Kitchen Remodel – The Slanted Island

IMG_9905 (768x1024)The first time I put an egg on the island, it rolled off. Splat. I thought “huh” and that was that. After this started happening frequently, I started to wonder if something wrong with the island. And then my favorite rollingĀ  pin fell off and broke.

Not sure if I didn’t trust my instincts or if I just didn’t want to deal with a potentially major repair issue, but I didn’t do anything about it until a month later, when I was sitting on the couch, looking back at the kitchen and thought the island looked like it was tilting slightly to the right. My husband got out a level to confirm it was slanted (off by a little less than a quarter inch) before we called Tim, our Project Manager on the remodel (and Tim, if you think you’ve gotten out of an interview, think again!).

It was a relatively easy fix (well, I don’t know how easy it actually was, but it didn’t take Tim and Marty, the carpenter, long to fix it). They were able to raise the island and put a shim in it, which was covered up by the toe-kick. It’s all good now; no more runaway eggs.

Kitchen Remodel – It’s Never Over

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IMG_9363 (1024x768) If you’ve ever gone through a remodel, you know that just because the lockbox comes off the door and sign gets taken off your lawn, it’s not over. We had a bunch of small issues like molding separating from the ceiling, the instant-hot tasting metallic and a wonky faucet head.

Last week the guys who installed the fireplace surround had to come back and fix the top section of the surround, which was tipping back into the wall, causing the caulking to come off.

IMG_9364 (747x1024) When they arrived, they were able to fix it (vs. replace it, thank goodness) by using suction tools and a wedge of scrap wood (there’s a word for this….shim? I just looked it up and I think that’s right) behind the piece to keep it from falling back again. So far it seems to be working. There is the slightest bit of separation, but as long as it doesn’t get any worse, we’re good.

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New cap

You know I love my central vacuum, so I was very excited to use the new outlet that was rerouted in the kitchen area. I go to pull down the cap and….nothing. No suction. And on top of that, the new cap does not fit our very old vacuum unit (the guy who came over to install it looked at our vacuums, so don’t blame me!).

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Old cap

I called him to let him know (he didn’t believe me and I had to take the above pics to send him. oy) and lucky for me, the old caps we have are no longer being sold because the unit we have is so old. SO…they are going to “make good” by replacing our hose and all seven caps in the house.

IMG_9280 (768x1024)The fireplace guys are coming next week (for the actual firebox, not the guys above) to replace a faulty part and to fix the gas release valve (I totally made that up). Ever since they serviced the unit last week, there has been a six- to ten-second delay from the time the unit is turned on, to the time the flame ignites. When it does turn on, it makes a big “whoosh” sound, sometimes vibrating the glass and scaring the bejeezus out of whoever is standing nearby (usually me or the dog).

Now, if I can only get the carpet guys to deliver that carpet we ordered back in August. sigh






Kitchen Remodel – Before and After

IMG_9254 (882x1024)We’re in!! The painters were done with the bulk of their work last Friday night and we were given the green light to move in. My husband and I stayed up til the wee hours, assembling our kitchen table and chairs, dusting and doing little things like putting felt on the bottoms of furniture legs. And then we poured ourselves a glass of Cabernet and took it all in.

There are a few outstanding issues (paint drips, a wonky faucet, motion sensor lights not working, waiting on new sofa and leather side chairs delivery, etc.), but otherwise we are D.O.N.E.

Let’s take a look at some before and after shots….

WallIMG_9255 (1024x768)The marble tile around the fireplace was taken down. The old fireplace was covered up and a new gas fireplace was installed, with built-ins flanking the sides (the closed cabinet on the left hides the flue).

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house.family2IMG_9256 (1024x972)The wall between theĀ  family room and kitchen was taken out and the light fixtures were replaced. New hardwood flooring was put down throughout both rooms and stained. New drywall, baseboards and molding. Sliding doors were sanded and painted.

MicrowaveIMG_9258 (768x1024)All appliances were replaced. We kept the location of the fridge (but changed it to a french door style for easier use), but moved the range and oven location. We installed a small microwave on the back cabinet area to keep it out of the way. We removed the swinging door that separated the kitchen from the dining room. (1024x681)IMG_9252 (1024x976)Peninsula with induction range was removed and an island was put in lengthwise. New everything. Cabinets, appliances, backsplash, molding, baseboard, lighting and paint. Kitchen window was moved eight inches to the right in order to maximize the corner space. Shoe molding was stained to match the floors and installed around the perimeter of the room and the island.

I’ll post more photos once all our furniture comes in and some art goes on the walls. Thanks for following our remodel! Although, now what am I going to write about!? (I’ll find something, don’t you worry).

Kitchen Remodel – Weeks Seven and Eight: Painting, Fireplace and Floors

You guys. I don’t even know what week we’re in on the remodel (okay now I do, I just looked. Week nine!). I’ve been going nuts with Christmas approaching (family arrives in three days!) and have been behind on the blog. I spaced taking photos of some things (like the three different stains we chose from for the floors), but at least I have some documentation of weeks seven and eight.

IMG_9160 (768x1024)The painters started doing their thing at the beginning of week seven, so our access to our new kitchen was short-lived. More sanding (aka more dust) and priming.

IMG_9161 (768x1024)And doors were taken off to be sprayed at the warehouse.

IMG_9065 (784x1024)The fireplace was set up.

IMG_9168 (768x1024)And the floors were sanded…

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Heavy-duty vac.

Heavy-duty vac.

And stained.

IMG_9170 (768x1024)I prefer light wood floors and my husband prefers dark. For some reason, though, I didn’t put my foot down on the floor color. We had dark floors at our flat in San Francisco and they were quite nice. Plus, since the floor had to run through both rooms, I felt a darker stain would warm up the family room section and would be a nice contrast to the white cabinets and backsplash.

We had to move out for a couple days while the floors were being finished, as the fumes from the process are extremely potent. Luckily we have a huge attic fan, which really helped air out the house when we got back.

With the floors complete, all that was left was our final decision on the paint color.

IMG_9190 (1024x768)I won’t even tell you how long I spent just narrowing it down to these five. Most people whose opinion I asked chose Revere Pewter, a neutral gray color (far right). It IS a lovely soft color (duh. I chose it out of thousands). But in the end, I went with my gut, which was Pashmina, a light grey-brown neutral with a hint of green (middle). I felt Revere Pewter was too close to our hallway color, and I wanted this room to feel separate.

Since we’re already in week nine, I can tell you that I’m very happy with my choice (whew!). Pictures soon.

A Closer Look – Cabinet, Fridge and Stove Interiors

Being displaced from half of the house was/is really not that bad. We still had our morning (and afternoon) coffee, still had a usable sink (albeit the smallest sink you’ve ever seen) and other conveniences like a microwave and fridge. But I say “was/is” because even though we’re finally allowed in there (floors were finished Monday), I still feel like I can’t actually start using it, because the painters start up again in a couple days.

So, while I wallow in my first-world misery, I’ll show you some features of the kitchen that I love, and can’t wait to use.

The french door refrigerator (and I still can’t spell refrigerator)…

IMG_9070 (960x1280)The freezer section is quite limited in terms of space, but we plan to buy a small freezer to keep in the basement, which will help a lot. One of my favorite things about this fridge is that it comes with a plastic pull-out help card that tells you which foods to put where and how long they will keep.

The kitchen cabinets have a few extras, my favorite being the file drawer, since my office (I run payroll for my husband’s company and deal with the girls’ school and medical paperwork) is in the kitchen. Now I wont’ have to go down to the basement whenever I need to file something or look something up.

IMG_9154 (1280x960)And there’s the knife drawer.

IMG_9147 (960x1280)I’m used to having my knives at the ready – in a block on the counter or on a magnetic strip near the stove. So I wonder how I’ll do with having to turn around and open a drawer (two extra steps – I’m sweating just thinking about it!).

I think I will love the spice drawer which is just to the right of the stove (although in hindsight, maybe the knives should have been there and the spices behind me!? Or better yet, knives to my right, spices to my left and the utensil drawer behind me – curses!

IMG_9155 (916x1024)And the lazy Suzan corner cabinet that’s nothing new, but it’s still a great space saver and you aren’t breaking your back trying to reach things deep in the cabinet. We had one at our condo in San Francisco – good stuff.

IMG_9156 (768x1024) One of the great features of the cabinet are these lovely metallic brackets (or whatever they are officially called). No more grabbing pliers to get one of those suckers out of the hole. They are easily moveable and are weighted so that they automatically fall into place. Perfection.

IMG_9148 (960x1280)And lastly there is the beautiful interior of the Wolf oven. Cobalt blue. And I’m using a stock photo because I’m too tired to walk the 20 steps to the kitchen to take a photo of my oven.
WolfI did spend some time today organizing the kitchen, figuring out where everything should go. I almost got killed by a cabinet shelf (those metallic brackets are slippery suckers), but otherwise all went well and I made some decent progress. One. More. Week!

Kitchen Stools

IMG_9078 (1280x1280)We splurged on our stools for the kitchen island and I am in love. I first saw them in Petoskey this summer at the American Spoon restaurant (best Bloody Marys, by the way). The stools are pewter powder-coated steel with a black walnut seat, made by Makr, an American company based in Florida.

I searched online for (you guessed it, HOURS), looking for a similar chair (and they had to be 24″ height in order to work with our island) and found this one for $199.00 at Grandin Road…

Twin Peaks Counter Chair / 24.4 / 199

and these lovelies from Schoolhouse Electric for $295…

Drafting Chair | Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. 295

And several others that of course I didn’t like because once you see the beauty that is the Makr swivel stool you just can’t settle for anything less (budget be damned). I’m so glad we went for it because not only are they nice to look at, they are comfortable and very heavy (girls can’t easily tip over) and the best part is that they were made here in the USA.