Friday, July 30, 2010

Credit where credit is due

So I apologize to you, my dear readers, and I apologize to Colin. The way I wrote squares and symmetry or angles and asymmetry made it seem as if the corner stove was my idea. It was not. It was Colin's idea. I just loved it so much I would not let him consider the first option any longer.
Thanks for coming up with the best ideas honey!
Luna has gotten some bad habits from me and thinks it was her idea to take the cabinets out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Up to code...well, a whole lot closer

So far we have done several things that have brought us more in line with being up to code. The first is the fact that we have actual 4 x4s as headers and not 2 x 4s. Yay! The house, or at least the doors and windows will not fall down. The second item is that we now have a 36" door into the kitchen. Seeing how huge it is makes me feel really bad for the guy who had to get the old kenmore stove out of the tiny door.

Luna has been exploring her new doggie door. I am bad and have not yet gotten the batteries for it so it is locked. When she does not think you are looking she will walk up to it and gingerly place a paw on the flat. Won't she be surprised when she can push it open. Picture are of the old stove, the old door, and the NEW big door (if standard can be called big.)

On a side note, a friend mentioned how funny it is that all my before pictures make it seem as if my house is a complete disaster area. Which it was! But my justification for not having the before glamour shots of everything neat and tidy is because of the way the kitchen used to be. No matter how much I cleaned it would never be neat because there was no place to put anything! So everything got stacked on the counters, tables, and floors.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Best Kitchen Remodel Idea Ever

I think the thing that people dread the most about a kitchen remodel is the fact that they will have to live without a sink for a long time. I have heard horror stories of people having bruised knees from doing the dishes in the bathtub. I was dreading this, although not the bathtub part since we have a utility sink, until I came across a fabulous idea in a magazine. You simply hang your counter and sink from the ceiling. WOW! Then you can rip the counters out below. This means I can install the new floors and still have my sink. Yay! If this is confusing that's OK. A picture is worth a thousand words so here are three thousand for you:



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a few of my favorite things

Here are a couple of pictures of items that I have bought (at fantastic prices) to outfit my kitchen. Like knobs and faucets.

Knobs were $1.87 each

Faucet was $117.00

No, I am not going overboard with the copper. It just seems that way from this post. But I promise I am not. Also, the colors of the items above are the same in real life- just not in their web lives.

symmetry and squares or asymmetry and angles?

If you know me, you already know the answer to this question. But if you don't, the answer is asymmetry and angles. Orginally, we were thinking of having the stove stay in its current location. But then my love of things coming out of corners got a hold of me. I searched the interweb of others who love corner items enough to sacrfice the unusable space behind them. Here is the example of both ( thanks google images):

Corner it is!

Monday, July 26, 2010

To move the window? or not to move the window? that is the question

What is the great part about our current kitchen? The giant picture window. Measuring 47" tall and 57" wide. What is the bad part about the window? It is two inches below where a counter top would be. Darn. I tried to think of work arounds, like making a copper front for the sill to make sure things (water, crumbs, other nasties) did not fall into that little space. We want concrete counter tops and that would make that abyss even deeper. At first, we thought of settling for Formica counters and just having a weird low window. But the more we thought about it the more we hated every part of that plan. To the left is the Before window.

Instead we started discussing the idea of switching the windows in the kitchen to put the big window on the south wall and little window on the west wall. My budget was not super happy with that plan. But since my honey is an enginerd ( engineering nerd, sorry honey) he made a model of what that would look like. I hated it the minute I saw it, but he still needed to think about it. I was worried our perfectly planned kitchen of my dreams was going to become a compromise I would always despise.

Thank goodness the compromise turned out to just putting a huge amount of effort into moving the big window up a whole six inches. Not just our effort but our firends, James and Wes' efforts too. Thanks guys!

And now for the After... See how much higher it is! Like a whole half of a foot! We also spliced up some electrical to see if we would like the pendant lights I got at Restore for 30 buckaroos. Please also notice that couter is now below the sill.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Becasue the dogs are more important

Remember how I said there was no insulation? I lied. One of the modifications that was made to the house by the previous owners was a strange little external entryway that was more of a dog house attached to the front door. This little entryway shortened the patio by about four feet and added two doors that smashed on each other when you tried to open them at the same time. Needless to say. I wanted that to come out the moment I saw it. It took me almost the entire year to convince Colin what an inconvenience it was and to let me knock it out. So we began to tear it down. Not only did this dog house/ entryway have insulation it was also built like a bomb shelter. It took several days to get it torn down. I am guessing it had about 1000 screws and another 1000 nails as well as way too many 2 x 4s. The porch looks fabulous now. Much bigger and no doorways smashing together.

I should not be so mean with my title of this post because if there is anyone who thinks that their dog is their baby it is me. I love my Lunapig so much that I made sure that when we were designing the kitchen that we had a place to keep her food, treats, and leashes as well as a space on the floor where her water dish wouldn't get knocked over. We also purchased her a very expensive new dog door that locks and only opens for pets who have the "key" on their collars. (this door was partially for my sanity as we also have a raccoon problem, but that is another story for another time.)

Turns out that I thought the entry way was so ugly, that I did not take any pictures of it. Instead here is one of my dog wearing a mullet.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Because remodeling and a full time job aren't enough

I must be crazy. When I started the kitchen remodel my brain instantly started churning out all the other wonderful projects I could do to improve the house. Here is a quick list of those fantasy projects:

  • Rip up the carpet in the study (completed)

  • Add a library ladder in the study ( probably 2 years down the road)

  • Paint the shed with a wonderful floral mural based on a friend's bridal shower invitation (paint purchased)

  • Gravel the driveway (late fall when it is not 100 degrees outside)

  • Dr. Sussesian tree house for my nieces (perhaps this is a pipe dream, they are less that two years old now, so I have a few years to complete this)

  • Straw bail wall in the front instead of the ugly chain link (or cinder block, I have the idea of collecting the blocks over time from people who had a few left over from their walls-freecycle is my source for these)

  • Paint sunflowers on the mailbox

  • Repaint the bathroom in greys and a bright green

  • Build a greenhouse out of old windows ( have some windows in the shed, we already have three sheds, a carport, and a detached garage, might be one or five too many buildings on the lot)

  • Plant evergreen vines on the south fence (completed)

  • And last but not least, and really probably not the last, the string and thumbtack tree I made in the bedroom last night. Picture below.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The hidden door that did not lead to Narnia

As the plans began taking shape, 3-D cad shape, we realized we wanted to move the water heater in front of the existing front door and move the front door from the dinning room into the living room. I was thinking that french doors to the patio in front of the living room would be an excellent addition to the to the house and make things flow more smoothly. So I drew pretend french doors on the wall and started dreaming of a future front garden with a fountain and a patio swing that I could look out on from the couch. But as we all know, I Do, not plan. So the drawings lasted about a day before I went ahead and knocked down the dry wall. To my great surprise I found a door in the wall. A door exactly where I wanted a door to be. I felt oh so logical for wanting a door there. Someone else had also thought that was a good location for a door and somewhere along the line it had been covered up with a 2 x 4 wall stacked on top of a cinder block wall. Since the solstice was only a few days away I was really hoping that doorway would lead to something much more magical that my patio. Not only did the door not have any magical attributes, it also forced my hand to have a single door and not french doors. Oh well, at least it helped with the budget.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yin and Yang and the Relationship Remodel Rule

I have read a hundred million times that a remodel is a sure way to break a relationship or at least severely damage it. We are the exception. I know, I know, everyone says that in the beginning. But I really think we are the exception. Colin and I are so similar and yet so different and because of that we balance each other out nicely. He wants to go really slow and plan and plan and plan and plan. I want to DO, now! His focus is the HVAC and how things will work. My focus is everything must be pretty and made of copper. (Don't worry... I am reining myself in with the copper thing.) He is an idea producer and I am the budget enforcer. Sometimes I am lazy and my bicepts hurt and I lay on the floor while he angle grinds the ceiling out. And sometimes he lays on the sofa while I sledgehammer out a closet. You see? Yin and yang. Exempt from the relationship remodel rule.

The fall of the great dinning room wall

The one thing Colin and I knew before setting pen to paper was that the wall between the kitchen and the dinning room was going to have to come out. The big question on every ones mind was, "Is it load bearing?" Only one way to find out. We knocked down the dry wall and made a hole big enough for a head in the ceiling. The good news, the trusses were laid the right way. The bad news, no insulation. Up goes the budget. But what is the best way to get out frustration. Ripping down 2 x 4s. Luna, our dog, does not quite know what to think of construction. She wants to be in the room with us when we are destroying things but she is scared of stuff falling on her.
Amount spent so far: $800 dollars on DeWalt tools and other important items such at construction paper to protect the floors in the dinning room and plastic to seal off the dusty insanity.
Percent complete: who cares it already looks a thousand times better.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One year later

Was the kitchen the first improvement? No. With help from our amazing friends and family we painted the entire house in three days. It was desperately needed. (The picture is of the most drastic painting we did.)And then we moved in and started saving for the kitchen.

In terms of money our timing for the house could not have been more perfect. We got a super low interest rate and we got a whopping 8k check from Uncle Sam. So we did not have to save that much on our own. I set the budget at 18k and hoped we could get our dream kitchen without going over. Time for some demolition! Who needs finished plans when you have a sledgehammer. (Shhhh ... dont tell Colin.)

If you would like to see my excel budget for calculating your own remodel send me a note and I will email it to you.

P.S. The ads on the page are to help me earn some extra cash because if there is one thing everyone should know it is that kitchen remodels never come in under budget.

The beginning is not always where we expect

The beginning of our kitchen remodel began way before we had a plan or knocked down any drywall. It began with a house search.

When we began looking for a house to buy, my original parameters were: good kitchen, two bedrooms, and preferably a house with a wood stove.

I hate to admit this but I do not even remember what Colin's parameters were. I am pretty sure they included a big yard but that could just be my imagination trying to fill in the blanks.

Anyhow, we looked for about 6 months and the houses with my specifications were either tiny or way out of our $200,000 price range. (We were approved for $220,00 but we knew we could not really afford that.) One Saturday afternoon we went house hunting and decided to visit a place Colin had found on When we first approached it looked great. The neighborhood was a combinations of some nice houses and some in need of a lot of TLC. We we walked in the gate we were both hooked. In the middle of the city we had found a country paradise that consisted of a thrid of an acre with 17 mature trees, rose bushes, and fruit trees. Keep in mind that we live in the desert of New Mexico.

But then we went inside. It was a disaster area. There was stuff everywhere. Piles and books and furniture and clothes and you could hardly even see the house. The kitchen was straight from the 1960s. The countertops, all 7 linear feet of them, were yellow with fruit and veggie tiles. The stove was a cool vintage Kenmore that did not work and the space to get into the kitchen from the dinning room was so narrow that I felt it was time for me to go on a diet. But I loved the yard and I could see that it had major portenial. We walked out and I told Colin, "I am scared to tell you how much I love this house." He replied, "Only because I love it ten times more than you!" So we bought it on the condition that the first improvement would be a new kitchen.