This post is in partnership with Rejuvenation.
Since our cabinets were installed well over a month ago, we’ve been pulling out the trash compartment in our socked feet, opening drawers from their outer edge and avoiding the spice rack almost entirely (that sucker was too difficult). This style of cabinet needs hardware, but as of a few days ago, reaching for the coffee has gotten a lot easier!
We’ve been working with the team at Rejuvenation to outfit our kitchen from head-to-toe (er, ceiling to floor?), starting with the hutch, moving on to the island and finally, the cabinets and lighting! If we lived in Portland, we may never leave their store; you know we love it.
In total, we had 30 pulls to install, so we picked up this cabinet template in the hopes it would move the job along quickly. For about $7 and a tool that’s typically only needed one time, it was worth every single penny! To prevent any accidental measurements, Scott taped off one side and poked only the holes we’d be using along the way:
Our cabinets and drawers got a big facelift with the Mission pulls in oil rubbed bronze (almost exclusively in 4″, with the exception of a few 3.5″ for smaller drawers), which in person reads as almost pure black with no reddish undertones. We opted for the same handles on everything, rather than the usual mix with bin pulls, which was simply personal preference. Just like that, the kitchen looked so pulled together, very non-fussy and classic. It was that feeling we’ve been looking for all along.
A last minute decision had us re-wiring our under cabinet lighting placement – a decision that was made as soon as we laid eyes on the Hannah! [Insert heart-eyed emoji here.] Coming in at about 6″ in height, she’s the perfect pint-sized glow for above the sink. The white metal dome shade with its black rim is the perfect complement to our white cabinetry and dark hardware. [More emojis!]
Finally, we topped the room with a throwback 16″ schoolhouse shade on the Eastmoreland pendant, also in the oil rubbed bronze finish. Standing in the dining room, you can see that the kitchen light makes a good friend for our nook pendant, and the Hood light in-between takes this trio of lighting over the top!
The problem with Rejuvenation, if you can call it that, is that it’s full of All the Things! Lighting, hardware, furniture and kitchen tabletop goods, to name a few – and it’s so good. The emails and catalogs alone are pure eye candy (imagine me pin-happy!), but can I just show you?
Too much to love: Mission bin pull, Jefferson flush fixture, Wire chair, Lemnos clock, Moscow mule mug, industrial shelf stirrups, Mosser cake plate, hairpin wire basket, Butte dome pendant, George pendant, Hood globe pendant, American walnut chair, Cedar & Moss wall sconce, Sumack rug, Woolrich navy stripe blanket, Aurora stool.
Collaborating with Rejuvenation has been such an amazing experience, and we have nothing but praise for the west coast crew. We’re so thankful that we’ve had this time with them, and better yet, they want to spread the love to you, too! And so together with Rejuvenation, we’ll be giving away $500 towards anything in their store! Using the Rafflecopter widget below, enter as many ways as you’d like. This giveaway is eligible for those located in the United States or Canada and runs through Monday, March 23rd until 5pm CST. The winner will be announced within this post and contacted directly. Good luck and happy entering!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post is in partnership with Rejuvenation. We were gifted Mission drawer pulls (4″), the Hannah small semi-flush mount (white dome shade) and the Eastmoreland pendant (6″ w/ classic 16″schoolhouse shade). Thank you for supporting those that support us!
See part one of the tile post right here.
The thing about tiling is not that it’s difficult, but it really is a job that takes time, patience and a lot of supplies. Luckily, we still have a handful of tools leftover from our entryway, but I will say that if this is your first tiling job, it’ll likely be a large one time investment. After which, tile away! In any case, we finished our backsplash this weekend – hooray! – and in reality, the job was spread over four separate days and weeknights: Set > Grout > Seal > Caulk. So, let’s jump in to all the things that happened after we set the tile!
GROUTING TILE: SUPPLIES USED
Unsanded grout mix, Whisper Grey
Flexible grout admixture
Caulk, matched to grout color
GROUTING TILE: TOOLS USED
Rosin paper + painter’s tape
2 med-lg plastic buckets
Drill + grout mixer paddle
WHAT WE DID. Just as before, we took the time to lay out rosin paper on our counters. Dropcloths would work just as well, but be sure to tape or tack your protective layer in place so you’re not fussing with it throughout this time sensitive process.
Next up, it was time to mix the grout! Because we used small 1/16″ spacers with our tile, we needed to use unsanded grout. (Anything 1/8″ or larger will use sanded grout, like the tile in our entry.) You know now that we had a last minute change of heart and rather than going with charcoal grout, we opted for a softer color, landing on Whisper Grey from Tile Shop. Using the paddle mixer attached to our drill, we mixed the admixture with the grout in one of our buckets until it was a thick toothpaste texture. The most important thing here is to add the admixture to the bucket first, and follow that with the grout mix until it reaches the proper consistency. Only mix as much as you can grout in about 20-30 minutes.
I used the float to push the grout into the tiles, working my way across the backsplash at a 45-degree angle. We moved fast, so there aren’t many photos during this time, but we were able to grout the entire backsplash – both sides of the kitchen – in about 30 minutes. As I moved from section to section, Scott followed behind with a bucket full of clean water and a sponge, wiping away the excess. Tip: If your grout drips or oozes out of the cracks too easily, you likely need to add more unsanded grout to your mixture.
Your first few swipes with a sponge will look incredibly messy, but that’s okay! The water bucket will need to be dumped and refreshed every few minutes (which adds to the hectic time crunch of it all), but it’s important to keep your sponge clean while not allowing the grout to sit for too long on the tile. In our case, Scott would wipe one section, move to the next, and then go back to the previous section for one more wipe down.
Once I had finished grouting and Scott had the tiles looking surface clean, we both buffed the tiles using a microfiber cloth. Keeping our hands as flat as possible (so as not to dig into the grout, which at this point is starting to harden), we moved our hands back and forth as if we were waving Hi! The microfibers removed every last bit of grout haze.
After allowing the grout to fully harden for 48 hours, it was time to seal it. At the time of grout purchase, we were torn between Whisper Grey and Dove Grey, with Dove being darker but also a little too cool for our tastes. We were so stuck between the two, wishing that Whisper Grey could be a touch darker, but not wanting to use Dove Grey for the blue undertones.
Seeing our indecision, the manager at Tile Shop recommended that we go with Whisper Grey, and if we find that it’s too light, he suggested that we use an oil based enhanced sealer which will naturally darken the grout! Say what? Below on the left is the typical water based sealer that will keep the grout color true and on the left is the enhanced sealer:
He then went on to say that all we’d need to do is wet the grout with water and note the difference in color. On the left, the grout is untouched, and on the right, the grout was wiped with a wet towel:
We loved both, but in the end, we opted to stick with the lighter color. They were both so pretty, but the true color had already won us over. However, never having heard of the grout and tile enhancer, we still wanted to share this with you!
Finally, we used a color-matched caulk to trim the edges of our tile – where it meets with the cabinets, walls and pocket door. Oddly enough, this was the most stressful part of the job for me! We had made it so far, and the caulk was messy – like, messy messy. I’ve caulked my fair share of baseboards (boy, have I!), but the mix of tight spaces and grout lines put me in a panic. I survived (barely), and just like I would when caulking baseboards, I smoothed my lines with a wet fingertip and used a damp paper towel to wipe away excess.
Despite my overreaction to the caulking, the tile is beautiful! You’ll have to excuse these tighter shots, but we’re so close to completion (not counting the back door wall, arugh!), and I’m looking forward to sharing the much larger picture (literally!) as we bring in all the final adjustments – baseboards, patio door, art and a touch of greenery.
Later this week, we’ll be tying up our partnership with Rejuvenation, and we cannot wait to share those details with you!
Our tile backsplash is in place! We had about 50 square feet to complete, and our goal was to set the tile on Saturday and enjoy a day of nothing-ness on Sunday – and we did it! We still need to finish the job with grout, caulk and sealer (one night this week, if all goes well), but for now, we’re happy to bask in our almost completed backsplash.
With a handful of tutorials readily available on the web, we want to share which ones worked for us, but perhaps most importantly, how things go down when nothing in your home is level. Or when your floors are crooked! And when your walls are a nightmare! Despite patches of new drywall and intense cabinet and counter leveling from the pros, we ultimately ran into a roadblock or two, but in the end, I’ll say that we’re really satisfied with the work we put in and how far we’ve come.
We referenced these guidelines from Houzz and This Old House the most, and we were able to get by with a small shopping list and a lot of tools we had on hand. Although we tiled our entryway flooring last year, I convinced myself the backsplash would be incredibly hard (it really wasn’t) and take forever (it sort of did). Sure, a floor requires leveling, but a backsplash has outlets and switches and peaks and valleys and, well, you know. As novice tilers, the entire job of setting took us a solid 8 hour day, but again I say, we did it!
SETTING TILE: SUPPLIES USED
3″ x 6″ matte white subway tile
Pre-mixed mastic (1 gal/50 sq ft)
SETTING TILE: TOOLS USED
1/4″ v-notch trowel
tape measure and/or small ruler
WHAT WE DID: First and foremost, setting tile is a messy job. We took a good 30 minutes to set up our work space, laying and taping rosin paper to our counters, draping plastic over the hutch and creating a zone with additional plastic for the wet saw. I laid out all of our tools, stacked tile within reach and scattered piles of spacers.
With everything in order, we started by drawing a level plumb line behind our focal point (the sink) on the wet wall. Using our trowel, we spread enough pre-mixed mastic to cover about a square foot of tile to start, and we placed our first tile to the left of the plumb line. We then worked out from that starting point, making our way left, then right, spreading mastic as needed and applying our 1/16″ spacers for consistency.
Over time, we learned that a little mastic goes a long way! Too much would ooze between the tiles, and it would cause them to slip about (even with the spacers). Tip: For extra tight spaces, you can purchase a smaller v-notch trowel. Because we didn’t have one, we found that using a small putty knife to apply the mastic worked just as well! Once the mastic was applied, we dragged the short end of our large trowel to create the grooves that are necessary for suction.
As we placed each tile, we’d give it a little push up and down until settling it into place. When moving on to the next row, a small ruler helped to ensure the simple pattern stayed on track.
We fell into a rhythm where I’d spread the mastic and set the tile, and Scott would follow behind with end cuts and the more intricate measurements around the outlets. For all of his intricate cuts, he used the wet saw exclusively. We also purchased tile nippers and a (score-and-snap) tile cutter, both of which we personally found were unnecessary. Scott found that working with the wet saw gave him the most accurate cuts, and he was the most comfortable sticking with that. Our wet saw is a small tabletop version, but keep in mind that they can be rented, too.
As we completed each row, we were mindful to take a moment and make sure we were staying level, which, on the wet wall, we were! Although the wet wall required the most time, we were in the zone and it was, surprisingly, smooth sailing.
That is, until we moved onto the stove side! Our cabinets and counters, while independently level, were off by a very small amount with each other. Our floor does slope, causing the cabinet on the left to be slightly (and I mean slightly) lower than that on the right. We started by screwing in a dummy board below the surface of the counters taking into account this seemingly minor difference, which would help to give our tiles a place to sit and stack upon each other:
As our tiles continued to grow towards the upper cabinets, that insignificant difference in level magnified more than we would have liked, but you know what? We’re going to go ahead and call that one Old House Charm. No amount of fussing or pulling off tiles and reapplying tiles seemed to better the situation. Simply put, there were too many differences competing with each other – the downhill floor! The imperfect drywall! – but once the tile is grouted, the itty bitty curvature of the pattern will be (almost) non-existent.
Looking back at these photos now, I’m realizing that we may have gotten a bit too caught up in the details (me? No way!). All in all, we’re pretty thrilled with our DIY job! Our favorite part may be where the tile meets our pocket door, which was trimmed with the same molding we’ve been using throughout the home. We brought the tile up to the same height as the nook above the sink, capped it with a bullnose, and we continued it down to the baseboard:
We ended the tile at the corner, which feels clean and uncomplicated (hi, CC!):
And the matte finish? It’s so subtle! So pretty!
Remember when we were planning on using charcoal grout? That idea has been nixed completely, and instead, we’re moving forward with Whisper Grey. (Thank you for your input on that, by the way!) In the end, we felt that the soft color would feel more casual and lend a home-y vibe; I mean, that makes sense, yes? From there, all the edges will get caulked, and we’ll check tile! off the to-do!
See how we grouted, sealed and caulked right here!
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