Monday, September 23, 2013

The Longest Week Ever...

Just a few thoughts to express here...
It's Monday - and 2 weekends ago was a crazy kitchen renovation marathon with the cabinets being put up.  They look great and I'm so excited.  
Then on Friday of last week, the granite guy came out to do the template for the counters.  I was planning on blogging about it, but since it's not a DIY thing and because it was so fast, I'll spare you a thousand words with photos and say that they used wood & hot glue to make the template and it only took 30 minutes.

So now it's the waiting game.  We were told 7-9 days for the granite.  I was told that the granite people would call early this week to schedule the installation, and it would be about a week after that. 

So they'll call tomorrow maybe and then a week?  The longest week of my life!  I am beyond excited.  I can't wait to reclaim my dining room!

FYI - went appliance shopping on Saturday evening and it was mostly a bust.  Nobody carries counter-depth fridges in showrooms, so shop at home if you need something less common/popular than what's standard.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kitchen Reno - Cabinet Craziness

Well, we've had some fun around here in the last few days.  

Friday morning the cabinets were delivered.  I should have taken a picture because it was a really impressive stack of boxes in the garage.  See that word "was" in that last sentence.  Yeah, the stack of boxes is gone.  I know what you're thinking, "boy that was fast!"  and it totally was because Saturday morning Jason's brother, Kevin came!  

Cabinet weekend was 2 long days of cabinet hanging excitement here.  Kevin, who is a carpenter and has done this stuff before many times, was able to lend his expertise.  We'd have been up a creek without his help.  

At the end of the first day they had all the wall cabs and half the lower cabinets hung on one wall, including the crown molding.  One thing to note (that I didn't know before) is that if you're doing crown on your cabinets, you probably need to add a nailer to the top of the cabinet boxes so you have something to attach the crown molding to.  Once the moldings are in place, you won't see the nailer at all.

Here's a progress pic from early on Day 1:

And at the end of the second day they were done!  The days were long (Sunday night ended at 10:30 PM - sorry neighbors!) but in just 2 days, the two of them completed work that would have taken WEEKS with just Jason and I to work on stuff on Saturdays and Sundays.

Before I show you how it's looking now, let's take a look at what it looked like when we bought the house...

And here it is now...

Note that none of the doors are on right now - we decided to leave them off until after the counter tops are done.  I don't want to risk a ding/scratch in a door during that whole process.

I'll have more pics once things are more done (counters & doors & drawers and whatnot).

Side note - if you do find yourself with a lot of boxes like we did - you may want to also get a big roll of tape and let/help your kids to build a cardboard castle.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kitchen Reno - Getting our Tile on!

***this post has been waiting to be finished for over a week, but with the start of the school year fo both kids plus my own grad school class starting up, blog stuff got shifted to the back burner...progress is happening though and that's the important thing!***

 WOOT WOOT!  Floor time!

I may have mentioned this before, but in case you don't recall, when we pulled out the floor in the kitchen, we found no fewer than four layers of flooring piled one on top of another.  Sometimes with a layer of luan in there for good measure.  I guess if you're just doing vinyl flooring then slapping it down over the existing floor is the quick & easy way to go, but since we wanted something else and because the existing floor had gotten higher than the hardwoods in the adjacent rooms, the old stuff had to go.

There were a few options to choose from when considering kitchen flooring.  One thing we thought about was doing hardwood to match the rest of the house.  The only big concern we had with that was how to work it from the kitchen to the dining room, it would have involved pulling some planks up and putting new ones down.  Color matching would have also been an issue.  We also considered some sort of cork flooring.  I had seen it a few places and thought it looked fantastic, but the process was about as involved as hard-wood would have been, so we decided to look at the third option - tile.  Tile is something Jason has done before (2 bathrooms) so it's something we KNOW we could handle.  

We visited our favorite tile shop (if you're in southeast PA, check out Orlandini Tile in Marcus Hook) and saw tons of gorgeous options.  We fell in love with these wood look tiles and brought home a few samples to choose from.  I highly encourage you to bring home samples to lay down on your floor before making a final decision.  See how it looks in the room - does the light make it look lighter/darker?  does the paint make it look bluer or greenish?  I changed my mind at least twice by looking at different samples at different times of day.

Finally we went with one called "Newport Charcoal" -- it's got sort of a gray-ish tan thing going on.  It reminds me a bit of driftwood.  It's porcelain tile, so it'll be durable and easy to clean.  Both good features.   

Up until this point we had been able to get by in the renovation process without totally emptying the room.  We still had our stove & fridge in place, but when you're working on the floor, empty is best.  So the fridge moved to the dining room and the stove moved to the back porch.  If you have to do these sorts of things, don't underestimate the time it takes.  For the fridge we had to take the doors off and and put them back on and for the stove we had to deconstruct part of the back deck so we could take out the sliding glass doors.  

Finally, we got down to actually starting on the floor.  The first step was to lay down some concrete backer board.  This board had to be put down with thinset AND screws.  It was a pretty straightforward process but it took a while (and the drill is very tired).  This took the better part of two weekends.

After that we determined the tile layout.  There's two big options:  pattern or random.  I liked a simple offset pattern for this tile, so we went with an 8" offset, so with 24" tiles, the pattern repeats every 3 rows.  We also spent some time figuring out the starting point of the pattern - we looked at how the tiles would line up with the doors and the other end of the room.  We didn't want a seam right in the middle of the doorway and we didn't want to be finishing courses of tile with skinny slivers.   It's not a huge deal, but we just wanted things to look right.


Once the layout was decided, Jason cut tiles for a few rows.  It's a good idea to "dry fit" your tiles to make sure you're not stuck with a bunch of wet thinset and tiles that don't fit right.  We already had a wet saw, but they're not terribly expensive (about $100) and they are also available to rent at Home Depot or Lowes.  
Layout was a pretty straightforward process.  The little white "X"s are spacers.  They're used to maintain an even grout line between the tiles.  We went with 1/8" spacers.  It's a pretty small grout line, but we liked the look.
Tiling took 2 weekends.  The first weekend we were able to lay about 1/2 of the tile.  Midweek, Jason put down a bit more and the last of it was laid on the second Saturday morning.  

Grouting started the same afternoon.  Grouting is a bit of a process - you put the grout down and really work it into the joints and then you have to come back and wipe the excess with water.  We ended up spending most of Saturday night wiping grout and there are a few places where there's set up grout in the textured "grain" of the tile, but overall I'm super happy with the floor.  It's exactly what we hoped for!
Let's take a quick look at what we started with in the kitchen:

And here's how things are now:

Next up:  CABINETS!!!  


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