Life of Megan

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ah, daylight

There isn't much I dislike about living in Ithaca. I love the scenery. I like our shops and restaurants. I like the people. I even like the weather (and that includes winter). But it's around this part of the year that I start missing the South. Our daylight is fading, fast. Already, the sun doesn't rise until after 7:30, and the sun sets around 6:00. I think we're losing 2 minutes per day. By mid-December, it'll be dark until 8:30, and then it'll get dark again around 4:30. Bleah.

Fortunately, I think I'll be able to run at lunch time. =)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kitchen Renovation - All that Remains Is Painting Touch-Ups

Sorry about the downtime on my blog. Not only did posting every day take its toll on me, but we also didn't have much to report. Until now. Phylis's constant pestering of the Silestone folks paid off, and we got our countertops in record time. It's hard to believe, but they look even better than we had imagined. The windows came in just before the countertops; Matt installed them one day before the countertop installation, making his job far easier. Sometime while we were waiting for the countertops, we bought a new fridge. After the countertop and sink installation, we had a day to wait before plumbing, but this gave us a chance to paint the baseboards before they went up. So between Friday and Monday, Matt was able to finish up the job, installing baseboards, the backsplash, the disposal, the dishwasher, and the faucet.

In case you are in the area and looking for some new kitchen or bathroom work, Judson and I would highly recommend our designer Phylis, from Builder's Best, and our contractor Matt Mydlenski. They helped us get exactly what we were looking for at a reasonable price and on a great schedule. Phylis was always there to answer our questions and to help us out with design decisions. She really worked a miracle on our difficult kitchen space. Matt's work was top-notch. They were both easy to work with, dependable, and kept to their schedules. Please contact me if you'd like to get in touch with them.

I know you just want to see more pictures at this point, so here you go.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 11

Today, the floor was finished, and our appliances arrived (except for the microwave, which I forgot to mention was on backorder). Plus, Matt installed our prodigal wall cabinet. Oh, and he put on the toekicks. Our floor was finished with a nice, angular piece of oak (I think) at the threshold to the dining room, and there is another nice oak piece at the top of the steps. I suppose I should take pictures of these, but that may give me something to do tomorrow when there probably won't be anything to report.

Oh, and I'm sorry about the lighting in some of these shots. I probably should have turned on the undercabinet lights.

The back corner. As you can tell, we cooked our first meal on our new stove tonight!

The front wall. The dishwasher installation will be completed once the sink is installed.

The front corner. Doesn't that extra cabinet help the kitchen look finished, even without a door?

Another shot of that corner.

I think we can all agree that we ought to splurge for a new fridge to complete the look.

The finished floor!

Dinner was a potato, onion, pepper, garlic, and egg hash, which Judson was nice enough to start cooking while I was out running.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 10

Today, the countertop guys prepared their template for our countertops. Phylis came over to answer their questions and help out, and I went home for the occasion. I felt like I was basically unneeded, but it was fun to watch them work. They had a laser surveying camera with an extremely nice tripod. They also did a lot of tape-measuring and sketching. It seemed like a smart combination of old and new technologies. The whole process was far more time consuming than I had imagined it would be.

Matt spent a long day here laying out our floor tile. He had to run to the store for more of tile adhesive when he was down to about 10 remaining tiles. =( Anyhow, it looks great!

Tomorrow, the floor gets finished, and our appliances get installed. Hooray!

Dinner was squash, potato, and apple soup. It was less weird and much tastier than it sounds.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 9

Today, we went over to Builder's Best to meet with Phylis and pick out a grout color for our backsplash tile. We picked a light, creamy gray. I think it'll look really nice.

Anyhow, work continues to move along with our kitchen. I bet you all thought our cabinets were already as awesome as they could be. I know we probably did. But today, someone turned the volume to 11:

The crown molding is in place!


Here are a few more photos:

The reason that the front cabinet doesn't look finished here is that we are waiting for another cabinet to come in. There was a misunderstanding about our replacement windows, which led to a measurement issue. Anyhow, who cares?! More photos time!

Oh, and Matt installed our lighting fixture:

Tomorrow, the templaters are coming for our kitchen counters, so it should be a really big day. We're looking forward to it.

Dinner tonight was steak and veggies from the grill. Yum!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 8

Here's what I saw when I came home:

Except that I didn't see the under-cabinet lights for at least an hour, and I didn't notice the paint problem in the bottom left corner where the oven will go until I uploaded these pictures. My guess is that the spackle wasn't completely dry, so the primer didn't adhere well there. We'll just cut that out, prime, and repaint.

I think my thoughts went: "Wall cabinets! I'm so cold! Wall Cabinets! Ooh, outlet and switch plates. The walls are less shiny. I should look in the cabinets!"

Yes, there were that many exclamation points.

Here's the front corner. We don't really know why Matt didn't get around to the hardware there--but that stuff can be a lot more time-consuming than it looks.

Eventually, I noticed that our under-cabinet lights were installed. It occurred to me to check whether they were wired. They were! It turns out that lit under-cabinet lights are difficult to photograph. Here are the best results.

The templaters are coming on Wednesday, and our new appliances are being delivered on Thursday. Hooray!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 7

Today was a good example of how you don't always get what you want. We finished the first coat of paint last night at midnight. Then we kept ourselves awake until 1:00 so that we could check to see whether we'd need a second coat. It was pretty obvious we did. Because of the amount of trim we had to paint (two doors, a third threshold, and the window) and needing to get the ceiling done, we knew we needed to get up early to get that second coat done as quickly as possible.

So we got up at 7:00 this morning and got working. Then we went to play board games while we waited for the paint to dry. The Cheap-Ass game "The Big Idea" turned out to be fun. We also played hearts and one round of Pitch. So it was more of a card-gaming session.

Anyhow, we came home around 2:00 or 2:30 and checked the paint. It still felt a little tacky, but it wasn't leaving any fingerprints, and our tape test didn't show any problems. Unfortunately, it turned out that no tape would stick to it, so we couldn't mask.

We painted the doors and all outer trim (stuff that was already masked). That took a while. We took a break, and then we went to dinner. We got home and started working again around 6:30.

The tape still wouldn't stick. My best guess is that with the darker paint, plus the high humidity and cooler temperatures, the paint drying time is far longer than normal. We had to get the ceiling done, or it'd be nearly impossible, so we decided to freehand the edging, since anywhere that would eventually be visible would be reasonable to mask and touch-up later with the red. Also, we didn't really have a choice. We'll get to the trim in a day or two when we can spend the time and when the paint is good and dry.

All in all, we worked our butts off this weekend, and we made good progress. We're not where we wanted to be, but realistically, we're not very far away, either. We wish our paint (it's a satin finish) was a little less shiny, but maybe that's partly that it's not completely dry. On the other hand, it's not too bad. And I can still move my hands enough to type, which is a good sign.

The color doesn't seem to be coming through too well on my monitor, but I'm trying to provide pics just the same. Another note on the photos: a lot of places, it looks like we have problems or need a third coat. It's not like this in real life--the problem is largely related to sheen and uneven walls.

Back corner.

Front corner.


Door to mudroom.

Front corner again. Spot on ceiling is undried paint (it rolls on pink).

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 6

This weekend is all about painting, and we got a good start today (okay, so we're still going to go back and paint our first coat on the walls). While Judson was showering, I vacuumed the kitchen.

We officially started off our day by going to the Farmer's Market to get some vegetables for grilling and crockpotting. Judson had already decided to make us stew for dinner. This was a great idea, aside from the torture of smelling the stew as we worked. After that, we stopped at Ithaca Bakery for breakfast. I had a Tex Mex. Yummy. Our next stop was Lowes, where we bought paint, gray primer (we had some white primer for the ceiling and trim already), rollers, and rechargeable AA batteries (so you guys can see our progress). Then, we went to Home Depot for Frog Tape. (The Frog Tape is worth the trip, trust me). Finally, we headed to Wegmans for plasticware and paper plates, plus breakfast food, beer (Saranac Pumpkin), and Wegmans Diet Orange Soda.

The big angled one is "Bus," and the small angled brush is "Top."

Paint-related tools and supplies

The paint!

Finally, we got to work. We cleaned using Simple Green, which has always worked well for us. Once the walls were dry, we masked and primed the trim and ceilings. We don't know who painted our kitchen doors, but we do know that they had a knack for unleashing the pain. We recently finished priming the walls, and I think the whole room took us one quarter the time it took us to paint two doors, the window trim, the ceiling, and a threshold. Ugh.

I swear the primer is gray, not blue.

Our ladder!

Check out our snazzy gas line protection.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 5

Today was a pretty slow day as most things are now waiting for us to finish painting. Matt extended/ran our gas line up and has it ready for the stove. His other work for the day wasn't immediately obvious--I think it was largely planning related (or maybe he spent the day cutting tiles).

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 4

Oh it's beginning to look a lot like kitchen,
Everywhere you go.
Take a look at the lazy Susan,
Revolving at a whim:
It's where our pots and pans and things will go!

Now that I've planted that ear worm, let's talk about my kitchen. As you may have guessed, our kitchen is starting to look like a kitchen again! What brought this about? Base cabinets!!!

I had a busy but satisfying day at work. I had arrived there early (7:30) so that I could leave early, giving me time to run and to take a quick shower before going to Hang Time at Red Feet Wine Market around 6:00. I believe I pulled into our driveway around 5:30. I practically ran to the front door. I bounded up the steps into the kitchen. And then I stopped dead in my tracks, mouth agape, just thinking "Wow."

Back right corner of the kitchen; the opening is for the stove.

Front of the kitchen; the opening is for the dishwasher.

Front of the kitchen from a different angle.

Back of the kitchen; the stove will sit at the other side of the lazy Susan.

Front corner of the kitchen. The dishwasher goes on the other side of the lazy Susan. The lightbulb is related to the under-cabinet lights; it's controlled by the other new switch.

Today, Matt also checked out our toilet to make sure that it wasn't responsible for our ceiling damage and resealed it, just in case. The toilet probably wasn't leaking, but this adds a little insurance. The real problem (as I had suspected) is that the wood in that area is damaged from years of slow leaks, and that's not a simple fix. So we have another project for the future.

Matt extended our boiler stack thingie (as you can tell, I'm not really sure what it is) so that snow and ice won't easily fall into it. Yay!

And stuff in the basement suggests he is ready to install the gas line. Also, he told Judson that he wanted to install the gas line soon.

We will definitely be painting this weekend. I know it may seem unconventional to paint after installing some of the cabinets, but this allowed us to get a templating appointment early next week, and masking isn't really *that* terrible.

We lost our baseboard for the cabinet installation, and because of how that stuff is nailed into place, much of it got harmed when it was being removed. Also, it was painted. So we'll be getting new baseboard in the areas that do not have cabinets. Should we go with a natural wood tone, or should we paint it? If we go natural, what wood/stain?

Dinner tonight was Viva. It's Ithaca's version of Super Taco. (Shoutout to my Clemson buddies!)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Kitchen Renovation, Day 3

I wanted to start by apologizing for a lack of new photos today. I was going to take some, but it seems that two of my rechargeable batteries have kicked the bucket (the recharger gives its ominous blinking "recharge failing" code no matter which slot I put these two into, and the others charge fine in all slots). My camera is a battery hog, and I can't find any other AA batteries. So you'll have to give me time to buy replacements. =)

All the backer board is now installed, and the doors to our Butler's Pantry were shortened so that they will still open after the tile is installed. A bonus to this is that Matt completed my project to even up the tongue-and-groove boards that were sliding on the door--that's one that I'd been hoping to get around to for 2 years! Both doors are now installed, and they look great.

All our wiring is now hot and working. The labels in our circuit-breaker box are now mysteriously accurate. The old 220 V connection for the old electric stove has been dropped back to the basement and set up as a plug for an electric dryer. All the mudding is finished, and we have a nice, smooth ceiling.

Judson bought our under-cabinet lights. We decided on our new windows.

I think that tomorrow, the base cabinet installation starts, but I'm not really sure. I think it's a little more fun to come home to a big surprise.

Dinner tonight was Sindbad. I had half a chicken pita and some zaatar bread.