Saturday, April 28, 2012

The old in depth look at awful

I realized that I had pictures of the old kitchen from when we were starting to clear things out.  It looks completely hideous but here you go.  I don't usually have a tv on the kitchen table nor are my countertops completely cluttered with stuff but when you're packing up, they just might be.  Also, just for reference, the dining area had a computer desk and a bakers rack/bookshelf on the left so it was even more cramped than it looks in this picture.

The lovely dining area

The kitchen in real life..packing up, not a hoarder.
This is the powder room.  The former owners were fond of the corner sink.
See that wooden thing?  That held the microwave.  My BIL sat on it in 1993 and it's never been the same.
More pretty.  The laundry was behind those doors that stick out on the right.
The empty dining area.  Still ugly but better than the plain paneling was.

Ok, off to watch the Phillies.  Hopefully they will win.  They currently are but there's still time.


On Friday morning I found out I needed to have paint colors picked out in time for the painter to come on Saturday.  I met with the builder and we discussed the plans for the laundry room as well as some other issues that turned out not to be issues at all. 

Most of the time when I make design type decisions, I need to sleep on it a couple of days and make sure I still like it.  I didn't have time for that so my kitchen designer, who was coming over anyway to confirm granite samples, helped me make some quick decisions.  I had some ideas but I wasn't sure if they would coordinate well enough.  We had a big book of color samples but I was still having trouble so we ran out to Home Depot to get a sample of white marble to put up as the backsplash since the tile isn't here yet and then picked out a bunch of Martha Stewart paint sample chips.  I was pretty ok with the kitchen colors because there were 2 greens that were a shade apart that I liked it but I was having trouble with the laundry and powder room.  I couldn't decide before I went to bed and I had to meet a running group at 7:30 this morning so I waited until I woke up and then put sticky notes on all of the walls so they would know which colors to use where.  The painters were really nice and when I got home at 9:30 they were well on their way with primer on the walls and trim.  They didn't actually paint the trim besides primer since they will be back to do the family room later on.

Here's what I picked.

Hopefully I will have some doors on by the time I get home on Monday.  My Mom hasn't seen anything in there in a while so I'm anxious to see what she thinks tomorrow when she comes over to dinner.  I don't think she's been here in a month since we've done stuff either out or at her house since then.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What went on today?

Lots!  The stone on the chimney was pointed and it looks really nice although it damaged the floor a bit so they'll have to fix that.  They installed all of the crown molding at the top of the cabinet boxes and the shelves and cabinet were installed in the laundry area.  I'm beginning to think that this is actually going to get done.  The extra sides on the cabinetry were installed as well.  The upper cabinet doors have details that the bottom do not.  It's just so perfect.  I'm really, really happy with it.  Here, look...

Nice to see the progress every day when I come home. 

Our House - An Overview

We moved into our current house at the end of July 2002.  Prior to this we lived in Philadelphia in a beautiful 100 year old Victorian twin house.  It was our first.  The neighborhood when we moved in was questionable but it was on it's way to gentrification.  Still, we had to sweep the crack vials off of the sidewalk for a few years and if you planted nice flowers in your front yard before Mother's Day, they would be stolen.  One time my neighbor told me there was a guy dressed like a ninja in my backyard and did I know him.  Um, no.  No ninja friends at the time.  Anyway, I got the house for pretty cheap.  My mortgage was $700 a month.  The house was three stories and had 6 bedrooms and super high ceilings.  Beautiful hardwood floors with mahogany inlays around the edges, pocket doors, built in cabinets in the dining room, stained and leaded glass and beautiful mantels.  The day we found out that we qualified for the mortgage, we got a call from the realtor saying the house had been broken into and the mantels, windows and doors had been stolen.  We made a deal with the seller and I set out to find period pieces at salvage yards to replace what was stolen.  I also had the stained and leaded glass replaced by a lovely woman who made them match what was taken.  Overall, it was really nice.  Of course, the house in general had been neglected for years.  The previous owner rented it out to students and it was in need of a great deal of tlc.  We had to clean out the kitchen and we took out about 10 bags of trash.  The refrigerator had shelves being held up with tupperware containers and was just vile.  I don't think those kids cleaned anything, ever.  The linoleum floor was filthy and when I tried to clean it, it just got sticky so it was like walking on fly paper.  I finally got it in decent enough shape.  Luckily we were young and my very handy soon to be brother in law lived with us for a few years.  We painted everything, had the floors refinished, wallpapered the dining room, put carpet in the bedrooms on the third floor, replaced the heating system, redid the porch, the roof, you name it.  Oh and the kitchen too.  New tile and counter tops.  Nothing too crazy.  This was over the course of 10 years.  During this time we also had several dogs and several kids.  The house was lovely and huge.  My oldest used to ride his tricycle on the first floor because there was so much room he didn't even run into anything.  We really loved the house and the neighborhood but weren't really happy with the schools.  Both boys went to a really nice preschool in center city that I was really pleased with.  By the time Dylan was getting ready to go to kindergarten, I realized I'd had enough.  Some of the other moms at preschool were having their kids tested to go to some of the private schools down town and I heard so many stories about who didn't get in because they held their pencil wrong (the kid was 4!!) and other horror stories that I decided I couldn't put my kid through the stress of it all.  Plus, having the privilege to pay over $12,000 for kindergarten just didn't work for us.

Anyway, we (really me...Frank didn't really want to be a suburbanite) started looking around at houses for sale.  We (meaning me) narrowed down how far from the city we were willing to be (we both worked downtown at the time) and started working with a realtor.  I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted.  I even made a list.  Of course this didn't stop the realtor from showing me things that had deal breakers.  I am kind of picky and I wanted something somewhat close to what we had.  This was not easy when they keep showing you brick box houses from the 60's.  Or new ones with garages in the front.  I found my house online and made her take me to look at it.  I really liked it.  It had the space we wanted and a really lovely wrap around front porch.  Lots of old details that you don't find in newer houses.  I brought Frank and my parents to see it and we decided to make a bid.  Obviously it all worked out.  This one has 6 bedrooms too although it's really 5 because the one we use is two rooms connected with french doors.  All we had to do was sell our house first.  We actually did that in 10 days and got our asking price.  We tripled our initial investment.  Pretty great.  We were really happy everything worked out.

When we bought the house it was full of wallpaper and carpet.  I'm sure it was lovely in the '80's if you like that sort of thing.  The living room had an oddly shaped tile floor that was like a 1/2 octagon of beige tile right at the entry and the rest was dark green carpet.  We also had drop ceilings in the living room and dining room.  When we peeked up there we found that there was crown molding being hidden.  We had someone come in and take down all the wallpaper in the living room, dining room, up the stairs and the 4 bedrooms on the 2nd floor.  It was this old man and he only charged us maybe $600 and we were afraid he wasn't going to make it but he did and it was great.  We took down the ceiling tiles and all of that rigging and found a bunch of paneling nailed to the ceiling in the dining room as well as quite a sizable hole in the plaster over the front door.  After removing an entire bucket full of nails, the paneling came down and guess what?  There was nothing under it.  No holes (besides nail holes), nothing!  I have no idea why they would do that unless they thought it was insulated it for noise?  Anyway, I spent a lot of time spackling but finally we got a plasterer to come repair all of it.  It was too much for us to fix and it's held up for 10 years so I think it was money well spent.

We've painted everything except one bedroom on the third floor.  Also, the bathroom on the third floor is beyond hideous but it's going to have to wait.  Just to get a visual, it has self stick floor tiles in green and gold and white.  I actually saw the same ones in the dollar store one day.  Nice.  Anyway, all the trim is painted dark green and the walls are actually covered in sheets of white plastic fake tile.
Ugly walls and floor.  And green trim.
The bulging tub surround
Pretty dollar store floor tiles
What a nice light fixture!!
Ugly but worse in person than in photos
The ceiling is textured.  It's lovely.  Now, the actual tub surround is beige and the previous homeowner did it himself.  He told me.  He also didn't remove loose tile from the wall before he installed it so now it bows out at the bottom where the tile has landed.  The toilet has a cushiony toilet seat and it doesn't flush right and it always smells funny AND it is the most stain prone toilet I've ever seen.  And the sink leaks underneath.  All in all, it's really in need of an update but I think we're going to have to take it one project at a time.

We (actually I) would like to move our bedroom to the third floor so the boys would have their own bathroom and we would too.  The rooms up there are oddly shaped because of the roof line and there are closets built into both sides of both rooms.
See how the roof slopes?  That white door is the closet.

We also have a tiny kitchenette which I was told was made in the 1940's so that soldiers coming home from the war had places to stay.  I guess somebody lived up there.  It's got tiny counter tops, a shelf, some cabinets and a sink.  It also has a spot where there used to be a tiny gas range.  The best thing is a Frigidaire (made by General Motors) curved front refrigerator.  It's awesome and it still works.  We use it for beverages and overflow from the basement refrigerator which isn't big enough for us during this kitchen debacle.

That's the story so far.

Sid still doesn't like the camera...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Miscellaneous Things

So much has been going on that it's hard to keep track.  They turned the island around this morning, which will be lovely and the granite template people were there too so I should have countertops by the end of next week.  Yippee!!  In the mean time, I'm still cooking in the basement.  Because the pipes are so low that I have to tilt my head all the time, I actually went to an acupressurist to try to get my neck feeling better.  It worked great for about 2 weeks but now I'm back in the same boat.  Not sure if I should go again or if I should just tough it out and hope for the best.  Who knows. 

Also, over the course of this basement banishment, I have managed to fry yet another power strip.  We had a couple of the same ones and both of them died untimely deaths within a couple of days of purchasing.  Home Depot was very understanding.  We finally bought a big yellow one and it's held up fairly well even though I set it off all the time.  See, you can't make a cup of hot water in the microwave at the same time that the coffee is brewing.  Once it's done brewing, the microwave is ok to use but not at the same time.  It's like a game of russian roulette, plugging and unplugging things in order to make sure the power stays on.  It's not really fun anymore.

All of my appliances were delivered on Friday.  All except the refrigerator.  It seems that when they were loading it onto the truck, they found that it had an oil spot on the bottom of the box and when they opened the box there was a hole in a spot where a hole should not be so they had to reorder it.  Not sure when it will arrive but I'll call them one of these days.

Over all, I'm really happy with the progress these days.  Yesterday my dh and I were talking about how it is going to be really, really nice when it's done.  Having lived with the ugly for so very long, I really can't wait to get in there.  I'm never going to leave the room. 

This is what it looks like (without the lights on...I forgot) as you walk from the dining room into the kitchen.  First area on the left is the pantry, and on the right is the powder room.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Things continue to get done, which is a very good thing! 

Notice how the island has the open side away from the kitchen part?  Yeah, that's wrong.  It's backwards.  The open side should be facing away from the camera.  Of course it's already stuck to the ground so they'll have to fix it tomorrow.  It won't really be open but the part with the black will be where the microwave will go and the rest are drawers and shelves.  Should be good.

Part of the pantry got here today and there are lots of doors and bits of hardware laying around. 

Also, the powder room vanity was installed.  Not a great vantage point but here it is.
Besides that, nothing too exciting.

This is what I got on Friday.  (My birthday was Saturday)

He won't be happy that I put this in here but only a couple of people have the link so it's all good.  Anyway, I also got a homemade cake from my friend Mary, who is awesome.  We run together and I really need to get a leash so she can keep me in line better.  I tend to start off with a bang and end with a whimper.  Anyway, I got cake and flowers and dinner out (lunch too) so it was fun.  Although it takes me a couple of days to get used to the increase in number, it's all fine now.

Who knows what I will come home to tomorrow.

Wanna see what happened yesterday?

Progress. Shocking but true.

 Eventually we will have a kitchen.  It feels like it will never end and with everything else going on I feel like a ball of stress.

I've had a cold/bronchitis/whatever for 2 full weeks, I'm running a lot more miles to get ready for a 10 mile race in 10 days (and I'm having a terrible time of it), and my house has been turned upside down basically since Christmas.  I really need to get some sort of normalcy back again.  And maybe run shorter distances.  I actually threw up near the end of my run today.  What a lovely way to end 5 miles.  I bet that's more information than you really wanted to know.  I'm pretty sure this will be the only long race I'm ever going to do.  I think I'll just train with my friends but skip the stress of race day.  I'm not good at handling all of this at once.

I hope I come home to more progress.  Only time will tell.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cheaper Things

Before I forget to say this...I found the same cabinet pulls that I decided to get for $.80 less each.  Doesn't sound like much but when you need 56 it really adds up. It's good to google the product name and number because you never know where you might find something less expensive.  Of course, once I placed the order on Monday, I got an out of stock notification telling me it would be 7 to 10 additional days on Tuesday and a shipping notification on Wednesday.  They got delivered on Friday.  Crazy!

Week 13

So we are heading into week 13.  WEEK 13!!!!  Ok, now that I got that off my chest, I'll tell you what's been going on.  All of the cabinets were to be delivered on 4/13.  That didn't happen so it was pushed off to 4/18 which would have been ok but we only got 4 or 5 that day.  A couple more things came on Friday and I was assured by the cabinet maker that the cabinets would be here so they could be installed beginning on Monday.

My day started off with text messages from the builder because his guys were there and ready to start at 7:30 (as they are every day...they're awesome) but no cabinet guy.  He did show up a little after 9 and lots of cabinets are at my house, hopefully being installed while I type this.  I can't wait to go home and look.  I only hope I'm not disappointed.  The reason this is stressing me out (besides the fact that it's already been 12 entire weeks) is because the granite template guys are coming on Wednesday and I would love to get the fabrication started.  The sooner the better.

Besides that, nothing much is happening.  The backsplash tile is ordered.  I think it's going to be really nice.  This is a sketch of the detail over the cooktop.  If you click on the picture you can see it better.  Anyway, this is just what I was imagining.  It seems that the kitchen designer and I were of like mind. 

I'll have to update if anything happened since I left this morning.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


This is what I ordered for lighting.  It's all from  There was a lot and the decisions to be made were daunting but I'm still happy about all of the choices.  All are in brushed nickel finish which should match mostly everything else.

Pendant lights for the island:
Spencer lighting
For over the kitchen sink:
It's only a little different but I thought that would be a good thing

This one is for the powder room.  Also in brushed nickel.
This one is for the laundry area.  Nifty!

Over the kitchen table (I really love this one)
Alexandra (not copper, in brushed nickel although the copper is really pretty)

Dining area

Pantry Area Light

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What happened to the zen?

Well, it was nice while it lasted.  My cabinets were supposed to be delivered today at around 11.  The truck arrived at 2 which means that my kitchen designer sat outside my house for 3 hours since I'm at work.  It gets even better.  When the truck arrived, it had 6 cabinets on it.  If I need 56 cabinet pulls, I think I'm missing a heck of a lot of cabinets.  Apparently they don't have the doors on either.  I haven't yet gotten a chance to talk to the guy who is making them but I can't imagine it will be a pleasant conversation.  Apparently more are coming tomorrow and Friday but honestly this is holding up everything because they can't install them until they get here and that pushes the counter top template guys even further back.  It's very distressing and while I might like to scream and yell, it really won't do any good.  I just hope I like them when I see them.

On top of all of this, my cabinet hardware is backordered 7 to 10 additional days and the tile I want for my backsplash might not be available until mid May but who knows if I will have cabinets by then or not anyway.

I need this whole thing to be done.  It's been 11 full weeks and I am really done.  My house is a mess, there is furniture smooshed everywhere and I find it really hard to relax with all of the clutter all over the place.  I really just want to put things in their place and get back to some sense of normalcy.


Monday, April 16, 2012

More things to pick out and other delays

Things are still moving along.  Slowly but I guess that's the way things go.  The floors were stained and sealed on Friday.  I also went out to shop for backsplash tile.  This (I think) is the last big thing to pick out.  It's been stressing me out because I don't want to look at it a few years down the line and hate it.  I was originally thinking of something like this:

I was looking at the small glass tiles in shades of green, however the more I looked at it the less I could envision looking at it in my kitchen forever.  I think it's too contemporary for my house.  Everything else is more in line with the 1912 year my house was built.

Anyway, I found this instead.

 It's carrara marble.  I'm going to use the larger 3x6 subway tile (smaller size is shown) and then making a picture frame above the cooktop using that top oggi molding piece and the black narrow trim as the frame.  The inside is going to be this:

It's diamonds.  I like it.  A lot.  And I still like it 3 days later.  That usually means it's a keeper.  I felt the same way about my husband and he's still here.

Here's a close up of the dark trim piece.  It's pretty.

Anyway, if all goes well, I'll get this ordered and the sticker price won't kill me.  It's less expensive per square foot than the other tile I looked at so it should be fine.

Most of the cabinets are coming on Wednesday.  I can't wait.  They were supposed to be delivered Friday but the cabinet maker requested a few extra days.  Apparently the drawers came without runners installed so that took extra time.  Plus the cabinet doors I chose have detail that was requiring more time to stain.  In the scheme of things a few extra days is really not a big deal.  I think he thought I might go ballistic on him but I'm feeling pretty zen about it all.  Today anyway.  No use in getting upset about something that can't be changed anyway, right?  I sound so calm.  You should enjoy it while it's here.  It might not last forever.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Week 11...What's Happening?

The answer to that would be not much.  Actually, all of the window and door trim has been put up and when I got home today, the tile in the bathroom and the laundry room is laid but not grouted.

Above is the laundry room tile.  Note that we are missing 9 pieces of tile.  Apparently we needed more than the contractor told me.  And I asked twice.  Whatever.  He got the powder room amount correct.  It's below:
I love it.   My 13 year old does not but that's fine.

We have really elaborate baseboards and trim above all of the windows and doors.  I'm sure it's not cheap to duplicate but it really looks nice.  This is what the current looks like:
This is what the new version looks like.  It's not all painted yet.
It's really as close to a perfect match as you can get.  I'm really happy with it.  I think when it's painted you won't even be able to tell the difference between old and new.

The cabinets are coming on Monday.  That's going to be really exciting to see when they get installed.  I've been trying to choose cabinet hardware and that's another paralyzing nightmare.  The ones that I really liked would have cost $950 so I found plan B at around $250.  Much better.

This is what I liked:

It's a terrible picture and they are $12 each.  Not happening.  I need 56 of them.  Yes, 56.  It's a lot.

Instead, I'm going with this:

This one is $5.18 each.  I found even cheaper ones that were similar at but I really like the details on this one so I'm going with it.  It's about $250 for everything and free shipping.

Also, I think I mentioned the fact that my lighting was taking forever to be shipped. I ordered it on 3/21 and they promised 2-3 weeks to ship.  I got an email last week saying the ship date wouldn't be until  April 30th so it was going to be more like 6 or 7 weeks.  Definitely not making me happy.  Anyway, I got the shipping notification today I can't wait for that to get here and be done with it.  My third floor is completely full of stuff that needs to be installed someday.

More as things happen.