It’s time the finally make the kitchen look our own. Check out some of the final details we added!
We have a pass through that looks out into the dining room from the kitchen, as well as a walkway between the two rooms. The result is a narrow strip of wall, so we decked it out with a chalkboard. Making the chalkboard was SUPER easy, and costs around $10. Just take a piece of plywood (we got ours pre-cut, for about $4.00) and some chalkboard spray paint (also around $4.00). The chalk holder is a $1 outlet cover from Home Depot that I velcro’d on. Very easy.
Hanging Mason Jars
Evan is a HUGE fan of mason jars. He loves using them for all sorts of things. I knew I wanted something to hang above the kitchen sink. I had in mind some sort of sun-catcher, or mobile of some sort. Turns out its hard to find good looking mobiles that don’t belong over a baby’s crib. So I decided to hang some jars. I made the handles myself using the instructions from here. I hung them using fishing line on plant hooks. It looks great when there are candles lit, but for rest of the time, when you don’t feel like getting out the step stool and the lighter, I bought these. It’s the same kind of solar lamp used in those steaks you can put in front of your house, but it’s a mason jar lid. They were $10 bucks a piece. I had to spend about $60 for that project, but I have a LOT of left over mason jars. (Everyone can expect a Christmas gift that comes in a mason jar this year.)
I’m willing to admit that the kitchen might look better without the open shelves that Evan installed, but I’m not willing to concede that it would function better. And that’s not to say it looks bad. We just have to be careful about what we chose to display. The shelves cost about $30 total. Grundtal from IKEA. Easy decision!
Under Cabinet Lighting
This is my favorite thing! We ended up using our credit card reward points to buy these on amazon. It would have cost about $100 out of pocket, but we’d put the kitchen on our credit card, and so these paid for themselves. My favorite part is that the light changes color! (We first went to IKEA, but their multicolored lights didn’t have a “white” option, which is a deal breaker.) Surprisingly, it was hard to find LED lights that could change color and brightness. Our kitchen is a pretty neutral palette, so I like the fact that the ability to change the color of the lights adds some versatility. Plus they’re just cool.
I haven’t been posting day to day because a lot of this week has been spent waiting. The cabinets had to be installed before the countertops could be properly measured, and then once the countertops are measured, you have to wait 10 days to have it cut and installed. We’ve been at a stand still. The sink cannot be hooked up until the counters are in, the back splash cannot go up until the counters are in.
On Friday afternoon the
jerks people at Marvick came and installed our counters. For the record, they came in through the back door, and did not have to walk up a single stair! How about that! (For more on that drama, see here.)
We went with ceasarstone “pebble” color. Ceasarstone is a man-made stone, mostly quartz. It’s very low maintenance, can be cleaned with anything, and is more resistant to heat than granite. We had options to go with a very flat, consistent look. There were also a lot of choices that were sparkly and super shiny. I’m glad we went with neither. The pebble is a medium gray, and it’s got some randomness to it that makes it appear more on the natural side, but it’s not ultra-shiny. It’s hard to see it’s texture in the pictures, but it looks great!
The cabinets are in! The appliances are in! We were even able to put most of our food and belongings back! We still have a bunch of random kitchen stuff out in our family room, because we’re putting in a few open shelves, but things are feeling a lot better.
But we lack countertops. Without countertops, we still don’t have a sink in our kitchen, which has been a real drag. Technically we can cook, but we have to do our dishes in the bathroom sink. Which is disgusting. So cooking has been minimal.
We have had a good experience so far with all of the companies we’ve had to deal with, except Marvic Countertops of our New Jersey. Trying to make us pay because we have stairs up to the front of the house, when they could easily walk around to the back of the house, which is closer to the kitchen. Trying to make us pay for material we’re not using. Not returning phone calls. General jerkiness. I recommend not buying countertops from them. I would have spent more to deal with more professional people.
Also, I’m sick of everyone wanting about $500 more than they said they needed in the first place. Our electrician has been the only person to not screw us over in this way.
General Contractor/Cabinet guy: Needed $500 for more material to do a custom cabinet that was ordered in the first place and should have been included in the initial estimate
Plumber: To replace a bathroom pipe, exposed within the kitchen wall.
Tile Guy: Because we wanted a brick pattern instead of squares. (But we’re also getting money back on the backsplash because glass is more expensive to install, and we ended up going with ceramic which is for some reason cheaper to install? We might be coming out OK here.)
Countertop People: Because we have steps, and then also just because.
But the end is in sight! Right now we’re on track to be finished by May 13th! Our countertop should be installed this Friday and, barring any craziness, we’ll have the backsplash next Monday. Then cabinet lights and the open shelves and we’re finished!
Saying “Days 5-9″ is a little misleading, since two of those days were Saturday and Sunday and no work was completed. On Friday, Day 5, the only thing that happened was grouting the floor tile. It looks good, but it’s not exactly blog-entry-worthy.
On Monday and Tuesday we saw a the beginnings of cabinetry come into place. We’re still not finished with that yet (obviously). But we’re on track to template the countertop on Thursday, so we better keep moving!
At some point soon we have to make the long, hard drive back to IKEA. We ordered ourselves the wrong faucet, so we’ll want to replace that before the sink goes in. Unfortunately, it looks like we have a lot of time before that happens.
At the risk of sounding TOO whiney – this whole “not having a kitchen” thing is getting old. This is a huge inconvenience, but I’ve done it to myself, and in the end we will have a MUCH improved kitchen. It’s a sacrifice I’m begrudgingly willing to make.
Nothing too exciting on day three. On Wednesday, the drywall went up. The seams still need to be gone over, but it looks pretty good. They also had to put some gray goop on the floor to level it out a little bit. (What, can you not tell by my expert vocabulary that I’m highly knowledgeable in this area?) Today the tiles went down. There’s no grout yet, so that will be finished up tomorrow.
To my understanding, they were going to paint before they tiled so that they wouldn’t have to be so careful about not getting paint on the floor, which seems really lazy as I type it, but sounded like it made sense at the time. I guess I was wrong. It makes do difference to me as long as there is no paint on the floor at the end of this project.
As you can see, we went with a dark tile. In part because the rest of the kitchen will be light, but also because dark tile means dark grout and I hate cleaning tile grout. It’s Energie Ker in “Area Black” we got it for $4.98/sq foot from Sherwood Tile & Granite in Newburgh. I want to take the opportunity to recommend them. Everyone was knowledgeable, professional, and friendly. And they were selling this tile for more than 50% less than another competitor in the area.
While I’m giving out tile advice… Don’t even go to Home Depot unless you want dated, brown tiles. There was very little variety in their selection. They even had what I can only refer to as “Pizza Hut” tile. Picture yourself in a Pizza Hut. Now look down at your feet. Do you see 10 inch, reddish brown, solid squares with a super thick, black grout line? Something that went out of style in the 80′s? Yeah, that’s the stuff. Home Depot has that!)
Anyway. We made an appointment with the countertop company to template the countertops on one week from today, so hopefully by then we’ll have cabinets and appliances up and running.
Do you want to know what a $450 dollar piece of pipe looks like?
The plumber says “So, we’re fixing this too, right?” when he comes in. Turns out there is some rust build up on the outside of the waste drain pipe from the tub in the upstairs bathroom that is perfectly visible in the kitchen wall. Rust = leak, so it had to be replaced. For over $100 per foot. All we wanted was to move the sink about 4 feet over, so that it would be under the window, like in a normal kitchen. At least the electric has been going without a hitch so far (moving several outlets so that they actually make sense.)
We thought we were living cramped before, with all of our food and dishes in the living room. We were stupid and wrong. Today we got the delivery of the cabinets and appliances. It’s everywhere. We’ll be spending our spare time in the basement watching a CRT-TV that is hooked up to a DVD player, even though the only DVD’s we have easily accessible are the Simpsons (seasons 2-7).
Tomorrow they level the floor, inventory the 127 boxes currently inhibiting the use of our dining room, and put new drywall up.
It was gorgeous out on Sunday, but who would want to go outside when you could be spending countless hours emptying the entire contents of your kitchen into your living space? No one, that’s who!
Our dining room table had to be relocated to our living room in order to make room for the cabinets, which are being delivered tomorrow. On, under, and around our dining room (now living room) table is our food, kitchen appliances, silverware, glasses, and glassware. In the family room we have our dishes, bakeware, serving dishes, measuring cups & spoons. Our kitchen is not big – only 9×10, but you don’t realize how much stuff you have in there until you have to move it piece by piece.
We didn’t want to go without a refrigerator, so we relocated it to the garage until after the floors are installed sometime this week. Our refrigerator is SO disgusting. It really sickens me to think that we’ve been ingesting food that has been within 10 feet of it. I will spare you the picture, mostly because I don’t want you judging me, but know that we should’ve replaced the fridge on day one.
I wish I could’ve taken a picture of our contractor taking a sludge hammer to the cabinets, but unfortunately, I had to go to work. When I came home, the kitchen was torn away – down to the studs in most places. A “curb alert” on craigslist will hopefully clear the old appliances out of our garage on saturday and, barring any major catastrophe, we should have floors at the end of the week!
Cabinets are being delivered tomorrow! Too bad that all they’ll do for a week is sit in flat boxes and take up precious dining room space. In the mean time, I’m eating all my meals on the couch like a boss.
My thought on the day: You know when kitchen renovation feels real? When you have to use your bathroom sink for all of your sink-related needs.