I never thought we would get here... Now I can actually cook a meal (In Theory) I am very pleased with all the cabinet, color, granite and tile choices. It all came together nicely. The pulls, although not the ones I wanted originally, make me smile everytime I use them, I open a drawer and say to myself "I saved $30.00 on this one pull". You'll remember that the original pulls were $36.00 and quite lovely, from Sun Valley Bronze. See this post, but I opted for the less expensive Amerock and Liberty knock off's, and I am oh so glad I did. Here are the $ saving pulls. I really struggled with the brushed Nickel, stainless question. Part of me feels that stainless along with the neutral brown colors is dated 1990, but I went with what I like. If I am the lady with the orange shag carpet in a few years, who cares, as long as the carpet is clean and dander free :-) Here are some after photos,
My favorite change in the kitchen has to be the broom closet added to the far right of the refrigerator. This small cabinet houses the brooms and such as well as the recycle bins and daily cleaners. It also moves the refer away from the wall enough so that the door can open fully. That was a real problem before, the door to the refrigerator opened against that wall and you could not open the drawers inside all the way We also got a much larger fridge which necessitated moving the island forward just a smidge. It makes a huge difference while cooking. We also added the auto glide drawer slides, which stop a drawer from slamming. Those are awesome fun. (how old am I?)
Although I still need to paint, let's face it, us housebloggers know the job is never really "finished" just on it's way to... Here you can see the Subway pattern brick travertine tile we chose for the backsplash and the recipe book cabinet. There was a cabinet here before which opened on the left, it was deep and thin. I wanted it open on the deeper part so that It wouldn't feel so closed off and I had a place for my many rarely used cookbooks. We removed the windowsill and replaced it with the same granite, Kashmere White, that we chose for the countertops. There is some cracking along the grout line where the tile and granite meet, after some settling I will caulk the area with a matching color poly caulk to seal the seam. The two bathrooms are also almost complete, I will blog about that later. Meanwhile, I think I will go open and close my cabinets some more... Cheers. Lara
Because of my personality hectic schedule, It is pretty rare for me to start and complete a knitting project in a season. When I saw the Huntington Castle Pullover in the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave knits, I was moved to knit it. I know that a good knitter takes notes, and should be able to report what type of yarn was used, but I didn't. I only know they no longer make the yarn because Miss Tiennie looked for it when she started the sweater with no luck. I can't remember what size I knitted, I think the finished size 36, because that sounds about right, and I'm pretty sure I did a gauge, because I was all about working this pattern "correctly". Last Year Miss Tiennie gave me a notebook to keep my notes in so that I wouldn't have to guess what I did when making socks - because my socks kept coming out different sizes, I used it religiously for about 36 rows, then convinced myself that I would remember. Big mistake, the socks still sit unfinished.
With the Huntington Pullover, I kept pretty good notes on the pattern itself with yellow sticky notes -
But something went horribly wrong.
Why yes it is as wide as it is long. The fairisle turned out great, the color and texture was exactly what I wanted but I will never wear it because.... Well just look. I look a bit angry hugh? I do like the hood, but It could be a bit thinner and smaller all over. So what to do, what to do. Should I unravel the whole thing and try again? It would be a good learning experience, but I would hate to get most of the way through it and run out of yarn, knowing that I cannot get more. Or should I just put it in the closet with all my other missteps? If you would like to see what this sweater should look like, knitted by a real knitter, and not just the pattern cover photo, check out the ones Tiennie did. I'm undecided. Maybe I should get all new yarn, and start over fresh, and if it works out the way I hope, Unravel this project and make another???
The cabinets are in! Yeah. There is some tweaking to be done of course but the cabinets themselves are in and I think the kitchen is coming together nicely. My favorite new design feature is the broom closet to the right of the refrigerator. Before the fridge opened up to the wall and you couldn't pull the drawers out because the door wouldn't open up far enough. Also, frankly, the fridge was just too small for our growing family - we are Americans after all :-) With the larger fridge we had to move the island forward ever so slightly to gain enough room otherwise it would be a bit cramped while standing at the cook top. Observe
Although it is only 2 inches it makes a huge difference. We also removed the lower window sill and plan on putting granite down. The wood had all kinds of water marks on it and in general it was poorly conceived. So why is there only partial granite on the island you ask? Well the granite company measured the sink incorrectly, so they had to remove (they had already put the East piece on) the slabs and take it back to the factory to be re-cut. Luckily they cut it too small so they were able to salvage the piece. Sooooo you guessed it, another delay. But wait there's more.
Here is the downstairs bathroom cabinet. My contractor (who I now like and no longer love) ordered the wrong sink so the cabinet was too shallow. This, and the upstairs kids bathroom cabinet had to be re-made to accommodate the sinks I wanted, and I was not going to budge on the square undermount sinks I fell in love with. Cruddy photo, but there it is. Again reality reared it's ugly head with the drawer pulls. I had wanted Sun Valley Bronze Oval cabinet knobs and Bin Pulls. But in pricing them the knobs were $24.30 a piece and the pulls were $36.00 a piece. As If! So I ended up getting similar knobs for about $4. each and pulls for around $6. from Home Depot. They weren't exactly what I wanted but the price was just right.
The way the island was before, with angled corners and thick tile, made it an unfriendly place to sit and eat. Observe. So we decided to square the corners and make it a titch larger (I know that's not a real word) and the cabinet base a smidge (that word is debatable) thinner. The cornices are not finished so these lovely sticks are what we have to stabilize the granite, notice my homemade "do not touch" sign. When the granite guy's realized they had to redo some of the granite they basically flew out the door, so they didn't finish cutting the cook top out. I love the squared corners and this "bar" will probably get a lot more use now.
That's it for now. I sure am tired of microwaved food, but not in such a hurry to cook either.
Seems there is no time to blog but still time to knit. I'm far too tired to be clever (all this working at the Shriners Burns Hospital takes it out of you) but wanted to put up some things I've been knitting. This is a blanket for one of my husband's German friends who had a little boy who came out so big he's just about bigger than the blanket itself. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting's Baby Blankets Two. The yarn is from KnitPicks but I can't remember just which yarn I used because I'm like that.
Oh, and these are the new hard wood floors we finally put in. Ok, I use the term 'we' quite loosely, we had Stan come do the work because he is a floor laying genius and one of those solid honest New Hampshire guys.
This is from the first Vogue Knitting Baby Blanket book. The giraffes are cuter in real life with the legs in 3D sticking out. Oh, and you can see that I clearly think the ottoman is the best place to pose the blankets. Anyway, this is for another one of my husband's German friends who is having twins somewhat soon. So of course I had to make the second baby a blanket as well...
Hubs thought that I shouldn't make this one since the Germans don't know anything about Hey Diddle Diddle. I told him when he starts knitting the blankets up he can choose the patterns. Besides, all he had to do was include the little rhyme and they'd work it out since all his German friends speak a little English. Or maybe I'm being culturally insensitive. Wouldn't be the first time.
Amazingly, I had enough time to bust out a little sweater for the Girl. Ok, so I ran out of the delicious off-white yarn and had to use blue for the ribbing. The Girl happens to love blue so we're good to go but I'm not so happy with it. As long as she wears it I'll be happy in the end. I'm putting in a black and white pic so you can imagine it all in one color...
Leaving paradise was hard, but their are only so many day's that I can get Megan to watch my dog and money spends much quicker these day's. We returned home to no kitchen at all. It wasn't a surprise. I had been talking with Keith and knew the cabinets weren't ready yet, but quite depressing none the less. Our kitchen looked so small. In case you don't remember here are some before and afters. Doesn't it look small? You'll notice that the old lazy susan is being used as our coffee station, sad yet necessary. The island has been removed as well. We are moving it forward about 2 inches, to give ourself a little more space and to accommodate a larger refrigerator.
We had been on vacation for 12 day's so although I like to eat out just as much as the next person, our family was DONE with restaurant food. Our microwave was setup in the dining room and I was washing dishes in the laundry room sink. We were prepared to live without a kitchen for a while but the reality was much harder than I thought. Doing dishes in a cramped dimly lit room was no fun but the worst was having microwave food. There are only so many hot dogs etc that we can eat. I broke down and got an electric burner for much fancier grilled cheese and spaghetti dinners.
In our short hall between the Family room and Entryway there is a little alcove. I wanted to put some granite there as well - you know, the "flow" thing. Check it out. Originally it was just white, here it is prepped for the granite. At the bottom of the stairs we had a strange shaped landing - observe, Nice no? The stairs kind of opened into the hall and the office across from it, I wanted them to wrap around a bit and flow more towards the Family room. So we removed it and put a cabinet there, put hardwoods on the lower steps and will top it with granite. I also wanted more storage. This will be our future game cabinet. We love board games! The cabinet wasn't finished yet, but our most excellent cabinet maker rushed this one piece so that the hard wood floor guy could do the stairs. You can see the color of the cabinets here, it is a Cherry wood with a darker stain. Since light Oak was the (90's) theme of the house, we decided to get
new cabinets for the kids & downstairs bathroom at the same time.
The cabinets we were getting were going to be much darker and as I said
in an earlier post, I wanted some flow in my overall design of the
house - using that word very loosely of course.
So I have gone to another granite company, Precision Countertops, that Keith recommended, can you hear the sigh in my voice? I am still mourning the loss of the Aspen White granite. So I went down and looked at a lighter granite called Kashmir white. I don't know if it is a bad omen but the cranes in the company were not my husbands (he has a indoor crane business) and my windshield cracked on the way home. It was also raining as it only can in the Pacific Northwest.
Here is an example of the granite,
And a close up,
It's great to be home again. Even if it never stops raining!
Ahhhh. It was finally time for our family to take a well deserved break. The kids took a few extra day's off school, Megan was watching the dog, Keith was at the house working away, and I was sitting in the sun with sand on my toes. This is the one big vacation my family takes a year. My hubby Nick was sooo relaxed, my teenage daughter had some friends close by and isn't completely disgusted to be seen with us (things have changes since we got back however) and the twins were lovin' the water and freedom. Towards the end of our vacation I got a call from Keith (the contractor) that there was a problem with the granite. fwoop (that's the sound my stomach made) The slabs that I had chosen were indeed beautiful, so beautiful that the cost to Keith, before his markup and fabrication costs was $21,000.00 TWENTY ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS What the F*&#@$*&^K, you have got to be kidding me. what. how did this happen. Keith was very upset that the owner, seeing my sample and knowing which financial ballpark I was playing in, would upsell me to such an extent that there was no way I could /would pay for it. This of course would push the schedule back. It's not like I could pick out granite over the phone or online. So Keith asked a designer friend of his to look at the granite I had picked out and came up with some similar (use that word very loosely) granite samples for me to look at when I got back. Great, we were already behind schedule. There is of course nothing I could do about it. I was really in love with the granite I chose but I would have to keep my eye on the prize and compromise. So I will center myself and fix it when I got back. Meanwhile I will enjoy myself and try not to think about it. So far, it's not working. Why does reality always have to but in?
Keith, my uber contractor (notice I don't hate him yet) was going to tear out the kitchen cabinets while we were away, and install the custom cabinets hopefully by the time we got back. If not, then shortly after. (that's in contractor time though, and we all know their calenders and calculators work differently than ours). So before I left, my contractor sent me to Pental granite in downtown Seattle. After signing in and telling the front desk what grade of granite and how many slabs I needed, I was sent out to the warehouse section to sift through row after row of granite slabs, about 9 rows double sided and quite deep. I knew what I wanted in theory but the example I brought didn't match anything. And when I asked the women in the office they referred me to a floor manager who looked at my sample and with a smirk declared that they discontinued that stone because it wasn't very popular. (and apparently I am the biggest looser on the planet for even thinking it would look good) so he told me to look at what was there. (duh) There were many slabs to choose from but everything looked too orangie or blue. I am a greenish brown kinda gal. Now I know, beige's are sooo 1990, but hey, like I said in my last post I am going to get what I like. After 2 hours, countless phone calls to my poor hubby who had the kids at Bellevue Square and having two separate forklift operators pull out possible slabs for me....... THEY CUT ME OFF! They refused to pull out any more granite and they were done helping me. The once jovial, all smiles forklift operators said if I wanted to look at any more I would have to speak to the owner. Keep in mind I had about 3 day's left before I had to fly out of town and the kitchen project would come to a standstill if I didn't pick out the granite, it is after 1p.m. and I have yet to eat anything and the orange and blue hues seem to be magnifying by a power of 10 as each hour passes. So I page the owner and explain to him my situation. I understand why they couldn't continue to pull out slabs, they can be damaged while being moved, but the color's in the stone looked very different while tucked away in a stack than they did out in the light of day.
What I really wanted was some CUSTOMER SERVICE. When the owner came down and I explained what I was looking for, he too was disgusted with my granite sample and after explaining to me how popular the blue hued granite was (uh... No Thanks) he said he knew EXACTLY what I wanted and walked me over to a row of granite, hailed a now morose forklift operator and pulled out "ASPEN WHITE"
It was lovely, it was perfect, it wasn't all flecky, orangy or bluish. There were three slabs all from the same lot and it was exactly what I wanted!!!
There were rich veins of Green and brown and it was light white which would look good against my darker cabinets.
I was in love and my work was done, I could safely head out on vacation.
I was off, Little did I know only a short week later everything would really SUCK! and Aspen White and I would no longer be friends! My warm thoughts of Pental granite would soon turn sour as well.
The Joy's of remodeling. For some strange reason when working on the Ballard house or the Arbor Heights house, or even Megan's West Seattle Rental, I am comfortable with my modest home repair abilities. However in my own home I am frozen. I question the smallest repairs, and updates. When it comes to the cohesiveness of an overall design I am completely lost. I second guess minor design choices, have no uniformity or flow and worry about the repairs I have managed to complete. I am getting older and my designing skills have, if anything, decreased over the years. I like contemporary and craftsman. Quirky and classic. Clean and lived in. I have been known to "borrow" design ideas outright (as everyone does I'm sure) or get help from my BFF Tiennie who can do anything (and I do mean anything), or my sisters Megan & Sholeen, who amaze me everyday with their never ending abilities. So I take the leap and decide that my kitchen's and bathrooms need a major overhaul. I toy with the Gel Stain that Megan used on her cabinets, it looks great on the test pieces, but it would be a lot of work for one person. The cabinet doors were Oak and the interior boxes were pressboard. I wanted granite counter tops and was told that the boxes were not strong enough to hold the weight of the stone. This along with the daunting task of re-facing the cabinets cinched it for me.
I WAS GOING TO REMODEL MY OWN KITCHEN!
Now when I say "I" I mean my contractor, because... look get off my back I just needed help ALRIGHT!
The kitchen wasn't awful before
but the stain was wearing off and the wood underneath was getting damaged on some of the doors and the Oak was quite yellowy and the island was basically useless with how shallow it was and the edged corners (who's genius design idea was that?) and worst of all I couldn't open the refrigerator door all the way - it would bang against the wall and with that was unable to pull the drawers out all the way. With three growing children, this was really a pain in my rear. check it out.
But it wasn't great either, and it wasn't working for us. I have been thinking of what I like and what I want and what I need for several years when it comes to this house. As I said above I like many styles and I think my lack of an overall vision for my house has stalled any updating of my house, but as Trissa fro Pigeon Point Project Commented "I vote for going with what you like". This, of course, makes sense and I have to know that I will make some choices I might later regret, but just ruminating on it isn't helping.
We were going on a two week vacation over mid-winter break and this was the perfect opportunity to start the kitchen project!
So off we go on an exciting and hopefully rewarding kitchen remodeling trip!
The Arbor Heights house has been added onto several times. When you are up in the attic you can see where the original bones are and later attempts to enlarge the house. All and all they did a great job. The last updates were definitely done in the 70's as you can tell by the master bathroom. In talking with the neighbors we learned that the husband of the woman we bought the house from (he had died years before) used to install hardwood floors. The attic rafters had a mish mash of hardwood planks used as flooring, but most interesting was the use of dark hardwood oak flooring on the dining room wall! It darkened the room and suffocated you. There was also this strange, yet popular in the 70's, cabinet that acted as a half wall that separated the small dining room from the kitchen. We decided to remove the top portion and keep the lower half, remove the glass front and turn it into a small bookcase by adding shelves and moulding, as well as several coats of paint. We had to prime the HECK out of that oak flooring, but even with primer, and removing the top portion of the cabinet, the room looked sooooo much brighter. You can see that on the kitchen wall behind the pegboard was the electrical panel. Megan came up with the idea of making a a swing away door with a metal front - to be used as a magnetic note board - to cover up this monstrosity. The wall took several coats of primer, and as you can see by the seep through, they had apparently been smokers (gross) We chose a poo beige color paint for the walls to match the rest of the house added crown moulding painted white, and painted the floor trim white as well. The bookcase came out great, it pulled the kitchen and dining room in to the rest of the house with its color and kept the separation between the two rooms. The Dynamic Duo! All of our jeans are smeared with paint, glue and shmutz. We are pleased with the results, the windows in the corner of the dining room need to be replaced at some point but that is a project for a later day, the magnetic board worked well and I love that darn book case.