Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 3: Kitchen Renova[tion]

And this my friends was the state of our kitchen at the beginning of Week 3.

It really didn't feel like much had happened this week. However, I have to keep referring back to the photos previously posted to remind me of how far they have actually come. It’s like the old adage, “two steps forward, one step back”, or was that a song? Anyway, that’s the kitchen right now, after our snafu described in the last post.

The week started strong, where the concrete slab was busted up and removed, exposing a huge mound of dirt. The following day, all the dirt was removed and the work site cleaned up. Then came the weekend, and Monday rolled around with nothing. Materials to start the rebuild of the damaged wood was being delivered, although it really didn’t appear that a full delivery had been made.
Though redemption came the last day of Week 3! They have rejuvenated my faith in our schedule! In essence we were told the whole process would take 6 to 8 weeks, and then our rot issue added a week, so safe to assume 7 to 9 weeks, which by my calculations, leaves us with 4 to 6 weeks to go, and until today, I really didn't think they could meet that. But I came home to this...

 ... and I am thrilled! There is a sub-floor, and a pantry! 

And the view above shows that the exterior door has also been closed in to complete the pantry! Here's a view from the pantry, looking towards the soon to be peninsula... 

Progress! I like it!

Beginning of the week verses end of the week...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Week 2: Kitchen Renova[tion]

We've survived 2 weeks!

Week 2 began with some exciting happenings, like a header tucked into the ceiling structure to really open up the two separate rooms of the kitchen, and make them feel like one big room. As well as framing out wing walls to catch the end of cabinetry, the framing for the pantry, and further opening up of the foyer through removal of a door and widening of that opening. All visible progress. Below are a few pics of the new foyer openings.
One snafu that is pretty huge and unfortunate is that a discovery was made after the existing plumbing was removed, and that is that some of the structural support surrounding the concrete slab of the newer part of the kitchen is rotted, and will most certainly need to be replaced. You can see in the photo below where they have started to demo some of the concrete slab to expose the rotted wood.

This brought construction to a screeching halt, and therefore not much work has been done the last few days. We met Mike on-site Monday to review our options, and then he went back to gather pricing for us to make a decision.

Our options were:

A) remove the concrete slab that was in the secondary part of the kitchen, and replace rotted support beams from the interior of the house; cons: labor intensive; pros: allows the floor in the 2 parts of the kitchen to be level, whereas before we were building one up to meet the other, and provides an opportunity to run mechanical ductwork under the floor and into that part of the kitchen and pantry.

B) move the wall of boxes that are currently being stored in our garage (in the exact place that we need to access, demo the floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving and a closet in the garage, demo the built-in desk and shelving in our laundry room, as well as the walls and most likely floors of those rooms in order to access the kitchen from the outside; cons: lots of moving and shifting, losing valuable storage space in the garage, losing our temporary kitchen/future office; pros: it’s hard for me to see any pros actually.

So after the contractor priced it all, we went with Option A. Stay tuned... 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Week 1: Kitchen Renova[tion]

This is post-dated, since I've been slack! We are actually into Week 3, but here goes!

So a week into our kitchen reno, most of the flooring is finally pulled up, a new wall opening is framed out, an old wall opening is closed in, a temporary wall is installed (providing that extra layer of protection and structural support), old plumbing removed, and a header installed over where the new peninsula will be.

Unfortunately, we've had a few things go wrong , as mentioned previously there was the bat incident, then we had no hot water briefly (as in you turn the hot water knob, and nothing came out), and the whole electrical issue, where we were without outlets in the back half of the house, but then they got those working in exchange for the ceiling lights/fans to no longer work.

Just a few ups and downs, but nothing too terribly wrong! And we are super excited about the progress they've made, so no complaining here!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Day 6: Kitchen Renova[tion]

We woke up to the sound of something falling in the house, and then a commotion. I thought it was the cat, so I went ahead and got in the shower, while Brian (who unbeknownst to me had already let the cat out during the night) knew it wasn't the cat. When I emerged from the bathroom, I found Brian standing by the closed bedroom door with a pillow over his head, taking cover to run out into the hallway.

Turns out there was a bat in the house, due to the fact that the attic is now exposed to the kitchen, and even though there is a plastic barrier up between the house and the construction zone, the bat had found a hole.

Fortunately for me, I have a brave husband, who sprang into action to bust through the plastic and open the front door, letting the bat fly free. We have since repaired the plastic barrier, and closed in all holes, and the crew has installed a temporary wall around the perimeter of the kitchen, so there is essentially a double-layer of protection!

We are all still sleeping with our bedroom doors closed.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


We went on our annual family beach vacation this past week, and before we left we were tasked with moving absolutely everything out of the kitchen so that demo could begin while we were gone. In my first post back, I talked about this, having to remove appliances, clean out all the cabinets, and remove everything from the walls and countertops. We packed everything up, and moved into our laundry room and garage, in anticipation of construction starting while we were gone.

I must admit that I was a little skeptical of how much would actually get done in the 4 days we were gone, and I was pleasantly surprised! It was exciting to come home to progress! Now let's get down to some "before and after current" photos!

Another thing that I was very happy with was how clean they left the space. There is dust, of course, but the actual construction zone is surprisingly clean!

 And from the other direction....

They also put up a nice plastic buffer around the construction zone to minimize the amount of dust flying around the rest of the house. Here is the view from the living room, now that we are opening up the wall between the kitchen and this space...

You can already see more light coming through!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Day 4: Kitchen Renova[tion]

Came home from vacation to a demolished kitchen.

THE GOOD: they had actually begun work, got a lot done, and left the work site clean.

THE BAD: the outlets in our bedrooms no longer work, which mean no lamps, no alarm clocks, and no tv. Also, the wall where we have our temporary kitchen set up, no longer had power... the microwave, the coffee pot, and convection oven.

On the bright side, at least the outlets in the living room work where we do normally watch television, the ceiling fans and ceiling lights work, and the outlets in the bathroom work for hairdryers and straightening irons. The garage outlets work, where the refrigerator was plugged in, otherwise we would have come home to spoiled food and a huge mess to clean up. And we were able to run an extension cord from there to our temporary kitchen. So all is well!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Our first project in the new house was to remove wallpaper! After looking at a lot of houses, we realize how lucky we were to have only ended up with wallpaper in 2 rooms, and they were two of the smallest rooms in the house! Two of the three bathrooms.

We have plans down the road to completely renovate the most public of the bathrooms, which is directly off the living space, although for now the kitchen is the biggest priority, so this is taking a backseat.

In the meantime, though, getting rid of the wallpaper and adding a fresh coat of paint were easy cosmetic fixes.

Here's a photo of bathroom #1 when we first closed on the house.

Not only is there a mustard yellow sink, but the shower is olive green. That's about the only color that was in the room though, so once the wallpaper was down, I knew I wanted a calming color. This is the bathroom that I use every morning to get ready, as it's directly across from my closet (even though it's at the opposite end of the house from our bedroom.

We had paint from our previous house that I loved, Sherwin Williams Window Pane, and I felt that it would be a calming way to start my day each morning. But I also wanted to add a little bit of vibrancy, hence the orange shower curtain (also from our previous house). Amazing the difference a little paint can make!

Another easy fix in this room was to replace the old toilet with a dual-flush model. It looks better, and is more efficient. Win-win. Other changes we hope to eventually make are to replace the vanity (especially the sink), replace the floor, remove the shower, and possibly replace, although not really necessary in this room. We shall see.

As for the other bathroom, all we did was remove the wallpaper, and give it a coat of white paint, so as not to clash with the original green tile, which we really like! Eventually I'd like to switch out the toilet for another dual-flush, but we are waiting to get through some other projects first.

Here's the bathroom in it's original state:

And the after, after a fresh coat of paint, and some accessories!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Helloooo... internet! It's been a while!

We are about to embark on a major project, so I thought it was high time that I got this ole' blog back on track! So, it's been almost 9 months since I've written, and I've missed it, I really have! In the last 9 months, it seems like a lot has happened... we've settled into our new city quite nicely, eating at all the local restaurants, going to the weekly outdoor concerts on the square, taking advantage of some pretty cool hiking spots in and around the area, and spending lots of time with family. We've also managed to start expanding our family, with the addition of a new little BOY coming soon. One area that could use some work though is our house. Since we've moved in, we've painted a few rooms here and there, but no major renovations. Until now!

That's right, we are on the verge of something major! As we speak, there is a crew tearing out our kitchen. And (fingers-crossed) in six to eight weeks, we'll have our dream kitchen!

Just a little background, since we actually haven't shared much about our house before now. It was built in 1952, and is what I like to call, a "modern ranch", as it has some features that could be considered mid-century, however from the street we appear to be your typical one-story ranch house. We are in a beautiful neighborhood near the center of town, complete with a lake, trails, tennis courts, and baseball fields, all within walking distance. And even though it is a neighborhood, we back up to a ravine that feeds from the lake, and the wooded view out our back windows, feels as if we live in the mountains.

So without further ado, let me share what we are dealing with here, in terms of the kitchen, that was most likely original from the 1950's...

For starters, the room is divided in two, due to the fact there was an addition added to the home, we are guessing sometime in the 1970's? And unfortunately, we won't truly be able to correct that in the renovation, but hopefully the division will be a little less noticeable.

Let it also be known that these photos were taken after we had moved everything out (which should be pretty obvious), but with demo about to begin, we had to get it ALL out! Including the microwave and refrigerator, that are being used in our temporary kitchen, which is the laundry room!

Your eyes do not fool you, those are yellow cabinets (as well as wood tone cabinets), and yellow 4x4 tiles with green trim, beautimus right?

As for our new kitchen, the layout is similar, however the wall above that has the wood-tone cabinets is going to be removed, with a peninsula with bar seating put in it's place to open up the kitchen to the living space.

The terra cotta tile flooring is being replaced with cork, the cabinets are being replaced with flat-panel wood, and the laminate countertops will be replaced with a white solid surface. Pretty much a complete gut job.

And we have all new appliances! And hopefully a fun, fresh backsplash, that has yet to be determined.

In the photo above, you can see the door that we typically use as our main entrance up until now. Although that is going to be filled in, and that whole area in that corner will now be a walk-in pantry, allowing us to do a minimal amount of upper cabinets.

All of that being said, we'll be living out of one (of our two) family rooms for the next few months, and as mentioned above, our laundry room is serving a dual-purpose as it is now also our kitchen.

Most of the furniture you see in the distance above, actually belongs in the room below, but we did a little switching around for comfort's sake, and this is now what we are living in, while the room below will be part of the construction zone.

view from kitchen
And this is facing the other direction, which the wall there in the center is the wall that will be removed!

And just for fun, here's the temporary kitchen set-up. I'll let you know how it goes.

Stay tuned for more updates, and more rooms, including quick fixes in some of the bathrooms, as well as the kid's rooms!