Wanna Meet My Stylish Humble House?
As y’all know, I’ve yet to spend a night in the Cross House.
I live twenty miles to the west, in a house wholly the opposite of the Cross House. It is humble to the extreme.
In preparing to move into the big house though, I have been simultaneously getting the humble house ready to sell. I have never written about this before, but the project has consumed a lot of time this past year.
This effort began in 2013, when I began a full-scale renovation. However in March, 2014, I closed on the big house and (insert unsettling music) all work on the humble house stopped. The tools and sawhorses and materials gathered dust during the ensuing years.
In 2020, I resumed work on the humble house.
A goal since 2013 was to renovate the humble house very stylishly but cheaply. In short, I am seeking a stylish humble house.
Thus, throughout the house I have been using the cheapest tiles available for the kitchen and three bathrooms: ultra-basic 4×4 ceramic. And how, you will be thinking, is that stylish?
Well, you see, I am using white tiles, and pale taupe tiles, in a checkerboard pattern:
I know! Brilliant!
Adjacent to the tiles in the kitchen (above) are granite counters. And how, you will be thinking, are granite counters cheap?
Well, you see, I found the counters, pre-cut, at a local lumberyard. Eight-feet long. On sale: $80 each.
Huh? $80 bucks for a granite counter? And they had four? I purchased two. Squee!
Then I realized that I would need backlashes. I called a granite manufacturer in Wichita to get a quote on a normal 4-inch-high backsplash: $350 each. WHAT?
So, I would have to spend $700 on custom backsplashes for my two granite counters costing $160?
Well, that made no sense! A few days later, while showering, I thought: Where is it carved in stone that backsplashes need to be 4-inches high? Why not (drum roll, please) 24-inches high?
While slightly unsettled to hear a drum roll in my shower, I was nonetheless excited to think: I could buy the other two counters, and use them as very tall backsplashes! How dramatic! How cheap! And…how stylish!
Then the four counters sat leaning against my kitchen wall from 2013 to this year.
In creating a stylish but cheap kitchen, it is vital to assure a clean look. So, between the stove and fridge is one of the eight-foot-long granite counters, topped by the two-foot-high granite backsplash, which is topped by an eight-foot-long shelf made from a 2×12 stained white and piled with my white 1950s Starglow dinnerware.
With nary a small appliance on the counter! There is just a looooooong sweep of granite. This is all gorgeous. And…stylish!
Behind the stove and fridge, I installed electrical outlets so the next home owner could plop down a microwave or toaster, with the unsightly cords hidden behind the major appliances.
I know! Clever!
On the opposite wall though, I had Justin slice the eight-foot-long counters in two, creating a pair of four-foot counters to each side of the sink, with more TALL backsplashes. But, where to place electrical outlets?
…note my cleverness. The outlet was installed after the tiling was done. This way, I could assure that the outlet was precisely centered between tiles. People rarely consider this but I think the end result makes a huge difference.
And, while I only needed a single outlet, I installed a pair so that the end width would be outlet rather than tile. Imagine, if you will, how sloppy it would have looked with a single outlet and then a tiny strip of cut tile to one side. Oh, the horror.
I know! Clever!
Then, I picked a taupe cover plate to complement the taupe tiles, even though all the other cover plates in the kitchen are white.
I know! Clever!
My humble house will be a lot of work to finish. A lot. After I move into the big house, my routine will then shift. Instead of driving east every afternoon to work on the big house, I will drive west to work on the humble house until it is ready for sale.
And I hope being clever = nice profit.
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