Kitchen 4_3.23.13It’s been another month since I updated and I can say, the punchlist is long but progress has been great. I am hoping to have the major items on the list completed by Tuesday evening. Left outstanding will be a few items I need to build—the two pull out cabinets on either side of the fridge. It’s my hope to have those completed in the week after next.

You may look at the photos below and think, huh, why’s it taking so long? Because things take longer to do if your mind is on never having to do it again. Yesterday, I spent nearly six hours taking apart and partially (yes, sadly, only PARTIALLY) sanding the nook table. Also, things come up. The electrician comes to replace two can lights only to realise, they can’t be recessed because of attic joists, so he replaces the two with one and leaves me with two holes in the ceiling. Awesome.

I spent two days repairing the nook benches and lids. They’ve taken a lot of abuse in the last eight years and a lot of their trim had come loose or fallen off. Each time a piece has come off, I’d place it in the garage. I found all the pieces and took the time and care to put the nook back together, properly. I’ve learned a lot since I built that nook. It’s all the little things that eat up your time, the things that take days but aren’t noticeable in a photo and probably will never be noticed by anyone else, but that would be quite noticeable if I’d NOT done it. Make sense? Yeah, I need my head examined for doing this remodel on my own; trust me. I know.

The total cost to date (and I’m over my original budget of 4,500 with the purchase of nook fabric, a new jigsaw, lighted potrack, and contractor fees to hang potrack) is 4,600.00. Nearly 1,000 went to the new fridge, another 1,000 to contractors (plumbing, electric, and pot rack hanging to joists in the attic), 800 to new counter, and the rest has been tile, a few tools, and odds and ends (paint, hardware, etc). I totalled up the cost of sandpaper—just under two hundred dollars – yup. Crazy, eh? My mom has kindly offered to make me new cushion covers for the nook benches. I hadn’t planned on replacing the cushions but the off white EVERYTHING in the old kitchen’s got to go. Seriously.

Other fun things—you realise that the chalkboard trim you’d so carefully installed (or so you thought) two years ago (under a bit of duress, in my defense) is NOT level. The wall needed repair before the subway tiles went up, so that took five days to repair the wall, install the tile, and replace the trim.

I could go on and on and bore you to tears. So, here are some photos to give you an idea of what I’ve been doing…

kitchen 1 _01.28.13_before

kitchen 1_3.23.13
3.23.13- pod lights added to shine down on the counter. I love how they highlight the upper cabinets. I CANNOT wait to get my dishes and china back into the cabinets. The lights are on a dimmer switch, so can be used to provide good light for working and soft ambient light the rest of the time. I added trim to the upper cabinets to dress them up just a bit. The trim on the cabinets matches the nook’s trim. Sadly, I’ll be having open cabinets for awhile. It’s partially a budget issue, but more sadly, the fact I couldnt’ find a cabinetmaker (after calling five and having three come to the house) willing to make wood frames (for glass inserts). The upper-most cabinets didn’t have doors on them when I bought the house. The job was too small (total of 10 doors) or too time-consuming as the upper cabinets aren’t square and irregularly-sized, they can’t be just ordered from one of their fancy catalogues. I’m pretty sad about that, but one day, I’ll get the glass doors.

kitchen 2 _1.28.13_before

kitchen 2_3.19.13
3.22.13 The tile walls are done. The chalkboard’s back up and done. The nook has two coats of poly, ready for a third.

20130324_123711I’ve been working on the tall shallow cabinet. Got the doors hung after making modifications to the cabinet itself. That’s a lot of time taken up for something that I thought would take an hour. Nope. I’ve recyled one set of upper cabinet doors here. The other set is too wide. For now, I’ll use the super thin old glass until I break that (just being real here, folks) then replace it with thick old wavy glass. Postscript 9.18.13: Is anyone surprised that I broke the glass within a week of hanging the doors? I’m not. It was very thin glass and it’s a high traffic area. So, I got my much-wanted wavy glass sooner than later. 🙂  Yay.

kitchen 3_before

kitchen 3_update 3.23.13
The cabinet doors are back up (minus the doors under the sink. I took the old wider door (which was too heavy and the hinges sagged) and cut it in half, matching the rounded edges. Side by side, it’s hard to tell now that it was ever one door.

There have been a few funny and not so funny moments and everything in between. After getting the lower cabinet base painted with milk paint—to perfection, I went on to apply the paste wax (just as I have a dozen times before) but this time, the wax would not buff, leaving a milky white hardened layer. So, I had to sand the cabinet base back down to wood and start anew. I switched to water-based poly and applied three coats sanding in-between. The finish is smooth as silk and I’m happy with them. The cabinet doors need a few more coats of milk paint, then poly and hardware. I’d misplaced the hardware and spent a few days freaking out. I found it all this morning—in the box with the silverware. Huh. Okay. They are pewter, so I guess that makes sense…

Funny things along the way like sanding a plaster wall after multi-day repairs—with all the ceiling fans on in the house. Awesome. Plaster dust coated EVERYTHING in the house. And I do mean EVERYTHING. I spent all day Friday dusting, vacuuming, dusting some more, and doing a final vacuum. Honestly, it was really funny.

Funny not funny

blue jeans (and thigh) meet belt sanderWhat wasn’t funny? Tussling with the belt sander twice in the last three weeks. The first time, I had terrible bruising and road rash on my abdomen. My sweatshirt got pulled into the belt and my skin along with it, leaving a 3″ x 4″ swath. I took great care not to get it infected, but it’s going to scar. Yesterday, the belt sander caught my jeans and this was the result. Needless to say, I’m putting the belt sander away and going back to the warmer, friendlier hand sander.

Siddy Sky Park 3.16.13
Here are the dogs and how they celebrated St. Patrick’s day.

On a lighter note, Sky made me very proud, if not a bit embarrassed yesterday. I introduced the electrician (who was OK, did fine work but who annoyed me a bit) to the dogs and warned him that Sky isn’t very friendly because she’s actually a bit shy and a persistent watch dog. He said what everyone (including myself before I had a dog like her) says—“dogs love me!” Okay, that’s cool. She let him pet her but that was it. He went up into the attic (access through my closet, so yes, that does mean all my clothes are now hanging on the elliptical) and Sky laid down on my bed.  I’m in the backyard, using the belt sander, when I feel my phone vibrate. It’s the electrician calling. I turn off the sander and I can hear Sky—deep growls and very mean-sounding barking. I rush inside; baby girl’s won’t let the electrician off the ladder and out of the attic. I apologized, but inwardly, I smiled. She got a few salmon treats for being ever watchful and wary of strangers who are in our home.

A friend of mine who writes for our neighborhood paper came over yesterday and wants to do a story about my remodel when the kitchen’s done. She is beyond impressed at the budget and the work I’ve been able to do. Yes, I’ve had help (Neal, couldn’t have done this without you!!), but my ability to do the work mostly myself and have the confidence to do it with less than 5,000 impresses even me. My friend recently got a bid for 70,000 to redo her kitchen. And yup, more extensive than mine, but my thought to her—having such a small budget really made me focus on what I wanted and what I needed and seeing where those lined up cost-wise and vision-wise.

I’m working hard to get nearly everything done by Tuesday…that’s when the lighted pot rack goes up. Fingers crossed.