Monday, October 31, 2011

Building the island

After work today I finished building the kitchen island. First I had to build a frame to jack up the 30in wall cabinets to match the 34.5in base cabinets. Then some clamping, shims, and screws later there is now an island waiting for a slab of stone.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Almost there...

The kitchen is coming together nicely. We started the island and finished one half of it. There are three wall cabinets (1 foot rather than 2 foot) going opposite this row to make the island a total of 8.5 feet by 3 feet. A lot of measuring and leveling today so it made for some tedious work, but the results are great. We're at that stage in the renovations where most of the work we do is the finished product everyone will see. It makes for some good blog updates. All we need is a better camera as my Blackberry is taking awful pictures lately. I'll finish the cabinets this week and we'll be ready for countertops next week.
It's hard to believe that just a few days ago these cabinets were in flat boxes waiting to get assembled. We can't wait to get our kitchen back!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Kitchen taking shape

I finished putting together all the kitchen cabinets today. It was definitely more time consuming than I realized, but worth the cost savings. They aren't as easy to put together as IKEA stuff that's for sure, but they are way more solid. The cabinets are J&K in an espresso finish. All of them are solid hardwood so they should last a long time. We came way under budget on the cabinets (over half). Even with the splurge in appliances we are well under the budget we initially had allotted for the kitchen. We have the countertops narrowed down to a couple choices so the kitchen should be usable in a week or two.
First two cabinets are on the wall. Tomorrow we should have the other wall cabinet set and the island built. There's a big pantry at one end so that may require some help to hold everything together while it's built in place, but everything is progressing nicely.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looks can be deceiving

The cardboard boxes laying all over our kitchen floor may not look like much but someday soon, they will be our kitchen cabinets!  They arrived yesterday and we've started putting them together.  Cabinet assembly was billed as an easy DIY but it's not quite as simple as advertised.  It's a little tricky to get everything lined up just right and we've been using the brad nailer, the 18 gauge nailer, and a lot of wood glue to make sure they stay together!  We'll start the install this weekend and I can't wait to see how it all comes together.

Monday, October 24, 2011

One square foot at a time

We spent the weekend painting the second floor and continuing to work on the kitchen.  Our cabinets should be arriving this week so we tore up more of the old floor and continued to lay down the new bamboo flooring.  We now have enough down that we should be able to install all the cabinets - after they arrive and we assemble them, that is.  We also spent some time looking at countertops so we'll be ready to order as soon as the cabinets are installed.  We just might have a working kitchen in time for Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's starting to take shape

It was another busy weekend as we finished installing the hardwood flooring in the kitchen and dining room, installed the stove and hood, took delivery of our new refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer, sold our old stove on Craigslist, and finished the insulation in the crawlspace.  A lot of work but we're checking things off the list and starting to see how the kitchen space will shape up!  We also finalized our cabinet order and will place that this week so we should have cabinets in a week or two to install.  In the meantime, we'll probably switch back to working on the bedrooms, which need paint and flooring, so stay tuned...

Friday, October 14, 2011


I took the day off today to knock out the floors in the kitchen/dining room. Had a little snag leveling the range, but nothing a trip to Home Depot couldn't fix. That's 3 trips to HD in the last 5 days. Glad there's one only 5 minutes away! And now the Wolf is hooked up and working great.

The single appliance looks a little lonely right now, but tomorrow we're getting some more delivered and then we should be ready for cabinets. Here's to a new kitchen soon!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The cat approves

Ollie ventured out from his usual spot under the bed to check out the new floor and decided that he liked it enough to stay awhile.  Then he turned to me and shot laser beams out of his green eyes.  No, not really, but if he did have super-cat laser powers, maybe he wouldn't spend all his time hiding from the power tools...   

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is that straight?

Of course it is! Hopefully it will remain straight for the next 2200 square feet or so. Like everything else this job would be a lot easier if the house was empty. But at least I can work on it for a couple hours then jump right in the shower.

My cell phone camera has been taking awful pics lately, but you get a general idea of the color. The stranded bamboo has a lot of variation in color, but mostly it's a light honey color. It should go well with the dark wood cabinets.

Big shout out to the Powernail model 50P 18 gauge pneumatic nailer. After researching the stranded bamboo online I was a little worried it would split when nailed, but so far its going in nicely.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Busy Weekend

There are a few things that aren't very noticeable in these crappy cell phone pictures, but are a huge milestone for us. One is that we are finished painting the kitchen/dining area (and that we had finished walls to paint in the first place). Also, the rest of the house is primed and ready for finish coats. After a wrong paint choice by me that ended up way too dark, we went with something that is a light grey that looks better in the bright rooms. It doesn't show up well in the pic, but its quite nice against the white walls and bright white trim.

We also put down some flooring (without nails for now) and are trying to figure out a solution to our problem of crooked walls. Do you go with matching the current hardwood floor that looks straight in the old living room, but would be crooked in the new addition? Or do you go with the straight walls in the new addition, but might end up a bit crooked in the old living room? Hmmmm... We'll probably split the difference and I assume we'll have to make some adjustments no matter what we do. At least the stranded bamboo blends well from board to board that makes it hard to see the seams.

The last milestone we knocked out is that we now have lights... whenever we want them... at the flick of a switch. Combined it all means the kitchen is getting very close to being functional again and we can stop living like pack rats.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ready for Winter

We spent Saturday adding blown-in cellulose insulation to the attic - just in time because winter (or at least fall) arrived here overnight.  When we planned this project, the forecast called for a dry day in the mid-60s.  By Saturday morning when we woke up, it was barely in the 50s and raining hard.  Not exactly great weather for getting a big delivery of insulation and standing outside for hours running the blow-in machine.  We persevered, though, and got the job done.  We owe a big thanks to my colleague Dan, who swapped us his SUV for my car this weekend.  We could not have fit the insulation machine into the Mazda 3!

Blowing in the insulation was one of the easier tasks we've tackled skill-wise but it was tedious and took a long time.  We used GreenFiber insulation, which is environmentally friendly and not itchy though it is very, very dusty.  It really doesn't take anything more than time to feed the product into the machine and use the hose to place it where you want it and to whatever depth you choose.  Brian spent most of the day hunched over in the attic getting the insulation into place and I unpacked and fed 87 bags of insulation into the machine.  At nearly 20 pounds a bag, that's not too much under a ton of weight!  I'm giving myself a break from the gym for the couple of days as a reward.  We both ended up very dusty but the attic now has a nice thick layer of insulation throughout and we can start keeping the second floor climate-controlled.  Just one more step towards gaining some more (much needed) livable space!