The Best Decision This Couple Made During Their Kitchen Renovation Also Happened to Be the Worst
As with any home remodel project, when designer Laurie Jones renovated her tiny condo kitchen for less than $16,000, she made a few good and bad decisions along the way. The best (and worst!) decision she made for her kitchen’s remodel was installing a brick facade over a 15’x11’ pre-existing wall — an intense DIY project that took, in her estimation, “weeks and weeks” to create and custom cut.
See the full before and after:
Before & After: A Tiny Builder Grade Kitchen in a Historic Condo Is Transformed into an Airy and Bright Sanctuary
Because it was a massive and messy undertaking, Laurie and her husband, Drew, completed the brick facade before moving forward with the rest of the four-month renovation. But at the height of the brick-wall madness, Laurie returned to a quote Theodore Roosevelt once said to keep the couple going: “Nothing worth having comes easy.”
Laurie didn’t want the wall to appear like a DIY project, but rather genuine to the building’s 1891 heritage, so installing thin and lightweight brick shingles seemed like a perfect option. (Stacking actual bricks in front of the existing wall would take up valuable inches in an already tight area.) The work by Laurie and Drew — two suitably safety-goggled, amateur brick workers manning a Ryobi 10-inch table saw! — allowed for imperfections that gave it an aged look. Although the brick shingles came ready to be mortared into place, the couple still had a lot of measuring and cutting-down-to-size to do. It was tedious work. “It sounds cliché, but measure twice and cut once,” advises Laurie.
See the couple’s full budget breakdown:
This 150-Square-Foot Kitchen in Chicago Got a DIY Renovation for Less than $16,000 — Here’s How Every Dollar Was Spent
The brick wall’s white finish also evokes a weathered patina, and comes from a time-worn method for treating brick: a simple lime wash made with hydrated lime and water that offers protection against weathering. Unevenness is not only par for the lime-wash course, but also Laurie’s desired effect. “I want the finish to wear away over time,” she says.
This labor-intensive accent wall will undoubtedly outlast the family’s time in the condo (they’re serial movers!), making it an architectural heirloom that will add character to the home and provide a cozy sense of permanence for decades to come. Perhaps even centuries. “It feels like it’s always been there,” says Laurie with a smile.
See Laurie’s Full Reno Diary
- Before & After: A Tiny Builder Grade Kitchen in a Historic Condo Is Transformed into an Airy and Bright Sanctuary
- This 150-Square-Foot Kitchen in Chicago Got a DIY Renovation for Less than $16,000 — Here’s How Every Dollar Was Spent
- The Best Decision This Couple Made During Their Kitchen Renovation Also Happened to Be the Worst