Kitchen renovation – old out, new coming in…..hopefully

Before I left for my guard drill this weekend, we did a final, all out, do what we can, overhaul on the kitchen. And by we, I mean mostly the husband. “We” ripped out all remaining cabinets besides where the sink and plumbing is, and Dylan also ripped out the pantry. ImageImageImage

We all did this knowing that on Saturday, the electrician/plumber guy would be out to disconnect everything so that on Monday, construction could start.

Let me note though, that it was only slated to start on Monday because I made a fuss. AGAIN, this company tried to delay us a week. I told them that was unacceptable. I’d already been delayed due to their contractor’s inability to communicate. Our “coordinator” talked to her manager. Miraculously, she scheduled a guy to come out Saturday and for the whole deal to start this Monday, i.e., tomorrow. 

Saturday came and went and our electrician/plumber guy never showed up. Apparently he called me before he was even scheduled to come that morning to tell me he wanted to reschedule. Here’s the thing: I can’t get to my phone during the day at drill because where I work, I cannot bring in cell phones. I got the message in the afternoon and left him a message. He never called the hubs even though he should have had that number as an alternative, and unless it was an emergency, why reschedule when it would have been about 10 minutes worth of work? It was literally supposed to be him coming to disconnect and make sure everything was off so demo could start Monday. 

I’m really hoping someone shows up on Monday, at 8am like they are scheduled to, and that they can turn off and disconnect all necessary outlets, lines, etc. I’m going to have a hard time staying calm if they tell me they cannot work since no one came on Saturday. Hell, I’ll figure out how to turn everything off and disconnect all that needs to be disconnected if that will start this dang process. This girl can live off microwave dinners and sandwiches only for so long!

Either way, I’ll be speaking with Home Depot and the construction company on Monday because a no-show is a no-show, whether we can go on or not. I think this company has gotten away with enough already, and I’m guessing, based on reviews from other people (mostly all bad), that most people haven’t complained outright, just online. Stand up and complain people! Not just online, but in person. 

The day and age we live in these days has us cowering behind a computer complaining, but never addressing it with the actual vendor. Maybe that’s why vendors feel they can get away with a lot more these days? I feel sometimes like the customer has been forgotten and the ever mighty dollar is the only thing remembered. Without a happy customer however, you will never see as many dollars. Never. 

Wish me luck and I will wish myself the same luck, cross my fingers and toes, and hope someone shows up tomorrow.

Kitchen renovation – week I don’t even know anymore

I apologize for the gap between posts. I’ve had quite the couple of weeks. First of all, I have had some issues with Home Depot still coordinating with me. I talked to the assistant manager and we came to the conclusion that my main frustration had been with the construction company. I was supposed to go over pricing with Jim the contractor, but he never contacted me back. I’ve gotten so stressed and tired from trying to coordinate between Home Depot and the construction people.

On top of this, I had to replace my car’s timing chain because I failed to get my car in in a timely manner. This put me back a healthy $1500. Meanwhile, the assistant manager contacted the construction company’s manager and I ended up talking to him instead about pricing and what I could do to cut some of the costs. After talking with him and letting him know my frustrations with Jim, I felt a lot better. I then got a call from JB hunt letting me know my cabinets were ready to ship. Woo hoo!!! It was finally starting to feel like we might get a kitchen. All I felt like I was doing was spending money. I then called the construction company to let them know when the cabinets were coming in (as I was instructed to do). I was told that Ashley would be calling me back as she is my coordinator. I called them on Tuesday. Today is now Friday. My cabinets come in on Wednesday, so if I don’t hear back by Monday, I’ll have to call back again. This company so far has been pretty bad about timeliness. I’m just hoping she is busy and she will get back to me soon.
For a couple days things felt like they were finally starting to line up. My mom and mother in law came into town so we’ve been hosting and touring them around as much as possible in between all this craziness.
But of course good feelings can’t last. On top of the $1500 timing chain, my car’s brake pads and rotors are warped and I need new tires. Granted these things are maintenance related,  unlike the timing chain, but when your car is 11 years old, even maintenance feels like too much money. The hunk a metal is probably worth $2K so when I’m putting hundreds into it, it just feels like I’m throwing money into the proverbial fire. I know this is still cheaper than 72 payments with a new car but I start to get nervous with how long this can last. My car is now at 167K miles. I’m taking her down to Biloxi in the spring so we’ll see if she comes back with me six months later. Anyways, I digress.

In the meantime, while we’ve been waiting on the cabinets, we did paint the living room walls. All are now white except one Ocean Voyage accent wall. I absolutely love it. The color has brought on a level of warmth and completeness into the room, even without the new flooring yet. I’ll let you decide what you think, but regardless, I’m keeping it. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the flooring as well, but that must go as restaining it, plus staining the kitchen floor would cost at least twice as much as putting down gray plank flooring.

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To top off this crazy couple of weeks, my laptop’s motherboard most likely blew so I’m actually writing this all on my iPhone. You do what you gotta do to keep the blog going, right? I’m going to fiddle with the laptop to see if it’s possibly not the motherboard, and just sticky memory, or something else. It’s been popping to life here and there. I’ll definitely have to back up the harddrive onto an external drive if I can get it to pop to life one more time.

I hope to having a working laptop again, as well as a fully functional kitchen within the next few weeks. Wish me luck and I hope to post sooner rather than later.

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We got a little sleet down here in Texas. Needless to say, everything shut down. Fine for me. Blogging in my pj’s works for me.

Kitchen Renovation – week 6 – frustrations

I spent four hours of my Sunday at Home Depot, trying to explain to the loan folks that the address I have listed, is in fact my address, because, crazy enough to believe, I wouldn’t shack up at someone else’s house, spend five weeks planning, and decide to renovate their kitchen.

The ordering of my kitchen is currently being held up because of my address. This is now starting to really frustrate me. I offered to fax in my HUD and another receipt to verify that I truly live in this house, but the woman on the phone didn’t feel like working yesterday and told the store manager there was nothing we could do that day. I found out later this was a lie and that she should have taken my proof of address. Because this woman didn’t feel like getting off her butt to check the fax machine, I may be losing out on $1300+. I’ll be expecting that out of her paycheck, thank you very much.

On the plus side, the people at the actual Home Depot store are working at getting me approved and getting me the discount. The designer is even texting me, keeping me updated on the status. I’m hoping to hear some good news in the next few hours on getting approved and being able to order this kitchen. I was really hoping that we’d be at least in the construction phase once my mother and mother-in-law got down here but it’s looking quite doubtful now unfortunately. Oh well, I’m still really excited to have them down and this won’t deter me from having a good time, kitchen or no kitchen.

Updates to follow as they come.

Kitchen Renovation – week 5 – stalled

I’m trying to be patient with this kitchen renovation. I knew it would take a long time, and I know that I planned it around holidays, but I’m still starting to get impatient. The lack of communication between the contractor and Home Depot designer has been less than stellar. Luckily, in my everyday life, my job usually revolves around poking people and being the overall squeaky wheel, so I’m used to it. I was really hoping by now to have the cabinets ordered but with the holidays, it’s delayed it by at least a week. I’ll talk to the contractor or designer one day, and have to wait a week for any transaction to happen between them. 

I’m still hoping I can make headway next week so we can get the cabinets ordered. My mom and mother-in-law will be visiting from Minnesota toward the middle/end of the month and I’d like to see some action done, but I’m guessing we will just have the order in by then, but with no hopes of an install to start. 

Oh well. 

 

Kitchen renovation – week 5 – finding balance

Kitchen renovation - week 5 - finding balance

This weekend was great, even though we didn’t really do much for construction. I’m still waiting to hear back from the contractor. Hopefully today we can schedule him to come in and verify our plans will work. If he gives the thumbs up, we head back in to Home Depot to give the order a thumbs up, then we wait for cabinets to come in and be installed.
In the meantime, we’re learning to live in our home. We finally got the big heavy stuff in, like the couch, buffet, TV and dining table with the help of Dylan’s buddy, which I’m so grateful for. Never underestimate the power of good friends.
Right now, the hardest part about finding a balance in between a major remodel is trying to make your new place feel like home, but not moving absolutely everything in, since it’ll all have to be removed within the next few weeks.
We moved a lot more of the kitchen items from the apartment to the house this weekend, in which we realized how amazingly small and inefficient this kitchen really is. I started unpacking and shelving items, and before I’d gotten half my items in, I was starting to panic a bit where to put the rest. There are only a handful of regular sized cabinets, and the drawers are wide but short so my drawer organizer doesn’t fit. The pantry is 24″ wide with about six short shelves, so cereal boxes are a challenge. This just enforces my excitement about having a new kitchen. We figured the renovations will add about 10 linear feet of space plus 10+ more real cabinets PLUS a huge pantry.

Besides the kitchen and getting all the living room items in, we worked in the backyard as well. We raked up leaves, moved some rocks, and put garden tools in the storage shed. We even installed a cat door out to the garage so the cat will have a private bathroom and food area so the dogs don’t get to it. He’s taking his time with the idea of using a door but I know he’ll get it.

My goals for week 5 are simple but important: getting a hold of the contractor to verify all our ideas will work and giving the okay to order, finish unpacking, getting internet in the house, and painting an accent wall along the side of the fireplace.

Lots to do when you work full time but we’ll get it done. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and I hope everyone has a great week ahead.

Kitchen renovation – Week 4 – thinset up – furniture in

Kitchen renovation - Week 4 - thinset up - furniture in

I’m still working on getting a hold of a contractor at Home Depot. It’s been a little tough since everyone is one vacation right now, which is completely understandable. We did rent a rotary hammer to grind up all the thinset off the kitchen. Now both the kitchen and living room floors are completely torn up, cleaned and ready for flooring after the cabinets come in.
Today, we are going to move the rest of our stuff in and actually start living here on a more permanent basis. A friend is going to help us move the couch, dining table, and other heavy items down from the third floor. I’ll be glad not to have to be moving items down multiple flights of stairs. I have gotten a nice workout though doing so.

I think once the couch and bed and table are in the house, it’ll start feeling a little more like home. Right now it just feels like a construction project, and it hasn’t really hit me that this is our home yet.

Wish me luck on the Home Depot peeps. I hope a construction guy is in so we can have him come out and do a final once-over to make sure all our cabinets will fit. Once we do that, we give them any final changes we want, then we ORDER!!

Renovation – Week 4

Not too much has been going on as far as actual demo in the kitchen department. We met with the designer after the contractor came out and took measurements to make the CAD drawing. We worked with her for about four hours coming up with where to put stuff, which cabinets to put where, that kind of stuff. I won out and am getting the current pantry knocked down and putting cabinets in place, and am getting a big, real pantry in the dining nook. Very excited, and I think my husband is too. Everyone was unsure of my idea until they stewed on it for a bit, and they all concluded after a bit of contemplation that it was a good idea. *Pats self on back*. Of course, I’ll know for sure it was a good idea when it actually gets installed.

Oh, and by the way, if this post gets a little wonky, I apologize. I’m on night time cold meds. This is the third installation of a nasty cold/flu disease I’ve contracted. I hardly ever get sick more than once a year. I don’t know what’s up with me this year but it sucks.

Back to the renovation stuff…unfortunately I don’t have a 3D drawing to show you. Only CAD so it’s a bit hard to visualize. I’ll show you the CAD plus the real life before and give you an idea. The only thing that’s hard to visualize is the “pony wall”, or the wall where the sink is. It’s going to be pulled out 20″ to give more room to move and a bit more counter space as well.

Here is an “aeriel” view. The big difference (besides the cabinetry) is that the pony wall (wall at the bottom of the page) has been moved out. You’ll notice the regular cabinet next to the gas range instead of the little itty, bitty, badly placed pantry, and to the far right of the picture is all my new area where there used to be a tiny dining nook! The corners will be squared off, cabinetry on the wall parallel to the fridge and range, a pantry in the middle of the adjacent wall, and a built in desk next to it, perfect for recipe collection, note taking, email checking, bill paying, what have you.

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Next is what that dining nook wall will look like. The bare patch on the left is only because that is where cabinets will be on the adjacent wall. The middle section of cabinetry is my pantry. On the right hand side is the built in desk, with a little bit of storage on the side for notes, cords, etc, and open shelving above it for pictures, recipe books, etc.

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And here is a real life picture of what it looks like now. Pretty much like nothing 🙂

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This is the other wall that will be getting a lot of attention. The existing pantry next to the oven will be knocked down so there will be prep space on each side. There will be a narrow pull-out shelf for storing oils and spices, and above the fridge will hold a wine rack. On the other side of the hallway, is the second part of the dining nook, the part you can’t see from above. There will be tall 42″ cupboards and extra storage for serving and entertaining ware, as well as linens. There will also be extra counter space for any other prep needed. Overall, we’ll be gaining about 10 linear feet of counter, an amazing amount of storage, and just an overall beauty of a kitchen.

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BEFORE! Can’t wait to show you all the AFTERS.. Stay tuned.

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Renovation – Week 3

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. I had a pretty good one at guard drill, which unfortunately though, means I had no free weekend. I learned more about networking and got to help move a server, which was cool. Nerd fun I guess?

I did do a little more destruction last week but was so busy getting ready for the weekend I didn’t write about it. 

We had the contractor for Home Depot come out on Thursday and took measurements of the kitchen, but we also gave him our ideas of making the kitchen more functional and entertainment friendly. He had some great input on how far back we can move the center area, due to plumbing, and ways to add more storage into the dining nook. His visit took about an hour total, and after he left, we both got the urge, so we grabbed hammers and pry bar and went to town ripping up the tile. 

It only took about an hour and a half to rip up the tile itself, but there is a lot of thin-set to clear out as well to make sure the vinyl planks go down smoothly and aren’t stressed on in certain areas, so we’ll be renting an electric floor scraper to get that stuff off. 

Here’s what two hours of popping tiles looks like:

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Basically looks like a giant mess. 

But it’s one more job done. 

 

This week we should be getting a call to meet with the actual designers to start putting together our dream kitchen. According to their website, this could take upwards of a week, I guess depending on how particular or flexible you are with placement of cabinets, picking out colors, all that. Luckily I think we already have our colors picked out, although Dylan and I are going back and forth on which white counter to go with. We’ll see who wins that battle. 

Once we meet with the designers, and if I get to keep the plan drawings, I’ll post them up here to give you a visual on our thoughts and my bad descriptions.

Renovation – week 2?

I’m going to count this as week two since I technically started ripping up floors last week. This week, tomorrow specifically, a Home Depot designer/installer is going to come in and do some assessments on our kitchen. He’ll do measurements, and we’ll consult with him on what exactly we want to change. For example, I think I want my pantry moved from where it is. Currently, it’s about a 20″ door stuck in the corner of the kitchen next to the oven. It’s a bad place all around since it’ll be an area where people will frequent, and it’s just too small for us. I like to bake and the husband likes to cook and we both like to experiment so there’s usually a cornucopia of food items in the pantry. Also, in our little dining nook (pictures in previous post), I want to add storage, and possibly a desk? And lastly, we want to move the main kitchen counter/cupboard area back about two feet to give us more work room, and to make it feel a little more integrated into the rest of the living area. What could this possible look like you ask? So what do you want it to look like, you inquire? Well here’s some dream photos I’ve found online that I’ll probably present to the Home Depot guy. He’ll probably laugh at me but if I’m going to be doing this giant of a project, I may as well ask for everything I want, right?

Now obviously this won’t be exactly what I can do because of the shape of my kitchen and whatnot, but it has the elements. Pendent and canister lighting, espresso cabinets and white quartz counters, with plenty of storage and seating….and wine glasses. 

These are two different, but similar kitchens and I love them both. Both have the elements I want, including amazing backs plashes, and I will be showing these to the poor Home Depot man, screaming, “THIS IS WHAT I WANT!!”

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Think it’s possible to get to the above from below? We’ll see what kind of magic Home Depot can do in the weeks to come 🙂

 

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Let the renovations begin!

We have now owned our house for one full week. In that one week, we’ve done a pretty good job of teetering on renovation overload. Moving into a home that we have so many ideas for, sometimes starts to feel overwhelming, like you don’t know where to start.

Let me at least fill you in on our ideas and what we’ve already done so far.

We like the structure of the house. You always want to find a home with good bones, good neighborhood, and good layout. Ours has all of these features, but it was built in the 80s, and not much has changed since it was built. The only changes made is new carpet in the bedrooms and the living room has laminate. The bedrooms are fine (for now – I hate carpet but it works for now), but unfortunately the laminate is no good already. There was no weather stripping on the back door when we had a rain storm and the water leaked in and caused the laminate to expand, ruining it. There was another spot where the HVAC system leaked water into the living room and ruined that spot as well. We’ve repaired the weather stripping and the HVAC was fixed so we won’t have those problems anymore, but there isn’t an easy way to fix laminate. Plus I want the kitchen and living area to have the same floor so it flows nicely, so it’s coming up!

We want to upgrade the paint, technology and lighting as well. The outside of the home is baby blue and needs a modern touch with a rich deep gray/brown/greige color, with modern house numbers. The thermostat in the house was as basic as you could find, with an up/down toggle for the temperature; It wasn’t even programmable. The lighting is random and sparse, and someone went switch happy in the house, so when you enter, you have your choice of five light/fan switches. Good luck when you’re carrying five bags of groceries and two dogs are jumping on you in joyful greetings. I don’t want to have to play “guess the light switch”. There’s even a set of two switches for ONE fan. Bizarre and confusing in my opinion, and there’s another two switches in the kitchen, one for the disposal and one for the dishwasher. This freaks me out and I imagine myself turning on the wrong switch at the wrong time. 

But the big project, the money maker (and sucker), the Great Bambino of our projects is the kitchen. It’s old and outdated and not too functional. There are only about six good cabinets in about 20 feet of space, the dishwasher is original, (we also found out it’s been recalled due to a fire hazard), the cabinets themselves are store model oak with no hardware and no organization, and the counters are off-white laminate with random chips from carelessness and 20-some years of use. It’s 80’s rental throwback style, and since we love to entertain, this isn’t going to work for us. There’s also a little nook that looks like it would have been used as a dining nook, but we’d like to turn it into storage instead. The living area is almost 30′ long, so integrating living and dining together would be more of our style, and turning the kitchen into one big entertaining area would fit our lifestyle better. 

The problem and fear for me is logistics. I’ve never done a kitchen remodel. I’ve tiled and painted and laid down flooring, but never tackled an entire kitchen. At first we thought about going through IKEA. We could save a lot of money and we like the styles IKEA carries, but then reality slapped us. We want to push out the line of cabinets for more space and functionality. If we do that, we have to figure out if it would work with plumbing, and we’d have to lay our own counters (or hire someone for a fee). Plus the amount of time it would take for us to do this, including putting together every piece of cabinet, sounded awful. This was one of those projects that just wouldn’t do by watching a couple videos on YouTube. So we buckled and went to Home Depot to chat with a designer/sales rep, and although we’ll be spending more money going through Home Depot, I think the amount of peace of mind we’ll get to keep, and the speed at which the project will be done, will be worth it. We’ll be able to lay floors, tile the fireplace, and paint the exterior of the house, while they are working on the kitchen. 

I’m excited, even exhilarated, thinking about what our finished product might look like over the next few months, but I’m also nervous. Spending money, especially a large amount of money, makes me apprehensive, and the thing about a kitchen is, you don’t get to see the final product until it’s done. It’s not like buying a chair, or even a car. You see that product right away and know what you’re getting. A kitchen is a mystery. You know the idea of what you’re getting and even the product pieces (espresso cabinets and white granite top), but you don’t see it until it’s done. Every time I think about it, my stomach knots up, and I feel a little pukey. But I also remind myself, that my home is very important to me. My husband and I love to entertain and have people over, we want to get more into home brewing again since we have a garage again, and I work from home sometimes as well, so our home will become our center. Because of this, investing in our kitchen, and our home altogether, will be a great investment. You look at your home and walk through it every day. It’s where I come back to after a long hard day of work. I want to come in, instantly relax, and love it the second I enter. I want it to feel warm and welcoming. I want to be so proud of it!

So for now, this blog will most likely be turning into my house renovation blog. I hope it’s entertaining and maybe even inspirational to you.

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This is the first tear up of the floor. It’s hard to see, but the torn up piece of laminate has a darker stain on the plywood. That’s the water that had leaked in. It expanded the boards, leaving them warped. The tile on the top left of the photo goes into the dining/kitchen area. This too,will be torn up and all of the living and kitchen/dining area will have the same flooring.

 

 

 

 

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The living room floor pulled up! The sub-floor is cement which will make it easy to smooth out and put down new floor. The fireplace is also going to get a face-lift, and the mini-blinds will eventually go, once I’m able to make some curtains, but all in due time. All in due time.

 

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I apologize for the blurriness. I didn’t notice until I uploaded the photo. This is going to be our new floor! This is a vinyl plank. It’s available at Home Depot, is highly water resistant, easy to install and requires very little extra tools/equipment. It gets great ratings so I’m hoping that installing it will go smoothly. So far I’m planning on laying it down in the living room, dining and kitchen. I feel like this will encompass the entire area so it feels more like one big space. Right now, with two different floorings, it feels like the kitchen is supposed to be a separate area and I don’t want that. Our kitchen, and food, is an integral part of our lives and we want it to be just as important as the living room. 

 

 

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Here’s our before kitchen. Pretty 80’s eh? The cabinetry, like I said, is basic store bought oak. The counters are laminate. The backsplash by the stove is glued on. There is almost no storage here and it doesn’t scream, “Cook, create!” at me. 

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Another view of our very 80s kitchen. And like I said, there’s not a whole lot here for cabinet space. I’d like to widen this area by pulling the main part on the left out about two feet. This area will have the same gray flooring the living room does, so it will be a smooth transition from living/dining to kitchen.

 

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This is behind where I’m standing in the picture above. It’s a small dining nook that I know we won’t use. Since we are planning on integrating the living room and dining into one area,  I’m planning on putting added storage here instead. I think this area would be best used, possibly for a nice, big pantry, along with dining ware, and possibly a recipe storage/desk area. We’ll see what the designer/planners say about the feasibility of those ideas.