Friday, March 30, 2012

3 days maybe 3 weeks

Wednesday: half way to the end….ha ha. We--meaning Bill and Tom--are moving right along with the progress in the kitchen. I slipped out to go to my weekly Stampadoodle art demo, hoping that it would be smooth sailing at home with Larry in charge. Sort of…the cook top is giving Bill and Tom problems trying to make it fit perfectly. I like the word perfect when referring to the new kitchen.

Tony came and installed the new gas line and removed the upstairs toilets again so the flooring guys can install the new floors in both bathrooms tomorrow.

Another stop at Lowes, but the trips are getting less frequent and less costly. One of our overhead garage light fixtures needs to be replaced and Fritz said he would install the new one when he comes back in a couple of weeks.

After looking at options for doors in the master bathroom at Lowes I came up with an idea that Larry liked. Using a set of bi-fold doors, making them fixed and installing café hardware so they swing both ways. They will match the closet doors and be one-fourth the cost.

Thursday, or stress day. It appears that the factory gas regulator that needs to be installed on the new cook top is missing in action. Hours after trying unsuccessfully to contact the company, reading, re-reading, and give it the old time, third time’s the winner, try, Larry thinks he has the instructions figured out. We have one set of sixteen pages that came with the cook top and an updated internet downloaded set of eighteen pages. A slight difference but in the end we think the company has switched from a special, must only be this regulator, to a standard you can find it if you try hard enough regulator. Larry found one locally and at the end of the day everyone who knew what they were doing…don’t laugh…thought that maybe it would work. Great price on the cook top, extra cost for the cabinet, two days of beefing up the cabinet, three days of reading instructions, equals one really great looking cook top.

What could possibly go wrong? Well the cabinet that Troy came out to see on Monday and thought would work--won’t. Bill has a meeting with Troy tomorrow morning to see how to fix the problem. There is no door on the back side of the cabinet leaving a void of empty space that only calls out for open boxes and packages of food to get lost and later dumped.

Lay Me Down Floors arrived to install the new Congoleum vinyl plank flooring in the upstairs bathrooms. It was the first time this young worker had installed this particular type of flooring but he was professional, hardworking, and the new floors look amazing. They install like a laminate floor except instead of a tongue and grove they have a heavy duty glue strip attached to the underside of one plank and when you have measured, and cut you peel the protective strip off the other half of the glue strip, lay the plank down, and it isn’t going anywhere. To cut the flooring you mark it, heat it with a heat gun to soften it, then cut it. The difference is amazing. From blue and gold peel and stick tiles to dark wood grain planks that look contemporary and modern and are water proof.

The carpets are about two weeks out, after all the painting is finished and the dust has settled. Everything is looking so fresh and new, we are now considering new carpet in all three bedrooms upstairs to match the new carpet we are installing on the stairs and upstairs landing. If they will move the furniture for us, I think we will just as Larry says “git r done.”

I painted the back wall of the bathroom, where the toilet had been removed in the master bath and you could see years of previous paint colors. I had a layer of paper down and plastic over this so as not to get a single drop, spray, or splatter on the new flooring. This will allow Bob to just work on the other bathroom on Friday. I also put a coat of paint on the area behind where the other toilet is installed in the guest and where the walls were patched.

Bill grouted the slate tiles in the guest bathroom and except for finding a mirror that room is done. (We have the old one and it would work but I think maybe there might be a better option so I am in no hurry to hang anything.) As Larry would say, “it is practically perfect”--a toilet, new floors, sink, light, faucet, tile…just no perfect mirror.

Of course in the middle of the night, Larry work up worrying about the stove fittings and came downstairs and spent the rest of the night/morning doing research and re-reading the instructions again and while he was tired, he was pleased with working out a solution.

Friday morning Bill arrived after a meeting with Troy and agreed with Larry about the gas line, and the cook top is now officially hooked up and technically working even though the burners are covered in Styrofoam and the burner plates are packed away in a box…somewhere in the mass of boxes that still exist in our living room/storage room.

A new frame and finish material is being expedited from the cabinet company and should arrive within a week. This means Bill can install the existing cabinet and Tom will modify it later to look exactly like the way it was originally planned.

The granite guy came after getting lost with misspelled street names and measured the kitchen countertops and the mantel in the study. He loved the stainless steel sink and put it safely back in its little big black bag and took it with him when he left. The granite will be reinforced with steel rods under the counter and the sink will be installed when they return to install the countertops in about a week or so. He liked that we are installing tile as a backsplash as that gives an extra inch and a half for the faucet to be installed. The holes for the faucet and soap dispenser will be drilled on site.

The double ovens have been installed and look so beautiful in their new cabinet. They have been sitting in our garage for almost a year because we found them deeply discounted and got a few more discounts on top of that and by the time we were through we had saved almost half the retail price. So here is the catch. Boxed up and sitting in the garage and with assurance from Lowes that everything was there…don’t laugh…Bill found that the four mounting screws are missing and also missing is the finish plate for the bottom of the ovens. Lowes claims they can’t find my invoice so I get to go to Lowe’s today, an unplanned trip with my receipt, and have them put a rush order on the missing parts. Fritz will come out on Monday and do the final wiring for the ovens.

Not much to do today so Tom has left and will return on Thursday. Bill finished cleaning up and left for the day also.

Bob is painting the guest bathroom upstairs and getting the trim molding ready to go back on so Tony can install the toilets in both upstairs bathrooms on Monday. The banister, handrail, and lots of trim work still need to be finished.

It’s Friday and we are still about two weeks away from being finished but everyday it looks more and more like a real kitchen. Last night I needed a plastic zip lock bag so Larry shimmied and wove his way through the boxes of flooring and paraphernalia to the dining room to find one. I told him to bring the whole box and we could just put it in the new pantry. If there wasn’t such a huge obstacle of boxes, trim, tools, etc. I would have been in our dining room/storage room unloading boxes of stuff and stocking the pantry. Can you tell I am anxious to put our home back together?

Our daughter Kelly noted that on my previous post I sort of stopped without follow up after posting the details of our English/European cook top. By the end of the day Tuesday, I was exhausted, done, tired, tuckered out, ready for a headache pill, a short nap, something, anything, except thinking about how to fix a this or a that. Rest!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 5 and counting down on the other end of the remodel

Day 5 and counting down on the other end of the remodel
It’s Monday and Bill, Tom, Fritz, and Bob are on the job bright and early. The goal is to finish by Friday or at least be almost finished by Friday.
Fritz is working on the electrical but he will still have one more trip to finish the island electrical outlets and hanging chandelier after the cabinets have all been installed. Today he is checking all the outlets, putting the plate covers on them, installing the new bathroom light in the downstairs guest bathroom and our master bathroom. Fritz installed the new flush mount ceiling light in the old dining room which we have decided to call the “nook”. This sounds better than to keep referring to it as the old dining room which not many people remember anyway. We have lights now, bright lights, lights you can see with…no more sixty watt bulbs or fluorescent bulbs with plastic coverings, but one hundred watt bulbs, and halogen bulbs, and high efficiency bulbs. Wow we really are in the twenty-first century now.

Bob is finishing the trim work in the guest bathroom and tomorrow the toilet and sink will be installed. He measured for new trim for the master bathroom and now that the bay window in the nook is visible to the other two kitchen windows since we removed the outdated, non load bearing, dividing wall, we decided to get new trim to update the two windows that have had their trim removed for the remodel.

Before Bill left for the day, he installed the butcher block top for the floating vanity in the guest bathroom in anticipation of Tony finishing the plumbing work in that bathroom tomorrow.

Four days and counting: the pantry cabinets are installed along with the double oven cabinets and the refrigerator panels and cabinet. Now Bill and Tom are putting the peninsula puzzle together. Tony will come back tomorrow to move the gas pipe for the cook top.

I told Larry I should have been saving the old moldings and he could have been making picture frames for me. He laughed and said where would he work to do this. I told him in his makeshift garage kitchen of course. I probably will keep a few pieces to make frames with at a much later date or find some way to incorporate them into a piece of art.

Tony installed the toilet, sink, and faucet in the downstairs guest bathroom and the new faucet in the guest bathroom upstairs. It is starting to feel and look like a home again.

The cabinet for the gas cook top is actually a furniture cabinet and it is beginning to drive Bill and Tom a little crazy try to figure out how to install it. Metric to standard English conversion. English/European design, similar to a Wolf and labeled as, “simply above the rest”. Not sure my crew would agree with this based on installation guides right now; but they do agree it looks nice. They cabinet can be configured two different way for the drawers. We set up the first and agreed that although this did not match the other layout of the drawers, it did match the drawer height of the cabinet it sits next to and will be more stable for this seventy pound cook top.

This is probably more than you really want to know, but this is the history of how our cook top came to be as provided by the manufacture: HypoTheory was established in 1960, in Wandsworth, London by three wealthy restaurant owners/partners; Hymsley Politz,Diana Politz & Theodore Waldorf . Their once successful 3 decade old restaurant chains were not progressing; due to slow service resulting from outdated cooking appliances. They were in need of new kitchen appliances to compete with their competitors & stay in business. Mr. Politz put a call into a well known steel factory in Murano, Italy. They required the steel factory to design all of their appliances by hand and requested that they only obtain the best of internal and external components. Several months later some of the most extravagant & energy efficient; high end quality sets of ovens & ranges arrived. The pioneers wanted the local town to be able to see the very cooking equipment their food was made on. All twelve restaurant chains; underwent serious renovations. Beautiful large windows and professional lighting were constructed so that potential customers driving by would be attracted to the restaurant and view all of the culinary chefs cooking. This became a form of entertainment for the town of Wandsworth. The pioneers decided that the very cooking equipment that brewed hundreds of pots a day, and fed hundreds of people a day should be offered to all households, for clean and efficient quality cooking. Our pioneers; opened a new business by the name of Global Investor Solutions Ltd, now currently Global Investor Solutions, LLC.

From 1961-1965, HypoTheory cooking ovens/ranges were very costly for Europe’s existing market. The partners were unable to lower the price, since the ovens/ranges cost two times more to manufacture then their competitors’ due to the high end quality that internally still is entailed in all of their appliances. In 1965 the pioneers sold their 35 year old restaurant chains; and invested their profits & life savings into HypoTheory.

The partners; began to offer their inventory to competing restaurant chains that were in desperate need of top quality cooking modules. They paid top dollar for the marvel of kitchenware offered.

After their first major batch of inventory sold out; the partners sat down with their existing factories in Murano, Italy, along with some of Italy’s most world renown chefs to develop an external & internal quality design and structure that would serve conveniently to its market area. Their objective was to surpass all of their competitors, yet still be able to sell to the general public at affordable pricing. This transformation of cooking appliances likely played a large role in the cooking revolution. HypoTheory appliances were used in some of the most prestigious restaurants and culinary art schools across Europe, including Emilia-Romagna, Italy. One of the most world renowned, culinary regions.

In, 1968; HypoTheory; consisted of 230 employees & underwent major distribution deals with every major appliance retail store across Europe. They became a household name in less than a decade. “The talk of the kitchen”, their reputation suggested. The pioneers made a vow, that their appliances would always possess three great qualities, or never be manufactured: Longevity, beauty & quality! This is where they possessed the reputation of being, “Simply Above The Rest”. Their brand has been scientifically proven to be superior to any other cooking appliance in the world. Unlike other gas cooking brands that supply cheap copper soldered components, HYPOTHEORY supplies advanced quality inlet copper threaded tubing, to easily allow your appliance to obtain maintenance after 20 to 30 years of ownership via a technician without having to set flames to re-solder the internal components. This patented copper inlet tubing technology provides a longer lasting and more convenient way to access your device if it is in need of repairs 20 years from now, it ensures your appliance lasts as long as you! Your conventional brand does not guarantee longevity. In order to repair any vital gas related internal components with the standard brand you will ruin the exterior of the device by having to cut it open and solder, not giving it that same luxury look afterward. It is important to ask your brand holder the way their internal components are designed, after all this is the most important thing when investing in a cooking appliance, quality! They perform various observations on all merchandise prior to production with highly educated engineering groups.

In, 1974-1978, the elderly pioneers, sold private shares with the assistance of large investment firms via private shares to various venture capitalist and investment banking firms. After a 51% buyout, the Politz & Waldorf officially resigned their chair member positions.

In 1978-1989, Hypotheory began to expand its regional territory to Australia. It took a very long time to become recognized due to amateur marketing. The president of the board at the time, did not have much faith in investing marketing dollars in Australia. There were a lot of grandfathered-in brands in this region. They did not foresee a large return. Although, high-end appliances; eventually make a name for themselves. As the talk of the kitchen went on over the years, people began to develop a large degree of respect for this brand, and eventually accepted it.

In 1994-2007, HypoTheory continued its journey to success; to North America. They developed large networks of distributors. The distributors were eager to showroom the brand appliances, due to affordable pricing & high end quality.

At present, HypoTheory, appliances are currently designed by retired world renown culinary chefs/engineers in Emilia-Romagna, Italy and manufactured under two large factories in Emilia-Romagna, Italy & Ivano-Frankovsk, Ukraine, then distributed throughout North America, Europe & Australia. Although, HypoTheory, currently does not hand make its internal components to stay in compliance with local governments, as they did a half a century ago, they still do individually design each one of their models with the assistance of world renown culinary chefs, and instill the legacy its pioneers have set. To offer longevity, beauty & quality all in one, and ensure they truly do stay, “Simply above the rest”.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Not what I expected...what's new

What a day…cabinets are going in slowly. Trying to unpack the double oven cabinet and set it upright proved a small problem. The diagonal angle is more than the height of the ceiling so they had to cut a corner on the back of the cabinet. This will be hidden by the refrigerator panel but it was so sad to see our new cabinets being cut up that I had to cover my ears and walk away. I couldn’t bear to watch.

At the end of the day they had quite a few of the cabinets placed in the kitchen. Of course this is only a dry fit to make sure we have everything and the sizes are correct.
I actually got to stay home today and just chill--if you call being on pins and needles watching every move Bill and Tom made in the kitchen, chilling. Larry ran some errands and got out of the house for a short time.

The color of the cabinets is called Havana, like the Cuban cigar, and they are beautiful. Tom opened the island box so I could get a look at the cream white color. Our kitchen is going to be wonderful. The doors with glass panels are a small detail top and bottom with three small squares. We were not expecting this extra feature and it was a pleasant surprise.

Fickle…I am not fickle…but the saying is, "It’s a woman's prerogative to change her mind", right? Well guys can change their minds to and we are now on our fourth tile design for the downstairs guest bathroom. Larry said yes he liked the first tiles I brought home; but he didn’t sound like he loved it. The glass tiles I found at Lowe’s were twelve by thirteen and there was no clear way to divide them in any sort of even widths to install. So I brought home a border tile to go with the first tile which was still sitting in my studio and Larry said, “Sure, I like it, whatever you want.” That wasn’t what I was hoping to hear.

Friday morning I left early to get my hair done and then pick up the grout, a few things at Lowe’s, and a quick stop at Target to look at canisters. While I was at Lowe’s I noticed on the bottom shelf two different stone ledger tiles, one was quartz and the other one was slate. I called Larry and he said sure bring one home. Larry loved the tile because it is different and unique and Bill said there would be no problem installing it. Mission accomplished. Now another trip back to Home Depot to return all the other tiles and back to Lowe’s to buy more of the slate ledger tile for the bathroom. This will work out well in tying in the design materials and flooring to the living areas. Using the slate in the bathroom repeats the use of materials in the living area for a matching, unified look and the flooring ties both areas together.

We have a palette of soft French cream white, rich cigar brown, and slate with grey, red, brown, a touch of golden honey yellow, and the floors are a mellow pecan with a darker grain pattern. Calming, comforting, traditional, contemporary, transitional, modern, the newly renovated spaces reflect each of these descriptions. To us it is just home…our home.

Bob finished installing the flooring in the downstairs guest bathroom and about eighty-five of the kitchen cabinets are unboxed. Smooth sailing…not quit. It’s the end of the day and Bill is arranging for Troy to come out on Monday to help with the last details before the cabinets are permanently installed. We also discovered that one of the cabinets was not designed correctly. Since it is placed against a wall and flanked by two cabinets, I am not sure the cabinet for the hood vent can be installed until the correct cabinet comes. The whole purpose of planning, and more planning was to avoid wasted spaces, no lazy-susans, no dead cabinet spaces, no unusable spaces. We will have to wait until we talk to Troy on Monday to see what our options are.
We have not ordered the hardware for the cabinets but we need to do it quickly, although it probably won’t get installed for a couple of weeks.

The pièce de résistance was an email from Dave M saying anyone who wanted to ride on Saturday to meet up at Sehome Starbucks by 10:00 AM. Larry wrote back…yippee. This will be our first trip out on the Harley since July 2011. I am so excited to be able to ride with wind in my face…well not exactly, because I ride with a full face helmet. The weather prediction is for fifty degrees and sun. It was, but felt more like forty degrees and that is why they make under armor and heated gear. We rode south down Chuckanut to Skagit HD before heading to Conway, highway 9, Big Lake and stopping at Blue Mountain Grill for lunch where we ran into Monica and Dennis. From there we headed to Maple Falls, South Pass, back and forth on county roads until we wound up back in Ferndale. Thanks to Dave, Lorie, Dana, and Mike for a great riding with friends.

We made it back to Ferndale in time to ride the bike to Cornwall Church. Jake Locker was speaking tonight about playing high school football in Ferndale, playing for University of Washington, and now for the NFL Titans. He also spoke about his faith and what role that plays in his personal and professional life.

Home to a warm fire and a quiet evening.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Labor intensive

Bill arrived early on Thursday to begin trying to remove the glued on, stapled on, nailed on vinyl flooring that was under the kitchen carpet. This is very labor intensive and making headway is a slow process. Bob arrived a short time later and they tried double teaming the floor to remove the ugly psychedelic yellow and orange nineteen seventies vinyl. They need to get the rough edges removed so they can self level the floor or put down a layer of tar paper before the underlayment goes down for the laminate flooring. Stop the presses…Bruce the floor guy said not to sand the old vinyl floors, so tar paper it is and some self level and thin-set.

And yet another delay on the texture guy who won’t’ show up until tomorrow. Tony the plumber is here and working on our bathroom sink except Bill has not grouted the tile so it won’t really be a working sink until tomorrow. It looks wonderful with the new countertop, backsplash and the white square vessel with the waterfall faucet is beautiful.

Friday, Tony will be completing the plumbing under the house and moving the gas line and shut off valves for the new gas cook top. That was the plan. Tony worked under the house and got half the work done because it is so wet. Monday he will be back.

Floors are not going down until the cabinets are in so Bill and Bob are putting down plywood frames for the cabinets to sit on, raising them five eighths of an inch off the floor. Measure twice and call Troy to double check the plans. This is a plan that gets repeated often to avoid the pitfalls of fixing errors later that require more labor and money than if you plan ahead.

A long dusty day but we are making progress. Before Bill left for the day he cut the old kitchen butcher block down, routered the edge, and gave it a first sanding. This is going to be the new countertop for the wall hung vanity in the guest bathroom. By next week we should have the guest bathroom in working order--hopefully.

Friday morning we were up early. Once Bill and Bob arrive to seal off the upstairs and the study from the kitchen and entry and we have no access to the bathrooms. Everything is done and again we are waiting on the texture guy, and waiting, and waiting. Finally at about 10:30 AM he arrives but mixes the texture too thin so Bill has to get him more mud to thicken it up. It takes only about thirty minutes to texture the room after it is mixed and then “texture guy” is off to another job.

Bob started removing the plastic within about thirty minutes but we need to stay out of those areas as it will take twenty-four hours to dry.
My mission, should I accept it, is to go to Windsor Plywood and pick out a piece of wood that will be the front of the wall hung vanity in the downstairs powder room. I picked a one inch by eight inch by three foot cherry wood piece of wood with a grain pattern and we will use a dark walnut stain.

Larry has acquiesced and told me just to go look at the carpet sample that was to come in today and choose which one I think we will both like. I didn’t like the sample that came in today because it had a stripe pattern and I think we need a multi color Berber look so it is there but doesn’t become the focal point.

I shopped for scrapbook supplies for the GRADS scrapbooking class next week and stopped at Costco on a Friday afternoon with half of Canada shopping there. Obviously I didn’t plan this out correctly.

Oh and let’s not forget that I needed to get the grout ordered today for the kitchen tile. The grout is a special order with about a ten day wait time. We chose a dark grey color to contrast with the white subway tiles and the glass accent tiles. It is a urethane grout, ready mixed, stain resistance, crack resistant, with mold and mildew protection, and it is water resistant. Less maintenance and that is a good thing.

I’m tired and I wanna go home. The guys were gone when I arrived but Larry had things to show me. The upstairs tile in our bathroom has been grouted and Monday the plumbing will be connected. We have to decide if we want the vanity sink pushed all the way to the back of the countertop or pulled out about an inch and a half.

Bill showed up Saturday afternoon and set the sink in our bathroom in place and grouted it the tile. Little things…so many of them to check off the list.

Sunday I tried to get all of our laundry done so we could set up our makeshift coffee station for Monday. In between loads of laundry I made another trip to Lowe’s (Larry says we should have bought stock in the company) to get a sealer/varnish of some sort to seal the butcher block top for the guest bathroom. Bill finished routering and sanding the top on Friday and said if I could get it sealed, then after Bob paints the bathroom on Monday we can install it on Tuesday. When I opened my can of Valspar McCloskey Man O'War Spar Marine varnish, I found it had been sitting too long and had gummed up. You can stir it but not shake it. After twenty minutes I gave up and realized I needed to buy a new can. Easier said than done… Lowe’s no longer carries this product from Valspar and Hardware Sales is closed on Sunday. I wound up with a Minwax satin polyurethane wipe on finish. Three hours between the first two coats and then twenty-four before I put on the third and final coat. I am looking for bowling alley wax to finish it off, but may have to order this online.

Monday morning Bob is putting the base coat over the texture and hopefully he will get the first top coat applied to the small areas that don’t have cabinets on the kitchen walls. Did I mention that we have a room full of cabinets coming on Wednesday? I asked Larry if anyone ever opened one of those boxes to make sure our cabinets are the right color….Larry said sure,”…well I imagine Troy did.” Wow…let’s pray that our cabinets that have been sitting in a warehouse for weeks are the right color or we could be weeks behind waiting on a re-order.

While I was at Lowe’s on Sunday, I bought the canvas drop cloths to make curtains/drapes. They are eight ounce canvas and a light linen color. I have been reading blogs about using burlap and canvas drop cloths to make curtains and it seems to be a very trendy look in the decorating industry. Now I just need to order the cheesecloth for the sheers that go behind the drapes. We have a beautiful nine by twelve cream and tan indoor/outdoor rug that we bought for the study when we remodeled it, but it wanted to creep across the flooring so we have stored it in the shop. I think we are going to get a pad for it and put it in the living room and hope it doesn’t creep across that floor.

Monday and I am running errands again and grocery shopping. Larry had Bill measure for a new door to be installed in the master bathroom so that we can special order it or not. Guess I need to find an online resource for a new door because Lowes wants three hundred and twenty-five dollars for a small door between the bathroom vanity area and the toilet/shower area. Really…just one door!

Larry and I did some online shopping and found a bathroom light fixture for the master bathroom from none other than Lowe’s. While I am there I guess I will try to buy up every one hundred watt bulb left in stock (these are the ones that can no longer be sold because they are not energy efficient but do contain small amounts of mercury…go figure…energy or safety.

Tuesday: a day without Lowes...going through withdrawals…not really. It’s okay because I have to go on Wednesday to return the extra tile that we didn’t need for the master bathroom backsplash and then to Home Depot to return the extra slate that we didn’t need around the fireplace. But I made up for it with a trip to Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target looking for a pedestal toilet tissue holder and hand towels. I like to buy local but then again these companies are all large corporations so shopping online to find a bargain, and I need a bargain right now, is not a bad thing.

I arrived home to find our master bathroom sink fully functioning. No water in the house because the plumber is working so in theory the sink is working. The downstairs is painted and Bob is working on the upstairs.
I put a final coat of sealer on the guest bathroom butcher block top and it will be ready to install in the next couple of days.

Wednesday and the list is growing again. The plumber is finishing the pipes under the house and we have no water again…Time to leave. Larry and had brunch out at Diamond Jim’s just to get away from the mess and have a little peace and quiet. Larry ran errands after brunch and I took time for my weekly art demo at Stampadoodle.

I made my daily trip to Lowe’s again to buy a new faucet for the upstairs guest bathroom. It seems there are no replacement parts for the faucet that is only a few years old so we need to replace it. I returned the tile we didn’t use while I was there and moved on.

Next stop Millworks to pick out door jamb molding and baseboard molding and make sure they have enough in stock. Bob will pick it up when he is ready to prime, paint, and install it. In and out in less than fifteen minutes.
The next zag in my zig across town was to Home Depot to return the extra slate and look for a harmonizing tile to match what I already bought for the guest bathroom downstairs. Larry wanted a little something extra to make it pop; Same blend of tiles in a border pattern that will look good with the existing tiles we already have.

Larry called and said the grout is in, but since it is downtown Bellingham and I am already heading in the direction of home, slowly, but going that way, I will wait until my foray into town tomorrow because I am sure I will need something else besides the grout. We have enough of the grout to use in the kitchen, the bathroom, and the slate in the living room. The grey color with make the white ceramic and cracked glass tiles pop in the kitchen, contrast with the bathroom tiles and blend with the slates tiles.

I missed all the fun but Larry took pictures: The cabinets arrived. Yay! We have cabinets in the living room, the sitting room, and the kitchen. We have cabinet boxes stacked on cabinet boxes. By the time I got home several of the cabinets had been removed from their boxes and placed against the walls. They are beautiful! Bill’s friend Tom arrived to help with the cabinets and he will be here during the entire time they are installing the cabinets while Bob installs flooring once he finishes painting and they move a few boxes. Exciting.

We might even have a downstairs bathroom by Friday.

While I was out, my sweet husband dusted the study again. We try but we just can’t seem to stay ahead of all the dust that accumulates too quickly. Sometimes you can see a new layer forming as soon as we have wiped everything down. We are thinking of hiring a cleaning service when everything is finished just so we can get it done quickly and start putting our rooms back together.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mid week, half way

Snow! Again? It is the middle of March and some places in the county have several inches of snow on the ground. Luckily we have flakes that are not sticking, but the forecast is for rain the rest of the week. I would really like a nice sunny, fifty degree Saturday ride with friends. I would settle for forty degrees and all my thermals and heated gear if the sun would come out.

Does anyone remember The Andy Griffin Show and a character named Gomer Pyle? One of Gomer’s favorite sayings was, “surprise, surprise, surprise!” And surprised was exactly what Larry and I were today when Bob was painting and the sheetrock in a corner wall sort of gave way as he ran the paint roller over the area. I, of course, was out running errands at the time—unsuccessfully-- when I called home to get more information from Bill on what to do when Larry broke the news to me. I needed to buy a small piece of half inch two feet by two feet sheetrock to patch this area before I came home. Okay I wanted to know what happened that we now had a new hole in the wall.

When the sheetrock gave way, Bill and Bob pulled the damaged section out to find basically the sheetrock paper with no sheetrock attached and a dead bald-faced hornets nest decaying in the wall. The hornets had eaten the sheetrock and the slight pressure of the roller was all it took to press in. The good news is they found no live hornets, at least that they can see but the nest goes up the wall and they will need to pull it out before patching the area. (Larry thinks it would make good insulation and we should just leave it in.)

The patch shouldn’t take long and Bill and Bob will texture it with a can of spray because the texture guys come Thursday and will be gone before this is taped, mudded, sanded, mudded, sanded, primed, and ready for texture.

Wow. I thought finding out the plumbing was almost eroding away behind sheetrock, toilets that were never properly attached to a floor that was never properly prepared for them, plumbing that was never glued together or strapped to the floor joist under the house was pretty shocking but bald-faced hornets are black and white and usually build nest in trees or shrubs but will crawl into roof overhangs, attics, under porches, and wall voids. The nests are paper like material and football shaped but can be as large as three feet in diameter. They are aggressive and will attack if you invade their space and will sting over and over again.

Two years ago I was trimming the rhododendrons off the front porch when Larry drove in the driveway and I stopped to talk to him. When I showed him my progress he sort of stepped back and pointed to the one limb left to trim off, and there hanging underneath, tucked to the inside of the bush was a hornet nest the size of a basketball. If Larry had not come home when he did, I would have cut the limb and had to run for my life. God was watching over me that day. I had a hornet sting several years ago and had a mild reaction with itching and three of my fingers swelling up. Upon further inspection of the yard Larry found another nest even larger on another rhododendron about ten feet away and then several more in the backyard. We hired a pest exterminator who wore a full protection suit while spraying and then removed all the nests from the property bagged in plastic and tied off.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful compared to that unexpected surprise. We picked up the flooring and Larry’s truck was riding low and heavy on the way home. Thirty-two boxes of laminate and we still need to return to pick up the trim pieces and see the carpet sample that is coming in on a special deal. Bruce said it is close to what we have picked out but at a better price so we will wait to place the order for carpet until Friday when we have seen both pieces and decide what we like better.

Bill bought a new saw blade and proceeded to deconstruct the kitchen counter I bought yesterday to make it fit the bathroom vanity. He did a great job on the counter and cut the porcelain tiles we bought yesterday to make a backsplash. I bought six, eighteen by eighteen tiles knowing this was more than enough tile and would probably return any unused tiles. That was the plan. The tile kept chipping and in the end Bill used all six tiles to get enough pieces to make an eight inch high backsplash surrounding the counter. Bill even managed to shape the tiles to fit the Ogee beveled edge of the countertop. Grouting tomorrow and one more thing will be checked off our growing to do list.

The guest bath downstairs is painted and the ceiling and walls in the kitchen and entryway that need to be textured are primed. Bill and Bob will be sealing off the rest of the house to protect everything from the spray texture.

The plan for Thursday after the crew leaves is to head to IKEA in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada to buy the drapery rods and have dinner out. It is a shorter distance to the IKEA in Canada than it is to the store south of Seattle. Date night!

Tony the plumber is half way done with the work under the house and will return on Friday. My reason for staying away from the house today was no water--no toilets. So I will have to leave again Friday and wander aimlessly around Bellingham, stalling until I have the okay to return home.

Our home looks like hoarders live here. First it was the dining room crammed with furniture and boxes. Next came my studio with more boxes and a temporary makeshift coffee station complete with enough paper cups, plates, napkins, and plastic utensils to hopefully last us eight weeks while we were remodeling the kitchen.

Both guest bedrooms are piled high with everything that has been removed from linen and coat closets along with all the art work that hung on the walls downstairs. Our bedroom has vanity cabinet drawers stacked alongside clothes hampers, and tools. The only room that sort of has a semblance of normalcy is the study and it is covered daily in a new sheet of dust. I am running out of dust cloths and have become a little fanatical about anything that doesn’t need to be in this room, going out…out of the room…garbage, sporting goods room, garage, somewhere, but not the last room in the house that doesn’t look like we need an intervention from stuff.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rounding 2nd

Monday I was pretty much AWOL from the construction zone. My car has been flashing me for months. Let the gas tank drop to half and the “check engine” light comes on, or if the light is out and you fill the tank the light would come on. No rhyme nor reason but it needed an oil change so I ducked out of the house early. I left the car at the dealer and they dropped me off at the mall. First stop at a kiosk for coffee and I was ready to browse. A leisurely stroll and a few errands and then the call came. The temperature gauge was going out in the car and it was just a coincidence the light went on and off with gas gauge changes. This meant another three hours at the mall and I was already done and ready to go. How many times can you walk up and down the mall before security begins to think you are plotting, stalking, or up to no good? 11:30 AM and I was tired and bored. I stopped at the food court to get something cold to drink and sit down for a little while to kill time. I can’t sit still and not do anything. I should have signed up for mall walking because I definitely got my exercise today.

Michael called about 2:00 PM after he had gotten off the phone talking to Larry and wanted to check in with me. He was my saving grace because he came to the mall, picked me up and we went to the Fountain Bistro for tea and hot chocolate. With Michael working full time and going to school full time at University of Washington, we don’t have a lot of time to see each other, although we do have long phone calls from grocery stores, coffee houses, and during his walks between classes.

Michael dropped me at the car dealer and he went back to work and I drove to Fred’s to do the grocery shopping. With no space to store anything in the house and losing space every time I turn around, I can shop with one of those small carts and get everything I need (not what we want, but need) for almost a week.

Bill is gone for the day and Deuce was barking at me like he had never seen me when I got home, but then he treats everyone except Larry like complete strangers no matter who they are including me. Larry put the groceries away and fixed his chicken salad with makings I brought home and I crashed on the sofa. I remember the days when I could shop all day and not feel the slightest bit tired. I think it wears me out that I hate most of the styles, or the wild colors, or that everything is cut to fit a thirteen year old even in the Misses department.

While I was gone there were more layers of mud applied and then sanded down. Seems a bit redundant to put mud on and then take it off. I understand making it smooth and hiding the tape joints, but you’d think someone would think of a new system to speed this process up.

Tuesday morning Bill and Bob are both on the job. Bill trying to stay one step ahead of Bob who is applying a primer coat to all ceiling and walls that are going to be textured on Wednesday. The walls and ceiling are all one soft creamy white that should make the new cabinets pop and give us that crisp clean transitional style we are trying to achieve.

Bill removed the old countertop in our bathroom and the tiles that were glued on to the sheetrock. I scooted off to the store to pick out a new top that I hope Larry will like and porcelain tile that Bill will cut and use to make a new backsplash while Larry left for his Kiwanis meeting The idea in my head was a light creamy beige Formica countertop (I would love granite but will not put anything expensive on top of an old 1973 cabinet and since we are way over budget on this growing remodel, an updated cabinet will have to wait a few years). Good thing our motto is “flexibility” because I first picked out seven tiles that I like and then took them back to the countertop area in Lowes. The countertop and tiles all had the same general look and feel and just blended too much together and began to feel busy and boring. In stock Lowes only carries five colors and special orders take at least two weeks or more so I had to pick something off the shelf. Finally I pulled out the dark grey/black with a small almost unnoticeable fleck of beige in it and began holding the same tiles I had selected up against it. No, no, no, no, four down, three left. Subtle was what I going for and hoping Larry would like this darker countertop. One more tile is in the reject pile and then it was two. Finally I decided that the lightest tile would give the most contrast and work well with the new white sink, that replaces the horrible blue sink we have been living with since we moved in.

The trouble with a bad economy is that the big box stores cut back on hiring or hours for personnel. Customer service is hard to get without running all over the store, up and down the aisles, or having someone paged. This also holds true when trying to check out when you cannot use the self checkout line and have to wait for one checker to help everyone. Still not quit out the door because I need someone to load the countertop and tile into my car. Now there are two of us waiting for help--fifteen minutes later, and four pages, someone arrives and starts to help the gentlemen waiting for help without asking who was first. Lucky for me he was a gentleman and told the store guy I was waiting first.

Larry was home waiting for me while taking care of phone calls, and again Deuce the dog was barking wildly to announce a stranger was in the driveway (me). Bill unloaded my car and stored everything in the garage until tomorrow. Bill measured the sink again to double check the mounting information for the faucet. For some reason, on Monday the plumber thought we had a wall mount sink and that was going to require returning the sink and getting a replacement. However, it turns out that the instructions in the box cover several styles and he didn’t actually look at the sink to see that we had the correct one in the box. Because the countertop only comes in a stock twenty-five inch depth for kitchen cabinets, Bill will cut off the sides and back to make it fit our cabinet.

Bill is also going to cut and install the slate tile around the fireplace and that will be one more item off the checklist.

The guys called it a day shortly after I returned home and I tried to clean the dust from sanding off the tables, chairs, sofa, electronics, etc. I realized the air purifier that Larry’s brother and sister-in-law gave us was clogged with dust so Larry took it apart and we cleaned it with the expectation that it will probably only be a few days until it is clogged again.

Bob will put another coat of primer on the new places Bill had to mud again today and then they will mask the rooms off for the texture guys who arrive tomorrow afternoon.

Larry and I will meet up Wednesday, after my art demo at Stampadoodle and his lunch with Curt, to pick up the flooring for the kitchen, living room, and entry, and order the Congoleum planks for the bathrooms. We will try to decide on carpet for the staircase and upstairs landing.

The plan for Thursday and Friday is to paint the kitchen, living room, entry foyer, stairway, and downstairs bathroom, then prep the floors for cabinets. Then the flooring goes down on Friday or Monday and if all goes well the cabinets will finally be installed next week.

Step by step

Slowly, step by step, inch by inch…wait that is the beginning of mythological scary story. Our story goes like this: Thursday Bill is still mudding, feathering, and double checking the walls and ceiling. Friday is pretty much a repeat of Thursday. Our walls and ceiling are a little out of plumb, no surprise there, so it takes a little more effort to make them look like they are. Bill will come back on Saturday to put another layer of mud on several places.

Bill has also been taping and mudding the guest bath and a small patch in my studio. The guest bath had the ugly sort of paper wallboard wall that backed the panty that we removed and was replaced by new sheetrock. The wall the mirror hung on and the wall for the light switch looked more like outside stucco than interior finish work. Bill has been applying skim coats of mud to even the walls out so we will have one texture not several.
Saturday morning Bill arrived to apply one more coat on top of one more coat. Monday he will finish up and begin sealing off the area for the texture guys to come in late Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning to match the slight texture of the existing walls. That is if all goes as planned and we know how that goes.

Close, we are so close to being done with this phase of the remodel and then we are ready to start the finish work. Paint, floors, slate, cabinets, granite, appliances, more plumbing and electrical, trim….sweep, say a prayer, and begin cooking.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


Great way to start off Friday--relaxed after having dinner with friends last night and ready to embrace the house.

Bill and Bob finished installing the insulation and sheetrock in the kitchen. Larry rented a drywall and panel hoist to help make it easier to install the sheetrock in the ceiling. Precision and accuracy are today’s terms. Every inch of insulation was used with no scraps left behind and Bill had figured eighteen sheets of sheetrock and bought twenty to be safe. There are only bits and pieces of the drywall left for the garbage.

I bought sandwiches and carrot cake to celebrate Larry’s birthday with guys. It was a nice break in the day. Later, Larry’s mom had us over for dinner.

I finished cleaning out the drawers that came out of the bathroom cabinet in the guest bathroom. The big job this weekend will be to remove all the coats in the entryway closet and the small coat closet and take everything upstairs. Taping and mudding the sheetrock will begin on Monday, and in between coats, it needs to be sanded and the dust will be everywhere. A plastic sheet will be placed across the doorway into the study to keep most of the dust out, but it will still be a mess. Towels will be put under the doors into the dining room to try and dustproof it. The closet doors are off the linen closet in the upper hallway so I will need to take everything out and put it in one of the bedrooms.

We had a relaxing morning Saturday and Dave and Brenda invited us to dinner for a hot home cooked meal (beef stew with biscuits) with real plates and silverware. We played Farkle (a dice game) and made an ice cream run before watching a movie. This was a nice evening spent with friends and Brenda got her cabinet door with the chicken from Larry.

Until you look inside a wall or ceiling you cannot predict what problems you will find. One more that cropped up today is installing the stove hood vent. Bill will have a meeting with Troy on Monday to look closer at the cabinet plan and explain what our installation problems are to come up with a solution.

Troy’s solution, since he is not on the job, is for Bill to figure out the puzzle of the hood vent. In a remodel you lose control over the idea/conception when reality takes over and you understand what parameters you have to work within.

Bill’s mind is working overtime as he tapes and mud’s the sheetrock. By the end of Monday everything has a first coat of mud on the wall and Bill thinks he has a solution for the venting.

Tuesday morning Bill arrives with a new piece of pipe to marry the new hood with the existing venting pipe. Until this problem is figured out, the small rectangle of ceiling left to be sheet rocked cannot be enclosed. This needs to happen today so the ceiling can be closed up, tape, mudded, and the wall sanded. The texture guys will be here later this week to blend the new wall with the existing walls. We don’t have smooth flat walls; just a sort of very slight, almost unnoticeable texture that if not matched would be very noticeable.

Painting will start the end of the week, maybe, and in the kitchen that means only very tiny places, under the window in the panty, over the sink, and a small place by the stairs, over the baseboard heater for the walls and the ceiling. Everything else in the kitchen will be covered in cabinets. The major areas for paint are refinishing the staircase, painting the entryway, sitting area off the kitchen and living room.

Troy called this morning to remind us the cabinets have arrived. Bill just laughed and said maybe next week. There is no place to put them as the garage is full of appliances, a makeshift kitchen, and most important the Harley. The living room is full of tools and jobsite paraphernalia.
Bill has just informed me that the venting for the hood was never hooked up properly, meaning it was just a pipe that didn’t connect to the outside fan--that is frozen and non working and will be removed altogether--and a vent screen will cover the outside hole. I think the people who built this house must have had a philosophy of when in doubt don’t worry, don’t make it work, we’ll cover it up with sheetrock and no one will ever know.

Bill has a new helper today, Jeff, for the venting and sheetrock. Bob is off on another job or as Bill speculates, snowboarding with the new powder we got on Mt. Baker last night.

The new bathroom sink for the master bath was delivered so we need to find a vanity top for it to sit on. The Edison bulbs for the island lighting fixture have shipped and will arrive with a few days. The slipcover for the loveseat in the living room has shipped and I have found cotton muslin cheesecloth to make drapery panels. Kim said she could pick up my curtain rods this weekend in Seattle from IKEA if I get her all the information on what I need. I am still on the hunt for kitchen handles, something sleek and modern, and hopefully won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Since the former owner sort of Jerry-built the lower shelving unit in our bathroom linen closet I have been searching for an inexpensive and easy idea to replace this. (They stood one by ones in the corner, unattached to the wall and set six foot shelves on top to hold them in place. We never realized how unsecure they were and how lucky we are that they never collapsed and fell when they were bumped.) If I can find wooden cubes, I can stack two sideways on each end of the closet, place on of the shelves on top and then stack one additional cube on top with the remaining shelf. The hamper will fit back in the open space underneath the shelf and the cubes will hold bath mats, toilet paper, and all the essential items you need but also need to store out of the way.

Wednesday, Tony the plumber arrived to find a small pond under the house…go figure after all the rain we have had in the past few days. He plugged in the pump again to run today and we will run it again all day Sunday so that he can hopefully get the rest of the new pipes installed under the house.
Bill was here early to clean up the bits and pieces of debris and then up to another job to do the same before he returns to work on mudding the ceiling. Thursday will probably be the messy day with sanding.

I talked to Bruce, the flooring guy, and we have settled on Congoleum Connections plank flooring in a dark wood grain pattern for both the upstairs bathrooms. This is much heavier and has a twenty-five year guarantee. It cost about twice as much as the other flooring we had picked out, but because we only need a few boxes, we felt it was a better choice.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Sheetrock...gotta love it.

Wednesday we were back on schedule, sort off. Bill and Bob are finishing up another job and after calling it quits, again working in the freezing cold with rain and snow forecast, they are back in warmer working conditions in our home. They didn’t get a lot done because the snow really started to fall and it was only going to get worse as the day moves into evening.

Thursday the guys are working to the beat of the music…so I guess that means I keep the radio station playing something that has a good beat (hammer/drill) and you can dance to it (move quickly).
When Fritz was doing the electrical he had a question one day about the light fixture over the kitchen island. Rather than try and describe it to him, I just got on the computer and went to Pinterest and showed him what it looked like and then linked over to the manufacturer for detailed information. Bookmarking is so much easier with Pinterest which is visual.

I like it
I love it
Pin it
Broach, brooch, stickpin
Tie down, takedown, peg
Marker, peg, ID #
Pivot, tenpin, kingpin
No, no, no
Pin it!
Bookmark it!
My computer your browser
Web links
Electronic pointers
A portal
Stuck in a folder
Floating around
Pin it I said
A visual pinboard
Collect and share
Follow and be followed
You create it
You manage it
You see it
A portfolio
A design board of inspiration
Showcase and curate
Like, comment, repin
Let me in please
Then let others in
Bucket list, favorites
Must have…
Clothes, jewelry, shoes
for the….
Home, bath, bed, kitchen
Read it, cook it
Be inspired by it
Art, DIY, fabric
Paint, photos, beads
Typography, illustration
A board for everything
Wood, stage, fence
I don’t think so
Directors who supervise
Not even close
Ship shape
Wrong again
No Pinterest is front and center
Not covered up
Out of the middle ages
On display for all to see
Stand out
Name the board be creative
Tell your family, tell your friends
Share it on your blog
Update your status on Facebook
Have fun
Give credit
Respect and honor
Diversity of beauty
Day dreaming
It’s a Pinterest day
I like it
I love it
I pinned it

Okay back to Thursday’s work progress. Sheetrock encloses the guest bathroom and sandwiched in between the layers is a layer of insulation. The wall that backs the refrigerator, double ovens and new hutch style cabinets is sheet rocked and looking really good. The insulation is up on the outside wall and going up fast in the ceiling between the floor joists. Spray foam has been used to seal all leaks and Bill plugged the outside of the house where the plumbing and water lines were changed. Good thing we have extra paint left over from when Bob painted the house a few years ago.

Bill said “I’ve been in a lightning storm now I’m waiting for the thunder.” This was after I had my handy dandy camera out snapping pictures of the kitchen progress….no disappointment here. I still need to get a video of Bill dancing around the kitchen but Bob asked if I had ever seen Bill dance and said he would vote to veto this idea. I if get caught slacking on my photography duties, I get a little reminder comment from the crew.

At the end of the day all the walls except one small section have been sheet rocked. Lots of precision cuts around plumbing and sewer pipes and electrical outlets but the sheet rock is a tight fit and looks really nice. Tomorrow Bill and Bob will finish the wall and the ceiling which will be much harder working overhead. This is one tough job to do. The house already feels warmer.

The best news of the day is our cabinets have arrived. Three weeks after placing the order, a really complicated order for some of the pieces, they are here. The bad news is WFP would like to deliver them and we have no where to put them. The joke all day has been we have cabinets, no pressure Bill…but we have cabinets. This surprised Bill as much as it did us, but how exciting. Now the pressure is on to finish the sheet rocking, paint, install the cabinets, etc…

Just before leaving the house to have dinner with friends the UPS truck arrived and the driver had our new Super Human ten gallon garbage can. Yay! Why so excited over a garbage can? It has a soft opening and won’t hit the countertop when it opens; it has soft close so it won’t just clash and bang; and it is stainless steel fingerprint proof.

At dinner as we were leaving Marla said our new theme song should be the O'Jays, For The Love of Money, or: Brother Can You Spare a Dime, The Money will Roll Right In, Take the Money and Run. If I had a Million Dollars, Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems, Money (That’s What I Want). Maybe one of these songs will be on the radio tomorrow as Bill and Bob are working on the kitchen.
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