Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ready for Counters

ready for countertop

The countertop is ready, and will be installed Monday morning. While K cut some cardboard to catch any crud that might drop into the cabinets, I finished securing the last cabinet and getting ready for the countertop. It's an exciting step, because once the countertop is in, I can install the sink, disposal and dishwasher. We're particularly excited about the last one. While we're doing OK with takeout and microwaved food, we've gotten tired of doing dishes in the bathroom sink.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Day of Rest...Mostly

Rosie inspecting the work

After a couple of days of intense work on the kitchen, today was mostly a day of rest. Except I had to be up early to meet the countertop crew coming to make a template. Getting up early isn't easy for me under the best of circumstances, and I was up late last night getting ready for this morning. I had to re-install the sink cabinet over 1/2" (thank you, non-plumb and square walls of an old house), and had to plane a little off the back of the last lower cabinet to get it to fit in the corner. Designing with small tolerances means little wasted space, but doesn't leave much room for error. Fortunately the blind lazy susan cabinet requires a small spacer, so I was able to make adjustments by trimming that, but it was still a close fit. Rosie was kind enough to inspect my work, and approved not only of the cabinets, but enjoyed the boxes they came in.

countertop template

This morning the countertop crew showed up and made fairly short work of creating the template. They'd clearly done this a bunch of times before, and confirmed where we want a backsplash, which edges of the cabinets are flush and which get finished edges, etc. But they puzzled over where to put the seam -- the material comes in 8' lengths, so there will be at least one. After measuring and pondering (sounds familiar), they settled on a plan. The template was marked up for the seam, backsplashes and edges, and off they went. They'll be back in about a week to install it. Wahoo!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Little Soffit That Could

cabinet install fun

Yesterday was a marathon. After looking over measurements and pondering, we decided at the last minute that we didn't want the upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling as we'd never reach the upper shelves, and we definitely didn't want a little space up there to collect dust. So I built, drywalled and mudded a little soffit. In doing so, I discovered that the ceiling has a fairly substantial dip in it. So the emergency soffit surgery wasn't a bad thing -- I can hide part of the dip with the soffit instead of trying to cover a variable-sized gap with trim. I knew the floor isn't level, but I didn't know about the ceiling, so it was good to figure it out before I started hanging cabinets.

After getting that straightened out (ha!), I made reference lines for the upper and lower cabinets, and started installing. I started with the corner (a blind lazy susan thingy -- it's pretty slick), and shifted and shimmed and finally got it in place. I then moved on to the sink next to it, which presented its own challenges. Besides the unlevel floor, the sink has outlets for the disposal and dishwasher, water supply lines, and the DWV pipes. So lots of measuring and re-measuring and then drilling and cutting to make openings for them all. I discovered I was off by about a half inch on where the vent pipe exits -- d'oh! Fortunately, the next thing in line is the dishwasher, so I was able to take a little out of the corner of the cabinet and it'll work fine. No one will ever see it unless they stick their head under the sink, so no worries. It did cause me some worries in the meantime.

Today will be more of the same: a second coat of mud on the soffit, installing more cabinets, and rearranging things to get ready for tomorrow. You see, this flurry of activity is because the countertop installers are coming tomorrow at 8AM to make a template for the countertops. Yes, it's true...the do-everything-yourself guy is having someone else do some work. In part because I've never worked with the material (Icestone, which is made from recycled glass and cement), but largely because the stuff is frakking heavy. Most countertop materials are (besides laminates), so I'm happy to have someone else do this work.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fiat Lux

On Wednesday afternoon my neighbor helped me paint the kitchen, and I put a second coat on Wednesday evening. Since then I've been finishing up the electrical, putting down the plywood for the underlayment or flooring if we go that route, and getting ready to hang cabinets. Adding the main fluorescent light fixture made a huge difference. Now it feels like a real room. A room with a heck of a lot of outlets, to be sure, but a real room.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Top 10

The top 10 rejected titles for this post:
10. White Room (Cream)
9. Lay Down Primer (Eric Clapton)
8. You Make Painting Fun (Fleetwood Mac)
7. Any Colour You Like (As Long as it's White) (Pink Floyd)
6. Fixing a Hole (in the Drywall) (Beatles)
5. Paintin' on a Sunny Day (Bruce Springsteen)
4. Haven't Got Time for the Paint (Carly Simon)
3. When Paint Dries (by the painter formerly known as Prince)
2. Blinded by the White (Manfred Mann's Earth Band)
and the #1 rejected title for this post:
1. Primed, Sealed and Covered, I'm Yours (Stevie Wonder)

In other words, the kitchen is primed and ready for painting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rip It, Rip It Good

wet sanding

K and I ripped the plywood into 2' widths today. Not because I'm ready for it yet, but because K worked at home today and ripping full sheets of plywood is a 2 person job. Unless you've got a much nicer shop set up than I've got; I had to set up the table saw in the yard to have enough room to maneuver a full sheet.

I finished mudding the kitchen over the weekend, and spent the balance of today wet sanding it. Alas, the potentially boffo sponge (I bought one for the good folks at Casa Decrepit, too) wasn't so boffo. The rough 'scrunge' side separated from the rest of the sponge after not too much use. I'm still a big fan of wet sanding vs. dry sanding, but a regular sponge works just as well if not better than the special one.

In other exciting news, our new dishwasher arrived. It's a lovely, water- and energy-efficient Bosch SHE43M02U that K picked out. It'll be a while before I can hook it up, but we are so looking forward to not doing dishes in the bathroom anymore.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More Life as a Truck

at the lumber yard

Today I finished the next coat of mud, showed the addition and kitchen remodel to a long-time friend from Habitat, and actually got the 1/4" plywood to smooth out the subfloor.

The plywood is so smooth and lovely that we're considering using it as the flooring. I just need to find a durable enough (and non-toxic) finish to protect it, and a good way to fasten it down. I'm contemplating ripping it into 2x8 or maybe 1x8 strips, so it can be laid out in a staggered pattern. In any event, we'll have it as our flooring for a while to consider, so we can see if we like the look or not.

The plywood is so smooth that I had a hard time securing it to the roof. It seemed OK, but it slid significantly when I braked. While I was stopped to refasten the load, someone stopped and asked me for directions that I could actually give (and had a map to show them), so it worked out nicely.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Car's Life as a Truck

mosaic mobile

I made what may be the final dump run for the kitchen remodel (which is not to say there won't more for other projects), with my little VW Golf stuffed to the gills with bits of wood, old drywall, and scraps of clean drywall.

On the way back I stopped at Orchard Supply Hardware for some more mud, and when I came out, this beauty was parked next to the Golf. It's not just painted -- if you look closely, it's bits of glass tile glued all over. The lump on the roof is a skylight which is covered, as are the back windows, so it's very colorful inside, too. Between the added weight and the reduced aerodynamics, it's gotta suck on the MPG front, but it's a beauty.

Muddy Kitchen

one coat on, two to go

Last week was a blur of putting up drywall and taping and mudding it. The momentous part of that is that I'm done with the drywall lift, so it'll be headed over to Casa Decrepit for them to use in redoing the ceiling in their dining room. That room will eventually become their kitchen, but regardless the plaster needs to be replaced as it has water damage coupled with the damage inflicted by the lowered ceilings. Drywall lifts make putting drywall on ceilings so much easier, they're worth borrowing, renting or buying if you've got very much to put up. Even more so if you've got high ceilings like they do.

Today will be a (final?) dump run, and buying some more mud for the second and third coats, and some 1/4" plywood to put over the subfloor. That's because we'll be putting down linoleum (the natural stuff, not vinyl flooring), and it's best to have a smooth surface for it. The OSB subfloor would probably be OK, but the old 1x8 diagonal subflooring that I didn't replace doesn't come close to qualifying.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Inspection Passed!

Hugo, the inspector from the city, left a few minutes ago. I passed building, electrical and plumbing, so I'm good to go to cover the walls. He would have preferred I had all the plumbing done (right now I just have the vent stack), but was OK with deferring it to later. That's because I can't go into the wall and down, but have to go straight down, so more of it will be in the sink cabinet. The other comment upon inspecting the subpanel was that the bedroom breaker needs to be AFCI. That's relatively new to the building code, so I wasn't aware of the requirement. I'd seen AFCI breakers at Home Depot, but didn't know where they were required, and given the higher cost, wasn't going to go installing them in every circuit. In any event, I'm happy and K will be, too, because now I can cover the walls (and more importantly given the current weather, the ceiling.)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I'm Back...and so is Winter

German marketplace

I didn't manage to get the inspection in last week after the build-a-thon before I headed off to my nephew and godson's confirmation. I'm back from that, mostly over the jet lag, and have the inspection scheduled for Monday. I'll spend some time today making sure everything is ready to go.

Winter decided to come back, too. After the 90 degree temps during the build-a-thon, we're back to chilly weather and rain. We need the rain so I can't complain too much.