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June 20, 2011 / ismiseez

Okay, I don’t think backsplashes are so bad

…because I finally have one. Here are some pictures. It’s not the most original but it will do. So there are a couple of minor things to do, like put on the rest of the trim and covers on the outlets. But effectively, the kitchen is done!

If any of you are around in July, I’ll be serving up some gruner veltliner.


June 7, 2011 / ismiseez

I hate backsplashes

I think it’s because I’ve never had one before, only that little strip of lamininate that came with all my rental apartments. So, I’ve had  a really hard time picking something for my kitchen. And everything seems trendy. Even the subway tile.

I know, I know. Everyone loves the white subway tile, at least everyone in 2011. Frankly, I think it’s a bit boring. That’s right, I said it.

But it is very convenient, so I’ve got this 3×6 marble tile.  I wish they had this in a longer tile, like 2×8. My best options are to try to spice up what I have with some accents.

What do you guys think of this?

This is another option:

Anything else you have seen that you like or would recommend?

May 30, 2011 / ismiseez

This is It

Okay. I didn’t want to make my loyal readers wait any longer.
What do you think?



You can see the the beginnings of the next step. Backsplash.

May 30, 2011 / ismiseez

Return of the Granite

If you are waiting for the final kitchen reveal. This is not that post. I promise that will come tomorrow. But just to make you wait a little longer…

It took me a really long time to pick my granite. I went to two separate granite yards three times! Robin and Sonia accompanied me at various times. The indecision was epic. Here’s some of the choices I had:

Of course I went with the River White. It had some nice movement as well as the light background color. The down side was all of the garnets in the slab. You have to compromise on some things I guess. Especially when your supplier is nature.

River White slab I chose:

Once the slab was chosen, the next step was for the measurer to come in and use a laser tool to measure the exact dimensions of the walls and cabinets. We went over the length of the overhang and the type of edge I wanted. Of course, I changed my mind at the last minute. I kept thinking of my nephew or niece banging into the “edged” type, which is the most basic. So I went with half-bullnose.

This also uncovered a problem with the half wall that supported the overhang. It was an inch too wide, which meant that the peninsula part of the countertop would be an inch wider than over the cabinets. I know it’s difficult to picture. It was even more difficult to make a smooth transition to from the overhang to the cabinets. So my contractor had to shave an inch off the half wall. This set the schedule back a little.

But once that was settled, the next step was to template the granite. This is where you lay out the dimensions of the countertops on the actual slab using masking tape. This took me a lot longer than I thought it would. First, I had to drive through DC in rush hour (I didn’t have to, but my TomTom made me. Thanks TomTom.) Next, the granite guy recommended a layout. He said the best thing to do was to make the most uniform part of the stone into the peninsula. At the last minute, I decided that the I wanted the more dramatic part of the stone as the peninsula. We had to reschedule, I had to eat some Pizza Hut, and then go back. Here’s the results.


May 19, 2011 / ismiseez

A Taste of Things to Come….

So I was in Austin when I got this picture from Sonia via Robin. Yes, this is the way the picture came to me. It was so provocative, this little upside down view of my almost done kitchen. So I’ll tantalize you with it too….

So the reno is coming to an end. I still have to pick a backsplash. Oh! and I still need to show you all what the countertops look like right side up.

May 15, 2011 / ismiseez

Zen and the Art of Granite Maintenance

Here is the much anticipated second posting on granite. This is a post about taking care of natural stone countertops. A complex topic for sure.

There is no doubt that the ordinary task of cleaning one’s countertops can gain a spiritual element when the countertop is made of naturally beautiful granite (or granodiorite, or gneiss, or whatever you have.) And, really, my approach to cleaning is pretty Zen, too.

To illustrate: here are some zen rocks: pretty.

And here is a messy kitchen, the result of zen cleaning. Not pretty.


Actually, this is my mother’s kitchen. And she is going to kill me because my kitchen is usually way messier than hers (which is quite clean). I just don’t take pictures of my mess.

 The problem here is that my zen cleaning approach may not be compatible with having a stone countertop. Words like oil stains, etching and sealing fly across the internets warning about how hard granite countertops are to maintain in that House Beautiful, close-up ready way. The reason, of course, is the chemical and physical properties of stones. 

More after the jump….

Read more…

May 14, 2011 / ismiseez


He looks a little bored.


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