Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kitchen Inspiration

I finally found the magazine tear-outs that were the inspiration for my kitchen, so as promised, I'm posting them here. These came from a random "Kitchen & Baths" special publication from Womans Day - I don't even know the year, but most likely it was 2004, when I started tearing up the house.

What I liked about this kitchen was that it incorporated a cute 50s style with my favorite colors - red, yellow, & green and some collections, without being overly kitschy and loud - which apparently is very easy to do with a 50s theme.

I continue to tear out pictures of kitchens I like from magazines, but this one, by far, is still my favorite. Did I do a good job of imitating it?

My walls are still pretty bare. I'd like to find some of those fruit & veggie type-things to put up at the top, and I'm still in search of some advertising posters or tin signs to hang up. This is inspiring me to go do an eBay search this afternoon.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Closing Complete!

We're now the proud owners of a brand spanking new 30-year fixed mortgage! The closing was fantastic - we just had to send in a power of attorney form and then we had a web meeting. So we completed the process in 20 minutes while sitting at our own kitchen table. No additional forms to sign. I love technology.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Intermediate Kitchen

I never really thought that my kitchen plans were for the long term. I moved into the house with a limited budget. I don't remember anymore exactly how much it was, but I do remember thinking it was a lot and being surprised at how fast it got spent. Like most rooms in the house, I thought the kitchen was going to be easy - I'd paint a few things, sand the floors, and I'd be good. At least until I had the money to do something fantastic.

I had a picture from a magazine that I really liked and wanted to replicate. I'll have to find it and scan it so you can see what I was going for.

The Keepers:
With the limited budget, I decided to keep the cabinets. They were probably put in sometime in the 50s. They're pretty decent, but they have a wierd layout. There's spaces without doors, doors that are smaller than the spaces, and there was a "peninsula" sticking out between the kitchen and the fridge area. That peninsula was awkward, so I tore it out. Typical of cabinets from the time, the doors are flat, with no molding or relief. That made them easy to paint, but it's not my favorite style. For now, I put new hardware on them and called it good enough.

The sink was big with two deep porcelain bowls. I kinda like it. Plus, keeping that made plumbing a lot easier.

The ceiling had some cool molding work on it, so of course I kept that.

The Changes:
Well, the wallpaper came off easily (and I wouldn't realize how nice that was until later wallpaper removal projects took muliple days, hot water, fabric softener & razor blades)

I considered just painting the wood paneling white (I did this in my JP apartment), but opted to install beadboard-type stuff instead. It's not real beadboard, but it's this "Cape Cod" stuff made from MDF or something that I picked up at Homer. I think it's about 7" wide and about 1/4" thick. I needed something thin because for some reason, all the moulding in the house is flush or almost flush with the walls. I still need to put up baseboards on top of the beadboard, but there is a big slope from one side of the kitchen to the other, and I haven't quite figured out how to deal with that.

The old stove was stuck to the floor in it's own greasy filth. We had to use a crow bar to un-stick it.

There were multiple layers of flooring, and once they were all removed, the floor guys told me that the wood wouldn't sand up nice. I was pretty bummed out about that, but I think the new wood they put down looked good. Unfortunately I didn't get the radiators out of the way, so the flooring is all cut up around them. Pretty. If I ever make radiator covers, it will be hidden.

For the countertops, I looked around quite a bit to find a suitable and affordable option. The original countertop was really just wallpaper on one side and the ever useful wood paneling on the other - hey, it's kinda like butcher block... kinda. The countertop turned out to be too long to put in anything stock. I did some searching around on the internet, and somehow came across the idea of using granite tile. We were going to do the tiling ourselves, but we had to have some edging done and the sink hole cut out, and I guess the tilers must have given me a good price for the install. Unfortuntately, those little thieves put a broken tile down and covered it with tape. Fortunately, I cancelled the check and called them back to fix it.

Several months after the majority of the work was done, my parents came out and helped me tile the backsplash. We used high gloss subway tiles from DalTile.

Odds & Ends Adds:
Jim gave me the lights from Rejuvenation as a birthday present.

The "new" stove (which is actually a pretty old stove)was Jim's that he rescued from some lady's dumpster or something - I don't remember it's full story, but he had been dragging it around for several years from apartment to apartment. He was happy to give it a home, and I was happy to get rid of the filthy one.

The previous owner took her fridge with her. I wanted something cute and vintage looking, so I searched all over locally, but ended up finding something on eBay in Wisconsin, I think. The fridge was like $300, and the shipping was $500. I realize that's a ridiculous amount to spend on something that's old, probably inefficient, and small... but form over function in this case, I guess.

The kitchen table and chairs were a Christmas present from Jim - I believe I carried them from my JP apartment.

blah! this was a long project and I'm boring myself trying to explain it!
Just look at the pictures...

The kitchen works for now, but there are things I hate about it. I've worked with Stacey to try and come up with a new floor plan, and I dream about having more modern cabinets... and then there's the mudroom I wish was between the kitchen and outside. One day.

But for now, it makes me feel better to see the "old" pictures and know that it does look better.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Look Back

I'm still new to this... so bear with me as I try to put in a slide show. Since there's not a ton going on until the weather warms up significantly, I thought I'd start documenting what's gone on before... So I'm starting with some picutes I took back in 2003 when I did my walk-through. I didn't know it at the time, but there had already been several open houses with only one low ball offer. I was so giddy during the walk through that the selling agent was probably already counting his money. Why would I be so giddy, you might ask as you look at this slide show??? It was just what I wanted - I wanted out of apartments and into something that could be my own project. And the price was right. And how could I resist all that moulding? And of course, I really had no idea how big the project was going to be...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Follow Ups

Ta da! So here it is - this is the picture of warmth, ladies and gentlemen! Gather yourselves around because this is the first time in many months that the kitchen has been above 70 degrees! No longer do I have to do my homework bundled in thermals, sweatshirts, and wool socks while sitting on my hands... no no no! Now I can sit comfortably warm in front of the fire (or really anywhere in the house) It's a miracle!

And just in time, as the latest oil fillup was at an all-time high of $3.69 per gallon. We're still working out a few of the bugs, like what settings to leave it on during the day to minimize the pellet usage while keeping the house a reasonable setting when we're gone. We've been using about 1.5 bags per day. Most people say to not bother trying to use the thermostat. We might try it... maybe.

Second followup is on the house appraisal... it came in right at my estimate. I think the appraiser was being nice. Anyway, the refinancing continues on track.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

In the Nick of Time

So, while I was at school Monday night, Jim constructed the hearth frame. Then while I was at school Tuesday night, Jim & his friends Adam & John laid the tiles out and cut them. Then yesterday, Jim got out of work early and started tiling. I helped him finish grouting late last night. But giant kudos to him for doing it all! I'm now working from home today waiting for the contractors to come to install the stove. Here's the pictures.