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Island, here is some info on my herringbone installation in 2011.

posted by: enduring on 03.24.2013 at 06:58 pm in Kitchens Forum

I hope I can help. I copied and pasted my email to Phylhl and edited it to post here. Now remember, I'd never tiled before when I did this. It has been 2 years almost since I put this in. I may have forgotten some of the details.

Lets see. I determined my center starting point on each wall and did the first tile at the counter on end at 45 degrees. Then proceeded from there to each side working across and up. The center of the tile layout is a zigg-zagg line and the center is through that. Does that make sense? If the wall is centered the trimmed ends will look that same at both ends. As I explain below, I didn't center my tile to the center of the wall, but to the larger features in the area, like the stove or the window. I think this picture is telling that it was a first time tiler installing this. The edges of the cuts are not filed smooth like I started doing at the end of the job at the last few counter areas on the other wall. Oh well.
 photo IMG_1601-1_zps88d7e8aa.jpg

 photo IMG_1369_zps42029d20.jpg

I lucked out on my sink area pictured above, because I centered the zigzag line at the faucet instead of the center of the wall.

You may not want to center the wall but center on a feature like I did on my faucet. I also did the centering on my stove wall by centering the stove/cabinet, lucked out again as the ends look ok. Note that the right and left are different. It can be a problem if you end up with tiny slivers. For me I can deal with it but I am not a professional and have the time to manipulate the tiny pieces and use my imagination and think "these are so
cute". I don't think professionals do that :)
 photo IMG_1514.jpg

Also see how the center is averaged between the 2 sides of the herringbone tile, at the cabinet centerline.

I didn't concern myself with how these 2x4 ended at the cabinet bottoms (underneath), because I can't see them. But It may be something to consider with your cabinets.

Now the hard part for me was keeping that 45Degree work true. I used several drafting triangles and would tape them in place to brace my work while it dried.
 photo IMG_1434_zpsd7fce5f4.jpg

Here is an example of getting out of 45 when I tried to straighten my vertical direction. It multiplied the error with each row. See how some spaces are larger than the others, that is the error I was getting.
 photo IMG_1429-1.jpg

I ended up taking the entire area down and starting again. It hadn't dried yet. I was also using mastic as that was what was recommended by the tile shop where I bought the tile. I didn't know about Mongo and Bill V. yet. I found it easy to use and it is in a non wet area, for the most part. I do worry about the sink area though. If I ever put a backsplash in again I would use thinset. But so far it has been fine.

I used LOTS of the spacers, 4 for each side as each long side touches 2 tiles and I thought that was important that each tile had 2 spacers. There are errors in my wall but over all I think it turned out fairly well and it
is very pretty with my cabinets.

And don't freak when you see this, like I did:
 photo IMG_1355-Copy.jpg

Because it dried to this:
 photo IMG_1357_zps9c6e025b.jpg


clipped on: 04.07.2013 at 08:17 am    last updated on: 04.07.2013 at 08:19 am

RE: Kitchen budget revamp - almost complete! (jel stain!) (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: projectsneverend on 06.03.2008 at 08:40 am in Kitchens Forum

Thanks for the compliments. Yes, we're keeping DD for now. :)

Not sure what our granite is technically called. We used a remnant from an installer and he called it 'desert sand' but I could never find it online.?

We are debating taking out a wall in our kitchen because we have so little room for our table. House is pretty small and it's the only eating area. Which is another reason for stalling on the floor till we figure it out. lol. It would mean lots of new flooring.
Here's the wall and the other side of our tiny kitchen...
please excuse the mess.
and the other side of the wall...

Hence my 'projectsneverend' name!! Sigh.


Green wall
clipped on: 04.05.2013 at 04:01 pm    last updated on: 04.05.2013 at 04:03 pm

RE: Anyone REGRET getting a silgranite sink? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: lukkiirish on 09.11.2008 at 05:30 pm in Kitchens Forum

I've been doing some extensive research on them myself and found them at HD. Although HD carries them under the name of Pegasus, (their house brand) they are actually made by Blanco, the maker of Silgrant sinks. I have also not been able to find 1 negative comment about these sinks yet.

I'm from S Cal too, moved out of state a couple of years ago, it surprises me your KD hadn't heard of them especially with the amount of higher end homes there.


clipped on: 04.01.2013 at 10:03 pm    last updated on: 04.01.2013 at 10:04 pm

RE: Gel stain vs. Polyshades (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: celticmoon on 01.23.2010 at 04:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

Ditto. No comparison between the two. The Polyshades was sticky and dried tacky with a harsh gloss like this

The GF gel has a much nicer look, feel and finish.
And is way easier to work with. I would drive 100 miles to use GF gel over Polyshades.

Your kitchen situation sounds a lot like mine was.
1998 side wall

last wall
I have posted a way long 'how to' a bunch of times here. Search engine isn't pulling it up, so with apologies for the repetition here's more than you need to know:

It is a very doable project. You just need time, $50 in supplies, and patience. No skill.

My cabinets were frameless, good condition and good layout. But the finish had gone orange and ugly, with the oak graining too busy for me. Cabinet were 18 years old, very poorly finished oak veneered slab doors. Plain with no crevices. They didn't even take the doors off to finish them!!! No stain or finish was even put on the hinge side edges. Bad workmanship.

I looked into changing out cabinets, but that was way too much money, since my layout was OK. Painting didn't seem right because the doors were plain slabs. I considered new doors but that still meant a lot of money. For a few years I tried to figure a way to add molding toward a mission look, but the rounded door edges made that impossible. Then trolling in a kitchen emporium showroom this last year I noticed dark wood slab doors, kind of like mine, but darker. That was the answer.

First I tried Minwax Polyshades. Dicey product. Hard to brush on neatly, then gummy, then seemed to leave a sticky tacky residue. I did a thread on the Woodworking Forum "Evil Polyshades to the Rescue" which elicited a lot of conflicting "expert" opinions and arguments that one must strip to bare wood. (Thread may still be around as that Forum moves slowly.) Long ago when I was young and stupid I properly stripped acres of woodwork in an old Victorian. Never again! Jennifer-in-Clyde (in the same boat) and I stumbled around on that woodworking thread to get to this method.

-electric screwdriver or screw drill bits
-mineral spirits to clean the years of gunk off the cabinet
-miracle cloths (optional)
-fine sandpaper
-box-o-disposable gloves from Walgreen�s or the like
-old socks or rags for wiping on coats
-disposable small plastic bowls or plates, and plastic spoons or forks for stirring/dipping (optional)
-General Finishes water base Espresso stain (pretty thick, but not quite a gel) NOTE: This one may not even be a needed step if the Java gets it dark enough.
-General Finishes Java gel stain (poly based)
-General Finishes clear top coat (poly based)
-old sheets or plastic sheeting or newspaper

Rockler woodworking stores are a good place to find the General Finish products. Or some larger hardware stores. Quart of each was more than enough for my 60 doors and drawer fronts and goes for $12-14 at Rockler. There are smaller sizes if your project is small.

You will need a place to work and leave wet doors to dry overnight - I set up 2 spaces: garage for sanding/cleaning and basement for staining/sealing. Use newspaper or plastic to protect the surface and floor. Figure out how you will prop doors to dry. Plan blocks of 20-30-minutes for sanding/cleaning bundles of, say, 6 doors at a time. Then just 10-minute sessions to wipe on coats. The coats will need to dry for about 24 hours, so figure that each section of the kitchen will be doorless for 4 or 5 days. Divide the job up into manageable chunks.

Take off doors and drawer fronts. Try using screw drill bits on an electric drill if you don't have an electric screwdriver. Remove all the hardware. *Mark alike things so you know what goes back where.* Clean the doors thoroughly. Not with TSP but with something pretty strong and scrub well. There's years of grease there.
Sand LIGHTLY, just a scuffing really. Just enough to break the finish and give it some tooth, no more than a minute a door. A miracle cloth is good for getting most of the dust off. Then wipe well with mineral spirits to clean and get the last of the gunk off.

In order, we're gonna put on:
-General Finishes Espresso water based stain (1 coat) - optional
-General Finishes Java gel stain (couple coats)
-General Finishes Clear urethane gel topcoat in satin (couple coats)

But first put on work clothes, tie up your hair and pop your phone into a baggie nearby (you know it will ring). Glove up.
***First do a trial on the back of a door and check if Java coats alone suffice. If the Java alone is to your liking, just skip the Espresso and return it.

Open and stir up the Espresso stain, then spoon some into a plastic bowl. Close the tin so it doesn't get contaminated. Slide a sock over your hand, grab a gob of Espresso and smear it on. Wipe off the excess. Let it dry well - overnight is good. It will lighten as it dries, but then darken again with any other coat or sealer. A second coat might result in a deeper tone at the end - though it seemed like the second coat was just dissolving the first. YMMV.

Repeat with Java gel. This is thicker and poly based (*not water cleanup!*= messier). Color is a rich dark reddish brown. Wait for the second coat to judge if the color is deep enough for you. I wanted a very deep dark color, like melted dark chocolate. So I went pretty heavy on these layers. I did not sand between coats.
Repeat with clear gel topcoat. This will give you the strength you need in a kitchen.

Do the same process with the cabinet sides, face and toe kick area. Might need to divide that up also, and stagger the work: doors/cabinets/doors/etc.

NOTE: The cloth or socks used for the gels are very flammable! Collect and store them in a bucket of water as you go and then dispose of them all properly.

I suggest you put the doors back up after one clear coat, then you can check everything over and darken an area with more Java if needed, followed by a clear coat. When it all looks right, go over it all again with another clear gel coat. Or two. (See my follow up notes below). Install your hardware.
The feel of the finish should be wonderful, really smooth and satiny. Color deep and rich - way nicer than that faded, beat 80's oak color.

Definitely experiment first with the back of a door or drawer front to be sure it is the look you want. Yes, this takes a couple days to coat, dry, recoat, dry, etc but you may discover that the Java alone does the trick and this will save you a LOT of work. Front-end patience is worth it.

This is a pretty easy project to do. Hard to screw it up. The worst is the prep - relative to that, smearing on the coats is cake. I had over 60 pieces (big kitchen) AND island sides and book shelves, etc and I admit I lost steam partway through. Had to push myself through the last of it. But it was worth it. Folks think I got all new cabinets - it looks that good.

Now the finish will not be as durable as factory finish - go at it with a Brillo pad and you WILL abrade it. But it has held up pretty well. And after a year of pretty heavy use, I had just a few nicks, easily repaired.
(6/08 Add: I'm now (18 months later) seeing some wear near the pulls on the most used cabinets. Will add color with Java if it bugs me.)
(9/09 Add: Never did bother to touch up those couple spots. Bugging me a bit more, and I will get to it soon. It is the drinking glass cabinet and the snack cabinet, LOL. And the garbage pull-out. The rest still looks perfect. Lesson: Use an extra coat or 2 of gel on the way frequently used cabinets.)
(12/09 Add: I did finally touch up the spots that were worn. Used just Java to get the color right, then a bunch of top coats. Looks perfect again.)

I added smashing hardware, raised my pass-through, resurfaced the Corian (also simple but messy and tedious) and replaced the DW and sink. It looks gorgeous to me and I really enjoy the space - how it sits all quiet, clean and serene, then gets all crazy with the food and folks du jour. I couldn't be happier, especially that I didn't have to work another year just to pay for the update!!

Link to cabinets in progress: cosmetic update project/kitchen during/

Link to almost finished cabinet pix: cosmetic update project/finished bit by bit/?start=20

Good luck with your project!! And let me know if you try it and how it turns out.

Here is a link that might be useful: more before during and after pix


clipped on: 04.01.2013 at 10:55 am    last updated on: 04.01.2013 at 10:55 am

RE: Where did you buy your gel stains? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: johnmari on 02.18.2008 at 05:45 pm in Home Decorating & Design Forum

I found the gel stains SO much easier to work with than the thin stains because they were pretty much idiotproof. Wipe on, wipe off. Very Karate Kid. :-) No worries about blotching, lap marks, uneven penetration from board to board, raising grain (almost inevitable with water-based stain), or drips/runs on vertical surfaces. I was even able to get different species and subspecies of wood to come out the same color, which is very difficult to do with the thin stains. Goodness knows I wasted enough good wood trying!

A friend and I stained what seemed like acres :-) of oak beadboard and trimwork in my previous house in 2006 with Zar stain and it went very quickly. Cheap brush in one hand (the white-bristled "chip brush" worked really well) to apply, rag in the other to wipe off. I am sure everyone knows this already but rags used with oil-based products will be flammable until they are thoroughly dry. Lay them flat or hang them on a clothesline outside to dry out, don't wad them up in a pile. I ran out of rags in no time and had to buy a boxful at the hardware store; if a thrift store near you has the ratty clothes sold "by the pound" go pick out all the t-shirts you can get and cut them up, but it was cheaper for me to get the boxed ones. Oil-based products will dissolve latex gloves so get nitrile ones - those are labeled "non-latex" and are usually blue or purple. Cheapest by the box of 100 at the drugstore and have a bazillion uses! Recoat time (if it's even necessary) was only 3 hours. The weather was very warm and humid so we opened all the windows and put fans in them but that was almost as much to keep us from dripping sweat all over our work - it didn't smell as bad as the regular oil-based stain, and although I bought a respirator I took it off after about an hour because the sweat was literally pooling in it (ewwwww) and I was able to work with the stain without it with that good ventilation. I did have to leave the varnishing to my friend because I chose an oil-based varnish (SW Fastdry Oil Varnish) for a less "plasticky" appearance than polyurethane and because I wanted the "ambering" effect that you don't get with water-based products, and that was pretty smelly stuff. That was done the next day after the staining just because that's how the timing worked out. You can use water-based poly over an oil stain as long as you let the stained piece sit for several days in order for every trace of the mineral spirits to dissipate.

About the "use oil stain to feed the wood" idea - it is a very common myth that you need to "feed" wood with oils. Manufacturers take advantage of this long-standing notion in order to sell you products. Wood does not need to be "fed" or "nourished", it's dead. Humidity and temperature changes, UV exposure, and water are what cause wood to deteriorate, not a lack of oil. Sure, wood will absorb oil (unless you apply it to wood with a film-forming finish such as polyurethane, varnish, etc.) which is also how a penetrating oil finish like Danish Oil or Waterlox works - but wood will also absorb water, alcohol, kerosene, lemonade, or pretty much any other liquid that sits on an unprotected or minimally-protected wood surface. Oily substances can act as a slight protectant by repelling/preventing absorption of water to some degree, although a film-forming finish does so much more effectively, and can impart a somewhat shiny surface (as well as a gummy, dirt-attracting surface if overused), but they do not "feed" that tree corpse.


clipped on: 03.31.2013 at 11:17 pm    last updated on: 03.31.2013 at 11:18 pm

RE: Gel stain vs. Polyshades (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: lazygardens on 01.23.2010 at 09:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

I showed your post to my husband and he was quick to point out the our cabinets have recessed panels and frames where the grain changes direction at the joints. He said that those areas would never look right and I would be fighting a losing battle.

That would be the same whether you used Polydshades or gel stain.

1 - wipe the stain over the whole frame with circular strokes.
2 - Wipe off the short sections first, then the long ones, following the grain.

The END!

And the General Finishes is way easier to use then Minwax ... texture and drying time are better.


clipped on: 03.17.2013 at 11:16 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2013 at 11:17 pm

RE: Please educate me re: garbage disposal air switches (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: suzannesl on 02.22.2013 at 05:59 pm in Kitchens Forum

The easiest thing to do is to go down to Home Depot or Lowe's and buy one. Insinkerator is widely available and works perfectly for right around $60. Amazon is less if that works better for you.

When you buy this, you need all these parts:

The plug you see here goes into the wall under the sink. The plug on your GD plugs into the box. The tubing is attached to the underside of the button. The kit comes with 3 different buttons: chrome, white, and satin nickel. You use one and toss the other two. If you need a different color/finish, that's when you buy the ones you see being sold as single units.

You'll love having this thing!!


clipped on: 02.22.2013 at 09:03 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2013 at 09:05 pm

RE: Wood Floor in Kitchen - How do you all do it... (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: pps7 on 01.24.2012 at 12:50 pm in Kitchens Forum

we have pine floors throughout the house so you can imagine the dents!

I have a few braided jute rugs in our kitchen with thick rug pad underneath. They are cheap so if they get trashed in a few years I will replace them. it's worth it to me for the peace of mind.


clipped on: 02.08.2013 at 11:45 pm    last updated on: 02.08.2013 at 11:46 pm

RE: Stand-alone fridge? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: remodelfla on 03.16.2012 at 04:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

It's just 2 of us though I cook ALOT for people all the time. Tons of fresh veggies and fruits make their home in there. When we have large parties... I fire up all the small extra frigs we have around the place. One in DH's shop, one by the outdoor kitchen, and one in the screen room. But most other times it's holds a surprising amount. I don't can though. We have a 36" FD Liebherr. My layout wiht the bakers table screamed for a all stainless frig and I want true counter depth.

Here it is in the context of the rest of my kitchen. Not the best cell phone shot.


clipped on: 02.03.2013 at 09:26 pm    last updated on: 02.03.2013 at 09:28 pm

RE: Show me your undersink drawers! (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: beekeeperswife on 02.02.2013 at 01:36 pm in Kitchens Forum

A couple I have saved from Pinterest

 photo sinkdrawers3.jpg

 photo sinkdrawers2.jpg

 photo sinkdrawers1.jpg


Ssink drawers
clipped on: 02.02.2013 at 05:10 pm    last updated on: 02.02.2013 at 05:11 pm

RE: Show me your undersink drawers! (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: muskokascp on 02.02.2013 at 12:40 pm in Kitchens Forum

Peke I apologize for taking so long to post the pictures, but here they are. The top drawer is false of course, the second has scoop sides to accommodate the sink and the third drawer has normal straight sides.
 photo DSC_0062_zpse201a867.jpg
 photo DSC_0064_zps26ea0cf1.jpg


Drawers under sink
clipped on: 02.02.2013 at 05:06 pm    last updated on: 02.02.2013 at 05:08 pm

Kitchen open floor plan remodel, 6 months later. Thanks GW

posted by: ratrem on 12.30.2012 at 01:51 pm in Kitchens Forum

We moved in the end of June and have SLOWLY been putting the finishing touches on. We gutted the first floor and much of the second floor. This is a remodel of my husband's grandma's place that we moved into. It is a 2 family philly style in Boston. Auntie lives on the first floor w/ 2 hidden bedrooms on 2nd floor, We occupy the second (living space) and third floor (3 bedrooms, 2 baths). We do not have have a finished basement or family room so this is our only living space for soon to be 2 kids, 2 dogs and 2 adults, so space is a premium and opening the floor plan was a must.

We still need to finish painting and Window Treatments (why do these need to be so expensive), new front porches and update our heating system. We already put in all new windows (both units), new electrical (our unit), new floors, 2 new bathrooms, new insulation, kitchen.... an so on.

This forum was a great help in deciding what we needed, wanted and great for resources. There are quit a few things that we did that are direct result of all the research and threads on GW. Thanks:

photos on a cloudy day, much brighter when it isn't so gray out:

looking into the living space from kitchen:
into kitchen from living space:
saved the old dining hutch:
Living space:
My office tucked away with door to front porch and DD easel, my desk is tucked away on the other side as well as a closet.
Pantry/half bath/laundry off the kitchen on the right of photo:
Close up of quartzite:
Anyone that lived in the city might understand why I am so excited about this "room" our half bath/laundry/pantry. To not have to walk 2 or 3 flights of stairs to the basement to do laundry has been awesome (especially since I have a new baby coming end of January). This room needs to be painted and I think I will hang a curtain or fabric to close of the w/d. This was an old useless unfinished 3 seasons porch:

Thanks for looking, sorry if it is so long.


Microwave shelf above drawers in pantry area next to refridgator
clipped on: 12.30.2012 at 05:10 pm    last updated on: 12.30.2012 at 05:17 pm

RE: Dishwasher air vent (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: suzannesl on 10.09.2012 at 12:03 pm in Kitchens Forum

I live in CA so I did a bunch of research when I found out the rest of the country doesn't have to have that ugly, gunky air gap monstrosity on the sink. Result: it's all in the plumbing. The purpose of the air gap is to keep the dishwasher water from backflowing into your supply water. The air gap does the job, but so does a high loop in the plumbing. All things considered, I'd much rather have a high loop under the sink than a grody cylinder sitting on the sink. We have a hole for the air gap in case anybody ever wants to check, but we installed an air switch for the garbage disposal in that hole instead. In the picture below, you see the top of one of the push button switches (there are 3 to match your sink finish) at sink level. When you push the switch your garbage disposal turns on and off instead of a light switch look-alike on the wall.

Here is a link that might be useful: air switch


clipped on: 12.26.2012 at 10:44 pm    last updated on: 12.26.2012 at 10:45 pm

RE: Range Hood Advice (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: circuspeanut on 06.26.2011 at 05:33 pm in Kitchens Forum

Catvault, the blower vents directly into the metal ducting, so nothing ever touches the wood hood cover itself. Here's what mine looked like before we built the plywood cover. What you see is the sturdy wooden support frame that holds the whole schmear up, the liner (not very visible, underneath -- in our case I tiled a liner rather than using stainless) and the blower after being connected to the ducting. If we didn't care about looks, it would have functioned just fine left like this: ;-)
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And this is completely cheesy, but I drew this in a hurry for someone else on the forum who couldn't visualize the installation, perhaps it will help?

One thing I learned after drawing this was that these units don't actually drop down into the hole in the liner, as you'd expect, but instead are pushed up into the hole with clips that expand once it's popped up in, then screwed in for safety. This means that you can remove the unit from below if you should ever need to, without destroying the decorative exterior of your hood.

(PS: does 'catvault' mean that you have a number of felines locked up somewhere while you're doing this remodel..?)


For venting w/ cabinet look.
clipped on: 04.15.2012 at 05:47 pm    last updated on: 04.15.2012 at 05:48 pm

RE: Fully Integrated Dishwasher Question!!! (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: Chibimimi on 01.21.2012 at 03:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

It may depend on what kind of drying cycle your dishwasher has. If it has a heated cycle (with the heating element in the bottom of the washer) , it does cause steam and might be a problem. But a dishwasher with an air-circulating drying cycle should be okay. I would talk to an appliance store about this.

I've had fully integrated dishwashers in my last kitchen and in this one. Both were Askos, with the air-circulating drying. I've had no problem with warping.


Air drying dw
clipped on: 01.21.2012 at 08:44 pm    last updated on: 01.21.2012 at 08:45 pm