After a four-day marathon of DIY tiling, grouting, priming and painting, hardware-ing, Phase II of my tiny kitchen renovation is complete.

This phase involved trading the skills (and tools) of friends and families for my promises of babysitting and fresh-baked cookies. The wall tile installation crew, which consisted of a kitchen designer friend and my kitchen designer/sister/Jane-of-all-trades, Robin, took two days to install my favorite element of the kitchen-a matte white subway tile back- and side-splash that is exactly as I envisioned: chic and timeless.

Day 3 involved grouting, and that's when I finally put the "Y" in DIY and got my hands dirty, literally. I'm still scrubbing the grout from beneath my fingernails, but it was worth it! I chose a grey grout and a wider grout line to achieve a bistro-y aesthetic, and the final product is spot on. If you ever try your hand out grouting, Lowe's offers a handy how-to on its website http://www.lowes.com/cd_Install+Wall+Tile_449228750_" target= "_blank">here.

Day 4 brought the finishing touches: Navy paint (Martha Stewart Living in Wrought Iron) and the simple black knobs and pulls I chose to introduce a vintage feel to the room.

Once the paint and hardware were in place, the vision that had been in my head for months was finally a reality. OK, not quite. It's time to initiate Phase III: the décor. Time to go shopping . . .

If we had forgone the DIY route, professional installation for Phase Two would have cost us roughly:

Wall tile installation: $450

Painting: $300

Total DIY savings: $750