Let the Remodel Begin

I’m really doing it. I’m finally remodeling my ancient kitchen. Something I’ve wanted since I moved in here 9 years ago. Wow!
I inherited a saltillo tile floor that would have been great had it been outdoors as a patio. With 1″ thick, gray groutlines, cracked and gouged tiles, and no sealant left at all on the floor, it was impossible to clean and even worse to stand on. And besides that, it was ugly and dark. With medium dark, dog-scratched cabinets (from a different previous owner) that were originally  hung improperly, so the inside shelving was unlevel, the entire room felt like a cave. Worthless hidden corners, chipped and unattractive formica, and no singular length of countertop long enough  for functional meal prep just made it feel worse.


Though it looks ridiculously huge because of the current location, that refrigerator is a normally sized 'frig. That will be remedied.

You can now tell the date of the kitchen in this image below. Yep, we got the ol’ passthru window to the living room. So seventies! I changed out the stove and put in the new microwave range hood almost immediately after moving in. The existing ones were the originals (and worked like they were the originals).


Notice the small countertop work areas. That will also be remedied. If you can imagine it, when I bought this house, the kitching/dining area actually had 7' ceilings. They installed with that a lovely dropped fluorescent light at no extra charge. Aaargh! Cooking in here was claustrophobic, to say the least. Two years ago, I raised the ceiling to the max possible of 8 feet and changed the lighting, and now at least I can breathe in there.

Standing in my living room, this is the current view, with the passthru window on the right and eating area on the left.


Putting a strong yellow color on the wall is out of the box for me. I love color, just not usually yellow. I did it when I had the popcorn ceilings scraped two years ago, and I love it. It works well with the limestone fireplace that is also in this room.

Standing in the kitchen, with my back to the stove, here’s the eating area. It’s casual, and I have no formal dining room  in this home, which is fine by me.


I thought the sage green on the walls would make the tiles make more sense in the room. It helped, but not enough.

First things first, I had to get rid of that tile before further work could commence. It was fortunately only a one day job, but oh, what a day it was! Don’t adjust your monitor, the image you are about to see is real. The photo isn’t out of focus, that is the dust in the air from breaking up and removing the tile and grout. I’m not standing behind plastic to take the photo; I’m in the midst of that dust to take the shot and that’s how bad it was. And that poor man is working with no face mask! And that was with the windows open, to boot!


I expected dust and covered as much as I could with plastic. Even so,the house is still covered with a fine layer of silt.

And what a relief afterwards. The hated tile is gone forever. Actually not forever… about 30 of the tiles came up in full size pieces, so I’ll be using them in the garden in some way. They’re perfect for out of doors. Just not in a kitchen. With inch-wide grout lines.


It feels lighter already.


And it looks bigger, too.

Tomorrow, demolition begins!


16 thoughts on “Let the Remodel Begin

  1. What’s funny, Robin, is that I dislike my off-white kitchen tile and have thought that Saltillo would look good! Better not do that, or my “after” would end up looking like your “Before”.

    My dream kitchen would have a real wood floor with some magical, extra-strong, washable finish. Like that’s gonna happen. Good luck with getting your dream – demolition can be so satisfying!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. Annie, I have off-white tile elsewhere in the house that is right behind the saltillo for a distasteful product. And the saltillo, when grouted nicely and sealed properly, can be lovely. Mine did not fall into that category! I will be putting in a wood floor, which I’m quite excited about. Thanks!

  3. Awesome tour, Robin. Though I thought your lighting on the “before” made the kitchen look warm and inviting! Loved the photo through the plastic. Hope you’re not loopy on dust and fumes yet. Keep us posted – I love watching a remodel.

  4. I know with your background, Diana, that you can appreciate the work that is going on here! Yes, I also noticed that the “before” pictures made the kitchen look nicer than it did. You couldn’t see the age and wear and tear that was really occuring.

  5. By the way, Diana – that photo WASN’T through the plastic! I was standing in that room, and that was DUST in the air that you are seeing! It was bad, I’m tellin’ ya’.

  6. You know, I’d take your kitchen tile over my shiny, slippery, off-white tile with grey grout that’s in most of my house. Ugh. Do you know how impossible that stuff is to clean? you clean it, and half an hour later it’s dirty again. Maybe someday I can afford to replace it with wood or Pergo or something a little less obnoxious.

    Also, at first when I saw the photo of the dust, I thought maybe you took it from behind a sheet of plastic or something. No wonder your house is so dusty! I can’t believe the guy was working without a mask!

  7. Diana thought the same thing! Nope, that was actually dust. I spent Saturday cleaning just one room – it took all day just for that one room. Wow, I have my work cut out, but man, will I have a clean house once I’m done!

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  11. You mentioned that you had 7′ ceilings with the dropped fluorescent light and that you raised the ceiling to and changed the lighting… Can you share how that went? I need to do the exact same thing! How much did it cost? was it easy?
    Thank you! Your home looks great.

  12. I don’t know the price because it was included in the entire remodel price and not separately priced out, sorry. Whatever the hassle, I would do it again in a heartbeat, because I think it was the most important change in the room and made a dramatic difference. Easy? I don’t know, I didn’t do it! I think you should do it and you’ll be glad you did.

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