But by and large, we are done now.
When we left off, we were still waiting for the stove. IKEA, it turns out, doesn't order things. You can get items when they're in stock, but if they're not in stock, you just have to wait for them to come back into stock. IKEA in Houston, it also turns out, is independently owned. Which means that the eleven stoves in Dallas couldn't be transferred to the store in Houston. So we had no idea when the stove was going to come in. We were told that it'd probably be about six weeks, but keep calling just in case. Of course, since the kitchen special was going on, everyone else in Houston that remodeled their kitchen with the idea of putting this stove in was also waiting. This led to a series of phone calls by both me and Graham every other day to IKEA. We'd ask if the stove was coming in. They'd say no, check on Friday. We'd hang up, dejected. We'd then call on Friday, and be led on until Wednesday. This went on for about a month.
There were rumors of a shipment of five coming in on Sunday the 12th, which led Graham to get up at 10:30 in the morning (after working until three) to call and be denied. On Wednesday the 15th, I heard about a possible single on a Friday the 17th shipment. I remembered about that rumor when I was at a work lunch with my colleagues on Friday. So I slipped away to the bathroom to call Graham to ask him to call IKEA. As we were driving back to the office, Graham called to tell me that there was one at the store! I gasped. Graham asked them to hold it for us. They said they weren't supposed to. Graham begged. They'd only hold it for us for an hour. Graham agreed. My boss asked if I needed to be dropped off straight at home, but since my car was at the office, we raced back.
It was the fastest trip to IKEA ever. We ran through the store, knowing the maze by heart by this point. And gasping, we were met some by amused IKEA staff who held our stove for us. VICTORY!!! It was delivered the next day, and Graham and I put it together and into place.
That weekend, we worked a little more on the backsplash tiling, but discovered we need a real tile saw for the job. But we finished the baseboards and the floor transition trim and the toe kicks.
There were some delays in getting the range installed, because our electrician had gone MIA and there were some problems with the 220 plug. Our super plumbers, though, were able to get the gas hooked up by Wednesday, and their dispatcher, who we've gotten to know very well, recommended another electrician. He came out and had everything up and running also on Wednesday.
In the meantime, our amazing, wonderful, can't believe how awesome it is counter top for the island arrived on Tuesday. It's such a pretty blue shade, and it goes so perfectly with the rest of the kitchen. The installers said it was the easiest job this month, as it's a single slab with no cuts or seams.
We hosted Geek night on Monday making fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. It was AWESOME to have a bunch of people over watching us cook. We could both work without getting in the way of each other. And we could interact with our friends who were on the other side of the island.
Celosa and Noir are pretty happy with the situation. Celosa HATED the kitchen at first. She left the house to stay with my parents on June 27 when it was the way she remembered, and she came back on July 29 with a totally different set up. She had trouble remembering that she couldn't go outside through the bedroom anymore, and she just didn't like that her house had been screwed up. But she got over it pretty quickly, and now I think she likes that she has a lot more room to run in the kitchen/living/dining room.
Noir has been watching the renovation since it started. He would come in and say hi to the workmen and ask for food in the middle of the construction zone. Now, he comes by for breakfast and sometimes he likes to just chill out on the kitchen floor. I think he likes the tile. Celosa likes Noir.
Fortunately, around the time we started talking about "hey, maybe it's time to get off the pill", this post was published at Obsidian Wings. And, a few months later, we started "trying". Which generally involves a lot of peeing on sticks and taking my temperature in the morning and then timing (more) sex on days when charts and graphs and hormone levels and the stars are aligned.
There's this rough window of about six days when I may be fertile. Five days before ovulation, and maybe the day of. Based on the calendar estimation of things, it should start about eight days after the first day of my last period. But because I'm weird, my basal body temperature doesn't start dipping until thirteen days afterwards.
But this is the salient part for us:
That is, you get pregnant by having sex the day *before* you ovulate, not the day you do. Summarizing a bunch of technical talk: sperm are fairly tough, they can keep swimming in a congenial environment (like, say, a woman's Fallopian tubes) for maybe 4-5 days. The egg, though, has to delicately balance a huge number of processes at once. She can't move very far or fast, and she doesn't stay ready for action for more than half a day at the outside, often only for 6 hours or less.
So basically, in order to get to a pregnancy the sperm have to be all in place, milling around in the Fallopian tubes in their microscopic Speedos, elbowing and trash-talking each other (the technical term is sperm competition), while the egg is putting the final touches on her makeup and balancing that damn bird on her head. (ed note: There's a picture here in the original post)
When she finally heads out the door to the party (ovulation), the guys need to be there already. Then they can meet up and seal the deal within a few hours: conception. The zygote (aka "fertilized egg") then moseys down the Fallopian tube and into the uterus, dividing all the way, and then finally lands on the uterine wall (implantation), which is when pregnancy begins and the woman's body starts changing.
So we have lots of sex and hope for the best. But there's that period between sex and ovulation where everything is just iffy. Fertilization doesn't generally happen until a day or so after sex, sometimes more. And then implantation doesn't happen for a few days after that. Even then, only 20 percent of the time does this process work all the way through.
Now-ish, I'm in that weird no-man's (heh) land between ovulation and (possible) implantation, and for roughly two weeks every month, I have no idea if I'm pregnant or not, and there's no way to tell until next week if I skip an expected period and a pregnancy test comes back positive.
BUT, according to the way we calculate pregnancy, if I am pregnant, I am already over three weeks pregnant, even though I didn't ovulate until (probably) six days ago. And the relevant sex could have been as far out as 11 days ago.
So if I am pregnant, I won't know which of several attempts caused the pregnancy, and I have absolutely no idea when "conception"--or, the term I prefer, fertliization--occured. Fertilization doesnt happen until usually at LEAST the day after sex. Pregnancy, as defined as "pregnancy tests come back positive and the human body has started adapting itself to have this foreign body in it for about 37 weeks", doesn't happen until implantation.
So going back to the Dr. Science posted above, the sequence of events is:
So the sequence is:
- a day or more passes
- a few hours pass
- about a week passes
- implantation begins
- a week passes
- pregnancy test comes back positive
And of course, this is all plus or minus depending on a whole laundry list of circumstances. I didn't know the details of this before last March, mainly because until then, I pretty much wanted to stop the whole thing at step one in the list above. And I like to think of myself as fairly sophisticated on human reproduction with more of a bent of looking at the whole thing as a process than some magical moment.
So I'm not terribly surprised, given my own ignorance of the process, that there are a TON of people out there that have no idea how the whole process works aside from the basic "sex-->fertilization-->pregnancy" thing. And that's the people without some sort of ideological agenda that they want to insert into this process.
Now that the kitchen renovation has died down (countertop on the island will be installed on Tuesday, who knows when IKEA will have our stove in, some minor trim work to be done), I have time for other projects, and I think I really want to get a little more serious about writing.
I have a dozen half written stories and other projects sitting on various computers and clouds and blogs, and I'm hopeful that some structure to my week will help me focus on them a little more. I know that in order to write, I have to, well, write. But I also know that I'm a little terrified of the prospect. Having a structure will help.
The workshop starts in about a month, and it will last ten weeks.
I knew awhile ago that we weren't going to make it this year, even though I really hoped that we'd figure out a way to pull it off with everything else we were doing. The wedding, Graham's surgery and the kitchen renovation were all so bunched together that we never really had an opportunity to raise our heads and breathe. We wouldn't have been able to start Burning Man prep until this week, which is certainly doable, but not ideal.
In addition, from about April forward Graham sort of wanted to go to Europe for a proper honeymoon instead of Burning Man. He's done five burns, and the idea of the time and effort to haul everything out to the desert was really stressing him out. I liked the idea of Europe, but I also didn't mind the hauling stuff out to the desert as much as he did.
In early June, Graham got word of an opportunity to dj in Europe in late November. It's not finalized yet, and it's certainly not the type of gig that would be fully funded, but it's a pretty amazing once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing that we would actually regret not doing. We'll probably go to Paris for a few days and then hop over to London for the event. And we will have an awesome time. I am not upset in the slightest that we're choosing to do this over Burning Man.
But that doesn't mean that I'm not sad about not going to the playa. Our friends have started Burning Man prep in earnest, and every other post on facebook and on various lists seems to be about it. A lot of our friends are going, and their plans seem really fun and interesting. We were going to have another marriage celebration out there, because we didn't invite anyone from California Gigsville to the wedding thinking that we'd do something out there instead. I was really excited about the idea of it, especially since that is where Graham and I met. That the theme this year is "fertility 2.0" while we're trying to get pregnant doesn't help my state of mind about this either.
It's been four burns now since I've been. And if we start having kids in the next year, it will be a long time before I can go again. Sure, you can take kids to the playa or leave kids home with grandparents while you go. But not next year, when I'm hopefully breastfeeding someone under six months old. Or probably the year after that. And if Graham thinks it's a pain in the ass now, it's certainly not going to get any easier with having kids.
I know that once the Burn is over, and when we start getting ready for our honeymoon in Europe, this feeling of sadness will subside. We're going to California to visit some friends for their housewarming in September. But right now, it sucks that you can't do everything that you want to do.
Actually, it turns out that she got a little sick, so her dramatic reaction to the kitchen may have had more to do with her upset tummy than it did her feelings about the new layout. She continued to be sick on Monday and Tuesday, but seemed to be on the road to recovery after a visit to the vet (21.7 pounds for those counting at home).
In the meantime, Graham and I started the ambitious project of installing the back splash. At first, Graham was doing everything, since I went to a spin class last night. But when I got home, we got into the rhythm of my putting the mastic on the wall and then aligning the tile, while he cut the tiles that needed to be cut and dealt with the electrical issues.
I think it turned out rather well.
In the middle of tiling, Celosa went to her food bowl and had some kibble. It was the first time she'd shown interest in her food bowl since coming home on Sunday night. She also drank a huge bit from her bowl. We tried not to get too excited, but it was nice to see her returning to her old self a bit.
We retired to watch the Olympics after our tiling was complete.
This morning, we found that though it had slipped a little in some places, the tile seemed to have held nicely.
Graham went to the hardware store as soon as it opened for some rubber gloves, a new trowel and a mop. And by the time I was leaving for work, he was on his way to installing the grout. We had bought a blue tinted grout from Home Depot a few weeks ago, and we were anxious to see how it'd turn out.
I came home for lunch, and much progress had been made.
We had the perfect amount of grout for this part of the kitchen, and I think the job looks great. It was pretty tedious to ensure that everything was straight and level, but it was also pretty straightforward. And the grout was awesome at hiding some elements, like around the switch plates where it was challenging to fill entirely with tile.
We have a bit more to do on the wall with the sink. But we ran out of both tile and grout. The tile is easy: we can just go to Home Depot. But the grout had to be ordered online, so it'll take a few days before we can do that part of the project. That's ok. We have plenty of other things to do.
And, while I was home I took the chalk board wall for a spin.
We'll hope now that she's feeling better that she'll see it that way too.
The electrician didn't come.
Graham nearly fired the guy, but I suggested that we give him the weekend. I had strong suspicions that he was doing our job on his free time, and his weekends were more likely to be free than not. Graham relented, especially when considering the cost of having someone else come in to do the job when it was halfway done. Not to mention it wouldn't be done any sooner.
So Graham, instead went to work on finishing up the drawers on the island. He installed the fronts and the handles, and it looked awesome.
He went to work on Friday night, so I decided that I didn't need to wait for the electrician to start the painting of the chalkboard walls. I was nervous as hell about it, but I'd gone to Home Depot at lunch for some Frog Tape, and I had a level. So I got started.
It was long, laborious work, but it was something that needed to be done. I didn't realize how many coats I'd need to use for the chalkboard paint to get on, but I totally got into the process.
I could have stopped to watch the opening ceremonies, but I decided that I'd rather watch them with Graham. So when I was done painting, I started organizing some of the crap in the living room into the drawers that had finally been installed.
Graham got home sometime in the middle of the night, and we slept until maybe nine, because the electrician had said he'd be by at 10:30.
We watched the opening ceremonies while waiting for him to come. And when I called at 11:00, he said he'd be there in an hour. And at 12:15, he showed up.
He worked for four hours, and installed eight regular outlets, one 220 outlet and one light switch. He also connected the dishwasher and disposal.
Since there wasn't much for us to do while he was working, we watched Olympics. Fencing, beach volley ball, regular volley ball, and some other random sports. The iPad app is pretty cool for finding Olympic coverage.
Because of the delays, his charge for the electrical bill was embarrassingly low. Like, ohmigodican'tbelievethis low. But it was excellent work. The installation of the outlets in the island (including one with USB ports, so plug space isn't taken by Apple products of various vintage) was outstanding. As much of a pain in the ass as his communication skills were, his work (and his cost) was amazing.
When he left, Graham and I did a bit of a happy dance, and then we high tailed it to Home Depot to buy some 3/4 inch cabinet grade plywood decking for the island. I also picked up some trim for the floor, though it turned out to be the wrong size.
And then we went home and went to work. The decking had been cut PERFECTLY at Home Depot. And even better, the side panels on the island that tested the strength of our marriage the week before was installed AMAZINGLY well, by the two of us. And we now had a working island. We put the laminate strips on the edges so it'd blend better, and until the Silestone shows up sometime in the next two weeks, it will be very functional.
Then, Graham and I went to work on separate projects. I started a second coat of paint on the chalkboard walls, and also on the accent cut out in the dining room. It had been a different shade of blue that was going to clash, so I thought it'd be easier just to paint everything the same color.
In the meantime, Graham worked on the microwave cabinet that hadn't been able to go up until the electricity had been sorted. He patched some drywall, installed the cabinet, installed the shelf, and organized the cabinet.
We also started moving stuff into the kitchen. Plants on the windowsill, appliances on the counter tops or in the island. Drawers got organized. We started making a lot of decisions about how we were going to live.
We stopped at around 9:00 and got something to eat while we watched Olympic coverage.
We were up pretty early. Graham was overjoyed that he could actually make coffee using the microwave and a French Press. I was just happy that things were moving quickly.
We did some more organizing in the morning. I pulled the tape off of the chalkboard walls. Graham moved some more items and pulled the paper and plastic off the floors. It was starting to look real.
Compare yesterday morning:
to Friday morning.
As soon as 10:00 rolled around, we hopped in the car and took off for IKEA. Our mission: shelving for over the window and under cabinet lighting.
Actually, we had a pep talk about the shelving before we left, and it turns out that we had been on two entirely separate pages. Fortunately, we talked it out and went in with a game plan.
By now, we know IKEA pretty well, and we knew exactly where to go. The lighting turned out to be slightly more expensive than anticipated, because we will end up using two systems instead of one. But one of the things we noticed the previous night was that the under cabinet lighting will turn out to be necessary. And of course, I wanted the color changing LED.
Shelving wise, Graham had an epiphany, and instead of broken up shelves over the window and the refrigerator, he created a long shelf over the whole wall. It's just brilliant.
We met some friends for brunch, and then took them home to watch us install shelving and move into our new pantry. We were really glad that they came over, because we could really see how functional the kitchen was for entertaining while working in the kitchen. Very easy to chat while doing other things, and our guests were comfortably sitting at the island while we worked.
After they left, Graham and I went into hard core cleaning mode. I hung art. Graham scrubbed the hell out of the tile floors and the wood floors right next to the kitchen. I moved as much as possible from the living room and dining room to the kitchen, cleaning as I went. Graham helped me repair my desk, and then we moved it to its new space. I flipped the sofa and the chairs in the living room. Graham installed one of the lights over the coffee station cabinets.
Our goal was to get the house as ready as possible for Celosa, who would be coming back from the ranch that night. I went to the recycling place to take all of the boxes off of the front porch. I loaded the car with all the crap to take to Goodwill.
My parents got to our house around 8:00ish, and Celosa raced into the house. She wasn't really thrilled about the idea, especially about the door being cut off from our bedroom to the kitchen. She now has to go all the way around to go outside from the bedroom (though that will change sooner or later when we install a patio door in the bedroom).
Graham cooked steaks on the grill last night, and he made some veggies in the microwave. It was our first meal prepared in our new kitchen.
And this is what the house looked like right before I left for work this morning:
So it's almost done. We still have to wait for the countertop and the stove. And when the stove comes in David will come back to install the hood. And while he's here, we'll use his truck to pick up a dining room table that my parents want to give us.
And we still have some projects to finish in the next week or two.
2. Under counter lighting on the other side/
3. Toe kicks (and install trim between dishwasher).
4. Move overhead lights and add rail.
5. Floor transition board.
6. Base boards install.
7. Upper trim install
But holy crap is this thing different than when we started! 29 days ago they took out the cabinets, and now this. It feels like a whole new house.
And Lo and behold! Raul was here at 8:55 this morning. Graham showed him what to do, kissed me, and took off for jury duty.
I held down the fort for 30 minutes, while Raul cut away at the drywall (but not the shiplap underneath). It was not an overwhelming success. At 9:40ish, he told me he had to get some supplies and check on another job and he'd be back at two.
I went to work.
Graham got out of jury duty (he kept on stating "It depends on the eccentricities of the case" to every question asked of him), and got home in time to wait for Raul.
Who said he'd be back at 11:00 tomorrow.
There was a lot of gnashing of teeth and some foul language, because really, we could have a functional kitchen if the electricity were done. We could put the drawers in the island and fill them. We could put the microwave in its cabinet and the items that are destined for that cupboard. We could buy the plywood decking for the island and install it. We could work on the tile backsplash.
So at four, I went to the paint store for the second coat of paint for the walls and ceiling, and Graham cut out the holes in the wall for the outlets (including the shiplap) to be moved.
The two boxes with wires are the ones that don't work. The three boxes without wires are Graham's new holes. After the electrician installs the outlets, Graham will fill the other holes with drywall and mud.
And then we got to painting. Graham had already put the first coat of this thick texture paint to attempt to match the paint on the rest of the walls. This paint was regular flat latex, and it was awesome.
Graham took one side of the kitchen, and I took the other, and we got the entire first coat on in about an hour and a half, save for the parts that were still wet from Graham's texture coat that went on earlier today and the taped away chalkboard planes.
It looks awesome.
The parts of this wall with just primer are going to be covered in blue chalkboard paint. I also contacted my friend Melissa Borrell about one of her Fantasy Shades for the window, since it looks upon my neighbor's fence, and it's a west facing window at any rate. She e-mailed me back with some ideas, and I think it'll end up looking really cool.
We also realized early on that the blue on this accent wall was likely going to clash with the blue of the chalkboard paint. And at any rate, the likelihood of matching the old paint for the extra part that was added on to the soffit (my brother informs me that is the architectural term) was going to be low. So we're going to repaint the old blue with the blue chalkboard paint to ensure that the clashing is minimal and to add some continuity between the rooms.
I continue to take pictures and measurement of trim. We're coming closer and closer to actually needing to think about how we're going to do this, especially now that we have started to paint the ceiling. I'm pretty sure that we now know how we will make this work, but it will be tricky.
And so the plan for the immediate future is:
- Pray that the electrician actually shows up tomorrow and finishes the power install.
- Graham will apply the second coat of white paint tomorrow.
- Friday night, I will do the chalkboard paint on the wall, which I'm nervous about because I've never had to paint perfectly straight lines before. Here's hoping my taping works.
- Friday night, install drawers in the island and start to fill them.
- Saturday, Graham to fix holes in wall where power outlets were misplaced.
- Saturday, install microwave cabinet.
- Saturday, install microwave and put other items in cupboard.
- Sunday, go to Home Depot and get plywood decking for island (cut at Home Depot)
- Sunday, install decking, paint and apply laminate.
- Sunday, (if time) start on backsplash.
Oh yeah, the backsplash:
This is what the backsplash will look like. It's going to have blue grout.
After all of this is done, we'll get working on the various trim pieces (base boards, transition from tile to wood floors, the beam on the ceiling, then paint all with glossy latex). And then we'll scrub down the various floors, apply sealer on the grout.
Then, we have to wait. We have to wait two weeks for the island countertop. And we have to wait who knows how long for the stove from IKEA. Then we have to install the toe kicks. And rearrange the living room and dining room.
And then we're done!!
We're at 3 and 1/2 weeks now, which is pretty damned fast, in my estimation. I think that we'll be done with most of it by this time next week, except for the two items
Since then, there's been a flurry of activity.
On Friday, ALL of the cabinets were constructed, leaving a ton of cardboard that required two trips to the recycling center.
These cabinets were then put into place.
And by the end of the day on Friday, everything was where it needed to be.
A few things required adjustment. For example, the outlet for the microwave needed to be moved to the left about six inches. The power cord for the range hood needed to be moved to the left about 20 inches and up about eight inches.
On Saturday, we got all the doors on their hinges and more or less adjusted. We couldn't put the drawers in the island, though, because the electrical outlets still needed to be installed.
After 21 days living at my parents' house, I moved back into our house on Saturday night.
And by Sunday, it was starting to look like a real kitchen. All we needed was the contractors to return for the final installs.
I painted the wall in our bedroom with some primer to make it look less sheetrock-y.
On Monday, Graham had everyone lined up. There were calls into the electrician, the plumbers, and the counter-top people. He also got a lot of the hardware in for the doors that we already had up. Of course, no one came. We stopped at IKEA for a template for the drawers to ensure that those handles would be even.
Tuesday, the plumbers came. Sink: operational WITH water filter. Gas line: attached. Hot water heater: replaced. Joy, rapture, ecstasy. The plumbers only have to come back one more time to hook up the stove whenever it gets here. We started priming the kitchen walls and ceiling, avoiding the areas that the electrician would have to work. Of course, he didn't show up.
Today, the counter-top people came to measure. We can now buy the plywood decking and install that (it will require one cut at Home Depot). Two weeks from now, our new counter-top will be here. Electrician, still a no-show.
Tonight, Graham called the electrician and let him have it. Supposedly he will be at the house at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. I'm going to have to wait around the house, because Graham has jury duty. This may be for the best, because those two aren't exactly on speaking terms right now. I think it's just the nature of contractors that they don't show when they say they will; Graham thinks it's the height of unprofessionalism. Since I'm not the one who's been waiting around for three days, I'm guessing he's right. But I'm also the one that will have to deal with the fall out if there is any.
The problem, of course, is that the electrician is in the way of completion. We can't do anything with the island without his work having been done. We can't put in the microwave and the items in that cabinet. We can't finish painting, because he has things to do on the walls that we're working on. The other items we need to do to finish up (cleaning the floors, installing the backsplash, installing trim) require the electrical work to have been finished. So we're at a standstill.
Hopefully a temporary standstill, but a standstill nonetheless.
Here's hoping that tomorrow's report will be better.
In other news Celosa enjoys the hell out of being at her grandparents' house.
About a month and a half after our wedding, we went to Austin, where our friend Pixie of Pixie Vision Productions was shooting a belly dance convention. Pixie had taken pictures of us three years ago (and pictures of our dogs), and when those photos came out, we were amazed at how good we looked. My avatar picture here and other venues is from that set. When we saw her travel schedule was bringing her through Texas, we immediately booked her for our "engagement shoot" even though the photographs were going to be taken after the wedding.
This time, I felt a lot more comfortable in front of the camera than I did the first time. We brought music to listen to, which DEFINITELY helped me feel more comfortable, and I was better at following direction. Pixie moves FAST. There were well over 300 photos taken in the hour that we worked with her AND I had four outfit changes (though photos from two of the outfits didn't make the final cut). The blue dress I'm wearing was the dress that I wore to dance in for my wedding reception Graham was scheduled to have surgery a few days after the shoot, so he wasn't feeling his best. He asked me to pose more than him, so that's why there are more shots of me than him. Also, the other outfit he brought with him was too white, so he chose to wear this soccer jersey instead. I think it looks awesome. .
The hardest part, of course, was picking the 15 photos from the 300 plus proofs to be edited for the final product. We agonized for weeks over it, and eventually I couldn't make up my mind over three photos, so I included them all and paid for additional editing. I do not regret that in the slightest.
And then, there's Celosa. She was just a baby when she met Pixie three years ago, and they fell head over heels in love with each other. So when we scheduled the shoot, OF COURSE Celosa was going to be in the pictures. She's really, really hard to photograph well, but Pixie did a great job of getting some amazing shots.
The whole set of photos (28 in all, with different versions of the ones above and individual shots of both of us and our puppy dog) is here.
Bonus of me looking HOT. I do love Pixie a lot:
Over the weekend, we took a break. There wasn't anything we could do until the floors were finished, and it seemed like we needed a bit of a respite from the non-stop kitchen-ing.
So we focused on Celosa instead.
We got a message from her breeder on Sunday that she had been asked to be on a morning TV program in anticipation of the dog show this weekend. It was one of those "breeds you don't ordinarily see that will be at the dog show" type of segments. Our breeder didn't really have time, as she's showing dogs this weekend and they have priority. But Celosa is a fantastic representation of the breed AND she's friendly, and we didn't really have to do anything other than show up at the station around the corner from our house and look pretty. Celosa naturally looks pretty. We said of course! Celosa is a born star.
So on Tuesday, we went over to the dog show site (Reliant) to meet with the breeder and to get a quick haircut. Celosa loved it, and she looked great. She was more or less well behaved on the grooming table, and she got a bit more of a professional polish than she's used to. We also got the skinny on the other pulik in Houston AND we got wristbands that get us into the dog show all weekend.
After some e-mails back and forth with the person in charge of the TV segment, we were ready to go! And this morning, we were on TV: (I think we start around the 4:30 mark.)
She was great! She made all sorts of friends at the TV studio, and she did a fantastic job of projecting her wonderful little personality. I only wish I'd worn a different color pair of pants so we didn't blend in together as much as we did at some points. But Celosa rocked.
In kitchen news, David came back to town yesterday and finished tiling the floors:
They look AMAZING. And he did an even better job once you realize that the tiles were slightly different in width and size, so he had to press down harder on some than others, and he had to sort of mess with them a little to get the points to line up. Today they were grouted, and now, we can move on to further making our kitchen look like a real kitchen instead of an empty box.
At around 8:00, the IKEA delivery showed up with the rest of our kitchen.
The delivery guys said that it was the first delivery in three years where EVERYTHING showed up in one shipment. Even the corner cabinet that we thought we'd have to come back for later was included. AND it looks like our range will come in two weeks from now rather than six weeks.
Last night, Graham and I started assembling a few cabinets.
We stopped after doing two because we realized we had no where to put them. Once the kitchen was grouted, they could go in there, but we were quickly running out of room in the non-kitchen parts of the house. I think that they've all been assembled by now, and tomorrow will be cabinet installation! How very exciting.
Tomorrow also, Celosa and I are going to Reliant Center with my mom for the "meet the breed" part of the dog show. Celosa has been deputized by the puli people because she's unusually friendly (a lot of pulik could care less about anyone they aren't related to), and she doesn't have any other duties.
Over the weekend, I think Graham and I will be finishing up cabinet installation (putting on doors and hardware), and we will begin painting.
One of the major DIY projects we have to take on is the ceiling. We've taken pictures of the existing trim, and we will have to attempt to match it when building the final beam that makes the transition from the dining room to the kitchen.
We think we've seen everything we need at Home Depot, but it's now going to be a question of actually executing.
I'm hopeful that we can get the electrician and plumbers back out on Monday, and we can get the countertop measurements done more or less then as well. If the counters and the oven come in around the same time, we'll have done the entire kitchen in under a month.
Graham picked me up at lunch for another trip to Home Depot, this time for more drywall mud another two sheets of cement board for the floor. While we were there, he told me that David brought a helper, and together they finished up the first round of mudding on the walls and ceilings and were starting to get the cement board down on the floor. AND by the end of the day,...
...half of the tiling is done!! It was less than ideal when yet another rainstorm hit (in the past week, the weather station near my house has logged 5.03 inches of rain), because the equipment they'd been using to cut the cement board and tile had to be moved from the outside to the inside, increasing the dust level in the house by another thousandfold. But progress!
The kitchen looks so big without the appliances in it. And the blue and white looks absolutely perfect. David made them very close in spacing, so grouting is going to be very simple (and fairly easy to maintain).
After inspecting the amazing floors this morning, Graham and I made the trek to IKEA that has been the center of this project for about two years. I started the design process for the kitchen at least two years ago, if not more. I changed layouts. I changed doors. I changed cabinet features. I got to know the online kitchen design program backwards and forwards. Mine was the third IKEA kitchen that I'd designed, and it was the one I spent the most time on.
We needed to get to $4500 in kitchen purchases from certain lines to get a 20% discount. So our first mission was to ensure that what we had in our cart qualified for the discount. After eliminating two shelves because they didn't count, but adding a cabinet covering to make the island look seamless, we were short $151.22. We spent an hour going through the various drawer accessories and adding them to our cart, cursing IKEA's reasonable prices as we went. Finally, an in-sink colander got us to $4507. We will have an awesomely organized kitchen.
It took about another hour and a half for the floor staff to go through and process the order, so we wandered around, pausing at one of those mock apartments to hang out. We noticed more IKEA shoppers carrying umbrellas, so we figured it started raining again.
When we got back to check on the status, it turned out that the hardware we selected had been discontinued, and we had to pick out another line. It also turned out that two items we wanted were not in stock: the stove and the corner base cabinet. The stove was not a great surprise, as we'd heard that it wasn't normally kept in stock last week when we were doing recon. The corner cabinet gave us a bit of a start, as it's sort of what we were intending on building the kitchen around, since it has the most pieces attached to it. Turns out that the corner cabinet should be in by late next week, which is around the time we were planning on installing the kitchen. *phew* The stove, on the other hand, has about a six week wait. This does not make Graham happy, but there's not much we could do about it.
Still, we could get the 20% off of everything else we bought, AND the 20% will apply to the stove and cabinet we weren't able to get today. And we ended up paying very little for our kitchen, thanks to the very generous gift cards our friends and family gave us for our wedding.
The kitchen staff liked our floor and overall design concept, and they asked for pictures when we come back for the other things. I think Graham has a calendar item set in his phone now to check weekly if the stove has come in.
We arranged for the delivery of our new kitchen for next Wednesday. And David should be back on Tuesday to finish up the floors and walls. I imagine a good hunk of the cabinets will be up by the end of the week!! How terribly exciting!
Another trip to Home Depot (more thin set mortar for the tiling), and we're done for the weekend. No kitchen stuff tomorrow. Back to the grind on Monday, whenin we will attempt to put up the drywall in our bedroom without David.
And yesterday, the wall went away.
David came back yesterday to work on the house, and lots has been done. Home Depot made a delivery of all sorts of materials, though Graham had to make two Home Depot runs during the day (once on his own for another Bagster, another time with me for some drywall mud that somehow didn't make the order we'd placed.) But David was busy. First, obviously, the wall came down. So did the rest of the sheetrock. Including a ton from the ceiling.
Also, the various holes in the middle retaining wall made by the plumbers the day before were made to go away using the shiplap that I'd torn down. Also, the doorway to the bedroom was gone. I had a mini freakout about this, since I'd intended to use that shiplap for something else, but I understood that making the house as structurally sound as possible was more important than my way-down-the-line home decor projects. Plus, I have another wall I intend to put a hole in. I can get shiplap from there.
Our biggest challenge as of yesterday was the box hiding the slope of the roof that exists in the dining room but doesn't in the kitchen. It's the real marker of a transition between the two rooms.
Also, note in the second picture above that once upon a time, there was wall paper on the ceiling. It looks like it was a red floral print. Huh. Who knew?
All in all, yesterday was an insanely productive day, especially considering that David did it all by himself.
David and Graham got all of the drywall (except on the other side of the now-gone doorway in our bedroom) up, and they started the taping and mudding. The transition between the two rooms is going to be pretty seamless, and it is starting to look like a real room now.
David was able to cap the box in the dining room, and I think that we will replicate one of the beams in the living and dining room to mark the ceiling transition from dining room to kitchen. (If you scroll up to the first picture, you might be able to see the beam better. They are every four feet or so from the front door to the end of the dining room. You can see them really well in this picture.) This will be balanced on the floor by the transition from hardwood to tile. We're still trying to decide whether we will want to put ceiling tiles up--the old fashioned pressed tin type--or if we just want to paint it.
At any rate, things are really progressing now. I think that it'll probably take about a half-day to finish the drywall tomorrow, and I think that the cement board for the floor will go down tomorrow. Over the weekend, we'll sand the walls to get them finally ready for painting. We'll paint the back wall and the retaining wall white, and the exterior wall will have a blue chalkboard paint.
The plumbing got moved and the electrical rough ins are done! I got most of the last board of shiplap off! I injured my hand prying off some of the shiplap between the old door frame going into the kitchen and the exterior wall!
First, the plumbing and electrical:
The plumbers apparently had a rough time of it, but they were able to tear out a section of shiplap in the middle wall, take out the old pipes, and move them inside the wall. They will come back later to install the gas line and attach it to the stove, and attach the sink to the new plumbing there. Apparently we could stand to get a new line from the city water, but we can wait a little on that.
The electrician moved a light switch from the old wall to the exterior wall. He also moved two outlets from the old wall to the floor for the island. And he added two outlets for the microwave and the vent hood. Plus moved another outlet, and added a 220 outlet for the stove.
AND he replaced our ancient panel:
When I got home, he was still working on it. And I got changed to start pounding on the last piece of shiplap that I knew that I could get off. I got all of the nails out except the ends.
All I had to do to get it off was move a bit of wood from the old door frame. I was using a prybar, and I got a whole hunk off.
But on one board I pulled too hard, and my hand flew back straight into a piece of aluminum that used to be our backsplash. We'd been using it as an industrial dustbin.
Sliced my knuckle open.
I bled all over the house and all over Graham, who bandaged me up and declared me to not need stitches. He pulled me off work for the night AND he told me that now that I've injured myself, I'm not allowed to work on the house for the whole rest of the project without gloves. It's apparently a rule in the manual labor industry (in which he has much more experience than I do). I was feeling a little lightheaded, and so I agreed that maybe for now I should stop.
David got here this morning, and he got the rest of the wall down. Shiplap and 2x4s are gone. He also boarded up the old doorway between the kitchen and the bedroom with some of the shiplap, so the cabinets have something to hang on. And he's torn out a lot of the ceiling drywall because there are some loose boards up there. I suspect our house is even more tank-like than it was before.
Home Depot delivered drywall, screws, thinset mortar and cement board to the house this morning, and Graham and I made a trip at lunch for some grout and drywall mud. There's a new Bagster in the back yard for the rest of the wall and other assorted building materials.
Drywall goes up tomorrow! And I think tiling begins the day after.
And Saturday, I think, is our major IKEA buy.
So we continue to live under less than neat and tidy conditions.
We were awakened by David, who had an electrician lined up to see the house. We hauled our asses out of my parents' bed and tore over to the house to meet Raul, the electrician. His quote was about a third of the other quote. He'd be moving all the wires and replacing the panel. And? He could start tomorrow, Sunday. Holy fuck! Graham and I were in a bit of shock over that, but we were more than happy to hire him on the spot. Graham called the other electrician who was supposed to show up on Monday for a bid to cancel that appointment.
Graham had worked on Friday night and he woke up early Saturday morning, so I made him go back to my parents' house for a nap while I worked a little more at the house.
I pulled off one more layer of shiplap, and then I went to the task of arranging all the shiplap we had already taken off. It took me about an hour to pull out all the nails, and then I organized all the pieces in to like sizes and tetrised them into our tool shed.
I also went to the backyard and took the opportunity to cut some major branches off of some overgrown trees and bushes and hauled them to the bagster sitting in our driveway. We could barely walk out of our back deck thanks to an over eager loropetalum, and the vitex was pretty much depriving my rosebed of sunlight. A casual passer by would think that it was yard work rather than house work that was the impetus for buying the bagster. I arranged for it to be picked up on Monday.
I went back to Graham, took a shower and had a nap until it was time for him to go to work. The puppies were overjoyed to see me.
On Sunday, the electrician was supposed to be there by ten thirty, so we hauled ourselves out of bed again and went over to the house. I occupied myself by getting rid of the trim around the doorway in our bedroom. And I pulled away all of the remaining wood on the floor where the wall used to be, uncovering the original hardwoods of the house.
We had a three second discussion about uncovering the rest of the hardwoods, when sanity prevailed and we realized that the original tile idea would be better. I cleaned a bit of the area, too, because I knew that the plumbers and electricians would want room to work. I stacked all the trim away, in case we needed it later. And I swept like a madwoman.
By noon, it was raining pretty hard, and the electrician couldn't get what needed to be done in the rain, so he rescheduled for the next day.
So we took off for IKEA to get some recon regarding the countertops, any impending supply issues with the cabinets, and to look at shelving for over the refrigerator. All seemed well, especially since the sale is going on now, and we're in the wonderfully awkward position of having to find $200 more to spend at IKEA on our kitchen so we can save 20% rather than 10% (we're in the window where spending more actually saves us more). I have confidence that we can do this.
And on to Home Depot! We decided to buy a hot water heater. I have delayed this purchase ten years, and since the plumbers have to disconnect it anyhow, we figured it was a good time to replace it. We had a Home Depot gift card from the wedding that we used for part of it, and Graham nearly killed me by vandalizing some inventory notes in the patio door section.
We grabbed some lunch at The Haymerchant and headed back to the pooches. My parents got back from California a few hours later, and they wanted all of the updates. We decided that Graham would stay at the house because he had contractors to deal with the next morning, but I'd stay at my parents' place with Celosa.
Frustration. The plumbers were supposed to be there first thing, but didn't show early. When Graham called, they were supposed to be there "after lunch". But then it started pouring rain, and their appointment was cancelled. Graham was unpleased.
The electrician was supposed to be there at around one. But again with the rain, cancelling.
The only real success of the day was that the Bagster was picked up and our driveway is navigable again.
We went to geek night last night, and then parted.
Much success! I don't know much of the details, since I was only on the phone. But!
Plumbing: Pipes moved! Apparently this was quite a challenge and involved a lot of going to the attic and under the house and pulling apart the one unmolested wall in the kitchen.
Electrical: Rough in done! Apparently there are all sorts of new connections and wires and things running all over our kitchen, and we're terribly excited about all of it. As I type, the electrician is putting in the new panel.
Drywall and tile: Materials ordered! Home Depot will be delivering 14 sheets of drywall, 10 sheets of mortar board, assorted screws, thin set, and liquid glue in the morning. Should be moving forward tomorrow!
I'm about to take off to check out the progress today. I look forward to seeing how it's going. Tomorrow: The return of David, and drywall goes up.
Also, we got our first "holy fuck!" bid today. The electrician bid came back at twice as much as we had anticipated the very top to be. Fortunately, another electrician who came recommended by a friend is coming by on Monday to take a look, and if that doesn't work, David has an electrician friend here in Houston who he says could probably do the job for about a quarter of what the bid was. David of course could do it for about a tenth of the bid, but he's not a certified electrician (though I have no doubts whatsoever that he'd be well above code) and we want this to be as above the books as possible, he's not going to make the cut.
The plumbers are coming back on Monday to move the pipes. They told Graham yesterday that it'd be a little more than anticipated, now that they've seen the extent of the job and that they have to thread the pipes through the shiplap retaining wall. "How much more?" "$200 more." I heart our plumbers.
This weekend, we are going to finish taking down the shiplap from the main wall. I have two more layers to go and that part is finished. Then I'll move it over to the tool shed for safe keeping until we have a project for it. We will also remove as much of the sheetrock as we think is going to be needed to be gone for the renovation. Maybe we'll be able to get the other door frame out too.
Our other task for the weekend is to determine whether or not to replace the hot water heater while we're at it. I'm sort of inclined to given that they're messing with those pipes already, I was supposed to replace it ten years ago when I bought the house, and we've saved a lot of money already on this project. Plus, sometimes I hear rattling in the attic when I turn the water on. If so, we need to buy the hot water heater this weekend so they can install it on Monday when they do the rest of the plumbing job.
Monday and Tuesday are supposedly the rough-ins on the plumbing and electrical (assuming that one of the two people coming in on Monday can move that quickly on electrical) and on Wednesday, David is coming back for the drywall and tiling. We think we have a pretty straight forward drywall job, and the tiling will just be the whole room, which is pretty square and won't require too many strange cuts, aside from two holes near the island for electrical outlets.
Next week, I'll need to buy a bunch of drywall, some insulation sheets, tape, drywall mud, drywall screws, backerboard for the tile, mortar, grout, sealers, etc. Right now, I'm estimating about $700 at Home Depot, but who knows what random unexpected purchases I'll be making in addition to what I'm expecting.
Sometime the week after, we'll make the IKEA buy, grateful that their Kitchen Event sale started on Wednesday and will go until mid-August. And the installation of cabinets will begin! After that, we have to call the countertop people to install that, and while we wait for that installation, Graham and I will work on the backsplash.
Then paint, touch ups and finish work, and we can move back into the kitchen! I'm guessing it will be five weeks total, though we're hoping for four. Week one has been EXTREMELY productive, even with the holiday that sort of screwed us contractor-wise in the middle.
While we were there, Graham pulled up the rest of the floor boards, and I started working on some of the shiplap slats on the kitchen side of the wall. I finally pulled a slat that allowed us to see through the wall.
On Tuesday, the electrician showed up and walked through. The job seemed straightforward enough, but since it's probably been at least 20 years since the wiring was put in, it's woefully out of code. And so he'll need to rewire the circuits in the kitchen before he can move anything. Plus, our panel is pretty bad, so it'll have to be replaced too. He's supposed to send the bid by Friday.
The Habitat people came back also to take away the stuff in the back yard and pull off the remaining shelving. Graham said that job took as long as pulling out the rest of the kitchen, because the shelving was built into the wall, past the sheetrock. It was sturdy, too. Sad to see it go, but we would lose significant upper cabinet storage if we kept it.
I didn't sleep well on Tuesday night because I started to worry that maybe we screwed up by not getting permits to take down the wall. You don't need a permit to change floors or wall coverings or cabinetry, but you do need them for electrical and plumbing jobs. At some point, inspectors are going to have to come in to check work.
The wall we're taking down is not load bearing. It's been messed with already at least twice now, once when they moved the door from the middle to the outside wall and once when they put in the cabinets and reinforced the cabinets. I even think that the middle door wasn't original, even though it's clear that it was pretty old. There are only six 2x4s holding up 14 feet of ceiling, and there isn't a beam at the top, just the shiplap ceiling in the attic. The joists holding up the roof are attached to a beam going up and down the middle of the house, perpendicular to the wall we're taking down.
I didn't know all of this on Tuesday night, but I did know most of it. The city isn't going to care much about homeowners taking down a non-load bearing wall. But they would about load bearing. I talked to a general contractor friend who will totally help us if we do run into permitting problems, but she thought that this is a "ask for forgiveness if someone asks about it" problem rather than a "oh god you're screwed" problem.
When we got to the house yesterday, I was in full "check out the wall" mode. So I took off more shiplap, and Graham got the door frame out. The door frame was totally floating, and we were overjoyed to see nary a beam in sight. We worked for about three hours, and I was able to get almost all of the shiplap off on both sides. I want to take one more layer off on the top, leaving two boards to help define the transition from the dining room to the kitchen. Graham got all of the kitchen floor out.
We were out of there by about 3:30, then we went to the grocery store to pick up patriotic food for A Very Special Geek Night at my parents' house. And our friends hung out with us from about five thirty until midnight.
We slept really well last night.
This morning, Graham was back at the house, and he got all of the sheetrock off the yellow wall. We're in the middle of a little debate about whether we want to recover that wall or keep the shiplap exposed. I'm on the "exposed" side, but Graham likes the original plan of re-drywalling and painting with chalkboard paint. It's as of now unresolved, but I'm going to try to sand a few planks to see what they look like. The plumbers came by again to take a look at all of the now exposed pipes, and they're scheduled to move everything on Monday. Graham also got all the trim off of the door heading into the bedroom. We're still waiting on the electrician quote, and we have no idea when they'll be scheduled.
David gets here tomorrow, and he'll work first on re-leveling the house. The challenge after that is how to work without having the other contractors do the rough-in first. He's supposed to tile the floor, but we're having electricity in the island, so that'll need to be roughed in first. Same with almost every wall. Even the missing wall needs to have electrical wires addressed before it can be made to look pretty. We're really hopeful that the electrical is a) reasonably priced, and b) can be done quickly.
This is the Flickr set dedicated to the kitchen renovation. I'm hopeful that it fills soon.
Wedding DIY and Prep All of the photos of my various DIY efforts before the wedding. I took most of these, and you'll see all of my various tutorials documented here.
Wedding Invitations Our invitations. Our graphic designer was Michelle Avina in Houston. She still does some freelance from time to time.
Wedding Photobooth Featured on the Offbeat Bride Blog, these are the pictures from our photo booth.
Wedding Ceremony Taken by our friends during our wedding ceremony, mostly culled from facebook.
Reception Taken by our friends during our reception, mostly culled from facebook.
Home First sneak peek at professional photos. Awesome picture of my mom featured on the Monday Montage on Offbeat Bride two weeks ago.
Rehearsal dinner Professional photos of the rehearsal dinner.
Wedding Preparation and Ceremony Professional photos of the lead up and the wedding ceremony.
Wedding Portraits Professional portraits taken immediately after the ceremony of family and of me and Graham.
Reception and dancing Professional photos at the reception including dancing (the Home set, above, is included in this set) Our photographer is my cousin, Jenny Jenkins out of Austin. I don't think she has a website up and running yet, but if anyone is looking for someone who I think did an EXCELLENT job, get in touch with me and I'll be happy to hook you up.
*bonus* For those who are also curious about the renovation, I'm documenting that as well:
The Kitchen Renovation We registered for gift cards from IKEA, so we could redo our kitchen. We got enough to pay for all of the new cabinets. We started last week, and spent yesterday pulling down most of the wall between our kitchen and dining room, and are full on into major kitchen renovation. Go from one massive, stressful but ultimately awesome life changing project to another, I always say. Contractors? Very similar to vendors. DIY, in spades! Woo!
The dining room wall before it was stripped. This will be gone.
The only appliances that will be staying: fridge and dishwasher.
Today, we met with David, our manager at the ranch, to talk about what we wanted done. He's going to level the house, install the floor, and redo the drywall. He took a look at everything that we're planning to get an idea of the job and tools and materials to bring with him, and he's coming back on Thursday to start with the house leveling. He thinks that the major problem is the middle of the house, which makes since given that's where the major retaining wall is and that's where most weight is headed.
The meeting was pretty straightforward, and because David wants to see everything stripped before making any decisions about how much of anything to buy, we didn't start making any definite shopping lists yet, though I've started a preliminary list that is mainly drywall and floor tile based. Tomorrow, the cabinets and sink and stove and old vent leave to their new home with Habitat for Humanity. It's a great deal. They haul it away for a fee, but we get a tax deduction.
Before he got there, I started working on a small hole in the drywall on the dining room side so we could show him both sides of the wall. After he left, I started working on it a little more. Graham thought that my screwdriver with hammer method of chiseling wasn't as effective as using a prybar, so he started working with that tool. I started worrying that Graham would start hurting the wood underneath, and I'm pretty keen on saving as much of that as possible.
He got a good piece off, and then he started laughing. I yelled "destroy it! destroy it!!"
Yes, that is 60s/70s era paneling under the 80s/90s era Sheetrock and above the 20s/30s era shiplap. Graham commented that with the disco fireplace, there is enough evidence to support the idea that key parties probably happened at our house back in the day...
We started pulling off the Sheetrock and the paneling. It actually got to be kind of fun, and we got a much better sense of what we are up against. The paneling was glued and tacked on, but it's easy enough to pull off once we get under it. The Sheetrock is almost easy to pull off. We got nearly a full 8'x4' sheet to come off in one pull. Shortly after the pulling, we set up the bagster, a mini-dumpster that can hold a good hunk of weight without having to rent anything, in the back yard to hold the debris.
We paused to watch Spain beat the crap out of Italy in the Euros.
We spent some time finishing up a good hunk of the dining room wall, clearing debris as we did, and then I started pulling out some of the shiplap in a part of the wall that looked like it once was a door.
I found some old knob and tube fixtures in there (fortunately no longer in use).
At any rate, I suspect that most of my 4th of July will be spent taking down old wood and ripping out not-as-old Sheetrock.
This is the checkerboard pattern that we will have on the floor. I love the two colors.
The bleach killed EVERYTHING. I think we might pour it on the whole floor before we start tiling just to be on the safe side.
I put my fist through the wall behind the counter to see if it was just Sheetrock or if we had another structural issue to deal with.
I suspect that sooner or later we're going to run into some major problem, but so far, nothing unexpected has shown up. Very surprising....
It actually started yesterday. Graham had to work last night, leaving me the dining room to clear out. He was sort of afraid to touch it since most of the stuff in there was mine. But since the wall between the two rooms is going down, we need to clear it out. I had to move two book cases and a few other miscellaneous items. And I had to rehang some art. Some didn't make it up back on the wall, but I'm sure we'll find spots for it once the kitchen is back together.
And while he was gone, I took the opportunity to pull off some of the plaster in the wall in the kitchen. I was overjoyed to discover that our wall was made of lath and plaster or shiplap, and the wooden strips are beautiful. We'd been talking for years about finding old barnwood to use as the defining feature of our new bedroom, and now we can pull this stuff off and use it instead. It's about 8" wide and has a beautiful patina on it. I can't wait until the cabinets come down so I can pull it off.
After moving everything, I packed a small bag and headed over to my parents' house. We are staying there this week to keep an eye on Zapata and to be away from the construction zone during demolition. It's perfect timing.
This morning, we picked up the floor tile, and it looks absolutely great with the tile I already had. 88 square feet is pretty heavy, and Graham's still on a "no more than ten pounds" ban, so I carried about 400 pounds of tile from the warehouse to my car and then from the car to the dining room. Not that bad, but not something I really want to do again. I probably should retrieve the tile from the tool shed next.
After dropping off the tile and showing Graham my discovery from last night, we headed over to Home Depot. We needed to get a few things for the demolition (mainly masks, some plastic to throw over everything in the living and dining rooms, and some paper to throw down on the floors). And we needed to pick out which color for the chalkboard wall (we went with banner blue).
Next, finalize the backsplash!! We knew we wanted a white ceramic subway tile, but we weren't sure of the dimensions, since subway tile comes in different sizes. This is probably going to be the most DIY part of our kitchen, since David is pulling down the walls, putting down the floor and re-sheetrocking the remaining walls. We have plumbers coming in to move the pipes, and we will have electricians for the wiring. We probably will put the cabinets together, but we will let someone else install them (either David or someone recommended by IKEA). We might paint, but we've done that before. The backsplash is something totally us.
We hunted through the stacks a little looking at tons of "Tuscan style" stones and a lot of really pretty glass mosaics, finding the white ceramics. Finally, we stumbled upon some 4"x2" tiles that were perfect. They looked more or less like this. 18 of the tiles were mounted on a mesh in the right sort of stagger to make for more or less a 12"x12" sheet. We double checked twice the price: $2.57 a sheet. Our backsplash tile cost us $61.68.
We looked at the under-sink water filters and then at the patio doors (side note: Since we're shutting off the door from the kitchen to our bedroom, we'd like to have another exit in our bedroom. We rather like the idea of replacing the two windows on the north side with french doors, and we found out from a contractor-ish friend that it's probably a one day job. And we found a door that looked pretty good. It's on our "if we're not broke at the end of this" list.
And then, the countertop. Our design essentially requires us to rip out a wall and put an island in the middle of our kitchen. We knew that we wanted an island that really stood out, as the island tends to be the center of not only the kitchen, but of the whole house. We'd decided awhile ago that we'd put butcher-block type counters on the outside counters, next to the stove and sink and above the dishwasher. But the island was going to be different, and aside from the stove, it'd be our biggest capital expense.
When we went hunting for counter tops, we decided to go with quartz because Graham isn't a huge fan of granite, I hate linoleum, and we thought tile wasn't smooth enough for rolling out dough or otherwise working on. We did toy a little with the idea of recycled concrete, but it was a little outside our price range. After looking at the various quartz models and colors, we really loved the blue "Stellar Marina" by Silestone. We shopped at a local environmentally friendly store first, and they were slow to get back to us and their quote was a little more than what we wanted to spend. So I looked around for other places and other brands. And when I put Silestone into the Home Depot counter top estimator it was about $500 less than the estimate from the local vendor. So we brought the estimate printout to the Home Depot person, and she indicated that the estimate was $300 too high AND that they were having a ten percent off Silestone sale right now. We talked about the design a bit, and figured out how to best hold up the overhang for seating. We bought a new countertop for about $1000 less than the estimate the other store had given us. We have I think 60 days to install the island and then get back in touch with Home Depot so they can send their guys out to take full measurements of the countertop, and then they'll install it seven to ten days after that.
All in all, much progress made. We went home to drop off the stuff we'd bought and picked up a few things and had a celebratory pizza. Graham is at the Dynamo game, and tomorrow we watch the European championship, and then meet with David to go through the house.
It is weird seeing the kitchen for pretty much the last time. Habitat for Humanity shows up at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning to rip out the cabinets and take away the stove and sink and vent hood. I suspect Graham will help them out, and I suspect he'll start pulling plaster off the wall as soon as they are gone.
When we were home, I pulled away the two the pieces of floor that had started this whole thing. When my washer/dryer started leaking six years ago, the floor turned this scary color and I knew it needed to be replaced. But the sub-floor looked good and solid, with no rot at all. We poured some bleach on it to kill anything living there, and we can't wait to pull the rest of it away when the cabinets are gone. I thought it was a good way to start the demo.
In early 2003, I ripped out the cabinet closest to my bedroom door and installed a washer/dryer combo in that space.
In early 2006, I discovered that something was leaking in my kitchen, and later discovered that it was the washer/dryer. In may, I bought 170 square feet of blue porcelain tile for roughly $150 to put down in the kitchen, but real life got in the way, and I didn't get around to it. It's been sitting in my potting shed for six years.
That discovery, though, did start my mind down the rabbit hole of thinking about totally remodeling the kitchen and expanding the house to accommodate a master suite. The idea percolated in various formats over the years.
When Graham moved in, he sort of latched on to it too. We took, relatively early on in our relationship, into going to Open Houses around the neighborhood to see what people did to their houses. Every time we talked about the idea of moving, we came to the conclusion that an addition would work better. It was also something that we thought would work with our mortgage. We developed over that time several designs on what to do with our house, and after talking to my brother about it, we came up with one that we're pretty settled on. We did think about going for a foreclosed home or two, but we never had enough cash on hand to move forward on those. And we started working on things around our house (read: RIP: disco fireplace").
In the meantime, we finally got rid of the washer/dryer combo in 2008, using that area of the kitchen for recycling, and we bought a stack-able washer and dryer that goes elsewhere. In 2010, we got a new dishwasher. And in 2011, we got a new refrigerator. Also, in 2011, the amazing drought shifted the house so it's no longer really level.
Also in the meantime, my parents have renovated two houses at the ranch that were in pretty bad shape. I helped by working on the kitchen design. We did it all through IKEA, and David, our ranch manager, did most of the work. Both houses turned out lovely (we had my rehearsal dinner in one, and Bronzers stayed in the other during the wedding). David also learned how to re-level houses.
So, in anticipation of FINALLY redoing my kitchen, we registered for IKEA gift cards. There have been boxes of cabinets in our house for months. And finally, this week, we are starting renovation.
We've spent the last week clearing everything out of there. We bought more tile on Saturday to make for a checkerboard pattern. Our amazing plumbers have already come in for their estimate, which is awesome. Habitat for Humanity will be here on Monday to rip out the cabinets and take the stove and vent hood. David is coming up on Sunday to take a look to see what we have and let us know what we need to buy at Home Depot for leveling the house and taking down the wall between the dining room and kitchen and for closing off the door between the kitchen and the bedroom. The electrician will be here on Tuesday. Shit is getting real.
I have put a renovation-long moratorium on watching The Money Pit but I should have added all shows on HGTV and the DIY network. Graham and I have bickered about something at least once a day, but we always make up at the end. And we will have an awesome awesome awesome kitchen at the end of this. Woo!!!