Category Archives: House projects

Sweet Pea the Destroyer

Isn’t home improvement fun?  I alternately love and hate it.  Today’s a good day, but a few days last week were not.  Last Monday, for example, basking in day-after-Christmas warm and fuzzies, I broke the counter.  Oops.  It has–or, had–a metal trim around the back and I was hoping I could pry it out.  And I did, but it came with nails, which tore up the counter.  This demonstrated to us that we couldn’t simply live with our counter and tile a backsplash as planned, as the splash would be on top of the trim, and might get destroyed or at least be out of proportion to a new counter installed down the road.  So this week I’ve spent calling in counter installers, getting estimates, blah blah blah.

I’ve been working on removing more of the backsplash–fun, isn’t it?  Two days ago I did this while I cranked Motley Crue and stretched out underneath the cabinet with putty knife in hand.  As you can see, I still haven’t gotten at the corner, but my bicep was killing me. 

Today went better, though, as it looks like the huge expanse of backsplash at the far end of our counter was installed in the 80s and mostly pried right off, not bound to old glue and crumbling plaster.  Except for the corner.  Going to have to figure out how to fix that up, but still–I anticipated that black mastic and 80s glue to be everywhere, so finding this out was a relief. Tearing it down around the outlet gave me a chance to use one of the outlet insulators I bought ages ago, since the laminate no longer provides any buffer to wall drafts.

Next up, more of the splash–I can see under the window that there’s plenty of black mastic, and I’ll leave that spot for last, so I can keep using the sink without worrying about water damage since our faucet leaks out of its base.  Don’t worry, it’s on the list of things to be replaced.  I’ll climb under the cabinets again tomorrow and work the laminate in the corner up.  That’s about all we can do before counters are installed, and wall repair/tiling can begin.  Then paint!  Huzzah!


Kitchen “Renovation”

Folks, what a long several  months it’s been.  And also a speedy several months.  I think the last time I posted was in early fall, as school got underway.  The semester has been a very busy one, and then we had the Great Power Outage of 2011.  10 days without electricity in late fall made for a very unpleasant situation and the mister and I lived as nomads for that time.  Now the semester is winding down and we’re starting to decorate our house for Christmas.  I also had the genius plan to start tearing the kitchen apart now, while we have time, before Mr. Pea is back at school and I’m full swing into article edits.  That idea made quality sense, except that this is the prime cooking season at our house, so I’m starting to wonder…I guess I’ll just keep the shop vac handy and clean everything all the time, rather than leave bits of, say, broken laminate, out and about.  This photo is of stage 2.  Mr. Pea’s begun to tear down wallpaper and I’m working on the old backsplash.  It’s icky laminate ca. 1985 and looks to have been glued on top of old glue.  Genius.  My plan is to tear it down, pry up the aluminum trim along the counter, and then sand the glue masses down some for evenness (I can’t get the old black glue off much, and when it does come down, it takes a bunch of plaster with it).  Then I’ll skimcoat it a few times, sand it a bit (that should make a heck of a mess), prime and paint.  Eventually we’ll put up a tile backsplash, as well.  I’m starting a new blog category, “House Projects,” for this kind of stuff.

I’d like to think this won’t take eons, but I suspect–given that there’s 40 square feet of laminate, that it could be a while.  If anyone wants to send us a plaster contractor for Christmas, I won’t turn him/her away!

In the meantime, I hope to make our first batch of cookies today, our favorite mint chocolate guys.  Here’s the link my original post: