Photo by Melody

gardenwife's Journal: Kitchen Renovation

  • Member: gardenwife
  • Journal: Default
  • Category: Home Improvements: Kitchen
  • Status: Home Sweet Home

Initial Notes:

Since our insurance company is replacing our roof due to hail damage and we have a high deductible, we decided to go ahead and get a home equity loan and do some other improvements we've been putting off. We're remodeling our kitchen and getting replacement windows for the whole house.

This journal item is regarding the kitchen planning and progress. I'll probably write and post photos some at my blog, too: http://blog.gardenwife.com

Entries and Updates

  Sep 10, 2004  
Before pictures, several perspectives I'll duplicate when it's all done.

1. Looking into the kitchen from the living room:

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  Sep 10, 2004  
2. Just inside the kitchen door. Notice the range sticking out into the walkway, and the fridge immediately to your left. This is a tight spot when carrying a laundry basket through the narrow doorway!

The fridge will be on the far side of the "L", where you see a drawer unit at the end of the counter.

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  Sep 10, 2004  
3. The range will be moved to where the fridge is now. There will be an over-the-range microwave above it, along with a short cabinet above that.

You can see how narrow a walkway there is between the range and our kitchen table.

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  Sep 10, 2004  
4. Continuing down the long part of the "L"...The fridge will be at the end of the line, where you now see a drawer unit and wall cabinet on the end.

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  Sep 10, 2004  
5. Our kitchen table, a diminutive 30x48", barely fits in the space we have left. If we seat four at it, the person nearest the range must get up in order for the person by the back door to be able to get away from the table. We could always make the unlucky sod go out the back door and around, but we're nicer than that. ;)

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  Sep 10, 2004  
6. The wee space between the fridge and range. When the range takes the fridge's spot, it will be about a foot farther to the right, leaving us plenty of room in the doorway.

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  Sep 12, 2004  
First off, we're selling our home's 1954 Geneva kitchen cabinets. I've made up an ad and posted details at my website.

They're so fun and I'd love for someone to get them who will appreciate them. I was thinking of listing them on eBay, but I'm not sure yet. It depends on the response I get during the next few weeks.

About the 3D picture...It was done with software Ikea has at their website: http://www.ikea-usa.com/ms/en_US/rooms_ideas/kitchen/downloa... (US version - there are other versions available at each country's Ikea site).

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  Sep 13, 2004  
Here's the current floor plan. The brown block represents our 48x30" dinette table. You can see how crowded it is! When the person seated nearest our back door wishes to get up, the person seated next to the stove must get up and let him out.

We're so sick of negotiating the tight spots to get through the kitchen to our back door (something we do several times a day since we have two dogs).

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  Sep 13, 2004  
Here is what our final configuration will look like. At this point, we're almost certain we're going with Lowe's Kitchen Classics "Hudson" line of maple cabinets. We can't afford to buy the hardware we'd like right now, but that's okay, because these cabinet doors have indentations on their bottoms and don't require knobs and pulls.

We need 28sq' of countertop. The countertop we'll probably buy is Lowe's stock laminate countertop (by Ubatuba), and we like either the dark grey granite or the grey and green somewhat marbelized granite pattern.

They have a special going on Formica http://www.formica.com/productgroup.jsp?group_id=2 solid-surface countertops, and the price includes a sink (one of those sinks which is seamlessly added below the countertop). The solid surface material is non-pourous, it does not absorb stains or bacteria. If it gets scratched, the blemishes can be buffed away.

Laminates, on the other hand, are a mere 1/8" laminate over particleboard. They chip, crack and scratch -- not to mention burn if you put a hot pan down on them.

We'd love to have one of those solid-surface countertops, but even the cheapest Formica solid-surface tops begin at $49/sq'. That would be almost $1400...No can do on that one!

The stock laminate countertops at Lowe's are $91 for a 10' section. We'll need a 10' and a 6' for our job. That's more our budget.

It may not even be worth our gasoline to drive to Columbus and check cabinet and countertop products and prices there. Lowe's has a captive audience with gas prices as high as they are!

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  Sep 16, 2004  
We're selling the original vintage Geneva kitchen cabinets (circa 1954). Details are at my website:

Kitchen Cabinets

http://gardenwife.com/cabinets/

October 1, 2004: Hey -- we sold them! We let the guy have them for less than we'd asked, but he's taking them out himself. That will save us $200 in labor, our contractor told us, so it's like we sold them for $500. What a blessing!

  Oct 7, 2004  
The old cabinets came out today! The gentleman who bought them enlisted the help of his retired neighbor. They got here a little before 11am and left just before 1pm, I think. Wish most contractors would work that quickly!

First, you must understand that we emptied the contents of our cabinets into boxes and those boxes are now in the living room. Oh, and the van's two captain chairs are also still in the living room because the dishwasher and OTR microwave are in the van!

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  Oct 7, 2004  
Howie was going to build some sort of sink base out of 2x4's, just so we could have our sink usable until John can do the cabinets, but there's not much point in that. So, the bathroom is where we'll do the few dishes we dirty.

We're planning to just have sandwiches and frozen entrees until the kitchen's done!

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  Oct 7, 2004  
It's obvious they painted after the cabinets were in! There's also evidence of some earlier water problem, judging from the plaster's condition.

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  Oct 7, 2004  
The other end, by the fridge. Looks like they had an outlet there, but took it out when they put the breadbox under the cabinet by the fridge. How cool is that, another outlet!

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  Oct 7, 2004  
The soffit at the far end of the long wall. Ugh! I checked, and it goes clear up to the attic, so it was original (there's no finished wall or ceiling inside it - darn!).

I really wanted to take it out, but that will mean expense. I SO wish we knew how to do this stuff ourselves so we didn't have to rely on paid labor to do it.

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  Oct 7, 2004  
You can see here where water dripped down behind the cabinets. It only happened once while we've been here, and it was after a really strong rainstorm with a lot of wind. We figure it might have blown the water up under the eve and into the attic vent.

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  Oct 7, 2004  
You can see where the builder chiseled away some of the plaster on the soffit so the cabinet would hang plumb. It's weird to see those chisel marks looking so fresh; they were made 50 years ago.

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  Oct 7, 2004  
No cabinets!

(The last of the maters are ripening on the sill, though!)

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  Oct 7, 2004  
Ack! None here, either!

We found several fun things beneath and behind the base cabinets when they were removed. For more on those treasures, see this entry: http://davesgarden.com/j/viewentry/50010/

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  Oct 8, 2004  
Cabinets

The cabinets are scheduled to arrive this afternoon. As time goes by, I get more and more antsy; I can't wait to see what the paint chips look like next to the actual cabinets, in our own kitchen.

We decided on Kitchen Kompact cabinets in their Mellowood maple style.

Countertop

We're ordering a laminate countertop in a dark grey and black granite pattern from Formica, called Noir Envision. It's a nice dark grey with a matte finish. I'm already envisioning how some pottery or glass will look on it beneath under-cabinet lighting. :)

The manufacturer will cut the counter slabs to fit if the corner is not square, too. The reason for this, which I never knew before, is interesting: if the corner's not square and you put in a standard length of counter, you'll be okay in the corner, but by the time you get out to the end of the wall, you can have a big gap between the edge of the counter and the wall). I am so glad the lady at the lumber yard took time to explain this and ask us to measure the corner for squareness! That will save us labor costs since John won't have to saw the countertop to fit if it's not square.

We learned that the small lumber yards like Carter Lumber (which deals mainly with contractors) are often more reasonable than huge stores like Lowe's and Home Depot when it comes to cabinets and building supplies; they don't have the enormous overhead that the mega stores do. Score one for the little guys! Lowe's charges a ridiculous price to custom order a laminate countertop, and their pricing is based on the pattern; Carter Lumber offers any of the patterns at the same price, and for less.

The moral of that story is, check out your town's smaller lumber yards for your kitchen cabinetry, flooring and countertops!

Paint Colors

We were going to do the walls in a pale sage or grey-green color, but after doing some photo painting on Kitchen Kompact's stock photo, we decided that a deep cranberry color would be really neat with the maple cabinets (see below).

Flooring

A local discount chain, Value City, has two varieties of Pergo glueless laminate plank flooring for $34.95 a box (That's only $1.99/square foot!). It's the same flooring Lowe's carries for $59.27/box; actually, it was some of Lowe's store-labeled overstock, bought by Value City.

At Pergo's eShowroom, we we did a mockup of a kitchen with maple cabinets, deep red walls and this antique dark cherry flooring (80004), and loved the combination, and we sure can't beat that price.

We only needed six boxes, but bought eight so we'd be sure to have enough for any miscuts or accidental damage; we can always return the unopened package(s).

All we needed from Lowe's was the transitional pieces for the kitchen doorway, back door, and basement door. It was $27 for a 94" section of the combination kit which does all types of transitions.

Appliances

We got great deals on floor models of a Maytag MDB8750AWW dishwasher and a Whirlpool Gold over-the-range microwave (GH9184XL). Our fridge and range we bought since buying our house in 1999, so they're newer and we're not replacing them.

Note to self

Consumer Reports said the following dishwasher detergents were good:

Use a rinse aid such as Jet-Dry to help minimize spotting and a detergent with enzymes to dissolve starches and proteins.

* Great Value (sold at Wal-Mart stores)
* Cascade Pure Rinse Formula
* Electrasol Dual Action Tabs with Baking Soda

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  Oct 8, 2004  
They cabinets are here! The delivery man was sent on his own, without even a dolly. Those boxes were heavy, and I couldn't imagine him lugging them up the hill of our front yard one by one, by hand. Fortunately, our dolly was still in the living room, so he was a happy camper!

I never did post the final rendering our cabinet configuration. Here's view #1, courtesy Carter Lumber. Just imagine that range vent is an over-the-range microwave/hood combo.

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  Oct 8, 2004  
Another view of the same. Again, imagine that range vent is an over-the-range microwave/hood combo.

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  Oct 8, 2004  
Top view, with measurements of everything:

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  Oct 8, 2004  
The one clear spot in our living room, right in front of the picture window...

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  Oct 8, 2004  
They're here! No, that contraption on the truck is not for the boxes. I asked the same thing, and he told me it was for loading shingles up onto the roofs of buildings.

Poor guy was sent out with all those boxes and NO DOLLY. He wished that thing would load the boxes straight onto our porch! I'm so glad we had the dolly for him to use.

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  Oct 8, 2004  
Oh, wait, now that spot's full, too.

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  Oct 8, 2004  
Our appliances magically got from the van into the house, too.

Breathe, Kimberley...It will not be like this in the living room forever...

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  Oct 8, 2004  
Looky! A dishwasher! Wish I could hook it up right now! Actually, it would be handy for storing the dishes I wash in the bathroom sink.

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  Oct 8, 2004  
And right next to it, 1.8 cubit feet of microwave goodness. THAT I can plug in and use, providing it does not vent below it (remember, it's supposed to be suspended above a cooktop).

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  Oct 8, 2004  
Bargain alert!

The original price was $547
Floor model was marked down to $450
AND we get the $50 rebate...

So, the final price is $400!

Happy dance, happy dance!

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  Oct 8, 2004  
Ol' Lonely himself, with his young buck apprentice. They play a lot of gin rummy between service calls, LOL.

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  Oct 8, 2004  
What? Oh, the cabinets! I had to take one out of its box and see it in its new home, even if we can't put them in yet. I love the honey color of the maple wood, and its tight grain.

The sides of the box are strong framing, but the tops and backs are not quite as thick as I thought. They saleslady has these cabinets, though, and she says they've held up great for her.

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  Oct 13, 2004  
Just something fun I found at an antiques/flea market shop in Danville. It's an electric percolator, probably from the 1940's. The cord has been replaced with a newer one, and I think the basket within it might be a replacement, too. The glass dome is original in its lid. I know it's not worth much since it's got a new electrical cord, but it was a bargain to me, only $8. And if it works, all the better. I just love its style and I'd like to find some more unique percolators from the 1930-60 period.

On the bottom, the following information is stamped in the metal:
Patent Nos.: 1551504 and 1475334
Manning-Bowman & Co.
Meriden, Conn, USA
Volts: 10-120
Watts: 350
Serial number: 8-46
Catl No. 397-8

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  Oct 17, 2004  
I found some table linens at our local Mejier store, ones which jumped off the rack as inspiration pieces. I got them home and put them next to a cabinet door -- YESSSS! Now we just have to decide what colors to put where. The deep burgundy-red will be the main wall color. The rest? Up for grabs! There will be splashes of the other colors, but we're not sure what will go where.

More about this color process is in this blog entry.

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  Oct 19, 2004  
I fiddled a bit with the application at Improvenet.com and came up with these renderings. At last, something that shows the wood cabinets in WOOD, not just painted a color similar to maple. :)

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  Oct 20, 2004  
Yesterday, we sanded the kitchen walls and ceiling to remove the gloss. Today, I discovered there is a lot of grease up on the ceiling. I didn't realize just how bad it was until I went to remove the old exhaust fan's faceplate...ack. Hold the presses, folks, we need to de-grease the ceiling and walls. I also need to figure out how to get the fan assembly out of the housing so I can clean it.

Think greasy spoon diner run by a smelly man wearing a food-stained apron. That's how greasy I'm talking here. ::shamefaced::

Spray-formula 409 did nothing to cut the grease up there. Ammonia and water cleaned the grate right up, so that's my next project tonight...windows open, ammonia bottle at the ready.

I bought 1 gallon of tinted primer and 2 gallons of the main wall color in a satin finish. I also got 1 gallon of ceiling paint, tinted just a hint of cream to warm the room. The paint, plus a grate for use with a 5-gallon bucket, came to $84. I bought the Valspar "American Traditions" paint at Lowe's even though Wal-Mart carries the new Kilz latex paints for less; Lowe's is closer to us, and they've always been good to deal with, with knowledgeable people at the paint counter. Consumer Reports rated both the Valspar and the Kilz excellent in their September 2004 issue, so la-dee-dah either way.

The ammonia must be getting to me here. ;)

  Oct 23, 2004  
Oh. My. Gosh. Just LOOK at these switchplates! I want dat! And dat! And dat, too!

Here's what the kitchen looked like last night after the primer went up on the ceiling. We did the top coat of ceiling paint today -- might still need another coat, but I can't tell until it dries.

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  Oct 23, 2004  
Redrum! Redrum!

We got the first coat of primer up on the walls. WOW, what a difference. It is going to need at least one more coat of primer, possibly two more in some trouble spots where we had to scrape the original paint away where it was flaking. Still, it gives us an idea of what's to come....and we like the idea!

Tonight we're getting some GOOD paint brushes. All we ever get are crappy cheap ones and the frustration level mounted as I tried to cut in around the ceiling and the trim. The trim we decided to remove and paint separately, then replace it on the dry walls. The ceiling I can't just remove and fix! :X So, tonight we're going to let the primer dry, and go buy our trim colors and some good brushes and rollers. It's worth the better results we'll get.

And now...Pictures! And so it began, with Howie manning the roller:

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  Oct 23, 2004  
I manned this little invention, a homemade version of those small trim work paint trays you can buy with the metal rod spanning one side.

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  Oct 23, 2004  
I'm painting the recessed fixture's metal frame the same color as the soffit until we do something different for it (if we ever do). This is after primer and a coat of the ceiling paint. I'll put the soffit wall color on over that.

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  Oct 23, 2004  
Sarah refused to help clean up the drips with the paper towel. "Why should I?", she whined, "you're covering this floor anyway."

She had a point. At least she didn't track it into the rest of the house like she threatened to. Don't let that innocent face fool you!

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  Oct 23, 2004  
Red!

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  Oct 23, 2004  
More red!

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  Oct 23, 2004  
I think I'll do a faux technique something like this color wash on the soffit.

Well, I'm outta here! Dinner calls. ::grumble, grumble::

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  Oct 24, 2004  
We thought we hit a snag: Howie tried gently removing one of the baseboards with a pry bar, and the wood began splitting at a nail. It looked like we'd be cleaning, priming and painting the boards with them attached to the wall, after all. If I'd known that, I would have been more careful with the red primer!

He did figure out how to do it, though. The quarter-round moulding broke, but it was going to be replaced, anyway, after the Pergo goes in.

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  Oct 24, 2004  
The baseboard on the wall where the kitchen table will go. The 220v outlet will be converted to a 110v. We'll piece baseboard around it from another spot.

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  Oct 24, 2004  
Door moulding coming off the basement doorway:

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  Oct 24, 2004  
Another snag....They put the subfloor and linoleum in after the moulding. It goes down into the floor, and is nailed right near the bottom. Howie got 'er, though.

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  Oct 24, 2004  
After primer coats 2 and 3 were finished, the walls looked so much better. You can tell on that upper left spot that it's over the original, unpainted wall we uncovered when we took down the cabinets; the coverage isn't as good on there since it soaks in the liquid.

We can't wait to start in on the top coats tomorrow.

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  Oct 24, 2004  
Another view. Howie removed the top and left pieces of door moulding, but left the one on the right side since it won't be as hard to paint it in its little corner. I painted the outside of it the same red as the wall, so I'll just tape off the side when I primer and paint that part of trim.

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  Oct 24, 2004  
We can definitely see a difference with this shot.

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  Oct 24, 2004  
Looking in from the living room. I painted the inside of the doorway with the red primer. If we don't like it in the end, I might paint it the color of the trim...Just not sure. :)

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  Oct 31, 2004  
We took a few days off from doing much since our contractor had to work this weekend and couldn't come here. That worked out well, because for whatever reason, our kitchen counter was not delivered this week as planned!

We shopped at a local Grossman's Bargain Outlet and Home Depot, but ended up getting crown moulding today and corner pieces at Lowe's. The corner pieces will be nice since there won't be any miter cuts involved, plus we like how it makes things look more finished.

Despite my wanting to find lighting less expensively online, we got a Tiella flexible track light system at Lowe's, too. It's really pretty, with amber glass shades. We thought about getting blue shades for a surprise punch of color, but decided the amber would give us a more neutral palette and we can accessorize with other colors for accent. Howie and I both really loved this particular design, and I wouldn't save that much getting it on eBay or elsewhere, provided I can find it with amber shades.

Pale yellow semi-gloss paint also made its way into the cart, along with two different colors of glaze to use on the soffit. Tomorrow we plan to sleep in and then clean, prime and paint the trim. I also have some pine shelves to sand and either stain or paint. It's supposed to be sunny, so it'll be nice to work outside.

We're in the home stretch!

  Nov 5, 2004  
John started work today! He worked a half day since he does have to work at his full-time job this evening. He patched the area under our soffit and pulled wire for the low-voltage under cabinet halogen lights. His goal is to get the cabinets, countertop and sink in this weekend, giving us a functioning kitchen. The finish work -- the installation of the Pergo floor, crown moulding, and trim -- will happen next weekend. I can deal with a delay on that stuff as long as I have my kitchen back.

Rosati will install the replacement windows on Monday. Woo!

Here's a few pictures. The patched area prior to sanding:

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  Nov 5, 2004  
John pulled wire for the cabinet lights. They're on the same switch as the recessed light above the sink. I need to get a second transformer for the cabinet lights since the ones on the right of the sink won't be on the same low-voltage line as the ones on the left; those lights need their own transformer.

The soffit won't stay that yellow color. I'm going to do some sort of faux technique over the semi-gloss I used there.

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  Nov 5, 2004  
I got this nifty slider switch for the recessed light/cabinet lights. I'll get another for the ceiling fixture. With the plate on it looks a lot nicer. ;)

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  Nov 5, 2004  
OSB was used to build up the floor for the base cabinets:

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  Nov 5, 2004  
Here's the corner piece for the one outside corner in the kitchen. There's no mitered cuts for the crown moulding this way, plus it's a neat architectural element. The moulding won't go up until next weekend, but I thought I'd post a preview.

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  Nov 5, 2004  
Here's an inside corner, held up with a yardstick for your viewing pleasure:

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  Nov 7, 2004  
The cabinets went in today! The one above the fridge is not in yet because the patching needs time to dry before I can sand and paint it. John wasn't able to get everything done today, so he'll be back next weekend to put up the last cabinet, install the trim, and put in the flooring. In the meantime, I'll finish up the trim painting so it's all ready. I'll also get our stuff BACK into the new cabinets. Finally!

There were a few snags today, mostly resulting from John needing little odds and ends that we didn't have. They were things like the hose for the dishwasher's supply, a plumbing thing...Dinky stuff that takes up time and drives you nuts to have to go back to Lowe's yet again to buy. The 220v outlet for the range will be put in next week. No biggie there.

We also learned the lazy Susan cabinet is not framed in a box like you'd think. Instead, it's rounded on the back. A picture's worth a thousand words, so just see below. Normally it's no big deal on such a cabinet because another cabinet abuts the side, but in our case the range is right up against it. Therefore, it's wide open at the side where the range sits. The lumber store fella said they'll order the end pieces for us (no charge) or we can get plywood/paneling for the ends. John is framing in an area so there will be something to attach the side panel to. John put 2x4's on the wall for countertop support in the corner, anyway.

The microwave, dishwasher and sink are in and functional, and I'm a happy camper! I don't have many pictures yet, but I'll post a few. More soon, maybe after we get the light installed.

Update November 10: We ended up getting a sheet of "new cut cedar" pattern paneling for John to put on the 2x4" frames he makes at the sides.

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  Nov 7, 2004  
John does measurements to see where to pre-drill the corner wall cabinet. If Howie and I had done this job, it would have been uuuugly.

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  Nov 7, 2004  
Up goes the cabinet - zzzzzzip!

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  Nov 7, 2004  
Ever see the bottom of a dishwasher? This is what they look like (the Maytag Jetclean II models, anyway). The hose going to the hot water supply under the sink is what was missing. We have yet to take our maiden voyage on the Good Ship Maytag...We've been eating at restaurants or nuking frozen entrees, so I don't have many dirty dishes or cutlery!

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  Nov 7, 2004  
Emma was a good sport. She looked uncertain, kind of wilty as we say, but she was such a nosey nibs**t she had to keep coming in to take a look at the progress.

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  Nov 7, 2004  
I was so psyched when I came up from the basement and saw this sight. Check out those cabinets!

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  Nov 7, 2004  
It just got better. John got the microwave and dishwasher nstalled, the countertop up, and the sink in. We're rolling now. :) There's a few things left, but the it's all downhill from here.

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  Nov 7, 2004  
Here was one of today's best highlights: Sophie! She's the newest addition to our fur family, a little 11-pound Italian Greyhound/terrier mix. More pictures here: http://davesgarden.com/journal/j/viewentry/52297/

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  Nov 8, 2004  
I will have a separate entry for these, but I wanted to add that our replacement windows were installed today, November 8. They look *terrific* and are such a breeze to open and close. Here's a before and during in the kitchen:

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  Nov 11, 2004  
John is finishing the kitchen this weekend. There's not much left to do, just the short cabinet installation above the fridge, the new 220v outlet for the stove, the under-cabinet lighting and the trim. Last, he'll put in the floor. I've already run a load of dishes and the dishwasher worked great. There was a little water on the OSB sub-floor when I peeked, and I thought it came from the dishwasher. Thank goodness, it was just the connector for the refrigerator's ice maker that needed tightening.

I picked up a few decorative things for hte kitchen with the accidental overcharge Carter Lumber refunded us. Big Lots had these nice, thick reversible chair cushions for just $4.99 each -- four of them, just the number I needed.

Update, Friday 11/12: Howie and I agreed these are too country for what we're doing in the kitchen. Back to Big Lots they went tonight!

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  Nov 11, 2004  
They also had this pretty bird candelabra marked down by 50% - I got it for $3.98. Woo! The little basket bird nests hold tea lights. It's hard to tell in the photo, but that's a bird next to the center nest.

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  Nov 11, 2004  
Here's the other bird candelabra. This one's pretty much 2-dimensional. I just love its lines. It was a seal at $1.99.

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  Nov 13, 2004  
Here's a "during" shot of the "L" in the kitchen. All my pretty stuff is temporarily in that corner of the counter.

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  Nov 13, 2004  
This is the window over the sink. I just bought the valance tonight. I loved this because it is sheer enough it doesn't feel heavy and dark in the top of the window; since I used a tension rod within the window opening rather than putting curtain rods back up, it was important to keep things to a good scale and maintain an airy feeling. These were a good choice also because they're fairly simple, yet bring in a little of the wall color in the flowers. We didn't want a busy print, and Howie and I both liked these.

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  Nov 13, 2004  
John's installing the Pergo right now. It is going to look so nice! He's now saying he will not be finished here until next weekend. I keep telling myself that we at least do have a functional kitchen, but it's so hard waiting when we want to see the finished picture!

Here's the floor, in progress:

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  Nov 13, 2004  
Next to the cabinets, it looks nice, too. I'm glad we didn't get the birch planks.

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  Nov 13, 2004  
Howie fed the big wire for the range down to John:

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  Nov 15, 2004  
The trim's all up! I need to buy painter's caulk and fill in the gaps and nail holes, then do touch-up painting. I'm going to need a tiny brush for some of that work! John will install our lighting tomorrow, so I'm dashing out to Lowe's to exchange the glass amber shades for the cobalt blue, along with getting that caulk.

This urn of geraniums has been outside, but I thought they'd look great in the kitchen. It was my mom's idea to get out an old wrought-iron candle base I'd squirreled away in the basement; the glass candle holder broke years ago, but I've used the stand for plants every once in a while.

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  Nov 15, 2004  
The kitchen doorway and soffit. Now that the trim is up, I don't feel a pressing need to do any treatment to the soffit. I think the trim ties it all together fine. Truth be told, I need a break! :) We didn't notice until after the door trim was back up that there were areas I missed. Whoopsie! More touch-up's needed, but it's all downhill from here.

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  Nov 15, 2004  
Excuse the mess, still working. You can see there's a nice walkway into the kitchen now, plenty of room for our table. Yippee, we have room for company now!

Oh, that end cap hasn't been put on the counter yet. That's tomorrow, too.

More soon.

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  Nov 17, 2004  
A few AFTERS, at last! There are minor details to finish, like caulking the gaps and nailholes in the trim and retouching the same. I also need to paint and install the switchplate and receptacle covers. But it's 99% finished now! These shots were taken at night with the lights dimmed.

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  Nov 17, 2004  
Another, this one from the kitchen doorway to the living room:

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  Nov 17, 2004  
The halogen ceiling track light is so cool...I can move any of the six lights and spotlight various things, such as this centerpiece. Howie brought me flowers this morning. :)

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  Nov 17, 2004  
With the ceiling light, as well as the under-cabinet lights, dimmed way low:

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  Nov 17, 2004  
One more back door view:

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  Nov 17, 2004  
We bought two chairs and a couch for $99 last week, picking them up yesterday. They're different styles, but all expertly slipcovered in the same fabric. They are sooo comfy. I have the living room and kitchen clean now, so we can entertain as long as no one ventures into the office or bedroom! I know these aren't kitchen pictures, but they have to do with our renovation, so here they are. The couch I covered with a neat chenille throw I received from someone on our local Freecycle list.

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  Nov 17, 2004  
The girls love the chairs; those soft goose down cushions are naps waiting to happen.

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  Nov 17, 2004  
Meijer had 20% off all area rugs this week, so I bought three for the living room. I was thrilled to find this one in particular, since it brings out the colors on the new furniture, but does not compete with the pattern.

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  Nov 17, 2004  
Before & After #1:

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  Nov 17, 2004  
Before & After #2:

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  Mar 25, 2005  
A note about the microwave/hood combination...

I love the microwave. It works great and is very easy to clean. When we had John install it, we were already over budget, so we told him to just have it vent into the kitchen rather than installing a vent up through the cabinet into the attic. We thought the ceiling vent would be sufficient draw to clear smoke/food odors from the kitchen. In retrospect, this was a mistake.

The vent works okay, but just blows the air right back toward me as I stand before the stove. Thankfully, the vent points the exhaust upward and not directly into my face, but it's just not as efficient as it would be if the vent exited into the attic or the external vent pipe from the main kitchen exhaust. Live and learn!

I don't know what it would cost to have someone take the microwave down, adjust the vent for external venting, and hook it up to an exhaust pipe. I wonder if it's something we could do ourselves. I just don't relish the thought of crawling around in the attic on my knees (ouch!).

  Mar 27, 2006  
Howie and I put up our pot rack today. We've finally figured out what works well on our crumbly walls: Toggle bolts! Those doggoned tap-in metal expanding wall anchors just chewed big holes in the walls when we'd try to tighten them. What a relief to have found something that works.

The fabric you see behind the pots is placemats I hung from one of the slats on the shelf portion of the pot rack.

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  Mar 27, 2006  
It hangs on the wall above our kitchen table. We don't eat at that table, but if we wanted to, the pots and pans don't hang down too far. It's the perfect size for our cookware collection - just what we needed.

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