Leah and Joe: Home DIY Projects & Crafts

leahandjoe.com · Aug 19, 2020

Kitchenette Progress

Progress Update: Basement Kitchenette

Alright, we’re rocking away at the basement kitchenette. This will go down in history as one of the fastest little projects we’ve ever done! We couldn’t be happier with the direction this is going. Put on your hard hat and check out our progress.

So far we’ve written about our plans and the design ideas we have for the kitchenette. Now it’s the fun part — putting it all together!

Just to refresh your memory, here is a before picture of the giant crevice in the wall that is now a cabinet and counter space. It’s almost like this kitchenette was meant to be here all along!

First things first, we needed to fasten a 2×4 to the ground to flush up and attach the cabinets to. We created a toe kick for the cabinet base. We needed to use this tool.

It’s basically a gun powder-loaded dart gun that you load with a very strong nail that can penetrate concrete, and you hit the head with a hammer to create the chemical reaction that creates enough force into the ground.

So now we have the building blocks for the space. We then put white base trim down below and a piece along the left side to clean it up.

Butcher Block Countertop

The butcher block countertop comes next. It was already the perfect length — 48″ — so we only had to cut it for depth.

We decide on about a 1-1/2″ overhang.

After measuring, we clamped down this level for a guide to keep a straight edge. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have a perfectly straight line — you can clean up any imperfections with a bead of caulk against the back wall.

Using a circular saw, Joe ripped it down and then simply glued it to the countertop with a Liquid Nails product.

I’m really loving this butcher block countertop for the kitchenette! You need to oil it a few times before using.

Here is before the oil.

Here’s a before and after of the oil treatment. The instructions say to use an industrial grade food-safe mineral oil, such as this one. This keeps the surface conditioned. You can repeat as many times as needed.

Drawers and Hardware

Joe then attached the cabinet drawers and doors. And the brass drawer pulls I ordered.


Here is a before photo from after we ripped up the old carpet and prepped the area.

All in all, this flooring is a huge WIN! Install was very easy and it looks and feels great. Joe was a little surprised by the click together; it was more of pound together. But otherwise, no complaints about install.

This SmartCore Pro LVT is everything we hoped it would be and more. Easy clean up and durable for this high-traffic area between a shared laundry room.

It completely achieves the goal of making the kitchenette feel large and in charge. I’m so glad I didn’t go with a trendy design that will be out of style in a few years’ time.

Last but not least, the door is hung! $30 bargain door for the win. I decided to do a satin clear-coat of a water-based polyurethane, like this one, to complement the butcher block countertop. And black matte hinges and door knob.

Looking good so far.

Backsplash Tile

Once the flooring and countertop were done, we got to work on the tile. We put up a dens shield tile backer instead of regular sheetrock for the tile area above the butcher block countertop.

Then we cut each tile sheet to size.

We cut one side straight across for the bottom and again for each “top” piece. The key was making sure the herringbone pattern lined up so it continued to go up, down, up down, up down with each new sheet.

Marking a straight line with tape, we cut it with the tile saw.

Using thin set, we tiled the first row across, then went up another few inches and taped it to dry overnight.

Joe had to cut out around the outlet, that was pretty tricky.

  • When we finished (about 16″ high total) we finished it off with these long thin trim pieces, like these ones.

    After it dried, we grouted with a color called dove gray to match the floor and walls.

    Then we cleaned it off with a wet sponge until the grout was wiped off and the tile was clean. The next day, we sealed it with a grout sealer product for ceramic tiles.

    That’s all for now! I’ll save the kitchenette finishing details and styling for next week.

    -Leah and Joe

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