Saturday, May 31, 2014

Christmas in May

I have not posted to the blog in over a week and am getting questions about being done with the kitchen/bath renovations. The short answer is "No, were not done". The long answer goes something like this....

We are getting to the age that getting each other gifts for the sake of having something to give each other for birthdays and Christmas is getting a bit redundant. Mr. FixIt does not need another bag of socks, a tie, or another grilling tool. (Well, maybe grilling tools are still welcome....) And I certainly do not need another cookbook, perfume, or piece of jewelry (though, I would not turn jewelry away). So, for Christmas 2013 my Mr. gave me an envelope with a palm tree drawn on the front. His art work is for my eyes only and I did not take a picture of it. The blog had not been started yet or I probably would have posted something about it. Anyway, inside the envelope was a print out of a reservation made for a cruise for two to Bermuda via Norwegian Cruise Lines!

Yes, I am a very blessed woman! In December it seemed that May was light years away. We had not even contemplated renovating the kitchen at that time. All I could think about was how much exercising I would need to do between December 25th and May in order to feel comfortable in a bathing suit. Needless to say, the exercise thing really never did manifest into my daily routine but that did not stop me one bit! Here are some photos of what we have been up to the past week and it should suffice as explanation to why we have not been busy in the kitchen.

Day 1 in Bermuda!

Horseshoe Bay Beach

Horseshoe Bay Beach
If you have known me for any length of time you have learned that I will paint and paint and paint- anything. So, it should come as no surprise that I have decided to repaint the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom that is part of the renovation. Yes, the bathroom that Mr. FixIt had just finished painting a week or two before we left for Bermuda.

Can you guess what color I am repainting the bathroom?

Love, love, love the colors of Bermuda!
This is Hamilton.
We had a rough ride there and a rough ride back but our time on the islands was perfect! The weather could not be beat, 80's and no humidity. The people were friendly and the water was beautiful. I have lived in a lot of different places and I have the say that I have never seen any place so lovely. The colors of Bermuda will be emblazoned in my mind for a long time.
Horseshoe Bay Beach
This photo has not been altered.
Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda
No retouching needed here.
We had a great time. It was nice to come home though with a fresh perspective on completing our project. Our girls missed us and we missed them! God has blessed us with so much and we are amazed at all the loveliness that this world holds. It made me wonder that if this beauty is here under the curse of sin what, oh what, awaits us in the heaven?
For now, we will continue our kitchen and trust that when our work here is done it will all pale in comparison to what the Lord has prepared for us.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cabinets and More Cabinets

After finishing the flooring in the middle of last week and having a couple nights off from renovation work we were ready to go back in with a fresh burst of energy. All the behind-the-scenes work (sill work, joists, studs and insulation) is necessary and needed for a good foundation but I am all about the things you can see and in a kitchen that is the cabinets. Saturday morning we got up bright and early and made a trip to the hardware store. We needed to be back to meet the delivery people who were bringing my new convection oven/stove.

It was suggested to us by our friend and pastor to use furniture joiny things to connect our cabinets to each other. We were not sure but decided to give it a go. The picture is a larger screw than we ended up using but I didn't think to take a picture of them until they were all installed. We needed screws that would join two 3/4 inch panels together. It pulled in the cabinets nice and tight to each other. This was a great suggestion and I would highly recommend it to diy-ers.

Leveling everything was bit tricky. We did do a lot of work on the kitchen but some things could not be fixed like the undulating outside walls or large post on the exterior wall by the kitchen sink. I am sure that a contractor would have talked us into doing something more expensive to avoid dealing with those issues. Since we were doing the work ourselves we decided that some of these things would just have to be what they are and we would chalk it up to being a charming quirk of our old house. We started by finding the high point in the kitchen and working out from there. Fortunately, it was where the corner cabinet sits so that made it a little easier. We used it and drew a level line around the area to match our cabinets to. A few adjustments and shims made it all come out right. The slow parts came when we had to cut out vent holes, drain holes, water lines, ect. It took us all day to get the bank of cabinets in under the sink and around to the refrigerator. Mr. FixIt is such a hard worker and so very attentive to details. At times I would just say, "It's good enough" but not him. He pushes through to get it right. As I stood back surveying the day's work I could breathe deep and smile.

The post on the right had to be worked around.

The room is looking big again.

Oh, how I have missed having a stove. This one
is not hooked up yet but the promise is there.

I went to sleep quite happy; tired, but happy.

Sunday we spent the day with our church family. The weather was beautiful. The weatherman on the news had told us all week that we would have rain but God had different plans. After the service we spent the afternoon at a nearby house grilling, talking, and enjoying the sunshine. A day of rest, worship and fellowship is always a good thing.

We were expecting to have the electrician in to finish his work on Monday or Tuesday but an email Sunday night informed us that his father had died, unexpectedly. Our little project can wait. It is just a reminder that our time here has an end date and none of us know when that is.

Monday night Mr. got home around 4:30PM. We had a quick dinner and were back in the kitchen by 5PM or so. The next bank of cabinets went much easier as there were no cutouts to be done. We pushed through and by 9PM our cabinets were in...... and.... exhale.

All the boxes that have been sitting in my living room and front room for the past month are now empty, their contents rightly placed and looking awesome! I can reclaim my living spaces and clean stuff. That is where we sit for now. Now we can have the countertop templates done. They cannot come in until June 3rd. I will have to find something to do with myself until then and you know I do have plans. I'll post pictures!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Just A Peek!

We got the floor in! I am soooooo excited about that. I was hoping to have it done Tuesday night but I had not taken into account that my almost fifty year old knees were not as able to bend and kneel and get back up again so many times in one night. The whole process is rather involved. You have to make sure that your seams are not within six inches of the seams on the previous row. You want to use the longer pieces in the areas that are most visable. Two reasons for this- one, it gives the appearance that all or most of the floor has long boards and two, it tricks the eye into elongating the room, making it appear larger as your eye will naturally follow the length of the a long board. Originally, I had wanted to lay the flooring perpendicular to what you see in the photos but Mr. B., our friend, talked us out of it and I am glad that he did. We got done with the floors Wednesday night. I cannot express enough thanks to Mr. D. for lending us his Kobalt pneumatic nailer thingy. It was a life and knee saver; at the very least it is a sanity saver.

You cannot see much of the floors from this shot. We decided to be wise and listen to the dvice about laying down some thick paper/cardboard stuff to protect the floors.
The white thing on top of the corner cabinet to your right is
my new dishwasher- Do you need a moment? I do.......

As you get close to the end of laying the floor you can't use the automatic nailer-thingy and have to do things by hand. Thank goodness it was only a couple of rows like this. I cannot imagine what they did before modern conveniences!

Turns out Mr.FixIt is more like me than I thought. He needed to see some stuff in place just to give him that push to continue on. So, we took some of the cabinets out of their boxes and placed them approximately where they should go.

I am excited to see them in place and can't wait to make it more permanent but this week is very busy.

We finished up with one of our homeschool groups. It was a bittersweet meeting as one of our students is graduating this year. We have been learning together for the last eight years. Next year it will just be me and my girls doing the unit studies...unless God has other plans for me. Friday night we celebrated with a dinner and presentation of the children's work. I think I will probably do a separate post on our school year later.

 All this preparation meant that the kitchen took a back seat for a bit. That's okay. We needed a brain break anyway. Truthfully, my body was aching and took advantage of the break, too!
There is still much to do and I hope you will stop by to see the progress!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I Was Floored! (ha-ha)

Okay, bad pun but you really should expect that by now.

Mr.FixIt took Friday off to make some good progress on the flooring. We got the rooms cleaned out and the finish layer of the plywood down. When we were done there was not a two inch scrap of the plywood left anywhere. Mr.FixIt measured that perfectly! The weather was supposed to be "scattered showers" throughout the day. God, apparently, had a different plan as it vacillated between drizzle and rain all day.


So, we were cutting the plywood outside on the deck stretched over two sawhorses with a plastic sheet covering as much of the wood as possible to safely make the cuts. I learned the importance of a sharp blade. Ours was not optimally sharp and by the end of the day I had wood shavings and dust all over me. I had so much in my hair that I swear I saw a woodpecker eyeing me!

Work site rained out! Table saw is under the
white plastic.
Once the plywood was down we cleaned again. This layer has to stay as pristine as possible to provide a nice surface for the flooring to sit on. At this point we were physically starting to tire. The thought of moving onto the hardwood flooring without a fresh go at it worried me a bit. I am the kind of person that does the little things first in order to see instant progress that spurs me on to the larger jobs so I suggested we lay the bathroom floor. For this part of the project we chose a vinyl tile product from Home Depot. The one I originally wanted was no longer available so I went with another version of the same flooring.

This flooring is very thin so there would have been 3/4 of an inch or so difference from the kitchen floor. Mr. decided to lay an extra layer of plywood in order to bring it up another 1/2 inch plus the depth of the flooring itself. A transition strip will make the difference almost imperceptible. It went fairly quick as these pieces were 24 inches by 12 inches. They are made to look like tile. After an hour or so of work in there we were done and we had a finished bathroom floor (less the trim work).

Mr. said as long as we had that done we could put the vanity and toilet in the bathroom just to get them out of the living spaces in our home. Yippee!
Mr. using the hole saw to make way for the drain pipe.

Still a little work to do on this but it is so nice
to see it in place.
I know we are no where near done yet but every little bit of progress does give me a surge of energy to move forward. Today we started laying the hardwood floor. The process took a little math (not my strong point) and some planning. We have two entryways on one side of the kitchen. One is the door to the back porch and then two feet in from that is the doorway to the dining room. We wanted to keep a full width board as you walk from the dining room to the kitchen, as it gets a lot of traffic. The math info on how to figure that first board and the width, ect. can be found on many different youtube videos so I won't bore you.

Pay no attention to the mess outside the door.
Anyway, we did it and got several rows down before we called it quits for the day. Tomorrow is Mother's Day and my husband and girls wanted to do a little shopping before it got too late.

Yesterday, a local guy stopped by offering his services for hire to manage our lawn. It has been neglected.

It is May and has not seen a lawn mower yet. We took the hint and when they got back from shopping Mr. stopped his other work to attend to the grass. The weather was beautiful today and we decided to just enjoy it a bit after he mowed. The rest of the floor will be there Monday. For now we are just going to enjoy the evening and prepare for worship tomorrow.

Wishing you a Happy Mother's Day! I hope you are enjoying it with your families.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Catching Up

I know that I took some side trips with posts lately but in the middle of it all we have still been busy in the kitchen and bathroom. We got drywall put up and I just have to sing the praises of light weight sheet rock. We have put up a lot of sheet rock over the years and it is heavy, especially when you are rockin' the ceiling!
Love this stuff! Especially when moving 25 sheets!
We finished the drywall and suddenly what had been looking like a cavernous space now appeared small and closed in.
It is looking like my kitchen again, sort of.

This will be the bathroom and laundry room.

Taken from the opening to the bathroom.

We were done in the knick of time as the cabinets could not/would not wait any longer. They were delivered last Tuesday. We weren't ready for them but we made do.

Mr. is counting boxes against the bill to make sure they all

Yup, all 33 boxes.

Some ended up on the front porch and some on the back porch.

There is not much you can do to decorate around these!
Our work needed to continue. In order for Mr. to be able to apply the joint compound we needed to move the boxes out of the kitchen. So, we now have boxes in the make-shift kitchen in the front room, along with a toilet and a sink.
Large white box under the lamp shade is the toilet.

Rain was coming and that meant that the boxes could not stay on the porch. They ended up in the living room. It isn't so bad, except the dust- the dust that came with the sanding. I seem to dust and dust and yet it still it keeps settling down. But progress continues.

All the trim work and baseboards are on sawhorses in the basement and the two corner cabinets are sitting on the floor in the middle of the kitchen. The bathroom is housing 13 boxes of hardwood flooring. On a bright note- there is a lot less floor space to clean right now!

Colors were chosen and painting has begun!

The ceiling in the kitchen was painted Silver Dusk by Valspar.
This was not my first choice. When you put two colors together on adjoining walls it is important to not react until you see the crown molding separating the colors. It makes a difference-really!
None-the-less, there was a belief that the ceiling had too much of a green undertone to it so I picked another color.
The walls were painted Polished Silver by Valspar.
The middle color.

The pictures do not do justice to the colors. Check out the links.
In the bathroom we used Sea Sprite by Olympic.
Tomorrow we will begin laying the floor! I am getting so excited for the end results. Here is a sneak peak of the flooring and cabinetry together.
Time is ticking and there is still much to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel..... and the tunnel is painted! We laid hardwood flooring in our last house but it was put over a cement foundation. It was a click-and-lock product and floated (no nails or glue). Flooring for this project is traditional hardwood. We have not done this before. I am hoping that the learning curve is a short lesson. A friend let us use his pneumatic nailer to help with the process. It is going to be an exciting weekend! I will keep you posted. (Pun intended.)