Monday, April 13, 2015

Are We There Yet?

This past week marked the end of Week 5 of Project Kitchen Renovation.  And we're ALMOST there.  ALMOST isn't really any consolation when you've been doing your dishes in the bathtub for 35 days, though.

Because we're getting closer to the end, I don't want to spoil the big reveal with full room pictures at this point, so we'll just do some closeups to tide you over!

First up- the countertops are in!  I worked last week sealing the undersides of the countertops at night after the contractor left for the day.  They stunk up the basement for a few days, but I wanted to make sure that all 6 sides of these beautiful walnut countertops are sealed against the elements as much as possible.  I won't bore you with step by step details on how to seal butcherblock countertops, but here's the link to the best tutorial I found on DIY sealing.  The product I'm using is called Waterlox- I did my research, and found it to be very highly recommended for sealing butcherblock countertops with undermount sinks. 

Umm...amazing, right?

My contractor installed the countertops after the bottoms were sealed, and now I've been working to seal the tops at night to give them ample time to cure before work begins the next morning on other parts of the kitchen.

Sink's in!  Too bad there's still no water hooked up to it.  I got a 10'" deep sink.  Couple that with 2" thick countertops, and one short gal, and you'll probably find me head down, bum up on multiple occasions as I fall into the depths of this beautiful piece of sinkdom.  (Not. Even. A. Word.  Really, though, who cares!?)

Look at all that extra counterspace!!
Think of the smorgasbord of food that can be lined up
in Pinterest worthy shots that will drive everyone mad
with jealousy! (Or not, if you're not into that sort of thing.)

The tile is also in the process of being installed. 

Yes, siree, I asked the contractor to tile behind the entire fridge.
You'll never see it after this picture, but I know it's there.

My open shelves are also starting to get their coats of sealer...look how beautiful they are!!  Quick shoutout to my brother's friend Steve King (yes, that's his real name) for making these beauties for me on super short notice so I could haul them back with me from New York last month.  He's such a gem!

Bottom shelf with one coat of sealer.  Others are still raw walnut.
So pretty!!!

That's all you get, folks.  A few quick snapshots before this project gets wrapped up!!  (And by wrapped up, I mean that my contractor is going on vacation in a few days so the project completion date is getting delayed.  It was supposed to be done before he left.  Sigh.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

It's Coming to Life!!

Week Four...check out the progress!!!


The floor went in.  I was sitting in my office eavesdropping (ahem, working) while the contractor and his guy were discussing my reclaimed wood, and how best to install it.  Apparently reclaimed wood flooring is a pain in the ass to install.  If you're thinking of using it because it's cheaper, think again.  It's really not.  The initial cost may be (I paid $2.00 per sq. foot), but there's a lot of labor involved that brings the overall cost right back up.  The  benefits you get from reclaimed wood are that you keep it out of the landfill, and if you're putting it next to already aged flooring, you'll be able to get a better match for a consistent look.  Boards change color when they age- putting one stain color on new vs. old boards can look vastly different.  It's kind of like borrowing your best friend's  most prized red lipstick- the one that looks so glamorous and old Hollywood on her, but looks like a cheap trick in the making on you.  Get it?

We ran out of useable "old" wood slats and had to use a few square feet of "new" wood.
No worries, it's under the fridge, and once sanded and stained, you won't even notice it!

So what makes reclaimed wood a pain for those installing it?  For starters, some of the tongues are missing- they were either broken off or cut out when the planks were removed from their previous home.  They were also previously refinished, so there are small pieces of filler stuck to the sides, which can prevent the boards from being installed flush/tightly to each other.  This means extra work for the installers, and once installed, the floors still need to be sanded down and refinished again.  It's pretty labor intensive, so what you save on materials, you more than make up for in labor costs.  I've made my peace with it, though- I feel an obligation to this old house to treat her well.  (Are you kind of surprised I'm not married to an 80 year old man with how much I profess to love old things?  Dave is 353 days older than me...I think that counts, right?)

My original hardwoods run in two different directions: Dining room to the left,
and living room to the right.
The kitchen hardwoods have been installed, but haven't yet been sanded and stained in this picture.

(You may also be asking yourself, "Why didn't you just feather in the new flooring with the existing flooring so that you didn't have a threshold between the doorways"?  Well, friends, my hardwoods extend past the living room, though the hallway, and into two bedrooms as one continuous piece.  If I had feathered in the floors, I would have had to remove ALL OF MY FURNITURE from the first floor in order to sand and refinish EVERYTHING.  Not happening.  Also, we just refinished the hardwoods eight years ago when we moved in- they're in great shape!)

Refinished kitchen floors on top, existing living room floors on bottom.
Pretty damn close, right?!?
They turned out GREAT, didn't they??

Dave has caught me many times this weekend just standing in the doorway staring at the floors.
"You know they aren't going to change in front of your eyes," he says.
Yes, but they are JUST. SO. AMAZING.

The cabinets have also been installed...yay!!  My inspiration picture had simple shaker style cabinets, but I opted for an even simpler flat black cabinet panel.  I really love the juxtaposition of modern elements mixed with vintage, so I'm pairing a more modern, streamlined cabinet front with brass and wood.  I think the "older" elements will help to tone down the more modern cabinet shape.  Also, I've always got that dreaded term "resale value" stuck in the back of my head.  This is our first home, and although we love it, we know that it isn't our forever home.  While the design pros will always tell you that white cabinets are best for resale, I think that if someone doesn't love my taste, they can easily change out the countertops and cabinet hardware to create a completely different look.  Plus, since these cabinets are already painted and not stained, I don't think anyone would feel too badly if they just wanted to paint them again in a different color.  I've really thought this through and made the best of excuses to justify black cabinets, haven't I?!?

Not much to see here...YET.
Just a lonely little vacuum attachment trying to keep things in order around here.

This coming week, the countertops, tile, and finishing touches should go in...the end is in sight!!