Surprise Kitchen Reno! Part I

Last weekend, we were packed and ready to go camping for the first time this season, so it was natural that we would discover a leaky kitchen sink moments before departure!

No tent leaks, thank goodness!

Since moving in, the one part of our home that I’ve detested are the tiled kitchen countertops. While the appearance isn’t so offending, the surface was totally impractical for baking, and cleaning the grout was a niiiightmare. Boxes and boxes of baking soda later, we are more than ready for a low-maintenance countertop. The leaky sink seemed the perfect impetus to launch us into a surprise kitchen reno! Wheee!

Best tile shot I have, from home inspection day

To date, we’ve done almost no work to the kitchen, which will eventually be part of the first floor bachelor apartment. Since our goal is to minimize material costs on the first floor, we’re choosing to replace the tile countertops with an off-the-shelf, laminate surface from Home Depot, in mineral olivine.

The former owner used salvaged but quality maple door panels to construct ALL of the kitchen cabinetry. Their light colour is suitable for the dark space, so it was very exciting that they weren’t destroyed in removing the tile countertop!

Before photo #1

Before photo #2

Before photo #3 (we replaced the old faucet with this one a few months ago)

First, we removed the cabinet doors and the sink, and then J used a chisel to chip away all of the tile and grout: so happy to see this go!

Action shot!

First side: done, and revealed a sunny yellow behind the current paint colour.

The dog that hates change.

Starting demolition on side two of the galley kitchen.

J cut the 10′ countertop in two, and then each piece was set atop the plywood surface, and affixed with PL Premium, held with clamps for 24 hours. This is the phase we are in right now:

Four clamps and a lot of heavy stuff helping to secure the adhesive.

Because the cabinetry were not designed with standard cabinet measurements, and measure 27″ deep, the width of standard kitchen countertops at 25″ leaves a space of 2 inches between the back of the countertop and the wall. In the spirit of keeping this job inexpensive and easy, J decided to use oak hardwood to construct a small shelf attched from the wall to the lip of the new countertop. Using countersunk screws and more adhesive, the hardwood strips were attached to the countertop. We plan to stain them a richer colour in phase two.

Strip of oak to serve as shelving. This slight modification allows us to keep the maple cabinets, and avoid custom countertop costs.

The end caps were set with a heat gun, and then J carved out the Valencia profile from the rounded profile (they didn’t have any of ours in stock: luckily J has a stable hand!)

End cap, cut expertly to the profile.

The sink was fitted back into place, and sealed with silicone to prevent leakage.

Had to crop my reflection out of this pic.

We’re really happy with the colour and finish of the countertop, and I can’t wait to roll out some dough on its glossy surface! Bye bye, grout! Come back for part two, where we decide we have to replace the floors. Yeah, moving in reverse.

In part three, we’ll tackle the fun stuff, like crown mouldings and walls, and details like cabinet hardware, switch and outlet plates, and draperies.

No more tiles!!

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