the bathroom has been leaning against the wall waiting to be hung for over a year!

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This close-up shows the little imperfections in each tile. They look old and worn. I think they’re beautiful.

I’m not going to go into great detail about the grouting. There are enough resources out there on the inter webs and I don’t think I’d be saying anything that hasn’t been said already. A few things about our grout though…

Steve and I were at odds when it came to choosing a grout color. He was leaning towards medium to dark while I wanted something lighter to contrast with the noir hex. But I didn’t want white since I knew it wouldn’t stay white for long. So, of course, we googled a bunch of images of “black hexagon tile” for inspiration. We ended up choosing sanded grout in whisper grey. The grout lines are ~1/8″ as predetermined by the mesh sheets of tile. The tile is travertine – the same material as our mudroom / dining room floor – and requires sealing BEFORE grouting. This is a critical step which keeps the porous tile from absorbing the grout and it also helps with grout clean-up.

noir hex grout 5

We used a sealer specifically for travertine that we had leftover from tiling the mudroom floor. Steve rolled it on with a foam roller then buffed it lightly with a terry cloth to avoid pooling. It had to dry for an hour before grouting.

Once the sealer was dry, it was grout time. Instead of mixing up the grout with water, we used a flexible grout admixture. (We’ve actually used it for most of the grout in our house but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it.) Supposedly, the admixture prevents shrinking & cracking and improves strength, bonding, color and stain resistance. Since we used this technique in our master bathroom and the grout is still going strong with no cracks or stains 2+ years in, we figured it couldn’t hurt to use it here, too.

I think the sealer did help with clean-up afterwards. We didn’t have to use a grout haze remover – just water – to clean up. It took about five rounds of sponging with a clean, wet sponge to remove the grout residue.

We still need to seal the entire floor now that the grout is in. That will probably happen this week.

noir hex grout 6

Steve and I both LOVE how the black hexagon floor turned out. Yes, it was such a pain to lay and in the heat of the moment we may have questioned our choice of tile but…BUT!…we are so glad we stuck with it. The final result is just as dreamy as I had envisioned. My favorite part is that it looks old but it isn’t.

What do you think? I can’t say a black hexagon floor is something I’ve always wanted in my house. But now that it’s here I don’t know why I never thought about one before!

We partnered with The Tile Shop for the bathroom floor. They kindly gave us the tile of our choice and necessary tiling supplies. All labor, opinions, images and mishaps are our own.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking