Brittany and Miller Callaway have been renovating their 1930s bungalow-style home. There are a few projects on their to-do list that they haven’t gotten to yet, so we’re helping this young couple out with their kitchen improvement bucket list.
Our kitchen projects included:
- Installing a subway tile backsplash.
- Building a custom L-shaped banquette with storage inside.
- Stripping and refinishing a wood dining table.
- Installing roll-out cabinet storage.
Read the episode article to find out more.
Danny Lipford: The budget has been spoiling the fun for this young couple as they try to complete their dream kitchen in their first home. Until they get a little help from Today’s Homeowner.
Brittany Callaway: Like, oh, my Gosh, this… Are we going to be able to do this justice?
Danny Lipford: Miller and Brittany Callaway are newlyweds who recently purchased and renovated this 1930’s-era home.
Brittany Callaway: Miller and I have talked about what are the things that we absolutely must have. And the number one was a front porch. So, that is what drew us to this house. It’s got a great big front porch. My dad was very enthusiastic about this project in general.
Danny Lipford: A real estate agent had showed it to us and I immediately, along with him, looked at it and said, “This is it.”
Miller Callaway: I hated it the first time I saw it, wanted nothing to do with it. We did a lot of the renovation between the two of us. We basically did all the demolition and just the manual labor.
Brittany Callaway: The budget was definitely an issue.
Danny Lipford: I was much more intent on them being financially independent. Mostly so I can get ’em off of my payroll.
Brittany Callaway: It did get to be a little bit touchy. Because it was our house.
Miller Callaway: Any time you do business with someone you love there’s going to be… There’s going to be some tough conversations.
Danny Lipford: And so, yes, it was my role in this, in this project, for them to, look at them and say, “This is how much money we have.” This is… We would sit down and we would talk about the budget.
Brittany Callaway: The budget was capped at a certain amount and so it was a finite amount of money that we had to work with.
Danny Lipford: And I’d say, “We can either do this banquet for the kitchen, “or we could do the, “the bookshelves on either side of the fireplace.” I said, “It’s either, or. You can’t have both.”
Brittany Callaway: So, we went with the built-in bookshelves. But that, of course, leads us to the banquet and what we hope to accomplish.
Danny Lipford: So, that’s our primary project. But there’s also some smaller ones they want to tackle.
Brittany Callaway: The backsplash was definitely something that we thought about during the renovation. It was on our list of things to do but it was very low on our priority list. Just because it was something that could be done, after the fact, once we were living here.
He’s a very enthusiastic cook, so, he’ll be cooking spaghetti or frying bacon and, of course, it splashes and pops and gets on my walls, gets on my cabinets.
Miller Callaway: Your?
Brittany Callaway: My cabinets, my walls.
Danny Lipford: Now, it’s time to begin working out the details on how to get it done.
Brittany Callaway: I like the idea of the bench seating. Maybe with a back to it and maybe some throw pillows to add some color to it?
Danny Lipford: Okay, sure. Yeah. And a little bit of storage down below.
Brittany Callaway: Yeah, definitely some storage. Extra storage is always… Is always a good idea.
Danny Lipford: That sounds fine. There’s a lot of different designs. Of course, we can match the cabinetry very easily. I assume you know the color of the cabinet.
Brittany Callaway: Yes, and I like the idea of replicating the Shaker’s style on the end of that, just to tie everything together.
Danny Lipford: That’ll be fun. Allen will jump all over that. He loves building things like this. So we can get him working on that.
Brittany Callaway: Perfect.
Miller Callaway: Well, Danny, I was hoping you’d help me out, so…
Danny Lipford: Uh-oh.
Miller Callaway: I got a bit of a problem over here, basically, anytime I cook, there’s just sauce flying everywhere, you name it. There’s a little bit over there.
Danny Lipford: I see a little bit.
Miller Callaway: I was hoping we could put a backsplash over the oven or maybe over the whole wall just to help me out.
Danny Lipford: What kind of tile were you thinking about?
Miller Callaway: I was thinking something simple, subway… Like a subway tile, just something, functional and just add some character to the wall.
Danny Lipford: Sure, that’s fine. All right.
Brittany Callaway: Even though we have plenty of pantry space… I still like the idea of adding a little bit more functionality, too, to the storage that we do have under here, and maybe adding some rollouts.
Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Brittany Callaway: For the lower cabinets, just to be able to organize and have everything be more accessible.
Danny Lipford: Sure. Once Brittany and Miller decide on the tile for the backsplash, and agree on a style for the banquet, Allen drops by to go over it and make the measurements he’ll need to create a detailed plan for the custom cabinetry.
Well, it’s obvious, Brittany and Miller aren’t scared of a little hard work. They’ve done an amazing job in renovating this house. I’m looking forward to showing Brittany how easy it is to install a ceramic backsplash, for that little finishing touch, in her kitchen.
While she and I are busy masking off the surrounding cabinets and counter tops, Miller and Allen are at our workshop beginning the construction of the banquet. So how do you think Miller’s going to do with building cabinets?
Brittany Callaway: I think he’s going to need a lot of help. I’m glad he has a helper over there. He’s about as handy as I am, which is to say not at all.
I like this best out of all the ones that we had looked at. I like how it’s nice and clean and simple. And this was a little bit less intimidating on the mat, rather than just individual tiles.
Danny Lipford: Individual tiles… This really spoils you. Have you ever used one of these?
Brittany Callaway: I haven’t.
Danny Lipford: Okay, all right. You’re going to do that. We’re going to start right over here. And the thing about the notches is that it allows it to be real uniform. While the tile-setting class continues here, check out this week’s simple solution for your kitchen.
Joe Truini: At every hardware store you can buy these self-adhesive hooks they make. Just peel them off and stick them to a wall, and they’re great for hanging all sorts of items.
But I found a solution where we’re going to install them upside down. If you look here at this trash can, it has drawstrings. But the problem with the kitchen trash bag like this is when you throw in garbage—especially wet, heavy garbage—it has a tendency to pull the bag into the can.
So we’re going to solve that problem using these hooks. And again, we’re going to be installing them upside down. The first thing is, put the bag in the can, and press down the bottom—so that’s not up in the air—and then pull down the drawstring on each side.
And then we’re going to put the hook right on, again, upside down on the drawstring. So peel off the protective paper in the back. Right there. It’s got pretty strong adhesive.
We’re just going to stick it right to the can. Hold it for a few seconds. And, of course, we’re going to put another on this side. Hook it on, pull it down, peel off the paper, and press it.
There you go. You want it pretty close to the center. There. Now we just put this back in place.
What you’ll find is now when you put in the trash, you throw it in, once the hooks are engaged, the bag will stay put.
Danny Lipford: We’re helping newlyweds, Miller and Brittany make some great improvements to their kitchen. Brittany and I are tackling a tile backsplash, while Allen and Miller are building a custom banquet back at our workshop.
Miller Callaway: I have no experience.
Allen Lyle: Okay. I’ve built a lot of window seats, which basically, that’s what this banquet is. It’s a couple of window seats, but Brittany wants a back on it. That’s a challenge, I’ve never done a back. But I’ve got an idea in my head and that’s when I get dangerous.
And we’re just going to lay this up here.
Brittany Callaway: And how do you know how far to make it go over?
Danny Lipford: Well, on the long pieces, I’m going to hit exactly where that tape…
Brittany Callaway: And so then with the… The pencil… Pencil tiles that we’re going to edge it with…
Danny Lipford: Oh, you have pencil tiles?
Brittany Callaway: Uh-huh.
Danny Lipford: We need to see those right away.
Brittany Callaway: Oh, do we? Oh, wait. We forgot the pencil tiles.
Danny Lipford: So, I’m glad you told me about the pencil tiles. Is there any other secrets that you have?
Brittany Callaway: I think that’s it. Kind of tricky around the…
Danny Lipford: Yeah, that’s why I did the first part, it was easy.
Brittany Callaway: Thanks for that. Say it’s all right that we don’t put the… The tiles on immediately. It’ll stay wet…
Danny Lipford: For a little while. Yeah, you can’t get too far ahead of it. That’s another big common problem where people would just go and put all of the… Thin setup and then they come back…
Brittany Callaway: And it’s already dry.
Danny Lipford: And then it’s starting to dry. Let’s get this one in. This is going to require some cutting.
Brittany Callaway: And it doesn’t have to be super exact, right? Because the plate will go over it?
Danny Lipford: We’re trying not to bank on that too much. So, I’m making the cuts as closely as I can. Now, back at the shop, Miller is getting a full-on cabinet making tutorial…
Miller Callaway: Gotcha.
Danny Lipford: While they put together the frame for our cabinets, and he seems to be loving it.
Allen Lyle: And he was so excited about things that he’s done by hand, like sanding, driving nails, that we got machines to do. He loved that. The man was crazy about the table saw.
Miller Callaway: I’d have to say that my favorite part was definitely table saw. Just getting it up there and just running it through it.
Danny Lipford: You think Miller and Allen had broken out the first aid kit yet?
Brittany Callaway: I don’t know, Miller with a saw or any kind of sharp blade makes me nervous. You kept all your fingers.
Miller Callaway: I did, I did.
Danny Lipford: See how I did that? You started doing all the… The bad stuff.
Brittany Callaway: Yeah and you’re filing.
Danny Lipford: And I’m just doing the easy stuff.
Brittany Callaway: You’re doing the fun stuff, huh?
Danny Lipford: Yeah, yeah. See how that works?
Brittany Callaway: Getting a little bit of an arm workout.
Danny Lipford: You know we always have a lot of surprises on remodeling projects, but I guess I surprised Brittany a little bit when I asked her if she had any lipstick. Do you have any old lipstick?
Brittany Callaway: Yeah, I should.
Danny Lipford: Give me a little lipstick.
Brittany Callaway: Okay.
Danny Lipford: Any color is fine.
Brittany Callaway: Okay.
Danny Lipford: She looked at me like I was crazy. You can see it worked out really well to mark the box, the electrical box behind the ceramics, so, we know exactly where we need to cut the tile out. Okay, this is the piece we’ve been waiting on. I’ll give you the honor.
Brittany Callaway: Perfect.
Danny Lipford: It should slip in there. I don’t think we’re going to have to notch it or anything. Oh, look at that.
Brittany Callaway: Perfect.
Danny Lipford: So what do you think? Is this what you envisioned?
Brittany Callaway: It looks absolutely wonderful. This is exactly what I was hoping for. It looks even better than I was envisioning.
Danny Lipford: All right, were you able to get it all in the truck?
Allen Lyle: You can believe it or not, it’s all in the truck.
Danny Lipford: Perfect, perfect. You already got some pre-assembled.
Allen Lyle: Uh, yes.
Danny Lipford: So, are you… Going to stage this outside?
Allen Lyle: I’m going to stage it out here, then get everything out of the way.
Danny Lipford: A little bit of baseboard, we got to figure out what to do.
Allen Lyle: That’s what’s going to be the slow start of the day.
Danny Lipford: Once the shoe molding is removed, they can put the base in place. The bottom panel and cabinet frame go in on top of that temporarily, so that they can mark the bottom panels to be cut for an exact fit against that baseboard. Then the cabinet frames could be installed for good.
Miller Callaway: Wow. Wow. That’s nice.
Allen Lyle: Ain’t that nice?
Miller Callaway: That is wonderful. It couldn’t be better than that.
Allen Lyle: That’s… That’s perfect. Look at it.
Miller Callaway: We have lunch ready?
Allen Lyle: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: While those two are slacking, Brittany and I have a backsplash to grout.
Brittany Callaway: It looks so good already.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, you can see how it’s going to blend in really well, perfect on the grout color, I think.
Brittany Callaway: Yeah, well, I thought it looked good before you even had the grout in, so, even better.
Danny Lipford: And you will appreciate it even more when you grout it yourself. Here you go. While we’re wrapping up this backsplash, why don’t you check out this week’s best new product?
Jodi Marks: All right, tell me if you can relate to this. You’re lying in your bed in the middle of the night, you wake up because you hear this chirping sound. And you know exactly what it is, it’s the low battery indicator on either your smoke or your CO detector.
Well, you know, when polled, homeowners say that is the most annoying sound. And because of it, six out of ten homeowners will not replace the old battery with a new one, thus rendering their alarm detector, their smoke detector useless.
But, Shea, you have got a solution to this problem, don’t you?
Shea Pettaway: Yes, Kidde has a Worry-Free combination smoke, carbon monoxide alarm. It has a sealed lithium battery in it, so you don’t have to replace or worry about it within 10 years.
Jodi Marks: Wow, that is astounding. So not only are you going to be safe, but you’re not going to encounter that annoying chirp at all, too. What else is there about it?
Shea Pettaway: It has a voice alarm on it and it warns you “Danger.”
Jodi Marks: Oh, so it will actually speak to you.
Shea Pettaway: It will.
Jodi Marks: “Danger! Danger! Get out of the house.” That’s awesome. And you know, you’re supposed to replace these detectors every 10 years anyway. So when it’s done, basically the whole system is done, so you just go out and get another one.
Shea Pettaway: Worry-free.
Jodi Marks: That’s awesome. Thank you so much.
Shea Pettaway: Thank you.
Danny Lipford: We’re helping Brittany and Miller put a bow on the renovation of their 80-year-old home, with a few projects for their kitchen. Now, Brittany is headed to The Home Depot with my daughter, Chelsea. They’re picking out some stain for the table they’ll be re-finishing to go with the banquette, and looking for a few storage solutions to maximize the cabinet space in this kitchen.
Brittany Callaway: I like the look of the wood better, given the choice, but if they both function the same I guess I’m really open for either.
Danny Lipford: Back in the kitchen, we’re getting the outer panels attached to the cabinet frame. Then, the supports for the backrest can go in, and finally, the backrest panels themselves. Yeah, just like that, perfect. There you go. Is that all you got?
Miller Callaway: Whoo! Turns out Allen knew what he was doing after all.
Danny Lipford: And after that, it’s just a matter of trimming out the top edge. In the meantime, Brittany and Chelsea have returned from the store and are busy outside applying the stripper to that table.
Brittany Callaway: So, will this get all the stain out, or…
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Probably not, but it helps loosen it up, and then we’ll scrape it and scrub it off, and then we’ll sand whatever’s left.
Brittany Callaway: Gotcha. So, by the time we’re finished with it, will it look like… Like bare wood?
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Ideally, it’ll be bare wood, yeah.
Brittany Callaway: We used this great citrus stripper that… That smelled good, it didn’t smell like harsh chemicals or anything. And let that sit for a while, and then we got these tools and just started to, to peel off the stain that was already on there.
Danny Lipford: Now, with all the carpentry work on the banquette complete, I’m setting up Miller for the process of priming and painting it. Put a really light coat on everything going with the grain.
Miller Callaway: Okay. All right, see… Yeah, I usually like to paint with the grain.
Brittany Callaway: Oh, do you?
Miller Callaway: Going back and forth. Danny and I were talking about that earlier.
Brittany Callaway: I bet you were.
Miller Callaway: Yeah. You’re doing a pretty good job.
Brittany Callaway: You’re such a pro. I could learn from you.
Danny Lipford: Once the primer is dry, then you can putty and caulk, before applying the top coat.
Brittany Callaway: We have painted before, but not in quite this high pressure of a situation because we’ve got this beautiful wooden banquette and it has all this potential. And then Danny hands us the tools, and says, “Hey, it’s all on you, you’ve got it, this is your homework for tonight.”
And so, we’re standing there with our caulk gun and our bucket of paint, like, oh, my gosh! This…are we going to be able to do this justice?
Danny Lipford: So, how’d the painting go last night?
Miller Callaway: It went really well, at least we think so.
Danny Lipford: Looks good, looks good. So you got primer and a coat of finish on it?
Miller Callaway: Yep, and then I think we’ll do one more. You can see a couple spots where we painted last night, you couldn’t really tell. It needed one more but we’ll finish it.
Danny Lipford: Is Brittany happy with it?
Miller Callaway: Yeah, I think so.
Danny Lipford: That’s important.
Miller Callaway: We’ll find out.
Danny Lipford: Did you figure out where she wanted all of this stuff?
Miller Callaway: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: While Miller and I are installing these roll-outs, Brittany’s dad, Danny, drops by to check the progress.
Danny Lipford: Good, looking good.
Danny Lipford: Now, I would guess with all of the work that took place in this house, that he was a pretty frequent drop-by, checking things out.
Miller Callaway: That would be a safe assumption.
Danny Lipford: Is he a list-maker? Does he make a list? Or does he say, “Put that on the list!”
Miller Callaway: He does, there were many lists, and there were many, what felt like conference calls.
Danny Lipford: Kind of reminds me of another Danny. As we’re installing the store-bought accessories, Allen is putting together a simple rack with wooden dowels to organize the lids for Brittany’s cookware.
Meanwhile, Chelsea and Brittany are busy on the front porch, sanding that table to get it ready for stain.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: For someone who says she’s not very handy, Brittany sure is getting the hang of the sanding, and I think she kind of likes the sander.
Brittany Callaway: So, make sure to not overload the brush?
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Yeah, and you’re going to want to just do long strokes with the grain.
Brittany Callaway: Okay.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: All right, so even if you liked this color, it’s important that you don’t let the excess kind of puddle on it, like it is now, so I’ll go in just wipe it up real quick.
Brittany Callaway: And when you’re wiping it, do you still need to go with the grain, like you painted it?
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Anytime you’re working with wood, everything you do is with the grain.
Brittany Callaway: Yeah
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: That looks good.
Brittany Callaway: This is looking really good, I like the contrast of it.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Especially with the darker hardware on it.
Brittany Callaway: Yeah.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: All right, it’s looking good.
Brittany Callaway: Yeah.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Now we just have to let this dry and let the stain soak in, and we’ll put a coat of polyurethane on it before we leave today.
Brittany Callaway: All right, that sounds good.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Awesome.
Brittany Callaway: Cool.
Danny Lipford: Back in the kitchen, there’s just a few hinges and pieces of hardware left to install. So, just a little bit of touch of paint and we’re ready to put the pillows in place here.
Allen Lyle: It’s ready to go.
Danny Lipford: That’s great. You know, I can just imagine all the great things they can store in this little storage area. You know, seasonal items, maybe kid’s toys, just about anything that you don’t have to get to everyday, that’s the place to put it in there.
You know, I can’t wait to see the stained table, as soon as it’s nice and dry, put in place. That’s going to finish things off.
People remodeling their kitchen often ask what I think of microwaves mounted over the stove. While I understand the desire to save space, I usually advice against it.
Whenever I can, I replace over-the-range microwaves—or OTRs—with a proper vent hood, like this one we’re installing from NuTone. That’s because most OTRs only recirculate cooking fumes through a filter and back into the kitchen.
Now, even if they do vent outside, they just don’t cover enough space to adequately capture all of the smoke and steam generated in most kitchens. Not to mention the danger of small children climbing over the stove to reach the microwave.
A properly sized, installed, and vented range hood will do a vastly superior job of removing cooking fumes from your kitchen. And, in the process, you’ll improve the indoor air quality of your home.
Danny Lipford: Miller and Brittany wanted to finish a few remaining projects in the kitchen of their newly renovated home, and we helped them do that with a few hundred dollars and a lot of labor.
The banquette we added has turned a sterile seating area into a cozy corner for those long conversations. And the subway tile backsplash blends in so well with the style of this kitchen, you would swear it has been there for 80 years as well.
It seems only right that this project should be such a success, because Miller and Brittany have worked so hard this week, during the daytime with our team, and on their own at night.
Miller Callaway: We absolutely love the banquette, it fits perfectly into how our kitchen already was, and it looks like it was always there.
Brittany Callaway: It looks so clean but also livable, it’s not like a sterile kitchen where you feel like you can’t knock over a glass of wine for fear of ruining the countertop or ruining something.
Miller Callaway: Or spill a pot of spaghetti everywhere, you know.
Brittany Callaway: That’s easily cleaned up now, absolutely.
Miller Callaway: Now I’m looking around the house and wondering what else can we…
Brittany Callaway: Yeah.
Miller Callaway: You know…
Brittany Callaway: On to the next project.
Miller Callaway: What can I fire up the table saw on…
Brittany Callaway: Yeah.
Miller Callaway: And take care of ourselves.
Danny Lipford: You know, I love it when I meet people that are very passionate about things, and certainly Brittany and Miller are very passionate about their first new home.
Hey, do you remember your first new home and how hard you worked to be able to spend that first night in it, and what a great feeling that was? And if you haven’t purchased your first home yet, I’m sure it’s right around the corner. And when you buy that home, I hope you’ll take us along so that we can help you make that house your home.
I’m Danny Lipford, thanks so much for being with us here on Today’s Homeowner. Hope I see you next week.
Brittany Callaway: It’s going to be so hard to move out of this house, I mean, we are so attached to this house.
Miller Callaway: Maybe we can just add on to it.
Brittany Callaway: Maybe, we got a big backyard.
Miller Callaway: We can call Danny.
Brittany Callaway: Yeah. We could.