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Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

Shelves!

Do we have news for you! We’ve finally put the shelves up in the kitchen. Leon, our trusty electrician-turned-apprentice carpenter, used his laser level and mad skillz to get our shelving up perfectly straight and even. (I can’t find our camera memory card so had to take yet another iPhone photo–apologies.) I was a little dubious when I first saw the photos that Nick sent to me at work, but in person the shelves really look good. No more walking around the corner to the pantry for a bowl or a plate! I’m happy to report, too, that our dishes are pretty nice looking, and I’m not embarrassed at all to have them out on display.

Of course, we still need to paint the kitchen, a task that just got more difficult now that we don’t have empty walls to work with, but we never seem to find the time to paint, and can’t keep putting off the other things we need to do until that magical day when we’re able to block off a whole day for painting.

In other news, I made the executive decision last week to hire a cleaning person to really give our house the good, post-reno cleaning it needed, particularly of the floors. Our new wooden floors had been subject to workmen boots for weeks, and though I’ve vacuumed plenty, I kept waiting for the reno work to really be done before I got down on my hands and knees to scrub the floor. A good scrubbing is what it needed, too–no mop was going to do the job.

Unfortunately, the cleaning team I hired, a mother-daughter duo on the recommendation of another cleaning service that was too booked to offer us a one-time clean, didn’t quite get the job done. The house was clean when I got home–vacuumed, tidied, and the stove, sinks, and bathtub were all sparkling–but the floors were no better than when I left them this morning. Apparently, I didn’t specify that I was looking for elbow grease, not a wet mop. I’m a little bummed out because the whole reason I hired someone was to do the hard labor of scrubbing floors. Argh.

But the house looks good, nice enough that it motivated Nick and I just a little bit more to clean and organize. I guess for that reason alone, the cleaning team was worth the cost.

Okay, not quite. I really wanted those floors clean.

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Brightening the Corners

It’s amazing what a little light can do for a room. This night-time iPhone photo doesn’t really do it justice, but in the dining area of the kitchen we just placed some small Ikea lamps on either end of the long bench running along the windowed wall, and what a difference. Having some light in the corners makes the room look bigger, warmer, and more “done.” Next up: curtains, our large wood-framed mirror, and some artwork.

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Blue Kitchen

We’ve started paining the house white–Atrium White, by Benjamin Moore–and we’re pleased with the way the color looks in the living room and on the hallway walls (pictuers tk). But this weekend we decided our kitchen needed some color. A pale, bluish-gray, to be exact. I found this color, Silver Gray, today, via Remodelista:

Benjamin Moore Silver Gray

Described as “… a beautiful pale gray just tingeing on blue,” the original posting is at House Beautiful, here.

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Another task completed: Reid installed our glass blocks to make a window for the half-bath. The little space is completely dark, with no windows at all, so now it will get some light from the kitchen, which will save us from having to turn the light on every time we go in there.

In other news, we decided today to bite the bullet and have Ben’s crew finish all the trim. I thought we could potentially save some money by doing it ourseleves. But I’m beginning to realize that will probably never happen. Plus, we want the trim to look good, not like some hack job (which it probably would if we were wielding the table saw). It will take about two weeks and will really be the last thing the house needs before we get to the fun part of decorating.

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I’m not sure if we mentioned this yet, but we sort of used up our budget on things like new plumbing, walls, and insulation. Which didn’t really leave anything for kitchen cabinets. But we’ve got plans.

We bought a 9-foot long stainless steel work table with integrated sink from a restaurant supply surplus store in Sanford. We have our wooden butcher block island (also purchased from that same surplus store, come to think of it).  And as of today we have our new refrigerator, delivered by Best Buy, and our Craigslist find stainless-steel Dacor range, taken out of Ben’s storage space.

The stainless steel work table will serve as the counter under which we’ll “install” the dishwasher. We plan on mounting floating shelving on the walls flanking the new kitchen window. And though this all sounds rather eclectic, what we’re hoping we’ll end up with is something of a European rustic flair, sort of like these kitchens I saw over on Remodelista.

alainpotignonkitchen

richard-birch-kitchen

rusticlondonkitchen

You can see more kitchens like this over on Remodelista. Which reminds me: Remodelista is also the site of my favorite kitchen ever, this one:

emmas-designblogg-kitchen-3

I love the simplicity and rustic but comfortable feel of this Swedish kitchen.

Which is just one more reason to be careful what you wish for. Our kitchen is going to be pretty spare for a while. But if someone comments on how austere, or bare, or primitive it is, I’ll just say, “Oh, no. It’s European.”

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I’ve had to go back in time to give you a sneak peek of the pine floors that will be covering the kitchen/dining area. Nick’s Dad, Luke, flew out from Minnesota two weekends ago on a special mission to help Nick lay down the locally-milled pine flooring we procured on our previous adventure.

This flooring is covering what you may recall was just dirt several weeks ago! No sooner were we admiring the newly laid floors than we had to cover them up with heavy-duty paper so that the drywallers wouldn’t scuff them up while doing their work. We haven’t seen our beautiful floors since these photos were taken.

New pine floors in the former porch!

New pine floors in the former porch!

Looking back towards the kitchen area.

Kitchen floors, almost complete

Kitchen floors, almost complete

Luke, at the beginning of the project, as the realization of what he’s gotten himself into sinks in.

Luke

Luke

Luke flew out here from Minnesota on his own dime, and put in two straight 14-hour days of labor. He’s also helped us out a lot on this project in other ways. In addition, we’ve received other, unexpected help from other relatives near and far, and we can’t thank you enough!

Oh, also, I added a new Page to the blog layout. Check out Progress, Room by Room in the tabs. So far I’ve only added kitchen photos, but I plan on doing something similar for each room in the house so you can really see how the renovation has progressed. But it’s late now, and considering that this is going to be a really stressful week, I think I’m going to do some relaxing yoga poses and then get ready for bed. We move on Saturday!

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We’ve gotten so caught up in our stories lately that we’ve forgotten to give you the cold, hard, photographic proof of the progress on the renovation. I was just going through our iPhoto library and discovered dozens of photos we haven’t been keeping you up to date on. Three major phases are complete, and the next three posts will show them all: framing, insulation, and drywall.

First, the framing. According to the date stamp on these photos, this phase was complete as of September 30.

Kitchen with pantry and half bath

Kitchen with pantry and half bath

The framed out kitchen, with the pantry in the foreground and the half-bath behind it.

Stairs and wall

Stairs and wall

The living room, with new stairs and new framing for wall.

Living/dining/kitchen

Living/dining/kitchen

View from bottom of stairs into office and kitchen.

Bathroom

Bathroom

Future site of our full upstairs bathroom.

Our bedroom

Our bedroom

This is the master bedroom. The framing for the wall only goes up to the height of where the ceiling used to be to give the finished room a loft-like, open and airy feel.

Walk-in closet

Walk-in closet

Our bedroom closet will go here, a nice walk-in sized closet where the house’s only, tiny bathroom used to be.

Sleep loft

Sleep loft

Framing for the sleep loft that will be above the bathroom, where the attic used to be.

Found!

Found!

Some old sheet music we found in the basement. When we move the piano in,  I’ll learn how to play it!

Floor grate in hall

Floor grate in hall

Our pretty, original floor grate in the upstairs hall.

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And we call it a woodie

And we call it a woodie

I’m sure there are lots of others way to earn street cred around here, but hauling 16-foot pieces of wood on a flatbed truck must get you some points. This is the happy photo, the morning after we made the hour-long trip from Turner, Maine back to Portland, on the back roads all the way. Nick saw an ad on Craigslist for something like 700 square feet of standard and better grade pine wood, and after a round of emails with the owner (Moose Creek Log Homes), we set out after work one day with a rented flatbed from Home Depot.

Love at first site.

Love at first site.

We were to meet with a warehouse employee at 6pm, after Moose Creek had closed. Of course, this being me and Nick, we took a few wrong turns and didn’t get there until 6:30, but luckily the guy was still waiting for us. What we weren’t expecting was for the flooring to be 16 feet long. We’d just assumed that it would be closer to 8 or 10 feet, and would fit snugly in the back of our flatbed. The reality was this:

A forklift was required to put the flooring on our truck.

A forklift was required to put the flooring on our truck.

It looks like a drug deal gone bad, but that’s just a photo of the forklift that was used to put the flooring on the back of our truck. It took about three tries before we got the wood to come to rest in the center on a pair of scrap 4x4s. And then, as the flooring swayed heavily over the back end of the truck, we realized we had nothing on us that we could use to tie down the lumber. The Moose Creek guy helpfully offered us two lengths of nylon strapping, which we jerry-rigged around the wood. At the last minute he also found a bit of rope, and a scarp of yellow caution tape that he stapled to the end of the wood. For visibility.

It was in that state that we lumbered out of the parking lot  and got onto Route 4 South back to Portland (but not before taking a wrong turn and driving around the front of the showroom and onto the front lawn; we misunderstood the guy’s directions to drive around the back of the warehouse). I kept watch on the wood while Nick drove white-knuckled down the dark back roads of Maine. The overhanging edges of the lumber dipped and bowed with every minor bump in the road, flapping up and down like a diving board as we drove.

Our plan was to get the truck back to the Home Depot by 10pm so we wouldn’t have to pay for a full 24 hour rental. Of course, we didn’t make it, so the next morning Nick woke up early to drive the truck over to the house and unload the flooring before work. As he was parking, he scraped and dented one of the carpenter’s trucks with the back edge of the wood.

When we started this renovation, we once admired some reclaimed pine flooring we’d seen for sale at $7/square foot. Three months later, we realized that this stuff, at 88 cents/sf, was more our speed. But between the white-knuckle drive, the extended flatbed rental, and the damage to the carpenter’s truck, I’m not sure it ended up being the bargain we were hoping for.

Then again, it looks good. Nick’s dad flew out for a power work weekend on Thursday, and by Sunday he and Nick had laid down flooring over 3/4 of the kitchen and dining room. But I can’t show you that photo until I write up a post on the drywall. That is an unveiling that deserve a post all its own.

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View from LR to Kitchen via Dining Room.

View from LR to Kitchen via Dining Room.

This is a milestone. A floor! Something to walk on! No more balancing on floor joists, no more dirt floor. And just look how nice and level! This subfloor will be our only floor for a while until we can afford hardwood. We will paint it white, screws and all, and live with it, because we have to. At least it’s non-toxic OSB (oriented strand board) and not plywood.

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On Friday morning before Labor Day, the insulator came to blow in sucrose-based spray foam insulation in our kitchen and dining room floors. Spray foam is apparently the next big thing in insulation. It creates a much tighter seal than fiberglass batts ever could, by starting out as a liquid then expanding to fill in every nook and cranny of your old, drafty house.

Proponents of spray foam say it will seal up your house’s envelope so tight you can expect to see up to a 50% reduction in your heating expenditure. (I hesitate to simply say “heating bills,” because I like to think green building is as much about conserving resources as it is about saving money.) It has an R value of some pretty high number, like R-21, I think. Detractors say you have to be careful when calling spray foam insulation green, because it is a petroleum-based product. But because our house is so old, it has smaller than average stud bays, which means the contractor would have had to build out the framing on the house by up to 2 inches, all over the house, to make standard blown-in cellulose insulation have the proper R-value. So you I suppose one could argue that by using the spray foam, we’re saving trees by saving on the lumber we’d need to do all that extra framing.

Anyway, spraying this stuff is a pretty big job. The insulator parked a truck outside our house, ran a thick hose through the front door, and suited up in a pretty serious-looking spacesuit. The fumes, I have to say, did not smell pretty.

Spray foam insulation truck

Spray foam insulation truck

Ben, our contractor, told us that according to the insulator, 99.9% of the petroleum product off-gasses within the first 24 hours, so indoor air quality is relatively unaffected. The petroleum base of the insulation is mixed with either soy or sucrose, in varying percentages, which means some formulations are more “green” than others.

To be honest, we don’t know how much sucrose and how much petroleum is currently insulating our floors. We do know that in previous years the winter air in the crawlspace underneath the kitchen must have made winter mornings pretty darn cold.

Spray-in foam insulation

Spray-in foam insulation

The subfloors in the kitchen and dining room should be down soon, and will cover up all that pretty green foam. Once the carpenters finish the interior framing, the insulator will come back to fill up the stud bays in the walls.

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