Thursday, July 26, 2012

counters and faucets and lights, oh my!

Yesterday, I started my kitchen remodel "series" of posts with an explanation of the transformation of my kitchen cupboards from boring brown to bright white.  Today's post is about the rest of the changes I made last summer as a result of that first choice- to paint my cupboards.

The bright white cupboards only drew more attention to the eyesore that were my counters and backsplash. Both were this hideous, yellowish-beigeish-outdated patterned laminate.

So after researching the crazy cost of my first choice (granite), I decided I would go with laminate for the counters again.....but my own color choice, and something that had a marbled or granite "look" to it. And I knew that I wanted tile for my backsplash, so that was coming down, too.

After ordering my counters, and getting advice from the Home Depot guy who came out to measure for them, I decided that (with my mom's help) I was going to forgo the extra cost of them ripping out and hauling away the old counters and do it myself.

For anyone who wants to do this themselves, I'd like to say.....if I can do it, you can.
But just be prepared for some bruises, scratches, cuts, bumps on your head, and other minor injuries.  Unless you're NOT like me (completely accident-prone)....then, you should be fine. 

So here's my quick guide to removing counters and laminate backsplash.

Step one....remove the backsplash (if this applies to you....if it doesn't-- count yourself lucky).  This took a lot of trial and error between my mom and I, but we got it all down before the counter guy even showed up to take measurements.  He even told me "if you can do that, you can get the counters out".  Really, all we used was....a hammer, flathead screwdriver, crowbar, and that flat metal spatula thingy you use to spread plaster.  I know....there's probably a technical term for it....but just let me call it the flat metal spatula thingy.  It sounds cuter that way. 

So we just kept loosening it up whenever we could, pulling and ripping it out in pieces, and cheering for ourselves when it was finally done.  Drinks may have been involved in the celebration, too.  ;)

Step two....remove the sink/faucet.  The HD guy explained the steps to me for my own sink, so I'm sure it wouldn't be the same for everyone. really wasn't that hard, and I'm guessing a little Internet/YouTube research could help you figure that out.  Just don't forget to turn OFF the water supply first.  That's kind of important. 

I decided to keep my sink because it was in great condition, so I just left that out in the garage.  And I didn't do this until the day before they were coming to install the counters so I wasn't without a sink for too long.

Step three....remove the counters! 
This....was where the bulk of my injuries well as some choice words.  Let's put it this may want to make sure that young children are not around when you're doing this.  Unless you're extremely talented in self-control and/or don't swear when you're frustrated.  This was not me. 
Maybe it was because my counters were attached in the wrong way the first time, maybe it's because I've never done anything like this before, or maybe it was because it was the day before they were coming and I was trying hard to get it done quickly.  For whatever wasn't easy.'s definitely doable.  Like I said....if I can do it, you can!

The main advice I can give you is that it might help to have a stronger person helping with this.  Not to put down myself or my mom, but we aren't going to be winning any arm-wrestling matches either.  We did it, but it probably would be easier with someone that has well-defined biceps.  Which I don't.

And....because I didn't want to pay for them to haul away my old counters, we got it all into pieces that would fit into my trash and threw it all away with my weekly pickup.  My mom rocks the electric circular saw thingy like a pro.  And I was hammering in all of the exposed nails and breaking those laminate pieces down like nobody's business. 

After that, I let the real pros do the rest. 

Installation of my new black laminate counter tops was way quicker than I thought it would be....and it was just ONE guy doing it all!

I love the way the front edges are shirts don't get caught on them anymore!

Since I was going to need to call a plumber to hook up my sink again (I didn't want to mess with that and risk having leaks), I decided that I'd replace the cheap, ugly, tiny faucet that came with the house.  Why call a plumber twice for something that can get done in one trip, right?



Working on improving the look of the sink made be notice more how it clashed with the light over it.   Also....the main light in my kitchen was always too dim for me, and the color didn't match with the rest of my stainless-steel look I was going for.....and since I was getting some money back from Home Depot (their estimate for the counters was more than the actual cost), I decided to use that money to buy two new lights.

And of course.....Mimzy (my mom) told me that she knew how to install new light fixtures, and so we did!   Not without some difficulties of course, but we finally figured it all out, and I love the difference in style and the amount of light I can now get in there! 



And one more thing to mention about the far as I can tell from all of the searching and shopping I did, there are no "cute" and "stylish" lights out there made for overhead kitchen lighting.  Well, that are in my price range at least.  Everything was either super cute and only took low-wattage bulbs, OR kind of boring (like the one I got) but allowed for a lot of light-- mine takes TWO 100-watt light bulbs.  So I went with boring and practical (but still matching) for the overhead, but cuter and more stylish for the above the sink light.  Compromise!

So after all of summer was coming to a close and I didn't have time to get the tile backsplash taken care of-- until this summer.  So yes, that means I had a torn out backsplash for almost an entire year.  And no, it wasn't my first choice, but I knew in order to complete my vision, I would have to be patient. 

And patient I you will need to be...for the third installment of this series! 


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