Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Working within the parameters - and Phase 1 of Operation Depoopification completed!

Our new house is coming together.  Slowly, but at least we're moving forward, so that's something.  I think the hardest part about trying to redo things to suit our style is working within the parameters of things we just can't afford to replace right now.



Granite countertops.  

Oh, those countertops.  They're not HORRIBLE, but they're definitely not our style.  They're just super dark and super yellow.  Some people see them and comment how beautiful they are - and granite countertops really are beautiful, so I'm thankful that at least they're not laminate.  But the kitchen is relatively small and the dark makes it feel that much smaller.  

But we have to work with it because granite is INSANELY expensive.  And somewhere down the road, we want to completely gut the kitchen and make it more functional...(can anyone say more cabinet space?!?!), so why replace something twice, right?  Right.  

So here is my dilemma.  How to make the kitchen feel brighter and less yellow without replacing the countertops - which, of course, have a ton of yellow in them?   Have I mentioned that my husband hates the color yellow?  Like all yellow.  Butter yellow, sunshine yellow, highlighter yellow - you name it, he hates it.  Especially when decorating a house.  I like me some yellow, but it has to be the right shade in the right setting.  And based on how many gross issues we've had in this house with pee, etc., we naturally want to steer clear of the yellows  :/

Here are the befores...not awful, actually quite nice.  But not our style.  This is the first time in the history of ever for us that we're able to actually make a home our own - and we're doing it with gusto ;P  Perhaps a bit too much gusto, as we've been asked numerous times why we bit off so much at one time.  The answer?  We thought we had much more time before we had to actually live in the house and thought we'd be able to accomplish the majority of what we wanted to do.  Wrong.  Uber wrong.  Anyhoo...

I thought I'd start with the tile.  My thought was that if that looked less yellow, then the countertops would be less yellow.  They do have a TON of different colors in them, after all.  A lighter color should theoretically bring out different shades in it.

Again, can't afford to replace it right now, and I REALLY don't want to go to all the work of ripping out tiles if I don't have to.  So I pinned a TON of tutorials on how to paint tile.  Check them out hereherehere, and here.

Here is the before - this is actually behind the stove, and I painted on the coffee bar, but it gives you the main idea.  Very yellow.  Also very dirty.  Yuck.

I decided to do this while the kids were in bed.  That was a very good call, because oil based paint is VERY stinky and gross.


Painters blue tape
Caulk removal tool (Mine is a two-in-one, but this would work, too)
Small paint brush
Paint thinner to clean brush

I removed the outlet cover, and caulk where the tile meets the countertop with the tool - quite easy, actually.  Then I cleaned the tile with TSP - which once I read the primer can, it specifically said NOT to use, so YAY for me.  The next walls will be cleaned with Ammonia ;P 

I let it dry for about 30 minutes, taped it all off, then broke out the primer.  I didn't take pictures of these steps because I wasn't sure if it was going to work, but I will take pics of the next walls I do.

Since my tiles were relatively matte and had some texture to them, I didn't bother scuffing them up.  I just lightly coated them with the primer one tile at a time, brushing in all directions, and let it dry for an hour.  Scuffed that coat up a bit, wiped it off, then put another light coat of primer on and let it dry overnight.  

In the morning, it looked pretty gross.  The primer was very matte, which just looked terrible, and the white was WAY too bright for the countertops.  Cue panicking.  But, I carried on and broke out the oil based paint.  We had a gallon that we had bought for the trim and then HATED, but it was already tinted to SW Everyday White and was non-returnable.  The nice people at Home Depot tinted it to SW Realistic Beige for me, but made sure I knew that it would not be exactly that color since the starting color was not ultra pure white.  Not a problem.  Better than the yellow ;P

Taking my little brush, I painted on the paint one tile at a time, allowing the primer to show through in some of the recessed areas to highlight the texture.  

Here's the after:

What do you think?  Too light?  I don't know, I kind of like it.  Only time will tell if it will hold up :)  But for now, it'll have to do!

**Update** a year later, and it's still going strong!

Here's a side-by-side:

For Part 2 of kitchen backsplash painting, go here and for Part 3, go here.

Also, Phase 1 of Operation Depoopification of the Poop Caves is complete!  Ceilings in all 4 bathrooms have been painted :D

Playroom bathroom:

Kids' Bathroom - consequently, we won't be using any of these paint colors ;P

Powder Room - also not using any of these paint colors...

Master Bathroom:

That's all for now :D


  1. The painted backsplash looks great--can't wait to see what you do to the rest of it! Thanks for linking up my tutorial.

    1. Thanks for your great tips! Don't think I could have done it without them :)

  2. Love love love the new tiles! You're inspiring me to finally consider painting the horrible dark grey floor tiles we have in a few areas of our house. Don't want to pay to redo them, and painting them has been suggested. Your's look GREAT. And I love that kitchen (yes, more cabinets for sure!) but I am cool with yellow ;). Have you considered accenting with a light grey? Good luck!!


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