Tag Archives: silestone lyra

On The Road to A Finished Reno!

After living without kitchen counters and a sink for several days, I can confirm that these are BY FAR the most important elements in a kitchen. Ovens and cooktops I can live without… running water, not so much. Late last week, after tackling the demo of our old counters on our own, we were working with a seriously function-less kitchen.

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Luckily, our countertops were ready for installation, so we didn’t have to manage without counters for long. After not-so-patiently waiting for 3 hours, our counters were in place and ready for ogling. I’m head-over-heels for the Carrera-esque pattern (and the low maintenance. Hallelujah). The colors are perfect, and I’m so thrilled we went with the 4 cm edge instead of the 2 cm.

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Although the new cooktop isn’t functional yet, we did have to put it in place for a test fit – so much more seamless and clean-lined than its grubby predecessor.

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Of course, no installation could ever go off without a hitch. The square corners we requested were lost in translation, leaving us with 3/4″ radius corners. Not the end of the world, but the rounded edge compromises the modern look of the counters (in my opinion, anyway). The upside is, there is less chance that a wee person will poke an eye out on a sharp edge in our kitchen. So bring your kiddos over, friends!

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We also kissed our “open-concept” (yep, that’s what we christened our wall-less kitchen look) goodbye. The installer that will be crafting our backsplash made a first visit to install some cement backer-board.

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And for a super-productive finale, we gave our kitchen walls a coat of Benjamin Moore’s Simply White in a Matte finish (you can peep it in all the pics above). The color is perfect – a creamy but not-yellow white. The Matte finish is a flat enamel, which is perfect for folks like us that love a flat finish, but want the wipeability of a satin. We’ve used low VOC flat enamel from Olympia for both of our bathrooms, but for this project, we opted to upgrade to higher-quality paint. In today’s world, it didn’t occur to me to verify that the paint was low VOC (unless you’re using oil-based paint, it’s tough to track down any of these extra stinky paint concoctions). After cracking open the Ben Moore, I was totally aghast at the stench from this paint. After spending $150 on 3 gallons, we opted to use the non-returnable paint, but it reaaaaally offended my nose and my environmental sensibilities. We spent the evening sleeping with the windows open, in spite of the 90+ degree temps outdoors. I liken that evening to sleeping in a paint factory in Vietnam. All that to say, I absolutely don’t recommend this paint.

Still on the to-do list: installing our microwave, oven and cooktop. Plus, on the “observing but not doing ourselves” list, subway tile install. After that, it’s just having the cabinets painted and tackling some of the details (curtains, swapping out the light fixture, re-finishing my Craig’s list pedestal table, and finding some new chairs and bar stools). The upside is, the end to this lengthy upheaval is actually in sight. Hooray!

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Ready, Set, Reno!

After penny-pinching, planning, and not-so-patiently waiting for the last year, it’s finally time to tackle the rest of the kitchen. And (surprise) we’re taking a little bit of a different approach to this project. With the hubby and I both juggling intense work schedules, there’s not a lot of time left to manage a major DIY renovation. So although we plan to do some of the smaller elements in the kitchen ourselves – painting, swapping out light fixtures, connecting new appliances and plumbing – we’re leaving the big projects to the pros. Here’s the game plan, from the top down – plus a refresher on the design inspiration for the kitchen. Love that Tommy Smythe!!

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1. Update the cabinets with a fresh coat of creamy white paint & some satin nickel hardware. I snagged my hardware on Ebay for a song – less than $70 for all the pieces we’ll need. And don’t worry – the colors actually match in real life.

Hardware

Also included on the painting quote: taking my Craig’s List bookshelves from chestnut to soft white. Thanks to the scale of the kitchen project, I got a heck of a deal on the bookshelf paint job. Hello, visual calm!

2. Gussy up the walls and ceiling with – you guessed it – white paint. We’ll match the shade we choose for the cabinets.

3. Swap the scratched, dingy and hideous laminate counters for Silestone in the Lyra pattern. Love that it looks like Carrara but happens to be incredibly durable, antimicrobial and is guaranteed against scratches for 15 years. Plus it’s low risk for radon emission (admittedly, that’s per the manufacturer).

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4. Install a lantern light over the kitchen table. I found this fixture on Wayfair for less than $100 a few months ago and it’s been waiting on our guest room ever since.

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5. Replace our old appliances with sleek, stainless steel appliances. They’ll definitely be a visual improvement, and according to the specs, our new dishwasher is less likely to sound like a tidal wave than our current model. We chose Frigidaire appliances from Lowe’s for everything except the cooktop (Whirlpool) and the dishwasher (Bosch).

6. Trade out the old burgundy and white backsplash for timeless, white subway tiles… Something like this.  Swoon.

White subway tile backsplashSource

7. Have the floors steamed and the grout re-sealed. Why so soon? The installers used an acid wash to deal with the grout haze last summer, which ate away the grout sealer. And unsealed white grout + a family of four (including the wild animal that lives here) = recipe for disaster.

8. Upgrade the kitchen table to a painted pedestal ($50 on Craig’s List and just waiting for me to work some magic), find new kitchen chairs and barstools, and execute about a million other smaller-scale details.

We’ll be managing most of the demo ourselves, and we already got a head start. Now you see the burgundy backsplash…

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Now you don’t!

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Next up: floor cleaning/re-sealing and installing the new dishwasher and fridge. Stay tuned!

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