GROUTED LVT KITCHEN FLOORING: ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 4

Hey guys! I’m back the week 4 of the One Room Challenge hosted by Calling It Home! It’s hard to believe there are only 2 weeks left! If you need to catch up, you can check out my posts from the first three weeks here, here, and here.

one room challenge

In last week’s post, you may have noticed a sneak peek of the new kitchen flooring… 

GROUTED LVT KITCHEN FLOORING

I’m so excited to share the details on the new flooring we installed. It has made SUCH a big difference in turningthis small kitchen into a much lighter, brighter, and even bigger! 

Here’s a reminder of what the flooring looked like when we started:

GROUTED LVT KITCHEN FLOORING

These were boards of approximately 1/2″ thick linoleum flooring stamped with a tile pattern. Not so pretty. Even though I always planned on switching out the flooring, it became an absolute necessity when we opened the space to the new dining room and created the pantry. As we were ripping out the flooring, we found several, let’s say interesting, layers of old flooring. I always find these types of demo projects so funny, being reminded of the different decades and the interior styles that came with them. This layer had to have been my favorite! I bet someone was pretty excited about their new flooring when they laid this back in the day!

GROUTED LVT KITCHEN FLOORING

Once all layers of flooring were completely removed and the subflooring was completely exposed, we were able to figure out how best to move forward in terms of the subflooring. Luckily, we were left with subflooring that was in good shape and were able to lay the new flooring without replacing the subfloor. It’s really important that before you start laying any new flooring, regardless of what type, that you’re subflooring is in good shape. If not, it’s a good idea to rip it out and start fresh. 

Speaking of types of flooring, I put a good bit of thought into what I wanted to use not just simply for aesthetic reasons, but for functional and comfort reasons as well. For instance, our kitchen is located directly above the unheated garage below. For this reason, I knew that laying a material like ceramic would lead to extremely cold floors during the cold winter months. Putting in an underfloor heating system wasn’t something that we were prepared to do, so I immediately crossed that material off the list. I also considered hardwood flooring for the kitchen and really liked the element of warmth the wood tone would bring to the space (I love hardwood in a kitchen!) but I was concerned with how well I’d be able to match the new flooring to the original wood flooring in the connecting spaces. Also, based on the height of the existing subfloor and the height the hardwood planks would add, this would call for a transition strip between the kitchen and dining room as well as between the kitchen and study. I wasn’t crazy about the idea going through the trouble of matching the flooring to then still have a height difference that interrupted the flow of the flooring. 

I’ve heard great things about some new LVT (luxury vinyl tile) flooring producst on the market and started to think this might be the perfect option. Not only would the the material not get nearly as cold as a stone or tile option in the winter, but the thinner profile product might actually mean we could go without a transition strip at all if we planned it out right. So, I ordered a few different samples online and finally ended up choosing this one:

GROUTED LVT KITCHEN FLOORING

The laying of the LVT was fairly straight forward and pretty simple. As suggested by the flooring manufacturer, I used this adhesive product. As outlined on the adhesive product (follow the instructions on whichever adhesive you use!) it’s really important that your subflooring is smooth and completely clean with no grease or debris, and since ours was, I applied the adhesive to the subflooring using a short tooth trowel. Simply spread the adhesive as you would mortar for tile while being sure to keep it uniform throughout (the short tool trowel does a lot of that work for you!)

GROUTED LVT KITCHEN FLOORING

The most important part of the process was allowing the glue time to properly cure. Exact curing times from product to product may vary, but this particular adhesive calls for approximately 45-90 minutes of drying time, starting from when the adhesive is first applied. This really isn’t a part of the process that you can rush. The curing time lets the adhesive really adhere to the subfloor and create a tacky surface for the tile to bond to. If you rush through the process, it’s a whole lot harder for the tile to properly stick without wiggling around and may cause that sticking sound down the line when you walk on it. So, as much as you may want to get the flooring down, it’s extremely important that you let it cure.

With this adhesive, you know it’s ready to go when it turns from white to yellow color. Since the footprint of our kitchen is pretty small, we were able to apply adhesive to the entire floor and know we would be able to get the tile down before the adhesive was dry. 

Once the tile was laid, we waited about 48 hours (it’s important that you wait at least 24 hours!) until we applied this sanded grout from Lowe’s in Delorean Gray:

GROUTED LVT KITCHEN FLOORING

In choosing the LVT flooring, it was important for me to use a product that could be grouted in order to give it the look of a stone or ceramic flooring. While you could certainly lay the tile seamlessly and without grout, adding the grout lines gives it a higher end look, making it almost impossible to visually see that it’s a vinyl product at all. I chose the medium gray tone grout so that you could see some contrast in the grout lines and also hide any messes that are inevitable in a kitchen, making clean-up less daunting. 

The grout is applied just as it would be to any other grouted surface. 

GROUTED LVT KITCHEN FLOORING

I’m so pleased with how the flooring turned out! It has made a world of difference in the space. The finish makes the kitchen look so much brighter, the orientation of the 12×24 tile makes it feel so much larger, and the space feels like an entirely different kitchen. I’m so happy with the quality and the appearance of this Luxury Vinyl Tile product and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an alternative flooring option. 

Due to the magnitude of so many natural disasters that have occurred over the last few months, many of the featured designers have experienced setbacks in their spaces due to shipping delays. Because of this, Linda over at Calling it Home has granted all participants a one week extension. While I was pressing ahead in order to get the kitchen finished in time for the big reveal 2 weeks from now, I’m excited to have an extra week to get everything in order. As I mentioned in my post last week, I was considering another big change in terms of the painted kitchen cabinets, so this extra time will give me the opportunity to really pull it all together. I’ll have more on that and a few other exciting updates for you next week!

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow along with the other Featured Designers and Guest Participants!

PANTRY SHELVES & PAINTING CABINETS: ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 3

Hey guys! I’m back with updates on the One Room Challenge for week 3! I can’t believe we’re already halfway there! You can see the intro to the project from week 1, here, and last week, I left you with a look at how we planned to move forward with the kitchen once we opened up the space! 

one room challenge

Last week was full of major plans and some of the nitty gritty details and this week, we’re finally starting to see things come together. Once the pantry space was built, we were able to plan out the shelving in a way that best fit our food storage needs. We decided to build simple wall mounted shelves to make the most of the space. 

one room challenge

one room challenge

We built the shelves around the bump out from where the new HVAC unit was moved so that we would have a section of deep storage for larger items and a section of shallow storage for small items like cans, cereal boxes, etc. We also added a wall outlet for an easy access spot to charge the hand vacuum or for any other electrical needs out of sight. 

We attached simple supports based on where each shelf would be located. Then, we cut out each individual shelf board to fit. 

one room challenge

Like a puzzle, each shelf slid right into position. 

one room challenge

one room challenge

I have plans to eventually paint the shelves and make the pantry space a bit more visually appealing inside, but for now, we’ve left the wood raw. 

The next decision was door style for the pantry. I considered hinging bi-fold doors on their outside edges so that they opened from the center but based on the dimensions of the new pantry, we would either need to have custom doors made or build our own to fit both the width and the height of the space. This may be something we do in the future, but I eventually decided to hang fabric from a tension rod to create the necessary separation.

As soon as the curtains went up, I loved the softness that the fabric added. As you know, textiles aren’t necessarily something you think of in a kitchen. With all of the hard finishes (woods, tiles, stones, etc.) the softness of the curtain fabric felt so necessary in this small space and it really seemed to maximize the way I could use the pantry.

one room challenge

one room challenge

It’s easy to just pull the curtains to the side and have full access to every inch of space in the pantry. 

one room challenge

The next element I decided to tackle (which you can sneak a peak at above) was painting the cabinets. Full disclosure, I ran into a bit of an issue…

The kitchen cabinets that we inherited in this house were fine. The quality was fine, I didn’t mind the door style, and I was happy with the fact that they went all the way to the ceiling, helping the space to feel taller, however, the wood finish was not working. The orange tone wood was making this already small space feel heavy, dark, and even smaller, so I knew I needed lighten them up. I decided to paint all of the cabinets with Sherwin Williams’ Pure White, a soft, creamy white that I love and that I used on all of the trim throughout the rest of the house.

Here you can see the cabinetry before…

one room challenge

And now after, with a fresh coat of white…

one room challenge

It definitely felt lighter and brighter and on the right track but something felt off. The space was starting to feel too stark and too cold and I instantly knew something needed to change. While I love an all white kitchen, I was starting to think this one was in need of something different. After some brainstorming, I’ve decided that two-toned cabinetry just might be the way to go in order to add that needed warmth to this space. Paint really is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make a change, so while it is a bit more effort, I think it’s necessary. Now, just to decide on a color!

If you’re extra observant, you may have noticed another change in the space that I haven’t touched on just yet, and that’s going to have to wait until next week! But, since you’ll have to wait on those details, I’ll leave you with a pretty satisfying “Before & After”… Am I right?!

 

Don’t forget to follow along with the other Participants and Guest Participants of the one room challenge! So many inspiring projects are happening!

See you next week for more progress over here!

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MAKING MOVES IN THE KITCHEN – THE ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: WEEK 2

Ok guys, I’m back again for week 2 of The One Room Challenge as a Guest Participant while I give our tiny kitchen a much needed face lift over the span of 6 weeks. Last week, I shared my plans for the space along with the official “before” photos in this post

one room challenge

This week is a big one, not in terms of pretty pictures (none of those this week, folks!) but in terms of breaking down walls, moving HVAC, and solidifying a real plan as to how this kitchen will function. We’re in that period of nitty gritty, big messes, and making it worse before it gets better, if you will. But, boy am I excited to show you what has changed and where we’re headed!

As I mentioned in week 1, our plan to break through the wall from the kitchen into the new dining room came to a screeching halt when we discovered some unexpected ductwork directly in the center of what would be our new doorway. We were initially pretty disappointed, as it really threw a wrench in our plans, but after some brainstorming, we knew that moving it was the only option. In order to make the space really flow and function as I had hoped, we had to make the move. 

one room challenge

Once we fully opened the space, we mapped out a plan for where this essential HVAC system would need to move, and we decided that the best location would be on the exterior wall, perpendicular to its current location and the current plumbing wall.

one room challenge

It immediately felt better, and I was starting to see my vision come to life, even able to look past the layers upon layers of dust and debris (this is real life rennovation!)

one room challenge

This was the view I was hoping to see all along! The tiny kitchen immediately felt larger, the flow and function of the space made so much more sense, and it felt like it was how it should have always been. 

Now that the space was open, it was time to make some final decisions on how we would move forward with the space. All along, I had two options in mind. Option #1 would be adding a small powder bath in the space between the the dining room and the now exposed kitchen, while still leaving the pass through open. The fact that the existing plumbing wall was now completely exposed and tying into that would be the simplest thing to do made a lot of sense to me and a half bath on the first floor of this old home would surely increase the property value. Option #2 was adding a large pantry closet to this tiny kitchen in need of storage! The kitchen didn’t have any existing food storage, meaning prime cabinet real estate was being eaten up (pun intended!) by food storage. My resale brain told me to add the half bath while the other side of me, the one who cooks meals in this kitchen on a daily basis, told me a pantry would solve a whole lot of problems and really improve my daily life. 

In the end, we decided that the half bath would be extremely small and still cut into the open space that we worked so hard to create and that the pantry would really improve the day to day function of the kitchen. So pantry it was! 

one room challenge

How do you like that super professional interior designer’s sketch of our future pantry? Ha! Sometimes putting pen to paper really is the best way to sort out the details!

Based on the new location of the HVAC system and the dimensions of the space, we came up with a plan and framing began!

one room challenge

We added new supports and began framing in the pantry, and as drywall starting going up, each day, my view got better and better. I can deal with drywall dust if it means progress!

one room challenge

Below, you can see the new location of the HVAC system and how we framed the pantry around that. 

one room challenge

one room challenge

While it may not seem like much, by making these moves in the kitchen and planning for some much needed new function, the house feels like a completely different space. The kitchen feels twice the size, I can already tell how much easier it will be to use the kitchen, and I can finally see the light at the end of this very dusty tunnel.

one room challenge

Whew! What a week! Don’t forget to follow along with the other participants and guest participants in The One Room Challenge! I’ll be back next week with week 3’s progress!

 

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A KITCHEN FACE LIFT: ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 1

When we moved into this house just over 3 years ago, we inherited a very cramped and very orange kitchen, that didn’t function nearly as well as I knew that it could. A chef’s dream it was not, and as someone who does enjoy cooking on a regular basis, I was anxious to come up with a plan for the space that not only looked a whole lot better, but functioned a whole lot better. A full kitchen renovation was not in the cards, but I could see past a lot of the issues, and knew that with just a bit of work and some cosmetic changes, we’d be well on our way to a kitchen that hit that design sweet spot by working both visually and functionally.

one room challenge

This year, I’ve decided to take on the One Room Challenge as a guest participant in order to give this kitchen a bit of a face lift. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the One Room Challenge is a widely anticipated biannual event held every April and October. Each round, design bloggers take the challenge and transform a space over a period of six weeks. Every Thursday for the next several weeks, I’ll share kitchen updates with you in the hopes of ending up with a finished space!

To catch you up on the current state of our kitchen, here’s a quick recap. If you’ve been here for a while, you may remember this post about taking control of our own floorplan. The moment we bought the house, we new right away that we would make a couple of major changes to really improve the traffic flow of the house. This included turning the formal living space into our new dining room, the old dining room into our home office, and opening up the kitchen to the new dining room. The old floorplan looked like this:

one room challenge

And the new floorplan would look a little something like this:

one room challenge

By opening up a couple of walls and altering the function of the different spaces for how we would use is versus how the old owners used it, our house would instantly feel twice the size. You can see, the footprint of the old kitchen was extremely awkward, because of the location of a closet on the other side and the entrance to basement below, and it made an already very small space feel even more cramped. We knew right away that opening up that wall to the other side was an absolute must in terms of making the kitchen feel larger and adding a much easier flow to the overall traffic pattern of the house. So that’s what we did! The very first thing we did when we walked in the house for the first time after closing but start to tear down that wall between the kitchen and new dining room. 

one room challenge

You can see just how tight that corner of the kitchen really was. 

one room challenge

one room challenge

one room challenge

The more wall that came down, the more excited we became about the potential of the space. Just opening up that small area was immediately making the space feel so much less claustrophobic. Then, just when we thought we were starting to see the finish line of semi open concept dreams…we found a not so happy surprise. Unexpected ductwork directly in the center of what would be our new opening.

one room challenge

Womp, womp. Unfortunately, this discovery threw a pretty big wrench in the gears, and we were left figuring out how we would re-route the ductwork to make the best use of the space. At that point, we covered the exposed subflooring and lived like this for an embarrassingly long amount of time. 

Now that you’re all caught up with the beginnings of the space, and since Week 1 of the One Room Challenge is all about the “Before’s” let’s take a look at the space from this point. 

one room challenge

one room challenge

one room challenge

one room challenge

It’s certainly not the world’s ugliest kitchen (we could have gotten something much worse for the age of the house!) but it was definitely not my cup of tea. I knew with some minor adjustments and a few cosmetic changes, this little kitchen could really shine.

Here’s a look at a few kitchen designs that inspire me:

One Room challenge

one room challenge

one room challenge

So, that’s the plan! Over the next 5 weeks, I’ll be sharing our kitchen face lift with you via the One Room Challenge! Be sure to follow along some of the other Contestants and Guest Participants over at Calling it Home!

See you next week!