Our Ugly House

Kitchen

Dream Kitchen

After weeks on big project hiatus, there has been a major break-through in the Zinn home. For weeks we have been tackling tiny projects that eat up time and produce no visible results that elicit ohhh and ahhhs. These projects are hugely important but ultimately rather boring. With Curtis working consistent 60 hours weeks and my parents living an actual life that does not solely consistent of being my house slaves, the house projects have been limited to things that me and my pregnant bod can do on my own. Lots of painting, sanding, cleaning, and planting. The one Sunday Curtis had free time in months, and he built me raised beds so I could get my garden on… He is magical. Really.

But then last weekend the shiz went down. My parents brought over my glossy, dark, lovely wood countertops and they went in. It instantly made the kitchen look 100x nicer. And yet again, because I have some sort of sick mental problem that causes me to go insane… we started installing the subway backsplash that night…. I mean, why not? This will officially be the last tile project I take on for at least a few years. It isn’t hard, and I am a firm believer anyone could lay tile… but I have tiled my last rental house’s bathroom, our current kitchen floor, and now our backsplash. I am done. Below is the jump of our progress and I have some larger scale pictures of the original room state… The grandma house is starting to fade.

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We started with a lovely plywood countertop we had been using for months.
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The process of installing the countertops was actually quite quick. We slid the pieces together, glued them in place, and glued them down to their final resting place.
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Once the countertops were in, my dad hung new backer board that we could adhere the backsplash to. The ugly paper was underneath the classy linoleum backsplash we tore off.
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That night we started apply the tile. Since we used pre-spaced tile, this process was quick.
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It took me a few days to finish the tile, things got a little slow on the second wall because I needed to cut 27 pieces to be about an inch tall… and turns out our cabinets are crooked, so they started at 1″ and slowly made their way to 2″.
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Once the mortar had set, we started the uber fun process of grouting. If you have never done it before, please learn from my mistake. Wear gloves is you apply dark grout… it will stain your nails homeless for weeks.
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The next morning we wiped the grout down with a dry cloth to remove the haze, and in a few days we will seal the grout! Curtis was so pleased with himself.
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Please note extreme husband cuteness, so so cute.
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And also note extreme dog cuteness while supervising extreme cute husband.

Here is a bigger look at before and after… it feels good to see such progress. FINALLY.

Before:
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After:
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Before:
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After:
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Before:
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After:
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xo,
k

 

 

It’s about to go down

The past weekends have been the type of work days where you kill it for hours, and then you look around and think, “what the french toast did I all today”? They aren’t big changes, so it isn’t fun and gratifying with a big reveal at the end. It is getting the yard together (goodbye grandma bushes and nasty smelling tree), patching the ceiling, painting cabinet trim, cleaning the rooms that have been filled with junk, (one of them now belongs to my unborn child, so I have to stop using it as a trashcan).

But next weekend is a BIG ONE. It is a project I have been waiting to finish for months. If all goes well it will be a huge reveal total transformation project. Next weekend we are installing our butcher block countertops, finalllllly. We have now had 4 unsuccessful weekends of installing them. The sealant we used has some of the worst death chemical smells, and apparently fetuses aren’t into chemical stank. So they have been transported between my parents garage and my house to measure, adjust, and trim. Then they go back to the garage for more stain and more sealant from hell. BUT, I think they are really going in this time. Once they are installed we can install the subway tile backsplash…. and believe it or not that makes the kitchen 85% done. We almost finished a project!?! Sweet jesus yes!!

In the mean time, Curtis spent a week getting one of the trash storage rooms whipped into shape to use as his office/mixing zone. He did the whole thing entirely by himself, and color me surprised… he did a great job. I secretly wish it was my personal office, I love it that much. He now his own little slice of personal space. A door, some cute nerd toys, and a room that is all his own. I am proud of what he managed to get done in such a short time.

See some photos below of our current house stage, cause it is going to look gloriously different in a week (fingers crossed).

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Here lives Curtis’ man cave. How many scary monkey trinkets can you spot in the room?

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The view from the beginning of our living room down to the kitchen.

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Our dining zone!

IMG_3691Our finished cabinets with the farmhouse sink (it’s amazing, everyone should own one).

xo,
k

 

It’s been mighty quiet

It has been a second since our last house update. Things have been slowly moving along, but with my parents traveling quite a bit the last month our big projects have been put on hold. I have also turned into a 96 year old lady named Dorris who enjoys naps and prunes… more on that later. Here are some photos of what we have been doing since our last update.

IMG_3159First things first, I built this amazing shelf system and we finally have a place for our books, art, etc. It was the first big step that made our house feel like a home. I am attaching a parts list if anyone is interested, and the blog I used for inspiration. Constructing it was a snap, getting the pieces together was a pain in the ass.

Tutorial 

Parts and tips:

We used 1×12 pine for the shelves, and Home Depot can trim them to whatever size length you need. I stained them with Minwax Walnut stain, and then sealed them. We measured where the pipes should go and how far the would stick out from the wall and then drilled holes for the boards to slip through with a 1 1/4″ drill bit.

Pipe list (everything was for 3/4 galvanized pipe):
– (8) Base Flanges
– (18) 3 way Tees
– (22) 90° Elbows
– (13) 12″ nipple (hehe)
– (1) 40″ nipple (they will need to cut this size and thread it for you)
– (4) 24″ nipple
– (18) 6″ nipple
– (8) 8″ nipple

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We have also made some progress in the kitchen, and the biggest step was drying fitting our new Oak butcher block countertops. Yes the pictures are awful and sort of orange, but it was shot in a hurry. Hopefully these will be installed by the end of April, and then we can install the backsplash.

xo,
k

The dishes are done dude

…. Cause we finally have a dishwasher and garbage disposal!!

My plates are so grease free! My glasses sparkle like diamonds! There isn’t a pile of food scraps turning my sink into a swamp because I couldn’t flush that nasty stuff down the drain!!! I have been waiting for this day since we moved in to this house. Three people cooking and eating multiple times a day creates a mess of dishes that needed to be hand washed. The Jenga pile of drying dishes lives no longer. Alas, my countertops are barren and open like a big field. All hail my dad, he is the ruler of all dads. Instead of stuffing his face with tacos/beer while relaxing on the couch enjoying the Superbowl he crawled around under my sink for two days to make this dream a reality. I am lucky, like insanely lucky to have such generous parents.

We had to raise the countertops a bit to level them (just another part of my house that was clearly installed by a drunk person). They are now so pretty, covered in classy plywood. The next step will be installing the new butcher block countertops sometime in the next month. Of course there were hiccups, and about 20 trips to Home Depot. Another step down, and suddenly it feels like we are getting closer!

Check it out:
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We removed the old sink and plumbing, only to find the pipes were so old and rusted they just broke off…. whoops.

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We had to cut back even further trying to find a place to start the new pipe after our rusty bit snapped off.

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The short version of this story is my dad built a brace and dropped in the new farmhouse sink.

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We had some pipe issues, but we were able to get the new 1 horsepower garbage disposal in. We went with the Waste King L-8000 …That thing could eat a whole turkey. Not even joking, this disposal is a total beast.

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The edges of our current countertops needed to be trimmed back to allow for the new countertops to drop over. At this point all hell broke loose and my house was covered in dust…. again.

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Always wear your face masks kids. Dusty lungs are no fun.

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We added plywood as our temporary countertops and there you have it.

xo,
k

 

Cabinets be sexy!

It took us a total of 3 weeks to complete, but we finally got our cabinet remodel finished. My one regret is that we opted to hand paint them instead of going the profesh route and spraying them. When the sun shines in our windows I see little imperfections that drive me bonkers, but overall they are a major upgrade from the fugly crap we started with.

Our story continues from my parents garage. As you might recall I had spent a day sanding, filling, and priming our updated doors. Once they were dry and the death smell had vanished, I brought them home to paint.
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Again, my total obsession with brass led me to buying brass pulls. (Brass and Navy/Grey, come on… it’s like they were meant to be). I got the pulls from Amerock.
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The best part of this tale was a little mishap from my sweet, sweet husband. We drilled holes for the pulls, and then reattached the doors to the cabinets. Unfortunately for us, we did not note which hinges went with each door. This typically wouldn’t matter, but the jackwod that hung them originally did not hang them straight and evenly spaced. This meant when we rehung them, most of the doors wouldn’t close. I cursed, cried, decided to handle this a different day, and went to bed.

Curtis, my darling Curtis decided to tackle this problem on his own while I was at work. The solution seemed simple enough: sand the outer edges down until the doors would close. He began sanding the doors while they were hung and wood dust began to fly everywhere. Thinking dust behaves similar to smoke, he opened all the windows, kicked on the heater, and turned on a giant fan to help remove the dust. Sadly, the dust did not fly out the window as smoke might. Instead it flew around my entire house, I mean MY ENTIRE HOUSE. I arrived home to what I can only describe as a dust storm you might expect to see at Burning Man. I wish I had the sense to take pictures, but I was so taken aback I think I went in the bathroom and started crying. See below for a few shots of what we have lovely named dust-ageddon. I did some vacuuming and did a finger test to show the layer of white dust that covered everything we own.
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After a few days of mopping/vacuuming/repeat the dust has mostly been removed. The good news? Our cabinet doors close effortlessly and they look pretty lovely. Ta da!
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xo,
k

Midnight Ink and my fancy new ecobee3

I spent my holiday break making some kitchen progress, and it finally feels like things are happening. First things first, I installed our fancy new ecobee3 smart thermostat. I know it does some cool stuff, but frankly I picked it because I thought it looked sleeker than it’s competitor The Nest. Yes, I had to bust open my furnace wiring and do some re-wiring. Yes, it was a little scary. Truth be told it wasn’t rocket science and now my house is smart as f. This goes on the list of another DIY anyone can do, just follow the instructions and don’t get freaked out. If you need some more help I found this video to be extremely useful.

The rest of my break was spent working on our very ugly 70’s cabinets. I am trying to be budget friendly, so I pretty much always take the cheap route. That means instead of replacing, I gave them a facelift. This is still in the process of being finished, but you can start to see the end vision here and it looks pretty good. The final look will include white subway tile backsplash, and some butcher block counters. It’s no secret that I am having a love affair with brass right now (sorry Curtis), so expect to see some of those elements dusted throughout. Check out the images below for my inspiration.

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So without further without further adieu the process:IMG_2601
First we removed the old oak doors and all the hardware. They were covered in 20+ years of tasty greasy grime, so they got a good scrub with some vinegar/water. The upside of cleaning with vinegar: your house smells like a pickle. Yay!

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I have read online that you do not need to sand cabinets and can use a variety of primers to avoid this step. To be frank, I am sick and tired of working on my house… and the thought of having to do ANYTHING over again sounds like my own personal version of hell. Long story short, I sanded just to be safe.

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I think shaker style cabinets look classy, so I had the bright idea to trim out my doors. Home Depot has become my new enemy as I spend a few days I week combing it’s isles for some absurd item. I wasn’t able to find the lumber I was hoping for, so I went with some door trim. We chopped it up, then slapped them on with glue and a nail gun.

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The weather has been pretty frigid in Portland, so my parents were kind enough to lend me their garage for hole filling and priming (note: Oil primer smells like chemical death, use in a well ventilated space or get real high… up to you) ((But seriously, don’t do that, it’s bad for your brain stupid)).

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The nice people at Miller Paint Co. recommended cover stain primer and tinted it to a light gray since the next coat will be dark (like my black soul after working on this ugly house for so freaking long).

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The cabinet doors needed a few days to cure so I went home and took on the massive undertaking of painting cabinet interiors and frames. Thanks friend Molly for joining me while drinking beer and listening to my tales of Justin Bieber love dreams. I am not even afraid to say it… his new album turned me into a belieber. I’ve got no shame in my game.

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It is finally starting to look like a new space. I love the dark and contrasting brass. Dreamy. Getting closer guys… getting a little closer.

xo,
k