I was looking at the top searches people used to stumble upon my site, and one of them was “weird idea laminate counters and tile backsplashes?” Is that a weird idea? I hadn’t really thought about it. Now it’s messing with my head! Surely I’ve seen a tile backsplash with a laminate counter top, right? And what about glass tile? Aaahhh!

Eh, what the heck. I’ll probably just do what I want anyway.

Choices choices choices! I’ve really been digging warm wood cabinets with slate gray tile and counter tops. It’s hard to show what the tile actually looks like as I’m not the greatest photographer.

This was taken with flash:

And this wasn’t:

But it’s the same tile. Amazing! I took the rest without flash so hopefully they look pretty true to life. So for the floor, I liked the above, or this one:

Both are gray with just a hint of brown. One is $1.77 a sq ft and the other is $1.45.

I always despised tile counter tops growing up, because you can’t roll out dough and they’re a pain to clean. But then I saw this beautiful tile counter top in the store! It’s a porcelain tile which apparently holds up to heat and scratches better than regular ol ceramic, they’re large pieces so there aren’t many grout lines, the grout lines are itty bitty, and the edges are beveled so it looks really nice. There are still a few weird things- the pieces aren’t big enough to cover the whole depth of the counter so you would definitely be able to tell it’s tile, and although the grout lines are tiny and there aren’t many, they are still there.

I am going to call around and see if I can get granite scraps, but I’m not going to bank on that too much. My other option is laminate. It’s just not worth it in my neighborhood to spring for the big bucks, and plus I have lived with laminate and I like it (as long as the previous tenants didn’t set a hot pan on it). Here are a couple samples I picked up.

I’m liking the one on the right. Is it too dark? The middle one has too much brown I think.

On to backsplashes!

How about some glass subway tiles? I’m not a huge fan of these honey colored ones…

…but maybe in more of a bluish color it would be great (like the one on the upper left in the photo below).

A lot of you really liked this picture that I posted before:

I really like it too. I think a glass backsplash would add a lot to my little kitch.

But my favorite thing I found was this! A frosted, aqua-blue (it’s actually clear but it looks aqua-blue) 2×6 subway tile sheet… ahh.

I can’t decide what I think about the rough edges though. Would it match the rest of what I have going on? Clean-lined shaker-style cabinets and slate gray tile/counters?

I love love love the color but I just don’t know about the rough edges. And yowza that price! But it’s a small space so it actually wouldn’t be too much money.

As always, I love to hear everyone’s feedback, so feel free to let me know what you think of the tile, my color choices, or anything else!

I think I’ve been rather patient about my kitchen. Kudos to me!

It’s funny- when I was looking at the house, I kept thinking about how gross and inadequate the kitchen was, and how that would be a top priority if I bought it. Well, here we are 4 months later, and it still hasn’t been remodeled. But it’s scheduled for March, when my wonderful father is coming to the City of Salty Lakes for a business meeting, and is going to squeeze in a kitchen remodel between seminars and fancy lunches.

It does not, however, look exactly the same as it did on day 1. Look at these nasty countertops- the tile is charming, but would you want to chop onions anywhere near this?

I bleached and I scrubbed, and Soft Scrubbed and toothbrushed. But it still looked gross and made me run to the nearest Taco Bell in lieu of cooking. So I found this little tube of grout repair stuff, and just covered up the bad stuff! That’s okay, right? For 6 months, I think it’s just dandy.

It’s still not perfect, but between the white grout lines and my personal knowledge of how many bacteria have been eradicated by bleach, I am now able to not go into fits of gagging should a stray carrot find it’s way off the cutting board.

The cabinets were also painted inside and out with a sprayer, which helped quite a bit. The other nasty thing was the floor:

which was painted experimentally with those flecks that you’d normally see in a garage:

and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. On the occasions that I remember to mop, it shines and sparkles just like the above photo. It’s cleanable, tough, and looks cool in my opinion.

So those are my temporary tide-me-overs. Anyone else out there ever have a temporary but nice fix until you could get the real deal?

Friday, I made delicious black bean dip. It contained avocados, black beans, corn, green chiles, and copious amounts of cilantro. Mmm. Mmm, until I started seeing some of that cilantro regurgitated back into the sink from the drain!


I whined something about Drano, and Stan said I should try a plunger. I whined that I don’t have one. Then that sweetheart got under the sink (which was full of greasy cilantro-y water at the time) with a 5-gallon bucket, and unscrewed the P-trap (the thing that catches your jewelry if you drop it down the drain). The water gushed into the bucket, and when the sink was empty, he reached into the bottom of the bucket and pulled these out:

Here’s a closer look.

Stan looked at me scoldingly. “That knife is not mine!” I defended. Hence the name of the post- the knife is yet another hidden treasure that my house has given me. That rusty old knife was just waiting for a companion, in this case a hardened piece of grout, to come along so the two of them could clog up my sink together. And yes, the grout is my fault. Who knew that grout could harden long after you’d washed it down the drain? Okay I knew, but it’s just so convenient to do so. I’ve learned my lesson.

Drain works like a charm now.

When I got home from work last night, all I really wanted to do was watch the Colbert Report on Hulu. And eat leftover carbonara, and maybe daydream a little. But nay, I did not give in! Thanks to Stan helping me finally lay the rest of the bathroom tiles (click here to see where it needed patching and touch up), I had just enough motivation to finish the grouting today. It was a bit of a pain reaching around the sink and the toilet (I do love some good up-close-and-personal quality time with a toilet) and hard to fit the rubber grout float in those tight spaces, but I may have cheated a little bit and just shoved some grout in those spots with my fingers. Trust me, no one will ever look back there, unless maybe they lose an earring. And anyway, it looks fine. Here’s the finished product! (Well, it will be finished after I clean it up a bit and caulk at the base of the tub.)




If you’re wondering why there are cans of tomatoes in the picture, we used them to weigh down some of the tiles just to be sure they stuck. Then we ate them.

I was kind of at a loss for what to do with that big hole that was left behind when the toilet had to be moved. I don’t own a saw (my brother usually brings one for big projects) so I couldn’t really cut a piece of wood to go in there, so I just filled it with thinset mortar (uhh I hope it works):

That’s my hand chipping away at the half tiles that remained. Which brings me to the blood part of the post:

I guess I got really into it and scraped/split up my knuckles a bit. Sorry, I know it’s gross. There was more.

I’ll be able to post finished bathroom pics soon- I can just feel it!

I chose a paint color in the worst way- I looked online at the ICI web site. I wasn’t even at home when I picked it. But Jonny was sending Rodrigo over the next day, so I had to pick one right then! I chose Obsidian Glass, which is a nice color, but I was really going for this effect, which is a nice neutral gray that is calming and makes the accessories pop:

Instead, my online color choice ended up being closer to black. I knew I should have followed my instinct to pick a color a couple shades lighter! Paint always looks darker, brighter, more intense on the walls than on the swatch.


But then again, it’s kind of growing on me. There’s so much white, with the tile, sink, and beadboard, that I think the dark color might add a good balance. There’s also a lot of natural light that comes in through the glass block, so even though it’s a tiny bathroom, I’m not sure if the dark paint makes it feel even smaller, or if it just adds nice contrast. I’m also thinking of accent colors, which would really contrast well to the gray-black. Maybe a lime green, or a really fun bright blue. I thought of orange, but that might be too Halloween-y.


What do you guys think? Is it worth it to re-paint? Or should I stick with it and accessorize/decorate to bring out the richness? (Or something.) I could also do some kind of subtle faux to lighten it up a bit.

My elation at finishing the shower is waning… there’s still a little ways to go for the bathroom to be finished. Side note: Please don’t judge me for living in these conditions.

Jonny told me to put down some sticky plastic so we wouldn’t destroy the tile while we were working in there. I’m glad I did, but it is proving a huge pain to get it all off. Bits of dirt and grout have really ground in there, breaking the plastic, and making it so it will not peel up in one shot. Once I finally get the plastic all off, I’ll have to scrub the little sticky bits off with one of those green scratchy sponges.

Fun scrubbing

Fun scrubbing

Here’s a fun challenge. The bathroom door won’t close! They had to move the toilet over when they installed the new wider tub, but they moved it a bit too far. Not quite sure how we’re going to fix this one, since they have to work around the floor joists in the basement. The plumbers are coming Friday so hopefully they can figure something out. This is one of the reasons I haven’t had anyone over for dinner… heh heh.



Here are some sad pictures of broken tile. You can see where the toilet used to be. I’m not really sure what to do to fill in that hole. Matt suggested thinset I think. Also you can see where we gained a few inches behind the sink and toilet that was not tiled. And we so nicely cut those edge pieces, which will now have to be chipped up.

Tile needs fixin'

Tile needs fixin'

And I haven’t finished going all the way to the tub yet either.

Next to the tub

Next to the tub

And of course, I still need to paint.

Need paint

Need paint

The beadboard will be the same color as the tile (did you know you can take any object to the paint store and they can match it? Cool!). And I’m thinking of doing gray for the walls. I’m digging this one from cococozy.com. Except mine would be the opposite of course. Any thoughts? Is my bathroom too small for gray? Or would it be a nice contrast to all that (off)-white?

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