But, as we couldn't tile over the existing plywood (and be guaranteed a good seal), we put Durock down with lots and lots of mastic and screws.
It was not a tough job (those sheets are pretty large), and it looked much nicer and cleaner already. Plus, we had the added security of knowing the subfloor was one solid mass.
After 24 hours of drying time, everything not tied down got a coat of paint. 2 coats, actually.
Here it is, complete! Cutting in that back wall was a pain in the ass, but it looks really good. Very Tuscany-ish. In fact, whenever we found a spot where the skim-coat wasn't quite smooth, someone would shout out "STUCCO!"
And then...then we tiled. Or I should say my dad and Michael tiled. I wasn't feeling well, so after a coat of paint on the cabinet doors, I gathered Ollie and went home.
The trick, I am told, was getting the lines perfectly straight. The room is 24 feet long. What do you think? Straight enough?
The next day, feeling much improved, I got to participate in my favorite part of tiling: picking the spacers out. I love those damn things. It's really satisfying, because when your floor is clear, it looks somehow Real and Finished.
And they make cute abstract art.
We were a little short on tiles, so we had to make a run to the store...aaaand they were out of our tile. Of course. We bought a case of another color and called it good. Michael knew he was short the night before, and he planned it out so the space would be under the cabinets.
Chocolate ice cream? Baby poo? I think not! It is grout! Everyone's FAVORITE PART of a tile job.
Here's the thing. Grout is not super difficult, just time consuming. You have to make sure you get it right. Otherwise, you will be going over it again, and after spending so much intimate time with the floor on your hands and knees (ahem.), NOBODY wants to do that. So go over it on an angle once...
See where there is a gap? The grout caught on the edge of the tile in the direction you pushed the float.
Now bring the float back, and you have a lovely seam.
So do that for every freaking joint in your floor, and you end up with this. Perfect drying grout and nasty, hazy tiles. This haze will be the bane of your existence. You will wash the floor 3, 4, maybe 5 times.
You will steam-mop the floor 3 times. You will curse like a sailor.
Eventually, you get on your hands and knees again and buff the floor with an old towel until you think it is Good Enough because the Patriots are going to be on TV in a hour and you need to stop and get beer on the way home.
A note on the paint colors. I didn't write a post about the painting because it all happened so quickly, I didn't take any pictures. We went with Benjamin Moore...Colonial Red and Rich Cream. There is a a large brick hearth facing the kitchen, so I wanted to mirror that on the back wall of the dining room. This red was just right - brick-like without being obnoxiously red. The rich cream was a nice neutral with just the faintest hint of yellow. Perfect for creating an illusion of warmth up on cold winter mornings.
Next up, cabinet install. Almost there!
all photos, ours