Tiling: Part 2!

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It only look me about two months* from start to finish, but I finished** the tiling in the kitchen!

*I took a lot of breaks on account of having work and life and class and being sick twice and The Biggest Loser was on.

**It’s actually not totally finished but that isn’t the point leave me alone.

Basically every person under the sun told me not to tile with black grout, but I love it. Like a ton. 3 different people at 3 different tile stores all told me to stay away from the black grout, and a couple friends also expressed concern at the extreme griddy pattern that would dominate my walls till the end of time, but I went for it. I mean, check how good black grout can look on square tiles and tell me I’m wrong. Black grout forever.

tools

Once again, I have chosen to photograph my supplies after they got all mucked up because I am a classy ass blogger who knows what they’re doing.

  • Polyblend Non-Sanded Grout in Charcoal. You want to use non-sanded grout when the grout lines are this small. Otherwise you will rue the day.
  • A bucket. Fill this about halfway with water.
  • A sponge.
  • A float. I used a bigger float when I did the first part of laying the tile, but I thought it might be easier to use a smaller one for the grout.
  • A small coping saw. (for special cuts!)
  • A small-ish container (not pictured) to mix the grout in.

grout

Grouting is honestly incredibly stressful and kind of messy and annoying, but SO satisfying when it’s done. I kind of got used to living with un-grouted tile and it wasn’t bothering me so much, but then I grouted and realized how totally miserable my entire life was because grout is the best.

The box that the grout came in had handy little instructions on the back, and the whole thing was fairly straightforward. I mixed small batches (using only about a cup of grout powder at a time and enough water to make a peanut butter-like consistency) to keep things feeling manageable, which was a good system. Basically I spread the grout on the tiles and then scraped off my excess, holding the float at a 45-degree angle, which is what you’re seeing in that first picture.

Then, after 20 minutes (which was about enough time to use my whole batch of mixed grout), I went back and started wiping everything down where I started. I found that the key was not to get overly-aggressive with the wiping, but enough so that there weren’t any big globs of grout left where there shouldn’t have been. At this point, everything looked totally nasty and horrible and like it would never be OK again.

You might remember that this part of the tile was already here when we moved into the apartment and was grouted with white grout (which had seen much better days). I bought a grout scraper (kind of like this one) and just went over all of the old grout lines. Not all of the old grout came out, but the point is to remove as much as you can to provide enough depth for the new grout adhere and fully cover it. It wasn’t terribly difficult, but it did take kind of forever just to scrape all those grout lines.

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After letting the grout set for a couple hours, I just came back with more sponge action and a final paper towel wipe-down to reveal the full-on tile hotness. So fresh and so clean.

And oh hey, I moved the bubble clock! And oh hey, I put up the second half of the shelf! I had to trim about 6 inches off of the shelf in order to allow the cabinet door to open, so I used a blade for cutting metal on my miter saw and hung it up. It’s awesome having such a super long ledge, and I love that it allows us to get more things off the countertop. We don’t have that much counter-space, so it’s important to maximize what we do have.

Obviously the two bottom cabinets still need to be re-faced to match the rest of the white cabinets. It’s kind of ridiculous that it’s taken me this long to deal with that situation. Not cute. Also, I want a new faucet because that one is THE WORST. Also, we badly need door/drawer hardware. Also, maybe the walls need to be black? This dumb kitchen will never be done.

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But the tile! I love it! Now that the grout is done and the shelf is in place, the old tile and the new tile really blend super well together, which I’m really happy about. It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough for me not to care.

outlet

The hardest part of this whole tiling job was that one stupid tile that wraps around the power outlet.

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I bought this little coping saw with a diamond-encrusted blade (like my teeth) online and just sawed away at it until it fit over the outlet. It took about 20 minutes, which felt like an eternity to deal with one stupid tile, but was totally worth it.

outletextender

To bring the power outlet out to the new depth of the wall, I picked up these handy outlet extender do-hickeys at Home Depot, which worked perfectly. The pieces just sort of fold together until you get the necessary thickness, then you can cut off the excess and put it between the outlet and the wall (the screws are long enough that they’re still secured to the box in the wall. Then the whole thing gets covered by a switchplate and it looks very snazzy and amazing and professional.

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And oh wait? What’s that? You didn’t think I was just going to tile one side of the room and leave the other all sad and tile-less, did you?

Course not. I’m not a fucking monster.

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BOOM. Tile everywhere. Tile to the floor. Tile like you wouldn’t believe.

martha

One of my favorite things in the room now is our portrait of Martha! Max painted this likeness of the venerable Miss Martha Helen Stewart a few years ago, and I love having her watch over us while we attempt to cook and take care of our guests and live up to her standard of amazing. Also, she covers our breaker box perfectly.

Martha Stewart is literally the perfect human and if you don’t agree with that, well, you can just show yourself right out the way you came.

Yeah, I really need to paint that little piece of trim, too. I need to paint all the trim. I’M GETTING TO IT.

otherside

There is so much delicious tile. Also, Max got an espresso machine so now he is bouncing off the walls like a total psycho.

One of the things I’d love to do someday is replace this countertop with butcher block. I really don’t know why I chose this white laminate, but it’s not very practical as it shows EVERYTHING and I want to bring more natural wood to this side of the room. Also, I have three different countertop materials going on in one very small kitchen which is just not a good idea FYI. But I LOVE the section of butcher block that we do have and I’d really like some more of it pronto.

I make mistakes.

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I still need to caulk everything, like where the tile meets the bottom of the cabinets and the walls and the trim and the baseboards and in the corners, but I have to order the black caulk online because all home improvement stores hate me.

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I’m so happy about my tile. I totally did that and it looks legit and everything.

The friendly folks at Ball sent me a set of adorable blue limited-edition Ball Heritage Collection jars, produced for Ball’s 100-year anniversary, and I love them! The blue is so cheery. So far we’ve just used them to put flowers in and drink out of, but maybe when the kitchen is done and I’m itching for projects, I’ll try my hand at canning? Sounds like fun scary chemistry science times?

Looks like the jars are sold out on Ball’s website but still available some places if you google around for them.

The white cheese board is from Crate&Barrel and the marble one was a lucky thrift find this weekend. $6!

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I am very happy with how far the kitchen has come. I swear I’ll show wider shots of the room soon, but something very exciting is happening with the floor that I have to save for another post. Soon! It’s good.

In case you want to see the kitchen evolve from the beginning, here you go!

1. Let’s Talk About the Kitchen.
2. Kitchen Happenings are Afoot.
3. Dear Kitchen: It Gets Better.
4. One More Kitchen Thing.
5. As-Is, You Win Again.
6. Stopgap Measures in the Kitchen.
7. Tiling: Part 1!

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102 Comments

  1. The kitchen’s looking great and I personally love the black grout!

  2. Looks great! I love that clock.

  3. I really like the black grout – I’m glad you didn’t let them sway you. And the Martha portrait that Max painted … I have no words.

  4. Two posts this close together, you are spoiling us Daniel! The tiles look great and the black grout was definitely a good choice. That tiny Martha portrait is to die for, I’ve been wanting to see that up close since you mentioned it ages ago! Also, the tea-towel on the oven is so cute, where is it from?

    • Thanks, Jack! The tea towel is from Marimekko, I think we picked it up at the outlet store in Finland!

  5. I am now totally on the black grout bandwagon (but would definitely chicken out of doing it myself). Looks hot.

  6. ka pai! looks cool. you put so much effort into that kitchen… i hope the kitchen appreciates it!

    • Ha, I don’t know about the kitchen, but we appreciate it!! Most of this stuff (tile included!) was really about adding functionality to the space, which was really hard to cook in when we moved in! Now that there’s light and counter space and it’s easy to clean and it doesn’t look gross, it’s about a thousand times better to use. Max and I both love to (try to) cook, and it’s nice to have a place to do it that I don’t want to run away from!

  7. omg love the Martha kitsch.

  8. Damn, I wouldn’t have thought that black grout would look good, but it looks fantastic here. It’s there, and it looks kind of retro, but it doesn’t look like it weighs down the whole room, ya know?

  9. Daniel!!! This looks so so good!!! The picture of Martha just pulls it all together… LOVE it.

  10. Oh god it’s coming together so nicely!!! :)

  11. Impressive and inspiring as always. Love the grid pattern the black grout and square tiles makes.

  12. Absolutely love this.
    It wouldn’t have occurred to me to use the dark grout, but now I’ve seen it I want it!
    I’m quite upset I can’t redecorate my kitchen now.

  13. You never cease to amaze! So inspiring. I’ve been itching to tackle my rental kitchen, but alas, I am broke.

  14. Gurl, treat yo self for all your hard work and get an improved faucet! Especially when you don’t have a dishwasher, it’s a great improvement to kitchen life.

    • I KNOWWW. Originally I was planning to move the sink (!) and was going to do it then, but that plan got scrapped and now I just really need a new faucet. BADLY. I’ve been eyeing one from IKEA for over a year now, I just need to bite the bullet. I know it’ll make our lives better and less ugly. You’re right. YOU’RE ALWAYS RIGHT.

  15. damn that’s some sexy tile + grout going on! i have boxes of white square tiles & bags of black grout in my basement awaiting the same treatment, hope you don’t mind if I copy basically everything you do? no? ok great. now if only you could tell me everything you do in bullet points so mine looks as good as yours.

    • Of course I don’t mind! Copy it all! Just send pictures. :)

      I try SO HARD to be concise but also detailed with the instructionals, but it’s hard, particularly when a job is messy and it’s not easy to stop and take pictures. But if you have any questions, you know where to find me!

  16. I think black walls with more wood countertops would be great! I love the hyacinth in the blue jar!

    • Right? Can’t you just see it? Max doesn’t like the idea, but I think it could look amazing AND help unify all the different shades of white in the room. Between two different colors of tile, the walls, the cabinets, the appliances, the pendant lights, the trim, and the ceiling, I think black walls might be the next logical step…hmmm…

  17. Amazing. And you should 100% do black walls – great idea. It will really bring it all together.

  18. Love how far you’ve gone for the kitchen. Worth the effort and damn satisfying.

  19. What color are you going to paint the trim? I vote for black. That black shelf looks SO GOOD and continuing the black line would really work. You are just amazing.

    • I’m not sure! I guess it depends on what color the walls go. If they stay white, I guess white…if they go black, maybe the trim pieces above the tile go a glossier black and the walls go matte black. Baseboards + doorframe + window molding stay white? I could agonize about this for approximately forever.

      • I like it natural! Might help balance the butcher block!

      • Trust, it’s better in pictures than in real life! Between filling the nails holes and the corners, it’s not going to look good unless it’s painted. It’s also kind of stained from the grouting…it’s just not very nice, I promise!

  20. What at tres fabu outcome! It reminds me of a crossword puzzle grid….too twee to add some letters, crossword style, in a sly little corner???? Vinyl decals in a great typeface might be just the ticket for a little somethin’ somethin’, only when the spirit moves!

  21. I love your black grouted tiles, much better than the photos in the link. Tiling from floor to ceiling whole rooms and corridors seem to be a bit excessive.
    Covering the box with a painting is a great idea. I have a box in my entrance which I hated for the last few years. Now I can hide it and forget it!

  22. Oh Daniel, you are good at so much stuff! The opposite wall of tile, so good, black grout,so good, the ledge, so good, the idea of wood counter, so good (although you know, you will soon want to change the contertop around the sink soon too!) and just because you are a good person, you let us know Max is so good, Martha Stewart portrait, so good! The idea of black wall is great, I am always concern with light, will it darkened the room? You are so good!!!

    • Aw, thanks Mariane! I already really want to change the countertop around the sink, but I think that’s just taking things too far, honestly! It’s POSSIBLE I’ll do some kind of treatment to cover it up down the line, but I don’t know…the whole removing the sink thing just seems crazy. I keep hoping that if I just make everything else nicer, that ugly countertop won’t bug me so much! I do hate it, though.

      I think the black walls would be OK…the ceiling would stay white and so much of the wall space is covered either in white cabinets or white tiles, so I think the walls would just sort of highlight everything and recede. The nice thing about paint is that it isn’t permanent, though!

  23. OMG – I love it – just like I love your blog!!!!!!!
    Wish you could post everyday ;)

  24. so much goodness in this post i don’t know where to start – and who woulda thought a post about tiling would be so hilarious. you know how i feel about thrifting and marble…and black paint…and i love black grout…and that martha photograph…and wood…and those enamel pendant light…so good.

    you’re the bestest. come up here with anna and help me with my rental this spring!

  25. I’d actually recommend against the black silicone, in favour of white. I think the black might end up looking more like a black magic marker outline than if you stuck with white. It’s up to you, but I really think the white would work better.

    • Yeah, I’ll probably use a mix of both depending on the surface. Probably white for where it meets the white trim and the underside of the cabinets and black for the interior corners of the tile. I know exactly what you mean!

  26. I’m stupid excited for your marble cheese board. I saw it immediately and coveted it… but alas, we will never be.
    I love the tile + black grout, and I love that it took you 2 months. That feels real and like I could do that – it’s di-inspiring. Thanks!

  27. D Y I N G

    This is amazing. I literally have no other words. You are a tile stud.

  28. Just beautiful. You just continue to dumbfound me with your amazingness over and over again.

  29. whoa! didn’t see the tiled opposite wall coming! nicely done, as always. agreed on every one of your points. especially, the black paint on the wall. that would certainly add sex appeal (my own kitchen has 0% sex appeal). also love the idea of butcher block– white on nat. wood is a trend i can get behind. oh, and doesn’t rustoleum make something for re-finishing counters?

    • They do, yes! But it seems like kind of a huge hassle (and kind of spendy!) and honestly not that nice looking. Kind of seems like just replacing ugly laminate with a different kind of ugly laminate but less durable? I don’t know…looked into it, but I don’t think it’s for me.

  30. Looks AMAZING! Question…did you just buy cabinet doors and drawer fronts at Ikea? My hideous kitchen has those horrible almond laminate with oak trim doors and I seriously need a cheap upgrade. The painting of the laminate cabinets makes me nervous, for one thing I imagine the paint I would need would be super caustic and I’m worried about the laminate peeling, but if I could just find some new doors?? Or if you have any suggestions I’m all ears. Your kitchen looks so good, congrats on the tile job!

    • Yeah, I just bought the doors and drawer fronts from IKEA for that bottom cabinet and I’ll do the same for the other two bottom cabinets. If you click the “one more kitchen thing” link, you can see what that process was like.

      It might be easier and cheaper to look into refacing the cabinets just using plywood, which you could stain or paint, though, if you aren’t trying to match existing IKEA cabinets. Also, apparently somebody sells a hinge adaptor so you don’t need to destroy the face-frame like I did, if you have a similar cabinet structure to mine.

  31. Wow oh wow! Love it!

    Have you ever tried those programs where you can upload a pic and change colors around to see what paint colors will do in a room?

    • I’m too stupid for that!

      I don’t know, I could kind of do it in photoshop, but I don’t usually find that too helpful. It’s really hard to get an accurate representation of how paint would look in a space unless you just do it! Luckily, paint isn’t very hard or permanent. :)

  32. YOU are very snazzy and amazing and professional.

  33. The tile job looks great, congrats!! … but the watchful Martha Stewart piece is the real stand out here :P

  34. looks amaze! and yes, outlets are ASS. I had 6 to cut around when I did my tile, and I also used stainless steel tiles. ASS and more ASS.

  35. That’s so very nice! And practical! And the Martha picture is lovely!

    That said, I’m a giant book nerd, and the first thing that caught my eye were the cookbooks on the countertop. Isn’t Plenty just lovely and practical and filled with tasty things? :)

    • Yes! Max is a compulsive cookbook buyer, but Plenty is a really lovely book and everything we’ve made from it has been delish!

  36. Amazeballs! That is sooo bold to use black grout. You have to get the tiles laid out perfectly to be able to use a contrasting grout and have it look good. It’s why I always try to match the grout to the tile, so I don’t have to do that. You’ve outdone yourself!

    • You’re right, it is a little tricky and risky, but the black grout is actually more forgiving than I thought it’d be. It’s basically impossible to tile PERFECTLY and when you get up close, there are some imperfections and stuff (particularly where the old tile meets the new tile, which you can see in the picture!) but I still think it still reads like a perfect grid. At least to me!

  37. Amazing transformation. And, I want a print of the Martha painting.

  38. This is some beautiful work- I’ve always been a big fan of the black grout/white tile!

    As for changing the sink faucet- DO IT. When I first moved into my apartment a year ago, I had a faucet just like yours. It was ugly, wasteful, barely useful, and WAY TOO LOW. I hated it so much. I finally searched ebay and found a lever faucet with a retractable spray head for 40 bucks! To this DAY I still marvel on how much better the kitchen sink is. Plus it makes it look like you got a new sink, minus the cost. :)

  39. it makes me feel even worse that I haven’t even bought tile yet and I’m still living with gross painted wall for a backsplash above the stove and grosser counter and faucet. And here you are all “done” with the tile, and the grout and the metal shelf.

    As soon as I finish wallpapering the bedroom (since I started 3 months ago) I am definitely going to start work on the kitchen.

    Although the black grout could have ended up super 80s-tastic, I think it looks great.

  40. When I first heard the mention of black grout that sounded like a terrible idea. But, living with DeLorean Gray grout has been a nightmare. Black makes so much sense because the lighter ones turn darker and get weird anyway. Wise son, you are.Now, come home and help us!!!!!!!

  41. OK, the tiling and grout are great but then the Martha painting…I swear I swooned!!!

  42. Wow, the kitchen looks phenomenal! I love how you ignored what other people said and went with your gut – the black grout is amazing and I’m totally jealous of that Martha portrait (I need one in my own kitchen pronto.)

  43. The black grout looks amazing in your space, glad you stuck to your guns. I’ll admit, the first thing I noticed was the marble cheeseboard, great find.

  44. Dear Ikea, please sponsor Daniel’s blog so that he can get a new faucet for free and replace the sink, oak cabinets and melamine counter tops to match the rest of his kitchen. He has given you lots of free advertising while entertaining the DIY masses. I think he deserves it, and it would cost you almost nothing.

  45. It looks awesome! You are simultaneously shaming and inspirational, thanks.

    A couple things: you might consider GFI outlets for your countertop use. Electricians require them to pass code and they were part of why I failed my first inspection (d’oh!). They’re safer and super easy to install.

    Also, Martha is amazing, I love every part of that. Thought: maybe you should put her on hinges like a door to the circuit breaker. It’s like she’s the renovation gatekeeper.

    • I know, I should probably switch out that outlet. The one by the sink is a GFCI, though, so we’re not a total mess. :)

      Hinges are a good plan!

  46. How are you so f’n amazing?!?! You turn some ugly ass rooms into such amazing spaces — and all in a rental! Truly inspiring. If you are ever in Seattle…..

  47. looks great. reminds me of the bathrooms in this beautiful house, which was featured on grand designs, season 10, episode 6. def worth watching if you get a chance :)
    http://www.linea-studio.co.uk/album/corkellis_house?p=1&s=UA-19174475-1#18

  48. The black grout grid unifies the mismatched quality of the other parts of the kitchen and sort of snaps the whole place into order. Along with that glorious perfect ledge. Well done sir, well done!

    For faucets, I’ve had amazing luck by scouring CL. People buy great faucets then change their minds during remodeling after it’s too late to return them. I picked up a Vola for $125 this way.

  49. LOVE. This is six shades of awesome, but I kinda agree with Max on the black walls. What about a black/white cabana stripe? Would that get too geometric? I’ve done it in small bathrooms before, although not with the white tile/black grout combo….it could look super graphic (ie amazing) or super graphic (ie epileptic). Or maybe chalkboard paint (a la Macy Gray’s bathroom, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s bedroom in “500 Days of Summer”)? You could have different art on the walls EVERY DAY. Boom.

    …or, you could wake up every morning and feel intense pressure to have different art on the walls every day. Before coffee. Boom?

    • I think that kind of thing would just be way too busy, especially in a space this small with so much stuff going on! It’s smaller than it looks in photos.

      This might be controversial, but I don’t like chalkboard paint/chalkboard walls!

  50. Martha! That is all.

    - although the tile is awesome, but Martha!

  51. Freaking love the black grout. Kinda stumped on why everyone was trying to scare you away from it? What makes black grout so different from other colored grout?

  52. I am with Max on the black, but why not try a few test pots of light gray thru charcoal and black to see what it looks like?

  53. Great work all around!

    Another person touched upon it but I want to reiterate: since you had the outlet open you should have replaced it with a GFCI (ground fault circuit indicator) outlet, given its proximity to the sink. Great little outlets that are required by code (here in Ontario, Canada) if the outlet is X feet from a sink. But not a big deal to do after the fact if you are so inclined.

    • Yes, I might replace it later! I believe the code in NY is within 60″ of a water source, although some people choose to use GFCI outlets for all countertop outlets in a kitchen. This outlet is a lot more than 60″ from the sink, though, so I think it’s OK either way. :)

  54. I went back and looked at the original kitchen and I have to conclude that you are a wizard. That is all.

  55. YES TO PAINTING THE KITCHEN BLACK!!!! And yes yes to butcher block on the side cabinet. I’m loving the progress so far. Keep up the good work!

  56. Please, oh please, convince your sweet boyfriend to sell Martha paintings on Etsy! I’d be your first and loyal customer. <3

  57. It looks fantastic! The black grout works so well, and that shelf just makes everything pop.

    Not sure about the black paint idea, but hey, it’s paint. Do the painted sample board thing first? Tack a few painted posterboards up to see how much light that paint will suck out of the room… I like the light and bright kitchen you’ve created at this stage!

  58. Also – black caulk sounds MUCH scarier than black grout. And you want such a narrow line of it! Can you tape off the area for caulk like you can paint? Hmmm.

  59. Finally – your Martha is beyond awesome.

    I will out myself as not thinking she is the perfect human, because hello! Her world is so perfect because she has Staff! But her sense of humor and resilience is noted and admired.

  60. It looks sooo great! I definitely had to go back and look at Tiling: Part 1 to figure out which were the old tiles versus the new — great blend.

  61. A few quick items…
    1) Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the tips. Even bigger thanks for all the belly laughs, giggles, snorts and grins. You’ve got a gift, please keep writing.
    2) Whoever wrote that Ikea should sponsor you is 100% correct.
    3) Inspired move on the black grout.
    4) Kick ass painting of Martha. Any chance Max will prints on Etsy?
    5) FINALLY, where did you get the kitchen light fixtures?

    • 1. Thank YOU!
      2. I agree! :)
      3. Thanks!
      4. I’m trying to convince him!
      5. They were thrift store finds in Buffalo, NY!

  62. PS I ordered a set of blue Ball jars today! They look SO much better in your pics than in the ones on the site to which you linked– must be the lighting. I’d not have bought them had I not seen your pics.

  63. That’s awesome! It looks great and God bless you for doing all that grouting. FYI — you can get black silicone caulk in the glass department of Home Depot (at least out here in MA you can) and/or at a glass store.

    • Thanks, Erica W.! I actually found some this weekend at The Tile Shop, but this is good to know!

  64. That Martha print is AMAZING. Max should sell prints on Etsy (I’d probably buy them all and give them to friends as presents).

  65. Black grout looks AWESOME with the white tile! I probably would’ve tried to discourage that combination as well, but I dunno…. you also painted your doors black, and as much as it sounds like it should look totally gross, the result is lovely and very jealousy-inducing. Good job, sir. Good job.

  66. Ummmm… Does Max do commissions? – because now I want a portrait of Martha for my kitchen so badly my brain hurts.

    Also, nice work with the black grout – looks fantastic!

  67. You are a landlord’s dream!

    A few weeks ago I had to let the plumber into one of my units and was absolutely gob stuck by the mess. The unit was an complete shithole! I just couldn’t believe that 1.) a person could live in such chaos; and 2.) that someone could have so little respect for something they do not own. You can bet I will not be relinquishing the full amount of her security deposit!

  68. Did your landlord give you the go-ahead to do all this or are you operating on the it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission assumption?

    Either way, I really love the black grout. My BK rental kitchen is a total hot mess with cabinets that are not only fug but are kind of falling apart. There’s also no backsplash, no range hood, nowhere to put a microwave and really crappy, stained countertops. It’s functional, for the size, at least. Alas, I don’t see staying here for long enough to make any investment worth it. I say that now and I’ll probably regret it 5 years from now when I still haven’t moved on but whatever.

    • I don’t really ask my landlord to do anything, but I really doubt I’ll be asking forgiveness for basically fully renovating their horrible kitchen! My landlords are extremely practical, cheap, and hands-off guys, and I think the likelihood that they’d care about any of this is slim to none.

      • I hate my drop ceilings and terrible tile floor the most of all. I’ve thought about buying fake wood laminate and covering the floor at least but I’ve just mostly covered them with area rugs. Don’t think there’s anything to be done about the ceilings without going way beyond the purview of a renter. My rent is cheap, at least. :)

        That’s good that you have landlords who won’t care. You just never know what they’ll care about, I guess. If you stay long enough, though, who cares if you lose a month’s security deposit, I guess, in a worst case scenario.

  69. Love it! Also love the book ends holding up your cookbooks, are they expensive and designer-y?

    • Ha! They’re vintage from eBay, knock-off of George Nelson Jacks (or Jax) bookends. Mine were cheap but the real things can get really spendy.

  70. Wow! Love the black grout, it blends the two-toned white tiles into unison and also has a nice,neat graphic element that better frames the stove, with the new kettle and lightly anchors the long shelf above.So chic!
    I just had installed a Numerar butcher block counter and although I love it, the sink surround is a pain, even after I broke down and treated it with polyurethane around it. (My french landlord and his buddy did a lousy sink install.) Otherwise it’s great and I even had enough left over for a small island.
    Single lever faucets are cleaner and last longer.(They don’t have washers.)So yeah,get a new faucet pronto,like the Ikea RINGSKĂ„R you will be sooo happy!
    I know it sounds really tacky, but maybe some fancy looking Contact paper around the sink, like “stainless” or black for a temporary-rental fix? I did that as a student over worn Formica and it lasted 2-3 years of intense cooking and weekly bread making on it. (You can put cutting boards on the dry counter areas to continue the butcher block thing.)
    As a former Brooklynite I gotta say your blog and Door Sixteen are so inspiring and motivating – just great, keep it up!

  71. Add my vote to the Martha print on Etsy tally!!

  72. Ok I can’t stop staring at this kitchen so I have to tell you how beautiful it is.
    One of my favourite things about your whole aesthetic is the como of black and white. Black grout white tile forever!
    But. Please don’t paint the kitchen black.
    The best thing about this kitchen is how bright and clean and open it is. It feels so airy and I feel black walls would just bring it all in. Remember the ceiling? (yeah im a long time lurker)
    That being said, have you considered the joys of a 30 to 50% cool grey?

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