Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Visitors and a trip

Our kitchen construction was happily set aside for two big events this past month:  having visitors (my daughter, grandson and son-in-law along with my older daughter) out to visit for 4 days, and then we left along with our visitors and attended a conference in New York City.

We were so happy to meet up with Parker and Clint and Leslie -- spent our time playing with the little guy!
I had to steal this picture from Leslie's blog - I managed to take very few pics, busy holding and enjoying him.  Unfortunately, I had to work so I missed his big day at the beach.  He's such a little character!  Can't wait to see him again at Christmas time! 

Lindsay actually arrived a day before the Reed family -- and we had to put her to work helping set up their room because we were spending the day trying to get our kitchen cabinets in along the back wall.  We enjoyed having everyone here - played some games, and made Parker a Halloween costume (also made Lindsay a Wonder Woman headband and cuffs!).

Cutest fuzzy dinosaur ever!

After we enjoyed our family for a few days, we all headed out to the airport(s) on Wednesday -- Leslie, Clint and Parker back to Indianapolis, Lindsay back to Chico, and we were on our way to NYC.  We were only there a few days, but managed to get some sightseeing in around the conference.

We visited Mood Fabrics - just having watched the finale of Project Runway, couldn't miss that --

And we bought some black and white fabric for the bench seat in the kitchen.  This store is incredibly crowded -- how they film in there is a mystery!  But they have EVERYTHING fabric, notion and sewing-wise.

We also went to the top of the Empire State building and walked down by the World Trade Center site. 

We visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, which was a nice green space tour after walking the big city for days.  They had a very cool display of orchids in one of the many greenhouses:

I took this picture from the Brooklyn Bridge, then used the iphone app Tiny Planet on it:
 Here's a pic of Dale and I on the Brooklyn Bridge:

We rode the subway around town -- I love the tile work in many of the stations.  This is from the Brooklyn station, which also leads to the museum:

When we got off at Grand Central, which was right down the street from our hotel, they were filming some music video or something:
We watched for a bit, but I didn't recognize anyone so we moved on back to the hotel.

When we got home, we caught up on some more of our kitchen work, that will be the next post --

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cabinets are going in

We were working hard to get our kitchen in workable order before our company came on October 9 -- Lindsay came down on Friday, and Leslie and Clint and Parker were due to arrive on Saturday morning.  We didn't get done as quickly as we had hoped, but we did manage to get the fridge and the cabinets across the back wall.

We did manage to get the outlet behind the stove put in the ONE PLACE that it would conflict with the electrical panel, so we do need to move the outlet and then the stove can fit fully in place.

In this shot above we hadn't added the molding and the trim at the top and bottom of the cabinets, but I got most of that done today.  Tomorrow, I'll take more pictures.

I had to cut down some base molding and stain it to match the cabinets, and I'm pretty pleased with how it came out so far.

One thing we had to do was modify some of the cabinets that we are building the island from.  We had to adapt the sink base to fit our stone sink.  We had to cut down the front so the sink could rest on the edge, and add additional support since the sink weighs close to 400 pounds!

On the living room side of the island, we will have two 12" wide cabinets on either side of a seating area.  The cabinets were 24" deep, but that was deeper than they had to be, so I cut 6" off the back side and cut the interior shelves down as well.  That way, the island doesn't extend TOO far into the living room.

The picture above shows the plumbing and electrical that are going into the sink cabinet before we placed the cabinet over them -- still arranging all the details -- and the one on the right shows the shortened 12" cabinet.

We were hoping to have our sink installed tonight, but when Dale went to install the garbage disposal into the sink, we realized that the flange was too short (since the sink is very thick).  So we have to order an extended flange from a plumbing supply store, so that will have to wait until Monday.  In the meantime, we'll get the rest of the cabinet boxes installed and do some trimwork.  Tonight, I put two applications of sealer on the sink, and I'd like to put one or two more applications on tomorrow.

Hopefully, tomorrow we get the cabinets all installed, and the trim stained.  Since we can't get the sink fully installed until Monday, we are hoping to catch up with a lot of the other details, like the electrical, installing the dishwasher, etc.  Still so much to do, but it's coming along well!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Floor done!

Well, I'm exhausted, my feet are killing me, and I think I've scrubbed 10 layers of skin off, but I got the tile all grouted today!  I do have a few little touch-ups I want to make, but those can wait for a few weeks. 

On Sunday Dale and I finished all the tiling.  We used leftover pieces to fill in where the dishwasher, stove and refrigerator will be going.  We did have to run out and buy 5 more diamond border pieces, I had that miscalculated, but at the same time, we picked up our sink, so it worked out.

I am really happy with the finished look!   And our official inspectors approved as well:

Persephone laid on the center support of the bench, she was really liking her perch overlooking the floor.  But Mercury was NOT happy she was up there, and he kept trying to knock her off.

Each of the corners has a different solution to the greek key turning the corner.
Hopefully they blend in enough -- although we can see them immediately!

Today I finished the grouting.  Because we used marble tile, we had to use unsanded grout.  I hate unsanded grout.  I hate the texture, the way it shrinks, the feel of it.  But that's what we had to use, so that's what I did.  I have a few low spots that need another layer of grout, but I'd like to wait a week or two so all the shrinking is complete. 

The grout makes it look so much richer - I used black grout, which is a complete pain because it's so dark and it stains my hands and the buckets and it takes forever to rinse off completely. But it looks awesome!
Here's what it looks like on the left before grouting, and on the right afterwards. 

So, now we can actually move some stuff back in!  (after the grout sets for 24 hours).  We want to get the appliances moved in, although that means we have a little bit of drywall to repair first --

We have guests coming on Friday, so it would be nice if we could at least get the refrigerator and stove out of the living room by then!

I'm glad this step is done - it's a really busy floor, but I think it's going to look great with the cabinets and counters.  I wanted to get the feel of a Paris bistro or something along those lines.  I'm happy with it!

Saturday, October 05, 2013


I had hoped to get some of the tile in before the weekend, but here it is Saturday and I'm not quite done with it.  We spent some time earlier in the week getting the backer board in and adhered and screwed down with a zillion screws...
That took a couple of days because some stuff came up at work, but we had that in by Friday.  While Dale was working on getting all that in, I got started on the built-in banquette:
This will be great to store a lot of those not-too-often used items, holiday stuff, etc.  I am contemplating the top hinged top - do I want to use plywood or do I want to put some boards together?  Does it really matter - we are going to put a thick cushion on this anyway, so I will probably go with plywood.  Problem is, it's just over 8' long -- like 6" too long, so I'm trying to come up with a way to create 2 - 4' hinged panels, and make up the 6" elsewhere.  Maybe I'll just bring the sides in a bit so the top has something substantial to sit on. Dale sat on it and approved of the height - he was worried it was going to be too low, and I can only go up to the bottom of the window frame.  But it was perfect in height.  It's going to be painted white like the rest of the trim.

While I was hammering the frame into place, I misjudged and whacked my finger with the hammer.  I've done this a million times, but this time, the results were pretty spectacular:
It didn't hurt until I taught in the afternoon:  we were working on clay, and I think when I was kneading the clay I got the blood flowing internally or something.  Man, this hurt! Oh, and my finger was already bent - I've got arthritis in this finger, which was one of the reasons it hurt so bad when I hit it--

So yesterday (Friday), I got started on the field tiles for my kitchen:
I had a zillion cuts to make, and I want a very very minimal grout line, so making them super accurate was imperative.  I love the marble tile -- carrara white and nero black.  Love the veining in the black.  So this was an all day Friday thing, getting all the pieces cut, laid, edges perfect.  Before laying the tile, I had to mark off my border all around the room - I have 22" worth of borders to put around.  Oh, and the plywood above is where the cabinets will go.  We are going to tile plain tiles under the refrigerator, dishwasher and stove.

Last night we had a ton of wind - the Santa Anas were kicking up, and we were up and down all night.  It's also hot with those winds, so not a good nights sleep.  And the noise outside kept the cats all riled up all night.  So we didn't get started as early as I wanted to today, but we got busy and figured out the cuts for our borders --
The hardest part is making the corners work on the mosaic borders.  After some messing around, we figured it out and then we made more progress.  Oh, and the open pocket door above is going to be closed in after we get the cabinets installed - right now it's convenient to be able to go in and out while we have it all tented off, but we won't need that doorway after, so our tile stops at where the wall will be.

By the end of today, we got 3/4 through with the borders, and we stopped to take stock and see how we were doing on supplies.

 We realized we were going to be short 5 strips of the top diamond-shaped border.  We have about 6 extra of the greek key, and we need 5 more black tiles to go under the refrigerator.  Originally, I was going to put plywood there as well, but in the meantime Dale decided we should go ahead and tile under that area as well (it's the blank spot above, you can see the water connector for the icemaker).  We still have to patch drywall there, but we have a few other minor things before we get that done. 

So tomorrow, we are going to go out and pick up those last few pieces, and probably get our kitchen sink as well at the same time.  I fell in love with one at the tile shop, but I'm not sure if they still have it in stock, so we'll check to see that, too.  I also want to look at backsplash tiles to match the sink. 

Hopefully, finish tiling on Sunday, and grout the whole thing on Monday, so I am getting excited that things are moving along!  I wanted to have things further, but this is what it is, so I'll be happy with that.  Maybe I'll even take some time out for a movie tomorrow if we get done early enough!

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