Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Appliances Ordered!

Today was a very grown-up day for the Schwabs... we went to Grants appliances and ordered our refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher, and scheduled delivery for next Saturday! First, for those of you who live in the Chicago area, and may need to purchase any type of appliance some time (kitchen, laundry, electronics, etc.), we have to strongly recommend Grants. They have a great little store, with a huge range of options, incredibly kind, knowledgeable and helpful staff who don't come off in any way like slimy salesmen, and are willing to work with you on budget, including the fine art of bargaining (which those of you who shopped with us in Guatemala know both Dave and I take very seriously!). Anyway, we knew what we were looking for; had price compared Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, and Best Buy; had our space measurements with us; and were honest about the fact that we were needing to make a deal. And we came out spending about $1000 less than we both expected based on our research and budgeting! Woohoo! So, these may not be the exact models (for some reason I'm having a hard time finding them based on the model numbers on our paperwork, but, don't fret, I'll have photos of the *actual* appliances, installed in our kitchen next weekend!), but here's a preview of what we ordered (all by GE; note, ours do all match in their steel-like tone):

We have a unique space situation for a microwave, so we're going to research options for this a bit more before adding one to our kitchen. We haven't had a microwave for four years, so we don't actually feel like we need one, but eventually we think we'll probably get one. For now, though, we're fine without it, and are super excited for our new appliances to arrive in less than a week!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Days 5 & 6

Yesterday (Friday), dramatic progress was made in our little kitchen... but I couldn't post about it until now... my apologies for the delay (mostly to my parents). That said, it's getting exciting! The wall went up, and it's looking beautiful. Enjoy:

(looking through the new window into the kitchen)
(looking out of the kitchen through the new, wider doorway)

That's what it looked like last night... this morning, while I was busy having my eyes lasered, Danny put some more "mud" on the dry wall, smoothing things out even more. It looks great! He'll be back Monday and Tuesday, and that's it. This weekend, our plan is to remove the cabinet doors (in preparation for painting, which likely won't take place this weekend, after all), and to potentially order appliances tomorrow. Woohoo! We feel fairly confident that this first major stage in our home upgrade (Stage 2 involves the floors, which will be the next big project after we recover a bit from this one) will be done within the next two weeks. Fun!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Day 4 (Slow and Steady)

After a disappointing discovery of no progress yesterday, the truth is ANY progress would have made us happy tonight. And that's kind of what we got - and we're satisfied. After all, slow and steady wins the race, right? Anyway, while it may not seem like a big difference, actually some significant changes took place in the kitchen today. The electrician came, and reconfigured the wiring so they could finish framing out the lip-drop from the ceiling. Danny framed out the new soffit to finish the wall off from above the cabinets to the new wall in a seamless transition. He also prepared the cabinet with no side to it (used to be "sided" by the cabinet that held the double oven) to be finished with a new side (well that was cumbersome wording!). Finally, he reinforced the frame in key areas to support both the drywall that should go up in the next day or two, and the granite counter top, when it is installed. Here are some photos:

(you can see at the top there that the electrical has been rerouted and is now "hidden"; and that the lip has been built to the same height as the rest of the drop-down from the ceiling.)
(new soffit will transition smoothly from the old wall (to the right) and the new wall (perpendicular and to the left))
(cabinet will clearly have a new wall... you can tell by the new wood!)
(reinforced to support future counter tops)

(electrical has been moved into the column, and reinforced to the side of said column)
(reinforcements to new wall extension to the side of the new window)
So while it may not look like much of a dramatic change, the difference is clear to us: progress has again been made, and we're just one day closer to our beautiful new kitchen! Exciting.

More Things I Want to Make Myself

Browsing around various and sundry home/design/style/accessory/fashion sites, I'm finding myself really inspired today to do some crafty stuff for our Home Sweet Schwab. I have some crafty friends, and I'm hoping they're also feeling a need to craft so we can do it together. ED has already gotten on board (excited). Here are some of the ideas that have enlivened my creative imagination today:

(from EmersonMade)
(found on Etsy)
(Lot61, via Design Crush... While I can't make this, it is beautiful, and reminds me of the talented Zak Rose -- check him out)
That's enough for now...

Cabinet Painting, Anyone?

Saturday morning I'm having my Lasik surgery "tuned up"... having gone through this surgery once before, I know that I'll likely just want to close my eyes and sleep for a few hours after, but when I wake up and can see perfectly again, I will want to do stuff that requires use of my sharpened vision immediately (though, due to likely bloodshot eyes, not publicly)!

Since I have no kitchen progress on which to report, I have decided to research my cabinet painting plans and get myself organized to hopefully get started on that in the next few days.
(not my hairy arms... or Dave's...)

eHow has a very simple step-by-step that basically confirmed what I thought already. I need to get myself (before Lasik) to a hardware/paint store and purchase:

  1. fine and medium grain sandpaper
  2. wood primer
  3. disposable foam brushes
  4. small paint roller or brushes (I can probably do this with brushes only... right?)
  5. paint!
After sanding (ew, I do not enjoy sanding), I'll have to prime the cabinets. Home Depot had some good information, and I think this primer should do the trick. Maybe I'll prime Saturday night and paint Sunday?

Okay... so paint color. As I said, I'm leaning toward white-white. There are clearly lots of paint options, so I'll consult with the pros at whichever store I visit to find the right interior wood paint in a pretty bright, clean, crisp white. Gloss vs. flat? I don't even know which I should want! Probably not gloss... right?

Now that I'm thinking about this actively though, I'm worried that I need the junkyard in the second bedroom cleared out before I start -- as that might be the only logical place to do the painting and be able to keep Lanie and her fur out of the way. Whether this happens this weekend or next, I'm excited to get started. Anyone who wants to participate/help is invited... I'll provide treats as payment.

I'll obviously also need white painter's overalls and a bandanna.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Surprise! No surprise.

This evening we came home, and stepped off the elevator on our floor filled with anxious anticipation. We arrived at our door, Dave turned the key, I made my now-daily "I'm scared" proclamation, and we went inside. Dave rounded the corner toward the kitchen first, and stopped, with a curious look on his face that only increased the "I'm scared" sensation in my mind... "What?! What is it?" I asked nervously. "It's nothing," he said. "He didn't do anything." Yep. Surprise! There's nothing to report. Apparently the electrician was supposed to come today, but couldn't, and Danny-the-contractor decided there was nothing he could do in the meantime (I beg to differ), so he decided not to come, and declined to let us know. Odd. But, whatever. We already spoke with him, and he and the electrician are scheduled to come tomorrow. We shall see. In the meantime, read my post from earlier and help me pick out some knobs! Thanks in advance! Now... who doesn't want a dinner of cold pizza and salad?

Requesting Design Input for the Revamped Kitchen

Now that the kitchen is slowly but surely coming into shape, I'm finding that I have a revved up need to figure out what it will all look like after the construction is all said and done. The contractor is doing the wall/window, and removing and residing some cabinets; we'll have the appliances delivered and installed; and Stone City is installing the new counter tops and sink. That leaves us with the tasks of painting and accenting. So, I'm soliciting input on colors, etc.

With regard to paint, I'm thinking we should pull from the flecks of color in the back splash tiles. Maybe a mushroom-y brown? Maybe a toned down terra cotta reddish? Maybe a slate blue? Less enthused about the slate blue idea.

I'm planning to paint the cabinets white-white, and then replace the old hardware with something fresh... a "pop" of some sort. Here are a couple I like:
(World Market: also in dark blue, ivory, dark green)
(World Market: also in ivory, dark green)



So many choices! Any thoughts? Any other ideas? Any and all suggestions and comments are welcomed! Please chime in!

And then we have to replace that tiny ceiling fan/light...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Day 2

Much better feeling upon arrival home this evening! We now can see the outline of what our kitchen will eventually look like! Danny put the frame up for the wall/window/breakfast bar/pass-through/portal and the new ceiling "lip" (essentially the top of the wall that serves as the frame for the wider opening where we used to have a door, and the top edge of the window/pass-through (etc.) area), which will run flush with the soffit that comes down from the ceiling in the rest of the room to meet the top of the cabinets. While it doesn't yet look like much, it does look like something! And I believe that unlike last night, tonight I will sleep peacefully (except for those dang 50mph wind gusts! oh, Chicago!). Anyway, check it out:

(you can see the old soffit extended out further-to where the double-oven cabinet reached- now it will be flush with what's there and the top of the window area on the new wall space facing the dining/living areas)
(window/pass-through/possible breakfast bar/portal to another dimension)

I imagine that tomorrow we'll come home to even more dramatic progress. And hopefully that last remaining cabinet will be gone so we can get the final measurements we need to place the appliance order. In not too long we'll have not only a wall/window (etc.), but also a shiny new oven, dish washer, microwave, and refrigerator! And then shelves! And then painting! And then new hardware! And maybe even a normal sized ceiling fan! Okay, maybe I shouldn't get ahead of myself, but this outline looks pretty darn good, and I'm just going with it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Day 1

Day 1 down! Anxiety... up!

We came home late this evening (no kitchen = dinner at the in-laws) to NO WALL!

The whole cabinet unit that used to hold the double oven is also gone:

(now space can double as a storage corner)
The cabinet above the refrigerator is gone:

(quarantined pantry area)
And structures containing electrical and old telephone wiring are just hanging out:

(artsy floor angle)

Lanie just doesn't know what to make of all of this...

(also, she has developed crazy eyes!)
The space looks so much bigger, which is cool. But I think we are a little caught off-guard by how scary empty space can be. Contractor returns tomorrow... hopefully we'll come home to some sort of wall/window pass-through, which will obviously assuage much anxiety and fill in some question mark bubbles that are currently hovering gently over our heads. No bare feet in this house for a while, though you'll note how neat and tidy he left everything! Impressive...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Day 1-Eve

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Change! Our contractor, Danny, will arrive at 8:30 in the morning... I'll be long gone by the time he shows up, and by the time I get home, everything will look completely different! To help speed up the process and save some funds, we elected to do some of the first steps ourselves. This involved a) cleaning the counter (for removal) and emptying all the to-be-removed cabinets; b) uninstalling and removing all appliances besides refrigerator; and c) removing the existing counter tops. I took care of "a" first thing this morning. We were joined by our good friends, Em, Z, Robyn and Dori for parts "b" and "c" in the latter half of the day. The gentlemen took care of the actual labor... while we ladies photographed the process and design-planned the front hall, bathrooms, and living room. When all was said and done, the kitchen transformed from a functional but out-of-date room, to a shell, which is not as terrifying as I expected it would be. In fact, the shell only makes me giddy with thrill and anticipation... REAL CHANGE IS TRULY UPON US!
Step 1: Remove double oven from wall unit (a 3-man job!)

Step 2: Disassemble plumbing; get sprayed with copper-infused pipe water; remove stovetop, counters and oven hood and move on... 

Once an office/guest room... now a junk yard:


Voila! A shell of a kitchen!
Shell of a kitchen = Promise

collateral damage... we can fix this!
Thanks, friends. We really couldn't do this without you.