The title is a a little misleading as my kitchen counter DIY was not a total and complete disaster. In fact, everyone that enters my kitchen say they love it! But I think they are straight up lying to my face.
Before we even bought this house I knew the counters had to go. I don’t totally hate laminate, but our counters were this terrible blue laminate that I wasn’t feeling. After reading countless blog posts talking about using Ardex concrete feather finish to give your counters a concrete look, I was totally confident my kitchen could look amazing.
Here is what my kitchen looked like before:
I decided to jump headfirst into the project one Friday afternoon and as soon as I put the first goop of concrete on the counter, I knew I had made a terrible mistake. It was really hard to spread out and get it even on my counters. It was IMPOSSIBLE to get it to look right on that little lip on the wall. I kept going hoping it would get easier and it did get a little better after I was more used to it.
After putting the first layer on and letting it dry you have to sand it down. That process is when I realized I had gotten myself into a lot more than I could handle. The mess was insane and I was having a giant panic attack. I didn’t take a whole lot of pics of the process, but here are a few.
So after three day’s of layering and then sanding, I decided to call it quits on just half the counters. After I sealed it, it actually didn’t look half bad and I thought I would finish the rest of the counters one day when I could handle the mess again.
I used a super food safe sealer, which looking back was silly. We don’t ever cut directly on the counter, so I could have gone with something less food safe. About three days after our project we started getting huge stains on the counter. Three months later here is what it looks like.
NOT GOOD. If you have the patience and get the right sealer, I would really recommend this project for a cheap way to update the counters. I am not patient so that was my first mistake going into the project. I also hate create giant messes, and having everything in my kitchen covered in dust was not good for my sanity.
So whats next? We are getting poured concrete counters made right now! The actual stuff, not this fake powder stuff. I’m really excited about it, even though it is not cheap. I’ll keep you updated!
So more than half of the stuff in my current living room is for sale, so I wanted to take a few pulled back snaps of what it looks like now. Fleastyle took some great pics and did a home tour including my dining room and a few kitchen pictures, so please be sure to read her article!
When we bought our house the floors were not really a selling point. The main living space has laminate, which luckily is not super ugly laminate. The bedrooms have carpet, which I HATE. I am not on the carpet train. Sure your feet have something warm and fluffy to walk on, but its typically ugly and just waiting to be stained.
We planned to eventually replace the carpet, but our plans got moved from the future to the present after the introduction of a new kitten.
She make look cute, but she is a little monster and decided she didn’t like the carpet one bit. I’ll spare you the gross details, but our bedroom carpet had to be removed immediately.
We considered hard wood for about 3 seconds, but with four cats, tile is a way better option. Tile is wayyyy more durable than hardwood. You can spill liquids and don’t have to worry as much about scratches. With the wood look tile we could get the best of both worlds.
I didn’t want to spend more than $2 a sq foot, so we headed to Floor and Decor to see what options they had. Floor and Decor has some pretty good options, but there are ENDLESS wood tile options at other retailers as well. You can end up spending a lot of money getting really quality wood look tile.
I knew I wanted something not too dark and something with a lot of pattern variation. I bought samples of these three to see how the looked in my home.
The one on the left was the most expensive at $2.29 a sq foot, but it had the most pattern variation and grey undertones. Even though it was over our budget, we decided to “splurge” since it would only end up being about $200 extra in total to go with this one and we liked it so much more than the others.
We got a few quotes on getting the tile professionally installed, but tile laying is expensive. It would have doubled the cost of the project to get it professionally done. My Dad has some previous tile experience, so we decided to do it ourselves.
I know you all have been waiting with baited breath to take peek into my dining room! Well maybe not, but it is always fun to see how other people have decorated a space.
My dining room started as a blank space. The first thing we did when we bought the house was paint the living space white. After we painted it white I realized our trim and ceiling are not white, so that was fun surprise that will get fixed eventually. Here are some before pics for your viewing pleasure.
And now for some afters!!!!!
The dining table and matching chairs, china hutch, and wicker chair are all things I had before. The china hutch was previously a bright teal. I painted it black to make it a little more neutral.
I think I need to paint the inside of the cabinet to make all my pretty plates pop out a little more, i’m just not sure what color yet. I just stacked all that art up there to make it look a little taller since the ceilings are so high, but I probably should curate it a little more. I also now spot that one of the drawers is missing some hardware. My bad….
I am aware that my dining table has a large stripe on it. The table is old, and the leaf was obviously not used as much. I plan on refinishing the table to bring it back to it’s glory days. We usually don’t have the leaf in all the time, so it’s really on the bottom of my list.
I got that bar cart a few weeks ago at a vintage show and it only cost me $50! It really classes up my drinking habits. Please try and ignore the tiny tiny art, I just put that there for now as a place holder. I am on the lookout for something amazing and bigger for that corner.
I got that cowhide rug in Round Top and it is #bestrugever! One of our cats straight up peed on it the other day and it just wiped right off. I love an indestructible AND pretty rug.
All my chairs are mismatched because of my desperate need for more chairs for the holidays, but i’m starting to really get into the mismatched look.
I am planning on making a plant bench for this window so all my plants can feel like something special instead of just cast off’s on the floor. I already have the legs for the bench, I just need to get my butt to the salvage yard to pick up some wood.
That wall hanging was made by yours truly and it took me 20 hours. My cat tried to “help” me make it, so it took twice as long as it should have.
So there you have it! What is still left? My house is in desperate need of some art. The ceiling and trim needs to be painted white. Table needs to be refinished. I also have a chandelier that is going where that ceiling fan is, and a plant bench to make so stay tuned!
Let me show you why sometimes hoarding is a good thing. You may have noticed in my entryway makeover post, which you can catch up on here, that I did a little lighting update. The flippers made some “interesting” choices in lighting, by “interesting” I mean they went to Home Depot and bought the cheapest lights available. This meant there was a cowboy light in my entryway.
Now i’m not completely against bringing in some more western influences into my home decor. In fact, I have a cowhide rug that is one of my most favorite things, butI really wasn’t feeling my cowboy light. Luckily, past me thought ahead. Continue reading →
Entryways are often my favorite place in a home. It allows you the chance to do something a little more fun and crazy than you would normally be allowed in a whole room. When I was house searching, any house that had a proper entryway got a few extra points in my mind. I was so excited to do something KRAZY with a capital K when the house we bought had a proper entryway.
The entryway was pretty blah when we bought the house. Blah brown tile, blah brown walls and super blah cowboy lamp.
My dream was of course was to use some gorgeous wallpaper, but my walls were pretty heavily textured and I ain’t got time or money to get that sanded down. I had to consider other non-wallpaper, but still WOW options. I considered everything from ship lap to chalkboard but nothing was really popping to me. Continue reading →
I had some requests from my loyal followers (shout out Therese) to post part two of our house buying story. You can read Part: I here. Where did we leave off? We decided to move south! When I say south, I mean South West Oak Cliff. I still wanted to stay in Oak Cliff, but I was prepared to explore some lesser known areas.
Once we decided we really need to refocus our home search I spent a few mornings driving around Kiestwood park and it’s surrounding neighborhoods. That is the best way to decide if you like a neighborhood. Drive around different times of day, and get out and walk around. I like to pretend I already live there and i’m out for my evening or morning stroll. I wave at the neighbors and pretend they are my neighbors. I do stop just short of walking up to my favorite house and pretending it’s my house because I don’t want to go to jail ya’ll.
I very quickly fell in love with Kiestwood and its shaded streets filled with mid century homes. I fell in love hard. I have a distinct memory of driving around the neighborhood and crying because it felt so cozy and I just had to live there. I have a huge soft spot for mid century homes and Kiestwood was house after house of beautifully preserved mid century.
On one such driving morning I passed a house with a for sale sign up. I immediately pulled over and looked up the house. Nothing. I couldn’t find a single mention of this house on the MLS. It was 7am so I waited an hour or so until normal people wake up to call the listing agent. He had just put the sign up and it was going live that afternoon. Me and Corey went to go look at the house and it was so great. It wasn’t perfect, it needed some work, but it needed the kind of work that was fun. Refresh some bathrooms, redo countertops, etc. It was priced wayyyy under our budget and the backyard was perfect for us so we decided to go big on our offer. We offered 5k over what they were asking and opted for a very short option period. We both felt good. I really didn’t think there was any way we wouldn’t get the house. For you real estate newbies out there, going 5k over ask is a big statement. 5k ain’t nothing to us. We wanted this house an extra 5k worth.
About two days later we found out we didn’t get it. There was one other offer that was very similar to ours, and they went with that offer. I was very shocked and Corey swore off buying a house. He said he didn’t want to go see anymore houses and get emotionally attached and he really thought we would never get one at this point. I too was having doubts. Even though I’m an agent and tell my clients that it may take awhile but everyone finds a house. I was doubting my own words.
It is kinda crazy how attached you can get to a house you have only been inside once, but that feeling is real. It stayed with me a long time on that house, and sometimes I drive by and it still makes me a little sad.
There was another house on the market a few blocks south of the dream crusher house, so we went to take a look. The second I walked in I hated it. Straight up hate. I hated the floors, the tile, the awkward backyard, and the carpet in the bedrooms. I walked in and couldn’t find anything I liked. I’m usually someone who can see the potential in any house. I can walk in and take walls down in my mind and imagine what a brand new coat of paint can accomplish. Obviously looking back, we were both still very upset and were still picturing the house in Kiestwood. We walked out promptly and put that terrible ugly house out of our minds.
A week later, the house was still on the market and I casually suggested we go take a look again. The previous house reject was starting to sting a little bit less now. We walked in and I thought we might be in a different house. Our hearts were a little more open and we both saw the potential this time. I saw that if I painted the walls white it would open up the living room. I could paint cabinets and add concrete counter tops in the kitchen. Instead of seeing the awkward backyard, we saw the potential for a huge relaxing backyard oasis. It was a flip house, but that didn’t mean I could changed things to fit my style. We drove around the neighborhood (Brettonwoods) and ogled at the heavily treed yards and unique houses.
Even though we were seeing the potential, we needed a third opinion. My parents came and looked with us again, and they said we were crazy and this house was beautiful. That gave us the push we needed to make an offer.
We made a pretty reasonable offer and it was very quickly accepted! I know I had doubts as we were going through the closing process, and i’m sure Corey did too. I was terrified of actually buying a house and all the work that went with it. I was afraid to leave our cozy corner near Bishop Arts and our tree house apartment. I came so close to saying we should back out so many times, but I always stopped just short of saying it aloud. I kept my doubts away and enjoyed the last month in our apartment as best I could.
Now that I have been in our new house for almost a month I’m so glad we made this decision, and i’m so glad we ended up with this house. The day we closed and we put the first roll of paint on the wall I felt at peace. We might be incredibly broke and have a mountain of to do items, but I feel so at home here. Before we moved, I kept saying we could live in this house a few years and then move back to North Oak Cliff. Corey now says he doesn’t want to ever leave this house. “Bridal Wreath 4EVER” is Corey’s new favorite quote. While i’m not committing to anything 4EVER, I can see us living here for many, many years.
PS: Our cats LOVE the new house and they can’t believe we ever made them live in that tiny shoe box apartment (their words not mine)