Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pantry Progress

It may be a little counterintuitive to start kitchen installation in the pantry but we decided to knock these cabinets out of the way first since all the design decisions relating to them have already been made (unlike, for instance, figuring out where exactly to place the kitchen island).  This pantry is going to have a huge amount of storage, with four 33" wide cabinets, one 18" wide cabinet, open shelving on the walls, and a large wine cooler in the corner.  We're planning to install butcher block countertops but will stain them to a nice dark color to carry the same white/espresso look in the kitchen through to the pantry.  But, cutting and staining the countertops is going to be a story for another day.  Fortunately, Brian is a pro at cabinet installation at this point so he made relatively quick work of getting these wall cabinets installed.

Getting started with cabinet placement

Shims to make sure everything is nice and level

Working around to the other side, including the wine cooler cabinet

We had to custom cut the cooler panel but it all fits together nicely now

Still in progress

That looks better!

Doors on, drawers in, and unstained maple countertop just resting (not even dryfitted) on one side to see how it all looks

And one more picture from the other side to finish off the day

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Outside Improvement

We've been splitting our time between inside and out but have gotten our front porch to a good place for the winter.  We still have some additional trim and finish work to do but the stone is in and grouted and now the columns are trimmed out so we'll probably wait on the other work until next spring.  Our contractor had wanted to use prefab column coverings but Brian decided to custom make the coverings instead and it ended up with a much more polished look.  It took some time to design and then make the trim but we're really happy with the overall final look.

First up - a little bit random but we had a cap made and installed over the chimney to ensure that we don't have any moisture or rodent/bird problems going forward.
Getting started on the columns.  We ripped Azek to fit the columns and attached it to the pressure-treated wood.  Then we used more trim to build out the rest of the trim.

Adding more detail to echo the Craftsman-style trim on the rest of the house

Moving along

Now working on the other side

Who decided to use four columns instead of two?  Starting over again on the other side.

Now that's looking nice!

And a close-up.  Still a good bit of finish work to go on the porch at large but we'll call this finished for now.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Barefoot Friendly

With a couple weekends of rain, we moved to indoor projects and started installing the hardwood floors in the kitchen.  We chose an extremely wide plank (9 1/2") oak engineered hardwood for this house and so far, we love the way it's turning out.  There's a good bit of variability in the finished planks which gives the flooring a reclaimed wood look.  Because the planks are so wide, we're gluing and nailing the flooring.  It's a different install method than we used with the bamboo flooring on our last house (tar paper for vapor barrier and no glue) but hopefully this will work out well and keep everything in place without too much stress on the flooring.  Brian started the install using a PowerNail pneumatic nailer, which had worked perfectly on our prior bamboo floors, but found that it was creating the tiniest little indentations in the wood from the impact of hitting the nailer.  So, he then switched to using a Bostich trigger nailer, thereby increasing (again) our inventory of power tools in the house.

We also unpacked our kitchen and pantry cabinets, ordered from, to inspect and move them very generally into place.  We went with Dayton white wall cabinets and espresso (or birch sable, in Cliqstudio-speak) island cabinets.  The kitchen space itself is quite big but it'll have a giant island and an eat-in table in it so it does not have that many cabinets - really just a relatively short wall of them, plus the island.  So, to provide extra storage, we're building an oversized pantry just off the kitchen with four 33" white base cabinets (and one 18" cabinet), plus we'll add a built-in wine fridge and open shelving on the walls.  As usual, I have a vision in my now we have to see if it'll come together in reality too!  Off to the pictures...

A blank slate (complete with makeshift and very temporary window drapes) to start

Doing the prep work - planing and scraping the floors to make sure everything is nice and level

First row is always the hardest!  But it's worth taking the time to make sure the flooring is in straight.

Moving along now - these wide planks go in fast.

We paused to install the Wolf range so that we could floor around it.  Because the range sits up a bit higher than the countertops, we wanted it to sit on the subfloor.  Also, it's so heavy that it would be hard to get it in place without scratching the floors!  That odd garbage-bag covered mound in the middle is the Pex water pipes for the sink (covered to protect them from UV rays)

Suddenly this is starting to look like it might be a kitchen someday!  

Approximating where the cabinets will go...
Moving into the pantry with the flooring

Lots of extra space here!