DIY

Tiling Around a Window

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

A few weeks ago, I showed up at the shelter kitchen we revealed earlier this week to make sure the mosaic tile backsplash was getting installed by a skilled volunteer, but unfortunately the tile guy never showed up.   We never got an explanation as to why he didn’t show, he just didn’t.  With an inspection looming, Warren (our partner at COTS) and I looked at each other and decided we would just get ‘er done ourselves that day.

Installing a tile backsplash is not difficult, and it involves following just a few steps from prepping the wall to applying the thin set adhesive, cutting and setting the tiles, and then grouting and sealing.  The more challenging part is tiling around a window with mesh tile so that the grid stays perfectly aligned.  At first glance you’d think it all lines up easily (basic math right?) but we learned that’s not the case – here’s how we got it just right.

tiling around a window

 

First, I’ll apologize for the quality of some of these in progress photos!  I had no idea on this day I’d be tiling when I showed up to the house so I didn’t bring my good camera.  Many are shot with a cell phone in bad light, but hopefully they will be illustrative.   The project took two days, with me working one side of the kitchen, Warren working on the other, and then we paired up to tackle the feature wall together.

There are plenty of detailed tutorials online for installing a simple glass mosaic tile backsplash, including this one from This Old House, but I’ll do a quick review.  What you’ll need:  paper or drop cloth to protect countertop, tile, thin set mortar, V notch trowel, tile saw, grout, grouting sponge, level, acrylic caulk.

First, prep your walls so they’re smooth and ready for tile and double check you have enough tile to complete the project.  (It’s good to have 10% more than your square footage for horizontal or mesh installation, more like 15-20% extra with diagonal installation due to all the cuts.)

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Shelter Kitchen Remodel Complete!

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Well, we’ve done it again!  We’ve remodeled another kitchen in partnership with our local COTS (Committee on the Shelterless) and as part of our ongoing Alma Project.  Together with an amazing team and some generous donations, we’re proud to showcase this incredible new kitchen we remodeled for a local emergency shelter.

white kitchen sink and rug centsational girl

 

A little backstory first.  On the same day we wrapped up the first Alma Project kitchen, Warren, our partner at COTS, told us about this second home that was also part of the transitional housing program, a five bedroom home that was to be used as an emergency shelter for single parents and their children, with move in dates in October.  Each family shares a bedroom so this home will work for both COTS and with Child Protective Services to keep families intact by taking them off the streets and giving them temporary housing until they find a more permanent solution. 

The home was in really bad shape and saddened us that it was in no condition for children or families, so we decided to adopt a second house this year.  Matt and I love this project so much, it fills us with great pride to be helping people in need by remodeling these spaces in our community.  For this home makeover, we again turned our attention to rounding up all the resources we could.  You’ve seen the hall bathroom and over the summer we’ve been working on both the great room and kitchen.  We’re so excited the kitchen remodel is finally done! 

This was the kitchen the day we toured it back in July, and it was in really horrible shape.  (I swear that plunger is not a prop, it was actually sitting there.) This space was really depressing, it was dark and dingy, the cabinets were broken, the old laminate countertops were chipped, the flooring was moldy and peeling up in places, it was an absolute mess.  

kitchen before

 

So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work, and over the course of three months, we pooled resources and asked some generous donors to contribute and we’re so amazed by their generosity.  A combination of DIY efforts pulled this off, but first I’m so excited to acknowledge our sponsors.

Again Home Depot came to our rescue and donated new flooring, cabinets, a sink and faucet, and new backsplash tile.  Wilsonart countertops donated the new laminate countertops, and Shades of Light donated a new light fixture.  With some local donations of appliances and some funds raised from our Alma Project, we were able to completely transform this kitchen in three months.

Here it is, all complete! 

shelter kitchen remodel after

 

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