Helping a First-Time Homeowner Complete Her Kitchen

In this episode, we’re helping first-time homeowner Dawn Nelson, who’s in over her head with her kitchen renovation.

Dawn wanted to take down one wall that separated her three main living areas, the dining room, kitchen and living room. But then realized she removed all the drywall on a load-bearing wall.

A contractor helped her fix that mistake, but then she realized that removing the wall also exposed a small patch of old flooring.

We’re going to pick up where the contractor left off, and make this place look great!

Patch of vinyl flooring left over after cabinet was removed from Dawn Nelson's home
Removing a wall and cabinet revealed a patch of flooring that the previous homeowners worked around — and it’s an eyesore that Dawn wants covered up, asap. No problem!

Fill In Ceramic Tile Flooring

Dawn was lucky because the previous homeowner left just enough ceramic tiles to fill this eyesore of vinyl flooring.  

The project won’t be difficult because vinyl flooring is the perfect subfloor. That means we don’t have to remove it; we can just install tiles right over the old flooring.

But first, we need to remove some of the ceramic tiles surrounding the hole. They were cut around a cabinet that used to be on the vinyl flooring.  

Once the tiles dry overnight, we apply stain-resistant FusionPro Grout from Custom Building Products.

Mounting plate for over-the-range microwave seen in kitchen before microwave's installation
The over-the-range microwave is ready to be installed, but there’s just one problem: it needs to be properly vented to the outside. We will create an access hole to make that happen.

Install Microwave

An over-the-range microwave has been purchased, but it needs to be installed, and more important, it needs to be properly vented to the outside. Otherwise, OTR microwaves just recirculate the air in the kitchen, which isn’t healthy.

I drill through the wall to create an access hole for the venting. Then I take a sledgehammer to the home’s exterior to complete that hole.

With the path for the vent clear, Bear and I lift the microwave into its new home and trim off the vent on the outside. I also add a little paint to that vent so it blends right in.

Homeowner Dawn Nelson installs backsplash while Today's Homeowner co-host Chelsea Lipford Wolf watches her
Installing a backsplash takes a fraction of the time when you use SimpleMat from Custom Building Products.

Install backsplash

The kitchen is a great workspace, but it’s a little bland. Dawn has always wanted a backsplash but she thinks installing one in such a large area might be difficult.

The traditional way to install a backsplash involves applying thinset adhesive, which is a bit messy, and would be involved for a relatively large area.

We’re going to skip that step and use SimpleMat from Custom Building Products. It’s a double-adhesive mat that sticks to the drywall.

SimpleMat simplifies backsplash installation because you just stick tiles on it and add pre-mixed SimpleGrout, also from Custom Building Products. The result is a beautiful view that Dawn can see from her living room.

Today's Homeowner hosts Chelsea Lipford Wolf and Danny Lipford install ceiling medallion in Dawn Nelson's dining room
Installing a light fixture can create drywall problems that you can easily — and stylishly — cover with a medallion.

Install Ceiling Medallion

We turned our attention from Dawn’s kitchen and helped out in other areas as well. Like the dining room, which had an eyesore of its own on the ceiling.

Ceiling medallions give light fixtures some pizzazz. But in this case, adding one also saves us some drywall work because we’re covering holes.

Installing a ceiling medallion couldn’t be easier. We just apply Titebond Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive to the back of the medallion and glue it up there. Then we caulk around the medallion.

Once the medallion is in place, we just reinstall the light fixture and attach it to the ceiling box.  

We also:

  • Built shelving and added a door to the pantry
  • Painted the walls and ceiling
  • Installed crown molding
  • Installed a new sink

Further Reading

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