Mini Home Makeover

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Home-sweet-what-mess-did-I-get-myself-into-with-never-ending-projects-home. That’s how the saying should go. Still alive and kicking at a mere 70 years old, our house has lots of character and also lots of projects. I’ve found (à la learning the hard way) that when beginning a “project,” the best way to avoid tears or feeling overwhelmed and intimidated is to start small. In most cases there are little fixes that can be done that make a huge difference. The top of our basement stairs was one of those spots that I wanted to just hide away — old, dingy and blasé. With a few, simple cosmetic makeovers it looks like a whole new space and one I don’t need to hide away anymore! To Do
  • Rip up old floor and retile it
  • Replace light fixture
  • Replace switchplates
  • Paint door
  • Redecorate space — chalkboard, curtain and rod
Materials and Costs
  • 12 x 12 groutable, self-adhesive tiles, $15
  • Tile adhesive, $8
  • Mini polyester roller, $1
  • 1/8-inch tile spacers, $3
  • Premixed grout, $9 (comes in different colors to match your tile choice)
  • Plastic putty knife, $1
  • Paint, $5
  • Curtain material, $3
  • Rod and curtain rings, $9
  • Light fixture, $7
  • Switch plate and switch, $3
  • Chalkboard, $12 (antique store find!)
  • Utility knife
Mini Makeover Tips
  • Use curtain rod ring, clips and a couple of yards of fabric, hemmed at each end. This lets you pick a patterned or textured material that is unique to you and your space.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your hardware store — they’re always very helpful and willing to give advice.
  • If you have a small space to paint, like a door, look at buying the paint testers. They’re much less expensive than a quart or gallon, and you can still get any color you want mixed. Another bonus — less waste!
How to Tile 1. Remove baseboard trim, if any. Do this gently to avoid damage. Rip up existing floor*. Fill in any gaps or cracks with a patching compound. Make sure your surface is even and level. * Mine was a laminate that I had to break up, scrape and sand. The sub-floor was wood, which worked well as a surface when I adhered the vinyl tile. 2. Using the mini polyester roller, spread tiling adhesive over the sub-floor. Let dry for 90 minutes. 3. Using the 1/8-inch spacers between each tile, measure and fit tile to floor. Leave paper backing on tiles when first measuring and fitting. The spacers help to create consistent spacing for grout lines. If tile needs to be cut, use a utility knife to score and snap*. Remove paper backing and stick down tiles. Again, use spacers. Let set for 24 hours. * Trimming & shaping tile was easier than I expected — if needed, use needle-nose pliers for tight contouring! 4. Use the plastic putty knife to push grout in-between tiles. Scrape excess grout from surface. Use wet sponge to clean the surface of tiles — don’t let grout sit on tile surface too long because it will leave a cloudy residue. Let dry for 24-48 hours. 5. Once grout is dry, re-attach baseboard trim if applicable. If tile is in a heavy moisture area, seal grout with a paint-on sealant. * Ceramic tile needs to be adhered to backer board with mortar.
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Tags: DIY with Dot, Mini Home Makeover

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