Part Two! The Heaviest Kitchen Cart. Ever.

If you missed my earlier post, make sure you check out how we got this far! But, a quick recap :

My spices were a mess. I had a boring cart. We bought a new hutch for the top. And had to rebuild it. Marble is heavy, but it makes the boring cart amazing. That about sums it up so far.

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When we bought the hutch from the wonderful and must-visit Small Town Salvage, there was no back to the “backsplash” area.

One of the things I really, REALLY want to do in the future, is to tile a very intricate mosaic floor in a bathroom. What does that have to do with anything? Well, I decided that with this cabinet, I had a small, rectangular area, and it could be good practice for doing something more complex down the road. I decided on just two colors – green and black – and I printed off a few copies of a graphic I found online of plain white penny tiles. And then, I colored. I’m convinced that colored Sharpies were invented for the sole purpose of tile design.

The two that I the liked most from my coloring adventures :

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Doug liked the first. I liked the second. The second it is! (He liked both, but his favorite was the first.)

Tile was ordered! I had no idea until it arrived that it was a random mix of matte and gloss, and for a split second I was disappointed, until I realized it actually looked amazing and I was in love with it.


Initially, I wanted to go with a hexagon tile, but I was unable to find hex in a green that I liked. But the penny tile green was great. I started with just one diamond, to make sure I truly liked it. Each diamond was 6 different puzzle cuts of tile, plus the flower, dot, and the surrounding stripes. Once I figured out a pattern, it was pretty easy work, though time consuming.


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Lots of flotsam and jetsam. But I absolutely loved LOVED doing this. I swear, if I could just professionally design mosaic tile patterns, I would do it. I cannot wait to do a bathroom. I should have had Doug take a picture of me beaming while I was working on this.

Instead, you can see him, finding the center point for the first flower. (There really are no pictures of me working on this project. I swear, I did!)


First piece! Since this won’t be a wet area, we just used mastic to adhere the tiles.


Halfway there!


Done! The next step is grouting, and I chose a black grout.


Immediately after grouting, my heart sunk, because the matte finish green tiles weren’t totally clean, even after wiping the haze off. A little googling later, and white vinegar saved the day. Whew! Here they are before we used vinegar – you can see the dark spots on some of the green tiles.


After vinegar. There truly is nothing worse than thinking you screwed up a project, and no better feeling when you realize you saved it.


The final step was a small trim border around the edges to cover the raw edges. Amazingly, we didn’t have to use the tile saw once, which was fantastic. 

We wanted to make sure everything was going to work, so we put the top on the cart, without the doors. This was my second moment of doubt, because once it was up, it looked enormous. I mean, just really too big for the space. But I’ve had moments of worry with other projects, and I knew I should see it through and live with it before I made a final judgement. Oh – and you can also see that I decided to paint the interior beadboard green!


The doors were next. I really didn’t want to do glass – I vaguely considered antiquing more mirror, to tie into the adjoining Butler’s Pantry, and I also considered fabric, but in the end I went with radiator grating. It definitely gives a vintage feel, and ties into the modern look of the stainless steel appliances.



There were grooves already in the back of the frames to take the steel in, except on one side. There, I just used picture frame glazing points to hold the screen in.


One of my ideas all along with this project was to hang the hutch directly to the wall, allowing the cart to be moved in and out if needed to serve as a prep station, baking surface, or bar. Doug’s job was to hang this beast, and he did so with a french cleat.


We actually used quarters to space the hutch to give ourselves enough room to move the cart in and out, without a giant gap between the two. Here, Doug is using a flashlight to see if the hutch is touching the cart – which would be awful and would scratch the marble.


In action! Also, notice the sleepy dog in the video, completely unfazed by the cart moving at her.

If you’re wondering about the title of these last two posts – it’s not just the marble making this cart heavy. Doug is an avid restorer and collector of cast iron (which is quite delicious for me!), but the cart is FILLED with cast iron pieces. It’s quite the workout.

When I was designing the elements of the kitchen two years ago, I bought this cast iron hook, because it’s amazing. However, when I ordered it, I didn’t pay enough attention to how it needed to be hung, and so putting it on a wall was out, and it’s been sitting in a drawer. This project was PERFECT to make this guy part of the hutch, to hold my aprons.


I mean, just LOOK at that face! I am entertaining names for him, if you would like to suggest any.


So quirky. I love it.


I received another special detail just a few days before finishing this project. I have an incredible group of band seniors this year, and a few of their moms got together and got these beautiful salt and pepper shakers for me, as a thank you for teaching their kids for 7 years. The are perfect, and priceless, and loved.


Okay, here is it! The final product! After a day or so of trepidation, I love it.

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Reese is non-plussed.

You can see the kitchen floor “rug” here, which was the reason my penny tile design featured a diamond – to pull that shape up from the floor onto another surface. I like little details like that.


It definitely fits in the space nicely, and brings ever more vintage charm.

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One of my trademarks (habits?) is mixing pattern and texture, but even I thought the tile with the screening might be a bit much. You? I am in love with each element separately, and together they are growing on me.

And this. THIS. This is heaven. (Also, the ENTIRE top shelf that you can only see part of? Those are all the duplicate spices I found).


This was a fun small project – especially the tiling. With 5 bathrooms that will all be restored, I’m going to have to show some restraint, and not do patterns like this everywhere. Maybe.


(But it’s so much fun.)


  1. It looks great, and there’s penny round tile on the threshold into a corner store (or restaurant currently) near my house, probably a similar age to yours. I think they did a Greek key design as a border with little square tiles and kept the field solid white. That could be a good compromise for a bathroom floor, no? I’ll send you a picture… when I remember.

    1. I’ve seen the Greek Key as a border before and like it – the white field tile feels a bit boring for me – but probably awesome for the pattern-afraid! Definitely send me a picture!!!

      1. But you’re likely to throw a bath mat over it anyway. There may have been a center medallion in this one too. I think it’s a triangular step with one of those cast iron columns holding up the rest of the building, and the steps themselves are solid marble slabs that are like a foot thick.

  2. Can I borrow your handy husband for…a year…or two?

    Actually, can I just borrow you both?

    1. For you? Of course. (I’d love to do this for a career – it would be such a blast.) If you want tiling, you want me… Carpentry, you want him!

  3. You two are ultra clever! I love that the cart is still mobile. The lion *must* have a name and here is my suggestion:
    “The Prime Minister’s first, foolish thought was that **Rufus Scrimgeour** looked rather like an old lion.”

  4. Love your blog and your gorgeous home! We are restoring an 1893 folk Victorian farmhouse DIY style too. My hubby and I sometimes feel like we are in over our heads. As soon as we fix one thing, we find another problem that previous owners neglected to fix correctly. Living without a kitchen for over a year now has made me super jealous of your beautiful kitchen. Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to see what you guys do next!

    1. I am so far behind on replies! Ah! I’m so glad you love the house, and am so excited to dive into your site and see what you’ve been up to! I know what you mean about feeling over your heads….. when I think about the scope of our project, I feel the same way, too. So I keep long term lists, and then short term lists…. and focus on the short term so it seems less daunting. I am forever grateful that we did the kitchen in the first round – it does make things more bearable!

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