How to Protect an Oiled Butcher Block Countertop During Projects

oiled counter

So, I have this amazing walnut butcher block countertop. It cost me well more than the Ikea butcher block alternative I was considering (about a $400 difference in total cost).  But after that first coat of oil and beeswax soaked into the wood (read about why I chose this mixture here), bringing out all of its gorgeous color variation, I was forever smitten.  I had made the right choice.  However, when it comes to finishing off various other projects in the kitchen, such as the tiled … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Two Steps Forward…

kitchen tile 2

This week, I've been completely high on the getting-it-dones.  Not only had my dad and I done the first round of scooping mud onto the drywall panels in his dining room, but I'd actually managed to get the grout finished in my kitchen in the same weekend. BOOM.  And I also sealed the grout around the stove, which meant I could finally shimmy her back into her rightful place along the wall.  Like a real kitchen or something. I need to do a little cleaning on the stovetop, and then … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Still Backsplashing


Even though most of my weekend was spent at Mom and Dad's installing drywall, I did manage to eke out a few minutes (basically, in the time it takes Charlie to do her business & do a little playing outside) to get some of the grouting done on the kitchen backsplash. I chose to stick with the white bucket of Simple Grout (see here for why it gave me pause) and hope for better results on a larger wall.  And happily, that's exactly how it went.  So the little nook next to the fridge may not … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: “Real Quick”


You'd think that after skipping last week's Dueling DIY update, I'd be all BAM, look at my fully-grouted kitchen walls.  But then you'd be very wrong.  Optimistic, of course, and I'd be grateful for that... but still wrong. No, all it seems I managed to do was this: Which wouldn't have even happened at all if I hadn't just forced myself to do it "real quick" under the premise of needing to have something to be updating you about this week (I guess then I can be happy that the whole … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Three Tiled Walls

kitchen tile

As of last week's Dueling DIY update, two walls had been tiled in the kitchen.  The tiny one near the fridge (aka the future coffee station): - and the wall along the sink: Which left only the wall along the stove to finish.  And this wall is precisely why I'm glad that the clock moved an hour forward. Having a little daylight to run a tile saw after work?  Sooooo very nice.  It helps me to justify the annoying scraping sounds I'm subjecting my neighbors to (once the sun … [Read more...]

Kitchen Details: The Window Ledge

window ledge

I often find that when it comes to renovation, the big stuff - like how to tile a kitchen backsplash - is all over the web.  But what if you run into a unique problem that isn't covered by standard tutorials? Most of the time, you don't even realize that your case is unique until you're smack dab in the middle of a project... and then you're suddenly aware that you're probably doing it all wrong, and then you worry that the whole project will look like you didn't even try to make it look … [Read more...]

How to Tile a Kitchen Backsplash

backsplash tile supplies

Yesterday, I covered my timeline for getting the kitchen backsplash covered in subway tile.  Tile that is still radiating all of those wonderful "damn, I look GOOD" vibes all over it. And as promised, here are the full DIY details I learned, tools I used, and some handy tips for executing a subway tile backsplash of your own.  Fair warning:  this is a long post.  So go ahead and run to the bathroom, and then come back (and while you're at it, grab some coffee).  If you've got crossed legs … [Read more...]

Sofa King Excited About My Kitchen Backsplash Tile

sofa king excited

Getting rid of the last of the wallpaper wasn't the only accomplishment over the weekend.  Today's Dueling DIY update is probably going to be the biggest I've had so far.  And I'm sofa king excited about it (if you don't get what that means, just say it REALLY LOUD to your coworkers in the break room and see how they react... ). Ready? BOOM.  Granted, it's not Carrie's mega-huge score of soapstone, but you know what that is?  It's a fully tiled wall.  Next to a countertop that's … [Read more...]

Wallpapered No More


It's done.  It's FINALLY done.  The UDH is wallpaperless! Well, I guess not completely...  but at least it's no longer attached to actual walls and instead destined for the garbage can (except for one piece... I've tried to save one piece from each room for a project I'm working on). This feels epic, in a way.  After four years of peeling paper, it's done.  That took longer than getting a graduate degree (and speaking of epic, I was pretty excited to get this in the mail a couple of … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: How to Prep Kitchen Walls for a Tile Backsplash


Everyone who is finished tiling the kitchen, take one step forward.  Not so fast, Sarah... Today's Dueling DIY update is all about the prep for my tile backsplash.  As you may have noticed from Instagram, the good news there is that yes, I have my tile!  In my possession.  Finally.  And it's going to be awesome.  Just look at these beauties: Classic.  Will let the star (my walnut butcher block countertops) shine.  And even better, they come with built-in spacers on each side of the … [Read more...]

Pantry Progress!

pantry progress

I haven't had such a DIY-heavy weekend like this in a while.  I won't be able to cover all of it in one post, so I'll just focus on the pantry wall area for today.  And the best part is, the pictures actually tell most of the story: (Oh, and I'm technically not going to call this a Dueling DIY post even though it's about the kitchen... there is more to cover on Wednesday's update, and I figured this could be a sort of mini-update until then.)  When we last left off about this area in the … [Read more...]

Kitchen Wallpaper: Oh Glory… Hallelujah


When I got home the other night (around 10 - I had been working on some DIY projects with Erin for her Dwell with Dignity installation - head over to her blog & check it out!), I took the dog outside and absentmindedly started picking at the wallpaper behind the stove. Until recently, this area has been just as stubborn to remove as everywhere else in the kitchen. But I guess I caught a lucky corner, because to my surprise, whole sheets of it started peeling off. This wallpaper … [Read more...]