Monday, March 31, 2014

Retail Therapy

Now that all the demolition has been done and the areas that caused this whole ball to start rolling have been addressed we are ready to start building back in. How crazy am I to be excited about buying wood and drywall?! Truthfully, my mind is way past smooth walls and a semi-level floor.

This week we will put in the collar ties in the attic space, insulate and drop in a sub-floor and install the wall that will separate our bathroom from our kitchen. All this is in preparation for our plumber and electrician to come in next week! Yikes! That means I need to know what I want and where it will be going.

One thing is settled and that is the cabinetry. We had considered going with custom made cabinetry as this is an old house and NOTHING is square or truly level. The quotes we got turned out to be thousands more than we wanted to pay and in light of everything else that needed to be done we were happy with the choice we made. We ordered them from Home Depot about 5 weeks ago. I am expecting a call from them any day saying that they are ready and I have no idea where we will put them as we are no where near ready for installation! This is what we chose.   
Ellington Cherry Onyx We purchased Inner Most Cabinetry.We opted for a painted finish in White Icing Classic. The door style is called Ellington. You can see their products here:

Home Depot has a great free service that you would be silly to not take advantage of if you are going to remodel your kitchen or bath. A designer will sit down with you and go through options, build your space with cabinetry, add your appliances and give you a computerized rendition of the whole thing! For a small fee someone will come to your home and measure the space to make sure the right sizes are ordered. That fee can be taken off the purchase amount if you decide to order through Home Depot. Here is what our new kitchen will look like when we are done.

An aerial view.

Entering the kitchen from the front of the house. The door
next to the fridge is the bathroom.
Have I mentioned my new DISHWASHER, yet?
I want a pendant light over the sink (under the window,next to the dishwasher-
 not sure why it doesn't show in this drawing).
The window is not right, either

Standing with your back against the fridge.
There will be pot lights over the corner workspace.
Cabinets to take up the loss of the pantry.
I still have much I want to show you! I need lighting for the bathroom and the pendant lighting over the sink. I need to figure out wall colors and cabinetry options for over the washer and dryer.

 I need to get moving on some of these things so that other people can plan accordingly but for now my kiddos and I need to get some history and government done so planning will have to wait. We are studying the acts of Parliament that led up to the American Revolution. I love history. We have learned to study history in order to learn from others that have gone before us. History reveals the hearts of humans beings and the character of God. It is always good to look back at where we have come from and how we got here; how we were carried through when everything looked like one big mess. I guess that is probably one of the reasons I decided to start this blog. Thanks for visiting with me. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Learning patience

We have worked until now with half a kitchen. This week we took everything out in order to move into phase two of our demo. After removing the stove we realized just how scared we should have been. This was the wiring for the stove!

This was a fire waiting to happen!
We had the inspector come in. He approved of the work we (really Mr. and his friend) had done so far. Husband called the lumber store and had plywood delivered for the floors. We had the strapping for the insulation and had a plan to rip out the floor on the other half of the kitchen. These were once beautiful hardwood floors and it killed me to not be able to salvage them.

Why would someone want to cover these?!
Our plan was that we would rip it out Thursday and plane down the joists at the junction between the new old and the really old parts of the kitchen in order to try to get a sort-of level base for our floors. Our thought was to get it out and cleaned up so that Saturday would then be a day of building back in... but our plans aren't always God's plans.

Turns out that the wall dividing our dining room and kitchen has NOTHING holding it up underneath!
That is the inside of the dining room wall and you can see
straight down to the basement. No support!
So we had to leave some of the flooring in place there because we were afraid to remove anymore without suring that up. As for the area that we were going to plane down-ha! The wood we could see from the basement was placed there as a cover over the actual beam to hide the fact that powder post beetles (rotten little critters)  had been at work there, too. There was nothing salvageable of the beam. The joists weren't nailed in; just notched in. In some places less than inch of the joist was resting on the rotted wood and granite foundation. YIKES!

Someone's attempt to hide the sill.
As this wood was hit it turned to dust. Look at the nails not even
touching the sill!

Friday the vapor barrier was put in the crawl space. Yay! I needed something positive to happen here. Then, back to the store for more wood to replace the rotting stuff Friday night. Our date nights have become trips to Home Depot or Lowes. I am not complaining - just keeping it real.

Saturday we removed the old sill that sat between the two halves of the kitchen. While we were doing that it was moving the joists that we had to brace up. Water pipes and heating pipes are attached to those joists. That caused a leak in the water supply to the area so everything had to stop to take care of the dripping.
Mr. FixIt does it all!

Fortunately, Mr. FixIt has a lot experience with water leaks! (Six years at his last job site taught him much.) He was able to remove the leaky pipe, fix it and replace it, soldering it back together. If we had to call in a plumber it would have taken much more time and money. I am grateful that he is so handy and that we had everything we needed in the basement. Back to the beam and joists! We set the joists in hangers nailing them to the beam instead of just having them notched in, as before. To finish the day we built a support for that unsupported wall. Nothing got done that we originally thought would get done this weekend but we are happy with the progress and trust that things happen when they happen for a reason.

The replace sill and vapor barrier.

I do not pretend to know much of anything about construction but enjoy discovering the handiwork and the craftsmanship of days gone by. When removing some of the rotted material we took this out.
Hand tooled peg and post.
It is a peg and part of the post. This has held the house together at this junction for at least 125 years, probably more, depending on who you listen to. Something so simple and yet beautiful in the simplicity and effectiveness. Will the work we are doing here last that long? Maybe, but it doubt the next owners will find it nearly as interesting as this peg and post.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In the meantime.....

Since I began this blog and the kitchen renovation I keep getting asked what we are doing in the meantime regarding meal preparations.
Stove and microwave in the half of the kitchen that still has flooring.

Refrigerator and old radiator we removed.

 I thought I would let you have a peek at the chaos that is in my home. I really am trying to keep things as organized as possible but there is construction going on and truth be told, I am not the neatest person to begin with.

These are in the first room you enter when you walk into my home. My makeshift kitchen. Through the plastic curtain is what is left of the old kitchen.

I wasn't always this like this. I love it when things are cleaned, put away and looking like they are ready for pictures but keeping it that way is has become an elusive goal of mine. We live in our home. There is someone here all day-every day (or at least most of the day-every day). If you throw in the school books that I have accumulated over the past ten years of homeschooling plus all the stuff I just can't throw away "because I know I will get around to transforming it into something else sooner or later" .... well, tidiness becomes secondary.

Really, it wasn't always this way. I laugh when I think about the time shortly after my husband and I were married. He walked into our apartment one day and laid his keys and phone on an old chest of drawers that stood near the front door-the nerve! It had been painstakingly arranged with a crystal bowl, pictures and flowers. Keys and phone were ruining the beauty of it all. I, of course, let him know it. He replied that he was not aware that he moved into a museum. (There are times when his quick wit is not appreciated.) Those days are long gone! Now I think I would be content to have everything on the first floor dusted and swept on the same day and if the keys get somewhere I can find them easily-great.

So, that is what has become our temporary normal. Welcome to our the meantime.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When "I'm done" doesn't mean done.

At about 3pm yesterday Mr. FixIt showed me how much he had got done. It was a lot more than I had realized. All the space above and below the sill was closed off. After the plywood was applied he filled in what was left with cement. The weather was warmer so it was a good day for that project. No more critter fear! And with that he announced that he was done for the day.........

Around 3:30 he declared he was bored. Now, when my children say that I find all kinds of things for them to do but the Mr. is a little different. He finds his own things to do. So he said "Let's get the router out and do the edge of the vanity". Okay!

In a previous post I showed you the dresser we found that we intend to turn into a vanity for the bathroom. It had a perfectly good top on it-well, okay, not totally perfect. Truth be told the wood was a bit warped but we figured we could fix it or get a nice marble top for it. (We had no idea how much that would be.) After some shopping around we decided that the price of the marble top would completely ruin my attempts at trying to keep to a budget on this project. So, we will keep the wood top on the dresser and just fix it.
Scraping off the bad glue.

About three weeks ago we dismantled the top and discovered that whoever had this little jewel-in-the-rough last did it no favors. They tried to fix some things but I don't think they did a very good job. The top and trim had kind of glue on it that reminds of me the paste we used to use as kids; remember the kind that had the paint brush inside it?  I loved that stuff and remember eating as a kid.....I don't know why. (Awkward pause.) Anyway, it had to come off. That is when we discovered that the top had been ruined beyond the point of being useful and I needed to come up with a new solution. We did revisit the marble thing but got the same expensive answer so off we went to buy some oak and a router bit.

Learning from that last owners of the dresser we used three pieces of wood but alternated the growth ring curve (not sure what the technical name for it is) so that the wood does not cup again. The Mr. has a biscuit cutter and so we used biscuits and glue to connect the three pieces together making sure to wipe away any glue that squished out-less sanding in the long run. (Learned that from This Old House.) We allowed that to dry for at least 24 hours then I sanded. I didn't worry too much about the center as it will be cut out to accommodate the new drop in sink.
The beginnings of our new wood top.
I ordered the sink from Home Depot. Two weeks ago Mr. FixIt came home and told me that they had called to say the sink was in and that we could pick it up. ????? I thought I had ordered it to be sent directly to the house but things have been a bit crazy here. Maybe I mixed it up. We got to the store, went to the customer service desk and asked about our sink. The lady there picked up her walkie-talkie thing-y and called for help! Help? "Why do we need help?", I asked. She said that it weighed a ton and was over there (pointing) on the pallet. My husband and I slowly turned toward the pallet and in unison said "There must be a mistake!" I explained that we were there to pick up a drop-in bathroom sink and she replied that the sink that came in as an apron-front kitchen sink. Oh! Oh-no!

We came to pick up this.

We ended up taking home this!
Our kitchen sink was in! Yay! Yikes! What are we going to do with that?! We had ordered it when we ordered the cabinets just assuming that it would be held until the cabinets were delivered. (Checking the paperwork later it indicates that it would come in separately. Lesson learned.) They couldn't hold it so into the back of the SUV it went. Presently, it is sitting in the front room that is our make-shift kitchen. (I will give you a glimpse of that in another post.) The next day our bathroom sink arrived at the house just like I was expecting. We opened the box to make sure that everything was okay and saw the paperwork and template in the box. We closed it back up until we were ready for it.

So fast forward two weeks and here we are staring at the wood top we had glued together and sanded. Mr. FixIt got out his handy-dandy router and our new router bit and there was wood flying everywhere. We were both covered with oak shavings. I love the smell of fresh cut wood. Maybe not so much in my hair, though. Now, it was time to grab the template for the sink. I brought it to the Mr. but when he opened it clearly it was not for our sink. The template had an opening for a sink that was about 23inches wide and 20inches deep. Our top is only 40x20; something was not right.

Obviously, the wrong template for our little sink.

I could have called and had the correct template sent to me but who wants to wait for that? We measured the sink and the amount of space from the edge to the bowl and then transferred those measurements to the wood top. I then used the cardboard surround that protected the bowl in the box, positioning it between my marks and traced around it. It took a couple of attempts shaving a little here and there but we got it and it fits.

Cutting holes for the faucet.

We will work on the drawers once the plumbing goes in to make sure that we do not take too much or too little. This week I will work on matching the stain and sealing it with the Waterlox product that I have read about from other bloggers.

Getting closer to the what it will end up as.

For now I couldn't be happier with the results. And with that the Mr. declared that he was done for the day and this time he really meant it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Making Progress

By the end of last weekend we had accomplished much and my hopes were high.

The entire sill got done.  Mr.FixIt and our friend worked to get the new sill started. Once that was well underway we were left to finish on our own. Mr. FixIt was not letting the sun go down without that being completed. He was done with it by the end of Friday. Jacking up a house is a scary thing but it got done and we are very happy with the progress. 

Working solo on the sill.
Saturday we woke ready to go. After a couple cups of coffee and a quick breakfast we started putting in the new joists. I am learning way more than I ever thought I wanted to know about construction. Did you know that joists should rise a bit above the sill level as they will compress a bit by the weight of the flooring once it goes in? I didn't and thought Mr.FixIt had made a mistake. I have mentioned that he is most patient with me, right? By the end of the day we had all the joists in-yay!

Beautiful new, not sloping, joists!
We have noticed a problem, though......we can't get the walls to pull in against the sill. This leaves the house open to critters-large critters. On day one of our demo we had a critter in the house. He/she left a "present" for us on the floor in the dining room. It did not get into any of the food that was in the front room and I have not seen any signs of it since. I do not want to invite more animals with such large openings. The weather has been unseasonably cold and I am hoping that nothing wants to take refuge in my kitchen!

Man down! During the week I did something stupid and hurt my back so I am down leaving the work to the Mr. He was not wasting the time. He put bolts into the wood that is making up our new sill in order to tie them all together. He then put in the cross supports on the joists.  Thursday he made a call to the building inspector and the temporary secretary said she would pass on the message that we are ready for him to see the new joists! Woot-woot!!

Work during the week.
Well, Thursday came and went, Friday came and went and we are half way through Saturday and have not heard a word back from the building inspector. I guess we will have to make another call come Monday morning. We can't put down plywood to start the flooring or the wall that will make the bathroom/laundry room until the inspection happens. Ugh!
Doing it the right way.
Our friend insisted that we deal with the opening on the outside walls by removing the siding from the outside, cutting plywood and pulling it in.  Be careful when you have friends with knowledge help you. They will insist on doing things the right way and it will cost you more money! Honestly, I am so thankful for his willingness to help or we would have cut corners or made mistakes that would have cost us more in the long run. So, that is today's project while we wait for the inspector. I am no help as this point. I am sitting and standing trying to find a comfortable position with my ibuprofen close at hand. I am getting too old for these projects!
Ooooh! Chippy grey paint from old siding!

I love chipped paint! The old siding on the house was a lovely shade of grey. Hmm....... I had been thinking that grey would be a lovely color for the walls in either the kitchen or bathroom-or both. Now it has a historical tie to the home. I am going to pull out my paint sample cards and start planning. That doesn't require much of my old back. Off I go to daydream....

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ever get that sinking feeling?

Ordinarily, I am opposed to any addition to one's backside- to include fanny-packs, butt-shapers and the likes. Our home got an addition to it's backside sometime around 1900. In this case it was a good thing or at least it probably started out as a good thing. It is a space of approximately 11 feet by 14 feet and housed half of our kitchen as well as a small pantry and half bath. Standing in the middle of my kitchen you could drop a marble, can, or anything that would roll and it would roll-baby-roll toward the back wall. We were sinking and ignoring it was not making it go away which prompted our quest to replace the joists which meant ripping up the floors.....which meant taking down walls.....and as long as we're at it let's just do the whole thing right.

No more floors or walls.
Our removal of the old showed us the trouble we had been unaware of. Bad Wiring, Bad Plumbing and Bad Construction all introduced themselves. Upon inspection of the sill we discovered that some nasty wood-boring beetles had made a meal out of what was once a perfectly good sill. Now, I don't remember the name of these beetles but the damage they left behind is enough for me to want to declare war on all bugs for all time! The sill is being replaced and truthfully some of it is nothing more than dust wrapped in a thin wood shell.
Wonky wiring!
Bad beetles!
 A friend is lending Mr. FixIt a hand today. They both took the day off from their paying jobs. I am so grateful for how God has blessed us with knowledgeable people because frankly at this stage I am no help.

The Great Stuff offered more resistance to be removed than the wood sill did!

What light through yonder sill breaks?

Sill dust- yuck!
There are certain things about construction that I just love- like the sound of a radial saw and the smell of cut wood. I love the sound of a nail gun! I don't like "uh-oh or oop". Another sound that baffles me comes from men. It never ceases to amaze me is that men burp around other men with no thought of ever excusing themselves and the other never gets offended!

Hopefully, we will get most of the sill replaced today. As they work I blog, make snacks and lunch and keep the kiddos focused on school work that needs attention. I saw a family on HGTV recently complaining as they were "living" through a renovation that was taking a couple weeks. The parents worked, kids were in school and somebody else was doing the work! We are living through this which includes eating, sleeping, cleaning, homeschooling and doing the renovations ourselves. I am determined not to complain (it has been one week since we started). I may live to eat those words. In an attempt to motivate and encourage us I poster-tacked (love that stuff) the elevations of what our finished kitchen will look like. The nice lady at Home Depot gave them to us when we ordered our cabinets. I am resolved to look at them when I feel like grumbling or complaining.

As for now I think it is time for a run to Dunkin Donuts. We need caffeine and sugar. (No, I am not getting paid to advertise for them-though, I am willing to consider any offers.)

 In the future, budgeting for renovations should always have a line item for Dunkin Donuts.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

What do a church pew, an old door and horse hair have in common?

Answer: they have all been found within the walls of my kitchen/bathroom renovation.

The church pew

the old door

and the horse hair plaster did not get it's own picture.

Mr. FixIt ripped everything out! Old horse hair plaster and lath, blown in insulation, layers of wallpaper are gone. Our girls worked hard again today. They joked and laughed through much of the work. Their dad was quite proud of them.

We will begin on the floors during the week. That was the catalyst for all this work. The floor was sinking and we knew it needed to be addressed. It just took us a while to decide if we were going to do the work or sell the house and let someone else do the work. It turned into our own version of Love It or List It. We have decided to love it... or at least we will love it when it is done.

We had friends stop by today. He and his wife are very familiar with construction and the pitfalls. During their visit we found that our plans needed a little tweaking. Seems that the sill needs some attention. It appears that there was some bug infestation that compromised the sill. Our first spring in the house we found out we had termites and had the little buggers nuked. We replaced the stuff we could see and get to. Seems that perhaps we had more of a problem then we had realized. Good news is that they aren't there now-just the damage they left in their wake.

We are done for today. Time for some more ibuprofen and some quiet time preparing for tomorrow. I have much to be grateful for; a husband who works hard to make me happy, friends who stop by to lend help and encouragement, children that worked like crazy. And ibuprofen. These are just some of the things that I am thankful for today. God is so good to me.

My crew!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Out With the Old

This week has been a week of packing up my kitchen. I was laughing at myself remembering our meeting with the very helpful woman named Caryn at Home Depot who helped us order our kitchen cabinets. She had sent a contractor out to take the measurements of our kitchen. He took pictures and sent them to her with the proper measurements. (This is an awesome tool and is a minimal price that was credited back to us when we ordered the cabinets.) I saw the photos sitting on her desk and thought "wow, that is a nice kitchen" before realizing it was my kitchen. Yes, it looked nice but the pictures didn't tell the whole story.

Eleven years ago my mister made the top shelving out of MDF. I can draw pictures and he is really good at making my crazy dreams a reality.

The floor was a laminate. There was no dishwasher. We bought a middle-of-the road brand of cabinets for the bottom. The lower cabinets were originally a pickled green color that wore terribly so I (read Mr. FixIt) painted them white. The kitchen and pantry had little/no insulation and the only heat was the steam radiator you see under the chalkboard. There was no dishwasher. The cabinets in the pantry were pieced together but the fronts and doors were solid and had seen better days.

(Seems this is the only picture I have that shows the pantry, to the far right)

The wiring was a scary thing. Have I mentioned there was no dishwasher?

Well, today it is a different story. We got up early and worked through the day. My girls were troopers. They kept up with their dad and seemed to enjoy the demo process. We got the bathroom, pantry and half the kitchen ripped out. We are SORE and tired but excited about what will be the end product even though it is about two months off.

Now it is time for some ibuprofen and a good night sleep. Tomorrow we will take out the other half of the kitchen but I can't think much beyond my heated blanket right now. Tomorrow is another day....