Category Archives: Second House

Mi segunda casa, donde ya he completado varios proyectosOn this section, you will find the home improvement projects I completed on my Second House. The house was still a work in progress when I got married and we decided to look for a new place we both could call home. I hope you enjoy the projects, learn and get some encouragement from them!

Installing Hardwood Flooring in the Living and Dining Room Areas

Laying Maple Hardwood Flooring over Plywood

Maple Hardwood Flooring

This project of Installing Hardwood Flooring in the Living and Dining Room Areas was completed right after the kitchen’s Travertine Tile flooring upgrade and the White Quartz countertop installation. However, to keep some kind of sequence, I decided to present the Kitchen’s Backsplash Wall Preparation and Installation first.

When we finally started working on this project, it was about time we took care of these two areas of the house. The carpet in the living room was in very bad shape and dirty (I did not want to have it cleaned as I always planned to replace it), it had to go. The vinyl flooring in the dining area: well, you know what I think about vinyl flooring.

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Installing a Mosaic and Subway tile Kitchen Backsplash

Showing you how to install a mosaic kitchen backsplash

First mosaic tile piece in place

A Mosaic and Subway tile Kitchen Backsplash? Absolutely! They’re not as common as all mosaic or all subway tile ones, but we believe they look amazing! So when we chose the materials for our kitchen backsplash, we did not go all mosaic or all subway tile, we decided on a combination of both, and the result was this Mosaic and Subway tile kitchen backsplash.

There are several reasons why we made this decision. First of all, an all mosaic tile backsplash was going to end up costing us a small fortune, not because there were not reasonable priced alternatives, but because, the ones we really liked happened to be the most expensive ones (why does it always have to be that way? I don’t know).

On the other hand, an all subway tile kitchen backsplash looked kind of boring to us. Not that they don’t look nice, but we wanted to go with a nicer, and perhaps, more original idea.

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Wall Preparation for a tile Backsplash (No Sanding)

Preparing to install new kitchen backsplash

Kitchen walls as they looked after installing the countertops

Tired of looking at it, and thinking about how ugly it looked (after removing the old tile and installing the White Quartz countertops) it was time to work on the kitchen’s wall preparation for a tile backsplash.

If you’ve ever looked into it, you’ve most likely come across different techniques to prepare a wall for a tile backsplash. Most, if not all of them recommend some, perhaps unnecessary and messy, sanding.

I’m not saying that sanding is never required. In some cases, especially if you’ve patched any holes or other imperfections, it definitely helps level the wall’s surface, however, I would dare to say, that in the vast majority of cases, it is not necessary.

What you need, though, is to roughen the wall’s surface so the tile adhesive has something to grab onto.

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Upgrading from Laminate to White Quartz Kitchen Countertops

New Quartz Countertops - Celeste (White)

New (Celeste) White Quartz Kitchen Countertops

Moving on with the kitchen improvements, and with the Travertine tile flooring installation out of the way, my wife and I chose, ordered and got new White Quartz Kitchen Countertops installed.

Just like the last time, when working on the previous kitchen upgrade, this countertop installation was planned weeks in advance.

It takes a long time to choose between all the beautiful stones available, get quotes, place the order, get templates, and have the stone cut and the countertops ready for installation, all in all, it took about a month from the day we placed the order to the day we had them installed.

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Improving the Kitchen: Laying Travertine Tile Flooring

New kitchen, brick pattern travertine flooring

New kitchen brick pattern Travertine flooring

Up until this point, I had neglected (if you can call it that way) some areas of the house, the kitchen was one of them.

It is not that it was not important to me, actually, it is very important, because of this house’s open floor plan, the kitchen is visible to all visitors as soon as they walk in. However, as always in life, some things take priority and that’s why I completed a whole bunch of projects outside, in the laundry room, the garage, and the bathrooms, just to name a few before I was able to even look at it.

Once I was able to focus on the kitchen, as a first step, I decided to go ahead and remove the existing vinyl flooring, so I could then start laying Travertine tile. The same type I had already installed in the bathroom floors.

This may sound kind of crazy for those of you not in the US, however, over here, it is very common for builders to install the same type of flooring in different rooms, usually, the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms, and the same carpet in all bedrooms (cheaper?).

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Laying Travertine Tile in the Bathroom Floors

Installing travertine tile in the bathroom floors

Travertine tile in the bathroom floors

If you’ve read my previous flooring or tiling posts, I’m sure this one does not come up as a surprise, Laying Travertine tile in the bathroom floors was planned since day one.

Well, I didn’t know it was going to be Travertine tile, but I was completely sure I was replacing the existing flooring with a nicer tile option. In other words, you can basically add the bathroom floors to the list of items I noticed immediately, the first time I went look at the house.

In case you don’t know, others are: the lack of storage in the laundry room, and the fact that the garage was almost completely unfinished.

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Finishing Garage Part 4: Getting, Assembling and Installing Storage Cabinets

Installing storage cabinets in the garage

The new garage!

As the title suggests, the last part of this garage finishing project included purchasing, assembling and installing storage cabinets. As I’ve said before, I do not like anything ‘stored’ on the floor, I’m not a big fan of open shelves either, cabinets are a must for me.

I considered many cabinets from Home Depot, Lowes, online stores and even Craigslist. Most of them were either not available, too big or too small, no drawers or way too expensive for what I wanted. I still ended up paying a lot more than I wanted for the Kobalt metal cabinets available at Lowes.

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Finishing the Garage Part 3: Priming and Painting Walls and Ceiling

Priming Garage Walls as part as my Garage Finishing Project

Priming garage walls, including the concrete foundation

With the walls and ceiling insulated, drywalled, taped and mudded, and the floor wearing a fresh and shiny coat of epoxy coating, the most difficult parts of this garage finishing project were out of the way, that meant it was time to move on to the next task: Priming & painting the newly finished garage walls and ceiling.

This is a step I recommend every homeowner to do (hoping you are fortunate enough to not have to go through the hassle of insulating and drywalling), as it is an easy and inexpensive way to improve our usually neglected but useful garages.

A coat of paint goes a long way when it comes to making any room more pleasant, comfortable and desirable to be or work in, the garage is no different. With this in mind, I considered this to be a very important part of the project.

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Finishing the Garage Part 2: Applying an Epoxy Floor Coating

Epoxy Floor coating in the garage

Garage epoxy floor coating, part of my garage finishing project

After insulating and finishing the walls and ceiling, the next step on this garage finishing project was working on applying an epoxy floor coating.

To be honest, after doing the exact same job in my old garage (I did not document that project), I was not completely sure about doing it in this new one.

I did not have any issues with the epoxy bubbling or peeling, however, I did notice that after a few months, it did not look nice, it looked like an old floor, even right after being cleaned up.

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Finishing the Garage Part 1: Insulating and Drywalling Walls and Ceiling

Unfinished Garage Ceiling, the way it looked when I moved to the house

Unfinished garage ceiling, as it looked when I moved to the house

This is the first post of a series in which I will show you what I did to finish the Garage in my Second House. As the title suggests, this part includes finishing the garage walls and ceiling (insulation and drywall installation).

On my previous Laundry Room Storage Cabinets post, I mentioned that the lack of any Laundry Room Storage was one of the first few things I noticed when I went look at the property that ended up being my second house.

Not ten seconds later, when I opened the garage access door I noticed another one, the garage was completely unfinished, well, actually, one of the walls was finished, but the rest was completely unfinished!

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