Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kitchen Reno 2013: Days 13 and 14 - almost there...

Yes, the end is in sight.  I'm so happy, yet still stressed at the same time. There is still so much to do, at least on my side.

Day 13 was mostly about caulking and painting.  I'll spare you the jokes, and just say that Jamie did a great job, as I've come to expect (but am still very happy to acknowledge and give credit where it is very much due).  This guy can paint baseboard without putting tape or anything on the floor!

Speaking of baseboard-- apparently, I don't need quarter-round in the dining room b/c they did such a great job installing the floor, we don't really have a big gap or anything that needs to be covered up.

Day 14 was again about painting some remaining items, very small detail stuff, and Andrew was back to put some finishing touches on the kitchen.  Toe kicks (the piece that finishes the cabinet, so you don't see underneath it) on a couple pieces, and adjustments to the sliding door shutters (apparently the floor IS a 1/4 inch higher than it had been previously), and the last couple knobs (I actually put them on myself, woo.)

Whatever they were doing, it took all day to do it.  The last hour or so was spent removing all their tools from the house, and most (but not all) from the garage.

Then, Andrew went out and got a mop and some cleaner stuff, and Jamie and he each took a turn mopping down the floors.  Actually, they vacuumed with the shop-vac, and then while Andrew was out, I vacuumed again, trying to get the white dust out of the dark shadow lines between the floor boards and around the edges of everything.
THEN the guys each mopped the whole floor 1x while the other wiped up.  I wiped down the counter tops and the fridge (which was way dirtier than it looked... oh stainless steel, how I love your camouflage ability). Yuk, but it's done.

The floor is about 85% clean now, probably needs 2 more passes to be really clean, and maybe a toothbrush in some spots.
Also, there 1 big scratch, but we'll get a floor crayon thingy to cover that up... I'm glad there's not more, but I'm not really fussed, as my UK friends would say.

I don't want to give away the big reveal, so I'll keep my pics limited...  Monday might see the return of Jamie, but I'm not sure why... maybe just to pick up the rest of the tools?
Tuesday, Rob the electrician comes back to finish the pendant lights over the peninsula, the ceiling fan in the living room, and a few final electrical things on the panel, and he said he'd give us new plugs all around so they're not all grimy and with paint (many are original to the house and have the OLD paint on them).

Here's a few pics to tide you over...

Dining room, almost done! Clean-ish floor too
Sneak peek, pantry persective.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kitchen Reno 2013: Day 12 - (no more) Burn Baby Burn

Ok, so, this is not strictly kitchen renovation related, but the plumbers were here today specifically to put in a pressure-balanced valve in the master bath.  We fixed the guest bath when we moved in, but never got around to doing the one in ours.

Scott (from yesterday) and Andy (owner of the plumbing company) came by today and took about an hour and a half to fix something that has been driving me nuts for 8 years.
This is Andy, hard at work. The pipes on the floor are the cause of my thermo-misery

I'll never have to yell "I'm out" after a shower again!
This is the end result. Not fancy, but very functional.

But, what's happening with the entire first floor, you ask?

Many wonderful things.

The dining room is DONE.  Jamie declares it so, and so it must be.
Dining room? DONE! Note the distinct lack of refrigerator.

The ceiling in the kitchen/living room got a coat of paint.  I think it needs 1 more.

Rob the electrician came by today, but his vendor didn't have all the LED-capable dimmers he needed, so he'll have to come back next week to install those.
Also, because the ceiling was wet, he didn't put up the pendants or the fan.
But he did put in LED bulbs (5w each) into the pot lights. Here's a couple that live over the new couch (couch not included in photo... but it's coming next week!)
Oh, the lovely lights.
Since we have a dark colored backsplash, we made the last minute call to put in black switches and plugs. Glad we thought of that, because I think it looks great!

Come to the dark side...
Rob couldn't find a black integrated switch/timer for the grow light, so we have a regular switch and I'll use a timer on the plug inside the herb shelf.  Can't win them all.

Rob had FITS over the grow light LED panel.  Fits, I tell ya!

He thinks it looks like a "Lite-Brite" (I loved mine; as an OCD child, I mostly just liked to make separate piles of the different colored bits...), and he REFUSES to take his final picture of the job with it in the shot.  I'm not joking.

It's not *that* bad.  Note that it will be hanging and shining flat down, and not out, like a crazed Union Jack!

Rule Britannia?

And seriously, I need this shelf. Look what happens to my basil and oregano when left to my hubby's tender, loving care!
phytocide! Remember my Orange Mint, Basil, and Oregano? Oh, tri-lobe Basil, we hardly knew ye...

Justin came by, and he and Jamie fixed a new hole that Rob had made... Rob made the hole because Justin's crew had to open the wall yesterday, to better anchor the floating shelves, and lost Rob's wires in the process.... (and for the want of a horseshoe nail)

It will be fine in the end, but needs some more mud (and we all know, mud=dust, so we're not done with that just yet).
Front of hole, note the part above the electrical box.  That's new.
Oh, and don't put your finger in there. Live switches.

Back of hole
I have the Ernest Hemingway of holes.
Note the purple walls that remain...not for long!

Once everyone else left, Jamie went to town on the living room and kitchen, and got a first coat of grey wall paint on.
Inspired by my room at Frederick's Hotel in Maidenhead, UK!


Plan for Day 13 - Jamie will tackle some primer on the walls of the powder room, second coat on the ceiling and walls of the living room and kitchen, more mud on the shelf wall (will have to finish that and the closet up on Monday/Tuesday next week, likely).
Powder room, with the lumpy walls all smooooooothed out.

Other things that need to be done-- the drawer with no hand-hold should be getting one, and I hope to see that again soon.

We also need pistons to hold the upward-opening cabinets, well, UP.  Justin said he saw those in the shop, so they should be installed here soon, I hope. 
Note the distinct lack of any way to keep this door open. It does soft-close though.
Justin also said I'm doing a great job as the project manager.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kitchen Reno 2013: Day 11 - O, the DRAMA!

I'm so spiritually exhausted today. Total emotional rollercoaster.  Let me share with you...

I started the day by sitting BOLT UPRIGHT in bed at 7:29am, immediately noticing that my hubby had NOT woken me up (as previously agreed upon, EVERY NIGHT OF THE RENO)... the dog was upstairs, the baby gate in place, but my work had yet to be done.

Every morning, I run around the house making things ready for the guys. 
First, I roll up Haka's 2 carpets (he lies on one near the air vent in front of the front door, and the other is near his bed so he doesn't "bambi" if he gets up quickly).
Then, I move his bed to the basement.  This is his bed:

No small feat.

Then I put away his dog bowls that are downstairs (from his 5pm and 10pm meals).
Then I move my car onto the street, so the guys can make full use of the driveway.
Then I run back upstairs and give Haka his morning cookies, including his *stress ease* cookies, so he won't pace and freak out all day with the guys coming and going downstairs.

Soooo... today, I got all this done by 7:46am, when the first of the crew arrived.

Adam and Andrew, and shortly after, Jamie the Painter, arrived to, I had hoped, paint.

Nay nay, said the gods of Renovation.  You silly human.  You thought you'd be DONE this week? You spoke of Friday, when today is only Monday?
Bwahahahahahahaha... we will throw you many curve-balls and emotional lightning bolts, and put you in your place!

Um, so, ya.  They couldn't paint b/c there wasn't enough prep work done previously... So they spent the morning sanding the ceiling and other patched places, and using much caulk around the crown molding, and other tricks of the trade to make all the seams and nail holes disappear.

Side note: in my head, and online with my friend David, and with my hubby, many juvenile *caulk* jokes were made.  I won't subject you to them here, but just know that I am not even remotely above "going there" and I snickered many times.

Adam made a big hole in the coat closet wall, trying to create enough support for our new floating shelves that go on the wall above the peninsula.
He got it done, now we just need for that patch to dry and get mudded some more, sanded some more.... more dust please! Thank you sir, may I have another?

Jamie did manage to get a coat of paint on the crown molding in the dining room, and then the caulk was dry enough (snicker) to put a 2nd coat of green on the dining room.  Just a couple small patches left to do in there, and we will call the dining room done.
But it's not yet.

Meanwhile... is that BURNING I smell?
I ran downstairs in the early afternoon, and lo and behold, the plumber was here.
I'd been advised that he would be old and Polish (that's a quote... not sure what I imagined, but someone like my grandfather came to mind).  Instead, I got Scott, who looks like what you'd see if Hugh Jackman got skinny, had his goatee, and longish hair.  Very nice guy, easy to work with, and answered my questions, didn't make me feel like an idiot...

Anyway-- he was installing the Kohler magic faucet when I came downstairs, and then he called me when it was time to do the dishwasher.

You remember, the dishwasher? that leaked? and caused the floor damage, that required the floors to be ripped up... that led to the renovation? THAT dishwasher?

Well, seems that the intake valve might not have been the only culprit in that leak.  Scott couldn't install the machine because the outflow hose, the big white one that is sort of like an accordion?
Imagine if that had been eaten by moths... ya. UGH.
That was the skeletal remains I saw, and I immediately realized, THE RENOVATION GODS ARE SPEAKING TO ME and they are saying-- go buy a new dishwasher.

So I begged Scott not to leave (and he went and replaced the refrigerator water hose instead) and I zoooooomed to the nearest appliance store, ran in, bought a floor model (Samsung), wheedled a bit of a discount on top of the floor model price, and got the 2 guys to load it into my car.
Maybe 20 minutes total.
Zoooooomed back home, and Scott and Jamie unloaded it, and installed it.

And then, buyers' remorse sunk in.  My model does not have the best reviews online.  Some are stellar, but many are not.  Luckily, none of the issues involve water leakage.
Actually, funnily enough, this model has a leak sensor.

So, happiness turns to fretting as I read more and more reviews.  To shorten the story, hubby and I decide to keep it for now (I have 30 days to return it, and after that, I actually have a 5 year warranty, that includes replacement of the unit if it has to be fixed more than 3 times).
I read the user guide front to back, and I feel confident I know how to load it so that the dishes will get clean.
Fingers crossed.

So, I'm back at ground level of my rollercoaster.  Tonight, I have filtered water from my fridge door, and ice too.  I'm washing the dogs bowls in the dishwasher.

And to top it all off-- I have the worlds smartest faucet. 
Well, as long as it's plugged in. 
Without power, it's just cool to look at.

Here's the video for you-- and it works just like this. But mine's stainless, not shiny:

I'll have pics for you tomorrow, I promise :)

Kitchen Reno 2013: Day 10 - The "crowning" glory!

After a week away (a week away, a week away, a week away... to the tune of In The Jungle...) the project is still on track on Day 10, as planned.

I was off teaching my company's new PS (professional services) hires, and while no work was going on INSIDE the house, the countertops and backsplash were being fabricated.

2 other things happened while I was gone:  we chose the profile for the countertops, and we made a fuss about the inside about one of the cabinets that did not turn out as we had originally planned.

*I* wasn't going to make a fuss.  The cabinet, intended to store knives in a hidden drawer and then have a big open space for cookie sheets, came in with hardware making it instead a very large spice rack (lots of wasted room in the back), with a  huge divider, and a tiny slot for cookie sheets.
I was disappointed, and mentioned it when the cabinets were in the warehouse, but was told it could be fixed easily later.
When the cabinet was installed and the hubby saw it, we agreed it needed to be changed asap. I asked again, and the kitchen designer said it couldn't easily be changed (the metalworks were glued/screwed to the door, which pulled open, and wasn't hinged... they'd have to take the whole thing out...)

I gave up, as I didn't want to ruin the whole project plan.  I'd figure out something else to do with the knives and could use the large spice rack for other stuff. Insert large sigh here. 
But it was tainting my view of the whole project.

My wonderful husband, however, did NOT give up. As soon as I was out of town, he contacted the guys, and said that while I was just trying to be polite, I was really disappointed, and we had to fix this.

So-- first thing Monday morning, the first thing the kitchen guys did, was take out the metal works and the door, and the interior divider, and BOOM.  Cabinet we can work with!  They'll make a drawer (we agree that a non-hidden drawer is more practical, since you don't want to open the door all the time to get your knives, and a new door, and we'll be back in business. #happy

Also? Since the box didn't move or change,  we did NOT impact the timeline for the countertop installation, which was my other main concern. #reallyhappy

A win-win (for me. :D ). Literally.

Here's the new inside of the cabinet and the old pieces that caused misery

Cabinet minus the offending parts

The main offending part - so much wasted space, and this is clearly not a knife drawer

Here's the profile of the countertop-- we chose Eased.

We researched, and Eased is easier to clean off

In a fit of inspiration, we also chose a light fixture for the dining room this weekend.  I has anticipated crying, migraines, and misery. But it was actually surprisingly easy (thank you conceptlighting.ca )!

Our new Dining Room fixture

Here's what it looks like in the store, but this isn't our shade color:
I love that the crystals have bubbles in them

It should arrive in 2-3 weeks. 

Other things that happened on Day 10:
Crown molding went up in the kitchen and living room.  I hadn't originally wanted this (just wanted the cabinets to go straight up to the ceiling), but the ceiling had other ideas.  Since it apparently has quite a slope to it (nothing to be concerned about, just a fact of life...ceilings sometimes slope), we had to cover the gap between the straight piece and the ceiling with crown molding. So here it is.

This had to be painted to match the cabinets (Cloud White, don't'cha know?) in the shop, and I think it looks great already. It will look better once Jamie gets done with it.

The crown molding. Subtle, yet necessary

I brought the Kohler faucet/tap (did you know they call faucets "taps" in the UK? No? You're welcome! Now your British friends won't look at you like you're on drugs when you talk about your plumbing choices with them) back from the US where I had it shipped (and saved about $400 or so in the process of buying online and shipping it within the US), and my LED grow light for the herb shelf (STOP SNICKERING. I like basil. That is ALL) came home with me as well.

Good thing I got the faucet in time, because the COUNTERTOPS ARRIVED TODAY, and I about lost my mind from joy. That's 2 days ahead of schedule, and a huge milestone!

I don't want to ruin the surprise of the "big reveal" when it's all done, so here's a snippet of counter, and the 32" sink. 

For the record, I remember the quartz differently. I really like this, and hubby says this is what he remembers, but it's not what I've been imagining. Anyway, I like it. Wait till you see it all together. 

Day 11 should bring an end to mudding and sanding (minus a new hole they need to make in the closet wall, to more securely install the floating shelves we requested), and a lot of priming and painting. 
Do I dare tell Jamie the Painter I found a scuff on the wall? Or do I try to erase it???

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kitchen Reno 2013: Days 5-9. Things totally happened!

Sorry I've been delinquent-- a long weekend will do that to you.  But, we did get an extra 1/2 day back on Day 5, since the contractors took responsibility for the keys and locked up for me, and they did make use of their extra time (we thought they'd have to leave when I left for my weekend).

So on Day 5, Jamie-the-painter got 2 coats of brown done on the hallways, including the very high-ceilinged stairwell.
Jamie, master painter, at work.

Front entryway with the new brown paint and freshened white on the wainscoting

Day 6 was a Tuesday (remember, long weekend, stat holiday) and the guys were right back here, early even! (early, to me, in the renovation context, is anything before 8am)

We started the floors that day-- VERY exciting, for without floors, there would be no cabinets.  And really, what's a kitchen without cabinets? (um... a living room?)
Starting the bamboo nail-down flooring.

After some initial trouble (the bamboo is something like 6x harder than oak, so they had to adjust their nailing technique, because the nails were bouncing back at them. And they needed new saw blades as well).
They progressed well on the floors on Tuesday, and also did a bit more sanding and more mudding.

That is one long run of flooring! About 36ft or so.

Side note: there is way too much dust produced by sanding the spackle.  I will never be dust free, ever again.  I know this to be true.

So, Day 7 brought the finishing of the floors-- took till about 1pm, and at 2pm, the cabinets started to arrive!

Floors are all done, covered to protect them

I had hoped they would install them right away, since they were already assembled at the shop, but they just brought them in (about 1/2 the order) and stacked them.
Pretty cabinets... but wouldn't they look better on my walls?

Cabinets arrive on site

Day 8-- All cabinets, all day (or as Schmidt from "New Girl" would say: ALL DAY! Dawg.)

Brent exercising excellent cabinet installation technique

Andrew and Brent, continuing the cabinets

Day 8 was a Thursday, and the project plan called for the counter template to happen on Friday. 
This could be a "show stopper," as we say in the project-management world, so the guys (including Milton, the kitchen designer) worked until about 7pm to get far enough along so that the template guy could come on time on Friday.

They got all the wall cabinets up, and mapped the spot for the peninsula.

Most of the cabinets, and note the green tape on the floor where the peninsula goes
Day 9 - Milestone Friday!
If the counters don't get templated today, so they can be built next week, we are screwed.
We started the day with a list of questions, such as, can we move the peninsula, the one that you worked about an hour mapping out yesterday?
And, this interior hidden drawer that has no pull and is flush to the shelf above it-- how to you foresee me pulling that out?

So, Milton was here again around 7:30am, moved the peninsula (well, the tape on the floor, representing the peninsula) out a few inches, which was much much better.
I told him and Justin (Joe and Justin are the main partners, one or the other stops by every day) about the drawer issue, and we discussed solutions for that (something about moving it down, back, and installing a grommet?), so everyone is feeling good about everything again.

All the cabinets were in place by 11am, and the templater (um, we'll call him Mr. Template) arrived on time.  There were arts & crafts performed, involving red tape, cardboard, and a pencil, and lickety-split, he was GONE, Keyser Soze style.
poof. whoosh... Do that thing with your fingers....

The rest of the day was Andrew and Brent finishing putting up the cabinets, crown and baseboards in the dining room, baseboards in the living room, and did a pretty good sweep-up job.
We can call Milestone Friday a success.
Milton finalizing the outside of the peninsula

So, what's next?  The countertops and backsplash will be built off-site, meanwhile, I will train my company's new hires, and when I return, we resume Day 10.

The crown for the living room has to match the cabinets, so that will be sprayed to match at the guys' shop. Priming and painting the kitchen, living room, and powder room (and one remaining hole in the dining room, sigh).
Cue, return of the dust-- Toma still has some sanding to do before all that painting starts...

Appliances will be moved back and hooked up-- we'll need plumbing and electrical for that (gotta love mixing water and electricity. EXCITING).
Countertops will come mid-week, final electrical (outlets, switches, pendant lights, fan).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kitchen Reno(vation) 2013: Day 4 - Surprise!

Great day today!  

The team (Toma and Brent on tape and mud, Jamie on paint- SURPRISE!!! painting wasn't on the schedule today) showed up early in the morning, and got right down to work.

End of first day of mudding. Huge difference!

I pointed out all the existing lumps and bumps that I wanted Toma to flatten out, and he and Brent got right into it. 

I might have scared him, just a wee bit, with the prospect of fixing the walls in the powder room, but he took it in stride.

And he basically re-plastered a wall and a half in there.

I don't want to talk about this.

Re: the above picture.
If you are considering wallpaper as a d├ęcor option, stop.  Just stop right there.
Don't do it. 
I don't care what the application method is, what the paper is made of, what you learned in the Home Depot training class on Saturday.

Just. Say. No.
your future self will thank me.

Meanwhile, Jamie started out with a drywall knife and some pink-turns-white spackle, and attacked the house like chicken pox on a four-year-old.

Upstairs, downstairs, along the stairs, the man was everywhere. 
I don't think he took lunch, maybe a smoke break?... naturally thin people are like that, so I hear... go figure.
Jamie at work on the stairs
Dining room, after spackle, before paint

He wasn't even supposed to be here today, but finishing quickly at another job freed him up and our contractors seized the opportunity to get ahead of the schedule. 
I am ok with this.

Anyway, the mudders finished around 11am, and since the compound needs to dry, they left.

Jamie, aka rockstar-of-day-4, stayed until about 4pm, and painted everything that he could get his hands on!

He managed to get 2 full coats on the hallway downstairs, and 1 coat on all of the dining room, as well as hitting up some of the white trim and wainscoting (hard to tell, but in person, it looks much fresher).
Dining room, with some new paint, so you can see new vs. old color

Old hall color (above) vs. new hall color (below).  We think it looks like melted chocolate :)


pre-pre-preview of view from hall with 2 coats of new color in the hall and 1 coat in the dining room.
So fresh!

There is still MUCH to do, and hopefully they'll make good progress tomorrow on Day 5, before a long weekend here.
  Day 5 will bring us a 2nd coat of mud, and maybe sanding in the afternoon, and definitely more painting.  Since Jamie didn't know he was coming here today, and what that entailed, he didn't have the ladder(s) he needs to be able to paint the high ceilings along the stairs. But he'll be ready tomorrow, and I bet he earns rockstar status again.