Monday, February 23, 2015

Phase 9?!

Well, there may be a ninth phase in our kitchen remodel.  Paul and I hadn't really discussed the floor once the cabinets are in.  But then we were watching Rehab Addict Season 6, Episode 6, where Nicole Curtis rehabbed an old kitchen.  As with many of her rehabs, she likes to pull up layers and layers of flooring to reveal original floors beneath.  They usually need a lot of TLC, but end up beautiful.  We were wondering what was underneath all of the layers in our old kitchen.  So Paul exposed a small corner of the floor.  What do you think he found?  3/4" hardwood maple flooring!  Granted, it is only a corner.  We may be sorely disappointed when we take up the rest this week.  But I am so hopeful.  Here is our sneak peek (don't be alarmed by how it looks right now - envision it sanded and refinished with the holes filled):


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Laundering the Laundry Area

Part of our kitchen remodel involves fixing up our laundry area in the basement.  Paul very wisely realized that we would need a nice area to wash dishes in once our kitchen sink was removed.  Our laundry area, although it has a washer and dryer that I love, was not the most warm and fuzzy place to work in.  First, to update, I had posted previously on how we fixed up the old basement door to make it more weather-tight and to make it look more attractive (see post here).  Here is the finished door:


Once we removed the old sink and had the pretty new one installed, we saw how scary and dismal the surrounding area was:


So we removed the crackly old plaster, painted the wall behind where the sink, washer, and dryer go, and painted the floor:

Paul carefully painting around the new sink.


We chose a light green for the floor.  The Behr paint company calls it "Terrace View".  I like to think of it as Pistachio.

Another view, with the new sink.

We have to paint the floor in front of where the laundry is, fix the ceiling, and place wallboard back behind where we took out the scary plaster.  But we are on our way to a more beautiful laundry area.  Stayed tuned for further developments!





Completed: BSN

It is official: I have graduated.  I am now a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  It was a long and difficult process.  Many times I wanted to give up.  I am glad I stayed with it.  It feels very good to have done this!


Spice House Haul

There is a wonderful spice shop not too far from our house, called The Spice House.  You can find anything there.  Any unusual spice that your recipe may call for.  I recently went there with my grandson to get some more vanilla beans to use with our homemade vanilla kit.  It was fascinating.  I ended up getting more than I came in for:


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Make That Eight Phases

It turns out that there are two phases of getting the kitchen done that I either forgot, or needed to expound upon.  Paul rightly pointed out that the window replacement we did deserves its own phase, because it was an arduous job and took a lot before we could complete it.  See past posts here and here.  The second added phase is a new basement laundry sink.  To what does that pertain in a kitchen, you might ask?  Well, once we remove the kitchen sink to do the next phase of cabinet replacement, we realized that it would be very nice to have a clean and attractive basement sink in order to wash our dishes in until the new kitchen sink was in place and functional.  The old one was a massive concrete affair, battle-scarred and ugly, frightening.  (Julie referred to it as a "Hannibal Lector" sink, recalling the end of the movie The Silence of the Lambs, with the creepy basement - it wasn't actually that bad, but you get the idea!)

So, I have revised the phases, below.  You will note that the basement sink phase is checked off as complete.  It is!  We bought the sink, and the plumber came and took care of it today.  More on that in a subsequent post.

The Phases (a  indicates completion):
  1. Make it livable (completed in 1988): remove "island", place south wall base cabinets and cheap countertop)
  2. 2011-2012: New kitchen windows 
  3. 2012: North wall gutting, insulating, initial electrical, wallboard, and upper cabinets, west wall uppers
  4. 2015: New basement laundry sink 
  5. Knotty pine removal, wallboard, and electrical for east and south walls, keep existing base cabinets and cheap countertop
  6. New base cabinets for north and west walls (including a blind corner cabinet with pull-out hardware for easy access), new sink (buh-bye old metallic monstrosity), built-in 18" dishwasher, adjustment of stove on north wall to accommodate new bases, new countertop
  7. New upper cabinets and countertop for east and south walls
  8. Knotty pine removal and electrical for last portion of south wall (no cabinets here)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kitchen Remodel In 6 Phases

Our kitchen has been problematic in our house since the day we moved in.  Besides being tiny, with two long windows taking up valuable base cabinet/countertop space, it was hideous to look at.  We have done some improvements to it, but have never been able to fully get it to functional and beautiful.  This was due to a combination of reasons.  First, kitchen remodeling is expensive, and you need a whole lot of money at one time.  Second, there always seemed to be other projects clamoring for attention (in the early years, basic home systems such as electrical, plumbing, windows, and the foundation; later bedrooms and living areas). Third, the badly placed, ugly, knotty pine wall covering, that went up over half the wall and would require complete wall-gutting to get rid of.  I have been anxious to move to the next phase; Paul not so much.  But a mostly dead dishwasher has spurred us into action.  Rather than replace it with another clumsy portable one, only to spend money again later this year or next year when we would finally have gotten the new base cabinets with a built-in (the built-in will need to be an 18" if we place the base cabinets in a more logical formation, due to our tiny space), we have decided to do another two phases of our kitchen remodel.

The kitchen will never be a fancy-schmancy gourmet kitchen; however, we can do what we can with our small budget and Paul's amazing skills as a carpenter and handyman to make it nice.  The trick here is that it must be done in stages to accommodate the budget and our time.  Plus the inconvenience of having the kitchen torn up all at once.  That would be great in a way (git-r-done!), but then you are without any portion of your kitchen for weeks.  So, below, I will describe our phases of getting this done.

When we first moved in, we made some inexpensive changes just to make the kitchen semi-functional, such as removing the absurd "island" (which was simply some homemade knotty pine wall cabinets set on the floor with a piece of plywood on top - yuck!), and getting some decent base cabinets for the south wall.  We dealt with part of the knotty pine in late 2012, when we did a partial remodel of the kitchen (see here).  I realized I never posted the photo of the "dolling up" that Paul did when he adjusted the level of the middle upper cabinet to make it more reachable.  Here are some photos of that:

Paul moved the center cabinet down, then added trim to fill in the gap above, and then below for symmetry.

Here is a full shot, showing the old metallic base cabinet and the dread-dishwasher-that-died below.

So, here are the phases (a indicates completion):
  1. Make it livable (completed in 1988): remove "island", place south wall base cabinets and cheap countertop)
  2. 2012: North wall gutting, insulating, windows, wallboard, and upper cabinets, west wall uppers
  3. Knotty pine removal, wallboard, and electrical for east and south walls, keep existing base cabinets and cheap countertop
  4. New base cabinets for north and west walls (including a blind corner cabinet with pull-out hardware for easy access), new sink (buh-bye old metallic monstrosity), built-in 18" dishwasher, adjustment of stove on north wall to accommodate new bases, new countertop 
  5. New upper cabinets and countertop for east and south walls
  6. Knotty pine removal and electrical for last portion of south wall (no cabinets here)
I will keep you apprised of our progress.  I am so excited to move on to another (two!) phases.  Although not complete, the new placement of cabinets and stove will supply more storage and counter space, making meal prep so much more enjoyable.  Plus the aesthetic of prettiness, so long lacking from our kitchen.  I feel blessed!



Monday, January 12, 2015

Protected By Angels (and other friends)

I had to get a photo of this. Tyler, who is often a little scared at night, has taken to surrounding himself with protective friends when he goes to sleep at night.  Tonight, I gave him a holy card for Saint Michael the Archangel.  We prayed together, and I recited St. Michael's prayer, and propped the card up by his water glass.  When I went in to check on him just now, I saw that he had placed his protectors about himself: His hat with the scary face (to scare away anything that might decide to scare him), his stalwart birds of prey (his eagle, and one of his owls that Anna made), and I saw that he had moved the holy card to be closer to him. I love this boy.

"Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the Divine Power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen."