The Den of Slack

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Stainless steel stove and an unnecessary floor fix

I’ve received a lot of comments from readers of my blog thanking me for documenting my mistakes. I never really set out to do that — I guess I just make a lot of mistakes! This is going to be one of those posts.

As of my last post, the Victorianna’s scratch-built kitchen was almost finished. I’ve found that big mistakes often happen when a project is almost finished — I try to tweak one last little thing and the house of cards comes crashing down. In this case it was the floor. In the nearly four years (!) since I laid the hardwood, it had gotten kind of dingy. Dust got into the grain of the wood and so it looked like the wood had white scratches and speckles all over it.

I thought I could fix this by staining over it. In fact, I was so confident in the idea that I jumped right in without doing a test piece first. In my mind the stain was going to match the floor color completely. In fact, it didn’t. (Who could have predicted that?!)

Since the whole house (except for the bathrooms) has the same floors, now my kitchen didn’t match the rest of the house. No way I was going to stain ALL the floors, which would require removing baseboards and very likely messing up the wallpaper… that house of cards is about to topple!

So I did something perfectly reasonable: I ripped it out.

Most of the boards ripped off the paper backing, leaving the sticky part behind. (If you weren’t following along back then, here’s how I made the floors from micro veneer.)

This isn’t my first re-do of the kitchen floor. Originally I’d intended for it to be tiled, but the tile came out crooked. I ripped that out and redid it with hardwood on a whim, but now that I’d ruined it, I started thinking about tile again. Since making a backsplash out of scrapbook paper had turned out well, I decided to try something similar on the floor, but with a bigger tile.

I bought a 3/4″ square paper punch and two scrapbook paper options – one black “chalkboard”, and one marbled white.

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Victorianna kitchen *almost* done

So I said in my last post that this would be the grande finale for the Victorianna’s kitchen. It’s not — I still have to finish the stove, and I might have torn up the hardwood floor for no good reason. (Oops.) I’ll leave you in suspense about that until it’s fixed, but for now, here’s the *almost* grand finale!

When I made the backsplash, I made the part under the hood to fit snugly between the upper cabinets.

Once the cabinets were painted it needed to be sanded down at the sides in order to fit. I did this until it fit well again — but then found that the uppers on the right (which are connected to the fridge cabinet) weren’t pushed all the way back into the corner, so I’d actually sanded too much. During sanding I also messed up the spacing of the tiles so they were no longer even with the row below them.

So I redid that piece. Luckily I had enough tiles left. I started with the center and side columns to make sure they lined up.

Once again, I left the bottom tiles hanging slightly over the edge to cover the seam.

When that piece was finished, I glued on the large panel. I had already glued on the one under the sink, so this panel needed to slide into place. I didn’t want to smear glue on the wallpaper so I put the glue directly on the wall, and then slid in the panel over it.

Some glue did spooge out the bottom, and I just wiped it off with a tissue. That will be covered by the cabinets so it doesn’t matter if I got a little glue on the wallpaper down there.

Next I glued in the small panel. Even with the tiles overlapping, you can see the seam here.

I filled in those holes with white grout on the tip of a toothpick.

At this point I was ready to add crown molding. I didn’t want it to compete with the (different) crown at the top of the cabinets, so I’d planned to use a smaller cove molding here, but this ceiling is a little warped and it didn’t look good. Regular crown molding hides the gaps better.

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Victorianna kitchen window

When I first started working on the Victorianna — four years ago! — I bought a pack of Grandt Line windows planning to use one in the kitchen.

It wasn’t as deep as the plywood wall + siding. I always figured I could do something with strip wood to make up the extra space.

Well, when it came time to finish the window I spent an afternoon messing around with strip wood, and I couldn’t come up with anything that would play nicely with the window *and* the backsplash. It didn’t help that the window is deep inside the room and I can’t see it straight on. I was starting to get frustrated (and a sore neck!) trying to figure out something that would work.

Houseworks windows are slightly deeper than the plywood wall + siding, but don’t come in this size. (The closest is this square window but it was slightly too small.) I previously cut a Houseworks window in half to make a piano window for the dining room, and decided to do the same thing in the kitchen.

I don’t remember exactly how I did this before (hey, it was four years ago!), but I know I used the miter box to cut the window down. I tried that this time and totally mangled a window. Then I remembered a trick I’ve heard about putting the window in the microwave to soften the glue. I put a window on a plate and nuked it for 10 seconds. When I took it out, it fell apart in my hands. For once that was a good thing!

With the pieces separated, it was easy to cut down the sides to the correct height and then put the window back together.

I applied glue and set the window in the hole to hold it square while it dried.

This protrudes about 1/16″ into the room, the same depth of the backsplash board.

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