July 20, 2011

#44- Just a Splash

In true One Project at a Time do everything at once fashion, let's take a break from the Master Bedroom posts of this week (here and here), and head down to the Kitchen where just a few minor changes have made a really big difference.  As a reminder, so far we have taken up the tile and laid down new hardwood floors, installed a pendant light above the kitchen table, refinished a kitchen table, added new hardware, taken down and rebuilt the cupboard over the peninsula, added a new recessed light over the peninsula and had new granite counters and a square stainless steel sink with utility faucet installed.  (Really?  We've done all that since we moved in under 3 months ago?  Bouh-yah!)  The next big project is installing the new glass tile backsplash.  First we prepped the space so that we didn't damage our new counter tops (although it might take a small army to harm a granite slab, the Hubs and I seem to manage to ruin everything during projects, so you can never be too careful.)

Yes, that is a bottle of wine in my sink.  The real question is, why wouldn't there be wine in my sink?  Think about it.

The process was as easy as troweling on a layer of mortar with a 1/8 inch indents (the smaller the tiles, the smaller you want the indents in your trowel so that you get less mortar on the walls,) and then placing up my 12"x12" square mosaic sheets.  Luckily, there wasn't a lot of cutting necessary since I could often just cut the mesh between tiles.  Occasionally I needed a completely straight edge though, so I pulled out our trusty wet saw.

We purchased this Ryobi wet tile saw for just $50 about 5 years ago and it has been with us through 2 bathroom and now 2 kitchen makeovers.  While it has it's weaknesses, (it has a really tough time cutting thick marble tiles like the ones from our Bungalow bathroom makeover), for the most part it has been well worth the money.  The tiles went up so fast I almost forgot to take photos, but here are a few once I remembered to grab the camera:

In fact, the project was so easy, that I was simultaneously whipping up some fresh, homemade strawberry ice cream in my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, from strawberries that Ry and I had picked at the strawberry farm that morning. P.S.- This strawberry ice cream recipe, especially made with fresh picked strawberries, was hands down the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.  Ever.

I may have also made strawberry cupcakes earlier that day.  My name is Erin and I am a compulsive homemaker. 
I let the mortar set while I inhaled ice cream, and came back the next day to grout.  The most important trick I've learned over the years when mixing grout, is always use less water than you think.  You can always add more water, but you can't take it back out.  Then I just smeered the grout on with my grout float making sure to get grout in each and every space.

I let the area sit and dry for about 10 minutes (until it starts to get hazy or cloudy), and then came back to wipe the area clean with a damp sponge.

The trick here is clean water.  You'll work twice as hard with dirty water, so dump and refill your bucket as often as you can.  Next, I had to change up my outlets.

Not only are these almond colored instead of a crisp white to match my grout, but the addition of the tile made the outlet recessed into the wall.  All you have to do is purchase spacers to place on the screws, which will prevent your outlet from going all the way into the wall.

Are you ready for the big finale?  (Stop blabbing already and show us the tile!)

Yeah, we like fresh fruit at our house.  Really there are only 3 of us living here.  And that will be gone in 5 days.

What do you think?  I love how the mosaic tile we picked has a variation of glass, porcelain and stone tile which gives us a little sparkle mixed with some great natural elements.  It's mainly a white and tan in color, but in some light it reads just a hint of green, which is perfect with our apple green accessories.  By the way, I'm still looking to upgrade the mixer to apple green at some point.  My good friend Alison sent me an awesome deal for one at Rue La La for just $200, but sadly I didn't get the email fast enough and missed the deal. If you guys come across anything, holla at a girl. 

By the way, these fabulous reveal photos are once again from the ubber-talented Morgan Klinnert.  While she's kind enough to take photos of my interior spaces to share with you all, her real talent is photographing people and catching amazing life moments.  If you live in Minnesota, I highly recommend you check her out for engagement, wedding, baby or family photos.  Not only is her work beautiful, it's very affordable.


  1. I adore the mosaic tile so much. I am surprised that you said it was mainly white and tan because I totally thought it had shades of green! An apple green mixer would look fabulous! Have you considered having an existing mixer (in a not so popular color, which should = cheaper) refinished in the desired shade of green?

  2. Looks great, the tile really adds a finished look! Coincidentally, I received an Apple Green mixer for a wedding gift and have never even used it! I was hoping to exchange it for an Aqua one but never got around to it. I live in the MN near St. Paul--maybe you'd like to buy it for $200 and then I can go get my Aqua one? :)

  3. No Karen- is that possible? Are you talking about DIYing a new finish (ie spraying it with an acrylic paint) or are there companies out there that do this? Please- do tell! I could redo my red one.

    Katie- I'm very interested. I have my red one on sale right now on Criagslist, so it could be a wash for me. Anyway you can email me (oneprojectatatime.erin@gmail.com) with the details and maybe a photo? Hooray for blogging!

  4. Fantastic...what a remarkable difference....YAAAAA!