Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

Update: Still leaking. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Even worse – leak wouldn’t happen when the plumbers came back to see/fix. This morning after I pushed the heat up I came down to find a puddle under the pipe and a drip still on the pipe. By the time the plumbers came the puddle had dried to 1/2 its original size. We pushed the heat up again in an attempt to start the dripping, but nothing dripped. I’m incredibly frustrated that I cannot demonstrate this. The good news is Michael saw the remaining puddle and believes me. They are once again cutting and replacing pipes. Isn’t it a good thing that no one closed up the ceiling yesterday? Is that a ๐Ÿ˜ฆ or a ๐Ÿ™‚ ? And now back to our original post….

TJI still have a half-written post about how wonderful it is to work in the new kitchen. I have photos, too. But I’ve been a bit busy with other things and haven’t had much time or mental energy to write. It’s interesting how bad things can get those mental juices flowing. That must be part of the reason so much great literature is about unhappiness. Take the opening line of ‘Anna Karenina‘: โ€œAll happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.โ€ When everything is great and happy and wonderful, there is less impetus to write.

preparing front hallYesterday was an exciting day in the kitchen renovation. It should have been the penultimate day (I’m still hoping that Don will come through for me and get the electricians here with deck lighting, but just between you and me – I suspect that lighting has fallen by the wayside.). The plumbers and TJ were here to put in the new radiators, install the cold water filter under the kitchen sink and to put in the oil-rubbed bronze hardware in the pocket door. 3 plumbers and TJ all working away in the kitchen, basement and front hall. The cats were imprisoned once again upstairs. BC had gone up there on her own, but I had to physically catch and carry GC and WC up behind the wooden door. The plumber was astounded at the sounds WC makes as she is carried up to her incarceration. Hard to believe such a little thing can make such a loud appalling noise. (Her life is soooo hard, she’s had much practice.)

The new radiators were very exciting to everyone, as the plumbers had never worked with this kind of unit before. placing the radiatorI learned a lot of interesting things as well. For starters, I learned that “wall mounted” does NOT mean that the water pipes come through the walls. It means that there are no feet on the floor, but that the water pipes do still come through the floor. I’d been told that the front hall radiator would be wall mounted but the one in the kitchen would not, as it is situated in front of the pocket door. As it turned out, they were both mounted on the wall. I knew the new floor would be drilled in the kitchen therefore but I did not realize the slate in the front hall would be drilled as well. That was not an issue because I’d already told Michael weeks ago that I was resigned to the fact that the slate might need to be drilled. The holes for the pipes are so small (comparatively) that it really is no big deal. The radiators are beautiful and do exactly what I hoped – fade into the wall behind them.

The other thing I learned was how my heating system works. My husband was very smug when he told me he knew this all along. Huh. But he knows NOTHING about BLEEDING the radiators, so there. hole in ceilingMy huge old cast iron radiators all have 4 feet (hence not wall-mounted) and there is a pipe going in one end and a pipe coming out the other end. I’ve always assumed that meant the water flowed in one end, out the other and went on its merry way to the next radiator. That is NOT the case. All of the radiators get water IN from one set of pipes and release it OUT to a different set of pipes. That explains why when I see the pipe running up from one floor to another there are always 2 pipes. The IN system is controlled by valves on each radiator that can either allow water into that unit or that unit can be bypassed as the water flows to the next unit. This setup means that the boiler can be going but individual radiators can be turned off without turning off every radiator downstream. I never realized that. It will be important.

soffitAnyway, things were going swimmingly (and yes, I choose that word deliberately). The filter was in, the pocket door hardware was in, the radiators were in, the water was turned on to fill the radiators and we upped the thermostat to make the water hot. And then Michael saw water on the kitchen floor. He went to the basement and there was water dripping down onto the floor there. There was a leak within the walls.

dirty fingerprintsI will spare you the drama that ensued. I will say that I stayed very calm, which I suspect most of you will not believe. But over the last year or so I HAVE learned that things that can be solved by money are probably not the big things in life. And these contractors have worked such magic that I believe they can fix anything and make it beautiful. I was concerned that the plumber might have heart failure, he was that upset. That is NOT fixable by money.

So. At day’s end we did have heat (which was good, because the overnight temps were in the 40s F), although the 2 new radiators were still offline. There is now a big hole in my gorgeous kitchen ceiling, saw-marks on the soffit, and dirty fingerprints on the other side of the soffit (for balance while investigating). kitchen radiatorThere is also a scratch on the floor from the step ladder but you have to have your face very close to see it. I mentioned it to my husband who said “I see it” and pointed to a non-existent scratch elsewhere. *grin* I was up close and personal because I was cleaning up after everyone had left.

Michael is back today (not the whole crew) and he’s bringing the new radiators online. I understand there will be someone coming sometime to fix the ceiling, front hall radiatorbut as is typical with communications on this job (I have mentioned my dissatisfaction with the information flow) I don’t know who or when. Since there is no longer a key in the lock box they will have to let me know. I do hope it’s sooner rather than later as I was planning to throw a “come see my gorgeous new kitchen” party. Sigh.

These are all things and can be fixed. It’s disappointing, but not terminal. The house is warm, all the radiators are going. My water is filtered. I have matching hardware in my pocket door. The sun is shining. And the cats are happy.
One of these days I’ll even finish the post about how fantastic it is to work in the kitchen.

BC on boots
Obligatory Cat Photo – BC decided to rest on my rainboots

Almost to the Wire

IMG_9390
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IMG_9381We’ve passed the home stretch – we’re down to only 4 things left for the contractors to do. The painter has more to do but I’ve told him we’re calling a stop at the end of this week. That should take complete the kitchen/breakfast room/front hall. The other things will happen later. I need a break!!!!

A lot happened during my writing hiatus. The chairs for the bistro table came in, the backsplash was installed – it is SENSATIONAL, the broom closet was built, the range hood was installed, all the little things that needed balancing and patching and adjusting were balanced and patched and adjusted. IMG_9375The under sink bins for garbage and recycling were installed. The lighting under the cabinets was installed (which includes zillions of electrical outlets along with the lights). The walls were painted and the wood was stained and I ordered art work for the kitchen. ๐Ÿ™‚

Four things left to go: the radiators, the cold water filter under the sink, deck lights, and the CORRECT hardware for the pocket door. *grin* There IS hardware but there was a little goof and the wrong hardware was sent out instead of the specially-picked oil-rubbed bronze hardware Don had gotten to match our faucet. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_9382The delay in the radiators is an amusing story. Kenny (the head plumber) called one of the places I’d found online and spent several phone calls chatting with the company. It turned out that despite their photo, they don’t have radiators that are floor-mounted, they are all wall-mounted. They can do the floor mount but it is a special order as opposed to out of standard stock. Kenny gave them all the specs, they were working out all the details, and then he gave them the shipping address. “Oh, we don’t ship to the US” they said. *laughing* Turns out he’d been talking with Canada the whole time and had not realized it. So he started over again looking for what I wanted. I hear that he did indeed find some (I saw a picture) but it’s unclear how long it will take to get the correct size and then get them installed. IMG_9385I know from my experience back in March, when I had to get a new furnace (or whatever it is called for hot water radiator heating), that once you install the radiators, you need to then fill them all with water. Then you need to bleed off any trapped air, and make sure they are all heating up. This is a whole day process. I hope they make it before the cold weather returns, or I’ll have to spend my entire life curled up on the rug in front of the gas-log fireplace.

IMG_9387The cold water filter under the sink was another case of miscommunication. Don came by one day and I went through my list of “open items and can we still do’s”. They had removed my cold water filter when they did the demolition way back in May (remember that?). I told them that they could toss the one that was there, we could put on a new one when we rebuilt everything. I mentioned this to Don and showed him what I wanted (some $30 thing you can get at the big box stores) and he said “oh, no, you can’t do that with your faucet”. What do I know, right? He showed me the kind of faucet I need to get and they’d drill a hole in the counter for it. Later when I tried to explain to my husband why I could not put in the cold water filter as we’d had before, I realized I had no idea why it wouldn’t work. I could see exactly where it would go under the sink. I found the installation instructions for what I wanted online, sent that and a picture of the pipes under the sink to Don, and asked why it would not work. IMG_9388Don is a professional. He does things the CORRECT way. From his perspective (and undoubtedly from MANY people’s pov) you do NOT put the filter on the cold water for the main faucet – you spin off the filtered cold water to a separate faucet, and then use the unfiltered cold water for whatever you do with unfiltered water. I HAVE filtered water and ice in my new refrigerator, which is also one of the reasons why Don was confused about my desire for a water filter on the sink. For many years now, many many years now, I’ve had a filter on the cold water, and every time I run the cold water I get filtered water. This is great if I am filling the cats’ automatic water fountain, or if I am filling a pot to boil pasta or whatever. But yes, it IS a waste if I’m pulling cold water while I’m washing dishes or some other rinsing activity. Many people think that is wasteful. I understand that perspective. IMG_9383MY pov is that it’s much easier and cheaper to stick the filter under the sink on the cold water, change the filter every 3-6 months for some nominal cost, than it is to install a whole-house filter or make a hole in my gorgeous counter or any of the other correct approaches. ๐Ÿ™‚ Result – waiting for the plumbers to put in the under-sink filter on the cold water when they return. The cats will appreciate the clean tasting water.

IMG_9341I have no idea what will happen with the deck lighting. I put this change order into the plans back in July, and nothing happened on it. I walked around the deck with Don a few weeks ago and explained what I wanted, and he said he understood and it would happen. Last time I saw the electricians they knew it was happening (that had not been the case on prior visits). It’s happening. But I don’t know what it will look like, when it will happen, nor what it will cost. ๐Ÿ™‚ All I DO know is that I have a working switch in my kitchen that will turn on the deck lights once they exist.

So what do you think – is my kitchen sensational or what???IMG_9391

Putting Things Back

That’s not a very accurate title. A better one would be clearing the dining room. But if you saw the dining room “clear” is NOT the word that would come to mind. So the title stands as is.

IMG_9277The “back” part of the title is that my sideboard – my gorgeous, wood, custom-made sideboard – has migrated from the dining room into the breakfast room. If you look at my “before” pictures you can see that it used to reside in the kitchen. It is now BACK in use in the breakfast room giving us additional counter and storage in that room. I have been worried that there would be too much wood in that room when both the sideboard and the bistro table were in, but I think it’s doing okay. That’s still my concern about adding the stools for the table. They are scheduled for delivery tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_9278The other major furniture migration was removing the old refrigerator from the dining room into the BACK of the garage. My sister has been in charge of disposing of old appliances. We both feel strongly about not adding to landfills so she has been posting them for sale on swap meets and such. I told her she can keep all the money as long as I don’t have to talk to any potential buyers. The first one we had (for the dishwasher) made me totally crazy, and I was in Arizona for part of that story. She is a prime example of why I don’t sell on the internet. If we can’t sell the refrigerator, I can get it moved out to the curb in October for the town’s bulk pick-up. ๐Ÿ™‚ Always have a Plan B.

The hardest part of migrating the refrigerator was moving what was in it into the new refrigerator. IMG_9309 Although that refrigerator is MUCH larger than the old one, it has a completely different structure. For starters, I can tell that no one who designed it or used it or sold it drinks wine. I went to put an open, corked wine bottle in the fridge, and there was NO place sufficiently tall. I finally moved one of the door shelves up to what I think is a somewhat inconvenient location in order to fit the wine. Priorities! I did grocery shopping as well and discovered that I buy much more produce than those 2 (little) external drawers can handle. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are 2 more internal drawers and I put them to good use too. I decided to put the “snack” fruits and veggies in the external drawers and put the “need to be prepared” vegetables in the inside drawers (lettuce, peppers, onions, etc.). I’m getting used to it.

One thing I really dislike on the refrigerator are the self-closing doors. IMG_9280That is one of the stupidest things I’ve encountered. Why do I say this? Because my husband relied on the self-closing and I walked in to find the refrigerator open. I told him forget the whole concept and just shut the doors. I don’t even enjoy them on the cabinets, truth be told. That’s the problem with being old – you’re so used to doing things a certain way, that when newfangled conveniences come along you can’t appreciate them properly. So self-closing drawers don’t thrill me, but all the rest of the newfangled stuff is totally wonderful!!!

Ahhhhhh!

IMG_9273My first cup of coffee made in the new setup. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure, however, that I’ll leave the pot there. It depends on where I have to place all of the other appliances. It’s amazing how many appliances we have accumulated that need electrical outlets. Microwave, toaster oven, food processor, mixer, phone, radio, and 2 coffee pots (one for him, one for me). I also need counter space for things that DON’T need outlets: sodastream, knife block.

Besides setting up the bistro table on Saturday, we went shopping for pots and pans. My husband insisted he needed new ones. Our old set is only 12 years old and good quality but he neeeeeeeeded new ones. He decided they had to be space-saving as well as quality. I insisted we needed to keep some of the old HUGE pots we have. We do a lot of steaming and large batches of soup and other crowd-sized cooking. IMG_9276Those pots are in good shape and there were not comparable pieces in the sets we were considering. We settled on the Calphalonยฎ Premierโ„ข Space Saving Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set. We were fortunate enough to buy it at a location that was offering a special deal: the matching 4.5 quart soup pot for free when you spent enough dollars on Calphalon. We did. ๐Ÿ™‚ We also got two 12 inch pans for the chef: the matching 12 inch every day pan and the matching 12 inch fryer. I told my husband that because I was sooooo indulgent, I expected to be able to decide which recipes got followed. ๐Ÿ™‚

This weekend we have preparation for the Jewish holidays. The prep starts with reading the manuals for all of our appliances so we can figure out HOW to use them. The test is on Monday. ๐Ÿ™‚

First Meal

Saturday morning I got up bright and early and refreshed and went to tackle the bistro table. IMG_9256I’d looked at the instructions the night before, which caused a raging headache which led to yelling and misery. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know – none of YOU have ever had a melt-down. The directions, although ostensibly in English, seemed extremely convoluted. In addition, there was a piece on the table base that did not appear in any picture I had of the completed table – not online, not in the directions. My husband was convinced he knew what it was and I thought he was probably correct, but it was making me crazy not to see it anywhere or have it mentioned anywhere. After repeated readings of the instructions, I finally realized where a different piece was “hidden” in the packing and things began to make a bit more sense. Lesson learned: don’t try to function when you are dehydrated and tired.

IMG_9257ANYWAY, I got up Saturday morning and put the table base together. Extremely simple. The table top is large and very heavy – it took the 2 of us to lift it, place it and turn it until it locked in place. I was surprised at the height of the completed table. It was several inches higher than I’d expected. I went back and began reading every review and all of the specifications for the table. I’d misread one of the measurements but I loved the table. The more I looked at it the less inclined I was to worry about the height. In fact, when I sat on the bay window seat, it was the perfect height for the table. I’ve been eating all my meals there! The more I looked, the more I loved. My husband loved it right from the start. I still worry that when we move the sideboard back into that room the overall effect of the 2 pieces will be too “heavy”. In the meantime I have ordered 2 counter height chairs for the table. And the electricians, who were here all day yesterday, also love the table. *grin* Which reminds me….

IMG_9271Bert, our neighbor, El Exigente, approves of the table. He came on Sunday to do his weekly critique. He told me he couldn’t find anything to criticize – he loved everything. *laughing* Of course he DID find things he didn’t like. He started in again about the blinds, expressed reservations about the wood color. He actually mentioned something that I thought was worth a follow-up but I can’t remember at the moment. The best part of his visit was that he annoyed my husband, who has always been amused at how annoyed all the rest of us get, but he himself is not annoyed. Until Sunday, when Bert got under HIS skin. LOVED IT! Schadenfreude for the win!

Let There Be Lights!

IMG_9255Friday was a full house – the electricians and Tom returned. The rest of the cabinet hardware was installed and the spackling completed. The broken tiles in the front hall (from the old radiator) were removed. The workers were kind enough to bring in the 2 huge, heavy boxes with the bistro table – they were in the garage. And it DID take 2 people to lift one of those boxes. I’m very grateful they were kind enough to do that as my husband and I would have struggled and one of us would probably have gotten hurt.

All of the high hat lights are installed and working. Eli set up the switches so we can just flow from one room to another without having to back-track to find a light switch. We will need Remedial Light Switches 101 also. IMG_9254I think I’m fairly solid on them now but I do sometimes miss and use a ceiling fan switch instead of a light switch. All of the high hats are LED lights with dimmer switches. At the start of all our discussions, I told the electricians I did not need to have a ceiling fan with a light, so they did not need to put in a switch for the light, only the fan. Of course all of the fans I liked had lights. I said fine, I don’t care, you don’t have to worry about it if it can’t be hooked up. Apparently ceiling fans now all get operated by remote controls, and a remote will over-ride anything on a switch. I have a working light on my kitchen ceiling fan. It’s so much nicer than what was there before that I could see myself using it. But it’s a halogen bulb. Given that the LEDs can all dim, and they are much more energy-efficient than the halogens, that light may not get much use. IMG_9253The fan, however, has been running since it first had power. It will probably be on non-stop until November.

Speaking of the ceiling fans, I LOVE the new one in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure it would work when I saw it in the box. It looked too large and too dark. But once I saw it up and running, I’m thrilled. It’s exactly the kind of look I wanted. We put back the ceiling fan/light that had been in the breakfast room. It’s white, and blends into the ceiling there, which I want. I’m trying to keep that room open and airy – eyes on the space, and not on the ceiling.

IMG_9251Friday night when all was calm and quiet, my husband and I stood in the kitchen, loving it. We started playing the “where shall we put x?” game. “What goes in this cabinet?” We agreed that we would put the roll-out garbage can under the sink, along with the recycling can, which has been under the sink all the time. If I ever hear back from the foreman about the custom work in the broom closet, I’ll let him know.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Kitchen

Soooooooo much has happened since my last post I’m not even sure where to begin. Nothing happened on Wednesday except for frequent visits to admire the counters. Then on Thursday everything began to happen.

running waterThe day dawned early with the plumbers there before 8 am. I was lucky I was ready for them because I’d slept late that day. If they’d been any earlier or I’d slept longer, I might have had to leave them idling on the sidewalk. They began attaching water to the sink and refrigerator, and gas to the stove, and setting up the faucet!!! RUNNING WATER!!!!! I was so excited I took pictures of water coming out of the faucet. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll say now, although I only realized it much later, that my husband and I are going to need Remedial Kitchen Appliances 101. I couldn’t understand the faucet – how it worked, why there seem to be 2 on/off levers – without assistance from the contractor. Not only did we now have running water in the kitchen sink, but the dishwasher migrated back to the kitchen, away from the refrigerator, so once again there was a wide-open doorway. *grin* It’s those little things that make life so much more comfortable.

IMG_9219.jpgTom came by soon after the plumbers to begin hooking up appliances, installing hardware and all sorts of other “putting things right”. I love love LOVE my cabinet knobs and pulls. That day’s big decision was where to situate the knobs on the various cabinets. I have no experience in this – I’ve never had a new cabinet without some sort of knob or pull. I started the morning thinking that every knob had to be situated in the exact same position on every cabinet. Tom assured me that these were my cabinets and I could do what I wanted. It’s very hard for me to visualize some of these smaller details. I went across the street to see if my neighbor Stephanie was home. She is an artist and has a great eye for placement (we both garden and I often check with her about placement of perennials). IMG_9229Luckily for me she was available and came back to look. She agreed with Tom that I could place the knobs in different areas on different cabinets, depending on where it felt natural to me to open the cabinet. She said it would look fine. Then she did something I would NEVER have considered: she rotated the knobs 90 degrees. Oh. Em. Gee. I LOVED that look. Not only did it give more space between adjoining knobs, but the new angle worked so much better with the tall slender cabinets. We did all of the knobs at that angle with the exception of the 2 roll-out spice cabinets, where a horizontal placement was better (and thanks to Tom for suggesting that). The knobs and pulls are worth every single penny. They are, I believe, hand-made for Schaub and Company: Solid Brass Knob with Violet Oyster, Tiger Penshell and Yellow Mother of Pearl inlays on Antique Brass Finish. IMG_9228 The pulls were a bit larger than I was expecting but that worked out beautifully as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ SO HAPPY!!!!

Tom also patched the various holes in the walls and ceilings, left by the knob & tube electrical adventures. He hooked up the refrigerator using an extension cord (since the electricians had not yet been here, there was no outlet for the refrigerator yet). He put in the piece joining the breakfast room floor to the bathroom floor (I thought those were called thresholds but according to my latest internet search they are called “transition strips’). Tom gave me my first class in Remedial Kitchen Appliances by helping explain the faucet, IMG_9222and giving me an overview of the refrigerator. We’ve never had a refrigerator that made ice or dispensed water and ice from the door. So much to learn. He suggested that we run at least a gallon or 2 of water through the door before drinking it and to dump the first few ice bins as well, to clear the lines.

By the end of Thursday, we had running water in the HUGE kitchen sink, a working refrigerator (it worked – just plugged in a temporary spot), patched walls and ceilings and the majority of the cabinets had knobs and pulls! A VERY exciting day!
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knobs and pulls installed

A Crowded Kitchen

Yes, it is looking much more like a kitchen these days, because we have APPLIANCES!! Unfortunately, the appliances are not installed. kitchen with soffit and crown molding No, they are close to where they will reside ultimately, but for now they are creating a maze where once we had wide open nothing.

It got a bit stressful for me yesterday morning when they could not fit the refrigerator through the door. They removed the screen door and still not enough room. They then removed every door from the refrigerator. I believe that was the point where I heard the construction crew say “still no luck?” and an affirmative returned from the appliance crew. That is the point when I left the vicinity. I don’t know how they did it (I do still have a working door frame and door) but there is now a refrigerator with doors and drawers sitting in my breakfast room. breakfast room with crown moldingThe range and the dishwasher are here, as is the wok ring, but the hood is back-ordered.

We also have the soffit and crown molding up. Wow, does that stuff need a coat of paint. ๐Ÿ™‚ I need to start thinking about what color to paint the walls, but I really need the backsplash and counter to make that decision.

The bistro table got delivered this morning. I was a bit annoyed as the delivery people refused to bring it in the house. They insisted the delivery was for garage or curbside only. Apparently had I wanted it in the house, I was supposed to pay more for that. It’s now in the garage, and that’s probably a better place for it than the house. The new ceiling fan and replacement tiles are in the front hall, my dining room is in my living room, my kitchen and breakfast room are in my dining room, and my appliances are, as I have said, all over the kitchen. range hood boxed perfectlyEither my husband and I will open the boxes and bring the pieces into the house over the weekend, or I will throw myself on the mercy of the next construction crew to come by to help get it into the house to be assembled. Since there is no place really to put it, I don’t need yet another huge box taking up space. The only problem with the garage is that it floods if we have heavy rain. We’re expecting dry weather for the next few days so even that should work out fine.

I can see by the tracking number that the cabinet hardware is out for delivery, which means it may get installed next week as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m guessing that I won’t see the electricians and plumbers until after the counters arrive on Tuesday (I hope that was a definite “counters installed on Tuesday”). I suppose it’s possible we might see the crew that is going to modify one of the cabinets to be my broom closet. broom closetThe plan is that the shelves are removed from the bottom of the cabinet, a divider added down the middle, and an opening cut in the shelf to allow the broom handles to fit and also be restrained. This is where I’m hoping to also put in the garbage can on a slide out base. I’ve been looking at that online. I’m not sure if that can be done as part of this job or if that is something we will have our painter (who is multi-talented) do for us.

There are still a lot of little bits and pieces that have not been confirmed. I’m still hoping for deck lights for the electricians. The various holes in the ceiling and the walls need to be addressed by the sheet rock folk. We need the new electrical sub-panel. The front hall will need new tiles because of the removal of the old radiator. None of those things have been discussed in any detail. But it does seem as if this project will wrap before, oh, let’s say Halloween. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have to go – I hear the familiar, beloved sound of a beeping delivery truck outside – cabinet hardware!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lots of Progress

I have a room that is beginning to look a lot like a kitchen! It’s been a very productive week. On Monday they came and measured for the counters. A friend had suggested that maybe we’d want the bay window seat in the breakfast room to have the same top as the counters. IMG_9044I suspect it will (1) cost too much and (2) make the window seat too heavy to move to get to the radiator underneath, but we did have it measured and we’ll wait for a quote. We don’t have to move that window seat all that often, so if there is sufficient material left from the slab being used for everything else, and if the quote isn’t exorbitant, it may be our next change order. *grin* I’ve had a lot of them. We did get word later in the week that it will be longer than a week to get the counters made. Apparently they are back-ordered, and they ship from Minnesota. There will be a delay of 2-3 weeks for the counters.

My husband feels very strongly about the seam in the counter, as in he does not want any seam. ๐Ÿ™‚ We all agreed that we would shift the sink over if it meant getting rid of a seam. IMG_9041We already broke with the concepts of symmetry and centering with the sink anyway. It “should” be centered with the bay window above it but that didn’t leave me sufficient space to the left of the sink for a dish drainer. ๐Ÿ™‚ Although we ARE very concerned with the appearance of this kitchen, ultimately it has to be about functionality as the foundation. We are supposed to be contacted by the counter people once they have the slab so we can come up and see it before it is cut, and decide where to place the templates for the cuts. That way we have some say in both the seams AND the pattern that will be on the largest counter area. Our quartz selection is Cambria Brittanicca Gold, which has a marble appearance, which means there are waves of color, not one single constant appearance.

The soft area in the floor has been pulled up and repaired. IMG_9028I can still feel the difference in floor level underneath but it is a firm change, not a soft one. I think it will be okay. The trim has been put on the doorways and the pocket door is installed.

There was an issue with the door trim. I am learning a lot of new terminology with this project. I joked with Don (the foreman) that I will have to do a lot of studying before the final exam in September. Every bit of wood around the door (or window) has its own special term. I now know that the little bit of wood trim sitting on the BIG door trim is called “back band”. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_9032The wood in our house is American chestnut, something I believe I mentioned during the demolition stage of this project. It is very very difficult to get chestnut wood anymore. There was a blight that struck the American chestnut trees back around 1905. It wiped out billions of chestnut trees. As I type this, I realize this is actually a bit odd, as my house was built around 1923 – where did they get all the gorgeous chestnut in my house? Ah – the tree was still around until 1950. The good news for the chestnut tree is that it is being brought back with a resistance to the blight. It has been cross-bred with the Japanese chestnut. We were quite insistent that the chestnut trim on the doorways to the dining room and the front hall be saved and reused.

One can insist but often life has its own plans. The chestnut trim was removed and stored in our garage. IMG_9030A lot of other things were in the garage also, and there has been a lot of activity in there. It was time to put the trim back this week. Unfortunately, some of the pieces had broken, and pieces were missing. They would have to build new trim out of new wood. Ideally of course we’d want chestnut. Unfortunately for us, chestnut is not yet plentiful and so it is expensive, and not as easy to obtain as other woods. And this is where I began my education in wood grain.

My husband was more upset than I at this news. My perspective is that the kitchen is changed so radically that as long as the wood gets stained the same color as the chestnut that was still usable, we’d be okay. He felt that the grain made a difference. Don and I discussed this and I asked if there was a readily available wood that had better grain than the default pine that gets used everywhere else (the pocket door, the trim on the floor – skirting!!). IMG_9031Oak has a more detailed grain than pine, closer to chestnut in appearance, and is available and not as expensive as chestnut. I made one of my executive decisions and said – use oak. I’m quite pleased with the oak, which is good, because I hadn’t realized that we’d lost all the dining room door chestnut. The onus is now on Matt, our painter, to get the proper stain for all the wood trim. He’s excellent at that and we’re used to mixing stains to match chestnut all over the house. You really can see the difference in the grain between the oak and the pine when you see them next to each other, as with the pocket door. I’m glad my husband put up resistance when I described the situation. I think my only issue with this might be that I wish the workmen had mentioned to me that there were other woods that would look better with the chestnut, as opposed to saying that the stain would take care of it. Even I with my untrained eye can now tell that wood grains are not equal and pine against chestnut is NOT the best approach.

IMG_9037We have a wood threshold between the dining room and the kitchen, and the threshold from the kitchen to the basement stairs is complete. We are only missing a threshold from the breakfast room to the bathroom, and I said that could be metal. Ultimately we need to redo the bathroom also (thanks to a diabetic cat and a dog trained to use pads indoor instead of having to be walked). I LOVE the pocket door – I am soooooo HAPPY to look there and not have the window blocked and to have the clean lines of that simple door. I can see that I need hardware for it. Which reminds me….

I did mention my expensive taste in cabinet knobs and pulls. I’ve ordered several samples and they’ve begun to arrive. Good thing I ordered samples. One of the ones that looked most promising came and it’s totally wrong. One is okay, not loving it, but it’s okay. The ceiling fan has come as well but that won’t be installed for awhile, so no link to show you it in advance. ๐Ÿ™‚ And we DID order the funky bistro table. *grin* Sorry, Debbie, but while you sit there drinking coffee with me you won’t have to actually look at it. Now we are hunting for chairs that might work with the table and the room.

We are probably looking at a completion somewhere at the end of August, at least for the contractors. Matt is on vacation then so he won’t be able to do his painting and staining until September. I KNEW it would never happen in 10-12 weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚
IMG_9046

Adding not Subtracting

IMG_8699We have definitely turned the corner. We are not yet in the home-stretch but
have rounded the first curve. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yesterday we passed another inspection – a building inspection for the fire-stops. Today the insulation was added. This means another building inspection and then….. then…. WALLS!!!!

I’ve been answering some questions from Manny (do I want a want a tilt-out soap tray? No.) and hoping for some suggestions from him about new deck lighting. It’s clear that my husband and I are excited about very different aspects of the kitchen. When I talk to people it’s all about light & space: opening the doorway, the pocket door, the slanted ceiling in the breakfast room. He is very much about the stove and the counters. When I was chatting with the foreman and reciting back to him “what happens next” I listed walls, floor, cabinets, appliances. I forgot about the counter top completely. I confess – I’ve NEVER walked into any kitchen or showroom or anywhere and said “WOW!!! What a gorgeous counter!” Obviously counters are not my thing. Although at the moment I am missing them greatly because it’s very difficult and unpleasant to try to do any food preparation in the little piece of the dining room table that is available. I know, first world problems, right?

We are also tweaking the schedule to make life easier on our painter. Don (the foreman) suggested that our painter might want the opportunity to get in and do the priming and the ceilings once the sheet rock was done.IMG_8700 I checked and he agreed. Given that this is July, we all expect that it will take days for the sheet rock to dry sufficiently for any further work. Our forecasts here are 3Hs – hazy, hot and humid – now through August. Don even suggested having the painting done, but I haven’t the faintest idea what color I’m going to want. I’m not going to be able to figure that out until the counter top and the backsplash are in place.

I think it’s probably time to start looking for a new ceiling fan for the kitchen (sans lights) and for funky cabinet handles and knobs. I’m going to have to make a decision whether I want to keep with my earth tones/materials in the kitchen or if I want to look for something funky (like steampunk) or if I want to get splashes of bright color. One thing about knobs and handles – if I get it wrong it should be fairly simple to change. I hope. Sure beats knob & tube wiring issues.