Sunday, September 13, 2009

Almost Finished -- At Last!

Even though I hoped the kitchen would be completely finished by Saturday's end, it isn't. But it's dang close!

Friday after school, Corey, Jared (one of our friends), and I picked up my appliances from Sears and took them home. What a comical silent movie that would have been. I had Corey drive around to the back of my house, via the walking trail, where we could just take the appliances through my new 6-foot sliding door. For construction purposes, Wayne has laid a plank on top of a dirt pile and a step ladder, leading into the kitchen. I laid another plank going up the dirt pile. So, Corey pulled each appliance up the planks (with the dolly we borrowed from Sears), while Jared pushed. This method worked great with the relatively lightweight dishwasher. The medium-weight stove required a bit more pushing, and the huge refrigerator created several problems.

First of all, Corey strapped the fridge to the appliance dolly while it was still in the truck, then Jared and I lowered it to the ground with Corey holding it back from crashing. The planks leading into the kitchen are not the thickest, sturdiest pieces of board, so we all jumped on them to see if they could hold the fridge's weight. Hopefully, the neighbors were all watching! Anyway, long story short . . . Corey and Jared pulled and pushed the monster up the plank, only to discover it wouldn't go through the door, so back down the plank it went. Corey took off the sliding door, and they tried again. It still wouldn't fit, -- a mere 1/2" too wide. Intead of going back down, Corey just wanted to take off the fridge doors off. Jared, however, had to leave to get CV's football field ready for that night's game, so Corey and I decided to wait until after the game when Kevin would be there help.

In the meantime, perhaps you're wondering where Wayne, the faithful contractor, was during all this. Well, so were we! You have to realize that once he finally began my kitchen project, he had something happening here every day. And he was the one who scheduled the appliance pick up after school, but he didn't show up. I called and called his cell phone, but he didn't answer and he didn't call me either. I was really worried -- what if he had absconded with my latest cash draft? -- until Corey listened to the operator's message on Wayne's phone that said it "had been disconnected and was not longer in service." When I came home after the game, Kevin told me Wayne had stopped by, seen the fridge stuck in the slider, and promised to return first thing Saturday morning. He had lost his phone at CV's gulf tournament in St. George on Thursday.
(And, you all have to know he would never take my money and run! That's how rumors are started!)

Anyway, Corey and Kevin finally worked the fridge into the house Friday night, and we agreed that we didn't want to do anything else until Saturday morning. Saturday was a busy day. Kevin and Wayne installed the microwave; Corey and Kevin hooked up the stove, and Wayne installed the water line to the fridge and had it cooling down quickly. Audree, the kids, and I went to Home Depot to pick up a new sink faucet, a little handy gadget that will allow me to turn my garbage disposal on at the sink, and all new outlets, switches, and plate covers.

When I came home from school on Friday, I was shocked to discover that the electrician had installed UGLY  ivory outlets and switches. I realized that, even though I had left a note telling him which fixtures I wanted and had attached the note to my sample switch cover, I had used the word IVORY, and that's exactly the color he used. They were awful and were NOT the color I had wanted. When we went to Home Depot, I discovered that the color I wanted was not ivory but light almond. After the appliances were installed, Kevin taught Julie and I how to change out the outlets and switches. Thank heavens he shut off the power to the kitchen! Now I'm very happy with the electricals.

This morning Kevin raised the two ceiling fans which the electrician had hung from 3" extension rods. Now the fans are closer to the ceiling and don't look as gigantic as they did before.

When I began this project, I told Wayne that I didn't want to impose on my children so he needed to have workers here to do everything. But then I realized I needed/wanted more lights, more drawers, more other little things not included in the budget, and I needed to provide quite a bit of the labor. My kids have willingly pitched in and done everything we needed them to, and they have never complained. Kevin spent his week's vacation down here, and he returned this weekend to help. Corey, Audree, and Julie have painted, hauled, advised, and done electrical work. Brook and Porter have helped me carry things from the car and garage into the kitchen, have emptied trash, and have taken care of themselve while everyone else was too busy to play with them. Jason and Rachel have cheered us on from Salt Lake and wished they could be here to help. I realized yesterday that, with all of us working together on my kitchen, my house is indeed becoming the "family home," the place they'll think of when they think of as home.

Tomorrow:  Cabinets will be finished (if drawer pulls and knobs came in on Friday). Electrician will finish installing outside lights, two more lights in the kitchen, and hopefully the phone connection under the desk. Plumber will hook up the water to the sink and dishwasher and install the dishwasher and garbage disposal.

Sometime next week, Wayne will do the remaining trim work.  I think I can say that the kitchen will be finished by next weekend -- I hope!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Help Me Choose!

Okay, the electrician returns Wednesday or Thursday to finish up. Now I need to decide what color outlets and switches to use -- chocolate brown or ivory. As you can see, the chocolate brings out the colors in the counter very nicely. On the other hand, the ivory is more neutral. Neither blends invisibly into the wall, so they'll both be fairly visible. Another factor is that the drawer pulls and door handles have a blackish, burnt ironized finish, so they're quite dark.

Please let me know what you think by taking the poll off to the right. Just think, you get to have a small say in finishing my kitchen! And thanks!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's Almost Finished!

Even though it's Labor Day weekend, workers still showed up to work on my house. I really shouldn't refer to Wayne, my contractor, as a worker, but he sure did put in a long, hard day's work.

As you can see, I have counter tops, doors, and drawer faces, but no handles and knobs yet. Those will be installed Tuesday or Wednesday.

The counter is a granite-like laminate. I've had nightmares for weeks, worrying if this laminate would look okay -- and it looks great! As you can see, the cabinet maker added a little strip of wood trim which steps up the quality and class of my counter.
Wayne and his friend Vance (again not just another worker!) spent the day installing half the floor, a medium-colored cherry laminate flooring. Neither one had installed this kind of floor before and they had to do a lot more cutting and trimming than they had planned to, so progress was slow for a while. As I have for this entire project, I enjoyed listening to them figure out how they were going to get the job done. When I watch home improvement shows on TV now, I appreciate the technical skills that go into their projects.
I read in a design magazine before we began working on my kitchen that the floor should be one shade darker than the cabinets. Hopefully you can tell that my floor follows that strategy. Vance and Wayne tell me that it looks great, which makes me feel good because they've been doing this building thing for a long time and know what they're talking about.
On the schedule for next week:
Monday & Tuesday: Ron will install cabinet knobs and handles and finish installing doors and appliance garage
Tuesday & Wednesday: lumber will come to install sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator, and connect water
Thursday & Friday: Electrician will install stove & microwave, as well as all my fixtures. He also needs to run wiring on the back of the bar for those outlets and run wiring for a phone jack under the desk and wiring for new lighting in the bathrooms. My son Kevin will come from Vernal to install those lights for me.
Friday: Ron returns one last time to install four pull out drawers. I evidently didn't clarify that I wanted pull out drawers on all the base cabinets, so I'll pay a little extra for those but they'll be worth it in the long run.
Saturday: Start putting things away!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Look! Cabinets!

Finally, the cabinets are getting installed. Against the far side is a desk, 2 file drawers, open shelves, and storage above. Above the desk are 2 cupboards with shelves and slots for all my junk mail. In the corner on the left side is a broom closet and a pantry. Notice on the front left, I have great storage for my cookie sheets and other baking pans.

Looking toward the window, you can see where my stove will go, a nice bank of drawers, the spot for a lazy Susan, and my sink cupboard. Look at all those cupboards above! And check out the attractive bridge over the window. No dishwasher yet, but soon. Since someone miscalculated, my sink cupboard is not centered exactly under the window, making the bottom cabinet jut out past the upper cabinet. The cabinet maker is going to install some rounded shelves on the upper cupboard to even out that space--no charge! Can you see all the outlets I asked for? Pretty smart, huh, Mom! Oh, yes, an appliance garage goes in the corner above the lazy Susan.

And last, but not least, my 8-foot bar. I can't wait to use all this counter space--don't know how or for what, but it will be fun! The bar behind the counter is raised about 6 inches, hopefully to block out any mess (never any mess!) from the living room. Four deep drawers will store plates, bowls, and pans. I'm not sure what goes on the middle pull-out shelves. In fact, I'm not sure how I'll fill all these cupboards. More Pampered Chef parties?!
You can also see that we've painted. Corey, Audree, Julie, and I painted last weekend. I loved the green and tan combination from before, so I kept the same color scheme--tan on living room and dining room walls and light sage green all around the kitchen. Unfortunately, the flooring store did not order my floor, so Wayne (contractor) will install that this weekend. Corey is the floor-laying expert, but he'll be in Vernal for Labor Day. Hopefully, the following weekend, I'll have pictures of the completely finished kitchen. Keep your fngers crossed!