Posts Tagged 'kitchen remodeling'

First Furlough Day in 2010

So much for that New Year’s resolution to blog at least once a week.  Oops.  Ok, I’m back on the wagon.  Not that wagon, but the blogging wagon.  At least for now.

I have a lot to report about the kitchen, but am going to wait on pictures until it’s all the way done.  For the most part, I’m really happy.  There have been a few problems, some of which I’ve already recounted here.  A new one, though, is the countertops.  We opted for quartz and they’re really beautiful.  Apparently, though, they’re also very heavy.  This means that they had difficulty getting the largest piece (one side of the kitchen) into place without damaging the walls.  So, in an effort to leave our walls intact, Carlos (our countertop man) chipped the countertops.  He thought it would be ok because the tile backsplash we were going to install would cover up the problem.  But I wasn’t planning on tiling the side walls.  During my efforts to get this resolved, I was labeled “demanding” in an email from the Home Depot to Carlos.  I don’t think I was supposed to receive that email.  In any event, instead of the tile — which we hadn’t decided on and were thinking we might do ourselves — we’re just going to have Carlos come back and install quartz backsplash on the wall.  I’m not in love with this idea but I think it makes the most sense.  Ok, I’ve already changed my mind.  Here’s a picture.

Wall

You can see where the former backsplash was.  It was the same as the countertops — white tile framed in a light wood.  I really like the look of a smooth countertop with tile being the only backsplash (as opposed to the countertop creeping up the wall).  But I started to worry about a couple of things.  One, the cost of the tile.  It’s not cheap.  Two, who would install it?  Would we?  The web makes it look easy, but I can’t imagine it is.  Three, if we did it ourselves I worried about several things — the mess, the outcome, the probability that it wouldn’t get done.  If we hired someone to do it I worried about cost.  And, again, when were we going to get around to hiring someone?  I really started to worry that we would have this amazing new kitchen that would never be quite finished.  So, Carlos is coming back and I hope to have a finished product soon.

In the meantime, the old fridge is on the curb waiting patiently for the city to come pick it up.  My neighbors, however, have not been so patient.  I have gotten a phone call and hostile emails with CAPITAL letters telling me what an eyesore it is and how it needs to be removed.  Well, what can I do?  We bought the $35 appliance sticker, put it on the fridge, have the fridge on the curb and have contacted the city to tell them they missed picking it up (they assured us last week they’d come and get it).  It still sits there.  I don’t know what my neighbors expect me to do.  If they are so upset about it, I don’t see why they don’t contact the city to complain as well.  They continue to complain to me as if I’m deliberately preventing the city from picking it up.  I’ve really had it.

On an unrelated note, a friend of mine is attempting to write a novel.   More specifically, she is attempting to write a 50,000 word novel in March.  She has invited others to join her in this adventure.  I admit that I’m considering it.  Unfortunately, I don’t really know where to begin.

Maybe it could start off like this, “My friends want to talk about Project Runway but ever since it moved to Lifetime, I don’t watch it.  Frankly, I forget what day it’s on.  Could I get a reminder?” 

Kate and Aaron v. The Kitchen

As you may remember, the last time we talked, Aaron and I were in the midst of a kitchen remodel.  Well, not much has changed.  Except it has.  I’ve been sorta dreading writing about this because there’s a lot to say and it’s all hopelessly boring.  But write I must, as the blog must go on!

Where to begin…Well, Reader, when last we spoke, I was raving about my new top light.  It continues to astound me how non-annoying I find it.  The light went into the empty kitchen on Thursday the 21st.  All hell broke lose on Friday the 22nd. 

Friday morning, the installation folks came.  One of whom looks just like Bruno Kirby.  Bruno Kirby is clearly the head honcho and really the only one who speaks to me.  They have at it.  Cardboard is flying, saws are spinning and hammers are hammering.  Aaron and I hide out with a confused and sometimes frightened Grace in the bedroom.  From time to time I check on the goings on in the kitchen, but mostly I stay put.  The cute eletrician calls and asks to speak to Bruno because he needs to know if he can come later in the day to do the final electrical work (not really clear on what this is).  Bruno gives the ok, and goes back to work.  Time marches on.  The electricians enter the house and I discover that the kitchen is almost done.   I mean, the cabinets are pretty much all up and the crew is just hanging doors and putting in shelves.  What?  When did this happen?  Pretty soon they’re just asking me how I want the hardware put on.  And I answer, “Um, what do you think?”  And then the hardware goes on and pretty much…Poof!  There’s a new kitchen in my kitchen.   And I love it.  The electricians are going up and down the stairs and then, before I know it, the microwave is in place.  Wow.  Things happen fast if you hide out with your dog and have five strangers in your house and a lot of cabinets and appliances. 

But there is an issue.  Of course there is.  Well, a couple.  One is that I had noticed that one of the doors wasn’t looking so good — the thermofoil treatment on the doors, which makes them look all sleek and chic, was peeling off.  Bruno had said to me, “No problem.  We can get you a new door.”  So, everything appears to be in place except this one door (and a couple of shelves).  Ok.  I can live with that.  But in looking at the glorious new kitchen, I notice that the cabinets are not flush against the side wall.  To prevent them from looking weird, I guess, they put a piece of white wood in between the wall and the cabinet.   I can’t express how dumb this looks.  I should have taken a picture.  So, I said, “What’s the deal here?”  And Bruno explained it to me.  I said, “But they don’t have pieces that match the maple color of the cabinets?”  Bruno said, “Well, they do, but they didn’t send any.”  Um, hmm.  I just keep staring at it and saying, “But that looks really bad.  It looks so distracting and cheap.”  It is at this point that The Bearded Guy Who Looks Like He May Have Escaped From the Big House says, not to me but to Bruno, “We could just use the damaged door, cut it up and put it on there.”  Genius!  And so it happens.  And now it looks great.  Thanks Bearded Guy!

Ok, so we’re feeling pretty good at this point.  Except that we realize that we have a beautiful new refrigerator in our garage and need to find a way to get it into the house.  Hmm.  Now remember, please, that the Maytag folks would not deliver it to the house because that was an additional fee that we did not pay for.  Silly us.  When we were told that it was $30 for delivery, but an extra $39 for installation, we passed on the installation since we didn’t need it.  The plumber installs the dishwasher and the electricians install the microwave and the refrigerator and the stove just plug in, so why would we pay an extra $39?  Seemed silly.  Well, again, silly us.  That $39 gets you those appliances in your house.  And the $30 gets them in the garage, which is probably 30 yards and seven steps away.  In hindsight, the $39 was a bargain for what turned out to be a long, painful and expensive process.

  • Alternate side parking ticket that Aaron got because we had to park on the street because the appliances were housed in the garage? $20.
  • Dolly rental from U-Haul?  $10.55 [Weirdly, if you are renting a dolly, they do not insist on a credit card deposit, but instead call your friend — in this case, me — to make sure that the person renting has a friend that U-Haul can call in case the person does not return the dolly.]
  • Appliance sticker cost to put old refrigerator on the street for the city to pick up?  $35

So, as you can see, even the most rudimentary math skills tell you that the $39 would have been a steal.  And that’s not getting into the labor that was used or the years that were taken off of our life in getting the enormous refridgerator into the house.  Getting the thing on the dolly in the first place was a chore, but it was nothing compared to the stairs.  Oy, the stairs.  It took both Aaron and me using all of our weight and strength and courage and prayers to get that thing up those stairs.  On every stair, I felt like it was us versus the refrigerator and gravity and that the latter had just as much a chance as winning the battle as we did.  I think we prevailed only because, ultimately, we wanted the fridge in the house more than it wanted to be left outside.  Though, at one point, Aaron suggested we just become one of those hourseholds that have an outdoor fridge.  Anyway, when we got it to the top of the stairs, the real fun began.  Would it fit through the doorway?  Aaron measured.  Doorway 33 inches, fridge 31 inches.  Hmm.  So, why wasn’t it fitting?  Doh!  Because he didn’t measure the handles — it was going in sideways.  Electrician #1 to the rescue!  He says, brilliantly, “Usually those handles just come off with an Allen wrench.”  Well, Aaron has Allen wrenches!  This is no problem.  Off go the handles!  Hmm.  It still won’t go in.  The fridge is on a wooden pallet that is sticking out on both sides and is causing even more problems than the handles.  Electrician #2 to the rescue!  He says, in a stroke of geniosity (yes, geniosity), “Why don’t I get my saw and we’ll just saw them off?”  Hooray!  Yes, why don’t we.   Off goes the troublesome part of the pallet!  Electrician #1 returns (he had been in the garage unpacking our stove so he could put a cord on it) and, along with Aaron and Electrician #2, gets the fridge into the house.  Super hooray!  I am not doing anything at this point except singing the electrians’ praises to myself.  And smiling.  $65+ and a bundle of bruises, the refrigerator is home.  And then the electricians discover that the pallet is screwed into the fridge.  Weird, I thought, but true.  So off they go to get some super duper socket wrench or something and they take over and take the damn thing off.   Hooray for electricians!  We would not have that thing in the house were it not for them.  Aaron takes the old fridge out, moves the new one into place, and moves the stove into the house as well.  All on his own because at this point I am trying to win the battle against the cardboard.  There is a pile of cardboard in our living room that is so big, I wonder if we should just move.  After approximately 15 trips back and forth from the house to the garage, I declare myself the (exhausted) winner!  I should have taken a picture of the garage, though.  The car fit in nicely, but it was nearly impossible to get into the thing and if you managed that, you dreaded coming back home because you weren’t sure you’d be able to get out.  Yesterday was recycling day so some of our problems in that regard have been solved.  It’ll probably take one or two more such days before our garage is back to its normal, uncrowded, cardboard-free self. 

So, pictures.  They’re coming. 

 

Light bright

My prayers have been answered!  The old, nasty, long, fluorescent light fixture that I barely tolerated (but never used) for almost five years has been replaced by a lovely, unobstrusive, plump and round, soft-white bulb-taking fixture.  I am elated.  I’m not completely in love with the new light, but I think I’m in love with it as much as can be, considering  top lights and I are generally enemies.

Let there be (soft and nice) light!

As you can see, this means that the ceiling is going to have to be painted.  But not today.  Today we are painting the walls.  And tomorrow the cabinets (well, most of them) will be installed!

Oh!  And I was right to worry about the appliances.  Or, rather, I was right that it wouldn’t work out.  Appliances can be delivered to the garage for $30 (what we paid), but it costs an additional $39 to put them in the house.  Who knew?  Especially since it was way more difficult for them to put the goods in the garage — the dude slipped on the ice while toting the fridge on the dolly and he went down — than it would have been to drop them in the condo.  We didn’t really understand this (yes, we both have a couple degrees in higher education) at the time we purchased the stuff.  We thought the extra money was for installation (and it actually is) that we didn’t need because we’re already paying for it with our other contracted stuff.  But, last night we thought we’d ditch the fridge (having been told the $30 delivery fee included a one-for-one swap) — instead of moving it downstairs — but no dice.  Because we had not moved it to the garage, they would not take it.  So, the old stove is gone because we managed (barely) to move it to the garage last night.  I will spare you the gross details of that adventure.  I will say, though, that the nasty patch of ice on our sidewalk I normally worry that I’ll take a dive on came in quite handy for scooting the stove for a bit.  New stove and new refridgerator are in the garage and we’re unsure how, when or if they’ll make it into the house.  We carried the dishwasher in together, which wasn’t pretty.  Aaron carried the microwave in all by himself, which was super pretty, of course.

Too much information on kitchen remodel?  Let me know.

On the eve of the demo

I’ve been avoiding posting about what is actually going on in my home for about two weeks now.  I can avoid it no longer, though, as the demolition gang is set to appear tomorrow at daybreak.  Well, between 9 am and 11 am, but morning in any event.  As you know, we are in the midst of a dramatic kitchen remodel.  ‘Dramatic’ may be too strong of a word, but to someone who has never called a plumber (knock on wood) or an electician (double knock), it feels dramatic.  And everything’s going, except the walls.  So, two weeks ago the cabinets were delivered.  Since that time, the place has looked like this:

Home sweet home

And this:

View from the kitchen to the space formally known as the dining area

View of the space that was formally known as the dining area

And this:

View from the bedroom door. Good morning!

It’s hard to capture a picture of the sheer horror that is felt when stepping into the condo, or out of the bedroom, but I’m certain you can use your imagination to graft a sense of it on to these pictures.  It’s a disaster!  Why, you may be asking, would we sit with these boxes in our already small space for two weeks?  Good question.  The cabinets arrived on January 5th from KraftMaid.  On January 6th, the construction folks (Crew2 from the Home Depot) arrived to “inspect” the cabinets.  They opened all the boxes (in theory anyway, I’m not totally convinced they did) to make sure all the right parts were there and that nothing’s damaged.  They don’t want to start “the install” — everything in construction parlance has nicknames; it’s not “an inspection” it’s “the inspect” — until everything’s right.  Well, of course, everything was not right.  One cabinet was damaged and some molding or something was missing.  So, they left the house promising to order the right replacements and they’d be back when that was done.  And here we sit.  We heard an estimate of 7-10 days, and the Crew2 project manager, Brian, scheduled the demo for tomorrow, January 20th.  But…we just heard yesterday that KraftMaid will be making their delivery on the 26th.  I almost started to cry.  Another week living with these houseguests whom I want to stay permanently, but not in my dining room! Or in my hallway.  Or in my living room.  I coudn’t face it; instead of panicking, though, I pretty much went into a stoic-denial mode.  I sent off an extremely brief email to Brian that said something like, “Cabinet will not arrive until Jan. 26.  Ugh.”  I anticipated him rescheduling everything again.  To my surprise, though, he said we could go ahead on our current schedule and nothing too awful will happen.  He said the cabinet we’re waiting for is a wall cabinet (aren’t they all in a galley kitchen?) and they can wait to do those until next week — I think he means upper wall.  So, we’re on.  Old cabinets out tomorrow.  Yay!

Ok, hold on there, buster.  The problem with taking the old cabinets out tomorrow is that Habitat for Humanity, to whom we are donating the old cabinets, does pick-ups on Wednesdays only.  And tomorrow’s a Wednesday.  And while the nice woman at the resale shop wanted to work with me and call in the afternoon to see if their truck could come get them then, when I talked to her today she said she was really frazzled and would prefer to do it next week.  So, where will the old cabinets go for a week?  The garage, I suppose.  Which means parking the Buttermobile on the street, which you wouldn’t think would be a big deal but it could mean a ticket due to my neighborhood having crazy parking rules because it’s so close to campus and my old high school.   In any event, I’m going to try not to think about that.  Or about how four large appliances are entering the place on Thursday and I have no idea where they’re going to go.  Tonight it is all about taking down the kitchen, which I am only semi-embarrassed to report has fallen mainly to Aaron.  I cleaned out several cabinets, but it’s a small space and, let’s face it, I was getting in the way. 

Empty!

 

 

Kitchen 2.0

As you know, we are remodeling our kitchen.  The kitchen as it sits now, I suspect, is the original 1985 kitchen.  I know that’s not that old, but it’s not exactly modern, either.  For example, there is no dishwasher and the stove has one of those flip clocks that hasn’t worked since I’ve been here (almost five years — zoinks!).  Now, I realize that appliances can be upgraded without redoing the whole kitchen, but here’s my logic (be kind): I want a dishwasher.  According to my pops, two people do not need a dishwasher.  While I’d maybe say in response, no one needs a dishwasher, a better response would be (a) he has no idea how much Aaron cooks and how many pots and pans he requires to do it; the enormity of his tasks is overwhelming (he makes his own bacon for crying out loud) and the number of dishes (clean and drying or dirty and waiting to be clean and drying) on the counter at any given moment is upsetting and stress-inducing — it’s a small kitchen so using up valuable counterspace with dishes is silly; and (b) very few people will buy a place without a dishwasher; I am apparently the exception.  When it comes time to sell, a dishwasher will go a long way.  So, why not just install a dishwasher, you ask?  Because to do so would require ripping out some cabinets and having a professional (since we know nothing about this and I really don’t want to mess up a house I intend to sell within a few, five, ten years) install it and recarpenter it and all that.  And that seemed like it would be pricey.  And then that got us thinking about replacing the stove (one appliance leads to another, you see).  And the way the stove is built into the kitchen would require a professional to fix it so that the countertops worked.  Right now, the countertop extends behind the stove a few inches so that would have to be ripped out and refinished to fit in a new stove.  And that got us thinking about new countertops.  No kitchen should have grouted tile countertops.  They may look cute on the first day you move in, but they are little more than a daily hassle.  Sure, it’s fun that you can set hot pots directly on them, but that fun quickly wears off as you stare into the nasty grout and can’t tell if you’re really getting anything clean.  So, with countertops and new appliances and the carpentry that went with that … well, it just seemed like we should do the whole thing.  And that’s what we’re doing.  Well, we’re waiting on the floors for another day (may that day come soon), but we’re doing new cabinets, new countertops, a new sink, a new fridge, a new stove, a new dishwasher, a new microwave/hood and new lighting.  Hooray!  And guess what?  It all starts tomorrow.  Sort of.  The cabinets are supposed to arrive between noon and four.  So, enjoy these pictures of Kitchen 1.0.  And please cross your fingers that we have the kind of before and after project that doesn’t make us lose our minds or the last vestiges of our pocketbook.

View of the kitchen from the front door

I left it in its natural state

In addition to a flip clock that has never worked, the stove below also has several other zany, fun quirks.  For example, certain burners will work only at certain times.  Another cool thing is that when you use the self-cleaning feature, the oven will lock up on you for what could be hours…or days.  You never know!  So unpredictable.

The infamous stove

The top light is a feature I rarely use in any room, but in a kitchen even I can see that one would be useful.  The one that came with my house has been permanently shunned, however.  In fact, when the kitchen guy came to get measurements, he asked to turn it on and I’m pretty sure I visibly shuddered.  Can’t wait to get rid of this thing.

It hurts to look at, I know

It’s a galley kitchen, which I like.  And I really hope I like the final product.  I’m nervous, but hopeful. 

Even the chalkboard wall looks bad


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