Reno Adventures

I’ve been wanting to overhaul our kitchen for a very long time. Love the warm hardwood floors and cabinets. Not looking to replace major appliances unless they quit working (that is not a challenge to the universe). But, the countertops. And adding backsplash. And getting rid of the white sink (who puts a white sink in a kitchen??!!). Those were my priorities. The husband? A reluctant renovator who tends towards the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of thought. So, we’ve talked about this project off and on…for a couple of years.

What spurred us to action? My aunt. Blame it all on my aunt.  She and my uncle recently had a complete kitchen reno; countertops, floors, backsplash, knocked out a wall. I went over to see the result, fell in love and asked for the name of the countertop guy.

The husband, after much thinking, couldn’t come up with a reason to say no, so I began making arrangements, assuring him that the result would be amazing. Shortly thereafter, we met with the countertop guy and picked up samples.

We exchanged measurements for three quartz samples that we took home.  A couple of days later, the quote arrived via email.  I wasn’t hugely shocked.  I mean, yeah, wowza, countertops are expensive.  But, I figured countertops were expensive.  I showed it to the husband.  I think I heard a gasp.  Maybe a slow, painful squeak.  Then silence.  Awkward silence.

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Now, remember that he’d already said he couldn’t think of a reason to say, “No.”  His heavy silence felt an awful like a back-peddling, “No,” which may have ticked me off a bit.  I may have said something about him stealing my countertop joy.  Yes.  I did.

We got past that.  Accepted the quote.  Here’s my confession:  we are now one week beyond installation.  Everything is done.  I do not know the final cost.  I mean, I wrote a large check to the countertop guy this morning and put it in the mail (man, those would have been some nice points to add to our Alaska Airlines mileage plan via our credit card, but it’s a local company and they don’t accept credit cards.  I guess if a check bounces they know where the perpetrator lives).  But, it wasn’t just the counters.  We got to play general contractor.

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Because there’s the counters, right?  But, the new sink has to be installed by a plumber.  And, the counter guy doesn’t do backsplash but he knows a guy who owns a company that does backsplash.  But, it’s cheaper to purchase the backsplash ourselves than to go through the backsplash guy.  It’s a lot of juggling.  So, when it comes to the final price tag we had to pay three separate companies for services:  countertop, backsplash, plumber.  Plus, we purchased the backsplash from Home Depot.  And had to go back the afternoon of installation when the backsplash guy ran a little short.  Thus, I don’t know the final cost.  When the husband reads this he’ll probably offer to tell me the exact figure.  I feel that there are some things I don’t need to know.  Because it’s gorgeous.  And I love it.  And there’s still enough money in the checking account to buy cat food.  Isn’t that all that’s important?

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Where were we?  Choosing a surface.  Quartz.  Light color.  Then we went to Home Depot, Lowes and a local tile place to look for backsplash.  Purchased and brought a few samples home and selected the backsplash.  A week before installation the countertop guy came out to do the templates.  Then it was “the” day.  Well, the start of a series of days.  The countertop guys showed up on Wednesday morning.  I worked from home that day, so the cat and I sequestered ourselves in the bedroom and tried to ignore the banging going on downstairs.  I did better than the cat.  Pretty soon the acrid scent of glue wafted up the stairs.  I grew a little light-headed.  Here’s what’s amazing:  they installed all of the countertops in a little over 3 hours.  They were gone shortly before noon.  I opened windows and admired the satiny surface, trying to ignore the dusty floor and the shredded wall where the former 6 inch backsplash had existed (that repair was being left for the backsplash guy).  I also stared in wonder at the shiny stainless steel under mount sink.  Our prior sink was top mount.

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The next day the plumber came.  Nothing real exciting there.  Except we had running water in the sink.  I guess that’s pretty exciting.  Helps with cooking.

Last Friday the backsplash guy came.  I met him shortly before leaving for work and told him to give me a call if he had any questions.  Now, I obviously know nothing about installing backsplash, because I assumed it would go as quickly as the countertops.  Thus, when I arrived home around 4 with visions of the dinner I was going to cook dancing through my head and the backsplash guy’s van was still in the driveway….huh…

I came inside and not only was the backsplash guy’s van still in the driveway, the backsplash guy obviously still had a lot of work to do.  So much for dinner.  Now, keep in mind, he had to do some patching in the morning and that had to dry before he could begin next steps, so that put him behind right there.  When he admitted to having a good three hours of work remaining I assured him it was no problem.  Dinner plans became pizza plans out on the patio with a bottle of wine, the husband, the cat and a little Amos Lee on You Tube.  Not a bad gig.


We ordered an extra calzone for the backsplash guy (very much appreciated) and enjoyed our time on the patio.  At long last he packed up and headed out and we stood back and admired the magnificence of our new kitchen.  Truly a thing of beauty.

The next day I spent the bulk of the day cleaning, mopping, screwing on face plates and installing LED strip tape under the cupboards.  Why we never thought to add lights there is beyond me.  Perhaps because we didn’t have gorgeous countertops and backsplash.

Was it worth it?  Most definitely.  We should have done this years ago.  Maybe we should consider doing the bathroom vanities….

And here you thought I’d gone to Nevada.  🙂

6 thoughts on “Reno Adventures

  1. Gorgeous! It is amazing what a few changes can make. I too have a white kitchen sink that is a puzzlement and want under mounted badly. And a backsplash. But we are replacing carpeting next. I cannot begin to imagine all the stuff that needs to be moved, but in two weeks I will no longer have to imagine. At least we are only doing the upstairs so we can put all the small stuff downstairs. (We did the downstairs flooring 2 years ago, sheesh we have a lot of stuff!)
    Enjoy your lovely kitchen!


  2. I could cry from jealousy! It’s so beautiful! We have a smallish galley kitchen with no chance to enlarge…nut we did replace the hideous white gold-flecked countertops with a nice honey beige formica (maybe we’ll upgrade to granite someday). I have the same sink as your old one, which I thought it was ceramic, so it’s already stained and yucky after five years. Going for the undermount stainless next time. We need to replace the old crank-out window with a greenhouse window. At least I have my beautiful master addition to be proud of 🙂


    1. Thanks, Terri! I found bleach to be the only thing that really cleaned that sink. All you needed to match those gold flecked countertops was a gold refrigerator. 😉


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