Archive | May, 2013

Golden Girls, er, Tub

31 May

In the spirit of wrapping up the final details on the bathroom reno, I thought I would share with you our spray painting bathroom extravaganza. Gold. It can work, in select settings. On my finger – yes. On my tub – no. Now I’m not talking about a nice authentic vintage brass, that, that is amazingness. I’m talking about 80’s builder grade – we all know it – most of us hate it. Let’s just say it had to go. I’m all about mixing the metals, but this was a bit too mixed for me.

Spray painting gold hardware

Gold Hardware

So in an effort to rid this bathroom of it’s final gold influence, we pulled out our favorite tool in the DIY arsenal. The spray paint. Whether it’s door knobs or bathroom fixtures, you can bet my first plan of attack is always that little can o’ paint. Call me trigger happy, call me cheap, but the bottom line – if I can solve the problem with $3 of paint, you better bet I’m going to try!

Rust Oleum Appliance Spray Paint

Rust Oleum Spray Paint

After chatting with the guy in the paint aisle for a few, we decided on this appliance grade stuff. It’s supposed to be super durable so I’m hoping it’s able to stand up to the test of our bath jets – we shall see! I can tell you when we were applying it that this stuff definitely felt a lot more substantial than our typical spray painting fare. It went on thicker, and had more precise directions to reapplication. Per it’s suggestion – we had to wait a full week before applying the second coat. Dang a langa.

How to spray paint tub

Spray Painting

This stuff stunk with a capital S, so we kept it out on the screened in porch in order to avoid too many fumes entering our lungs. After one coat, they were definitely looking much improved and on their way. There were still a few spots of gold sneaking through though, so we did opt to wait it out for the week and apply another coat. (Waiting a week for me is like waiting YEARS!! 😉

Spray Painting Bathroom Vent

Bathroom Vent

In addition to spray painting the gold tub hardware, we also opted to spray paint the air vent that is around the tub surround. We knew that since this guy butted up right next to the new crisp and white subway tile, that anything other than white was going to stick out like a sore thumb. Look how purty and white this guy looks after a solid two coats!

One kink in our remove it and spray paint it plan was that one of the vents would not budge. Not sure if it was stuck on there, or if it was designed to just not come off, but this guy was not moving. In an effort to complete rid the tub surround of it’s goldie locks, we proceeded with taping the entire area off to all of the hardware to be white.

How to spray paint bathroom hardware

Spray Painted Hardware

It took some time, but overall, I think this new look is preferred in our white and bright space to the gold we were rockin’ before. Final step was applying an ample coat of caulk. I think you can pretty much chalk that one up as our final step with all projects 😉

White Spray painted bathroom hardware

White Hardware


A Little Late Coming | The Bathroom Threshold

30 May

Sometimes, you just lose your mojo on a project. You have the best intentions of dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s, but then you shrug your shoulders and say, meh, good enough. That was the fate of our upstairs bath, where a few details were left, well, unfinished. Case A: the threshold.

Removing Bathroom Threshold

Bathroom Threshold

An especially troublesome spot. Top left corner. Whoops – not enough tile … Jay thought I wouldn’t catch it, snicker. This area actually became a little bit of a conundrum for us, since Jay’s plan was to just have the threshold pop up and cover the gap. Yep, didn’t work. Too much of an angle. I finally gave into his solution, which was to just add some extra grout to help cover the gap. Not the best solution, but hey, it’ll do.

How to install a bathroom threshold

Bathroom Threshold

Since our first threshold popped off during the renovation project and split a bit, we were unable to put humpty dumpty back together, and had to break out the wallet and buy a new one. Since they are all of $7 at the store, no harm done.

How to install a threshold

Cutting the Trim

After measuring our location, and using the old threshold as a general guideline, we took the new guy out to the garage and started slicing and dicing. It’s always nice when you have a template to use (i.e. old item) since you can hack off the wood with a bit more confidence that your new piece is actually going to fit. Always good.

How to installed threshold

New Threshold

And here is the new guy, sans paint. That’ll do pig, that’ll do. Always good to do a dry fit in before you pull out the paint brush and commit to your final sizing.

White Painted bathroom threshold

Painted Threshold

After we painted the threshold, and screwed it in, things were looking a whole lot more polished in this little bath of ours. Much better than the bare floor we had chilling there for a month or so. I think it could benefit from one more quick coat of paint, but for know, I’m saying done.

Tile Close Up

Tile Close Up

We tried to get the threshold to perfectly cover the janky tile in the back, but alas, there was still some area that was unable to be covered on it. Since the grout dries quite light, it is pretty difficult to tell that the area is missing something. Not ideal, but hey, it’s for reallz. Sometimes the home reno projects leave a few small details to be desired. Live and learn, my friend.

White painted threshold

Threshold with Door Closed

And with the door shut, this joint is looking mighty fine. No more 2″ gap between the door and the floor. I call that a success!

In Search of the Classic Kitchen

29 May

Things are starting to come together with the kitchen, but now it’s gotten to the point where I have to make decisions on some of the detail items, and personally, I think that can be pretty hard. We decided on the kitchen cabinets (and ordered them, eeek!), I’ll do a cost break down on those babies when I can post some before and after pics for ya. My main issue these days is that the cabinet hardware is giving me a run for my money. I’ve found that the hardware that I like the best is of the antique brass variety, but I’m kind of wondering how the brassy hardware will look with all the other colors we have going on in the space, which are mostly grays and whites. Hmmm – thoughts?

I have my eye on this guy for the cabinet pulls. MMMM – yummy. The sad part – this guy is $15. Multiply that by the dozen or so drawers we have and he is looking a bit less appealing.

Antique Brass Hardware

Antique Brass Hardware

If I did splurge and go with the guy above, I’m thinking that this octagonal knob would accompany. But, trouble is they are different manufacturers  so there is always a chance that the finishes will not match, which would also be a problem. From the pictures, I think they would be close enough, but it would still be a risk to me.

Antique Brass Hardware

Octagonal Knobs

When we first started the kitchen hunt, I was pretty set on getting our cabinets and hardware from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot. Our cabinets have since deviated to the shaker style cabinet through Diamond (Lowe’s), but I am still strongly considering her line of cabinet hardware to compliment our new kitchen. Once again thought, I totally drawn to the gold finishes.

Martha Stewart Hardware

Martha Hardware

What’s even more frustrating to me though, is that they don’t make the same knobs/pulls in all of the finishes. See the gold bin pull on the left there, love it. But they don’t make the same shape in the nickel finish that we are looking at. Grumble grumble. As far as the details for the hardware, the latch that initially made me fall in love with the idea of the Martha Stewart line for our cabinet hardware was this little guy.

Nickel Cabinet Latch

Martha Cabinet Latch

I think popping some of these beauties on a cabinet just makes it look so old school and lovely. We have one cabinet in particular that will come down all the way onto the counter, and I think this type of hardware gives it more of an authentic built-in look.

Martha Stewart Hardware

Martha Stewart Hardware

If we do go with the nickel finish, I’ll use the bin pull for our drawers and the knob on the middle left section for all the cabinets with doors (other than the built-in, which would get the latches above). Really, the hardest thing so far for me has been matching the sink faucet with the cabinet hardware. I’ve stumbled across kitchens (a la pinterest) that are absolutely stunning with brass hardware, but they usually have a brass faucet as well, to tie things together. All the brass sinks I’ve found are either wayyyy out of our price range (like $900 faucets, whoa), or they are builder grade 1980’s brass, which is quite frankly, not the look we are going for.

American Standard Hampton Nickel

American Standard Hampton Nickel

This faucet, from Home Depot has caught my eye. Well within budget, and pretty dashing. If we went with this faucet, I’m thinking the Martha Stewart line would compliment the sink the best. Thoughts? Any metal mixers out there that have some pics they can direct me to of gold hardware looking classy in a white kitchen?

Studor Saved the Day

28 May

So remember this guy, the vent pipe just jutting right through our kitchen causing all kinds of problems. Well after doing some sluething (aka google searching), our initial plan was jut to re-route the pipe, and have it bend into the adjacent exterior wall. But, then we were cordially introduced to Mr. Studor, and oh how he changed our plans. In a very good way 😉

How to remove wall

Wall Removal

When we were spending (another) afternoon in Lowe’s asking away on questions – we had a super friendly dude listen as we blathered on about our vent pipe situation for like 20 mins and when we are done venting (pun intended, he he), he just calmly looks at us and says – have you ever thought about a studor valve. Why no, we hadn’t! By the way, what’s a studor valve (thinks my noggin’). He seemed pretty sure of himself, so he starts walking us over to plumbing and chatting with Jay in coded man talk about studor valves and blah blah blah. I’m just like – dude – does it solve my problemo, let’s just cut to the chase!? Speak my language here!

How to install a studor valve

Air Admittance Valve

Turns out, it does. Instead of routing the vent out into the wall, for $30 you can just by this handy little bopper of a dude and it vents right from under the sink basin. Pros – it allows us to remove the wall without having to worry about rerouting the vent pipe. Cons – (after asking the guy 25 times, he finally came up with) … sometimes studor valves fail after a few years. And I was like – hold the phone – what do you mean, fail? I immediately start to conjure up images of sewage all over my basement floor. But here is what happens – it just starts to stink. Kinda like studor made a tooter, ya know what a mean. And the fix, well, you buy a new one, for another $25-$30 bucks. No harm done. That I can live with, especially if it allows us to proceed full fledged with our little wall removal process, and especially if it’s 3-4 years down the line. Yep – call be shortsighted, but it was a full fledged – onward! – from there.

How to install air admittance valve

Installing Studor Pipe

To get this guy installed, all we had to do was remove the old sink plumbing that was there, and install this new one with the studor pipe attached. Out with the old, in with the new. We had to retrofit the pipe just a bit and cut some of the line off, but overall, it took about 5 minutes.

How to install studor valve

Cutting Pipe

We read online that the one thing that can be affected by installing the studor pipe is the water pressure and flow down in the basement (or in the affected bathroom, in our case this was the basement). So before we committed to actually cutting off the rest of the stack, we made sure to do a quick little water test to see if things were hunky doorey. Guess, what. It was even better than before. Probably since the old drain had tons of hair and gunk in it, but I’ll go ahead and call that a success. 😉

How to install a studor valve

Testing Water

Back up in the kitchen, things were looking like this. Big vented pipe, not going to work with the new kitchen decor.

Studor Valve

Sewer Vent Pipe

Since this pipe goes all the way up into the attic, and is vented up through the roof, Jay popped up into the attic crawl space to saw off the pipe, so that we could remove the section we needed a bit easier. I had this (probably irrational) fear that if Jay joggled the pipe too much, that he would actually disconnect it and make sewer stink flood the house forever, since I was picturing him breaking the line somewhere in between the origination point, and the section we were capping it off at. Luckily, everything went along swimingly.

Capping off sewer vent

PVC Cement

After we had just a stub left to cap, we grabbed some PVC cement to get this guy all wrapped up. Cement, I like the sound of that. Last thing you want is an insufficient seal leading to sewer stink in yo house.

How to cap sewer vent

Sealing Vent

For good measure, we put some on the cap, and on the vent base to make sure we had a perfectly perfect seal. And the final step, capping this baby off on the roof, too. Otherwise we would have rain water falling into this guy up top, which would mean a leaking attic in no time. Here is Jay, conquering his fear of heights and slapping that cap up on the vent.

How to cap sewer vent on ceiling

Capping Sewer Vent

This post is part of the William Morris Project over at Pancakes and French Fries.

Something Has Got to Give

27 May

Sometimes you just get to a point with a renovation where you know you have to do something drastic to make the magic happen. When incremental little steps just won’t do. I hit that moment. At 4pm last Sunday, actually. I just looked at Jay and said – that wall has GOT to come down. Now, mind you, we had played around with the idea of removing the wall, but kind of got sidelined with it, and thought that maybe we would just widen the doorway, or just leave the room as is.

But then, at 4′ o clock on Sunday, I just knew that this wall was not going to live to see another day. Jay, Jay wasn’t so sure such drastic measures had to be taken. He thought we could try talking it out with the wall before we told him to pack his bags, maybe give him a second chance. But I knew it was over. It started with just a little exploration, we wanted to just see what was under the wall. Plus, after we removed the cabinets we noticed that there was a vent popping out that needed some attention any way. It always starts small…

How to remove floor vent

Removing Floor Vent

With the left side of the wall already looking kinda gappy, we decided a bit more exploratory tapping on the other side couldn’t hurt. Here is Jay giving it the initial ceremonial tap.

How to remove wall

Removing Wall

Then, this happened. Kind of one of those things that when you start to get momentum on it, you just keep moving forward. Once we had the first chunk of wall up and out – I started to get really excited. It was really happening! We didn’t let our fears of wall removal stop us. Nope, we conquered it and busted that sucker out! It felt good. It felt great! Liberation from the walls that had constrained us for so long!

How to remove wall

Wall Removal

If you notice in the picture above, there is a slight little wrinkle in our wall removal plans. See that little white vent pipe attached to the second beam. That is our sewer venting stack. The original owner of the house gingerly informed us when we closed that this wall could never be removed, since it had the sewer stack vent line in it. Turns out – with a little bit of research – this little guy could be removed, it was just a matter of re-configuring a few things. Anytime a wall comes down, I think you’re bound to have something in the way. More than anything, it’s just a matter of making sure whatever is in the wall can be re-diverted, etc.

Duct Work In Wall

Duct Work In Wall

On the other side of the wall, we had a lovely stack of duct work, that lucky for us, actually did not connect to anything. Huzza!! It was just chilling there, completely separate from the HVAC system above and below, so that was a relatively easy work around. Just rip it out! 😉

By the time we had moved onto the dining room side of the wall, the plaster was coming out in nice, neat pieces, which really limited the dust in the room, and helped with ease of removal. With a little bit of prying, Jay was able to just rip each piece off the wall. With plaster, there is usually metal lathe at the corners, too, so we had to pull a little harder to get those pieces to come down.

How to remove plaster wall

Removing Plaster From Wall

Also, just to provide a heads up to all reading, we were able to confirm that the wall was absolutely not a load bearing wall, which is obviously crucial to determine prior to grabbing yo sledgehammer. Basically, the information we got that guided us toward knowing this was not load bearing was that the floor joists above the wall ran parallel with the structure. If the joists ran perpendicular, than this would have been a load bearing wall, and we would have needed some type of supporting beam to help keep the house up 😉

This is what we started with in the kitchen and dining room, and here is the layout of the house, if helpful. Basically, it was a 34″‘ door opening that was sufficient, but felt pretty narrow when you passed in between each room.

Removing Non-Load Bearing Wall

Kitchen | Dining Room Before

The biggest difference I noticed right away was how much more light came in through the combined spaces – and – how much larger they felt. The ceilings, especially! Immediately I just looked at Jay with a crazy sauce grin on my face and proclaimed this was the best DIY decision we had ever made. By this point in the demolition process, he was drinking the kool-aid right along with me and smiled on back. 🙂 We were feeling it, man. Demo work at it’s best.

How to remove wall

Wall Removal

Now instead of two rinky dink 9×10 rooms, we have one big ole’ 18×10 room, that feels oh so spacious and oh so open. I can’t even put into words how profound the difference is, but it’s a big deal (at least to us!). Like epic. Plus, our handy little handy man is coming back this week to add a new doorway for a french door off the side of the house and to help re-route some of the electrical. Once we have the door installed, I think this room will be the ca’ts meow. Malcolm conquers.

Screened in or Sunroom?

24 May

When we toured the house for the first time and hopped over on the screened-in porch, we thought, ahhh isn’t this the nicest little room! Come spring, and dust and pollen and rain, the screened in porch has lost some of it’s luster. The first few days we sat out there this spring, we were surprised at how dirty it had become over the winter season. It felt gross to just sit out there. Not as relaxing as first envisioned. As you can see below – this room was gross!

How to keep screened in porch clean

Screened In Porch

The window sills collected a lot of dirt as well, and in general, the room just felt in dire need of a scrub.

How to clean screened in porch

Window Sills

When Jay was home for the day waiting on the appliances he did give the room a complete scrub down and after sudsing up the floors, he just took the hose to the whole joint and sprayed everything down. 🙂 Looking much better, huh?! For the window sills we just used a rag and simple green and the whole room did clean up quite nicely.

How to clean a screened in porch

Cleaning the Porch

But, all the spring grossness got me to thinking that I might want to add some windows out here at some point, and look into the feasibility of converting this space to a sunroom. We’ve had a few contractors swinging through the house the last few days for little kitchen projects and quotes on future attic conversion plans, so while they were around we were sure to ask them about the pros and cons of converting this space to a more permanent room in to house, versus the glorified deck that it is today. Although the space is great as is, I think it could be absolutely epic if it felt more like an extension of the house, and less like a camping bunk room, i.e. the photo below.

Cleaning Screened in Porch

Screened in Porch

Overall, the general consensus from the contractors was – sure – you can convert that purty darn easy! That … was very surprising to me, since the inspector had eluded to the room needing a foundation (it only has lattice right now), which he estimated to be in the $30,000 ball park range. Wha, wha, whhhaattt??? Nope, ain’t happening. Basically, the advice we got was to insulate the be-jesus out of the space, and then add an external heating source and we would be happy as clams in the sea. Since the room has sufficient footings already in place, it can hold the weight associated with a normal, interior room, thus giving us the go ahead to convert it, if desired.

So, naturally, I started hunting for auxiliary heating sources for the room, which is where mission covert screened-in porch hit another bump in the road. After lots of searching and chatting with knowledgeable dudes and dudettes, we were directed toward electric baseboard heating as the best option for the space. One – electric baseboards (in my opinion) are not the prettiest things. It kinda makes the room look unintentional to me, like a throw on that wasn’t quite thought through. And, the biggest cincher for me was that these guys are not efficient, at all. We would easily be looking at an extra $40-$50 per month in the winter just to heat the extra room! That ain’t happening!

Baseboard Heater

Baseboard Heater

So, what I’m kind of leaning toward right now is adding windows, insulation, and legit floors and doors to the space, but using it as a 3-season room, vs. 4-season. I think that weatherizing the space will add to it’s function, and I think that we will enjoy it more sans screens. Since this is a project we can totally bite off by ourselves (framing and installing windows, doors and insulation), the other nice part of this plan is that we can control the costs and timeline more through taking the DIY route. If it seems kind of crazy and haphazard that we are thinking about this room right now – while we are in the middle of our kitchen renovation – it is! But only sorta kinda. The dining room is directly connected to the screened in porch, so as we continued to rip stuff out of the kitchen/dining area, and think about what we wanted the space to look like long term – this room came into the mix as well.

Still ironing out the final details for the room, but right now the game plan is to add some nice french doors off the dining room, and make this room look like a legit, real deal, genuine McCoy part of the house, without breaking the bank, and without adding a heat source. Beauty of this, if we wanted to add a heat source further down the line, we can still do that, but for now we are still able to move forward with the integration into the rest of the home.

And this, this is my O-fficial inspiration pictures. Aint it a beauty? Let the wild rumpus, begin! That is code for – let’s get a renovatin’!

French Doors Dining Room

French Doors

Blinded By Beauty | Our Appliance Hunt

23 May

I’m a pragmatic girl, so when I got smacked in the face by an un-pragmatic decision – that peeved me. I’m recovering, albeit slowly. So when Jay and I got all pumped about our new appliances we did something very unlike us. We whipped out the credit card and bought those babies without doing our typical round of research. What can I say, the GE Cafe line had me at hello. Their insanely good looks threw me so far off, that I went and bought the least efficient refrigerator out there. Yes, it’s true. Yes, I’m ashamed. Do you see where our fridge is on the energy spectrum. At the top, the very, very top. The good news – there is only a $12 per year difference between our model and the most efficient, but still the penny pinching little greenie in me died a little when Jay showed me. 😉

GE Cafe Fridge Energy Usage

Energy Guide

But, that being said, so far we are totally digging the new additions. Jay stayed home on delivery day to get these bad boys in and it was quite the experience. The guys were super nice, and even brought our old oven out to our garage for us, isn’t that awesome! Here they are bringing the new oven in. They did not use a dolley, rather each had some serious straps on them and they simply lifted the oven (and fridge) up, and hoisted them into the house. To me that seems like quite a recipe for a bad back, but they were super careful about it, so I think they have a system down.

How to Lift Heavy Appliances

Appliance Delivery

We were so excited to see our new appliances coming in that Jay even snapped a photo of them across the street. There they are! About to join our little kitchen family!

GE Cafe Appliances

Appliance Delivery

One thing we noticed off the bat, was that the GE logo was actually black on our appliances, even though the ones we ordered online and had seen in blog land and in stores were actually red. Hmmm, what is the dealo? After a call to (where we got our appliances from) the scoop they gave us was that the newest line of GE Cafe has black logos, so they are actually phasing out the red logos. The only wrinkle this presents us is that the dishwasher we were planning on buying from our local appliance shop, has the red logo. Urgggh. So now we will either have to hunt down a newer one (i.e. not on clearance like the original model we were looking at), or be ok with our logos not matching on the appliances. Still undecided on that one.

GE Cafe Line

GE Cafe Line

When the appliances came, they were hard core wrapped in plastic and protective coatings. We opted to leave the fridge cover on for now, since this guy will actually be chilling in our dining room until we get the kitchen all prepped by removing the cabinetry, painting the walls, etc. The current space for the fridge is actually too small as well, since our new guy is a counter depth unit and the old one was not, which leads to a 3-4 inch difference across.

GE Cafe Fridge

GE Cafe Fridge

So in the mean time, this guy is chilling in our dining room, which quickly went from this:

Double Pedestal Dining Table

Dining Room

To this, when the new appliances arrived. Uggg. Feels like we are officially in the middle of a reno, no?

GE Cafe Fridge

New Dining Room Setup

Here is our new oven. Mighty swanky!! The things we started to realize as we unloaded the goody goods, included the fact that we will have to move the electrical box peaking out above the oven right now so that the cord isn’t visible. We will also have to install another light socket above the current location, since the microwave hood will also need some juice. Just add that baby onto the to-do list!

GE Cafe Oven

GE Cafe Oven

Notice all the packaging on these guys? I’m glad they came sufficiently covered, but MAN it took us nearly two hours to unwrap the oven. No serrriously. That – that is too much packaging, ya think?

Why Didn’t God Make Marble More Durable?

22 May

Marble. Why are you so pretty, but so not practical. These things I will never know. I guess the delicate variety in life usually have the looks, too. Well, alas, it was not meant to be. Marble will not be gracing the tops of my kitchen counters. Sad face. This is the counter surface we started with. Not going to work for the light and bright kitchen we are looking for. Faaar too dark.

Light maple cabinets

Kitchen | Before

A lot of blogs have done a lot of reviews on different types of counter surfaces that closely match the look/feel/etc of marble. One of my favorite breakdowns comes from Aubrey and Lindsay’s blog – they recently did an a-mazing kitchen reno that I have totally drawn inspiration from. Ahem, GE Cafe appliances… 🙂

Ideally, we were hoping to get our counters from Lowe’s, since this is where we will be getting our cabinetry, and it is always easier to bundle than to go through an independent retailer. Initially, Lowe’s seemed to really be lacking in the counter department to me. I scanned through all the samples they had out, and just really couldn’t find anything that struck my fancy. That was until our final cabinet visit, when I spotted this guy, who hadn’t been there prior. Love – Love – Love. What do you think, kinda like marble, no?

Sugarbrush Quartz Lowes

Sugarbrush Quartz

So far, I am really liking this option. It has the subtle veining that you would get with a marble slab, and I think it is light and neutral enough to really compliment the cabinets and achieve the look we are going for in the new space. The most noticeable difference between the quartz sample and marble is that this guy is much more pixalated in person that I would ideally like, kind of spotty almost. I guess my undying love for Marble, also made me elevate it to the highest ground, because I thought for sure it was the most expensive stone per square foot. Nope. Think again. Marble, $59/square foot. My guy, $71. SEVENTY ONE!!! Dagger to the heart.

Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet

Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet

Here is how the countertop looks with the style cabinet we are looking at. Mighty swanky if you ask me 🙂 Just the look we are going for 🙂 Really the only perk to the countertop situation is that they are offering a free sink right now, and we had previously budgeted in $400 for that, so I can reallocate that budget back into the countertops. Here is another view, with the counter right under it for comparison. Can you tell I’m leaning toward this one?? 🙂

Quartz That Looks Like Carrera Marble

Lowes Quartz Option

Before we could make a final decision  we had to hop over to the other generic, large and consumer driven home improvement store, Home Depot, naturally 🙂 As much as we gripe about Lowes and Home Depot going up right. next. to. each other, I swear we usually hit up the both of them when we head over to that side of town. Doesn’t hurt that there is a HomeGoods and a Tile Shop chilling right there as well – makes for a full day, to the husband’s lament. 😉

Searching the blogosphere and online in general, I came up pretty empty on images for each of the countertop options, Viatera Quartz, Cortina (Home Depot) and Sugarbrush Quartz (Lowes). Here is a picture of how the cortina stone looks in person. Not quite as grainy as I would like, but close, very close (the picture really doesn’t show it well). Overall, I do think that I am leaning toward the Lowes option for a few reasons. Namely, I like the veining and how it’s a bit more pronounced on the sugarbush quartz option (through Lowes). Also, the fact that they are throwing in the kitchen sink doesn’t hurt, either. Although many things on this kitchen reno are coming in over budget, it is a relief to have some of our expenses knocked out, and $400+ for the free sink certainly doesn’t hurt.

Home Depot Cortina

Home Depot Cortina

And here is a cost breakdown of the Cortina option at Home Depot, which is the same price per square foot as the Lowe’s option. Once you add fancy shmancy things like corners (is that really an upgrade??) We were looking at $2,500 for our teeny tiny kitchen. I budgeted $1,500. Fail. Knock out the price of the sink on the estimate below though, and we are coming in right under $2,000. That is a little more palatable. But only a little more, let’s keep it realllll.

Viatera Quartz Cortina

Viatera Quartz Cortina

Let There Be Gas

21 May

One of the first steps to our little switcheroo in the kitchen was getting a new gas line installed so that we could move the oven along the back wall where the pantry used to be. I’m pretty pumped to get the oven off the wall it’s on right now, since the placement is pretty funky and aesthetically  it just doesn’t look good.

Moving Gas Line

Gas Range Switcheroo

Since anytime I think of gas lines, I think of explosions where people lose limbs, I made Jay hire this one out. We found a really nice handyman online and he had our kitchen up and running in no time. Plus, his quote came in $250 less than the other guy, so that bumped him up a notch in our book, too. Both were certified professionals, but this guy worked independently, with no over head, which keeps his costs down. With tax, our total was $252.40. A wee bit higher than I wanted (I’m an internal optimist when it comes to stretching my dollar bills), but overall, I think the move is really going to aid the flow and feel of the kitchen, so it’s a price I’m willing to pay.

Old Gas Line

Old Gas Line

Our last gas line was problematic since it was installed below the joists on the floor, which is a rather large issue if you want to finish off said room at a later date. Since I would love to finish off this room down the road, the low hanging wires and lines really had to get the boot. One of these offending utility lines happened to be our gas line, so moving this guy was going to get us one wee step closer to my dreams of a finished laundry room (down the road, way down the road…)

How to turn off gas

Turning Off Gas

Since we wanted to avoid any explosions, the first step, before any jerry rigging went down was to turn off the gas. Fairly obvious, but then again, I’d hate to read about ya in the papers. Remember, lefty loosey, righty tighty.

Gas Line

Gas Line

After the old gas line was popped out, we were left with this. A little beam of sunshine (remember the window right below?). Ahhh – progress!

How to install a gas line

New Gas Line

The best thing about the new gas line, is that it has a flexible tube, versus the rigid piping that was in place before. Which is awesome, since this makes the line much more maneuverable, and easier to bend into places to avoid it falling below the rafters. Winner winner chicken dinner.

How to install gas line

Gas Line In Rafters

Now, instead of coming out beneath the rafters, we have a line that is definitely in the rafters. Huzzah!! That means, if I get an idea in my head one weekend and start thinking about slapping some dry wall up in this joint, I won’t be tackling funky piping falling down beneath the rafters. Hypothetically, that is. Jay – you’ve been warned. 🙂

New Gas Line

New Gas Line

After this guy was installed, the area was looking like this! Not too exciting 🙂 One thing that I didn’t think of (the handy man suggested it) was to move the line slightly to the right of your desired middle point, since this gives the lines room to bend a bit, versus having to connect straight down, which could be tricky logistically. Always nice when someone else thinks of these (rather practical) things for you 🙂 Now, just to move the new appliances over and into place! Oh, and the whole kitchen gutting thing, there is that, too.

Rip Er’ Out

20 May

It’s gotten to the point we’ve been dreading. The point we’ve been trying to avoid as long as possible. The demo phase of the reno has officially begun. As much as I hate this phase, it also makes me gleefully excited. Like maniacally laughing excited. Sometimes I get like that, you? Kay – maybe it’s just me.

Here is the official before shot. See, most – normal – people would be like, yeah, looks good! Nice kitchen. Me … well, I think we’ve already confirmed my non-normality. So, I’m ripping it out.

Corner pantry storage

Kitchen Corner

And here is a snapshot of all that it stored. Not inconsequential. It’s a decent amount of stuff that will need to find a new storage home.

Kitchen Pantry Storage

Kitchen Pantry Storage

So, once we determined that these cabinets would be the first to get the official heave ho, we started emptying them out. One by one and two by two. And loaded everything out onto our dining room table. These are the moments when it starts to hit you. Uggg. The next few weeks are going to be a barrel of monkeys. My pantry is now officially on my table. I don’t feel like that is where it belongs…

Emptied kitchen cabinets

All Our Kitchen Stuff

After jerry rigging with the cabinets for a bit, and trying to find screws to dismantled the cabinets, we slowly came to the realization that the counters had to come off before any other kitchen related item was going to budge. So, we figured the first step was to start by scoring the glue and silicone that was keeping the counter on the cabinets.

How to remove granite counters

Razor Blade

The scoring helped, but it wasn’t sufficient to completely get the counters off. So Jay did a quick google search and we grabbed a putty knife, hoping that this could get down a little further to continue to break the seal and leverage the counter up more.

How to remove granite counter

Removing Granite Counter

And then, after some major huffing and puffing, that baby came right on up. I did a happy dance, Jay made a happy face. Then we realized that for 5 square feet of counter, granite is heavy. Very, very heavy. He’s smiling here, just wait a few seconds later …

How to remove granite counter

Removing Counter

Of course the Manager had to come by and observe. Make sure everything was up to his standard. He approved. Onward!

The Manager

The Manager

After the granite was up, the screws to remove the cabinets were very easy to access, so the demo from this point was pretty smooth sailing. The cabinets (like the counters) were very substantial, so it definitely took both Jay and I to remove each one (especially the top cabinets).

Removing Cabinets

Removing Cabinets

And after 30 mins, we had a cleared cabinet corner. Demolition success!

Removing Kitchen Cabinets

Removing Cabinets

For now, we will leave the other side of the kitchen intact so that we can have some counter top/storage space throughout the renovation process. Although we do miss the storage now that these cabinets are out, it does feel awfully nice to have a start on this project!