Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
So anyway… I’d brought my chosen tiles to the Kitchen/Bath Showroom and – with the help of the sales-girl – tried to find a suitable “match” from their extensive selection of itty-bitty quartz countertop samples. I did find a couple – but nothing that really thrilled me. We were kinda doing the “Wellll… It’s not like the countertop is “touching” the tub tiles” thought-process, but that’s just another way of saying “Nope. That doesn’t match – At All!”
Close ain’t close enough, and besides, I have to think about matching the sink (which, most-definitely *will* touch the countertop!). We found one that was a dead-on match for the “Goldilocks” floor tile I’d picked up (kind of a deep, honey color), but THAT tile is $6.25/sq ft! (Waaaaaaaaay the hell over budget). And another sample that was close, but still a little too "yellow."
I went home, frustrated, after that – and did some work-work. But I still had countertops on the brain and decided I really needed to pick-up some freebie samples and bring ‘em home to see them in their natural environment, as it were…
(I really am driving myself f**king batsh*t crazy over this, ya know?!!)
Sooo… I went to Lowes to look at their selection of solid surface countertops. Asked the sales-droid about Silestone and he kinda sneered something about Silestone being a “Competitor’s Product” and muttered “Home Depot” under his breath. Ummm, okay. Sorry, I didn’t know! (Jeez!), but he showed me a display of “their” Quartz Countertop equivalent. Okay. There were a couple of possibilities, so I asked if they had small samples I could take home. “No, but we have this pamphlet showing all of the colors.”
Uhhh, no. Paper pamphlets do not take the place of actual samples. So, sorry Lowe’s, I won’t be buying your Silestone Equivalent Product! :-P~
Back to Home Depot… Lo and behold, they DID have little 3-4” square samples – of SILESTONE even. They didn’t have sales-droids to help me, but I managed to help myself to several samples which I brought home… Funny thing there was: There was a Home Depot “Associate” (who was NOT wearing an orange apron) who happened to wander up behind me.
Ohhhh great! I know these guys. They want to sell Home Depot Remodeling Services – BUTTTTTT – they don't like to deal with the "just-the-wife!" (Been There, Done That!). (Go back to the Kitchen Reno Project [October 2008] – or even the first couple of Bathroom Reno posts [circa February 2011] to hear my rants about THAT!) (They're all buried under Home Improvement.)
“So have you heard about what we’re offering today?” he begins.
“No. But if it has anything to do with Kitchen or Bath Renovations, I’m not interested.”
Undaunted, he continues “Well, we’ve got a special promotion right now!”
“Yeah, well, the kitchen is DONE and the bathroom is underway.”
“Are you planning on having your kitchen or bathroom updated?” (I’m sorry, are you DEAF?!)
“Kitchen is DONE and bathroom is already contracted.”
“Well, how far along are you on your bathroom? We can yada-yada, blahda-blahda, Lifetime Guarantee, all done in one day, ya-ya-ya-ya-ya”
“Contract is signed. Work begins next week.” And I pointedly turned my back on him.
He continued blathering but I pretty-much ignored him completely as I continued on my quest to find quartz countertop samples. I found three different “contenders” for the new counter-top and brought ‘em home…
Here is Bachelorette #1:
This is Silestone “Beige Olimpo” quartz
Mosaic backsplash behind, Tub Tile to the left & right, and Metropolis Sabbia underneath
The Sabbia *does* have some hints of the honey-tone in it – but it doesn’t really show-up in this picture.
The Beige Olimpo *does* go – amazingly well – with the Crossville “Goldilocks” floor tile. But Goldilocks is INSANELY expensive (and really isn't a contender). Plus, I think it’s gonna be too dark in our bathroom.
Beige Olimpo, on top of Goldilocks floor tile
Tub tile to the left. Mosaic backsplash to the right
Yes, that combo would be perfect if our bathroom was bigger and I had a bottomless budget. But… “Ain’t gonna happen!”
Bachelorettes #2 and 3:
Tigris Sand is the top tile.
Blanco City is the bottom tile
Sabbia Floor Tile is in the middle
Tigris Sand looks good next to the mosaic. It’s not too far-off, tonally, from the floor tile (and would probably go well with the “Sedona Beige” sink), but it is definitely more “warm” than the tub tile on the right.
Blanco City? Well, I’m starting to warm-up to that tile. Tonally, it goes quite nicely with the floor and tub-tiles. But it’s speckled, so I’m not sure if it will “compete” with the mosaic backsplash. And I need to check it against the “Sedona beige” porcelain sample (for the sink).
Blanco City on top of Mosaic Tiles
Will the speckles be “too much” I wonder???
Well, I have enlisted Di’s assistance again. We’ll be going back to the showroom on Thursday afternoon to FINALIZE the tile, grout and quartz selections – ONE WAY OR ANOTHER!!!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
So I've been having some significant "challenges" with fitting new-stuff into the fridge. And no, there are no "Science Projects" lurking in the back corners! Okay, there was one *starting* in the Crisper (Evidently one month is about the "max" you can hope for with those "Forever Bags" I was yammering about earlier)!
Annnnnywaaaaaayyyyy... I decided it was time to clear-out some veggies. And I needed to do it in a Big Way. (Well, big for DH and I). So I decided to make a "Jeez-it's-Time-to-Clean-Out-The-Fridge-Casserole." And, even though I'm not in marketing, I'm reasonably sure that's not a real good name for a recipe, so I've decided to call it my "Farm-Share-Casserole!"
QT's Farm-Share Casserole
- 1-1/2 lbs summer squash - it could be ANY kind of squash. I happened to have Patty-Pans and Yellow Straight-necks.
- 1 small- to medium-sized eggplant
- 2 lbs skinned tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, grated
- 2-3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 stick of melted butter
- 1 package (5 oz) garlic-butter croutons
- 1 can condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
- 8 oz sour cream
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 can of French-fried onions (or you could skip that)
- Several "shakes" of McCormick Perfect Pinch "Salad Supreme" seasoning (or whatever suits you!)
Pre-heat oven to 375*F.
While the onions/garlic were sauteeing on medium heat, I grated the carrots and chopped the tomatoes into smallish chunks (1/4-1/2") and held them on the cutting board.
Then I dumped the tomatoes/carrots/spinach into the now-empty bowl while the other veggies were cooking...
Once the squash and eggplant are fork-tender, remove from the stove and pour off the water. You *could* let 'em cool at this point. I chose to just dump 'em into my baking pan. I used a 9 x 12 x 2-1/2" disposable aluminum pan. I didn't feel like ransacking the cupboards to find my casserole dish, but I'm guessing you'd need a 2.5 quart (or bigger) casserole to cook this.
Next, I combined ALL the veggies in the baking dish. Threw in the Chicken Soup. Blorped in the Sour Cream. Added about 3/4 of the bag of cheddar cheese and half a bag of croutons. Drizzled-in the melted butter Mixed everything up real good. Tasted it. Added more Seasoning...
Topped it with French-Fried onions and the last of the cheese, then tossed it in the oven for an hour. About 10 mins before the end of cooking, it was starting to brown-up, so I put a sheet of aluminum foil on top - to keep it from burning.
It's done now and it is deeeeeee-lish!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
I was gonna title this Renovation Rant, but I think it’s too early for that. And, with any luck, I *won’t* have any ranting to do (Yeah, hope springs eternal!!!).
Okay… This is gonna be a long post! So if you’re not interested in bathroom renovation projects “Move along… Nothing to see here!”
If you ARE interested in bathroom renovations… Well… Grab a cup of coffee (or a stiff drink!) and get comfy! This is gonna take awhile!First, a little background… This is why we are renovating the bathroom:
Water is seeping up from under the tub at both ends of the tub.
By the way, this is the ONLY bathroom in the house. :::sigh:::
We’ve had it repaired a couple of times. First time, we used a “Handyman Service” (that now calls itself a “Renovation” Company – Hah!). DH more-or-less handled that project and they were approaching it in a “hunt-and-peck” sort of fashion. “Welllll…. Let’s try this…” (which didn’t work), then “Let’s try THAT…” (which also didn’t work). I think it was originally an attempt to save money but – in the long run – it ended up costing MORE than a full-blown renovation would have cost. We *did* end up with a brand-new tub.
But everything else in the bathroom screams 1980’s:
Pretty much, we paid as much as a full-on Bathroom Reno would have cost; Dealt with the pain and agony of having OUR ONLY BATHROOM out of commission for a couple of weeks; Ended up with a bathroom that looked just as crappy and “dated” as when we started; And – added bonus – the bathtub leaks returned just over a year later! We’ve had the floor replaced a couple of times since then, but – now that I have inherited some money – I think it’s time to do it all over again. Only THIS TIME, we’re doing it “Right!”
This time, it’s MY project. And this time, we’re ripping everything out – back to the studs – in order to identify and fix the source of the leak. Since it’s all gonna be ripped out, might as well Update while we’re at it, right?
And, this renovation is gonna cost less than the half-@$$ed job that was done previously………
So anyway, we signed the contract a couple-three weeks ago. And the project is set to begin on Sept 19 (Holy Crap – 9 days away!!!). Friend, Di, and I took a trip to the Kitchen/Bath Showroom (where they don’t have a huge selection of things to look at, unfortunately). They did give us samples of porcelain colors, however (which was good – I would have totally selected the wrong color for the toilet and sink if I hadn’t brought the samples home!). Then we headed off to the tile warehouse.
Bullnose Tile, Inc in San Jose (I’ll give ‘em a shout-out) is an excellent place. Doesn’t look very big from the outside, but they’ve got TONS of stuff to choose from – and their staff is extremely helpful. Di and I wandered around aimlessly for awhile – looking for inspiration. Pausing periodically. Many “Hmmmmms” were uttered. Then one of their helpful sales-peeps appeared and I showed him my sheet of glass mosaics, explained what we were looking for and he TOTALLY took it from there. He found a couple-three PERFECT tiles – and when I asked about purchasing the sample tiles, he waved me off and said I could borrow ‘em for free. Yay!
For the first go-round, we chose an Antique White tile that was absolutely dead-on, color-wise, for matching the tub. That’s the tile on the left, in the photo. And I fell in love with Metropolis Sabbia (the tile on the floor). And, of course, I am already “married to” the glass mosaic that’s propped up on the top.
Clockwise from top: Vineyard Glass Mosaic, Laguna Bay,
Metropolis Sabbia, and Antique White
The Vineyard Glass Mosaic Tile is what I started with. I bought it at Home Depot – back in January. It was funny because, when I first saw it, my initial reaction was “Ehh!” But when I brought a sheet of it home, I totally fell in love with it!
The picture really doesn’t do it justice. It is GORGEOUS!
Pale yellows, greens, aquas, cobalt blues and deep purples, with streaks of metallic copper
So yeah, I made my Very First Decision back in January! This will be the “accent stripe” in the tub (4 tiles wide – stretching around the perimeter of the tub at eye-level), and full 12x12 sheets will be the back-splash on the vanity.
Then, like I said, the guy at Bullnose Tile had suggested the Antique White tiles for the tub surround. It was absolutely perfect, color-wise, and it did have a little bit of “stoniness” to it (not a totally “flat” color, but also not too speckled-y/textury so it won’t compete with the accent tile). Trouble was: It was $4.90/sq ft. I have a $400 tile allowance for the tub-tile, and a $100 allowance for the floor-tile. Pretty much, I was blowing the budget – right out the chute – if I went with the Antique White tile…
Bummmmer! So, off to Home Depot I went. I wanted to find something similar, but cheaper. I ended up finding Laguna Bay @ $0.99/sq ft.
Side-by-side, in the bathroom
(Plus this is a Droid pic so doesn’t really capture the colors accurately!)
So the Laguna Bay tile was “close” – but definitely more on the “beige” end of the spectrum (almost pinkish, even). The Antique White was definitely “warmer” (more toward yellow) and, like I said, Dead-on for matching the tub. And, what’s more, we had found some quartz countertops that were *also* a dead-on match.
But, unfortunately, The Budget won-out!
Actually, that was partially-driven by the fact that the Sabbia Floor-Tile was a Budget-Buster, too. And my “justification” was that – by saving on the tub-tile, I could shift that allowance over to the floor tile, right?! :::shrug:::
Anyway, I had to hit two different Home Depots to find both the tiles and the bullnose (from the same “die-lot” or whatever), but I got ALL the tub-surround tile that I need (and then some!) for appx $170.00. It’s all stacked up in the living room!
The Bad News, though, was that my original quartz countertop selections were now null and void. Those are waaaaay too yellowish. So I went back to the Kitchen/Bath Showroom again – only to discover that they didn’t have ANY close-matches. Boo! Hiss!!! I did find some “complementary colors” but nothing dead-on.
Okay… This *is* taking a lot longer than expected, so I think I’m gonna stop for now.
Next up: Quartz Quandary!