Thursday, January 25, 2018

Paused Kitchen

As is the way of DIY, our kitchen is experiencing some hiccups.

Nothing terrible. And really it’s more so just due to lack of available time  -- Blake’s semester is back in session so he’s got a lot to do after work hours to get lectures ready and such. But when he has spare time he’s putting it into wiring in some extras in the kitchen.

Currently:
We wanted to turn the ancient can light over the sink (it used to have this pointy alien looking glass cover) into a normal modern can light. (Done.) We wanted an extra outlet on an empty span of countertop. (Done) And under cabinet lights. (Done --- but maybe we bought a lemon in the mix and it needs to be switched out. Bummer.)
And then, as with old houses, you always find a little something special to throw you. In this case we found that sometime in the past, when they decided against the over-range-microwave, instead of doing what you should -- they just took a hammer, knocked the outlet/junction box back into the wall and wallpapered over it. Lovely. So that was stressful, not knowing if we’d be able to do the stuff you need to do without tarring apart TONS of the walls to find where stuff’s coming from. But thankfully Blake found stuff without too much craziness.

I’m still hoping to add an outlet over our wooden countertops, that we added a few years ago (The ones that go through our pass through window.) Since that used to be a bare wall, there was no outlets at counter height, and it would be helpful to be able to plug in something over there too. Hopefully that doesn’t prove a very stressful prospect.


So right now our backsplash is just a bunch of hole-y drywall. And every few days the entire kitchen gets covered in drywall dust. I have NO idea when I will be able to show you a backsplash. It’s not looking like soon. ha.

But I’m still throughly enjoying the parts that are done. I feel fancy even with the crazy holes in the wall.
And I just can’t tell you how much I love the under cabinet lights. Those changed the entire feel of the kitchen. I knew they’d be nice. But I didn’t know HOW nice.
That extra dose of light has a way of making the kitchen feel so many wonderful things: way bigger (more light just immediately enlarges the space more than I could have imagined), more fancy (it feels SO high end now), more homey (even with the high end feel, it’s not pretentious, it’s more cozy), so more hygge (anyone into that?)(If you turn off the overhead light and just leave on the under cabinet lights -- it’s got that Christmas tree glow vibe), more functional (how much better you can see what you are doing at the counter, is amazing!)
So as you can see I’m delighted by these lights. We are hard wiring them into a light switch. But these are something anyone can add to the cabinets and turn them on with a cord switch (like a night light.) And I highly recommend them. They are a delight.


Anyway -- that’s where we are now. And now we return you to your regularly scheduled program: Back to waiting. :)
I promise I’ll show you when I have something.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

COUNTERTOPS!!!


*Royal Proclamation Trumpet Playing*

We have countertops!

And that also means we have a new sink and a new faucet!

Clearly, we do not have a backsplash yet. ;)
(So this does not count as a grand reveal. Please accept my crappyiphonephotos.)

So to remind you, we got our quartz countertops from Menards. (Who by the way, speaking locally, have by far the best prices on quartz.) 
This color is called Bianco Perle.
I’m really happy with it.
In my soul I’m a marble girl. But in my mind... I know I’d mourn a thousand little deaths with each and every etch it would DEFINITELY get. (If I ever were lucky enough to buy a house that already had marble countertops installed, and they had some love (etching/stains/chips) on them, then I could handle it -- it would feel like romantic hisorty. But if I were the one to make the first cuts, I just wouldn’t feel good feelings. )
Anyway, so this quartz is a good look for me. It’s not a perfect marble look a like, but it’s marblesque. And it’s very pretty in it’s own right. And quartz is supposed to be one of the most durable counters around. (But I’m so nervous around it still, I’m babying it like crazy.)
(I’m also getting used to the sound of setting stuff down on stone, I’ve only ever lived with laminate, it’s a very new sound. I keep having a slight panic that I broke something.)



We have a seam at the “L.” Which I was fully expecting. 


However we were offered a seamless option (which surprised me!)
But it was nearly double the price, as what it meant was we’d be buying essentially a double slab to cut our shape out of. I had already figured on a seam so we didn’t think it was worth it.
(And in hindsight, I’m glad we have a seam -- seamless would have made getting the thing into the house even harder.)

So this is the seam, it’s different than our old counters which had two triangular cuts going back into the corner.
I don’t think it’s bad, and as you can see from the two photos above, it’s not something that really gets your attention.


In case you are wondering about Menard’s countertops….(If not, skip to further down)
They do not offer installation. You can either DIY, or hunt down your own contractor.
Initially Blake was 100% ok with DIY. Then people we know started talking us into having it done because they are so dang heavy. So for a day Blake looked into contractors. And honestly, no one wanted to do it. They essentially wanted to have been the ones to have ordered the counters.
Well, back to, “We are ok with DIY.” (Which, realistically is just how we roll any way. It saves so much money.)

So Blake had to figure out how to get them into our house. They have to be carried and stored in the right orientation otherwise they can crack, so it made most sense to get them inside on the frame they were delivered on. So Blake installed huge caster wheels onto the frame and him and a friend were able to wheel it into our house.

After they acclimated the proper 24 hours, Blake had torn out our old counters and sink, and two friends came and helped lift it into place. I was not a part of this process, but they all seemed pretty surprised by how quickly it got done, and no one seemed overly strained. They were only at our house for about an hour total. (Which included a bit of careful planning time, and a bit of hi and bye conversation.) So it seemed pretty straightforward of a job from my end of things.

The sink part though….I helped with that, later that night. That part was not the world’s funnest job. Technically, for an undermount sink, you should install the sink onto the counters (while they are upside down) before placing the counters on the right way. Blake did his research and found a couple other ways to do it, which are legit. And so we opted to do it after counter install, so as to not stress our friendly helpers by making things complicated while they were here.
I cannot tell you exactly what we did, I just know I did a lot of holding from above through the drain hole, and scooting the sink into the middle while Blake hoisted it up from below and tried to mount stuff around it. So I was also handing him tools and wood and stuff. It wasn’t easy, it was physically and emotionally draining (for both of us), but we did it!

Blake also had to change the plumbing under the sink, which he did a day or so later. We again, almost hired it out because we figured we saved so much doing the rest ourselves -- but per our usual, when we got the quote, we re-thought that very fast. Nothing comes cheap! But Blake got it done and now are are doing dishes again!

I didn’t take great photos of the sink today because, dishes. But it’s a stainless, Anzzi brand (read wonderful reviews on them), huge, awesome sink.  It’s 32' long, 19” wide, and 10” deep. And I love it. It can hold an enormous amount of dishes and ANYTHING I own in the kitchen can fit in it -- my biggest bowls, or casserole dishes look small in there.

I debated the single bowl a bit. I wasn’t sure which (double or single) was more practical. But I ultimately decided that the way I do dishes, ever since working in restaurants and the coffee industry,  has never been the "soapy side and rinsing side” way. It’s just been to put soap on a sponge (repeatedly), and rinse in the same side. So I knew I wouldn’t miss it. Plus most things go right in our dish washer. So I really just saw size and convenience. And, in my two days with this sink so far, I am THRILLED. (It actually does remind me of the service industry kitchens and something about that stirs up some extra motivation in me.)



Now the faucet…
this faucet
(Kohler Artifacts)
 is an absolute delight.

Not only to my sense of sight (which, boy oh boy do I enjoy looking at this baby. It is gorgeous!)
But also to my sense of touch.
And in it’s ability to do it’s job.

So there’s the normal stream. It’s coming out very fast (no matter how it looks in the photo) with strong pressure.

Then if you flip the switch….
this beautiful gentle rain show. Perfect for rinsing produce.
But I also like this one for washing my hands.

Then when you need to get a dish clean, or when you need to spray out the bottom of the sink...
hold down the button for a powerful sweeper spray.

The head of course is a pull down sprayer.
It’s really just amazing. I am soooooo happy with it.
(It’s glory, is all the better after living with our $17 no frills, faucet, that barely could reach into a pot, for the past month and a half!)



So here are a couple different pictures of the kitchen for you to see it together.
We still have a bunch of details (and backsplash) to handle, but it’s coming together really nicely.



Some of you may notice our fridge is different.
So back around Thanksgiving we went ahead and ordered a different one.
I had a hard time with guilt on this one. Wishing I had gotten it right the first time, or bought used until I knew better. But we did use the old fridge for 4 years and then sold it and got some of it back, so it wasn’t the world’s worst shopping blunder. But it hurt the pride. Felt like a pricey failure.

(I do plan to clean off the top and we will do something nice there, FIY)

I knew NOTHING about appliances when we moved here. And the fridge the house came with smelled VERY bad, and no amount of cleaning would fix it, so we decided we’d update it.
I didn’t think I needed anything super fancy, so I got a simple stainless one. And just noted that it would technically fit in the space.

But there was a huge gap on the side,
And the worst thing was, it stuck out into the doorway.
In this kitchen layout, it just was awkward.


So when doing the counters, we decided to switch to a counter depth.
It was the right time to do it, because we need to make sure we had our countertops the right size. (If the fridge hadn’t filled the whole nook, we would have expanded the countertops to make it feel right and added something to the cabinets.) It all just needed to be figured out at the same time so there wouldn’t be any other future pricey failures.

SO MUCH BETTER.
It’s not many inches different, but the difference feels so good since it’s a doorway.
It’s exactly the same amount of interior space as our old one, but it’s laid out so much better. I feel like I have at least double the room. I think the freezer is a tiny bit smaller than my old one, but we have a deep freeze in the garage so I’m not worried. And the fridge shelves and drawers are a dream compared to our old layout. And Blake and I both enjoy it’s more-shallow-ness, because you really don’t lose things in the back now.
And this one makes ice and has a water dispenser inside. We feel pretty fancy. (The kids are filling their cups to the brim with ice all day now that we don’t have to ration it.)


Something to note, if you are shopping for counter depth fridges yourself, their sizes vary tremendously. Some of them were every bit as deep as my old fridge (But still labeled counter depth). So make sure you are measuring your space and the fridge’s listed dimensions. This Whirlpool was the shallowest I could find and it was a perfect size for our nook. Total winner.

The only thing that’s a little less good is the kids can’t reach stuff as well as before. But that’s not always a terrible thing either. And of course they will only get taller. But they can get their own ice!


So here’s our new hood, if I haven’t shown you yet?
And you can see our smaller subway tile we plan to use.






(Looking below) We plan to tile the wall with the shelf, as well.
I’ll take that shelf down and replace it with two (maybe three) floating white shelves (I think) to get a tiny bit of open shelving and extra storage.
They won’t be very deep, but they will be able to hold some bowls or cups or things like that.

And there will be some crown moulding and kick plates and details. We hope to add a couple outlets. I need to re-bleach (and then seal) our floor grout. Etc. Etc.

But so far, so good.
I really can’t believe this is my kitchen, it’s so nice. I can’t wait to see it all done!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Slow Progress

So you're probably wondering what's going on over here...


Not too much actually. With Blake winding up his semster, and all of us fighting off colds. It's been slow moving.

I did decide to take on chair painting again. Because I apparently enjoy torture . Painting chairs is out of control time consuming. But at least this time I decided to use water based paint. Save on fume issues. I just can't get behind the price tags of new chairs, so I pay big bucks in time. 🤷‍♀️
This painting is stalled due to sickness and holidays. But it's going to look really nice eventually

We did get our new stainless hood up. And that's been magical. The LEDs are totally fabulous and change how dim our kitchen has felt. Not to mention it just looks better, and works better!

And today Blake took out our old backsplash..

If you remember, it used to be quite the pink beige. And I painted it. It was a good hold over. But I'm very excited they are gone.
It will likely be the new year before I have much more excitement to show. We'll see. (We still haven't even put all the cabinet knobs on yet!)
Slow but steady wins the race.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Future Kitchen Updates

Hey guys, hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! 
Ours was very nice. And I even got the kitchen back to working order with a pinch of time to spare. The only hiccup being that randomly our kitchen faucet sprung a leak and the attempt to fix it was foiled by a crazy original installation which left us using our bathroom sink on Thanksgiving itself. It was not ideal but we managed to have a great day anyway. The next day Blake took a saw to the faucet and got it off, so that we could install a fancy $17 faucet and have running water in the kitchen sink again. Ha! I've never loved a bad faucet so much!


The fact that the faucet debacle happened, sped up our decision to just do the countertops now since we plan to do an undermount sink with them. (For a day we thought we'd be sibkless until that was in. But even once it was solved we still were ready to go forward with our nice finishes.)

So the plan is a 32x18" single bowl, stainless undermount sink. With this faucet. 
We debated a bridge faucet for a while but ultimately I didn't want form over function, the two handle temperature adjustment isn't for me (I've lived with two handles before.) But I've been enamored with this faucet for at least a year. It's got a vintage feel and modern sensibility. Plus great reviews.
I went with chrome because I honestly really love chrome. And while it shows water marks, a quick wipe takes it right off. We have a chrome faucet in one bathroom, and it shines so easy. We also have a moen spot resistant brushed Nickel   faucet which always looks clean so that's awesome. But then we have an American Standard brushed nickel faucet and it's NOT spot resistant and it looks terrible and is very hard to shine up. So I figured chrome is something predictable in behavior but brushed nickel  is not. Chrome is also the finish that's been around the longest, so I feel it adds to the vintage appeal. Plus it's bling-y. 

My kitchen needs a pinch of bling because I choose painted knobs for my hardware. They often say that's the jewelery of the kitchen, but  I went a different direction. We left our original visible hinges on the cabinet doors. (It didn't seem to be an viable option to add inset hidden hinges, and I decided it does give me a happy vintage feeling.) So I didn't want anymore metal on the cabinets. 

I'm hoping to achieve a sorta timeless, vintage English country vibe, with a hint of luxury, and  a whiff of modern to bring it to current times.

I'm thinking that the backsplash will be smaller scale subway tile. I've read that the smaller scale is good in a smaller space to give the illusion of more space. And somehow the regular size does look off in here. 

I'm thinking of wrapping the backsplash around the open wall over the wood counter, and extending to the ceiling. And adding 2 or 3 open shelves there.

The countertops will be a quartz in a pattern  reminiscent of marble, with a pretty flat edge. 
I LOVE marble but am not willing to care for them (or hover over people making them care for them) properly since they are easily stained and can chip.
Originally I thought I'd like an ogee edge, but after shopping and thinking I liked the clean line better.
We ordered through Menards, who by far had the most affordable quartz. And no one had a pattern I liked any better, so it was an easy choice.
Initially we thought of going with a very nice laminate (they've come a long way and you can get them without that laminate backsplash on the backside and doing that really adds the classy look to the kitchen.) But we couldn't find the right combo of print, surface texture and edge shape for us. We started doing the math and decided that since we only have 31 square feet of countertop space
(We are not doing our pass-through wood countertops in quartz. We plan to someday upgrade form pine to real butcherblock.) So at 31 sq feet it wasn't an unmanageable prince upgrade to get the real thing. That way there was every part of our wishlist (look, feel and edged finish) was checked off for our money, because while laminate is more affordable is is not free, so we decided it made sense to put more in to get more out. For resale the quartz would appeal much more in our area. We don't plan to sell anytime soon, but just assessing the investment.

So those are ordered, as well as the faucet and sink. A few more weeks till they arrive.
Next we need to knock out the old backsplash to get ready for all the installation.
But I'm not thinking we'll do much until the semester break, since Blake's in the crunch time of the year. Which is fine, I don't mind a lull in kitchen disturbances.

When we get all the knobs on the doors I'll show you a middle-after/progress photo.






Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I started the kitchen makeover

Well something big is happening...I'm painting our kitchen cabinets!
I knew from the first walk through I wanted to paint these. And after lots of Pinterest I ensured myself that I feel good in a white kitchen.
And after 4 years, I forced myself to start. Painting kitchen cabinets with a two year old around is not ideal. But I'm making it work.
I'm not going to make this a super long post because I'm in the middle of this project. But here's a bit of what's happening the last week or so. 


Top doors down, primed then painted.
I decided on using Valspar paint. I was so overwhelmed by the choices and hoping for good durablilty. But I've been very happy with everything I've used Valspar on. And I used this specific one (furniture paint) on my adorandak chairs with them living outdoors in the rain and the paint has held up very well. There is only mind chipping, but these chairs are so old it might be the stuff under the paint coming off. Most parts of the chairs look great. So I figured it would work in a kitchen where there is no rain.
And I started with Valspar bonding primer first.



I asked Blake to take down a pointless decorative board over the sink. We removed the cabinet over the fridge. (Something better is being brainstormed. As well as the vent hood I have hated very passionately. It was the weirdest shape on the front and off white.

We found an time capsule

Blake sanded everything for me.




I got the upper doors done and they look fabulous. The took two coats of primer. 2 coasts of paint on the backs and I called that good. But on the fronts I did three.




Living in the house right now is a bit tricky. I blocked the door ways with the fridge and a couch to keep the two year old out. So getting food to the table is a workout. But hopefully I'll be done this week.

Here's one coat of primer.

Two coats.
And that's where we stand today.

The room already feels super different! Brighter and more spacious. I'm really excited.
So two to three coats of paint to go. With 8 hours of drying time in between. (Rush it and it peels or stays tacky.)

I'm not sure when, but long term other stuff will be changed outa new countertops and backsplash. And a new range hood.
I'm really thinking through lots of details that will impact the overall composition. I'll keep you updated as things come together.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Garage Door Makeover


Ok, so first off, I’m sorry I’ve been MIA. I’m just having a hard time finding time to blog in this season. All my free time (when Bronny is sleeping) I’m using for projects (or teaching the older kiddos.) And most the time he is awake is just not a great time for typing. So it’s just not been happening. Right now I’m attempting to fit it in during “Oooo we just got new Play Doh! time.”

So Today I want to show you a project I am seriously proud of. (Unfortunately the photo quality isn’t to the level of pride I have for it, but I just wanted to get it shown.)

Because Befores and Afters NEVER get old…. Here’s our house before we owned it (Thank you Google Earth for the shocking truth!)

But where I really want you to look (I know…there is SO MUCH to take in) is the garage door.

 Because I need to show work in progress...

And this was us at the end of this summer.
I tried to find some close up photos I have of the garage door, but my computer wasn’t in the mood to load them. 

So you’ll just have listen for a minute instead. The garage door (well really the general garage area) is pretty much the first thing this house presents to a viewer. (Especially back when the yard was a jungle hiding the rest of the house.) And so when we pulled up to view this house, I immediately noted the garage as a point of change.

If you look from the picture above, to the picture below -- we did change the light fixtures. That made me SO happy. The old ones scale, light bulb placement, and color were so off for the house. These fit so much better.
Anyway...
The garage door itself is a material I’m not used to seeing as a garage door. It’s something like hardboard, but it’s got faux (large scale) wood grain. It’s really ugly. It wasn’t in great shape, but it’s still very functional.  

A bit ago I painted it flat black just to kinda hide some of it’s ew factor. And it worked well. The faux grain chilled out a bit, and the oldness hide itself.
Still old looking, but better, espeically from far away. (But I wanted to show you with this photo, what this door really is made of.)

But then...

One day, while brainstorming house stuff, I had a moment where I thought…Wait, if people add trim to doors inside their house to make them prettier without getting new doors….why can’t I do that to my garage door. I asked a smart DIY friend of mine what she thought about it’s possibility, and she thought that as long as it was not so thick as to get in the way of the door opening, and not so heavy as to make the garage door opening strain, it should be doable.
(I didn’t ask Blake at that moment because I had JUST asked him to do about probably 6 other house projects that week, and if this was just impossible I wanted to save him the mental effort of my requests.)

So then I started looking at garage doors and trying to figure out what I could add to mine to make it look nice.

Enter this look: (I’d show you think Pintrest pics I saved…but crabby computer says no.)

Blake bought hardboard, he cut it (And I think the store cut it a bit for us initially?) and we painted the backside for some extra water sealing out protection.

Then Blake did awesome math and cutting to create my plans. Then he glued the backs and then brad nailed the pieces into place.
\
After that I painted everything black and almost died of joy overload because it looked SO GOOD!
But we needed to caulk it all to keep water from getting behind it. There was mild drama initially because we couldn’t find a good caulk for what we were doing. The first one needed WEEKS to cure before we could paint and I didn’t like the glaring white edges staring at me for weeks and embarrassing me to the neighborhood. (I’m totally cool with my house looking like GARBAGE inside as we do these projects because I don’t have to show people until I am done, and wasn’t embarrassed by the outside’s badness initially because I knew we could change it. But I learned in this garage door process that I am not impervious to fear of judgement. Because this whole process what very much a risk (I found no other blog resources showing a project like this and I didn’t know if it wasn’t doing to fail big time), and I hated doing it in front of an audience. Even painting the door black was a design risk, and as people took their walks that day, I was so self conscience. I was so afraid it would be UGLY and that people would judge me for it. It was an interesting emotional experiment during this project.)
Anyway -- I wasn’t about to have white caulk pushing all those emotional buttons for a couple weeks. 
There was black caulk, but it wasn’t paintable (and we all know it wouldn’t be the SAME black, so it would ALWAYS show.) So that wouldn’t work.

But it turned out that we just needed to shop another store and found an exterior caulk that could be painted in a short amount of time.

So Blake caulked the door and I laughed inside about how it actually just kinda looked period appropriate. I feel like midcentury doors regularly accented the raised panels. (However, I did not want it to stay that way.)


Finally I got to go back over it again paint everything again. And it was good.



I mean, I really can barely stand how nice it wound up being.

Even that faux wood grain looks right now.


We did this a few months ago now, and I still crane my neck when coming and going from the house to watch the garage door from every angle and enjoy the crazy good improvement.



The garage door still works great.  It’s rained a bunch with no issues. And we saved big bucks just facelifting what we had.
I’m super happy about it.

We still have another project up our sleeve for the garage area visual improvement. But that might be a next year thing now because the weather finally cooled down.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

I’m still just giddy over this!!


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