Tile and Trim

Oh goodness… It’s really been a month since my last blog post? Jeez…sorry about that.  Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess, or at least when you’re insanely busy.  So many things have changed since the sanding of the floors.  First off, my countertops finally arrived and were installed.  They’re absolutely perfect and look very high-end for laminate.  If you don’t look too closely (there’s no getting around the dark lines on the edges or the seam in the corner) you could be initially convinced they’re granite!

Take a look for yourself.

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LOVE them!

Dad was here the day they were installed, and they were done by 9:30 AM, so he also put in my sink and beautiful faucet.

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Remember how we got lucky with this sink – it was a top mount that didn’t require modifying the cabinets more than removing the false drawer fronts?  I was worried it would hang too low and interfere with the cabinet doors.  It was actually just the opposite, as you can see.  There was a gap where the false drawer fronts had been, so that got filled in with oak strips, which I grumbled a bit about having to prime and paint with the cabinets all around already being painted.  It actually wasn’t a big deal, and now that they’re painted, you can hardly notice that they are added filler strips.  Here’s the primer.

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We also hung my hay pulley light above the sink, which looks awesome.  Can you notice the filler strips?  Okay, but only because I told you they were there!

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Here are the components that went into the light fixture.  They hay pulley came out of a barn on my grandparents’ farm, the shades are simple quart size mason jars, the twisted vintage-look wire and other light components came from Vintage Wire & Supply Co. on Etsy.  When I ordered the 7′ length of wire, the shop owner was generous enough to throw in another foot or so for free!  Excellent seller.

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I cleaned the pulley as best I could, then coated it with a spray-on clear coat with a matte finish.  There may be some dirt or cobwebs sealed in there, but it’s up high, no one will notice.  And they’re stuck on, so they won’t fall off on me while I’m doing dishes…  That sucker is HEAVY.  Like 15-20 pounds heavy.  But I found some hooks that said when installed into wood they could each hold up to 50 pounds.  Then I just had to decide how to hang the pulley from the hooks.  I had been thinking a couple loops of chain, but it didn’t seem barn-y enough.  So instead, I put my stellar Vagabond skills to work and spliced some rope!  I think it gives the fixture some good texture.

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I also decided to go with Edison bulbs, since they’re exposed.

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They’re only 40W, so it’s a pretty soft, warm light that is just enough over the sink to accent it a little.  I really like the light they provide when the overhead light is off.

Let’s quickly revisit the inspiration.  Nailed it!

I’m not going to go into the details on how I made the mason jars into shades, since there are about a million tutorials on the ‘net that explain it.   This is the general idea I followed.  I used a nail to poke holes in the lid in a circle, then pliers to pull the circle out.  I also rolled the sharp edges under, and was lucky enough that the hole was so tight, I was able to screw the socket into the lid hole.  I got ring sockets, so there is another piece that screws on under the lid to hold it together.  I also put 8 vent holes around the socket in each lid to prevent excessive heat build-up in the jar.

Gosh, with the excellent result I got, and lights like this selling on Etsy (click it, please!), I should go into business.  I think I have about $40 total invested in this light.  I could make a killing, even selling them at a fraction of the price on the linked light.

So….I titled this post Tile and Trim, and I have talked about neither, so far.  The tile!  I finally decided on and laid my pantry/nook tile!  First I thought I was going to continue the white 12″ tile from the powder room.  Mom said the scale was off, and I needed to get bigger tile.  I was stuck figuring out what tile wouldn’t look too modern in my restoration-farmhouse style.  I scoured Pinterest for tile pictures, and fell in love with checkerboard tile, but not in black & white.  Instead, I wanted subtle neutrals.  Something grey-ish and something tan-ish.  Time for a trip to Home Depot!  I literally just started grabbing 18″ tiles and holding them up next to each other.  Pretty soon, I had two that I liked.  But that wasn’t good enough.  Mom and I had to see them in a checkerboard pattern.  So we laid them out on the floor.  Four at first, then more.  Yup, we’re those people.

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I wasn’t 100% sold yet, but then I came home from work and they were purchased.  I guess I was already sold and just needed someone else to commit for me.  Thanks, Mom.  So I got on my knees and started laying them.  Of course, I didn’t want them to be in a straight checkerboard, I wanted them on point, argyle-style.  This was both confusing to figure out and required more complicated cutting (thanks, Dad!), but I think the look is spot-on what I wanted.

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And a close-up without grout.

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The grout color choice was tricky.  Something that would pair grey and tan without being either, and not too light or dark.  Oyster Grey was the color we decided on.  I think it works beautifully.

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And more of that sexy tile.  Admire.  Be jealous.

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That’s it for tile in this house!  My knees are applauding.  Well, there might be more involved for the woodstove in the parlor, but that’s like, 9 square feet or less.  I can handle that.

On to the trim!  Window trim started going back up recently in the dining room.  Here it is up and painted.

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Now that the windows look pretty and the wainscotting is painted, that awful gap in the wall was driving me insane.  Now why they decided to leave a gap between the sheetrock and the wainscotting is beyond me, but I had to cover that gap with chair rail.  Here’s the fun part.  That gap is 2 5/8″, standard “chair rail” trim is 2 5/8″.  It would fill the hole, but wouldn’t cover the edges.  Gross.

So I threw convention to the wind and got creative.  Mom and I walked the “moulding” aisle at Home Depot and considered any and every option.  What we ultimately landed on was casement or something that is 3.5″ wide and has a thick edge and a thin edge.  It’s meant to be used right side up, with the thin edge on top.  Like as baseboard or something.  Being the daring, throw-caution-to-the-wind soul I am, I flipped that bad boy over.  That’s right.  I put the thick side ON TOP!  It was perfect.

And so home it came and up it went, measuring and leveling all the way.

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Doesn’t that just clean up the look of the room???  Now I need to paint the radiators and baseboard in…  Just ignore the bottom of the photo for now, okay?  And if the chair rail looks like it’s at two different heights in this picture, it’s not.  It’s an optical illusion!  Seriously.  There was much debate over this corner.  But it’s measured and leveled.  I promise.

The last thing I have to leave you with is the beginnings of finishing the floor.  My appliances are being delivered tomorrow(!!) so the floor under where they will sit needed to be finished before their arrival and installation.  They were hand-sanded, conditioned, two coats of stain applied, and then two coats of satin poly.  Now, if you remember, there was some patching of the floor in the kitchen.  And because of the difference in width between the existing and new floor boards, I was left with some large-ish gaps between the boards.

This Old House said we could fill the gaps with various diameters of natural rope, which will accept stain. So Mom (thinking it was crazy…and hairy) gave it a shot. Surprisingly, I LOVED the look.

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She was also afraid the new boards would accept stain differently and look different from the rest of the old floor, so she developed a “technique”. She loves techniques. It involved putting on the steel wool/vinegar solution – which turned the boards instantly black – going, “Oh shit!”, sanding off most of the black, then applying the stain. The result? I’m in love. The old boards look fantastic, the new boards blend right in, it’s perfect. AND, despite (somewhat dejectedly) choosing a stain over the vinegar treatment, I still get to use it!

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See the rope? I think it looks so cool! And the color of the floor, complete with distressing, is spot on. Looks 100 years old and brand new at the same time. Mom better perfect her craft so the rest of the floor comes out this good!

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Filed under Finishes, Floors, Kitchen, Photos

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