The Kitchen

We always knew the kitchen would be our favorite room.  From the moment we decided to buy the house we planned windows and doors across the back leading onto a small deck.  It was going to be light and airy.  It was going to have good appliances, lots of cabinet space and an island with enough room for two people to work in at the same time.  As the renovation dragged on and our spirits were down we clung to the idea of our kitchen to get us through.  It did not disappoint.  It is perfect, or it will be.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a struggle.  It always is.  For instance, when the cabinet designer ordered the cabinets she put in measurements for the built-in refrigerator, they were down to the millimeter.  This meant that when we pushed the fridge into place (and by we I mean my husband and I, not the contractors–don’t ask) the plug was in the way.  For built-ins the plug needs to go on the upper right hand of the wall so it had to be moved.  Then the height and balance of the fridge had to be adjusted so it aligned just right with the cabinets.

fridge outThen while we were shimmying it in one of the wheel pieces broke.  It was still under warranty (story of the appliances to come) so we called Sub-Zero and described the broken piece and they said they would over night us the parts.  We also called their local service specialist who sent out two guys to look at it, then they said they need to order parts which would take up to 10 days and then we’d have to schedule the guys to come back.  We told them we had the parts on the way but nope they needed their parts.  So we did what any desperate renovators who need a kitchen and are extremely handy would do–fixed it ourselves.  Well, my husband.  He got three cheers from the peanut gallery when he was done.

fridgeWe finally were able to get the fridge far back enough with minimal damage to the wood floors.  It is seriously an exact fit.  The cabinet door on the right has about 2 millimeters of space for it to clear.

The counters went in effortlessly.  Thank you, Empire Cabinet & Marble.  We were able to pick out our own slab.  They called us to tell us that they received five very nice white carrera marble slabs and that we should come ASAP to pick one.  It was the easiest choice we made in the whole project.  We liked the big veins in the first slab we saw.  They came out to measure and our counters cut in three days.  Everything correct.  Easy Peasy.  Great service (ask for Anna).


Ta da!  We still have to tile the back splash and install the under cabinet lights.  The deck is still unfinished but the kitchen is completely usable.  There are of course flaws but ones that we can live with.  We will post complete befores and afters with details later when we have unpacked and all the fixtures are completely in.


Next up, the back patio that has to be dug up and repaved (not in the original bid and sprung on us mid-project).  Also, all the high tank, aka old-timey, toilet saga.  I knew that thing was going to be a pain in the…

Plumbing and Bathrooms


When we first moved in we had no hot water, no kitchen and no bathroom faucets.  We were able to take a cold shower in the disgusting tub on the third floor and use bottled water to brush our teeth and spit in the toilet of our new bathrooms.  It was like camping but without all the nature and fun.  At least we weren’t paying a mortgage and rent.


Bathrooms and Plumbing

The plumber came and hooked up our bathroom faucets.  We still had no hot water but at least we could brush our teeth. The bathrooms are frustrating because the tile work still needs to be addressed before we can truly consider them finished and install the shower doors.

If you recall the weird inch left by the previous contractor, the newly done tiles in the master bath are less than perfect.  There needs to be some re-grouting in areas and the corner has tiles that are rough and chipped.  The faucet was put in crooked and the pipe appears to be too long for the fixture.  But that will be for another day.

In the meantime feast your eyes on our new Ikea cabinet drawer organization.

sink organizer

While Ikea may not be the leader in quality (bahahaha), it has great organizational accessories that fit perfectly into its products.  We picked the Godmorgon/Odensvik sink cabinets mainly because it fit two sinks in the width we needed.  It also has a nice modern design and they are fairly inexpensive.  We figured they can be easily replaced with higher-end cabinets at a later date if they fall apart.

Week 3 – plumber comes back

When the plumber came back to fix the faucets he also tried to hook up the shower in the smaller bathroom.  They could not get the water to come out of the shower fixtures so they had to go in through the small bedroom and cut the wall.  This was heart breaking because it was the only room in the house totally finished and able to be completely unpacked. He cut a hole in the closet wall and told us the rough-in for the shower was damaged and that we had to order a new one.  Nice.  It took us weeks to get that one.

hole in closet

Update to earlier this week, plumbers come back again (not the same guys) and install the new rough-in but it still doesn’t work.  This guy thinks it is the fixture.   I read the instructions (I don’t think he could read English) and suggest taking out the rubber stopper.  He plays around with it and gets it to work (I find the rubber stopper on the sink afterwards).  The only problem, the fixture is upside down with the bolt facing up.  He assures me that is the only way it will install.  I mention we have almost the exact same fixture in the master bath and it faces down.  He assures me again, this is the only way that will work.  Sigh.  At least it works.

trim upside down

6 Tips for Contractors


To All Contractors Everywhere:

1.       If you make a mess, clean it up.  If you leave drywall dust, electrical wires or little metal fastenings, pick them up after you are done.  I am not your maid.

2.       If a new appliance, cabinet or fixture has protective plastic on it.  Leave it.  It is not up to you to remove.  You may want the Ahhh effect of the owner who sees a room complete but if they are unhappy with something and you have to do more work, they won’t be happy when their tub is scratched.

3.       Provide you and your workers (in a full reno) with toilet paper and cleaning supplies unless the contract specifies that these things will be provided for you.

4.       Don’t use the owner’s tools, ladders or supplies.  The contract assumes that you will provide these things for you and your workers.

5.       Don’t smoke in my home.  It may not be a home yet but it is not allowed by me or by the DOB.  If you do, don’t be stupid enough to leave butts around or better yet set the architectural plans on fire.

6.       MOST IMPORTANT:  throw your trash in the garbage.  I know you like a Red Bull or a big can of ice tea in the middle of the day but I don’t want your cans and pizza boxes hanging around at the end of the day to attract bugs and rodents.  You’ve helped yourself to my box of contractor bags, use them.