Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Home Improvement Fun, Fun, FUN

Here's the scoop: When this school year is over, Casa Baudelaire is going on the market.

There's backstory there, of course. We'll skip it for now.
That gives us some lead time to fix the place up before it goes on sale in the Spring. Since there's not a ton of money in the larder for renovations, we're mostly relying on sweat equity and our DIY, um, skills.

To his great credit, my spouse has really stepped up in this effort. He's painted and repaired and taught himself to do things neither of us ever thought he could do. And, yeah, I'm really proud of him. Despite everything.

Again, you know, long story.
So I decided to tackle the kitchen. I'm not going to put in the time, effort, or money to do a complete makeover, but there are plenty of simple cosmetic updates I can do. The first one, I decided - just tonight, in fact - is to redo the backsplash. No biggie. Originally the kitchen backsplash was just some white-painted brick-patterned tiles. A few years back I covered them over with stick-on metal tiles. Just inexpensive 4x4 squares of brushed silver and copper, which I applied in what I must say was a pretty nifty pattern.

And which I didn't think to photograph before I obliterated them, so no "before" picture. Trust me, it was lovely.

Yeah, was. Because they had become a little rundown and dingy and a few had even fallen off. So I thought, you know, I'll just take them off and then clean and repaint the original brick-pattern tiles. Because optimism.

And everything went great. I pulled all the metal tiles off the long kitchen wall without a hitch. Only sliced my finger open once, and it stopped bleeding all by itself after a while.

All I had left was the short section of wall next to the big window over the sink. Easy. Until I removed the coverplate for the dishwasher switch and then pulled off the metal tile next to the hole. When I did that, one of the original tiles underneath partly peeled away from the wall. Interesting, I thought. Now I can see what's underneath.

I really should have this printed on a sign or a poster or business cards.
What was underneath the original tile was a dry and crumbling layer of tile adhesive, which no longer stuck to the tile but only to the wall. The adhesive flaked away easily when I took the flat edge of a screwdriver...and so did most of the drywall.

The drywall is NOT in good shape. In fact, at first I might be looking at a section of really cool exposed brick, until I realized the wallboard was simply so deteriorated that it looked like not-in-very-good-shape cinderblock.

Yeah, my fevered brain really wanted to believe that somehow the kitchen
of my suburban tract home was hiding the wall of an early 20th-century factory.
OK, for a penny, in for a pound. I started to pull away the rest of the tile and dry adhesive that I know from working in the environmental consulting field almost certainly is not teeming with asbestos in a highly friable state.

But I digress.

Along with the tile and adhesive, my efforts started to yield large amounts of dust and debris that at one point circa 1974 comprised the wall of my kitchen. I stopped when I realized I could no longer pretend this was a simple project.

So I have this:

Come on, it's cool. Kind of Mesozoic.
Uh, yeah. We'll fix that. Hey, we've got eight months to make it good.

Of course, my parents will be here to visit in two weeks.

We call that home-improvement motivation.



  1. Remember when you had not choice but to finish the cement floor project in your dining room? You totally rocked it. You've got this.


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  3. I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this..

  4. Now this blog wants me to go home and check the places I need to improve, Which reminds me I need a double glazing repairs for my double glazed windows.


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