Kitchen Reno Reveal & Subway Tile Back splash Tutorial

Hi Guys!

When we originally looked at our house to buy I told my husband “oh we can totally live with this dated kitchen for at LEAST a year”. AKA in my mind I knew the minute I finished painting the three main rooms downstairs I was totally going to tackle the kitchen. So one month after moving into our house….our kitchen looked like this.ImageImageImagewhoops. My husband is the best. He totally didn’t freak…..Image

**TIP** We got rid of all of our demo garbage via a bagster which you can buy from lowes for $30 and then it just costs about $150 for them to come pick it up in 3 business days..pricey but cheaper than an ugly dumpster hanging out in your driveway.

We originally had a drop ceiling in our kitchen and when we had our brother in law come give his advice..we ended up ripping it down and finding another drop ceiling…which we also ripped down obviously …along with the ceiling drywall. Right down to the studs baby! Then when my brother in law left, we had no clue what to do. But after A LOT of thinking and research, my husband and I decided HE would hang bead board as a ceiling, and I would assist. Perfecto! So that’s what he did, by himself-this kitchen was mostly his accomplishment so I can’t take the credit away but I did do the cosmetics ;). ImageImageImageImageImageIMG_5941

Some after pics :). I will do a lot of future posts on a bunch of the items in my kitchen! If you see it here…we did it 🙂 MY awesome husband put in the butcher block counters which were from IKEA! He just had to cut them, fit them in & then I waxed them. He also put in the awesome farmhouse sink I so badly wanted.  We kept the original cabinets and just took the doors off and bought new grey doors from Ikea. We put white glass doors on top and added all new hardware. I ripped down two cabinets to the left of the sink & made my own “open concept” shelving. (See previous post on how to make your own shelves!) We ripped all the wallpaper off the walls. The walls weren’t TOO damaged, just spots were missing drywall because the ceiling hung so low, so my dad and I spackled & dry walled those spots. Then after all the spackle was dry we sanded & I primed the walls. (ALWAYS prime the walls if it’s drywall). I then gave the walls two good coats of paint. I love how the light blue turned out because it really lightens it up! I painted ALL the doors & trim (which was peach-ugh!) white. I made my own faux roman shades and curtain (see future post). There was a cabinet above the stove where we wanted to put our convection microwave. So we ripped the cabinet out and my husband redid a smaller shelf so that we could fit our microwave under it and above the stove! I also refinished the table the previous owners had left us (see future post) as well as new slips for some old pillows I had (again see future post).

I also did the white tile subway backsplash. This was a lot of fun! It was my first time doing a back splash & working with tile. I had a blast learning and I’m very proud how it came out.I was super nervous doing this but after a day I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Materials needed: two boxes of white subway tile, tile glue, notched trowel , rubber grout float, sponge, and good tile cutter. I went with white grout. A lot of research told me to start in the middle-WHICH IS RIGHT. It makes the pattern work out perfectly. So I started above the sink. However, the original “back splash” was laminate. Again, not making it very easy for me. So I tried to rip as much of it I could off….by using a hammer & flat head-not fun. I ended up giving up after 2 hours of splinters (there was plywood under the laminate) . Again after some research & wine, I just decided to “rough up” the spots that the laminate was still on with my power sander. This way, the glue would stick to the roughness, which it did-thank goodness. ImageImageOnce the walls were all prepped, I dry tested my pattern to make sure I liked it. You can do this by just holding up piece by piece or by laying it out on the floor. I don’t have patience so I just did a quick piece by piece check and forged ahead with my eyes closed, praying it’d work out. You place the glue on using the notched trowel. You want to go in a 45degree angle. Not fully vertical and a thin layer-because that way the glue wont seep through each tile piece as much. You only want to do a little section at a time, because the glue dries quickly. ImageI researched a lot of patterns, but I like the standard subway pattern. The easiest way to do this pattern (I think) is to glue 5 pieces in a row and then do 5 pieces in a row right below but the one below should start in the middle of the top. (see pic?) This is hard to explain, but I hope you get my point! That way the edges don’t match up. I continued to do this row by row doing a few pieces in each row. But then I got to the outlet, whoops didn’t think that one out…but really is there any EASY/PERFECT way to do the outlet? Probably. But again, I don’t have patience, so I just wing’d i t and did it my own way. I cut a TON of tile pieces until it was just right. IMG_3142. You can see I had to cut the pieces around the outlet and still had to make sure the pattern didn’t look too off. It’s not perfect but no one has noticed, because the outlet cover hides it mostly! When you get to the end, you just have to cut the tile to fit nice and snugly. This was the trickiest for me, because my tile cutter was awful. But after a lot of freaking out and breaking tiles..and I mean A LOT, it worked.

Once you have done your whole pattern you can wipe it all down GENTLY with a wet sponge to make sure the glue didn’t seep through onto the front of your tile. Then you want to let the glue dry for an entire day. When it’s nice and dry you take your grout and rubber grout float & spread the grout all over so that it gets nice & thick into the cracks, super easy. I did section by section and wiped off with a wet sponge. Let that dry for 24hours and you’re finished! MY BIGGEST TIP for this project is to invest in a good tile cutter, especially if you think you’ll be redoing a bathroom or changing your backsplash up in a few years…did I do this? NO. And I will buy a GOOD ONE one for our bathroom reno in the upcoming months. We bought the $20 tile cutter from lowes & I cursed my way through the entire process and broke a ton of tiles, thank goodness they are so cheap! But if you’re working with expensive tile GET A GOOD TILE CUTTER! It’s worth it. HAPPY BACKSPLASH DOING!IMG_3140IMG_3139 IMG_3165IMG_3143IMG_5943

(do you like the blue chevron background in the glass cabinet?…SO easy..remember…if you see wrapping paper you like-always buy it! I taped this to the back..its wrapping paper :)!!)

Hope you enjoyed!


Amanda Andy


About Amanda Andy Sudol

I'm a city nurse trying to kick pediatric cancer's ass while taking my frustrations out on furniture & house reno in the suburbs. I also renovate anything that I possibly can get my hands on. From knocking down ceilings & walls to building new kitchens and walls and painting any piece of furniture I find...I'm trying to learn how to do it all. My husband thinks I'm nuts, but there's no other way I'd like it :). I hope you enjoy reading my journey to HGTV stardom' (ha my dreams)!
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2 Responses to Kitchen Reno Reveal & Subway Tile Back splash Tutorial

  1. Katie Gannon (Cushing) says:

    Hi Amanda! Your house looks beautiful! Your sister posted your blog site on facebook – that’s how I found it. I love doing DIY stuff also. We just bought a house in Middletown and I am looking to upcycle some old furniture. Do you have fave spots that you go to for vintage/used furniture? Also, what color stain did you use on your dining room table?

    Thanks! Hope all is well.


    • Hey Katie!
      Thanks so much! Awesome to hear you love DIY! I get A LOT of my furniture from the curb surprisingly ha! And garage sales in the spring/summer. I’m still on the search for good furniture consignnment shops up by me in Little Silver, but my favorite/best success will always be Habitat for Humanity in Asbury Park. It’s awesome! Some great pieces that need a little lovin’. Also craigslist! (Just got a piece today). The stain i used is Minwax special walnut. I use it for everything! Hope that helps. Good luck!

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