Kitchen before (1.20.13)

As it’s been a month, I thought I’d provide you all with an update on the kitchen mini-renovation. It’s been a very productive month, though my progress has been hampered by a few injuries, a nasty chest cold, and slow responses by subcontractors. However, today was a milestone and I’m excited to share it with you.

kitchen 1_2.22.13
Kitchen 2.22.13. COUNTERS!

The cabinets have been shortened by six inches and the wall behind them is repaired. This work took a lot longer than I’d anticipated. One surprise–the wall is the back and side of the cabinets; they are not boxes mounted on the wall. I’ve added support along their bottom and against the wall. I used the new Dremel multi-tool; it’s been quite handy and I’m glad I splurged and got it.

After going around town with my friend Emily to several counter suppliers, I became discouraged with the $2,400 -$2,700 price tag for the engineered quartz counters I’d been eyeing. I was leaning towards that material because I wanted white carrara marble, but nearly everyone I spoke to discouraged me. It’s too soft. It’s too porous. It’s not in style. Well, I’ve never been one to follow trends and every surface (granite, wood, engineered quartz, marble) have their pros and cons.

2.22.13_new sink
Undermount sink (28 x 17 x 9.5 inches)

My friend Steve was stunned to hear the quotes I’d gotten and took me Granite Outlet in Rancho Cordova. There, in a warehouse full of slabs, I picked out the white carrara marble three times. That was enough for me to give up on trying to find something I wanted more. I nearly fell over at the counter when I heard the price for two slabs and counter/sink installation— $800.00. The supplier explained that marble is out of fashion and it’s a slow mover, so they’ve had it on sale. I smiled ear to ear.

The new sink is actually SMALLER than the old one but is nearly twice as deep. I special ordered this one through Home Depot. I had to go that route because the cabinet is odd-sized (29.5 inches)—of course. While smaller, the sink seems huge and I’m tickled pink.

Neal and I installed the tile wall; due to the size and special cuts, this took five days. However, you must admit, the effect is stunning. The slightly miniaturized subway tile (2 x 4″ in lieu of traditional 3 x 6″) with the dark grey grout really compliments the stove and doesn’t overwhelm the room.

bead detail
Beaded detail on tile wall with grey grout

For this wall, I wanted to add a decorative detail, well, honestly, because I fell in love with this beaded trim. It reminds me of a milk glass vase Bee gave me for my birthday a few years ago. In fact, the wall seems taller due to the height of the tile. Oh, yes, I also removed the 20″ wide shelf that spanned the space above the fridge, stove, and doorway. Before and after:

1.30.13 (before). Note the shelf above the doorway and archway.
Tile wall complete (outlet has been changed out and new cover installed since picture was taken) and Wedgewood has replacement bulbs!

Of course, when Neal and I moved the stove back into place, the oven wouldn’t stay lit without pushing the reset button…every time. MM had a look at it and put me in touch with the Wedgewood guru who arrived yesterday (2.21.13), armed only with a few wrenches and a screwdriver. He fixed the oven, lubed the knobs to prevent gas leaks, repaired the oven door’s hinge and re-installed the door springs, AND tweaked the timer. He’s been working on Wedgewoods (and Merril O’Keefe stoves) since he was 15. I dared not ask how old he is, but I suspect he’s got at least 50 years experience. He was just great. If you’ve got an old appliance in the Sacramento area, I highly recommend him (Bud Ferris, Ferris Appliance).

There’s been very good, okay, and not so okay moments during the last month. Here’s a few…

With great courage, I picked up the hammer and chisel and began removing the old 2 x 2 tile only to discover MORE tile underneath. And where they’d removed that tile? Solid plaster. Oh, awesome.
Cabinets cut off, all the tile and over an inch of chicken wire/concrete mesh behind that removed. Seeing the wall done to lath, the cabinets not repaired—this may have been the low point.

Sadly, I don’t have a picture of Neal installing tile or spending a VERY long Saturday updating the electric outlets (from almond to white) and cutting the backer board to cover the lath. He’s going to ‘supervise’ the remaining tile work. I’m excited to do it but will leave the tile cuts to him. Smile.

Getting ready for new counter and sink installation (2.21.13)

I removed the plumbing, the old sink, and the plywood counter myself. Many of the screws were too rusted to remove with a screw driver, so I resorted to using a hacksaw on many of them. While I was a bit intimidated by removing the plumbing, a contractor friend talked me through it ahead of time and actually, it was pretty easy. The plywood? Not so easy. Let me tell ya, that’s 4 hours of my life I’m never, ever getting back. Ha.

Ski, Zara, and Jack (out of frame) came over to help paint. Haven't had a painting party since my Kent days. Felt really good to have them here
Ski, Zara, and Jack (out of frame) came over to help paint. Haven’t had a painting party since my Kent days. Felt really good to have them here

The goal of the remodel is to improve the functionality of the kitchen and use more timeless finishes. My inspiration has been and continues to be the beautiful early 1950s Wedgewood stove. It’s late and I have a contractor coming in the morning to re-install the garbage disposal and plumbing beneath the sink.


So, I bid you a good night from Wildlands. Stay tuned. There’s more to come.