Sunday, June 30, 2013

We have a winner. For the moment.

Well, the vast array of choices has been kind of daunting, but I think I found a way to make the two things I really liked go together.

This is the backsplash tile I like. It's $35 a sheet, so I will be cutting each sheet into three strips, which makes it a better deal:

It was/is really important to me (for some reason) to not get locked into one color for the walls, and I wanted tile that gave me that flexibility. I'm a blue-green nut, so this tile gives me the choice of those two, plus olive green, or khaki for the walls. Or white, but that's not really an option :-) This picture is oriented so I'd cut the tile into strips vertically, and then could orient them one of two ways, so I've got 6 different strips. 

OK, then I loved this countertop, Waterford by Cambria. The blue flecks are bluer than the blues in the tile, though. I blew it up XL so maybe the flecks will show. These pictures never do justice to the real thing. 

So my solution to bring these together is to get sheets of this:

I ordered samples of about six different shades that are close to this, and will pick the one that goes with the blue flecks in the countertop. It should go with other glass tile (hopefully). I'll then use this as a 1"border (i.e. cut a sheet into 12" strips) applied to the top and bottom of the 4" x 12" piece of the multicolored glass tile. The rest will be (much cheaper) white ceramic subway tile.

That's the plan, anyway. If I wait too long to order, I'll start considering other options, so once I've got the light blue tile picked out, I should just commit and order the glass tile and counters. 

Another thing that was important for me was to make the shapes of the tile easy to work with, because I haven't done a lot of tile setting and didn't want to have to rent a saw to get it done. I think I'll be able to cut any pieces by hand. Carefully. 

In other news, yesterday was my birthday, and I had kind of a trying morning continuing to remove paint from my front porch so that I may repaint it, BUT, had a fabulous rest-of-day. Went out to dinner with friend D, who is also remodeling, and we talked about cabinets, flooring etc. Then I went to an outdoor production of A Midsummer's Night Dream with some other friends and that was really fun. I feel blessed and grateful. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another tile and countertop post

I thought I was close to deciding on countertops and backsplash tile. I was going to be content with laminate, as the price was right and it does come in so many colors.

Then my dad, out of the blue, sent me some money to go towards the kitchen. Enough so that I can get stone (or something like it) countertops. It was really generous, and I'm pretty sure (for the moment) that I will get Cambria countertops. It's a matter of deciding what pattern.

Did I mention the cabinets are a light-medium maple? Pretty neutral.

So here's the contenders for counter tops:

Ferndale. Green and tan with a lot of texture. Probably would have to go with green backsplash tile?

Halstead. Warm tones, lots of texture, pretty neutral. The description says there's a touch of icy blue, with tans, browns and creams.

Sheffield. Black, olive, tan and bluish gray. 

Tenby Cream. I think the pieces will look more pronounced (which I like), but this is as neutral as they come. Could match with almost anything and still have interesting stone countertops.

Waterford. If you enlarge this, some of the greys are sort of tan, and there are delightful blue specks that I like. 

OK, now the current tile contenders: Most of these are expensive enough that I'll have to cut them into three strips and use them with ceramic tile borders and white subway tile. 

Blue opal. All opaque glass, but lots of colors that go together.

Chambray waves. I've posted this one before (or one like it). The blue is slaty, and kind of simple, where the interest comes from the shapes of the tile. Still a contender.

Trapezoids! Blues and greys. 

A green one that could go with Ferndale. Meh. I feel good that I found that matches, but it doesn't really do anything for me. 

Interesting crackle glass in muted tones. 

This one and the one below it are the same glass, just cut into different shapes. Lots of colors to work with, and muted enough to be interesting without being overwhelming. Would have to have strips of this, or half sheets.

Same circle idea with dusky blues. This is a 12 x 12 sheet, so the tiles are about 1/2" 5/8" ish. 

I took the plunge and ordered one square foot samples of the counters. It was expensive, but the store only had the small samples. I'll order some of these tile samples today and then I think I'll be ready to decide. Or, I'll be tired of the process and settle on the best one. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A few pics for the process

I'm about knee-deep in tile and countertop sampledom. I ordred a bunch of stuff and am anxiously awaiting the samples to arrive. If I knew at the beginning of the process what I know now, I would order lots of samples at the outset to make choices easier. But maybe I know better what I want and got a better selection because of that. Maybe.

First, the final drawing, except there will be no wine rack next to the dishwasher. That space will hold cookie sheets. I got my priorities straight there.

Oh, this is the kitchen before shot. Those cabinets are original (100 years old) and you can see the extent of my counter space.

If you're considering a remodel, it's pretty cheap to get samples of laminate and glass tile. I borrowed the samples of granite and quartz countertops, and they are really pretty. But after looking at what's offereed in terms of laminate, I'm going to save my pennies and do that instead. They can make the edges practically seamless, and the printing technology is pretty darn good, so it looks like stone, near as I can tell. 

Here are some samples of the laminate:

This one and the two below it are from Wilsonart. They let you order seemingly as many (I ordered 10) 8 x 10 samples as you'd like. I'm trying to go for the kind-of-interesting-yet-will-match -the-cool-glass-tile look. You can't really tell diddly from these, and that's why samples will be really helpful.

I do like the look of recycled pieces/terrazzo, too. The one below has that look. Pretty darn neutral. I want this perfect balance between neutral and something with some pop to it.

I ordered samples from Formica, too. I like the blue-green-ness of the one below. They can do a fancy or rolled edge as well. Formica lets you get up to 5 samples for free.

 And this one is called Grass. Pretty. Benign. But I realize that benign is OK, I just need for it to match the glass tile, right? Yes, I've utilized some of the design people, but have come to the conclusion that I need to see more choices than they reasonably have time for, and I like having the samples in my house, so ordering them on my own was the way to go.

OK, on to tile. Man-o-man there is just so much cool tile out there. One piece of advice from my contractor (who I really like) is to get what I like and not get the tile and countertop for the next people who will live here. I've got no plans to move any time soon, so my plan is to spend a bit extra for good, neutral cabinets, and then go my own way with countertops and glass tile backsplash. 

This one is pretty bright, but I like the iridescent tiles.

I have to say that this one is still my favorite. If I cut vertically, I can get three 12" strips that I can use with white subway tile or other cheaper tile. This is $35 a sheet, so I'd need to use pieces of it.

This one is cheap, and has lots of colors, which I like. Not crazy about orange or pink, but I keep seeing this in my samples and thinking, "not bad...".

This one is busy and fun. Smaller tiles, and I could cut it in strips. Goes with all the blue-green stuff I like, too.

Then this one is an example of a cool neutral that could go with a lot and if I wanted a dark countertop, it would go. 

Yes, lots of choices. I got 5 samples of tile for $5 (free shipping) from The Glass Tile Store, and paid $3 per sample (with free shipping) from Glass Tile Oasis

I'm off to continue to strip the paint off my front porch, which is becoming quite the project. Hope your weekend is productive and fun!

Monday, June 17, 2013

30 years

My 30 year high school reunion was this past weekend. I couldn't attend because I was traveling for work, and it would have required a trip to Ohio. I sure was tempted, though, and wish I could have made it. I went to a Catholic girls' school, and our class had about 150 people. From the pictures, about 30 people made it to the official event, and then out for the purely social outing to a local eatery the following night.

I think Facebook has a little to do with it. It's been a fun (and easy) way to keep up with people. I am (despite my kvetching about not having found my prince charming) in a good spot in life where I feel like I've got a good social circle and am blessed with a healthy kid, a good job and even my goofy dog. It is no doubt easier to show up for a reunion when you feel like you've turned out alright.

We also lost several classmates in the last year, and I imagine that motivated a few people to attend. A couple of accidental deaths in the mix: house fire, a car accident. It's the stuff that makes you count your blessings.

I'm lucky to be near a couple of classmates who live in Denver and married brothers. We had our own little mini-reunion a week or so ago.

We reminisced a bit, but mostly talked about our kids and families. It's a cool and valued thing to have known people for so long. 

You may have noticed that I cut my hair. *sigh* I'm not thrilled. It looks fine, but it's fussier than I wanted it to be. I suppose when you want it to fight gravity and have it sweep to the side instead of fall into your face some fiddling is required. I'm not exactly counting the days until it's long enough to put into a ponytail, but I won't be maintaining the cut. Did I get exactly what I asked for and what the picture showed? Yes, absolutely. But I just don't like it as much as I thought I would. Boo-hoo. Time will solve this one. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Just a little out of my comfort zone

So I'm traveling for work, attending a conference. I wanted to note that it's worth the risk. It's worth approaching people and trying to strike up conversations. It works to say, "So, what do you work on?" People like to answer this question.

I wasn't going to go out to the pub tonight with other attendees and I'm so glad I did. Nothing particularly exciting happened, but I had fun. Around me at the table was a woman from Colombia, one from Costa Rica, two guys from China and a woman from Kenya. We talked about mundane stuff like small town America, but also talked about their experiences here.

Did you know that in Costa Rica, they usually have about a 12-12 light-dark cycle because of the proximity to the equator? It always gets dark around 6 ish. Freaky. I'm in the western part of the Eastern time zone, so it was just getting dark around 9:45. She was amazed.

It's good to meet folks from other places, it makes the world a little smaller, in a good way.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Has it been that long?

Greetings! Everything is fine here, just busy. Really busy. The kind of busy that makes a person assess perhaps the things they can let go, and I haven't found anything I want to give up. I think too that it has something to do with the fact that I've traveled several days each month for the last few months. I am traveling for work at the moment.

It takes a few days to get ready, and a few days to catch up after each trip, so I'm guessing that's why I feel like nothing is getting done yet I am so busy.

I'm also moving ahead with the kitchen remodel, although it hasn't gotten very far. The cabinet person (cabinets are the first step) came to the house to remeasure the kitchen for the cabinets (just to be sure) and found the space is 4" narrower than he was led to believe. Whoops, so we're on our third set of drawings and I think I've got a design that will work and that I like. The last one had two blind corners with little cabinet doors, and we reconfigured one so there will be a lazy susan in one corner.

I've been looking at a lot of glass tile samples for my backsplash. Here are a couple of fun ones. The top one is too expensive, but I think it's lovely.

And counter top samples. This is my narrowed down list from one place, and I have to visit another place that has counters, floors and tile for backsplashes. 

The wood I picked for the cabinets is shown (maple with a light colored finish). Simple and light. I thought I wanted a dark countertop, and now I think I need to pick a package: floor, counter and backsplash, so it all goes together. I need to see them all together somehow, too. That is something I knew would be difficult - it's hard for me to visualize what little samples look like scaled up. 

Anyway, I hope to post a little more often. Mr W had a good last quarter of school and got to have a week off, as the camp I signed him up for last week got canceled. He did not mind sitting around the house, but is at camp this week. 

I'm trying not to forget to enjoy the ride.