"Before" picture

"Before" picture

Monday, May 16, 2011

More about cabinets

The delivery guys from the store where we ordered our cabinets couldn't fit all of them onto the truck at one time, so we got a little more than half of them this Saturday and will get the rest next Saturday morning. If they had sent us all the uppers or all the base cabinets, Ken could've started setting them, but it was a mish-mash of  both types. Still, it's exciting to see a precursor of the finished product after Ken set the base cabinets into their proper places:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cabinets are here!

Well, some of them. Apparently we ordered so many cabinets that they didn't all fit in the delivery truck. They have to make a second trip sometime in the coming week to get us the rest of our order. This is a gigantic step up from the seven total cabinets I have right now. Here's our current cabinet configuration:

That's all folks. Just those few cabinets, which is why we have a separate free-standing cabinet that serves as our pantry. While our awesome floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet is not one of the ones that arrived today, here's a gander at a few that did:

Simple and clean lines. We plan to add brushed nickel hardware to match the light fixtures.

Honestly, unpacking these cabinets, with the boys helping throw the packing material into the trash (stopping now and then to pop some bubble wrap), is one of my favorite new memories.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And here are the pictures

We came home from our vacation to find our kitchen looking like this:

Which was a lot better than how we'd left it:

Then Ken applied some primer to both the walls and ceiling and some white paint to the ceiling:
And added some light fixtures:

Ignore that unfinished wall to the right. It will become a "shear wall" and still needs some work to that end.

Then my very talented sister-in-law, Jeanne Murphy Curtis, who is principal of Bella! Design for Living, LLC, created a couple product/color schemes for us to choose from, based on the cabinetry we'd already selected and a paint swatch we'd liked. Here's the scheme we chose:
That piece of wood is a sample of our cabinets (beechwood).

The little sample lying on top of it is the laminate countertop we chose. We'll upgrade to granite or another solid-surface countertop several years down the line, but for now we're going with what's budget conscious.

The glass tile in the back, which I think is so dreamy and makes me want to be at the beach, will be our backsplash.

The big tile at the lower left is our flooring, which looks like slate (the material we'd planned to use) but is actually a porcelain tile made to look like slate. Half the price of slate and comparably durable. This was an awesome find on Jeanne's part.

Lastly, the light green paint just below the cabinet sample, the one called Mystical Sea, will be on the wall surrounding the window over the kitchen sink. That'll be the only portion of the L of cabinets with wall showing since we're going right up to the ceiling with the cabinets. So we'll need very little paint in that color. Here's a closeup:

Finally, the neutral paint swatch on the far right will tie it all together. It's a special paint from Benjamin Moore called Affinity (this color is Jute) that will color match with both cool and warm colors. This way we can put any color we want in our adjacent dining room and not worry about whether it will jibe with the kitchen tones.

We cannot wait to install all the elements in the kitchen, including my newly purchased dishwasher--Happy Mother's Day to me!--and see how it looks when finished. I'll try to be better at blogging, especially now that things are really taking off toward the finish line. Estimate to finished kitchen: 4-6 weeks!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stay tuned!

Radical changes have occurred! My computer and the camera's card reader are currently on the outs, but soon there will be pictures. In the meantime, enjoy this short update:

While we were on vacation, dry wall guy and tape/spackle guy arrived and created amazing walls and a ceiling in the new kitchen area. Ken then primered the walls and primered and painted the ceiling. He installed light fixtures. He started putting the trim around the windows.

Amazing SIL, who is an interior designer, helped us choose a color palette and materials for the flooring, backsplash, countertop, and walls. We had already chosen the cabinets.

We chose and purchased a dishwasher. (I've never had one so I nerdily read the instruction manual, even though the thing is still in the box.) Paint will be going on the walls shortly. Cabinets are arriving May 21. Lots of things are happening! We're hoping that in roughly a month I will have a usable kitchen and Ken can gut the existing piece o'crap kitchen. Exciting! Rejuvenating! Enthralling!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A lot of the steps to this renovation are tedious, mentally and/or physically taxing, and sometimes fairly invisible. Not everything is as noticeable as, say, a new roof, or a whole new story on top of a house that used to be shorter. But all of the steps are important.

A few weeks ago (shame on me for not blogging it earlier!), Ken and some neighbors heaved the new basement steps into place, and now we have actual stairs down into the dungeon. That one task has made a world of difference to the job at hand since now Ken can store things down there more easily, out of the way of whatever spot is currently having work done. No more climbing down a ladder and having to toss things up to someone or have that someone toss things down to him. (Look out below!)

Then last night Ken and his dad cut a hole in our kitchen floor:
They  moved the ductwork out of the way and dug a hole to put a sonotube into the crawlspace floor. Then they poured concrete into the tube, which will ultimately have a post attached to it to support the floor above. I really wish I'd gotten the shot of Ken standing in the hole so just his head and shoulders were sprouting out of the kitchen floor. Drat. I missed the chance.

There has also been some wire pulling going on lately, which results in fun things like electricity in the new areas of the house. Take a gander at this outlet that is in the new kitchen, thereby negating the need to run extension cords from other parts of the house:

And just today Ken and his dad took down a  bunch of old ceiling rafters (they're the dark ones on the right-hand side, abutted to the lighter ones on the left-hand side):

That opened up the ceiling in the existing kitchen, dining room, and living room to make it easier to run wiring for the new master suite and to insulate around the edges of the house. Those tasks are yet to come.

What happened to those old rafters? Why, they were neatly stacked by Ken Sr into this pile, which will be consumed in our fireplace. Looks like a life-sized game of Jenga. Yes, it is weird to watch pieces of your home burn in your own fireplace, but why let dry wood go to waste?

Next weekend they are hoping to do some framing that'll be necessary prior to installing the stairs to the new master suite so they don't have to crawl through the attic access panel anymore when they want to work up there. Also on the docket is finishing the insulation and wiring so both can be inspected. Assuming that happens next weekend and the inspection happens during the following week, we get to start putting up drywall. I'm excited about that stage because it's when the rooms will really start coming together. And the house will stop being so drafty.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Maybe we'll finish this in 2011 after all

Although I've been lax in my blogging duties, work has continued on the home addition during these silent weeks (ahem, months). When I last gave an update, the house finally had sheathing and a roof. Exciting times.

The next step was to add some windows and wrap the house in Tyvek. In the spring we'll put new windows in the existing side of the house, too.

Then we started getting something that looked suspiciously like siding. Yes, we chose to stick with white. The detached garage has white siding that is only about 7yrs old, and we really didn't want to make more work for ourselves by choosing a different color for the house, forcing us to reside the garage to make them match.

We'd been hoping to put off the rest of the siding until spring, but when the township inspector came to do the framing inspection he said that Tyvek can only be exposed to the elements for 120 days before it loses key properties that keep out moisture, and after 120 days we'd have to take it down and start over. So Ken has been out in the cold putting up siding, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. My long-suffering, devoted husband. Due to his hard work, the siding might actually be done this weekend, which has been pretty forgiving temperature-wise.

Inside we've been working on putting up the insulation since our heating bill has been so high it's forced the power company to change the graph on our monthly bill so they can squeeze in higher numbers. This is where I have come in since stapling up insulation does not require any skill whatsover.

The wall insulation is nearly complete in both the kitchen and the new master bedroom. I've learned that the pink stuff is no fun at all to cut through, and it's not fun at all getting itchy from it, but it sure makes the house warmer and less drafty. Ken's done some of the ceiling insulation, but since he needs to leave space open to run wiring and do the lighting, he can't finish it quite yet. We're hoping within the coming weeks to finish both the wiring and insulation, get both items inspected (there are a bazillion inspections involved in all this mess), and then be able to start putting up drywall. I think that's the point at which the interior will start looking like a real house.

Meanwhile, we had our favorite guy at 84 Lumber come to the house with the guy who builds staircases for them, they took measurements, and a week later they delivered three sets of steps: one for the basement, one for the new master bedroom, and a teeny one-step set that will go from the kitchen to the mudroom. With any luck those stairs, which are extremely heavy, will be installed in the next couple weekends, and we'll have easier access to the basement and new bedroom. Crawling up into the bedroom through the old attic access panel has got to be losing its luster for Ken and everyone who comes over to help. I haven't had to do it too often, but it's not easy on the joints.

So that's where we stand at the fresh start of 2011. Ken predicts that the major work will all be finished by July. I say, Why rush? If we don't finish until early 2012, we save an entire year's worth of the enormous amount of taxes we're going to get charged when they reassess this place after passing the final inspection. Yowch.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Has it only been six weeks?

I haven't posted in six weeks, which has seemed to me like eons, but maybe not so much to those of you who are living in homes with strange luxuries like roofs and a lack of construction debris.

When last we spoke, our house had no attic or roof on the left-hand side, making it wide open to the elements. Since then there have been lots of stops and starts that brought the house to this:

A second story, but still no roof.

Then this:

The shell of a new kitchen, but still no roof.

Along the way, I learned how to hang insulation and I did a lot of clean up both inside and outside the house.

Fast forward (because it's too depressing to relive every backbreaking day, especially for Ken and his dad) to today when the roofers showed up. Cancel Christmas. I have everything I need, a healthy family and this: