Friday, May 30, 2014

Day 37- The cork saga continues

Tyr and Thor have been banished to the bedroom for the past two days during Don's work hours because of the super glue adhesive spread all over the floors for the cork, so they night they make up for it and test out all the kitchen surfaces suitable for napping.

The cork is looking awesome. I love how it looks and feels, and goes with the other finishes. Don says he's having a love/hate relationship with this cork, and it's a little bit of a struggle. He also loves the look, that it's eco-friendly and all that jazz, but putting it down is a little bit of a bitch. They're pretty thin (3/8") and when you put the adhesive on them (you roll it on the back of the tile and on the floor, let both dry for 15-20 minutes to get hella tacky, and then put it down) the edges turn up ever so slightly. So when it's down on the floor, the seams kind of come up a tad. Don has a special little tool that rolls over the seams and pushes them down, but it's time consuming. He thinks that as we walk on the floor too, that will just press them down even more and over time it will become seamless. I don't mind how it looks now, the seams are barely noticeable, but he's a perfectionist so it's taking longer than we thought.

But the floors in the kitchen are done, and he's working on the hallway, bathroom, and laundry room today because the plumbers are coming tomorrow morning to install all the appliances, toilet, and faucets! Hallelujah.  

And yesterday Don finished up the last section of tile and all the grout! I really love that black grout.

You can catch some glimpses of the brass outlet plates and pendant lamps that were installed, but I'll take better pictures of them today in the daylight, and once the range hood installation is done. The window casings are also supposed to go up today so more finishing touches getting us closer to the end!

The painters come on Monday to do everything, but Jeff and I may have to paint the laundry room and bathroom ourselves tonight while they're empty. I don't think Jeff knows about that yet. At least they're small rooms...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 35- It's a-grout time.

I got that terrible pun from Ruben.

Don was such a super star today! He finished tiling the backsplash on the sink wall, grouted the tile on the range wall, arranged for the dry wallers to come over to fix the doorway they thought was going to have casings (which was our contractor's job but that would mean waiting until like Friday to have them come), and ground down the subfloor to prep it for cork tomorrow! 

That tile makes me giddy. I love it so much.

And the black grout looks great! I kind of thought it'd be a higher contrast, and more noticeable, but I actually think it's kind of subtle. Not as graphic as I had in my mind but I love it.

Here's the doorway they had to bump out a bit (our original cabinets weren't the modern-day standard depth of 24" so the counters stuck out past the doorway) and now it's smooth and matches the other doorway in the hall leading to the sewing room/playroom/office. I'm so glad we caught them in time and stopped them from putting casings on this doorway. It wouldn't have matched the other one and would have looked strange. Don is going to tile that little section of the wall tomorrow too so it wraps around.

And the floors look all gnarly like that because they are now perfectly smooth, level and ready to accept some cork!

So cork tomorrow in the kitchen, then toe kicks and baseboards and appliances in the kitchen, and cork in the rest of the reno space on Thursday I think? Then if dreams do come true, the plumber will hook up the bathroom, faucets and laundry machines on Friday and paint will go up! How's that for ambitious? If we can get appliances installed this week though, I will be over the moon.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

ONE MONTH. But we got tile!

Today was an exciting day, coming home to finished cabinets and one wall of tile!

I am so tickled pink about my gold hardware! It looks so good against the black cabinets and the butcher block keeps it from looking too fancy. Cause y'all know we ain't fancy folk.

The three slabs of butcher block were the perfect amount, and I'm so glad we used the rest of the slab from the buffet on the window ledge above the sink. The tile will go on this wall too, also up 18" wrapping around on the right to the doorway and up to the fridge on the left.

The buffet is going to hold our serving dishes, and dinner party goodies. It'll de-clutter the dining room... or give me more room to buy more stuff! Don't tell Jeff.

By the way, we're obviously having toe kicks so you don't see those ugly plastic legs. The cork will run up to the legs and then the toe kicks will run down onto it.

Look how pretty our beveled subway tile is!! We used white Schluter trim (really thin metal that wraps the edge of the tile) and I'm happy we did that instead of the 2x6" bullnose surface trim tile. It just seems sharper this way. And cheaper! I'm so frugal. Black grout comes next week and it's going to bring it all together. I can't wait to see that with the black range hood and shiny white range installed!

Such texture! Don did an amazing job, and my inner Rainman is so happy the middle section is exactly five tiles wide. 177 tiles total, 177.

I came home on the later side today so the lighting wasn't great, but I'll post some more later with pictures of the cabinet insides. Our custom cabinet installer was super impressed with the quality of the Ikea cabinets and hardware, and said Lynne and I (and 5% Jodi) did an awesome job building them. YEAH!

Flooring early next week (after the holiday dang it, the only time I've ever been annoyed at a Monday holiday!) and then appliance install right after so we can have a functioning kitchen and laundry room while they finish up the last bits. Can't wait to see that cork down!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day 26- Cabinets!

The cabinet boxes were installed yesterday! And the butcher block halfway cut and placed! And my sink put in!

I love that sink so much, even the cabinet guy said it was the perfect sink. Ikea is batshit crazy for discontinuing it. At least I think they did. It's still not in stock in any Ikeas and there are rumors they had problems with the manufacturer so they just cut it from their line. Who knows. I'm so thankful that we bought the kitchen early though and I snagged one of the last ones!

The cabinet boxes all come in white or "birch effect" but they have black finishing panels that will cover the exposed white on the outside, and the cabinet doors all completely cover the white in the front so when these are finished, you won't see any white until you open the cabinet and see the inside.

I'm not sure why the old faucet is still there, hopefully they can pull that out tomorrow. The beveled subway tile will go over that area because our new faucet will be mounted in the sink. The window box ledge will be the butcher block too. Can't wait to see that in against the tile.

The tall cabinet on the left will be our pantry. It has 5 pull out drawers, plenty of space for our dry goods. The cabinet above the fridge will hold our new microwave. We have a pretty range hood for over the stove so the microwave needed to be a countertop model. We didn't want to ugly up our gorgeous new wood countertops with a big microwave though, so this was the only other place to locate it. It'll be a little awkward having it over the fridge, Jeff can reach it easily but I'll have to use a step stool. No biggie.

That right section of the counters still needs to be cut, that little section coming off will make a nice cutting board though!

And our cute little buffet! The slab of butcher block was ripped already into two pieces but needs to be trimmed on the end. One of those pieces will go over the sink on the window ledge, and the extra chunks cut off will become cute little cheese serving boards.

I spent Friday night and Saturday morning opening the 87 packages to assemble all the cabinet drawers. I think Robert the cabinet guy will put these in tomorrow before the doors go on.

So cabinets and counters and hardware tomorrow, then tile and flooring start on Tuesday!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Day 25

The drywall is finally done, textured and primed. The guys were here early this morning painting, pulling up the rest of the laminate in the back room, and cleaning the spaces up. It feels a lot better in there now, and in the backyard where most of the crap pile went into Bagster #2. I wish they scheduled the pick up for it today to get it off our driveway, but the crane will be here on Monday to haul it away.

Tomorrow the cabinet guy will be here at noon and will work late hanging the cabinets and hopefully cutting and installing the butcher block countertops. Jeff and I will build the cabinet drawers on Sunday, and maybe even install the doors! We'll see. Then lovely Don arrives bright and early Monday morning to start the tile and flooring and the end will be in sight.

I seriously cannot wait. I barely had the patience to wait until April to start this thing, but a month of construction without a kitchen and laundry room, with a two year old!? It's been rough. Mostly on Jeff since he's here with Elsa during the day dealing with it, but coming home from a full day of work and a sucky commute due to never-ending 405 construction traffic to a torn apart and dusty house is no picnic. Plus our Dyson vacuum broke, we had a main line sewer clog, and it was in the hundred's all this week. Awesommmmmmeeee... It's still stupid hot, but the vacuum was under warranty and fixed in 15 minutes at the surprisingly great repair shop, and our regular plumbers fixed the clog less expensively than we were dreading, so I'm not yet ready to take a hot bath and open up a few veins. Check in on me again next week though.

I wonder what that grid on the subfloor is all about. They had carpet in here when we moved in, but maybe it was tile before that?

Still no doors or door frames yet...

Hopefully toilet and vanity install next Wednesday?

Once the cabinets are in, things will be looking a heck of a lot better in here. Let's hope for some good pictures on Sunday...

Monday, May 12, 2014


You know what we need? A construction project manager. Our contractor, while being a nice guy that does really quality work, is pretty freaking sucky at communicating with the subcontractors and us. Our drywall guys weren't told that they needed to be done by today to keep the cabinet dude on schedule for tomorrow, to keep our tile guy on schedule for Thursday. So they worked only two hours on Friday, which means they won't be completely done until Wednesday. Cue the dominoes.

A common problem with remodels like ours it seems, is that we're considered a small project. The contractor is going to focus his team on their larger money-making projects, and will kick people over to the small projects when they have time. We hoped that they would just bust us out quickly so they could move on to their next project, but it's impossible to time when they're going to have competing projects. I think? I don't know if you can put a deadline date into a contract like this, with contingencies for unexpected problems that aren't the fault of the construction crew. A designer friend of ours said her contracts have deadlines, where if she goes long, the client gets a discount on the cost, but if she beats the deadline, she gets a price bump. I think that's smart. I should have suggested that before we got started!

Anyways, enough words. More progress pics. From start to finish to remind me of how far we've come. 


Okay, starting to feel better...


Laundry room to bathroom:


New laundry room!


And window goes up!


So it's looking better, right!? Our light shining through the clouds is our wonderful tile and flooring expert, Don Kuskie. He has been so wonderful, coming over to meet with us, talk about the project, helping me to buy the cork and tile supplies, and keeping in touch by phone for progress updates. He was supposed to start our project today (last week?) but promised he is ready and waiting for us when we have the cabinets up and we have the green light for tile and flooring. He said he'd even work nights and on Saturday! He's the best. We'll end on that happy note.