Archive | June, 2010

Shopping for the New Kitchen…

June 10, 2010

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I was at Buy.com, looking around for supplies for the kitchen, when I did a quick search– out of the blue– for wall-mounted gas heaters. Holy cow, Buy.com even has those! What a marvel! I’ll have more on central heating in a future post… we’re still working out the details, but I’m thinking of going to gas heaters.

Anyway, I’m hunting around, comparing prices for stuff like compact refrigerators, paint, and painting supplies. Can you believe that Buy.com has it all?! I’m amazed. Buy.com is known for its superior deals on electronics (sign up for their weekly sale flier to keep on top of their great deals– they do go fast!). But Buy.com also has some really, really selections and prices on scads of other stuff: jewelry, books, clothing, some footwear, household supplies, cookware, decor items, outdoor and garden accessories, and more. It’s quite impressive. I went to Buy.com for the purpose of looking up some nice iPod docks for the kitchen. I’m creating a small media center in the kitchen, and I want a very very nice iPod dock. I think Memorex is a reliable brand, and there’s a terrific price at Buy.com: $84 and it includes shipping. Nice! It’s theMemorex Mi1111 Mini Hi-Fi System, has an mp3 player, CD player, and is an iPod dock. I’ve had pretty good experience with Memorex. I may get it. I’ll let you know. I want something rather small, but big in sound. It’s simply beautiful, I know that. Look how classy it is. šŸ˜€

Buy.com also has refrigerators! And vacuums! And paintbrushes! And power tools! And bedding! And loads more. Seriously, they seem to have everything. You have got to check them out. And they ship very fast. I love Buy.com!

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The Mary Poppins of Kitchen Renovations

June 8, 2010

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Mary Poppins renovates.

Mary Poppins Renovates

Get it? šŸ˜‰

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Patchwork and More Framing

June 7, 2010

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One of the most beautiful sights in the world:

Its Level

Sunday was another big work day. We finished the rough framing for my 48-inch by 60-inch window, WOOOOO!!! Next week, we’ll remove the siding and install the window. I’m really looking forward to that.

Rough Framing Window

I’d ripped out must of the old wood from this opening. It was all just nailed chunks of bits and pieces, and was in my way. I do try to reuse the old wood, but in many cases it is either so brittle or rock-hard, because it’s *only* 155 years old, ya know. All I could use for the window was one 6 x 6 beam, in the center. This has got to be one of the best-supported window frames EVAH. We joked that if a tornado ever hit the area, this framing would still be standing. It’s immovable. AND it’s level, AND the rough opening is EXACTLY 48-inches by 60-inches, just as the window manufacturer instructions state. I went the extra mile to constantly check things again and again.

Window Rough Framing

In the evening, after cleanup, we allow Livvy to come down and inspect the work.

The Hubs moved the sink away from the wall under the window, and reconnected plumbing. It was his first experience with PEX, and it went pretty well. He needed me to hold the clamps down over the PEX tubing, however, because the PEX crimper requires two hands to use. Someday those PEX guys MUST make a tool that requires just one hand. I hope I don’t have to follow Hubs all around while he makes PEX connections… :S

LIvvy Inspection

She likes her new “door” to the living room.

Vent opening w Livvy

The electric is going well, too. We FINALLY have lights and electricity in the basement, complete with a switch!

Light Switch

One of the biggest conundrums is trying to remember what all this old and newer wiring goes to…. I know I put it in there for a reason, three years ago… ugh! Most of my week will be spent unraveling the mystery of the wiring. When I finished the living room in 2007, I added some wiring for the other rooms, before I closed up the walls to the living room. Problem is, I now don’t remember where the wires run. I’d written it all down at the time, but we cannot find the notebook. šŸ™ Ugh ugh ugh. That’s one of the foibles of piecework and patchwork in an old home.

Crazy Wiring

This week I have to finish building out the walls in the dining room to accommodate for the electrical wires (the code requires certain clearance from the wall). And I hope to get some outlets working in the upstairs bedrooms.

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Find the Kitty Friday 6/4

June 4, 2010

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Find the Kitty Friday

Goodness! The day was half over before I realized that today is Friday!! :S I guess I’ve been rather preoccupied. I can’t believe it’s June already.

So where could she BE?!

FTK 6.4.10

Life is pretty hectic, as you can imagine. I’m trying to schedule time to make sure I get regular showers, eat something, and brush my hair everyday, lol… not as easy as it seems when you hit the ground running every day! My daughter makes great smoothies, which are a great energy boost, I think– and are nice in hot weather. šŸ™‚ Strawberry, yummm.

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WorkWorkWorkWork

June 4, 2010

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Marg, I know you keep telling me to take a break. I promise, I will!! Sometime soon. šŸ˜€

Actually, things are moving at a slow pace this week. Between the cooking and the laundry and the multitude of household things, and trying to “make do” without a kitchen sink and dryer… plus, working on my job… and researching how to do things (like framing a window and bringing the electric up to code, whatever that may be!)… I’m finding that I only get a few hours a day on the house right now. But things are at least progressing, and I am happy for that.

Right now, I’m working on “construction,” which is basically shoring up supports, building out walls to meet the electrical codes, etc. My attentions are divided into three portions.

First, the kitchen window. We’d removed the window on Sunday. Since then, I have been researching on how to construct a rough opening for the new one, which will be twice the size of the old. But I’ve discovered a few problem areas, and have to address them before I can begin adding new lumber for the new window.

For one, the support beam over the window (and kitchen sink) was hacked into years ago, and never supported correctly. šŸ˜ I cannot understand the psychology of the previous owners… they didn’t remove the ugliest of partition walls in the laundry room because they feared it was a support wall (it wasn’t), but hacked into an exterior support wall and beam in the kitchen to plop in a tiny window (and plugged up the original window as well). ??? Weird.

Anyway, the support beam has dry rot and is missing THREE support studs. It is probably difficult to tell what’s what in the photo (sorry) because the wood is so dark and the light so bright. But this beam supports this side of the back of the house, all two stories!! And about 1/6 of it was missing support! As soon as I realized this, I placed in two 2x4s at the end. What I really needed was 2x6s, but I didn’t have any on hand.

Repairing Kitchen Beam

Last night, I bought some 2x6s and will be replacing the 2x4s with those. Once I am sure that the beam is stable, I will start the rough opening for the window. And believe you-me, it will be one heck of a honking, supported rough opening.

Right below this section of the wall was the kitchen sink. We removed it, to access the beam and to be able to build the rough opening for the window. As soon as we moved the sink back, this is what we saw:

Kitchen Sink Area 1

Yeah, that’s it. No plaster, no drywall, no insulation… nothing. They had installed the cabinet directly onto the lathe. No wonder I got frostbite when I had to wash dishes during the winter! :-p

This is the area after we removed the lathe and brick.

Kitchen Sink Area2

It will be terrific to insulate this and make it weather-tight. I don’t like working with fiberglass batts (the fibers irritate my throat terribly!), but it’s worth it to have a warm, weather-tight home! I look forward to insulating the walls.

I’m also working on building out some of the walls. According to the National Electric Code, electrical wiring must be at least 1.25 inches from the surface of the finished wall. Because some of the studs here are only 2 inches deep (the builder turned the studs around, very odd), I have to add a layer of studs to accommodate for the wiring. This will also help with inserting the insulation, which requires 3.5 inches of stud depth. It does add to the expense, though. LOL, my arms are bulging.

Finally, I’m learning more about the electrical codes (there have been changes since I did the electric in 2007). *sigh* It’s difficult to find exactly WHAT is code. There’s no manual online… you’re at the mercy of the electrical inspector, who (most times) is harsh and too impatient. Plus, talking on the phone doesn’t help you understand much– in some cases, you need a visual representation. Like a manual. WHY isn’t the code online for viewing?! It’s a little frustrating. It’s like the code is thr Holy Grail that we all must abide by or pay through the nose for transgressing, but the code is shrouded in mystery, inaccessible to the average layperson. It’s insane.

Anyway, I’m making due. I did pass inspection in 2007 (I was very, very nitpicky). This year, I’m not as nitpicky, and there are new codes that have passed that I am unsure of. We’ll see how this develops.

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Great News and My Stash of New Stuff

June 2, 2010

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I want to publicly thank the Lord Jesus and all of you dear readers out there– I AM SO STOKED!!! God is providing everything for this kitchen, I tell ya. This morning, within a 4 hour span, I earned all my drywall. That’s $500!!!! That came from some terrific ventures in paid blogging!! I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am to have one of my *big* ticket items covered. What a relief to me. I must thank you guys for reading my blog– it is a popular blog, and gets the attention of advertisers, who want me to mention them. So just by you reading and commenting and clicking a few advertiser links means the WORLD to me. Well, at least the KITCHEN to me. It’s all very symbiotic. šŸ˜€

I am paying for this kitchen redo in cash as much as possible. So far, I have been able to do it. All I have left to purchase is cabinets and countertops, flooring, insulation, and plumber’s fees for the gas lines for our new heaters (more on that later). I originally intended to make the budget under $3000 for the kitchen, but then the dining room got thrown into the mix, and then we decided that we really should redo the plumbing before we close up those walls. That more than doubled my original estimate. I’m really, really hoping to land a sponsorship with Kraftmaid cabinets… it’s not moving along like it should and I really do need to order something soon. But I’m praying something happens. I figure cabinets will cost me about $2500.

So that’s some really great news. šŸ™‚

I also thought you’d like to see my stash of stuff that I’ve got stocked up here. Feel free to add your opinions or comments.

This is my sink. I love it.
sink

I researched sinks for quite a long time before finally choosing a cast iron (which was my first choice, to begin with). I’ve had stainless steel here, and I find it very utilitarian and ugly. I looked into granite composite, but I am pretty rough on my sink– if I drained boiling hot pasta water in it and then accidentally ran the cold tap, the thing would crack. I finally opted for cast iron. This is a Kohler. It was SO HARD to find a sink with only three faucet holes! I spent hours searching. I love the scalloped design of the sink. It will look beautiful with my new Delta Touch H20 Technology faucet. The amazingly cool folks at Delta gave me this faucet for the kitchen renovation, in exchange for a review. I cannot wait to do a review on it!

delta1

This is the dishwasher I picked out. It’s a barebones, simple Hotpoint model. I do not like the dishwashers with all those buttons, doodads, electric panels, and such. All I want to do is wash my dishes, not bathe them in luxurious splendor. And I ain’t paying more than $300 to do it, either. In this case, I got a good deal on the Hotpoint: $200.

dishwasher

dishwasher2

These are my lights. After hashing it over and over about what lights to get, I finally opted for chandeliers. I have two of the chandeliers (the kitchen is 12 x 23, and I like a lot of light), and a matching pendant light to go over my whopping 48-inch by 60-inch window. *sigh* I cannot wait to have it all done!

mylights

The paint scheme is difficult. I can’t make up my mind. This week, I’m liking the tan wall color (Dapper Tan, mind you) with burgundy and green trim. I know, I know, the red and green are SO 1990s….. but I LIKE them! Got any opinions?

paint body

paint trim

My house is a Greek Revival, very elegant with pediments over the doors and windows, and fluted trim. I have sage and gold striped wallpaper with acanthus leaves in the front entry… and my dining room will be red with white trim, and acanthus leaves for decor…. I wanted to go with a red kitchen, but my daughters vetoed it. So I think I’ll go with a neutral wall color, and “do up” the accents.

So that’s what I have so far. Well, I also have a huge box filled with electrical boxes and wire nuts, and screws, and crow bars… but I figured I’d skip that this time. šŸ˜‰

Thanks again to all you who visit me and especially those of you who leave comments and encourage me. I think this thing MAY actually REALLY happen! After 13 years!!!!

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Why We’re Renovating At This Time

June 1, 2010

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Well, it seemed as good as any. šŸ˜€

I wanted to renovate this kitchen ever since we moved here, 13 years ago. The kitchen, remodeled by the previous owners in dark brown, orange, and yellow, was dark, dank, and horrid. I painted the cabinets and walls white to get some light in the room, but the paint didn’t help much. We just kept tolerating the disaster year after year, hoping that *something* would happen to help us pay for it.

Well, after I saw the condition of the old knob and tube wiring when I gutted the living room in 2007, I shut down the electric for half the house. The kitchen electric was cobbed together with a few sliced wires, so all we had was a small, dangling fixture and two outlets. And then the plumbing in the ceiling started to leak to the kitchen below. And then the countertops started to dissolve. And then the plaster started falling down on our heads. And then, we got a letter from our insurance company, asking us to review our now-decade-old policy and get a new inspection of the house for a new policy.

We’d NEVER get approved. Never, not in the condition the house was in. And according to our mortgage, we HAVE to have home insurance. So if we couldn’t renew with our old insurance company, we were going to pay through the nose for some really, really expensive policy. And I didn’t want to spend that money on insurance– I’d rather spend the money on a new kitchen and be done with it.

It was difficult enough to try to get this policy. We live in a residential area, but everywhere around us– north, south, east, and west– are businesses. It’s a mixed dwelling area. So many insurers wouldn’t even look at our property because we are so close to businesses and parking lots. We finally found someone who would take us. The LAST thing I want to do is jeopardize it.

So I guess you could say this situation motivated us to do the kitchen. I was motivated enough before, but I was willing to *wait* for money to drop into my lap before I got started. And that never happened. However, now that we have begun, the money is coming in. I have a job, and while it is difficult to work my online job AND renovate at the same time, it’s not impossible.

But my advice to anyone else would be: don’t wait for an insurance problem to back up into a wall. Get it done, so you can enjoy it and not feel pressured. šŸ™‚

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Selecting Cabinets… I Think….

June 1, 2010

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Well, I’ve got *just* about everything accounted for now, except the big ticket items. The sink, dishwasher, and electrical supplies are in. I don’t have drywall yet– I’ll have to order it JUST before we install it. I just don’t have the room to store it anywhere. Here’s praying the cost doesn’t jump (again) in three weeks, sheesh. I cannot believe how prices rise so quickly. It’s sinful!

I’ve got my flooring chosen (Traffic Master Allure) but not purchased yet. No countertops and no cabinets yet. I am making out a map of the cabinetry now. I’m going really low on cabinets. There’s a Bargain Outlet in the area, and that’s where I figure I’ll get them. Prices are pretty low (but not low enough!). Cabinetry will probably cost me about $2000. I can’t decide on which style to choose.

I like this style best of all, but the cabinets are dark. My old kitchen is like a cave, so I’m terrified of having dark cabinets again. I will have a better window, yes… and I will have better lighting, yes… maybe this will be OK.

I like this style, and the color is OK. The nice thing is that it’s brighter and less expensive than the other choice. I’m not fond of the yellow hue, but… it’s brighter and less expensive! So I am not sure which to choose just yet. We’ll see.

My flooring will be dark, like walnut or red oak. The countertops will be lighter, like a sand color. And the walls will be beige. Anyone have any opinions?

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Testing a New Organic Pesticide Spray

June 1, 2010

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I’ve been hearing about this new “organic” pesticide, and wanted to check some out for myself. The gracious folks at Safer Brand gave me a free bottle of EndALL insect spray to try out. Summer is only just beginning here in Upstate New York, so I can’t say we are plagued with loads of pests (yet). But for the past few years, I have had problems with aphids, tent caterpillars, sawfly larvae, and cucumber beetles in my gardens. And spider mites are a real pain for the indoor plants. Sheesh! I don’t want to use pesticides because I’d rather not eat food tainted with toxins, thank you very much! But the bugs are sometimes overwhelming.

bugspray

So we tried the EndALL Insect Killer spray on some nasty spider mites that had been infesting the houseplants. The EndALL worked very well– solved the mite problem and didn’t stink up the house with a nasty chemical smell. According to the label, EndALL will kill: Japanese Beetles, weevils, caterpillars, bagworm, aphids, leafhoppers, tent caterpillars (yes!) sawfly larva (YESSS!!), chinch bugs, sod webworm, armyworms, billbugs, lawn moths, box elder bugs, Asian lady beetles, gypsy moth larva, earwigs, whiteflies, and more. So far, SO GOOD! We’ve had a problem with the sawfly larva, especially– they devour my pine trees every year. :-p

Evil Bugs

Ugly things!

EndALL spray is suitable for flowers, fruit trees and bushes, vegetables, lawn, ornamental plants, and houseplants. Active ingredients are potassium salts of fatty acids, clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil, pyrethrins. Yeah, i couldn’t understand that, either. As long as it doesn’t say “dynamite” or “yellow cake uranium,” it looks good to me!

So if you’re looking for an organic solution to your pest problems, give EndALL a try. It’s mild enough to be pleasant and safe to use, but powerful enough to zap the nasty bugs!! Thanks to the folks at Safer Brand for sending me this terrific product! I’ll be making good use of it. šŸ˜‰

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by the folks at SaferBrand.com.

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