Monthly Archives: January 2015

Kitchen Renovation {part II: the ongoing saga}

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When I posted on Monday, we had made a lot of progress in our attempt to completely remodel the entire kitchen, which included, as you may recall, knocking down two walls, replacing/expanding the current cabinet/counters, and adding a breakfast bar.

Pop has been hard at work this week, but it’s been that kind of progress that is a bit hard to see, because it’s those small, aggravating, time-consuming, painstaking details that have to happen before the interesting stuff can go.

On Monday, I was super stoked because my sink finally arrived!!!  I went with a white, one-basin sink and it is huge – 33″x 22″ x 9″.  I am so excited about this sink.  I love everything about it.  We also got a faucet with a tall swan neck, so there should be plenty of clearance.

Isn't it beautiful?!?

Isn’t it beautiful?!?

Of course, part of my excitement may be due to the fact that I am way over washing dishes in the bathroom.

A rather small sink for the purpose.

A rather small sink for the purpose.

Still, eye on the prize, right?  And the new kitchen + sink is going to be fantastic, so it’s well worth the temporary inconvenience.

Throughout the week, Pop worked on installing the sink’s vent pipe, leveling cabinets, and building the half-wall that both cabinets and the breakfast bar are attached to.  Yesterday, he finished leveling and installing the plywood base for our countertops.

The leveling process can be a bit challenging when your floors are quite wobbly.

The leveling process can be a bit challenging when your floors are quite wobbly.

Not only has he had to work around the natural slope of the floors due to it being an old house that has settled, we also have the fun of a giant floor hinge (which you can see to the bottom left) that runs right through the middle of the cabinet stack.  (The floor hinge, incidentally, is because this particular double-wide arrived folded up!)

Coming along!

Coming along!

By last night, though, all the cabinets and countertops were level and ready to go.

The big plan for the countertops is to cover them with counter laminate, which we bought in sheets from Menard’s.  Originally, that wasn’t supposed to arrive until next weekend, but it’s already here, which means it should get installed today!

Tom and Pop are already hard at work today, and hopefully by the end of the weekend I’ll have a lot more progress to report!

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Kitchen Renovation {so excite}

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So, as you can see from the floor plan I posted the other day, the kitchen is basically in the center of the house.  You may remember that this house was originally a doublewide (and is now a “double and a half wide” as Tom says, thanks to the addition of the lower room).  According to Pop, who actually remembers the event, this house arrived folded up – tearing up the carpet has allowed us to see hinges that run the full length of the house from where the sides were folded up to the middle (there are also hinges along the walls and ceiling).  This meant that all of the plumbing and duct work for the original trailer had to run up the center of the home.  Hence, if you notice of the floor plan, the kitchen, furnace, and both bathrooms are along the middle of the house.

All that to say, our kitchen is in the middle of everything.  It’s a weird set-up, and several people have recommended moving the kitchen over a side of the house (the northeast corner would be the natural direction) and we really considered it.  But at the end of the day we decided to embrace the quirkiness (and avoid moving both water and gas lines) and make the kitchen the true center of the house.

The lines on the floor plan sort of show what’s going on.  You can see a faint line between the kitchen and the front room – that was a wall.  At the south end of that wall, running west, was another wall.  At the north end of the east wall was a counter (also running west), making a sort of u-shape of counters with walls on two sides.  The kitchen is in the center of the east counter.  The stove and refrigerator are both against the west wall.

This is the old southeast corner of the kitchen from the outside.

This is the old southeast corner of the kitchen from the outside.

Old view from the southwest corner.

Old view from the southwest corner.  You can see how narrow the workspace is inside the kitchen.

Old view from the north side of the kitchen, just inside the main door we use to go in and out of the house.

Old view from the north side of the kitchen, just inside the main door we use to go in and out of the house.

The walls made the kitchen feel small and weird and also dark.  Two people inside this kitchen was a definite challenge (and only worked if the two people really like each other).  The placement of the kitchen also meant that the front room was sort of dead space, as there wasn’t really enough room between the kitchen wall and the front doors for anything to happen.

And so, we decided to do what we do best around this house – take down some walls.

These walls were a bit more of a challenge.  We had quite a bit of electric to deal with, plus the exhaust pipe for the sink.  Luckily, we were able to play our favorite ace-in-the-hole:  Pop’s expertise.

Demolition began last weekend.

No cabinets!

No cabinets!

Some of a wall...

Some of a wall…

...no wall!

…no wall!

Yes, now we can see pretty much our whole house from almost anywhere in the house…  and it’s fantastic.

Next day, while we were at work, Pop worked on the lovely collection of wires hanging everywhere.  By the end of that day:

Magic!

Magic!

Besides knocking out the walls, we decided to expand the kitchen 24″ to the north by inserting another cabinet between the sink and the corner.  As you can see from the picture, in order to utilize the storage in the corners, I have those cabinets facing outside the kitchen instead of in.  A bit unconventional, but hey, welcome to our house.

At this point, I have to admit, the kitchen felt even weirder than it had felt before.  It really seemed like we just had a pile of cabinets sitting in the middle of the room for no reason, and we were a little nervous about the whole flow.  No time for second-guessing, though: onward!

The other big piece of the new kitchen was the decision to add a bar counter along the east side of the kitchen.  We’ve learned from long experience that people love to hang out in a kitchen.  Both our parents have breakfast bars in the kitchens, and they’re fantastic places to just sit – a lot of stuff is going on in the kitchen, and people like to be where the action – and snacks – are.

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The kitchen feels way more legit with the bar counter in place.

We also needed posts to hide our electric and the exhaust pipe.  Adding the posts and the breakfast bar made the kitchen feel significantly more anchored and purposeful, and made us excited like whoa.

Mary Rose and I took an adventurous drive to Cincinnati to pick up the new bar stools on a great close-out deal!

Mary Rose and I took an adventurous drive to Cincinnati to pick up the new bar stools on a great close-out deal!

The next day was Friday, my day off.  We gave Pop the day off, too, and I spent the day catching up on life around the house.  All through the day, though, I couldn’t get over how much lighter the whole house is!

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Every time I came out of the laundry room I got excited all over again!

Over the weekend, we made a lot of progress.

Assembling the bar stools turned into way more of a project than anyone expected...

Assembling the bar stools turned into way more of a project than anyone expected…

We ate our first meal at our very-incomplete breakfast bar!  (It's protected by one of Mom's seasonal vinyl tablecloths!)

We ate our first meal at our very-incomplete breakfast bar! (It’s protected by one of Mom’s seasonal vinyl tablecloths!)

Took time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather by walking down to take some last pictures of the big bridge - they started demolition last week!

Took time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather by walking down to take some last pictures of the big bridge – they started demolition last week!

I painted cabinets.  (We bought them unfinished on the cheap.)

I painted cabinets. (We bought them unfinished on the cheap.)

Tom worked on a new stand for the microwave.

Tom worked on a new stand for the microwave.

Pop worked on lights.

Pop worked on lights.

Originally, there was a florescent light in the kitchen, along with the small ceiling fan you can see above.  The ceiling fan is jammed against our weird drop in the ceiling, where it looks quite awkward and strange.  After living with 100% florescent lights in our last apartment, Tom and I really didn’t want any in our new house.  So, we replaced the center light with a new ceiling fan/light combo, and have two drop lights to put in on either side of the kitchen (you can see one of the new ones beside Pop in the picture – the other will replace the old ceiling fan).

Totally different view!

Totally different view from the north side now!

So spacious!

So spacious!

Things are really coming together, and we are super excited.  Hopefully my new sink will come in tonight.  Once it arrives, we can do the final plumbing and then set the cabinets permanently.  We are planning to put down laminate for the countertops ourselves – it’s on order, though, and won’t be here until the end of the month (which is why I borrowed an entire stack of Mom’s seasonal vinyl tablecloths!).

For now, I’m off to finish painting the rest of the cabinets – progress!

 

FLOOR PLAN!!!

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So I know you will all be excited to see a floor plan of the house!!  Tom drew it out because he is actually good at this sort of thing.  The quality is a little bad because the drawing is poster-board size, so  my phone didn’t take a very good picture.  Still, I was able to type some labels on it for you.

labeled floor plan

So yeah hopefully you can read that at least a little!  Conveniently, north is to the top of the picture so.  To help get photos into perspective –

Hopefully this help made the house make a little more sense…  it’s a very complicated floor plan to try and describe, just because this house is weird.  

Updates {a lot can happen in six weeks}

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Oh dear, six weeks?!  I’m really quite terrible at this blogging thing!  I always think I’m going to do better but…  well, life!

So, some of the highlights!

First off, the bedroom is more or less complete, at least until next year when we redo the entire back end of the house/bathroom/closet/laundry/utility area.  There is still a little trim that needs put up, but for now we’re calling it a win.  Since the last post, that mostly involved putting down carpet (utilizing our leftover carpet pad from the lower room!!), hanging curtains, painting the doors, putting up curtains in the doors, finishing the tv stand, and building/painting/installing the corner shelves by the bed.

The carpet was a HUGE improvement that I’m still excited about every day, especially since the bedroom floor tends to be FREEZING – the carpet has really helped insulate!

We've now used almost all of the super fluffy carpet padding.

We’ve now used almost all of the super fluffy carpet padding.

Carpet!!

Carpet!!  And, incidentally – curtains!

As a sidenote, I still really, really love the blue we have in the bedroom.  It’s a little on the dark side, but it’s perfect for a cozy bedroom.

We finished painting and trimming out the corner tv stand, and it’s a total win, too.

Brilliant.

Brilliant.

And, finally, Tom built our awesome corner shelves to go beside the bed.

Under construction...

Under construction…

...and complete!

…and complete!

As you can sort of see from the picture, there are shelves facing the bed which we use as night stands, and then cabinet doors on the bottom for additional storage.  As always, Tom’s building skills are brilliant, as he constructed the entirety of these shelves out of – you guessed it – 2×4’s.  (Also, I have more detailed pictures of the construction process, so if anyone out there wants to actually legit know how these were built, just let me know!)

The final finishing touch (for now) for the bedroom was painting the bedroom doors and putting up curtains.  As you may recall, we ended up using narrow French doors for our weird-sized doorway, and they’re perfect.  I found some paisley curtains I love for a touch of whimsy.  At some point, I may get some tie-backs, too.

I legit love everything about my bedroom doors.

I legit love everything about my bedroom doors.

In the meantime, we also painted the bathroom (not pictured) pale blue, and finished painting the vanity and shelves in the bathroom white (of course).  We also took on the major project of painting the pantry doors (you know, the ones that used to be the bedroom closet doors back when our dining room was part of the bedroom?).  Those shutter doors are a hassle to paint no matter how you cut it.

The dining area looking pretty good overall, but with the pantry doors on the left needing some help...

The dining area looking pretty good overall, but with the pantry area on the left needing some help…

Sanded and ready for action!!

Sanded and ready for action!!

However, you’ll just have to believe me that the doors look great, because I apparently don’t have a picture of the finished project!

Over Christmas, we rearranged the lower room and built some more shelves, including a huge windowsill for plants.  The room is really flowing well now, and I’m pretty stoked.

Tom's crazy plant now has a home in the sun.  The window picture is the future home of my window seat!!

Tom’s crazy plant now has a home in the sun. The window picture is the future home of my window seat!!  And no, Agatha is not dead.  She just always looks like she’s been hit by a truck when she’s napping.

New shelves under the other window were built *entirely* out of leftover wood!

New shelves under the other window were built *entirely* out of leftover wood!

Loaded up with plants and oh-so happy.

Loaded up with plants and oh-so happy.

Tom also built what is possibly the cutest little table I've ever seen.

Tom also built what is possibly the cutest little table I’ve ever seen.

So those were the big project in November and December!!!

Today, we began tearing down the kitchen, but I’ll save that for the next post, which will hopefully be sooner than six weeks away!  I really do want to get into the groove of posting  more often, because I actually end up skipping all sorts of little fun odds and ends when I go so long between posts.

Next time, kitchen updates, and maybe even a picture of the finished pantry!!