Monday, May 31, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Weekend Update

Hope everyone had a fun and safe weekend!
We caught some fish:

M did some swimming...

And oh yea, we've got power in our kitchen!!

All the outlets had been installed and set up, we just needed everything to be tied into the breaker.  We held off on that until all the cabinets were in.  You know, just in case anybody hit a wire...

The counters are set to be installed on Thursday!!  I'm really excited, because then we'll pretty much have an actual kitchen! Provided the plumbing doesn't become an issue.  Aside from that, its really just the little things we have left - adjusting the doors, adding the door and drawer pulls, priming, decided on a color and painting, and you know, actually putting everything away...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Holding Pattern

I know I know, I didn't post yesterday.  There wasn't alot to say, we've slowed down quite a bit and are in a holding pattern at the moment.  I bought shelf liners yesterday, but haven't put them in or moved anything into the upper cabinets.  The granite company called to schedule our install for Thursday, so we've got to try and get a few things done before then.  BUT, that should mean that *fingers crossed* we have a fully functioning and complete kitchen by next weekend!!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend, and while your enjoying your long weekend and BBQs and beers, take a few moments to remember what it's all about.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
~Joseph Campbell

And I’m proud to be an American where as least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
~ Lee Greenwood

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Customer Service

Today's kitchen related items really just involve some poor customer service on behalf of Lowe's and the granite company.

Here's the long story on the latest Lowe's issue... On Sunday when we were installing, two of the shelves were crunched, and there were none to go with the utility cabinet, that I am calling the pantry.  I called to ask what the next step was.  She said she could order new shelves for the ones that were crunched, but that the utility cabinet doesn't come with shelves, we would have had to order those separately. Um, ok?

So I called yesterday morning to ask if that's really true.  The 2nd kitchen lady at Lowe's rushed me off the phone saying she was with a customer but would check on it and call me back.  They have our home number, and I gave her my work number.  (At some point I'll have to sit down and explain all the fun issues we've had with both the kitchen designers at Lowe's....)

At 4pm today I decided to call again.  She acted like we had already discussed everything and that it was fine.  I explained it was not fine.  I was again informed we did not order shelves.  FINE, just order them (it's $37, its not a big deal, it just would have been nice to have been told in the first place!).

Secondly, B called the granite company to ask when they would be installing, and was informed they hadn't received the paperwork yet. Um, the guy was here Monday... and everything is computerized...what's the issue?

So he'll be calling them back tomorrow to see if he gets a different answer.

Oh, and I think we have a contestant for the hottest day of 2010 in NH... today!  Not much else to say tonight... its too hot to keep this laptop on my legs any longer - so goodnight!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Thinking About Paint and Plumbing

It's like the hottest day ever.

Well, ever of 2010 in New Hampshire.  And I'm like 85% sure that's not an exaggeration.

I filled up M's baby pool for her when I got home from work and let her play around for a bit.

There's some plumbing work going on in the basement at the moment.  Which is nice for them since it's probably 25 degrees cooler down there (but smells like a sewer since B forgot to cover something?).  When we ripped everything out, and had little flooding crisis, it was revealed that the pipes were a mix-and-match set of copper and PVC, alternating more times than any plumber would ever want to see.  So, the process is ongoing, and nearing completion and replacing the pieces that need to be replace.  I just returned from a trip to Lowe's to pick up a 10 foot section of 2 inch pipe.  Which is fun to walk around the store with, especially when you decide maybe you need some more paint trays and rollers, and maybe then you turn around too quick and almost take out the whole shelf of more-expensive-than-I-want-to-pay-for-breaking paint sprayers.  And maybe the teenage emo couple (which why on earth are they in Lowe's?) giggles at you.

But it's ok, I, in fact, did not break anything, and made it out in one piece.  With some mini-roller trays and mini-rollers.  Because the painting, is going to be here before I know it.  But only after the priming. And I think I mentioned it was crazy hot and here in New England, that means crazy humidity too.  Honestly, the heat and humidity, combined with the smell of primer that won't dry because its too darn humid... not something I feel like dealing with tonight.  So, maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, I also came home with some more paint samples.  I'm acquiring quite the collection:

And yes, these were all picked with the kitchen in mind.  I don't seem indecisive at all, right?  Lights, darks, greys, tans, greens, blues(? I don't know how those snuck in there!).  But really, the lighting at the store is not conducive to actually seeing the color, that's why they let you bring it home.

Even M looks confused about what color will be best!  But at least she could make a decision...

She picks Foggy Skies.  I think its just because its the closest and she's lazy.  Let's hope that's not what we decide to go with... she did a number on the sample and I'd feel a little weird giving a chewed up sample to the paint lady.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Counter Template

The counter has been templated. Or however you want to say it.  I wasn't home, but B informed me they brought in a LASER to template it.  A little more high tech than the pieces of wood glued together that we saw in the video when we went to pick out our slab, that's for sure.

So here's the laser:

Apparently he shot to laser each direction, and everything is computerized.  We're getting about 47 feet of granite.  B was talking to the guy that was doing the measuring, and apparently he just came from a house where he measured 100 feet of granite! And get this... the granite the woman was having installed, $183 a square foot!  Yea, I think you can all handle the math on that one.  It sure makes our 47 square feet, at $50 something a square foot seem cheap!!

And I guess this is what M did all day...

Yea, she's lazy.

B is going to call tomorrow to ask when they will be installing the counters, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a surprise quick turnaround!  But not too quick...since I still need to get around to priming the walls...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Day 17 - Cabinet Install

The cabinets.... are installed!  And I don't think we could be any more excited and thrilled with the way they look.

Most everything went in easy, and we put the stove in, so when the granite company comes tomorrow to create their template, they can measure accurately.

The first opening is for the dishwasher, the large boxed out opening is for the fridge.  We need a little plumbing work done before we can move those over.  At the very end you'll see what I keep calling our pantry cabinet.  Apparently to Lowe's it's a utility cabinet, and doesn't come with shelves??!  (And yes, the door is still blue, I can't wait to paint it even though we'll probably be tearing out that wall in the next few months anyway... but that's a can of worms we'll get to later.)

Doesn't the stove look happier there then in the dining room? :)

We even got some of the detail work done today.  For the baseboard, we actually ended up using some of the filler board we ordered, rather than the actual baseboard, since the baseboard that was sent was red oak, and our cabinets are hickory.  See the color and grain difference? 

Here's the filler boards acting as our baseboard:

We think it looks good, and goes well with the clean lines in the rest of the kitchen, but we'll take a look at some quarter round to put on top, to see if that'll be better.  Also, those panels are going to be installed on the back side of the peninsula.  They're basically decorative accents.  I had left early the day we "closed" on the kitchen (i.e. handed over the $$), and B got suckered into buying them without me there to put my foot down.  I'm glad he did as I think it'll really make a difference once we get them hung (we didn't have the right length nails today, oops.)

Also, we've got to show off the mini crown molding, as one of B's dad's least favorite thing is ceiling trim, and with all the corners this was a doosey for him, but he did an awesome job.

Sure adds a finished, high end look, right?  (Ignore the unpainted drywall.  I know its not finished or high end looking, but I'll take care of it eventually.)

We have an order in for some new shelves for the corner cabinets, as they were ratty and crunched around the edges, and will be returning the excess filler board and incorrect baseboard.  Also, we plan to order the shelves for my "pantry", but we're really mad we have to pay for them, so we'll see what happens there.

The granite template is getting done tomorrow, and the next few days will be spent finally priming and eventually getting the drawer and door pulls/handles installed.  I don't think I can feel comfortable with a paint color until the granite is in, so we'll hold off on that.  We'll also try and get organized, since we can use the upper cabinets, and parts of the lower ones now, and it'll be nice to get life somewhat back to normal.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Picking Granite

I'm a bad blogger.

I remembered the camera, but not the memory card.  Oops.

But trust me, its for the best.  Today, was not our finest moment.  Everything started off okay, we got up on time, were out the door on time.  The GPS wanted us to go a silly way that didn't make sense after what we had looked at online, so we ignored it until it agreed with us.  We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts (cause what is a morning road trip with some ice coffee?), we felt like we were making good time.

The warehouse we had to go to is about an hour and fifteen minuets from our house in the next state, so a little bit of a hike, but we weren't too worried about it.  That is, until the GPS went into a crazy vortex of mind-messing hell.  Telling me to exit the highway when there's no where to go, saying to turn left when the image is showing right, recalculating the route every two seconds, after it tells me to take a non-existent exit.  I couldn't figure out where it thought we were, or where it wanted to us to go.  Stupid technology.

Then, B made that face.  Yea, for the first time since I've met him, he got a little car sick.  Thank goodness for a messy car, as he was able to grab a bag.

We arrived, about 20 minutes late.  Walking in, the "warehouse" was really nice, with a front reception area that rivals that of a high end hotel.  Taking a seat to wait for our opportunity to head out back, we checked out a video on the flat screen TV that shows the processes the granite slabs go through before they reach your kitchen/bathroom, etc. which was pretty neat.  The walls were covered in about 3 foot samples of the variety of different granite varieties the company has.

Shortly, we were taken out back to the actual warehouse, by a girl in high heels...ooookay.  We found the type we had chosen, known as Ubatuba (which is just fun to say).  The high heel girl went to grab a cloth to wipe the slab down.  We looked at the slab.  We looked at each. We both sort of shrugged, and B said, "Yea, that's fine."

High heel girl was all, that's it? that's the one you want? WOW, some people take hours!

She slapped a sticker on it to reserve it for us, B confirmed it was big enough for the crazy amount that we need for our counters, we went back out front, signed some forms, and were out the door.  In less than 10 minutes.

Maybe we should have looked at some more slabs, but really, it was fine.  Was there something else we should have been looking for?  Should we have asked to see endless samples? (Our designer at Lowe's said she had gone back THREE TIMES to pick out the perfect one.)  Maybe we should have seen more, but frankly, we're not picky, and it looked good to us.  Hopefully we won't regret our quick decision.  We're just glad to be one step closer.

Also, am I the only one who finds it ironic that we had to leave our state, The Granite State, and travel so far to pick out our granite?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Day 15

Christmas was good to me ;P

Not *all* the cabinets are in, but the bottom ones are, which is fantastic and I'm able to visualize how everything is going to look so much more now.  And, lots of other stuff got done today too, so that's awesome.  Cause I mean, I used a vacation day for today - and I treat vacation days like magic beans, they are used as sparingly as possible. (Although, after my experience today, there may be many more 3 day weekends in my future - so nice.  We'll see.)

Anyway, let's get started.  Everyone got to work early (and yes, I helped, but I mean, I had to document everything in photographs too!)

And the cabinet manufacturer was really helpful, stapling the instructions to the inside of the sink base, with the Spanish instructions face up... figures... (good thing we didn't need any stupid instructions)

Anyway, M got comfortable, and seems to love the new tiles:

In the end, we got the bottom cabinets installed (we'll take care of everything else on Sunday).  So here's a look at what we've got so far:

Also, we got the sconce replaced, which I forgot to take before pictures of, but trust me, this one is better (and matches our other new lighting fixtures that I'll share another time).

Once the cabinets were installed, I took an interesting trip to Lowe's with a friend who has been helping us out a TON, which I'll share more details on another time.  But, after our trip we were able to get the trim up on the recessed cans, which makes a huge difference.

We are completely loving the fact that just having the bottom cabinets installed, and the top cabinets out of their boxes and organized, we're able to actually walk around our house.

And yes, that's the new chandelier, but we'll hold off on a close up.  The wires haven't been adjusted since we need to decided the height we want - so we'll wait until we've got the table back in place.  (And we're going to have quite a few days between when they measure for the granite on Monday, and when it's actually installed, so let's face it, I keep saying I'll talk about things later, so I have some stuff to fill up that time.)

Tomorrow we're off to choose our granite slab, and hopefully I'll be a good blogger and remember my camera so I can share how cool (or not) that experience is.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Day 14: Christmas Eve

It's been two full weeks. I'm happy to say it doesn't feel as bad as I expected.  And I am completely 100% feeling like a 6 year old on Christmas Eve.  Tomorrow is my adult Christmas: Cabinets are getting installed.

Remember when you'd beg to open just one present on Christmas Eve...just one! To hold you over! Well, I got my Christmas Eve present: my floooooorrrsssss!

So let's just refresh your memory.


During, with our awesome friend who happens to have a talent for installing tile :)

And, the completed floors, with grout:

(ignore the dusty white smudges. they'll get cleaned up tomorrow)

The tile is from a great little store in our town, called Cardoza Flooring.  They've got a huge selection, and we ended up with an 18 inch porcelain tile, in a style called Indian Slate, the color is "autumn".  I'll admit, when our friend started installing it, we really weren't sure if we liked it.  I was okay with it, but I could tell B was freaking out a little bit.  We picked out our grout color, "Almond", and once the grout was in today, B was thrilled.  It's colder than the old laminate, but I frankly, I don't care. That's why they invented slippers.  It's beautiful, its classy, and I can't wait to see what the cabinets look like with it!

Speaking of cabinets, I don't know if I mentioned, they're GETTING INSTALLED TOMORROW!!  *ahem* sorry.  I went through most of them tonight, making sure there isn't any glaring defects, etc.  I also tried to label them matching the layout we got from Lowe's.  I numbered them on the layout, then put post-its with the corresponding number.  Just to make it a little easier tomorrow.

In a surprise development, my brand new, awesome, amazing, lovely chandelier will (most likely) be getting installed (along with the random sconce, that B keeps calling a scone) tomorrow as well.

And yes, I probably will lay awake all night, waiting to hear the reindeer on the roof and Santa in the chimney.... 'cept it'll be a F-150 in the driveway and my father-in-law through the front door.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Drywall and Sand Fun

The tile is installed! And just needs to be grouted tomorrow. It looks AWE-some. But I'm not going to show you now, cause I'm mean like that.

I wanted to talk more about last night first.  As you saw, prior to last night, we were down to studs on almost all walls, which meant a whole lot of drywalling (and insulating) needed to be done.  AND B had patched a few spots in the ceiling where we had taken down the track lighting, so some sanding and painting needed to be done as well.  One of B's friend's came up to help hang the drywall, and by 7 we had eaten dinner, the radio was cranked, and we were ready to go.  The first thing I learned, when sanding a ceiling, eye protection is key. Especially if you wear contacts.  A pair of cheap old sunglasses worked great.

Painting the ceiling was also interesting, since ours is textured - not quite popcorn, but not smooth either.  After a quick consult with a Lowe's employee, we purchased the Valspar ceiling paint that starts out purple so you can tell where you've painted, and as it dries it turns white.  We also purchased some all purpose sand.  I mixed about a half a cup of paint, with about a half a cup of sand, and used a brush to blot it on the ceiling. Aside from some of the sand raining down on me, it came out pretty damn perfect in my opinion.

It was still drying in this pictures, so the color didn't blend completely, but B painted the whole ceiling with regular ceiling paint today and you would never know that gross track lighting ever lived on the ceiling.

The other little trick we learned stemmed from an email B sent me while I was at work that essentially read "I'm going to try this tonight *random link*, do you have any bright lipstick?" Ummm....until I clicked on the link, where it was all explained.  See, the night before we had some issues in doing the cutouts on the drywall for the electrical.  Nothing a $2 stick of lipstick can't fix!

Basically, you take the lipstick and outline the electrical box:

Then, very carefully line up the drywall.  Be sure to have it at the correct height and lined up according to any corners or anything like that.  Press on the drywall in the area of the electrical box, and take the drywall back off, going straight out (don't let is slip up or down).  You'll have an outline, although probably not perfect, definitely enough to do an accurate cutout.  You typically want to go just outside the lipstick line, as that line is the edge of the box, and you want it to fit flush with the front of the drywall.

Alot easier and alot more accurate than estimating!  Of course, you could probably measure it too, but this feels much more creative.

I also learned how to apply joint compound last night, and I must admit, I enjoyed it.  Overall, last night was the perfect remedy to the frustration I had been feeling, I really just needed the chance to get hands on with the renovation and am now so excited for the next few phases.

Grout tomorrow, and then I'm taking Friday off to help B's dad install the cabinets.  The next two days, are going to be AH-mazing - I'll get some flooring pictures up tomorrow.

Kitchen Renovation - Day 12 - We Have Walls!

Normally, having walls would be nothing to get excited over. I mean, typically they come with a house. But after almost two weeks of no walls, this, is thrilling:

I literally don't know if I'll be able to walk tomorrow my feet hurt so bad from standing and climbing up and down stepladders all night (B always says "you need to wear sneakers", I never listen. Aside from the nails and other sharp objects I may or may not have stepped on tonight, I totally get it now.).

I've got lots to share about what we did tonight, but its almost 1:30am, we both have to work in the morning, and this little one is begging us to go to bed:

So it will have to wait.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Day 11

The last two days have been more plumbing, and more electrical.  I'm shocked (ok, after living here for 2 years I'm not that shocked) at the lack of quality in the electrical and plumbing.  It's just really sad, makes me angry that our home inspector didn't catch any of it, and it has created alot more work than necessary.  On a positive note, the electrical is done until all the cabinets are in, and the plumbing in the kitchen is done for now, but there is still stuff that needs to be done in the basement.

Today's big visual excitement was the sub floor going in!! Which means no more icky 60's tile with staples and nails coming out of it. Much more comfortable to walk around on.

In other exciting news, B and I managed to hang the first new piece of drywall.  It was...awful, but we did it and its up.  Only like ten more pieces to go!

Yea, not very impressive, I know.

And he's such a hard worker, he's still working to patch a few things and get some mudding done before bed.

I'm going to have some painting to do when this is all over...

I can't even begin to describe the amount of dust in our house.  I would take pictures, but I'm so so annoyed and embarrassed by it, that it would do no good.  And I know it's only going to get worse as we hang more drywall.  I'm pretty sure our house will never be the same, cause I can't imagine it ever getting back to normal...

Today was the first day I really felt the stress of not having a kitchen, and having people in our house pretty much all the time. Even though they are all friends and relatives, and we love them dearly and sincerely appreciate the help, its still hard, especially for me as I try to finish up this semester of grad school.  (You try writing papers with drilling and hammering going on constantly.)  Also, my pants are starting to feel the stress of all the takeout and lack of exercise time.

Tomorrow - Drywall & Organizing Cabinets
Wednesday - Tile
Thursday - Grout
Friday - Cabinets
Saturday - Pick out granite slab
Monday - Granite company does template for slab
Approximately 10 days later - Granite installed

Here's to hoping everything goes as planned...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Our Big Arrivals

So, we literally did nothing on the kitchen today. Which is fine, everyone needs a break, right?

BUT, yesterday the cabinets as well as our new STOVE arrived!  I'm overwhelmed with all the boxes, and trying to determine the best way to get organized for when its time to install everything.

Here's a look at the dining room:

Like I said, overwhelming.  And, for our big purchase, take a look at this beauty:

(No its not blue, that's the protective covering, and there's lots of packing materials still on it.) It's a GE, electric, smooth cook top, double oven, in stainless steel.  I had wanted a double oven, but never thought I could justify the additional cost to B, so I didn't even mention it and decided I would just be happy to be rid of the coils on our current stove.  Well, last Saturday we started researching prices, etc, and I heard the magic words from B, "Maybe we should get a double oven". Which, I now take to mean that he can actually read my mind, and will no longer take "I can't read your mind" as an excuse when something isn't done.

Anyway, Sears was running a 15% off special, so we swung down to Home Depot to see if they would match, and beat it (Home Deport is closer, and we wanted to see it in person.)  They did match the price, but apparently their "beat it" policy is only for energy star appliances, and stoves are not energy star rated. Figures.  But we went with it anyway, and I can't wait to use it, and, I never thought I'd say this....but I really can't wait to clean the smooth cook top! It's going to be so much easier :)

The schedule over the next few days includes:
Tomorrow - Plumbing & Electrical
Monday - Sub floor is going in
Tuesday & Wednesday - Tile
Friday - Cabinets installed
Saturday - We pick out our granite slab
Monday - Granite company comes out do to the template

And let me just say, B, being the amazingly awesome husband that he is, went and set up everything for the granite viewing and template, without me even asking.  Yup, he's been pretty incredible lately :)

Oh, and I forget to mention, sometime between now and Friday, we've gotta replace pretty much all the drywall, so it looks like I'll be getting some lessons in hanging drywall, patching, and mudding.


Which is totally awesome. And I'm really happy, even though I can barely walk around my own house. I have no idea how all of it is meant to actually fit in the kitchen!  But it's late, and we just got home from a friend's birthday celebration, so that's all folks.

I'll post some details tomorrow.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Day 7

Here we are. A full week in.  Given other kitchen renovations I've heard about, and read about, I don't feel like we're doing too bad (yet).  I mean, it's surely not pretty:

Check out the pretty can lights, they look like they're glowing!

We've got a busy couple of days ahead of us, but unfortunately it is not all kitchen related, so we won't be getting as much done as we'd like.  But, on an exciting note, the cabinets arrive tomorrow!  As does our other big purchase that I'll share later.  With all these boxes coming into the house, we had to make some space in the dining room...

We've pushed everything off the side and stacked neatly so we can get to what we need.  That big box under there is our new microwave - which I'm way over excited about - the one we've had for over 2 years, that came with the house, the start button didn't work.  That's right, for over 2 years we've been cooking in our microwave by pressing the "add one minute" button.  I can't wait to be able to program actual times!

Tomorrow will be a busy day for B, he's working from home, but also has to act as the receiving agent for everything that is set to arrive.  Because its going to a madhouse here and I'll be at work, I'll be dropping M off at doggie daycare for the day.  Which is definitely a good thing, the poor pup has been confined to the second bedroom while we've been at work all week since there's quite a bit of stuff for her to get into, along with the staples and nails sticking up from the flooring that was ripped out, and we wouldn't want her to hurt her pretty little paws!  And hopefully, after a day of playing with some doggie friends, she'll be all tuckered out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Days 5 & 6 Update

Well, I guess you could say we're moving right along...

There are currently 6, 6 inch IC remodel can lights in our ceiling, 5 of which are hooked up.  B has become some sort of electrician, running wire up from the basement, installing cans and getting everything set for the electrician to install the necessary plugs for the microwave and the stove.

And on that note... apparently the wire for the stove is stupid expensive, like more stupid expensive than I thought the 12-2 wire for general wiring we bought is. Something like $2+ a foot... and we need some massive amount like 50 ft?! Totally ridic.

In other news, the two layers of flooring were pulled up.  Tell me what's wrong with this picture:

No, you're not seeing double. That's two layers of the same floor.  COME ON, what the hell?!  Luckily, living in a small town, a little inside information let us know that the previous owner had the first layer put in, but felt it was done incorrectly, so he made them come back and do it again.  Now, why he informed some randoms who happened to be working on the botched bathroom remodel before we moved in (which I'm sure I'll get into another time) and not us, we have no idea.  But, regardless, its all out, and in a dumpster somewhere. (Unless its in my garage and I just didn't notice it?!)

And in case your curious where all the stuff in all those cabinets we tore out went, here you are:

We lucked out in this case with the shelving in the 3rd bedroom to store everything. The other pictures are our dining room, which isn't going to see a whole lot of 'dining' action over the next few weeks, but we'll get it back to normal... eventually.

As far as the remaining schedule... we have electric and plumbing over the next few days, *fingers crossed* tile going in Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  And shortly thereafter, we can get the cabinets up, and all that's left will be the counters!  Which is a whole other can of worms...

Normally, I'd think I would be a total basket case with this size renovation, but B hasn't put his hammer or wire cutters down and is really working hard every spare minute (which makes me feel a little lazy and useless, but really, what else is new).  So, I'm feeling fairly confident in maintaining my sanity... but ask me again in a week.