Kitchen Progress: New Door, Trim, and Threshold Tile

Yup, I’m still plugging away at the kitchen! I’m wrapping up trim, and then I’ll be able to do After shots of the whole room for you. But I wanted to dedicate a post to this kitchen door project because it’s been a lot of work and it made a big impact.

The door I’m talking about is the one seen in this old photo. It leads to our enclosed back porch, which we use as a mudroom.

Kitchen Island Before.JPG

There wasn’t anything wrong with the door, but it always bothered me that we had no visibility into our backyard from our kitchen/dining room. We put so much work into the space last year (see Backyard Patio, Painting, and Landscaping) – I wanted to be able to see it from inside!

Also, as you can see in this photo, there was SO MUCH natural light we were missing out on. This wall faces east. I’d come downstairs in the morning and the sun would be streaming through this little pet door. (The pet door just lets our cat into the mudroom – not outside.)

Kitchen Door Before.JPG

Home Depot and Lowe’s have affordable half-lite glass doors, but everything available off-the-shelf has a grid over the glass, like this one. I had to do a custom order for plain glass without a grille. Spending more money to get something simpler is my M.O., it seems.

I went with a Jeld-Wen Smooth-Pro Fiberglass Exterior Door from Home Depot. It cost $475. It could have been cheaper if I had been patient enough to wait for a sale (which I usually am!), but with a 4-8 week lead time, I just wanted to get the ball rolling.

Here’s the newly-installed door, with Lola checking out his newly-installed cat door.

Newly Installed Kitchen Door.JPG

I switched the way the door swings: it was a right-hand inswing and now it’s a left-hand inswing. I referenced this Home Depot door handing guide a million times to make sure I ordered the correct one.

Door Handing Guide.jpg

This left-hand inswing flows better with our mudroom’s exterior door (which is also a left-hand inswing), and it feels like a more natural path to our kitchen. Since switching the inswing made for a more complicated installation, I chose to hire a handyman to install it. That cost $295. Not cheap, but worth it to me. Thankfully, the rest of this project was DIY and affordable!

I tore off the trim and replaced it, which is what I’ve been doing to all the entryways on the first floor.

Kitchen Door Trim Progress.jpg

And then I tackled Baby’s First Tile Job. This glossy beige tile was not adding anything good to the space.

Kitchen Door Tile Before.jpg

It took fewer than 5 minutes to demo.

Kitchen Door Tile Demo.jpg

Removing the tile revealed a couple of divots (like you see below) in the old concrete threshold. I patched those with Quikrete.

Concrete Transom.jpg

I used EliteTile Retro Glazed Porcelain Hex Mosaic in Matte White. When I bought this tile for our half-bathroom (see Half-Bathroom Before and After), I ordered enough with this project in mind. I don’t have a wet saw, so I cut the tiles by hand using tile nippers. It wasn’t the most enjoyable 2 hours of my life, but it was far from the worst (here’s looking at you, La La Land).

Tile Cutting Nippers.jpg

The cut tile edge was pretty rough; sanding smoothed them out.

Cut Tile Before Sanding.jpg

Cut Tile After Sanding.jpg

Finally, it was time to lay tile. I won’t go into process details because there are tons of how-to guides available online. Here’s the tile after I adhered it, before I grouted it. I used a Schluter metal tile edging trim for the exposed edge.

Ceramic Tile Pre-Grout.jpg

Here’s the tile after I grouted it, when I was in the “I’ve made a huge mistake” phase. I had no idea what I was doing!

Ceramic Tile Grout

I just kept sponging and sponging until I made it through.

White Hex Ceramic Tile with Black Grout.jpg

Lola may not be impressed, but I am super happy with how my first tile job turned out.

Ceramic Tile with Pet Door.jpg

So, now, back to the Before:

Kitchen Door Before.JPG

And the After:

Glass Door with Ceramic Tile Transom.jpg

The first day we had the new door installed, Jarrod and I were admiring the view and we saw our very first goldfinch in our backyard. There had surely been others, but we had never seen them because we couldn’t see the yard. Now we see them all the time back there!

Upcoming posts: full kitchen makeover, and our awful mudroom which isn’t so awful anymore.

DIY Project Round-Up

Happy new year to you all and welcome to new readers!  Now that my subscriber count has surpassed 1,500 (thanks, everyone!) and we’ve rolled into 2013, I wanted to pause to do a DIY project round-up.  Not necessarily comprehensive, just a visual introduction to what goes on around here.

Decorating DIY Projects1: Operation Obscurement: Window Film
2: Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener
3: The Framer’s Intent: Scarf Display
4: Gallery Wall: In Praise of Chopsticks & 3M

DIY Experiments1: Gold Leaf Paint Options
2: Metal Cutting Options

Furniture DIY Projects1: A Harmless Dresser-to-TV Stand Conversion
2: Step by Step IKEA VITTSJO Nesting Table Hack

Garden DIY Projects

1: Raised Garden Beds: Two Tons of Soil, One Bucket
2: Tools for (Over) Planning Raised Garden Beds
3: Canopy Fail, Cinema Success
4: Pipe + Netting Garden Trellis

Cat DIY Projects

1 & 2: Cat Concessions: Plants and Upholstery
3: CATHOLE: Litter Box Cat Door
4: Catio Cleanup

Finally, because I’m always a bit embarrassed by blog’s name, I’d like to remind you that when I say “project!”, I’m channeling Cher Horowitz and her love of makeovers.  Because somehow that’s less embarrassing?

Dust Yourself Off and Try Again

Oh, hey there, blog: what’s up?  It’s been a long time (long time), we shouldn’t have left you (left you), without a dope beat to step to.

It’s not that I haven’t been busy around the apartment, it’s that I’ve been busy making changes that are perceptible only to myself.  Take, for example, our kitchen.  I had painted it Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White, which I used in the bathroom and in one of the spare bedrooms to my satisfaction.  In the kitchen, however, the paint color always appeared really cold and unfinished to me – like it was just a primer coat.  I think it’s because we get very little natural light in the room.

So I tried two different shades: Benjamin Moore’s Dove White (color-matched by Behr) and Behr’s Irish Mist, which is what I used in the living and dining rooms.

See?

1KitchenPaint

Don’t worry if you can’t see that.  Only crazy people can.  And tetrachromats.  (Did you hear Radiolab’s Colors episode? It was really awesome, especially the choir.)

Here: looking at it from the side makes the difference more visible.

2KitchenPaint

I went with Irish Mist and am very happy with the change. The kitchen feels much less stark. And the cats always enjoy an opportunity to hang out on a ladder. (Looking back at my New Year’s photo suggests they have an agreed-upon positioning.)

3KitchenPaintCatLadder

I pried off that phone jack you see on the wall in the first photo and discovered this burst of color beneath.

3KitchenPaintWallpaper

I think it might be original? Or at least very old.

4KitchenPaintWallpaper

Come back tomorrow for a project I’m excited to share – something with a more noticeable impact. I’ll leave you with a sneak peek!

5SneakPeek