Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beginning the backsplash and beyond

There has been lots of progress at the house. The kitchen is 90% done at this time. It's a wonderful thing! Here's what we've been up to the past few grueling days...

Installing the backsplash. Here's most of the tile all stacked up. This should be easy, right? (Please note: never say famous last words because they can be!)

Just a few cuts on the wet saw:

Make sure the power is off to avoid electrocution:

Apply adhesive to the wall, and stick the tile up. Easy, peasy. Especially since a few years ago my dad installed a backsplash and got the wrong adhesive that required him and my mother to hold each square up for about 15 minutes each so they wouldn't slide down the wall. Lesson learned. This stuff stuck up there perfectly the first time. Take that, gravity!

Here it is, all stuck up and just waiting for grout. Hmmm... I think it looks pretty good as is. Grout is WAY overrated! (Any guesses on who actually did most of the grouting?)

You guessed it! This is a renovation blog, I can't get away with simply being a photographer the whole time. This was taken after I had just finished grouting the entire area you can see in the shot. Little tiles look great, but they sure require a lot of grout! I'm still sore from all the "elbow grease" that was required. Moral of the story: grouting sure isn't pretty, my outfit is living proof.

Meanwhile, my dad got to work on more important things, like installing the plumbing in the guest bathroom. Special thanks to my mom, the guest photographer on this post. She knows how to get us at all our best angles. :)

Here's a close up of my fabulous grouting, plus the new black outlets that my dad installed. Not bad, eh? (Jerry - I *think* you might have to do a little paint touch up...)

This section is still on my to-do list... Hey, it looks perfect in this photo, maybe I should just keep it? It's not like I'll be using too many liquids next to the fridge...

Ahhh. Running water. I now have a kitchen and that's a beautiful thing.

Plus, the tub fixtures got switched out so they all match. Do you believe the people who lived here before us took the drain plug with them? It didn't match, so we would have switched it anyway, but taking it with them? Really?

New shower fixtures installed. A few screws were missing from the kit so we're working on getting those. I guess turning the shower on and off and being able to adjust the temperature isn't all that important as long as the shower looks good, right? Plus, you'll see the contractor trimmed out the knee wall, niche and entry to the shower with the same granite that's on the vanity. Nice!

More running water. Now I just need a stool so I can reach the faucet. Did I mention these vessel sinks make the vanity HIGH? Hmmm, maybe two vertically challenged folks like us should have considered that first. We love how it looks and as my mother always says, "beauty hurts."

Jerry's been out of town on a golf retreat all weekend. Little does he know his honey-do list has been growing exponentially the whole time... This week we (read: tasks for Jerry) hope to put in all the drawer and door pulls in the kitchen and bath and get everything unpacked and ready for our first party, a Memorial Day BBQ. Any menu suggestions? I can't wait to cook up a storm in our new kitchen!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gorgeous Granite

Sorry to keep you in suspense for so long... the only way we can afford all these renovations is by working and when the job that pays me money requires me to travel to Atlanta for a few days, there's nothing I can do but oblidge.

Without further adieu, here is the fabulous granite!

Uba tuba in the kitchen:
Almost looks like a real kitchen, doesn't it?

Look how thick and fabulous the granite is. We got a bevel cut, for those of you who care about details like that.

Giallo Ornamente in the Master Bathroom:

And yes, those sinks and faucets are just for show, nothing holding them in but gravity right now. We just wanted to get a feel for what it would look like all together. I see mirror shopping in our future...

My dad is coming over today to work on the backsplash in the kitchen and begin installing all the plumbing fixtures. Homecooking is only days, possibly hours away. Who's coming over for dinner?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Adding Appliances

Things are really starting to come together in the kitchen. Since all of the cabinets are now in place, we were able to start installing all the appliances.

Microwave and oven, plus a few panels of the backsplash to envision how it will look when it's all put together.

Dishwasher, oven, microwave:

And the person responsible for all the installation. Thanks Dad!
Now we have our work cut out for us: installing all the shelves and door/drawer pulls. The granite will be installed on Wednesday which means I'll have a kitchen sink by the weekend! Can't wait to make my first meal in our new home. Gotta go dust off those wedding presents. Here's hoping I can find the pasta maker and the bread maker when we unpack the kitchen. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Oh, and not to dissappoint, Jerry installed neon signs in his office. (insert ooohs and ahhhs here). The fan and window blind will be replaced soon.

That's all folks! Next post will hopefully show our new granite in the kitchen and master bath!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kitchen Cabinets Part 2

Get your reading glasses out, this is going to be a LONG post. Lots is going on in the house, so I'll try to stick to lots of photos and not a ton of explanations.

The cabinets are finally all in. Here they are in process:

See, no toe kicks and upper trim:

Here are the doors up and the toe kicks:

Toe kick! (Brings back memories of The Cutting Edge, you know, that ice skating movie where the figure skater and the ex-hockey player team up for the Olympics? Toe Pick! :))

Here's the finished product with upper trim. We might add crown molding in the very distant future. All these little things really add up!

Here is the "finished" vanity in the master bathroom. Do you see the problem here?
That's right, the center piece and toe kick are the reddish color that's in the kitchen, not the brown color that are supposed to be in the bathroom. So, new pieces are being created and will be installed when the granite gets here.

Here's the cabinet we had built in the water closet to compensate for the fact that we don't have a linen closet:
So, that's all in cabinet news. The granite has been templated and should be ready for install next week. Here's hoping!

Here's the latest from the rest of the house. Jerry got some new furniture and got to work setting up his office. It looks really great! Just wait until he hangs up all his sport paraphernalia and neon signs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my husband owns not one, but TWO neon signs that he would like to hang in our home. You can see a bit of one of them in the lower left corner of this photo.

Here's the other side of his office, he'll be building a shelf above to show case some of his stuff. Working in a pro-hockey arena for 5+ years really makes the signed sports items add up!

We also tackled the blinds in the master bedroom. Here's the before, yellow, missing slats, doesn't really line up and just looks dingy in general:

Here's the after. We are so pleased with how much this brightened the room, and now I don't have to worry about the neighbors being able to see in.

And, just to remind you all that it's not all sunshine and roses over here, a few shots of the carnage all of this remodeling causes:

Mondays and Thursdays (our trash and recycling pick up days) can't get here soon enough!

Plus, in case you thought Jerry did all the work around here, I finally got around to putting together my bookcase. Yes folks, I made this all by myself even though the instructions recommended two people for some parts. It only took me about 300 hours and gave me one major splinter. :) Now I just have to unpack all of my books... which will definitely require the help of my big, strong husband since I can't carry the boxes up the stairs by myself.

And, as promised, here are some closeups of the birds. This is Emmy and Petey. Watch out ladies, they are big flirts!

And the group shot for those of you who have lost count of my numerous birds. From top to bottom, left to right, here are the names: Dobby, Ponce, Peeps, Emmy, Blue and Petey.

Thanks for reading. The painters are here, so I'll post on that next. Can't wait for the house to be all uniform colors!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Magnificent Master

It was a big weekend for our master bedroom. First, Jerry and I tried our hand as electricians and decided to replace the fan.

Here it is before. Jealous? In addition to the intricate bronze details, fluted glass, several light bulbs that are out this thing is extremely un-level and could rouse the dead in the middle of the night, much less a light sleeper like me. Unfortunately, the upstairs of our home gets very warm since hot air rises and all that, so Jerry has not enjoyed waking up in a sweat because I shut the fan off in the middle of the night to enjoy a few hours of silence.

Here is the new fan. It is more contemporary and matches the style of our new bedroom set nicely. Also, we were equally impressed with our ability to install it without electrocuting ourselves or burning the house down. It only took one call to our "life line" (aka my father, thanks Dad!) and several consults with the Internet. Since the fan isn't hooked up to a light switch, we also installed a remote control to avoid having to pull the cords every time we want it on, off, or adjusted in any way. Jerry thinks he gets to keep the remote on his night stand... but if this sucker starts making noises in the middle of the night, he is sorely mistaken.

In other bedroom news, our bed was finally delivered. We really love it. Please excuse it's towering height, I think I might need a ladder just to get in, but since we don't have a linen closet upstairs, we had drawers installed underneath. There are two drawers on each side, and of course, photo genius that I am, I forgot to take pictures of them, but trust me, they are there and they are very useful for storing spare sheets and towels.

Here's the rest of the set, a chest for me on the left (please note that it is larger than Jerry's :)) and a media chest on the right for Jerry and all of our electronic needs. Yes, our TV is ridiculous, but for various reasons that are too boring to get into here, this is the only room that it worked in. Plus, now we have an extremely comfortable media room. My main issue with it is that it shines like the sun and tends to wake me in the middle of the night. Since Jerry is usually sleeping by then, I have to try to climb over him, find the remote control, which is at least illuminated by the solar glare going on, and turn it off, all while not waking him up. Luckily, we got a tempurpedic style mattress which makes it so he doesn't feel it when I move around in bed. Needless to say, I have a tough life.

After the dog had a few near death experiences jumping on and off the bed, we added this ottoman to the bottom as a launch pad for him. It's something we had in the condo and is in kind of rough shape, but for the time being, it's better than a dog with a broken leg, or worse. We'll replace it with something that is a little more to scale in the future.

Here he is, testing it out and scowling at me. "Mom, I'm not ready for my close up, I haven't even brushed my hair!" He is still in the process of learning to use it to get in and out of the bed. He takes advantage of it about 50% of the time, and practices his vertical jump and death defying skills for the rest.

The contractor is here installing the rest of the cabinets as I type this. If I'm up to it and can remember to charge the battery on my camera, I'll do another post tonight.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kitchen Cabinets (!!!!!!) Part 1

The kitchen cabinets are here, hallelujah!

The lowers were all installed on Friday. I can't wait to get my oven in there.

The fridge will go over here:

Here are the drawers that will flank the oven. Think of how many pots and pans I'll be able to fit in there.

A little bit of trim thrown in so that we weren't staring at a blank peice of wood every time we entered the kitchen:

This is why we went for custom cabinets. All of the drawer and cabinet faces were cut from the same peice of wood so the grain lines up when it's closed.

Here's the drawer hardward:

Slightly different angle:

Our big decision now is should we mount them on the cabinet doors vertically:

Or horizontally:

The uppers will be installed on Monday:

And so will the bathroom vaninties:

In other house news, Jerry was VERY proud of the closet doors he installed. I agree, they look great... although anything would be an improvement over rusty, peeling, bronze framed, mirrored doors that were there previously. Those doors had to be replaced because the slow leak from the shower rotted out the track.

Also, here's a dramatic before and after...

Mailbox before (ewwww!):

Mailbox after (ahhhh!):

Once the cabinets are installed, the contractor will measure for granite and that should be installed in about a week. Then we can FINALLY have everthing we wanted, even a kitchen sink. Now we're off to install a new ceiling fan and wait for our bed to be delivered. We're too old to be sleeping on a mattress on the floor, can't wait!