Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year!!
from Miriam, William, and Stirling

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like a kitchen, everywhere you stand....

I could go on, changing the lyrics, but Andy Williams might not be too happy with me.

Anywoo, the crew has cleaned up and cleared out for the week of the holidays,  leaving us with a taste of what the space will be.  The counter tops were installed this afternoon, and now, you can really see what the lay out is and how the space will function.

The widening of in the entry hall is a favorite change of ours.  Without the plastic barrier, you can now really see the new opening into the secondary foyer/bathroom area.   The doors of the  coat closet now close around a properly-sized space.  It invites you to walk into the house, hang up your jacket, and walk into this.....

The new kitchen sans tile, paint, and appliances.  But you get the idea with the cabinetry and the counter tops.  

After a few minor and some major issues, the space is coming together.  The hood cabinet is now  installed, with three glass shelves to come (two on the left side and one on the right).  The crown piece above the hood cabinet isn't fully set back in its final place, hence it looking like it overhangs the actual cabinet at the moment.

The monster of a stainless farmhouse apron front sink we purchased looks perfect now that it is installed and the behemoth of a faucet will fit as well (photos to come as it is installed).

The circular peninsula is begging for bar stools to be pulled up to it-- if only we could find some stools that we like!   And the window sills and alcove base look fantastic as it all pulls together.  What we found amazing is that the main counter tops are made in one piece.  So, the counter around the sink: one piece.  The counters underneath the double windows: one piece.  The counter top with the circular table: again, one piece.  The installers brought it in, laid it down and it fit perfectly.  They spent the majority of their time here fitting together and buffing the bits of backsplash you see around the walls near the dishwasher area and the area along the peninsula.

The material is silestone, a man-made material that is very much like granite, but doesn't have the care issues (staining, off-gasing) that granite has.  We chose the color "Amazon Grey."  It has some nice color and movement in the tops and looks spectacular with the tile and the wall paint we have picked.   

So, the crew is done for 2011.  They resume work on January 2nd, 2012.  They say that the whole space will be finished by mid-January.  In the first few weeks of the new year, we can expect: another round of drywall mudding and sanding (there are some issues with the finish work), painting, tiling, and electrical connection.   In the meantime, I am spending way too much time trying to figure out where all the pots and pans should be placed...  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

around the entry to the dining room

We now have trim work done around the new foyer area and it is looking really nice.  The crew has reused as much of the old trim that was available, which wasn't much.  They had to create several new header pieces that match with the rest of the door headers in the rest of the house.  They have done a great job.  

Nail holes aren't filled and of course, nothing is painted.  Still, it is looking more and more like a finished product.
above the door in the bathroom

around the toilet

trim in the new expanded entry way, basement door side
newly-made trim (from older stuff) joining into the stair trim around the new expanded entryway
 They have also managed to hang the actual doors to the coat closet (we reuse the original doors--we will just put new brushed nickel knobs on) and a brand new solid wood door for the bathroom.  The bathroom door hardware isn't installed yet and won't be until it is painted.
coat closet with reused doors and old knobs

brand new bathroom door

It is hoped that by the end of the week, when the crew takes a break from Christmas, we will have all the doors and drawers on the cabinets in place; all the trim work done (just Will's office needs some at this point); the walls have been sanded again (there are some rough spots); and the paint cans are at least on site.  We signed off on the counter top design on Monday, so they should be cutting it this week with a slim chance of installation.  But the big things like tile, painting, electricity, and appliance installation won't happen until after the holidays. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Miracle!

At 12:06 pm today, a Christmas Miracle happened.

We got our cabinet door and drawer fronts and two cabinets back.  And they are perfect.  The driver left Tulsa, OK yesterday morning at 8 am, stopping 6 hours to sleep.  The rest of the time he was driving like a bat outta hell to get the doors, etc here on time.  We helped unload the material, and he was then off-- back to Tulsa by way of Kentucky.  He is going to wave hi to my folks as he drives by Louisville in about 7 more hours. 

The crew then set to getting the broom closet installed--necessary for the counter tops-- and the doors on (drawer fronts will wait to tomorrow as they are a bit harder to get on straight).

We still won't have the kitchen done by the 20th, but now we are probably going to have it back and completed by the first week of January.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


As I picked Will up from the airport tonight, I hit exactly 100,000 miles in my car. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cabinets: Good News/Bad News

Our cabinets arrived last week and were loaded into the house, stuffed into every available floor space we have left.  They started to install them, beginning with the cabinet outside of the bathroom, the upper cabinet above the dishwasher, the sink & sink cabinet, and the trash bin cabinets.  Then came issue number 1.
It was discovered that if the matching upper cabinet to the right of the window and the cabinet covering the exhaust hood were installed, the hood cabinet would be overhanging the double windows in the back of the kitchen by 5.5 inches too long.  *Someone* mis-measured.  Course, the kitchen designer pointed fingers at the contractor; the contractor blamed the designer.  No one wanted to take responsibility for the mistake with good reason: to make the cabinets fit, the hood cabinet would have to be rebuilt, and it was one of the most expensive cabinets (due to its sheer size).  No one wanted to have to pay for it; all we knew was that the mistake wasn't ours and so we weren't going to pay for the fix.  

 So, while the three parties decided what we wanted to do to move forward with the hood cabinet, the contractors installed the cabinets on the other side of the room: the chef pantry, the one above the fridge, and the unit that will contain the microwave. And that is when we noticed issue #2. 

We ordered creamy white cabinets doors in a matte, powder finish.  Along the edges, the paint was messed up: shiny speckled spots, as if the paint had not dried completely before they wrapped it in the protective paper.  We noticed the imperfection on every single door and drawer in any kind of light.  Every. Single. One.


So, after a week and half, we have solved both issues, with major delays to the final product. 

For issue #1: we aren't hanging the 2nd upper cabinet next to the window.  The stove and the hood cabinet slide down closer to the sink.  We add an alcove behind the stove and some glass shelves to the sides of hood cabinet. 

Issue #2 is a bit more complicated.  The cabinet company sent an employee/driver to pick up the defective doors and drawers and take it back to the factory.  We sent back every door, drawer, filler piece, kick plate, crown pieces back, plus two cabinets with bad construction.  Any surface that faces outward was sent back to the factory to be sanded down and repainted.  The factory is Tulsa.  Three days drive from DC.  We have no real idea when the cabinets will get to the factory, when they will get fixed, and when they will be put back on the truck to be sent back to us.  Did I mention that the cabinet factory is closed between Christmas and New Year's?

* still crying*

All we know is that this is a significant delay.  Without the doors and drawers and the two cabinets, the contractors can't finish setting the cabinets, can't pay tile, can't lay counter tops. Can't. can't. can't.

the run of cabinets, minus the fronts and appliances

Soooooo.  While we wait for the return of the cabinets, there is a limited amount of work that can be done.  Basically, the contractors can work on trimming out the doors and around the floor. After that... we wait.  We wait for the return of cabinets, which most likely will be around the second week in January.  So much for the delivery date of December 20th for a finished kitchen. We are now looking at January 20th, and possibly even into early February. 


new alcove that will be above the stove
movable shelves of the chef pantry, which allows storage on the back wall of the cabinet, both sides of the movable columns, and on each of the doors (not pictured)

starting to add the trim around the door, and reusing the header piece from the old dining room doorway

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Juliette!


We hope your chocolate party is a huge success!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Flooring Down!

The hardwood floors were installed today and they look great!   It took the crew almost all day to put the planks in and we think that they did a really nice job.  For the moment, the oak wood is its natural color-- the staining is one of the last things done in the whole remodel.

The best news is that there are no squeaks!  We bounced up and down all over the floor and it is quiet, which will be a welcome relief to our downstairs neighbor.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cabinets Delivered!

Cabinets, floor to ceiling!

Bright and early on Monday, the delivery truck rolled up the street with about 27 linear feet of our cabinetry.  We aren't ready for them, but here they are. 

We needed to find a place to put them.  Since the garage and dining room are full of appliances and our make-shift kitchen, Steve (our project manager) was able to stuff a majority of them into Will's office.  Stacks of base cabinets and upper cabinets all in one place, with a few exceptions. 

We have some in the living room and that makes for a fun obstacle course to get to the tv room.  The good news is that they were the last things to been delivered and they are here.

However, it will be a few days before they are in place.  We need to have the floors laid done first and then they can set them.  The floors should be done by Tuesday....

one of the pantry units

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mud and Sand

 The drywall crew came back Friday and Saturday to mud the dry wall joints and to sand them.  The way that they can so-perfectly apply the joint compound is frustrating for us home improvement novices.  They are able to apply the stuff just so smoothly and lightly that it hardly needs sanding. 

Oh, but sanding they did.  If everything in our house wasn't covered in a fine layer of construction dust before, it certainly is. *sigh*  I wonder if the construction crew dusts and mops as part of their final job....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Wish Came True

Last year for my Christmas card, I drew the four of us (Will, Stirling, Jackie Kitty [RIP Baby Kitty], and me), in our Christmas PJs, dreaming of Christmas wishes.  Will got his: England won back from Australia the Ashes Cricket Tournament on home turf.  Stirling got her big pile of bones.  Jackie got her big bowl of goldfish in the sky.

This week, finally, I got my wish: a professional. 6 burner + griddle, dual fuel, double oven cooker. 
My G.E. Monogram Cooker

I haven't fully unwrapped it--cuz it isn't installed yet and it will have to be moved and I don't want it to get hurt.  I have opened up the ovens (they come with pans!) and turned a few of the knobs (they are so smooth).  I can't wait to actually use it!  Though, it will be hard: it is so pretty and clean, I hate to get it dirty.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We have Walls!


When I left for work with morning, we had the open walls with insulation-- which, we were offered a job hanging insulation that is how good of a job we did-- and when I came back: all the dry wall was up.  The guys dropped the sheets off this morning: 12 foot long boards of drywall.  Two guys returned about 2 pm and hung the entire space's drywall, leaving about 6:30.

Will said that it was absolutely amazing.  The guys would measure, cut, and hang a piece.  Some of these pieces had very awkward cut outs, like the notch around the closet.  The side walls are the basically 2 sheets of the 12 foot board installed horizontally to minimize the pieces used.  The ceilings a bit more, but not much!
Where the former door was into the dining room

 The space now looks like rooms instead of a construction site.  It also feels a bit smaller and I am hoping that the layout of the new kitchen will be the right one-- not the time to have doubts, I realize.

Tomorrow the dry wallers will be back to do the taping of the seams and a mudding.  It may be possible that they can even sand the seams and apply a second coat of mud.  The faster they are, the better off we are: cabinets come on Monday.  With the delivery of appliances this past Monday, the the house and garage are full. Now we have a potential storage issue with the cabinets and my large, honking stove.  We think we can work around it, but in the meantime, the dry wall finishing has to be done and the floors have to be installed.  Then they can set the cabinets.  And who knows when the windows will be here!
looking into the doorless closet
Ah, but the walls.  It is so nice to see wall board again and know that the end is really coming.  I feel that with the hanging of dry wall, the reassembling of the kitchen is taking place and not just total destruction/demolition of the space.

corner of the bathroom

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inspections and Insulation


 The beam is set in place and the support beams are removed! The kitchen space is opening up.  We had the framing and the wiring inspections today and we passed.  Now we can close up the walls and it will start looking less like a construction site and more room-like. 

The steel beam set in place

Now the next step of insulating the newly framed wall we took on ourselves.  We got the simple, pink fiberglass R-12 insulation and filled in the former window cavities and then between all the studs.  In the bathroom, we added more insulation to the sound-proofing that the crew has put up earlier.
We did the walls in about 2 hours, with me doing the measuring and cutting and Will doing the stapling-- though I realize that there is no photo of me doing the work.  Only proof of Will's labor, but I swear I was working too. 

the now-insulated, passing framed wall
 We used all the insulation and only had the tiniest bits of scrap left over.  We felt that it made a noticeable difference in temperature, but that could have been because we shut the back door after Stirling came in....ahem.

The sound proofing we requested in the powder room was only put in on two sides and not the floor or ceiling.  We added regular insulation to the outer wall, but we aren't sure how quiet it will be in there once it is closed in and has a door.  When standing in it, there is a definitely a dampening of sound, but we aren't sure how that will translate when all of this is said and done.
The sound proofing is the more dense stuff seen here.

 Tomorrow drywall comes and will be hung and the rest of the week will be finishing that: taping the seams, mudding, sanding, re-mudding the seams, etc.  We were told that we were about a week behind schedule, but that they might be able to gain more time if the drywalling goes quickly. Fingers crossed for that!

My reflection in the window proves that I was at least there...