Monthly Archive: June 2012

Week 13 update

At some point early in the process, our contractor stated to us that they had “never had a kitchen project take longer than three months.” We started on April 2.  So on Monday, it will have been three months.  I suspect they’re not quite gonna make it.

Last week I wrote about three significant work items before we can declare the kitchen done, namely the pantry door, the backsplash behind the stove, and the finish coat on the floor.  This week, we saw partial progress on two of these three items: the pantry door is hung but its casing is not yet applied; and the tile backsplash has been set but not yet grouted.  The floor finish is awaiting completion of the other two and of the baseboards.  Oh, and we still have two cabinet doors that don’t have their knobs yet.  We made some progress on all these areas this week, but we had hoped they would just be done.  As I said last week, we can’t move into the kitchen for real until the floors are done (dust & smell).  What’s worse, the stove is pulled out from the wall so the tiling can get done, so we’ve actually taken a step backwards in functionality.  I don’t know what the holdup is, and it’s frustrating.  The progress we’ve seen this week (on the kitchen, and on the sunroom) is good, and the end product is going to be exactly what we wanted, but it’s agonizing to be this close to done.

On the sunroom front, the three sliding glass doors went in this week, as well as the framing for the back stoop (holding off on decking until later; it’s just got plywood right now).  And the lattice — vertical 1×3″ PVC matching the front porch — is installed on one of the three faces. I keep meaning to take a new picture of the outside; it’s too dark out now, but I’ll try to post a picture tomorrow.

The cedar shingles (siding) got patched in sufficiently this week to be worth my while to haul out the ladder and the other exterior painting supplies.  The area around 2 of the three new kitchen windows is now house-colored again; there’s shingling work to be done around the third one still, and where the sunroom meets the existing house.  I also painted what’s almost the last of the woodwork in the kitchen — there’s a short section of baseboard by the pantry door that still needs to go in, and the shelf in the coat closet; I’ll need to paint those too.  But this weekend’s major accomplishment is that I manufactured the tabletop for our kitchen table out of a maple butcher-block blank that I had ordered some time back.  I can’t recall if I’ve talked about this on the Remodel blog or not.  The tabletop is currently in the basement, with a coat of polyurethane drying; I’ll try to post a picture of it tomorrow as well.  I also installed a ball catch onto the top of the French doors betwen kitchen and dining room, onto the door that doesn’t have a doorknob.  This door already has a pin that slides into a hole to keep it shut, but the ball catch is more convenient.

This coming week we certainly hope to see the official end of the kitchen project, though with the July 4th holiday in the middle of the week I’m preparing myself for the possibility it still won’t be done.

Week 12 update

We have passed a turning point: the wraps have come off, and we’ve been given permission to start moving into the kitchen!

It’s not done yet.  There are still some details to be finished, but the cabinets & counters are all in, the appliances & plumbing are hooked up and functional, and we’ve started preparing our meals here instead of in the basement.  The kitchen is now treated as finished space, meaning there are dust barriers between it and ongoing work, and any dirty or dusty work should go on someplace else or be cleaned up immediately.

We are not moving in fully yet, primarily because one of the remaining steps is the final finish coat on the floor.  That will generate some dust (which we don’t want to have to wash off of plates etc.) and smell (which we don’t want to permeate food items), and will also mean we won’t be able to get into the kitchen for a period of 24-48 hours at some point this week. We’ve brought up some minimal items but the rest will have to wait.

The three remaining significant work items are the door for the pantry (which is cherry, and they’re staining it to match the cabinets), the tile backsplash behind the stove, and the final coat on the floor as I mentioned.  There are, of course, myriad smaller tasks as well. Here’s the pantry awaiting its door. You can also see the resolution of the “white stripe” question: they installed a trim board here for us and it looks much better.


Yesterday I spent most of the day priming & painting the trim they got done since last time, and doing another round of touch-up. This time I paid attention to why this process takes me so much longer than I think it should, and I figured out that it’s the primer. Primer is designed to stick really well to raw wood surfaces, and the wood really seems to draw it off of the brush.  As a result, it takes a lot of brushloads to cover. I’m also on the lookout for any final surface defects worth filling or sanding, and I’m taping those few areas I don’t feel confident about cutting in without tape.  So while the finish coat of semigloss on three windows and about 12 feet of baseboard took me a couple hours, the primer coat took me more like five. 

They’ve got a little more baseboard to install, and a few parts of the trim could stand some sanding and a second coat of semigloss.  So I expect I’ll be painting again next weekend as well.  We’re really pleased with how the trim is coming out.


We saw good progress on the sunroom this week too. They finished framing the roof early in the week and installed ice-dam membrane over the whole thing (since it’s so small), and the roofers came yesterday (yes, Saturday) to put up the finished roof and gutters.  And it got a good workout yesterday from a truly massive thunderstorm that rolled through.  The soffit & fascia are installed, the walls (such as they are) have sheathing and tyvek, and the footings for the new back stoop are poured.  Pretty impressive progress for a week that gave us a heat wave.  Itt already feels nice to be in what’s now actually a room — breezy, lots of light, very open — and so I am happy to think that we’ll be able to sit & relax out there in a month or so.

Week 11 update

At the beginning of this project, our contractor stated “We’ve never had [a kitchen remodel] go longer than 3 months.  Well, they’ve got 2 more weeks!

This week, all the crown moulding went up, seemingly all at once.  The cabinets just need “vacuum and adjust” as our contractor put it, and knobs, and they’re done!

The other kitchen progress this week is that all the door casings went up.  I spent a longer-than-expected day Saturday prepping and painting them. The window casings need to wait for the countertops (since 2 windows have stone sills), and the baseboards still need to go in, so I suspect I’ll be doing it all again next weekend.

Oh, and after much head-scratching, the range hood now vents to the outside.

We are told to expect countertops to show up at 10:30 tomorrow morning, which is very exciting news indeed. Once the counters are in and the plumbers have worked their magic, we’ll be able to use the kitchen as a kitchen, even if it’s not 100% done.

On the sunroom front, the walls are up and the roof is about 50% framed.

You can see the rough openings for the tall windows / doors on the side and back, and the kneewall on the front.  This kneewall is a bit higher than we had expected, but that’s fine — it will give us good privacy from the street. The pole in the middle is temporary until they get the rest of the roof framing done — the addition has a hip roof rather than a gable end.

We’re told that there’s more leadtime than expected on the sliding windows for the front wall, and that may well delay completion of the project. But we’re proceeding with plans for a kitchen-warming in mid-late July even though the sunroom portion may not be 100% done. Stay tuned for details.

Week 10 update

It feels like we’re actually closing in on getting a kitchen back.

The countertops were templated, and we went to approve the slabs, as I posted about. We are indeed getting everything we want with the counters: no seams at all, stone windowsills, and a tall backsplash up to the sills. I think it’s going to look fabulous.  The lead time is about 2 weeks, and I suspect that their arrival will mark the completion of the kitchen portion of the project.

The electricians also made good progress this week.  The three nickel & glass pendants, all the undercabinet lights, and the recessed fixtures are in, complete with dimmers; and the majority of the outlets are operational.  Still to be done are the Tiffany lamp, fixtures for the coat closet & pantry, outlet for the stove, and (most importantly) the subpanel for the extra circuits.

The range hood is installed and wired, but needs its vent duct
installed still (it’s a chimney style, so the ducting is entirely above

The cabinets are now all installed.  The installers were kind enough to modify the face frame of the microwave cabinet, since just about every countertop microwave on the market is a fraction of an inch wider than the 21″ opening on this cabinet. You would think the cabinet people and the microwave people would be on the same page here. This also gave us an opportunity to try out the cabinets’ stain, which we’ll be using on the cherry door to the pantry so it matches.
The light rail is up, as is all the starter moulding that backs up the crown.  So the only things left from a cabinet perspective are installing the crown, installing a filler above the fridge, adjusting the doors to line up properly, and putting on the knobs & pulls.

Finish carpentry also needs to be completed before we can declare victory. Baseboards and window & door trim will go a long way to making the room feel like a room instead of a construction zone.  The “belly moulding” and corner block window & door casings were delivered this week.

On the sunroom side of the project, we have a floor!  We were told to feel free to use it as a deck this weekend, and I intend to go sit out there with a magazine and a beer just as soon as I finish posting this update.  We’re told that framing for the walls and roof should happen this coming week, which I’ll be sure to post about. 

One setback this week on the sunroom: the revelation that we’re going to need a railing to keep people from falling out of the sliding doors that we’re using as windows. I need to discuss further with the contractor in the morning, but my feeling is we will want some sort of metal railing that looks like a balcony railing.  I spent several hours today researching what’s possible relatively inexpensively with off-the-shelf parts, and the following drawing is what I came up with.  I think this will look fine, maybe even appropriate to the house if we dress it up like this.


A lot of update today, aside from the countertop slabs.

The electrician was on site today, and installed our permanent in-ceiling cans (Cree CR6).  These look great!  He also installed one example of the pendants and one of the undercabinet lights.

Here you can see all three.  The color temperature of the recessed lights and pendants is very close to each other (around 2700K), and the undercabinet lights are are a little whiter (3000K).  This is a good combination that will make the undercabinet lights appear a little brighter than they are without adding glare.  I am looking forward to darkness this evening so we can see how well they really work.

Besides the lights, the electricians got about half the outlets & switches activated today.  They anticipate being back on Friday to finish up the rest.

Also… the sunroom begins!  We have a ledger (up against the house) and the start of the main outside beams.  The weather appears to be improving this week more quickly than anticipated, so I am hoping for speedy progress on the rest of the sunroom framing this week.