Renovating an investment condo – on a small budget! Today – a new backsplash!

I took possession of my new investment condo at Briston Private on Friday and right away — literally as soon as I got the keys —  I loaded up the car with tiles and headed off to meet Alex, my contractor, so we could get started.

Among other things, I’m doing an inexpensive update to the kitchen. It had older cupboards where the cabinet boxes were fine but the doors were older and had been painted quite  few times. I’ve ordered new Shaker doors (in Decorator White) from Swedish Door Co. which I’m hoping will be in this week. One thing I really wanted to change n the meantime, however, was the backsplash.

The backsplash was white subway tile which normally I’d really like, but whoever installed it did so by using metal edging on the corners, which I really hated. Plus, it was crooked in places, and they hadn’t run the tile down the wall behind the stove so that you could see quite a lot of the drywall behind it.

Here’s the before, and you can see how that metal edge on the corner catches the eye. If you look closely, you can see how the tile isn’t straight either. I’m one of those people where if things aren’t perfectly straight, it bugs me, so I decided it had to go.

briston alex 1

I found this inexpensive marble knock off (it’s ceramic)  for $ 6.88/sq ft at Home Depot and nabbed it. (The marble tiles are about $ 19.98 sq ft.)

shaker 4

Alex initially thought he would have to remove the drywall to remove the existing subway tile and then install new drywall, but it turned it was so poorly mortared in places that he was able to remove it with his hands. Here’s what it looks like right now: we got rid of the metal edges entirely and are using white PVC edging. (The red line is the laser that Alex uses to ensure that things are perfectly straight.)

briston alex 3

And here’s Alex! (That track light behind him will be replaced with a pot light next week.)

briston alex 4When I dropped by this AM to check on things and drop off the grout, I  asked Alex  to extend the tile down the wall behind the stove, to hide that big gap between the sides of the cabinet and the stove. Luckily, I bought lots of tiles, so we should have enough. I had to go to three Home Depots to get the quantity we needed. At that price, they’d sold out of the white very quickly, so I grabbed more “just in case.” He wasn’t sure where I wanted to stop the tile so he’d cut a straight line, but it’s easy to continue the pattern now that he knows what I want.

briston alex 5

For grout, I went with a basic white (Mepei, Lowes, unsanded, $ 9.99 a bag and we’ll need two because there are so many grout lines) . I thought about using a light grey to show off the hexagonal shape of the tiles but I decided to stick with white.

I’m going to be there tomorrow to install new door knobs (the existing ones are really dated) and I can’t wait to see what it looks like grouted!

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