Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Close, but no cigar

I know it's been a few days since I've posted, but we are at a point now where the big stuff isn't happening so much and the lots of little things that are happening aren't very exciting to look at (yay! quarter round!). I used my oven again tonight, and yesterday I made pasta on the new induction cooktop. Everything went well--I did have to play with the controls a bit once the pasta was in the boiling water, but it cooked quickly and no boil overs. Also tried out the new vent/hood; it sucked the steam out well and miracle of miracles, my cabinets didn't look like they were sweating.

Today the crew was hoping to be finished, but alas it was not to be. I think tomorrow will have them 99.8% done; all they have left is a little bit of paint touch up, trim around the windows inside and out, crown molding for the snack station,a vent cover,  and thresholds for all four doorways. The .2 % that will necessitate a return trip? New oil rubbed bronze sash locks and cranks for the casement windows, and finishing up with the fridge panels, one of which needs to be remade and will arrive Monday with Kevin. Kevin will be spending Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning finishing up his detail work---paint touch-ups, sticky doors, installing some knobs and shelves and soft-close mechanisms and the like. So hopefully by Tuesday afternoon, we will be completely finished!

Now on to something momentous that did happen today---the top of the snack station arrived, and it is big and beautiful! C is in love with the copper panels:
Pocket door on left is where microwave will go, pocket door on right will be installed later

Door up, waiting for microwave

Wooden cover for trash hole

I think we are going to put up of those touch lights on the ceiling of the trash chute cubby, as it is pretty dark and difficult to see where to butter your waffle. We are also thinking about putting a toaster in there for said waffles, bagels, etc---with their own fridge/freezer drawers too, the kids should be all set for breakfasts and snacks!

Not as pretty to look at but certainly important--the insulation was put up in the basement today and now our radiant floor heat should be ready for a trial run. Today was too warm, but this weekend we are expecting highs in only the low 50s, so I'm sure C will be wanting to crank that baby up!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rounding third

We appear to be coming into the home stretch now; I believe we will be finished with all contracting work by next Friday, if not one or two days before. Kevin is also coming up next week to bring the top of the snack station, shelves, and a few doors and drawer fronts; he also plans on spending a full day doing paint touch-ups and door/drawer checks to make sure everything is aligned properly after installation. Considering our lop-sided room, I'm sure he has a long day ahead.....

This weekend C and I will be inspecting nooks and crannies for anything we want touched up or fixed by the crew. They really have done a great job, though, so I don't expect the list to be too long. In quite a few cases (um, the unsupported ceiling?) Gordon and Butch have noticed (and told us about) things that were possibly dangerous, or weren't going to work for some reason, or should be changed. They even told us our car registrations were overdue! So they've been pretty on top of everything.

Yesterday the hood installation was completed, and we also got windows:

Hood has two-speed fan and lights--high speed is LOUD and powerful, but low speed is quiet enough you could hold a conversation

New window, no casing or trim yet

New window over sink
There is a slight issue with the windows. We had originally ordered windows with a primed wood on the interior. This is not what was delivered. Apparently, these were discontinued in favor of a wood wrapped with a paintable vinyl. We experimented today, and with the coat of trim paint, they are almost indistinguishable from a painted wood. However, I am not a fan of the plastic handle casing, and the fact remains this is not what we ordered.  An unfinished wood window is available, which we would have to prime and paint; it is also more money, and should we decide to switch out the windows, it could be 4-6 weeks until we receive them. Casing and trim would still be installed around the current windows to give us a finished look, but the crew would have to return for a day, take everything out, and reinstall everything again---kind of a pain. We have to decide if it is worth it, when frankly no one except us will know what the window is made of under the paint....

Today was a crown molding/quarter round day, and for those of you concerned the laundry room wasn't getting any love, it now has a first coat of paint. I'd hoped one coat would do it, but once it dried it became clear it needs two. The fact is, painting this room is like putting eye shadow on an alligator; there is wall paper under the old yellow paint, and it is starting to bubble up and loosen. New paint is really a stopgap measure, but I do want it to look as nice as possible until it completely falls apart. In the end, it is just a laundry room, and bonus---it has a door!

We're thinking of adding some open shelving on this wall, or maybe some fun art?

Hood with impressive crown

Oven cabinet with smaller crown--getting the oven cabinet and hood to work together on this was difficult!

Our new flue cover--we think he's fun!
Oh--I did a load of dishes in the new dishwasher! Just a small load, so I used the express function and only half a tab of detergent. Worked like a charm, sparkling clean.

Have a great weekend! :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little details and, massive hoods

Ugh. Still fighting this cough/throat thing, as are the crew--today Gordon was here alone all morning because Butch was home recuperating. Reinforcements did arrive in the afternoon, however, and much progress was made.

Yesterday was all about the dishwasher and the decorative furniture-style toekick trim. This trim had to be completely reworked and remeasured by Kevin back when we discovered the floor was still off by 2" on two walls, but as you can see you'd never really know what a pain this all was without me telling you! The dishwasher looks terrific with its integrated panel, and I'm sure will confuse visitors to our home for many delightful years to come:

Dishwasher? What dishwasher? I don't see a dishwasher in this kitchen....

Oh look---there it is! Tricksy dishwasher!
C may have some adjusting to do with all these panelled appliances, as he has told me before he doesn't like things that pretend to be something else. For example,  one large plain panel on the dishwasher that just looks like a door would not bug him, but this one is pretending to be not only a cabinet with a door, but also a drawer. Just letting you know up front, sweets, this "issue" will not get you out of some dishwasher duty, 'kay?

Toekick trim on cooktop run

Trim on sink run--by the way, cabinet on other side of sink is trash pullout

Little trim next to fridge
 Today Gordon and his new assistants got to work on the copper backsplash and the hood cabinets. Sorry the copper does not translate too well in these photos, I couldn't get rid of the glare. I did not realize until these cabinets went up just how big they really are; I have never owned a home with a real vent before (just over-the-range microwaves or built-in downdraft systems) so I don't think I had a good idea of what it be like to have one hanging off the wall. And this is not a large vent by any means, just 30"; I had originally been planning for 36", and I know people who have ones as wide as 42"! I think it is because the new cabinets are so deep that I feel such a big change. The old kitchen had cabinets over the cooktop, but they were shallow skinny things. These feel like they are reaching out to hug me (I choose to think positively in this regard):

See? Big, right? Look how teeny my window looks by comparison.

Another view. The center cabinet will hold the vent, but the two side cabinets are usable.
Frankly, as long as this thing sucks bacon smells and pasta water steam out of my house, it will be awesome---and I'm sure we will all quickly get used to cooking in a cocoon of cabinet love.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kitchen is chillin', people are illin'....

Good news---Mr. R is finally up on his feet and back to school! Unfortunately, I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and a cough. I'm not the only one---our GC and our crew foreman are also out sick, though they seem much sicker than I. Butch was here today working solo, but  he was coughing all day too. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Sunday I cooked the kids a frozen pizza and breadsticks in the new oven! Luckily I had read about issues with bad plasticky smells the first time a new oven is turned on, so I ran both ovens for about 40 minutes earlier in the day to burn off whatever creates that terrible odor. The house reeked! At least it was a nice day and I could open some windows. I used Pizza mode in the convection oven, and aside from taking 2 minutes longer that the box stated, it turned out wonderfully, nice and crispy on the bottom and melty on top. I chalked up the extra time to 1) I put foil on the rack under the pizza rack to catch any drips and 2) I had to open the oven 3 minutes in to add the breadsticks.

Progress today:
Towson Gantry faucet

So glad we raised the ceiling so the faucet and light don't have to fight!

Panels on the Kitchen Aid  fridge/freezer drawers
 These posed a slight conundrum today. We had intended to use the same knobs, but I realized the only place to put them so they looked good was in the middle of the thinner middle panel (in line with the door knobs). I quickly decided this was a bad idea; these drawers will be full and heavy, and also used mostly by the children. A handle would work much better. So this morning I was scouring the net for a simple bronze handle to complement the existing knobs. I found this, and think it is the best contender:
Bow handle from Van Dyke's Restorers
It's 8" long and seems good and sturdy for those boys, plus we can mount it on the thicker frame edge of each drawer.

Finally, today was chilly and rainy; I looked out the window and saw this little guy, seemingly unaware that it was pretty I had to take a picture!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Soapstone Has Landed

What a day. Our countertops and sink arrived today and they were more impressive and gorgeous than we dared to hope. Scott and Doug at Bucks County Soapstone treated us very well, paying attention to the kind of slabs we wanted and then laying it all out to show off the best parts. Installation was amazingly smooth and just beautiful--you have to really stare to find a seam. There isn't much more to say---I'll just let the pictures do the talking!

On the truck
Our stone and sink

Smoothing and buffing
Unoiled snack station--see the trash hole in back right corner

Oiled snack station--oiling really brings out the veins!

Unoiled section by fridge

Same section, oiled

Unoiled by cooktop

Oiled, with cooktop in place

Unoiled drainboard and runnels

Same as above, oiled

Sink with drainboards, unoiled

Interior of oiled sink, check out those flecks of pyrite!

With 2" backsplash--we even got a little copper color by the window

Awesome green and white vein

Looks like a little piece of sea glass got trapped in our counter

Whole kitchen slathered in oil
So happy to have counters again! I know I will probably be babying them for a while, but I also know they will get their first ding or scratch before I can say Boo! We're okay with that---we use our kitchen, make stuff, bake stuff, drop stuff....I'm sure it will look completely broken in in no time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's Catch Up!

Sorry it has been so long. A combination of vacation, sick child, and not much visual going on conspired to take me away from the blog for a few days, but now I am back!

First up: the copper is finally here! Thanks so much to Marbleized Copper for persevering through the UPS Conspiracy of 2010. Another cheer to FedEx for coming through on a pain-free delivery. So here it is:


One of a kind!
Next on the agenda: appliances are starting to go in. Today our double oven (Bosch 500 series, convection in upper oven) went in, and also our fridge (Thermador Freedom 36" French Door). The panels are not on the fridge so it looks a bit funny, but it seems to be working great.

Sorry about the fingerprints!
Like I said, it looks funny.

Inside the fridge; the top shelf moves up and down at the touch of a button.

Freezer---I just checked it again and we have ice!
Third, I'd like to show you some of the stuff inside our cabinets, like the peanut-shaped things in our blind corner cabinets and the pullout trays in the pantry. Hopefully these gizmos will help with organization and also reduce the number of times I say "Oh wow, I didn't know we had three cans of artichokes back there that expired 2 years ago."
Pantry roll outs.

Peanut gizmo--there's one below as well.

New larger cabinet with peanut thingy and sectioned cookie sheet/cutting board storage.
Tomorrow is a very exciting day--the countertops and sink are being installed. I'll be sure to post photos as soon as I can!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our kitchen has been crowned...

A lot of detail work today. Patching, filling, sawing, Doug the templater was here from Bucks County Soapstone! He brought this most excellent digital machine with him that traces the wall and surfaces of the cabinets. We were all completely enthralled watching Doug tap out the dimensions of a cabinet and then seeing a drawing of the space pop up on his laptop across the room.
Doug and his marvelous machine

Tracing the edge of the cabinet
As you can see, our old windows have been removed--this was to make templating easier, but I am certainly eager for those new windows to arrive! Here are some more shots of our progress:

Lights! And the cabinets have been crowned!
Tiffany pendant off--nice blues and greens.

Tiffany on--very warm.
Fridge cabinet with moulding.


Light that goes over the island work table--not fully attached to ceiling, so we haven't been able to play with it yet.
We are so excited at how this is all turning out, and we can't wait to get back into a working kitchen. Trying to decide what I will cook first--any suggestions?