Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays! This has been a wonderful week - very busy and fun. I got my new kitchen for Christmas and Hanukkah and so did Peanut! Which one do you like best?

Our countertops were installed on Christmas eve, and our plumbing was completed today - so now we have a fully functional kitchen! I even hooked up the electric on the dishwasher (with a little tutelage). I do love the counters - they are the perfect color and I like how they look with the rest of the room. I've already made blueberry muffins and sugar cookies and we have a turkey in the oven right now. I am really looking forward to making an omelet tomorrow. I know Honey is looking forward to using the dishwasher instead of going down to the laundry room sink to do dishes every night!

We worked on some of the thresholds this week - we finished the transition from the rec room to the gym, and I daresay it is the best one yet. So good, in fact, that I want to go and redo all of the other ones. It really is true that practice makes perfect - you can see where our learning curve is in this house!

I'd like to get to some minor things like outlet covers and painting the baseboards, but I was impressed that we got the tree up and even got a few lights outside before Christmas day. We had to prioritize, and being festive came first. We've even been able to light the Menorah most nights.

We've got a few more big projects planned (a few windows replaced, new gutters, insulating the attic), but those are all being contracted out. So now it is just finish work for us - painting, trim, new closet doors, touch ups, and rearranging the furniture. Honey's mom is here this week and his brother and sister and their family will be here tomorrow. We are getting some work done this week, but I think we are really going to just enjoy the next couple of days of no longer roughing it.

I'm hoping to look just as happy cooking in the new kitchen as Peanut does in hers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Lone Appliance

Honey and I just finished installing the microwave and I had no idea how beautiful it would be! I can just stare at it. We just need to connect the duct work and we can actually use it - the first working appliance in our kitchen! We are leaving the plastic on to protect it until we are all done, but you can still get an idea of how awesome the rest of the appliances will look against the wood. For future reference, it is best to cut the holes for the microwave duct work and screws BEFORE installing the cabinet on the wall. It is a little rough to drill and cut upside down and there is a little sawdust issue - safety glasses are great, but sawdust still got all down my shirt!

The guy from counterintelligence (I just love that name!) came to measure for our counters today. He had the coolest set up - a mechanical pen on a huge arm and tripod that was connected to his computer and literally drew a picture of the counters. I was totally enraptured by the whole thing - I felt like a little kid. I remember when CAD was the new thing and I decided that I wanted to learn it in like elementary or junior high - this just took me right back. The counter guy sent all of our measurements into the shop right over the computer and said they should call by the end of this week to set up install for next week. How fabulous!

Our floors are in as well - the Marmoleum looks great - I'll have to take another photo for those of you who clamor for the visual - I know the words are hard to understand sometimes :)

So our plumber should be here this week to install the gas line on the stove, the ice maker on the fridge, and set up the lines for the dishwasher. We should actually have all of our appliance in the kitchen and out of the living and dining rooms by this weekend. Then we can rearrange the living room and set up the tree and figure out where to put the menorah. Oh, and we can get the dining room table in off the sun porch :)

Here are some more pictures for fun - aren't the cabinets wild? It is hard to even remember what that wall looked like before - here it is with the washer and dryer in the kitchen! What a huge difference!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Making Progress

So the floors in the kitchen will be installed tomorrow, and then we can put the appliances and countertops in! We (I really - Honey could care less) have been stressing about counters, but I believe we found a solution today - silestone is an engineered quartz that has some post consumer recycled content, has good ratings for air quality, looks nice, is maintenance free, is not insanely expensive, and is on sale at Home Depot! It's 10% off, with free edging and a free sink - so really that is a good deal. I'm waiting for the guy to call me back so I can run in and buy it. He says if we buy it before December 17th it can be installed before Christmas, which is something I was definitely not hearing about the other products we were considering. So we are totally in. Now we just need under cabinet lights, a disposal, and faucet and we'll be in business!

On the flip side, after all of the rain, we noticed a new wet spot this morning around the dining room light wiring. I was so sure there was not a problem, but now it looks like we have to have a roofer come check it out. It's always something!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where's the TV?

I had a period of a few years where I did not have a television. I got used to it, and really enjoyed it. I accomplished a lot during those years, as the pull of the couch was not so strong :). When honey moved in he brought a tremendous TV with him. It took up our whole tiny living room in the townhouse, and was the first thing you saw when you walked in the front door. Loved it. We had replaced that with a sleeker version, which was better, but still the first thing people saw. We are now putting that "small" TV in the gym and have the "big" TV in the family room. It is not gargantuan, just the right size for the distance from the couch. I've reconciled myself to having the TV, and having a big one, but not to having it on full view all the time. So this week, we were finally able to close it in! I love our new cabinet! It is the best of all worlds - we have a TV we can see from the couch, and enjoy watching a little home improvement TV (OK - a lot), but we can close it us and it looks like a lovely piece of furniture! Here is the before and after -

Pretty sweet huh?!
Of course, it came in a million parts and we had to piece it together with absurd instructions...but we are getting really good at that.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Still no kitchen

We are spending so much on food - going out and ordering in, processed and prepared foods, smaller sizes for our tiny fridge - it consumes my thoughts at times! I am trying to cook more at home, but it is really an effort. With scarce prep space, fridge space, and cooking options, we are limited. Tonight we had a blast from the past and made English muffin pizzas! Peanut loved them, so it was a success. Last night Honey grilled some steaks and I made a big salad. That worked out well too, but last week we did pre-marinated salmon and rice pilaf and boy, was that crummy! The salmon was rubbery and the pilaf was really salty. It is the little things I miss, like boiling water and making a pot of pasta on the stove. I am so excited to buy full size items - a gallon of milk, a large yogurt, a box of pasta - instead of single serving or snack sizes of everything. I can wait for that fridge to get plugged in!

i feel like we have done very little lately, but that is not really true. We are just in a little holding pattern until the floor arrives. Meanwhile, we have ordered windows and gutters, had estimates on insulation, and continue to work and play and live our regular lives. Each night we do a little - putting together office furniture or kitchen doors and drawers, unpacking another box, cleaning under the couch :) but I do feel like there is still so much to do. I know (hope) there will be a big burst of activity and lots will get accomplished in the next few weeks.

We do have a great office now - we both have our own huge desks and I got a new laptop this weekend, so I really have my own space I can clutter up as I see fit. I can't think of a time when I had this expanse of a desk - I might actually be able to functionally work from home now!

We do have a problem in that I can't find our "holiday" box. It has Hanukkah, Christmas, and Halloween stuff in it and it is blue, but that is as far as it goes right now. So Peanut and I collected pine cones today to decorate and put on our tree. She loved finding them and i hope she will have as much fun gussying them up!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Countertop Madness

Finding an environmentally friendly and budget friendly countertop is way harder than I had anticipated! I was looking forward to trying something new, and had my eye on recycled glass counters. I had seen some pricing, but did not factor in installation and boy, was I blown away when I got my first estimate! Enviroglas, which was my first choice was about 5 times more than granite. Icestone was about three times more than the granite. It is really tempting to just go for fresh quarried stone and toss the "being green" thing out the window. So now I am exploring all kinds of options. We had Richlite in our old house which is a paper and resin countertop. We loved it, and have added it to our list of ideas in addition to it's competitors Paperstone and Ecotop. We are also checking out Squak Mountain Stone which I suspect is quite pricey. The woman who invented it still does all of the manufacturing and helps with installations. I think she is a small shop with high levels of service.

I've also been checking out craigslist, and found some silestone that a couple removed from their kitchen. There is enough there to do two of our bathrooms and still have leftovers, but the hard part is finding someone to pick it up, cut and polish it and bring it back to install it. We are working on that, but it doesn't help with the kitchen.

The very last bits of our kitchen cabinets should arrive tomorrow, and we can finally finish the cabinets. We are just waiting for the floor to arrive. So, I really ought to have this countertop thing nailed down by now...but I think we will be enjoying a plywood counter for quite some time.