Backsplash Love and General Construction Updates

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here – construction is exhausting! In any case, we are making some great progress and, as of today, we have the kitchen floors, sink/faucet, countertops, and backsplash done! We also have the powder bath floors, countertops, and backsplash pretty much done.

Yep, I said, the BACKSPLASH is done! If you follow me over on Instagram (@thepaperhangersdaughter), you already know that we had some pretty significant challenges with a portion of the project that had seemed so simple. I’m not going to get into all of the details, but the root cause of our problem was that one of the main vertical support beams that just happens to be directly behind our cooktop/stove hood is not installed straight – best way I can think to explain is that it’s rotated about 30 degrees from being straight. We confirmed that it’s not a structural issue (phew!), but it is a challenge when you are trying to lay linear tile and your wall bows because the edge of the beam is not where it should be.

All’s well that ends well, right? After a bit of trial and error, we definitely found a fix that made it right. I am so happy with the final product!

I went with simple 4″ x 12″ white subway tiles. These are actually pretty budget-friendly, as I didn’t want to break the bank for the backsplash. You can find them on Lowe’s website here: Satori┬áHudson Brilliant White Glossy 4-in x 12-in Glossy Ceramic Wall Tile. Yes, I know there are a million different creative backsplashes out there, but as I’ve mentioned previously, simple and timeless are what I’m looking for; I will jazz it up with decor that I can change out as styles and color palettes change over the years.

You may also remember that we planned to use this same subway tile in our powder bath. We decided to take the backsplash all the way up the wall behind the vanity and lay it in a single herringbone pattern. I think it turned out pretty great, especially paired with the new countertops, light fixture, and statement mirror.

The flooring in the powder bath is still a work in progress. We went with a wood-look porcelain tile that won’t compete or try to blend in with our wood floors. You can find it here: Daltile Trellis Oak Colorbody Porcelain Floor in Natural Ash TR21. It’s lighter than our wood and has an oak grain. We actually went back and forth on quite a few different options here, but my husband (who is rarely opinionated on home decor or design) really felt strongly that this was the one. After seeing it installed, I’d say that it was the right call! We are still trying to get the grout right – the goal being for it to blend in, but it’s pretty light/white at the moment. We’ll figure it out though.

Lastly, our beautiful new formal dining room chandelier has been installed and it totally transforms the space – it adds drama! You can find it here: Pruitt Chandelier 9 Light Matte Black (PRUC5034MBK). Don’t let the pictures fool you – this chandelier is BIG and helps to fill the space left by our 2-story ceilings. I haven’t washed the glass globes yet, as it’s still pretty dirty and dusty in the house with all the construction, but I’ll get to that eventually. Is it bad that I now want to remodel this room too? That’s not exactly in the budget, but maybe…

Up next… cabinet paint! I think this may be the most dramatic change yet and I can’t wait to see how it comes out. Now if we can just decide on what color to choose…

Drumroll Please… Counters are In!

If you’ve read my prior posts, you know that I’ve been anxiously awaiting the day that my quartz countertops were ready to be installed. That day was today!

I cannot express how much I love these countertops. They turned out so beautifully! I chose a thick, square edge to keep it a bit more on the modern side – classic and simple. The square edges really ensure that the gorgeous grey/beige marbling and cool, bright white background remain the star of the show. I also extended one end of the island by 12″ to create an area for two barstools – we didn’t have that before and it came out so great!

To say that my walls have presented some challenges would be an understatement. The fabricator had to cut into one of my kitchen walls on one end to insert the granite INTO the wall because the wall isn’t straight. There was a similar dilemma at the side of the desk in the breakfast nook – crooked walls meant that there was no choice but to gouge one side of the space to get the slab in squarely. Despite the challenges, they did an awesome job. I am so, so happy with the result. Thank you to Bella Interior Creations by Monica for coordinating fabrication and install – we could not be more pleased with the results.

Our huge single-basin sink was installed, as well as our new kitchen faucet and they really give the kitchen a bit of wow factor. We chose to keep our original powder bath sink, although I had not even thought to make sure that it was truly white (it’s not!). No big deal though – it still looks great.

Without further adieu, please look past the rest of the total and utter destruction in my kitchen and bath… I give you Pental Misterio.

Countertop Envy

Following design profiles on Instagram is how I find my daily zen. I don’t watch television – I have terrible ADD and really can’t (or don’t want to) focus long enough to sit and watch a whole show. However, I can sit and watch Instagram stories in short bursts and be totally happy.

These design profiles wow me again and again with dazzling white countertops. Pearly, marbled, beautiful, simple, elegant, bright countertops – exactly the opposite of the granite I have right now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my current granite, it’s just not what I am lusting after:

Yes, I have had countertop envy for quite some time. So I began my quest to find the perfect white countertops. I didn’t set out with only one type of stone in mind – I was open to granite, quartz, quartzite – just not actual marble because I don’t have the patience to deal with etching and staining in a kitchen and bath. In my last blog post, I posted the five samples I was considering – all quartz.

This was a big decision, but there was one that kept jumping out at me. I hemmed and hawed because, let’s face it, how am I supposed to pick based on a tiny sample? And yet…it kept calling me. Pental Misterio. I made an appointment for my husband and I to meet at Pental Surfaces in Van Nuys, CA after he finished work one day.

As soon as I saw the Misterio slab, I was surprised that I wasn’t convinced (if you know me, you know that this is not shocking at all). However, it was the closest thing to my vision that I had found so far. No, we didn’t buy the slabs. I’m clearly a glutton for punishment, so I made my husband make a separate trip back down to Pental a few weeks later, once I was for sure – for sure – sure that I wanted Misterio.

If you have purchased quartz, you know that it’s manmade, so there is not a lot of variation by slab. Actually, there is next to no variation by slab if it was created in the same run. The original slabs we had looked at were still bugging me. The veining had a lot of beige when I really wanted grey. The veining was also just a bit sharp and busy for me. The helpful Pental warehouse manager pointed out that he had a completely different run he could show us, but not to expect much difference. And yet, I saw it and it was…wow. They pulled a few slabs of this second run out with their forklift crane and brought them to the warehouse door so we could see it in natural light and my heart soared. It had the same pattern as the first slabs, except it had delicate, soft grey veining with just a hint of beige undertone to it. I fell in love with these slabs. So we did it. We reserved three and off we went to sit in the usual rush hour traffic on the 405, but it was by far the best hour that I have been stuck on the 405 in a long time. I had found exactly what I had been looking for.

Now that countertop selection is out of the way, we need to start thinking about a backsplash. Again, I like simple and classic and I’m going for broke (literally!) on the white theme. I’m off to explore the endless options out there, but once again, I have a sneaking suspicion that I know just what I want. More on that soon.

Choices, Choices

When we decided to remodel, I knew exactly what I wanted – a white kitchen. Seemed simple enough. What I didn’t realize was that there are a lot of white countertops to choose from, a lot of white paints to choose from, that I needed to think about cabinet hardware finishes, and so on. I quickly became overwhelmed by it all and also realized that I was starting to add a lot of items I hadn’t planned on. I am a spreadsheet queen, so I started putting one together to track items that were completed, our budget, actual spend, etc. What a huge help! The other huge help was hiring an interior designer to help coordinate work and to help bounce ideas off of. Enter Bella Interior Creations by Monica…keeping me sane along this journey!

One of the first things I realized was that I needed to choose was lighting – specifically a vanity light, but we also decided to move forward with a chandelier for our formal dining room. We went to a local store and, let me tell you, there was a lot to look at. When you walk in, you almost don’t know where to look, but it’s amazing to imagine all of the possibilities. I found a few I liked and took pictures, knowing that I would bring my husband back with me to make final decisions.

From there, I moved on to countertops for both the kitchen and powder bath. I was pretty sure I wanted quartz countertops, but I didn’t rule out granite or quartzite. Once I started looking at samples, it became clear quickly that quartz was the right choice for the clean, simple look I was trying to achieve and it was also within my budget. Once again, it’s amazing how many white quartz choices there are. I was looking for a subtle, marble look with a true, cool white background. Here are the five I narrowed it down to. I took samples home to try to narrow it further. Here they are against our pantry door in the kitchen – the same color planned for the cabinets.

From left to right: MSI Q in Calacatta Trevi, Pental Quartz in Misterio, Qortstone in Q5028 Lily, MSI Q in Calacatta Vicenza, and MSI Q in Fairy White.

Which one will be the winner? Hint, hint – it IS one of these 5. Stay tuned.