Monthly Archive: May 2012

Big day

The house was quite a hive of activity today.  This is what it looks like to have a concrete truck in your yard, and yet NOT stuck:

He was able to back the chute right up to the three footings.  Here we see our contractor throwing a piece of reinforcing bar into the hole as it gets filled with concrete.

Cabinet installation also started today.  They decided to start with the lowers, which surprised me a little (it’s easier to get at the walls to install uppers before the lowers are in place), but I’m sure they have their reasons. At the end of the day, the three cabinets beside the pantry are the closest to being in their final locations.

Meanwhile, our garage is less full of cabinets today. Along with all the uppers, most of the drawers are still out here to keep them from getting damaged.

Week 8 report

We have a room now!  We’re getting close to having something resembling a kitchen.

The oak flooring was installed and had 2 coats of polyurethane applied this week.  It looks great!  There are a couple spots with some swirly marks visible if you look closely, but overall it looks good, and as Lis says, finally the two halves of the room feel unified.  Because the flooring made the room impassable for much of the week, not much else happened inside this week.  We did get the replacement backsplash mosaic, and it looks much better.  This picture also gives you a good look at the new floor. Any worries we had that the flooring would be too close to the cabinets in color is now officially forgotten.

The remaining progress indoors is that I finished up all the painting I intend to do pre-cabinets, namely the white on the inside of the two un-cased doorway openings.  I like to paint the inside of these openings as if they were trim, especially if there are two different colors on either side of the doorway. And my color-blind self likes white trim because it gives my color vision a point of reference.  Anyway, one of these two un-cased openings is just plain wall on one side (the opening is flush with one of the side walls).  And since we wanted to paint two different colors on the 2 sides of this opening, that presented a challenge: how do we transition from one color to the other on that wall?  The trial solution I came up with is what I call the White Stripe.  I just continued the white at the same width as if the opening did continue on down this wall. I’m curious to hear people’s opinions on this.

Another possibility is to put a piece of 1x material on the wall where the white stripe is (same thickness as the baseboards, when they go in), to give it a little three-dimensionality.

On the sunroom portion of the project, our contractor repaired a section of decayed sill.  The original (120 year old) beam had decayed away to about half its original size, propped up only because it had a knot in it that did not decay.  This knot was holding up the corner of the house! Anyway, it’s all repaired now, ready to accept the ledger for the sunroom.  He also dug and put forms in for the footings this week.  He had hoped to get them poured this week too, but the rainy weather delayed the excavation for just long enough to prevent that from happening.

It amazes me that these footings — for a permanent, enclosed structure — are just 12″ in diameter (with a “bigfoot” flared base), in contrast to the footings required for our friends’ new deck that I’ve been helping with, which are required to be 18″.  And Greg, you will be jealous to hear that the excavation found no rocks bigger than about grapefruit size.

This coming week promises to be an exciting one.  Tomorrow, Lis and I are going to Container Store to buy some parts needed to build the shelves inside the pantry, which I hope to get a start on Monday.  And Tuesday, we will have quite a crowd at the house as our cabinets start to be installed — complete with plumber and electrician to hook up the kickspace heaters — plus the pouring of the footings.


Wow, in one day they installed, sanded, and put the first coat of finish on the kitchen floor.  Pics to follow once we’re allowed back in there!

Update: Where there’s a will, there’s a way:

Week 7 report

Major excitement this week!

First event… we passed framing inspection, clearing the way for blueboard on Wednesday and skim-coat plaster on Thursday.  The weather has been so nice for the past few days that the plaster dried out nicely, and we were able to paint today.  I started around 9 this morning with primer.  Lis left work early to come home around 3:30.  We finished up around 7:30 pm.  You can see the results in the time-lapse gallery but I’ll post it here as well.

The spots that are still primer-white we intentionally didn’t paint, becuase they’ll have cabinets in front of them and we didn’t want to waste the effort.  The yellow is a nice sunny color and we think it will look very nice with the other elements of the kitchen. The reddish color here is browner in person. It’s a nice complement to the yellow, adding some depth and delineating the more peripheral aspects of the room (eat-in table, mail sorter, charging station, etc.).  Both colors need a second coat, which we plan to do in the morning.  We wanted to get the bulk of the painting done before the cabinets and the floor go in, so we don’t need to be as careful about drips or cutting-in against brand new cabinets. In preparation for today’s work, I also installed the in-ceiling speakers: appropriate music helped the task quite a bit.

Second event… we have the permit for the sunroom portion of the project.  We expect at least some progress toward new footings this coming week, with major framing to commence the week of Memorial Day.

Third event… the cabinets were delivered this morning.  They’re camping out in our garage this coming week while the flooring goes in, and are expected to be installed the week of Memorial Day.  Here they all are, taking up our entire garage.

And here’s the custom mail sorter we had made.  The shelves on the right-hand side are adjustable, stacked together as you see here for shipping; in the final configuration we anticipate having 6 slots on the right.

See my Project 365 entry for today for another representative cabinet.


Well OK then!

Let me translate a little: “Yee” is the flooring contractor; he’s delivering the materials for the kitchen floor Monday.
JC Adams is a supplier; “bypass” refers to the coat closet doors, which are bypass doors.  Evidently this is coming Tuesday.
Window.  You’ve read about the missing window on this blog before.  Evidently it’s finally coming in next Friday.
Cherry door.  This is the pantry door.  It’s cherry so we can stain it to match the cabinets.
Xterior door.  This is the door between the kitchen and the sunroom, and evidently a fairly long leadtime item.  No wonder he put in a temporary door.

Also on the subject of schedule… I just got the call from the cabinet delivery driver.  He’ll be here tomorrow at 7am.  I guess I’m getting up!


We have blueboard walls and ceiling!

From this point forward, every step will be visible progress toward completion. We expect the plasterers to be back tomorrow to do the skimcoat.

On the sunroom front… our contractor finally has the building permit for that part of the job in-hand, so we expect to see progress there soon too.


We’re expecting plasterers tomorrow to hang blueboard.  Very exciting!  We hid the time capsule in preparation.

Also… we ordered knobs and pulls for the cabinets on Sunday, and they’re already here!  17 pulls, and 27 knobs.  Pulls are for drawers, knobs are for doors.

Tonight I ordered our under-cabinet lights.  I found a Philips LED UCL strip that looks really good, on paper at least, and is a semi-reasonable cost.  With these, all lighting in the new kitchen will be LED! Amazing.

Week 6 report

Week 6 was not as productive as I had hoped it would be, but things are still moving forward.

This week they ripped the old deck off the house and framed in a temporary door. I suspect they don’t want to put the real new door in place until framing is in place for the new sunroom, and they can’t get that done until we have a building permit for that part of the job. We continue to expect that permit any day now but don’t yet have it in hand. They also trimmed out and started patching in shingles around the new windows, but were hampered by weather.  Today I moved the loft’s ethernet cable up out of the way, and removed the deck speakers (moving one around the corner to its new home, and the other into the basement since it will attach to the outside of the sunroom).  I had hoped they would finish shingling around at least one window so I could paint it this weekend, but no.  Here’s what the side of the house looks like now:
2012-05-12 17.28.00.jpg

Inside, the insulation was installed and we got our plumbing rough inspection. Not much else visible will happen in there until the blueboard goes up.  We have prepared a time capsule to insert into the walls for some future remodeler to find.

I worked from home on Wednesday to go talk to the tile supplier, and got an update on a number of fronts.

The window mystery is solved.  You’ll recall that we had the third new kitchen window in-house, and it disappeared.  It turns out our contractor re-ordered this window in tempered glass because of its proximity to the new coat closet doors.  Evidently the building code is concerned about people slamming doors hard enough to break nearby windows, and might possibly require temprered glass in such a situation. Better to put that in now than have to rip it out and re-do later.

We also discovered the source of major air infiltration into the crawlspace below the half bath. Ever since we had the footings and posts in this crawlspace repaired, we’ve had a problem in the winter with cold air just pouring through this crawlspace into the basement itself. It turns out that the old stoop concealed a spot where the new stub wall was shorter than it needed to be by about 4 inches. That’ll do it!  I’m hopeful that with this spot repaired, the whole basement will be warmer, and we won’t have to use heat tape to protect the half bath’s plumbing pipes from freezing.

The deck demolition evidently went smoothly.  In contrast to the undersized footings for the front porch and the 1/2 bath bumpout, the deck’s footings were actually properly sized and a small ordeal to remove.  The post for the old back stoop is similarly set in a large amount of concrete that’s attached to a concrete slab that we want to keep, and so will be somewhat difficult to get rid of. The current plan is to cut it off flush and use chemical stump remover to decompose the post, then patch the hole with concrete.

I mentioned talking to the tile supplier.  We ordered parts for a tile mosaic that will form a decorative backsplash behind the stove.  The center component is a mosaic of 1 inch travertine, glass, and pewter-ish metal tiles; I’ve posted a picture of it previously.  But the metal in the mosaic we got from the tile store was more bronze than pewter.  It turns out the manufacturer has two colors in this pattern, and the sample our tile store had was an early run of the “copper” color, when that color was closer to the other color, “silver.”  The tile store has agreed to exchange these for us, though of course it’ll be another 2-4 weeks before the new one is in.  That’s fine; we won’t need it until then anyway.  

Our cabinets are scheduled to be installed the week of Memorial Day.  To meet this date, we’ve got to get framing & insulation inspections, blueboard & plaster, and flooring in the next 2 weeks.  Our cabinets were originally estimated for delivery sometime next week, but I have not heard anything from the shipping company as of yet.  Our new refrigerator was also originally scheduled for next Thursday, but I have re-scheduled that for May 24th.


Recycled-glass fiberglass insulation: neat!

It looks like the inside is just about ready for drywall; I think we just need a couple inspections.

The contractor is aiming for the week of May 28 (which is Memorial Day) for cabinet installation and the major carpentry on the sunroom.