I gotta just brag on my little brother for a little bit because his kitchen has come such a long long way! If you know Tim – and most of you do by now – you know that he works on cars….that’s his jam, jelly and peanut butter sandwich….anything with an engine. He is obsessed with motorcycles. And I am not using the word ‘obsessed’ like when I talk about new rugs or pretty shoes…this is a whole new level of obsessed….this is like he stalks motorcycles online. every day. not. even. kidding.
I say that because I want you to understand that he is not a DIYer or a home improvement specialist or even a designer….he is a normal (engine obsessed) dude married to a normal girl who likes her hair straightener and pretty smelling lotions. I think that in general, they are the norm when it comes to DIY skills and design aesthetic. They know what they like but they don’t use technical terms like ‘industrial modern farmhouse’ or have an arsenal of DIY tools.
That’s why I am so stinking proud of Tim. He bought a short sale house for cheap and is fixing it up and making some huge improvements and doing them himself. The house has good bones and is in a good area with lots of potential. The largest transformation so far has been his kitchen and it still has some improvements on the horizon but so far it is vastly different. Think Kim Kardashian before makeup and after contouring and highlighting.
Before the layout of the kitchen area was weird and the fridge was in a weird place. They had limited counter space and practically nowhere to ‘borrow’ room.
The angled countertop didn’t even make it into these blurry camera phone photos….Tim ripped it out and tackled some of the biggest parts of this transformation…layout, cabinetry, counters and flooring.
Check out that tile, y’all! I know you are jealous.
So he moved the fridge to an unused area and that freed up a bunch of space. He wanted to do a traditional style kitchen so he picked out dark cabinets and went with a warm color palette and laid all of the hand scraped hardwoods himself. He found most of the appliances on sale and I love that he went with that gunmetal gray microwave and sink. Going with dark appliances can be really smart – it’s modern especially mixed with other finishes like Tim did – and they show less fingerprints and they appeal to men! Maybe that is the way to get your man to cook for you? 🙂
He asked me if I could come over and help him install a backsplash because that was the next big thing in this space and I jumped at the chance. I love love love tiling!
And yes, since I am technically always pregnant while tiling…I did take a test first just to rule that possibility out. This time, the tiling wasn’t due to any pregnancy related hormonal shift….it’s just pure travertine love 🙂
Sorry about some of these photos – they were taken with the phone and just imagine the crazy pink walls and weird tile making everything off balance.
So when I got there, we went straight to work. We centered the mosaic travertine all on the stove top and measured out from there. You can do it where you center it on your wall or on your appliances or ‘feature’ or you can do it to fill the space (from one corner all the way to the end or vice versa) but I prefer to have my point of interest be the center mark of the backsplash.
This was Tim’s first time using a wet tile saw and I think that was his favorite part. Tiling is really simple if you think about it in layman’s terms….there are lots of techniques and terminology but when it comes down to it – you are gluing tile to a wall…that’s it. It’s basically like using construction paper and Elmers….toddlers could do it. Make it fit, make it clean and fill the rest with grout.
Also – don’t use a wet tile saw with bare feet 🙂
Timmy really wanted to learn the basics of tiling and once he tackled all the steps, he happily handed the thin-set over. I think it was a little too messy for his liking…
I happily accepted. Also – what the what am I doing?!
Note that he decided that he preferred the tile to go all the way to the door frame instead of stopping in a straight line over the far left of the countertop. See how anything goes when it comes to tiling?!
A week or so later, I stopped by to help him grout. Grouting is definitely more fun with two folks.
Also – he picked up his bone colored grout at Floor & Decor and it’s called Bostik Neverseal. I had never heard of it and it was definitely pricey but YOU NEVER HAVE TO SEAL IT. I mean…ever. This isn’t sponsored or anything….I am sure Tim would have loved not having to buy two buckets of the stuff…but when I heard that it’s really stain resistant and never needs sealing, I wanted to share that nugget of awesomeness with you guys.
Overall we were super excited when it was done because 1. he likes having a backsplash 2. his wife likes it and happy wife, happy life and 3. I am weirdly into tile.
Doesn’t it look so good?!
Here it is over by the sink area. Such a game changer when you have a sink near a wall…it can be such a hassle with water damage so I am glad that he installed the tile to protect that wall!
Isn’t this a great warm traditional look? My mom has travertine in her kitchen and this is a much more modern version of that look.
I just wanted to share that with you. I am trying to pull together some photos of the boys for a more personal post tomorrow. But for now….let’s all give Tim a hand for doing such a great job on this space and for those of you like him – not a professional handyman….I think this should serve as a confidence booster. I mean seriously – if I was a preacher, I would tell you two things…Jesus loves you and you CAN diy! Thank you and amen 🙂
Wendy from OldLakeGeorge.com says
Great job! This almost gives me enough confidence to give tiling a try. 🙂
It looks great Katie. You are a DIY blessing to him for sure. It’s obvious that he is adapting to home improvements- the floor he laid looks awesome. You are in your element here!! God bless them in their new home!!
You can do it! It really is like gluing hard thick paper to a wall…it’s so easy!
xo – kb
That before and after is cray cray!
Love the whole new look, definetly added major value to the house. Way to go Tim (and katie)!
The way you describe your Sister in law, I don’t know…. to me it feel kind of… rude or at least unkind. What does she tink?
BONNIE (Borninazoo) says
The first time I did tiling was hexagons on my bathroom floor. I cannot believe I was able to get around beautifully around my curbed soaking tub. I was afraid to then tackle the subway wall tile around the tub … so I hired someone very expensive (I still did all of the prep work). When TilerGuy was putting in the tub surround he kept looking at my floor and telling me what I great job. Almost worked himself out of a job. Vertical tiles scare me!
Wow that looks amazing. He did a great job
Geez, I’m feeling claustrophobic just looking at that before picture of the kitchen. How can anyone LIVE like that?!
It looks so much better now 🙂
Off topic from this post but I wanted to let you know that I’m a fan of the blog and I ordered from Bouqs after seeing them on your site, and I am so disappointed! I sent a double bouquet to my mother for Valentines Day (which is also her birthday) and they severely skimped on the amount of stems and also changed up the colors from the picture. I sent them an email to let them know this and i was offered a $5 credit towards a future purchase, which I believe is poor customer service. Just wanted to give a heads up for anyone on the fence about purchasing from them.
No way! She is awesome and anyone that puts words into my mouth otherwise are crazy. Just because she likes lotions doesn’t mean I am being rude!
xo – kb
They definitely aren’t as scary as you think. If it makes you nervous, just double check a lot with a level and look at a lot of photos first so that you have a definite plan of attack. You can do it!
xo – kb
I know! It was crazy layout…Tim definitely made such a great choice!
xo – kb
That’s unfortunate! I am sorry to hear that! I think that I would contact them again…
xo – kb
Love, love, love! It looks awesome, really. I wonder if you should tile that inch of wall to the left of the sink? Can anyone else weigh in here? As it is, my eye kind of goes right to in and I wonder if continuing the tile there would make it disappear…
That kitchen looks stunning and so up to date! It amazes me how some well-focused DIY can quickly take a house from yuck to fabulous. Your brother has wonderful DIY skills and great taste! He gets an A+
The vertical bit that goes above the upper countertop?
xo – kb
Tim did an AMAZING job. I love the new layout of the kitchen and those visuals are great for helping convey what changed!
I need to do my fireplace. I know I should start in the center and work my way out, but should I also start at the bottom – meaning the bottom center above the fire box vs. the top center by the mantel? Does that make any sense? I live near our Sonic if you want to come over and help me. 🙂
LOL – loved your humor in this post. I loved the comments about taking a pregnancy test before you tiled and if you were a preacher. Thanks for always being yourself and making us laugh! 🙂
Wow! Wonderful job to both of you:)
Would you mind giving the details on his sink if it’s not too much of a hassle?
I will ask him Alyssa!
xo – kb
I think it matters what kind of tile! I could totally come over if you need like five minutes of advice 🙂
And sometimes you have to measure the middle and then tile accordingly…so going off the limited amount of info here – I would say center your tile at the center above the fire box and tile accordingly (even if that means laying the outer tile first). Does that make sense?
xo – kb
It does make sense! Thank you.
awesome job by you both. Tiling a kitchen backsplash is a great way to transform a kitchen and also a great first time tiling project. I’m sure Tim would be confident enough to try tiling a full bathroom after honing his skills in the kitchen. Remember to reseal the stone tiles every 12 month to keep them looking there best.