Updated Kitchen

Kitchen Backsplash

Gratuitous kitchen photos ahoy!

I think earlier I predicted not getting backsplash up until July? Hmmm, or try September. We bought the tile for the backsplash earlier in the summer, when we took a June trip up to my parents’ in Northern California. Sausalito-based Heath Ceramics makes beautiful hand-glazed tile that would normally be pretty far out of our price range, but luckily for us they also have seconds and thirds, which can only be purchased at the main store. You never know what colors they’re going to have, or how much, so you pretty much just have to go and pick from their selection.

Coffee station

The Heath overstock area is actually a little shed out behind their factory store. It’s piled with boxes, sorted by color. We knew that we wanted a light blue, so we picked through the selection looking for a color that we both liked that had enough square footage. It took some hastily scrawled math and a bit of discussion, but we found one we liked and also picked out some metal trim to cap it around the window and other spots. It JUST fit in the interior of the subaru, and we drove the whole way home with paper-wrapped metal stakes in between us!

Full kitchen

We had Ricardo install it and I’m glad we did, because we originally intended to install them in a stack bond pattern. Ricardo helpfully pointed out that he could do that, but because the tile (actually “thirds”, at less than a quarter of the price!) were all slightly different lengths, he would have to measure each one and group them by size, then lay out columns of each size. The handmade tiles aren’t perfectly square in any way, so it would have taken forever! I think it’s part of the overstock-ness of these tile that the glaze density varies, but I really love it.


With the backsplash in place, we installed the last few pieces of IKEA products in place. The toekicks were a bit, ahem, more difficult than expected due to the not-100%-level cabinet installation (in fairness, the tops are level so it must be because of the floor), but they’re all in now. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is that when I drop a grape on the floor it doesn’t roll under the cabinet (especially now, with my ever expanding belly)!


The last of the lighting is up for now too. When we first installed lighting in the kitchen, before there were cabinets, etc, we were thinking of doing open shelving over the counter, so we didn’t plan for opening cabinet doors. Whoops! Ricardo moved the box for us about eight inches north, and we could finally hang the last pendant. Success! Kyle also installed a light over the dining room table (quite a while ago, but I’ve never showed it). Some day, we’ll probably upgrade, but for now that $30 IKEA light looks pretty good!

Third lightDining room light

The back side of the counter finally got its stainless steel, too. Now people can sit at the counter and kick the wall all they want without dents or scuffs. Our friend Mike, who is a machinist, was able to get us a big piece and bend a corner cap. A little construction adhesive and it’s good to go!


We can also thank my mother for gifting us these lovely counter stools from West Elm. They’re awesome and pretty comfy too! I love the way the wood plays off the other woods in the kitchen without being too matchy-matchy, and the dark metal matches well with the industrial pendant lights. The two scratched black plastic stools from IKEA ten years ago have been retired to storage.

Stainless steel

When my parents came to visit last month, poor Don spent the whole time with a nasty cold. Most people would have felt like laying low, but Don doesn’t like sitting still, so he hung air registers throughout the house. It’s amazing what a difference something like this makes. It seems like a small thing, but it really helps to finish off these spaces. You get used to looking at a big hole in the wall, and when all of a sudden it looks like a finished spot, it’s so awesome! Same thing goes for outlets and switch plate covers, which Don also helped with. Slowly but surely, we’re making our way through the house. Hopefully by the time the baby comes we’ll have them all replaced!


A few other odds and ends: we also installed wall sconces in the three bedrooms. These are actually outdoor lights from Home Depot! We looked and looked for nice modern sconces, but such a thing almost doesn’t exist, and definitely not in decent price range. Then we installed one of these outside and thought, hmmm, that might work… At forty-four bucks apiece, they’re a great solution! Lastly, we hung the fans from our old house in the three smaller bedrooms. Some of them are even wired to switches, it’s super fancy up in here.

Bedroom ceiling fanBedroom sconce

So next, bathroom, but I think we’re going to have to start with the process and wait for the end result. We still haven’t found a vanity light, so the project goes on. Don’t worry, we want it finished too!

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