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One Room Challenge Week 6: A Basement Kitchenette and Fireplace Tile

The heat is on, friends! With two weeks left to the grand reveal of our basement remodel, and the major structural changes out the way like the painting, drywall, and fireplace framing, we can focus on those other elements that play a big role in transforming the look and feel of this basement. I have a giant update for you today, with all the details about our basement kitchenette, and fireplace tile.

If you're new to Rambling Renovators, welcome! My name is Jennifer. I'm an e-Designer and social media strategist and I've been writing this blog since 2007. I live with my husband and daughter in Toronto, Canada in a centre-plan, colonial style house that we've infused with the fresh traditional style we love. We DIY all our renovations and have a fondness for architectural details, built-ins, and classic decor.

Catch up on Week 1 (basement layout options) - Week 2 (coastal basement design) - Week 3 (framing an old fireplace) - Week 4 (shiplap, plumbing and sewing projects) - Week 5 (paint, wallpaper, and shiplap)

Let's jump right in and take a look at the fireplace.

Fireplace Tile Installation 

tile installation, the tile shop, fireplace tile

Dare I say that tiling is Sean's favourite DIY task? I'm not sure if he loves it but he is darn good at it. See some of his other tile jobs here, here, and here. He does everything by eye, without the use of spacers, and he is so fast! 

I thought the Retro Perla tile courtesy of The Tile Shop would be more difficult to install. It has irregular edges and an uneven face. With a tile like this, you can't expect it to look perfect and crisp; the handmade look is part of its charm.

tile installation, the tile shop, fireplace tile

And once again, Sean proved to me that if he wants to give up architecture as a career, he can always be a tiler. He tried really hard to avoid having a sliver of a tile on the last row near the hearth, but the spacing didn't work out. I think it still looks fantastic though. 

tile installation, the tile shop, fireplace tile, grouting tile
We let the tile set for a day and then Sean applied grout. He used Snow White Sanded Grout by Polyblend. Sean prefers Sanded to Non-Sanded grout for tile projects for it's malleability and the slight texture. I chose the Snow White colour to give some contrast with the tile. I didn't want it to be bright white, more of a warm white, which this colour is. There's a few more steps before we call this fireplace done, but it's getting there!

Basement Kitchen Layout

Long before we ever started this basement remodel, I knew I wanted to have a basement kitchenette. There were three main functions I thought the kitchenette could serve: 
  • drinks and plate storage for entertaining/family movie nights
  • as a floral arranging/potting counter
  • for storage of my large serving dishes and vases
basement kitchenette, small basement kitchenette, basement kitchenette ideas

With this needs in mind, I designed this kitchen layout. I cannot wait to see this brought to life! Let me talk a bit about the process in case you are planning a kitchen layout of your own.

1. Identify the essential items

There were two elements that this kitchenette absolutely had to have: a beverage fridge, and a sink and faucet. Once I found those items and had their dimensions, I knew how much space would be leftover for other storage.

In searching for those items, I was excited to see that was an official sponsor of the One Room Challenge. I hadn't shopped their site before but had seen them on countless other blogger sites and knew they offered a vast selection of home improvement and products, many of which shipped to Canada.

For our kitchenette, the Avallon 24" Beverage Center was exactly what I was looking for. We're not big wine drinkers but we do enjoy the occasional soda drink or a beer. I also thought I could use this fridge to store birthday cakes or larger food trays when we're entertaining. With adjustable shelves and capacity for 140 cans, the Avallon fridge was perfect for this spot.

It also had all the design bells and whistles I was looking for: a framed glass door, LED lighting, and it could be installed as a built-in under a countertop. It also has an alarm when the door is left ajar which has already come in very handy! The fact the fridge had stellar online reviews was enough to convince me. This particular item doesn't ship directly to Canada so I used my handy mail forwarder Cross Border Pickups (read all about that process here) to get it across the border.

2. Think about function

Now here's where I started to envision myself as a faux Martha Stewart... and I highly recommend this kind of role playing when you're designing any space!

I'd head to the kitchenette and pull open one of the drawers. The drawer would be filled with pitchers, tall and heavy vases, and decor accessories. The sturdy cabinetry and strong drawer pulls kept things well contained. I'd take one of those tall vases and place it in the sink. Using grocery store flowers, I'd create a pretty arrangement in that vase and then fill it with water. The arrangement would look so pretty sitting by our front door! Clean up would be easy. I'd toss leaves in the pull-out garbage cabinet by the sink and use the pull down spray head on the faucet to wash away the dirt.

In thinking about how I want to live in this space, it becomes easier to find the right products. was also kind enough to supply the faucet and the handles for our project. I'm very excited to be using the Moen S72003BL Paterson faucet. I love its traditional styling but the matte black finish gives it a modern feel. I always prefer a single hole installation and single lever for kitchen faucets (like the one at our cottage); they're easier to use when your hands are full and keep the countertop clean.

The faucet will be paired with the IKEA HAVSEN apron front sink. As we were using IKEA Sektion cabinetry, it only made sense to use an IKEA sink that would fit perfectly and require no modification. This kitchenette won't get heavy use so a single bowl sink was all we would need.

You know you're an adult when you get excited about cabinetry pulls and these ones are so unique. My main criteria for a pull was something long and weighty. The cabinetry ranges from 15" wide to 24" and I knew I wanted a single pull on each drawer. The drawers will be used to store heavy things - serving platters, cutlery, plates and dishes - and I thought a single pull would be easier to manoeuvre.

The pulls we're using consist of two parts: the Top Knobs Kinney 7 9/16" pull paired with the Top Knobs Hollin 7 9/16" backplate. The pull is sleek and modern on its own, but with the backplate, it has that old meets new tension I just love. The backplate reminds me of library drawer label holders and when you look at the profile from the side, it's interesting and unexpected. 

3. Maximize Storage

With the beverage fridge and sink decided on, I was able to divide the rest of the space into banks of cabinetry. I had a few criteria:
  • sink cabinet had to be as far to the left as possible as we were running plumbing from the laundry room which was on the other side of the left side wall
  • a cabinet with pull-out garbage bins should be beside the sink cabinet
  • the cabinets should be deep enough and wide enough to store large items like platters and vases
  • there should be a sense of symmetry and regularity
basement kitchenette, small basement kitchenette, basement kitchenette ideas

Here's the original design for the SEKTION cabinetry that we purchased. The last bank of cabinetry is an open cabinet with shelves. I changed my mind on that after we purchased everything so I had to go back and purchase additional drawer fittings to make it consistent with the other cabinets.

The cabinets range from 15" to 24" and will give us lots of flexibility in terms of storage. I really want to make this an "entertaining zone" and have everything I need for a party here: serving plates, extra dishes, placemats, napkins, cutlery.

You'll notice that there are no drawer fronts on these cabinets. There's a very good reason for that!

4. Make It Pretty

I love IKEA. We used IKEA kitchen cabinets in our old laundry room and I think they're a great product for the price. The one thing I don't love is their limited door selection. The kitchenette would be a real focal point in our basement and I wanted to make it look special and fit with the coastal design scheme. I knew Kitch would have just the right product.

Kitch Door Fronts

I came across Kitch years ago and always kept them in the back of my mind for any IKEA cabinet projects. I'm excited to partner with them for this basement kitchenette and show you the awesome products they offer. Kitch is a Canadian company and their products are all made in house. They ship across Canada and the US and they offer the most beautiful door selections! But I'll let you see for yourself:

kitch doors, IKEA custom door, kitch door colours, kitch woodgrain shelves

kitch doors, IKEA custom door, kitch door colours, kitch slim shaker

How do you even choose?? Kitch has doors in matte, gloss, and woodgrain finishes. Aside from colour options, Kitch offers doors in various slab or shaker profiles. I was really taken with their 3DL Slim Shaker profile. I think it would look fantastic in a mid century modern type kitchen. If you can't decide, I highly recommend purchasing one of their sample boxes and seeing how their doors look and feel in person. 

Kitch made the process really easy. One of their designers took my IKEA plans and outlined the exact doors and sizes I would need. She also identified the end gables and filler pieces required for my project.

Here were my top contenders:

kitch mist, kitch aloe, kitch denim, kitch doors matte

You can see how they would all work in that coastal style I'm aiming for. In the end, we decided on the 3DL Shaker in Mist. I wanted something that wasn't too bold and didn't look white. Something that would be classic and not dated or trendy. Mist is a soft taupe grey colour and paired with the grey tile which we'll be using as a backsplash, it will create a refined and classic look for our kitchenette. The great thing is Kitch also offers matching end panels, toe kicks, and fillers so our IKEA cabinetry will have a custom built in look.

Another wonderful product that Kitch offers? Floating shelves! Here's just a small sampling of their woodgrain finishes.

kitch doors, IKEA custom door, kitch door colours, kitch woodgrain shelves

The shelves come in six sizes ranging from 12"-72". I decided on two 60" shelves in Cannes finish to span most of the wall. We did have a slight concern when we opened the shelving boxes and discovered how heavy the shelves are. The issue is that our wall has metal studs, not wood studs, and metal studs tend to be flimsier and cannot support a lot of weight. 

kitch mist, kitch cannes, kitch doors matte

Sean and I decided to open up the wall, estimate where the floating shelves would be installed, and reinforce each metal stud with additional wood studs. It was a quick fix and we're much more confident the shelves will stay in place. I can't wait to put this all together!

avallon 24" beverage center, basement kitchen fridge, drinks fridge, drinks fridge

We've finished assembling the SEKTION cabinet frames and can move onto attaching the Kitch doors to the drawer units. I have to say that working down in the basement, with drinks conveniently nearby, has made our tasks much more enjoyable!

Whew! That was a big recap. Head over to see what the other Featured Designers are up to. I'm sure everyone is working really hard these days! 

A huge thanks to, Kitch, and The Tile Shop. Thank you for supporting the brands whose quality products I use in my own home.

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