Tag Archives: trim

Little Things Make a Difference {Kitchen Bits}


So a LOT of projects around here get done slapdash.  There are just so many things to accomplish, that sometimes it’s easier to just do the bulk of the project and then jump to the next thing.  Slowly, we’ve been trying to keep ourselves focused and actually finish stuff – or at least get it a little closer!

While the bulk of the kitchen remodel happened last January/February, we are still doing random little things to make it better.  What’s amazing to me is how little details really do tighten everything up and improve the entire experience.

Last November, we hit several smaller parts of the kitchen that took it from looking half-finished to actually looking like we had gotten somewhere!

One of the  most basic items – knobs.  I lived without them for months and got along just fine.  Part of the problem was that I really had trouble finding something that I genuinely liked. And since knobs are weirdly expensive, I wanted to find something I really liked before I parted with the cash!  While I like our white cabinets a lot – and they definitely brighten up the kitchen – I was hoping to find something with just a touch of color for the knobs.

424887_15After scouring all the home improvement stores (Menard’s, Lowes, Home Depot) and coming up empty, I was one day randomly wandering through Hobby Lobby and realized – they have tons of knobs!  And that’s where I found the ones I love!  They are blue and not too tiny or too big, they’re ceramic, and just plain adorable.  I love them!  I waited until they were 50% off and bought a slew of them, as I wanted them not just in the main part of the kitchen, but also on the pantry doors, the hutch in the dining nook, and the other shelves that were going to be built/remodeled along the north wall.

All in all, I still really like these knobs, now that we’ve used them for almost a year.  However, that little ring is made of very sharp metal, and they easily bend out of shape.  That means that they catch easily on clothes, and I’ve even cut my finger on them!  So I’ve been taking the knobs apart, removing that ring, and then putting them back together.  The knobs aren’t quite as cute that way, but at least they aren’t endangering lives any more.

Before installing the knobs, I also wanted to put a final coat of paint on all the cabinets.  Some of them had only gotten one or two coats, and they really needed three.  Because we started with unfinished cupboards, they had also been a smidge rough.  I really ought to have sanded them before painting them initially, but, you know, water under the bridge.  Instead, I gently 220’d them before applying the final coat of paint – it really made a big difference.

Generally, when people install cabinets, the cabinets all face the same direction.  However, because our kitchen is an island, I decided that in order to fully utilize the “dead” corners, we would use corner cabinets – that face out.  It’s worked fabulously, but one thing I hadn’t thought about (although Tom had, of course, and had already mentally solved the issue) was that this mean that all of the toe-kick space didn’t line up.

2015-11-07-1005You can kind of see from the picture, although there is a random roll of paper towels in the way.  The bottom of the corner cabinets sticks out and isn’t flush with the lower bit of the forward-facing cabinets.  (Incidentally, aren’t those knobs lovely??)

In order to fix this, Tom decided just to eliminated the usual toe-kick space entirely by faceboarding everything flush with the front of the cabinets.

2015-11-08-1805Initially, it seemed a little weird, but after they were painted, the boards blended right in.  I haven’t noticed any difficulty in using the kitchen without that extra space for my toes.



2015-11-07-0857Knobs, fresh paint, some putty/sanding/painting on other trimwork, and tidying up the bottom of the cabinets all made a big difference.  We also put in a shelf that was in a little dead space near the sink (perfect for the toaster and other items that tend to clutter the counter), put some trim around the tile behind the stove, and Tom installed a homemade magazine rack on the outside of the island (pictured here with Waylon damage lol).

I also had another project – refinishing a cabinet that I had inherited from the house I grew up in – but I think that that will wait for the next post…

Until then!



Baby Steps {still painting}


So I may or may not be still working on the shelf-painting project.  ::looks innocent::  I have to admit that it’s taken me time because I’ve been lazy and uninspired, plus they’ve taken three coats.  I’m pretty much done now except for a last coat on the sides that were on the floor during the main part of the project.

And it’s a good thing, because we’re almost ready for the next step!!!


Yep, we now own a vanload of carpet!!!

So at the end of the day, after way more thought that the situation deserved, we decided to go with carpeting for the lower room for a variety of reasons.  The main one is that the floor is really uneven, and it was going to take a lot of effort to make it level enough to handle the laminate.  The other big reason is that we’re planning to do some kind of laminate in the rest of the house, and since they should probably match, we would have needed to buy the entire house-worth’s at one go.  We don’t really have the funds for that, plus the idea of deciding on the flooring for the ENTIRE HOUSE right now was giving me a panic attack.

The carpeting itself is nothing to write home about.  It’s medium grade, fluffy, and a sort of brownish-heather.  We’ve decided to do self-installation, though, and with the money we saved on that, we upgraded to a fluffier, happier carpet pad.  With a long weekend ahead, hopefully we can get this stuff installed!!!

Besides procrastinating on shelf-painting and hanging out at the carpet store, we’ve also been working on trim for the lower room.  Trim, like everything else in this world, is ridiculously overpriced.  Even the cheaper stuff runs around 30 cents per linear foot.  Because we have this ridiculous paneling everywhere, we need a LOT of trim to cover up the gaps, and that 30 cents was adding up fast.  So Tom turned to his old standby:  2×4’s.

Let’s be real, a 2×4 is not the first thing that leaps to my mind when I’m thinking about making trim, but they’re honestly the cheapest lumber going.  Inspired by his rails, which turned out great, Tom decided to rip the 2×4’s even thinner.  I don’t really know how many times he’s ripping them, but we’ve ended up with trim about 1/4 inch thick so.

Dad always taught me that trim was to cover up your mistakes.

Dad always taught me that trim was to cover up your mistakes.

You can’t tell super well from the picture, but he’s been taking each piece and just whacking off a long side at a 45* angle (classy).  It’s not the fanciest stuff out there, but it comes out to less than a nickle per linear foot, so that’s something.

The other thing you can sort of tell from the picture above – all these pieces have to be sanded.  On the left, you can see the rough grooves from the saw blade.  On the right, I’ve sanded it down.  We have the happiest little sander in the world.  It’s one of the few power (” “) tools I’m comfortable using.  I’ve been doing the flat sides with 80 grit, then polishing them off with 120.  Then I use the multitool (yep, the same one we used to get the old tile up from the floor – that thing is still the best $20 we’ve spent so far) with sandpaper on it and run down the rough parts on the 45* edge.  Slap on some white paint, and they’re ready to go.

Love this little guy!

Love this little guy!  Also, the disembodied hand on the left belongs to Tom, and actually is still attached, so don’t be freaked out.

As you can see in the picture, we’re also working on our dowel-rod curtain rods.  If we ever get them finished and hung, I’ll devote a post to their success (or lack thereof).

Still have to finish painting the ceiling!

Still have to finish painting the ceiling!

There’s some of the installed trim along the ceiling, and actually on the ceiling (for those pieces, he 45’d both sides) and in the corner (he worked some other kind of  magic for those to make them snug).  It’s not perfect, and it’s not fancy, but it’s cheap and rugged and should blend right in to the style of our house, where “practical” is the a compliment of the highest order.  😉