The calm AFTER the storm....

We have all heard the expression "the calm before the storm." For DIYers, we live for the calm AFTER the storm.

Before the storm we are searching non-stop for "inspiration," driving all over town or burning up our computers looking for materials... measuring, planning, pondering, stressing. 

Then the day comes...the dreaded "demo day!"

Unless you have the luxury of starting from scratch there is always a little bit of "demo."

As you probably know I have spent the better part of three years "sitting on my hands," doing everything in my power to NOT paint my kitchen cabinets. I just know that someday in the future the "white cabinet craze" will come to an end and I will be stuck with painted cabinets. that quest, I have "reset" my entire kitchen, built open shelving, installed glass doors...and now? Well, after much measuring, planning, pondering and stressing, I have decided to take two more steps to a "lighter, brighter" kitchen WITHOUT painting the cabinets. 

Hence, the "storm." 

This is my kitchen shortly after the "reset".... "at peace." 

I decided to install a lighter backsplash. It is time. The tile has been there for 17 years. Truthfully, itwas still the right style, just not the right color....everything was so "orange." 

I went online and searched for some inspiration...I was pretty sure I wanted travertine but I wasn't sure what style...subway, tumbled, split-face...just so many options. One of the problems I ran into is that "painted cabinet craze." It seems so many kitchens that feature travertine backsplashes also have painted cabinets...mine are stained. 

But I found a few "inspirations" that allowed me to see what the different types of tile would look like...again, I put the pictures in my "inspiration file" and didn't bother to save a "link." So my sincerest apologies if this is your kitchen or picture and I do not give you proper credit...just know that imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery! 

These are just of a few of the MANY photos I put in my "inspiration" file.

So off to the tile stores I went. Honestly, I have been looking for new tile since I installed new granite over four years no avail. I finally found one I  loved! I brought home a sample...looked good. Played with it in different lights...all good. So I ordered it!

Here is one small problem with even the simplest change around here. If I am going to install a new backsplash, now would be the time to install the larger window I've kinda been wanting. Bigger window, more light... "lighter and brighter." Right?

But do I want one that raises up like the existing window...or maybe one that slides to the side and has a screen that slides so I can hand stuff out to Brian while he grills. off to the window store. Remember, I DO NOT like to "shopping" for new windows and tile for a kitchen I know I will have to live with for MANY years is not really what I call "fun." 

Finally settled on a larger sliding window and a travertine tile and after everything was ordered I started the dreaded "demo." 

First, I removed the 9" cabinet to the left of the window. Honestly, the only thing in that cabinet were long expired cold medications and eye glasses my 28 year old son wore when he was 14! The cabinet didn't go to waste...I removed the door, painted it to match the laundry room cabinets and installed it between the two cabinets above the washer and dryer!

I can still tile, so I started removing the old tile...which means removing the sheetrock because, well, you ARE going to tear up your sheetrock when you remove ceramic tile. No way around it.

Now this is when I admit that I am no longer super woman. When I changed out this window the last time (no, this is not the first time I have changed out this window!) I did all the work myself, except the siding (I don't do siding). I removed the old window, framed in the opening for the new window and installed it. 

But that was a few years ago and this time I decided the cost to reframe and install the window was equivalent to what I would spend at the chiropractor. So I hired it done!

After tearing up one wall of tile and sheetrock, I decided to do a little research about tiling over tile.

Now I am one who NEVER paints over paper, or papers over paper, or tiles over tile. I'm a firm believer in removing the old before installing the new. But after a lot of research and talking with a few "experts" I determined that there is no reason I could not tile over the existing was sturdy, the tiles were all firmly attached to the wall and I didn't have any mold or mildew issues. So rather than remove ALL the tile around the entire kitchen and then have to replace ALL the sheetrock, I broke my cardinal rule and tiled over the existing tile on two walls.

After a day of window installation and several days of tiling, grouting, sheetrock repair, trimming, painting and cleaning, this is what I ended up with!

I also took the opportunity to add two more glass front doors. I had added several when I did the original "reset" a year ago, and I loved them. So I ordered two maple doors for the cabinets on both sides of the refrigerator, stained them to match the existing cabinets and added reeded!

My next big goal for this kitchen are new appliances...but as I have said before I can't bring myself to buy new when the old still works just someday! Honestly, it is a good thing I didn't do it a few years ago when I got a bug for stainless...because now I love the "black stainless."'s a good thing I didn't follow the fad then!

For now I am enjoying the "lighter and brighter" of the new backsplash and larger window!