Posts Tagged 'pocket door'

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™‚
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Return to Renovations

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When last we left our heroine, she was remarking on the widened passage to the breakfast room, the emergence of the white cat, and hoping her husband liked sloped ceilings.

WC is still doing fine, and still throwing periodic hissy fits of hiding to remind us that she does NOT like change and does NOT like the new living conditions. On the other hand she is eating, drinking and producing output, even if she IS refusing any cuddling (wrong chair โ€“ she can only be cuddled on the downstairs furniture). IMG_8606As you can see, she’s just fine. BC and GC are fine too, although there seems to be a slight dispute over who sleeps with me. BC prefers to be on or between my calves, whereas GC prefers โ€œnext toโ€. BC understands the concept of sleeping in (at least until 6:30) and the concept that turning over in the middle of the night does NOT mean Iโ€™m awake. GC believes that ANY time is good for a cuddle and will purr in my ear, or lean over to tickle my face with her whiskers. If I roll over she will begin meowing to remind me that she is there to be cuddled. As GC never used to sleep with me, BC is a bit annoyed. I would not be surprised if one of these days I wake to a bit of caterwauling.

I’m still thrilled with the wide opening between the 2 rooms. It feels much more like a single room. Version 2We now have a pocket for our pocket door. The door to the basement has always partially blocked the big bay window over the sink. As the door stands open probably 98% of the time, it would be wonderful NOT to have it there. But for the 2% of the time that I NEED a door, I couldn’t get rid of the door. Solution: pocket door. The pocket door is one of the ways we chose our contractor. Contractor J didn’t think it was a good idea and wanted a folding door. Contractor M said good idea, yes, we can do that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Contractor M pretty much heard EVERYTHING I said even though I didn’t think he was listening. Contractor J ignored 3 of my key requests. Anyway, the pocket went up amazingly quickly. It necessitated removing 2 radiators (boiler/hot water system, 12 old cast iron radiators in the house). The front hall (yeah, I haven’t mentioned that little bit of this project) and the kitchen will have something more modern and stream-lined for heat.

IMG_8506I think that the same day they built the pocket they also framed out the cabinets. I had a long chat with the foreman yesterday and learned something I’d not noticed and probably never would have noticed. ๐Ÿ™‚ Apparently the (sewer?) pipe that runs from the upstairs bathroom down to the basement has an unsightly bulge. Now in some houses and pipes that unsightly bulge would have placed itself a little higher, a little lower. Not in our house. Never in our house. (Have I mentioned we hit another knob & tube wiring issue?) IMG_8567 In OUR house the unsightly bulge is right where our (gorgeous) backsplash is to be. The foreman dealt with this by framing out the cabinets about an inch further out than had there been no bulge. This does leave a gap between the existing tiled bay window and where things will now be, but that will be addressed with additional wood framing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVE having competent, intelligent, forward-thinking contractors. This crew (foreman, electricians, carpenters, plumbing) have been simply fantastic. Innovate, responsive and cheerful. Which leads me to my sloped ceiling.

Much to my surprise and dismay my husband, the structural engineer, DID have an issue with a sloped ceiling. Keep in mind that the description I provide next is a non-engineer attempting to convey an engineering lesson. IMG_8592 Apparently if you remove the cross beam supports of the flat ceiling, you will have pressure on the bay window wall, causing it to bow outward. At the time when we discussed this I had no price estimate for the job, I had no reason to create marital discord and I let it drop. I was disappointed but knew that there were other things I’d want to champion and I’d already lived with the (wrong) flat ceiling for over 20 years. This past weekend we got the quote for doing the sloped ceiling. I wrote back to them and mentioned my husband’s issue with the slope and asked them to explain how they would deal with that downward-outward pressure. Yesterday the foreman and construction chief came by and discussed plans with my husband. To my everlasting gratitude, he agreed with their proposals and said that their adjustments addressed his concerns and we could go ahead. YAY!!!!!!! IMG_8593 My husband then took off for work leaving me to discuss all the OTHER issues: ways around our latest K&T issue, placement of switches, the fact that our electrical sub-panel is not up to code (the way they put it in 20 or so years ago), despite all the permits stuck on it, and what we’re going to do about modern radiators. There may have been a few other things but those were yesterday’s top items.

Today has been a day of hammering and power on and off and calls of “can you see if I’m on the right side?”. I had a long chat with the chief electrician and, oh what a surprise, we are adding another update to this job. For decades I’ve had a switch to turn on the deck lights on my deck (small, low wattage bulbs mounted under the bottom rail of the railing). The switch works fine but the lights don’t. ๐Ÿ™‚ We will get new deck lighting and have that done while the insides are ripped open. ka-ching, ka-ching. And one day I’ll describe what we hope to do in the front hall…….

Siri on bed


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