Friday, February 10, 2012

The ups and downs of renovation!

Last week we thought we were almost there with contractor bids and cabinet bids due by Friday.  We had the weekend to look at the numbers and weigh the pros and cons before making our final decisions.

The cabinet bids were close but still a little higher than we expected but lower than two other bids submitted by contractors and two other cabinet makers.  We had looked at all the options for countertops and had almost come to a decision when the final two cabinet makers suggested granite.

Marla and Bill said they spent a Saturday in Seattle going from stone yard to stone yard before making their selection and having it shipped to Bellingham to be fabricated locally.  Unless we could somehow tweak the cabinet bid, granite was not going to be an option for us.

I found the tile for the backsplash accent online from a supplier in Oregon and just need to make a final measurement before ordering.  The color we settled on is: sandy beaches blend brick pattern in white, dark grey, brown, and a grey blue and they come attached to a mesh backing.  Each one foot square will be cut into three strips.  The accent tile is the bling in the kitchen.  We are going with a dark grey grout and it was suggested to us to use QuartzLock2 premium professional pre-mixed grout because it is water proof, we won’t have to ever reseal it. It is stain resistant, has mold and mildew protection, low VOC, and no dust when mixing.  We are ordering the white two by four subway tiles from Lowes because you can’t beat the cost of twenty-five cents each and they are attached to a mesh backing.

We talked to the cabinet makers again and did some additional measuring.  We have eliminated the twelve inch deep cabinets backing the kitchen cabinets because we cannot remove the backs of both cabinets (this is how the existing cabinets were made when we moved in) for more useable space without compromising the integrity of the cabinets.  Since the seventy-five pound gas cook top needs to sit on top of one of these cabinets we need to make sure the strength of the cabinet will support the cook top.  Remove the bottom cabinet and you no longer need the upper cabinets.  Now the pantry is twelve inches wider and requires the backs of the cabinets to be finished with a panel.  Paint versus stain.  Maple versus Cherry.  Add a cabinet, take away a cabinet.  Molding or not.  I’m tired.

Whoops…on Monday the cabinet maker came to do a final measurement and forgot to add a cabinet where we are removing a non load bearing wall.  Larry has a saying “it only cost a dime more to go first class”--not true….  Well that wasn’t the only change we made.  I kept looking at the plan and realized that the L-shaped portion of the cabinet that houses the cook top was longer than planned and would not allow enough room to stand in front of it and open the doors without standing with our back to the cabinet and inches from the burners.  More measurements.  The bank of drawers in the island are coming out and it will be a regular cabinet next to the other bank of cabinets that make up the island.  The microwave is bigger than the plan allowed so the whole bank of cabinets being built to look more like a hutch has to be reconfigured.  The double ovens are big, bigger than the cabinet in the plans and require a larger cabinet.

W printed out the specifications for the cook top, the double ovens, and our oversized thirty-one cubic foot French door refrigerator, re-measured the microwave, and plotted.  Troy thought maybe moving the L-shaped cabinet six inches into the pantry area were we have an additional twelve inches of space since we removed a bank of cabinets, then move the refrigerator down in opposite direction three inches.  Same floor plan, just stretched out a little.

I went in search of tile samples similar to what I have picked out on the web to take to the stone yard when we to look at granite.  Troy still thinks this is an option we can afford.  It doesn’t hurt to look. 

Now we have a slab of white granite called Bianco Antico with cream, bronze, and silver.  The bronze brown to mimic the cabinets, streaks and flecks of grey to reflect the stainless steel appliances, the white and cream to blend with the kitchen island color, and flecks of silver are the bling to balance the accent tile.

We left Troy to brainstorm with cabinet layouts, adjustments, prices, appliances, moldings, heights of cabinets, and so much more.  Now we waited for a phone call and it didn’t take long.  Good news, cabinets came in with a budget cut, granite came in with a cut in price and included a remnant piece in a different color cut for the fireplace mantel in the study--everything fits where it should.

Next step for Larry and me is finish cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, packing the art work, taking more loads to Goodwill, a trip to Costco to buy paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils, ordering a dumpster,  and setting a date for the contractor to start work.

Larry keeps asking if I am excited.  Until any project begins, I am always a little apprehensive of the little details, details, details….but what I am really looking forward to is the end of the project and seeing all the planning we have done for several years become a reality.  In between the start and finish, Larry and I are planning a menu so we can invite family, friends, and all the trades people who are involved in this project over to a remodel party.

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