Thursday, December 20, 2007
The small 3/4" accent tiles are glass, and they came from Hakatai. Check out their gallery - it makes me swoon! They will send you a sample board for a few $$ (which was really helpful) and then they sell the tiles in loose bags by the pound for only about $5 or so per bag, which was all we needed.
The 6 Art Nouveau tubelined tiles are from New England Art Tile Co. You can get them on Ebay but they're in Maine so we went down to pick them up. I think they are building a new showroom? Great price & great style.
The subways are Daltile, we got them from someone else who didn't need them, otherwise it would've been out of our price range. But they're not that expensive, really. We also checked out Subway Ceramics, they are the Mac Daddy of subway tiles and if we could've afforded it, they would have been the #1 choice!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Favorite part of the kitchen: I think it's a tie between the CLEAN, FLAT floor and the open shelves. Eddy's favorite part is the empty peanut butter jar.
Monday, December 10, 2007
So this weekend we started the rest of the backsplash tile, with the goal of putting in the bottom row. We're trying not to overdo it right now - it was pretty intensive kitchen work for a while, and we need a slow-down before the next project kicks in. However, it was going so well that we put in all the subway tile, and now just have to fill in with the multi-color strip (maybe next weekend?). But it looks so much cleaner now that the amazing technicolor wall isn't flaking off all over the place! Ahhh, the satisfying glossiness of new tile.
In our old apartment, our knife rack used to be right next to the bathroom, and it was kind of an interesting placement. This spot is much more sensible (as is the whole new kitchen in this house), but just a tiny bit, I miss the cheesy-horror-movie, Psycho-esque implications of gigantic knives next to the shower. Not that Psycho was cheesy, that was a quality classic film for sure. But Vertigo was better, no? Any votes for The Birds? ...anyways, yahoo for tile...
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Anyone know the history of these? I'm sure they have a cult following, and we'd love to hear more.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Done 1: The wine rack*. This was a teeny bit of space behind the antique base cabinet we reclaimed. Apparently older cabinets were not as deep as newer ones, so we had ~4.5" of dead space behind the unit. Can't waste space now, can we? So we planned to put in a winerack thingy. Trouble was, we couldn't wait to do it and we installed the cabinets and countertops first, then had to engineer a way to cram a skinny thing into a skinnier spot. Solution: attach narrow cleats to 2 pieces of plywood, nail/screw to both sides, then jam a 1x3 (trimmed to correct width) in between them in back to hold them apart at the proper width. Screw through that too. Luckily the drawers of the cabinet come out & leave an OK work space. Then set shelves on the cleats and finish out from the front. Note to self: do things in order next time. Works great, though! Today we added the last 2 teeny-tiny bits of trim (top and bottom, to hide some cabinet bracing ugliness) and filled nail holes. Touch up paint and it's officially done!
What's left: we have touch up painting, cap for wainscoting (all painted & ready to install), tile to set, and thresholds to sand & finish & re-install. Next spring I'll strip the cellar door and then the kitchen is 100% done. Excluding the door stripping, we will indeed be totally done by X-Mas. Yes, there's a little tear in my eye as I write this - only a few kitchen posts left.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Wow, we ARE house freaks, because: a) we already have ALL if the things on the list (except the nail nippers, which look AWESOME, FYI, and the sticky zippers, because we've been lucky to have doors where we need to shut things off), and b) I immediately recognized the utility of the headlamps - we've used them many times this way. No explanation needed.
Sadly, for our families, our holiday lists are full of incredibly specific items like: a 3/8 x 3/8 mortising bit to build rail & stile panels for the mud room seat; an assortment of antique-looking brass slotted screws, oval head and flat head (can never have enough); about 20 feet of a particular gauge of new, vintage style lighting wire from Sundial Wire....
Aw, heck, just get Lee Valley or Home Depot gift cards. Who wants to go searching for that crazy crap?
Monday, November 26, 2007
NEVETHELESS, we got way ahead on many other jobs.
- Microwave cabinet casing is in, most of the trim is up, and it looks awesome!
- Bought and cut chair rail for top of wainscoting (painting & installing: next weekend?)
- Wine rack area installed, 2 tiny trim pieces to go, but it's successfully holding the leftover thanksgiving wine right now. (Yes, there was leftover wine).
- Backsplash is indeed tiled behind the stove! Successful test of the tile fit & installation. Phew!
Please excuse the crooked picture. As you can see, it was early & the coffee was still being made. No straight pictures till 10 am.
So the kitchen will absolutely be done by X-Mas. Wahoo!
Friday, November 23, 2007
So, we've been hunting for free, old bricks for our patio project next summer. (Note: My best friend: "Where the hell do you find old bricks?"; Me: "People just have them lying around their yards".) So every time I go anywhere, I'm scanning for bricks.
A few months ago, we noticed that a new Chinese Restaurant in our old neighborhood had a pile of bricks by the side of the building. Two side notes: (1) this place is called "No. 1 Restaurant", so of course the running joke is that we're thrilled it's not the unfortunate "No. 2 Restaurant", and (2) this used to be a slightly creepy video store we used to walk to. Eew.
The other day I found myself early for an appointment and in that neighborhood, so I figured, what the heck, I'll just go ask if I can have those bricks. They were sitting there for a long time, apparently useless.
Curtains rise. Girl walks into Chinese restaurant. Woman on phone, talking in Chinese, motions to paper menus on counter. Girl looks at menu briefly (knowing she won't order from the former video store), and goes to the drink fridge, pulling out a water and pretending not to wait for the woman to get off the phone.
Woman [in Chinese, asks person on line to hold on a moment], juts chin toward girl as if to ask - what do you want?
Girl: I noticed you have a pile of old bricks outside, and I'm collecting old bricks for a project. If you want to get rid of those bricks, I'd like to take them.
Woman: [strange look], What? [Tells person on phone to hold on, in Chinese]
Girl: [motioning wildly, to act out a brick pile around the building], loudly, Sometimes people want to get rid of old bricks. You have a pile of bricks. Do you want them or can I take them?
Woman: [in poor English] Is that your car there? What's wrong?
...this goes on, until woman motions to young man in restaurant to watch the counter [spoken in Chinese] and follows girl out to brick pile. Girl explains again about bricks. Woman shakes head in dismay, goes back inside, girl follows. Woman sends young man out to figure out the situation. Girl follows young man to brick pile, explains. Young man furrows brow, goes back inside.
Woman goes back outside, followed by girl and young man, listens to question about bricks again (heavily aided by charade-like gesticulations), and finally woman says, "I used to think, 'keep', but now you take".
Girl: (motioning) Me take? OK? [OK signal with hand]
Woman: Yes [goes inside]
Girl pulls car around & loads bricks.
It was a great moment when (I think) the woman was admitting that she, too, was some sort of a pack rat, saving the bricks for something, but ready to let them go when a crazy girl asked for them.
So far, we have 36 more bricks but it's a big pile so we'll go get more now that we have permission. The next place we've found with a brick pile is in a pretty trashy neighborhood, so there ought to be a good story when we screw up the nerve to ask there, too.
Moral of story: was there one? Maybe it's 'hell, might as well ask'. We gets lots of stuff that way.
So on your birthday, BT, ask for the moon! And we hope you get it.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Despite the lack of blogging over the past week AND the fact that everytime anyone asks how the kitchen is going, we say, "Going well. Putting up trim & finish work", we are NOT lazy. Our window glazing party is tonight and we've got all but 4 little strips of beadboard in. All of the trim is up and after touchups on that and finishing the windows, all we really have left is building the microwave cabinet, sanding and refinishing thresholds, putting on the chair rail, and tiling the backsplash, for which I've been reserving Thanksgiving vacation days. Wow, we're really almost done. I know you're all relieved, and probably as sick as we are of talking kitchen.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Also check out their before pictures and commentary - although every stitch of our house was pink at some point, someone at least had the sense to paint it white. Wait - I hate that white paint! Wait - maybe it is better than white.
At least the squatter in our house left within a few hours of closing - reason number 52 to get a lawyer! But they appear to have hex tile in the bathroom. Now that's a close call - creepy squatter...hex tile??? Hmmm...
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
It struck me that although I responded to a question by a reader a while back about paint stripping, I've never put it on the blog. So as I stripped those sashes, I did the play-by-play photos. (Yes, I got a new camera charger). Following is the procedure we use, pasted from my response to the comment, and with window-specific details added. Note that I ALWAYS use citristrip on sashes - it works well, doesn't damage the glass, and it's my old standby. Other methods are better for other house parts (heat gun for trim, peel away when I'm tired of stripping, etc.) Also note that you should ALWAYS test what you're doing on a piece that will be hidden or that is not your favorite window - all the old materials and types of paint have their own personality & you need to first make sure that what you're using won't cause damage.
We use a variety of paint stripping methods, depending on the job and sometimes the mood! We assume everything is lead paint, so we never ever sand anything. We use a heat gun for starters, to get the big stuff off. This works really well in our house, because they painted right over the old shellac/varnish, and the heat gun basically heats up that shellac layer, and it slides right off with the paint. You can see the varnish on the back of a heat-gunned piece of paint, below.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Sugar buzz...wearing off. This calls for more coffee.
Oh, p.s., to the grouchy parent who said "They don't have railings", yes, we KNOW. We're building them next summer. We were a bit busy last year putting in 2 bathrooms and a kitchen. If you want to help, bring it on, b----. And if your kids don't know to stay inside the aisle of flaming pumpkins, well, you've got some parenting to do.
p.p.s. - Free candy = no complaints allowed.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Anyways, here are two of the better ones:
On this second one, note that all of the lights inside and outside the house are energy-efficient CFLs, which are really great for energy conservation. And cheap to run. And cool-burning, so you don't have to worry about the house burning down (as long as you have newer wiring, right?). May we point out that they do NOT give off a cold blue light if you pick your paint colors properly? Our house glows with a warm tone, and it looks fab. Just remember to RECYCLE your fluorescent bulbs properly - they contain mercury, which should NOT, repeat, should NOT be put in the trash.
Speaking of spooky, tomorrow is Halloween, which is amazingly huge in our neighborhood. The porch is great for distributing (and eating) candy, and we'll try to squeeze a photo or two out of the poor camera, and get you some details.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
That's it for acquisitions - the budget is gone and birthdays are over. Now we're back to painting trim and finishing out the kitchen details.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
... and here are the finished shelves, almost full of stuff. There's now an additional basket on the left, bottom to hold the travel mugs, which there's just no rational way to store. Basket seems to work great so far.
What a difference having everything back within arm's reach. And the dishes - oh, how we missed eating off real plates!
Friday, October 12, 2007
Second, our first attempt to upload a video. You tube, here we come! (just kidding, we have our hands full as it is).
So, here's the story of this clock in the video.
We found it at a local antique store (I know, not in the house but we've blogged plenty about house finds). They were using it in the coffee shop part of the store, and I guess it was time to sell it. It was right up front, staring at us as if it needed a new home, and it was only $18 (that's oddly the price we've paid for a lot of items. Seems to be a lucky number). And they said it worked because they'd been using it. It had me at 'hello' anyways - it's red! Our kitchen remodel plans were just waiting for a cool clock like this to take center stage.
Two cool things about the old clock (which appears to be from the 50s, and all original).
1. If the power goes out, it has a mechanical device in it that causes a red piece of paper (?) to spin around and so when you get home and think the times looks screwy, you know there was a power outage because there's a red dot at the top of the face. Way cool. Who needs little red light bulbs, anyways?
2. The clock makes an amazingly comforting chugging sound when it's plugged in. You can hear the gears working - nice, steady, and even. Sometimes it seems louder, sometimes softer, but if you get home from work early, all the windows are shut because it just got a bit of fall chill in the air, and it's dead silent at home, you can hear the comforting 'i think i can' of the clock from anywhere in the kitchen (or adjacent rooms). Also, when you first come downstairs for the weekend coffee and few minutes before you start doing things, there's the clock, chugging away in the silence, making just enough white noise to keep your brain quiet for a few minutes. We love this clock!
If you sit quietly, I hope you can hear it in the video.
Monday, October 8, 2007
1. After cutting and sanding everything, you need to notch the brackets to fit the cleat.
2. Pilot drill and screw the brackets onto the cleat. Note – things are upside down and backwards at this point.
3. At this point, we painted the bracket-cleat assemblies and the shelves.
4. Here’s where this starts making sense: because the brackets are acting as braces against the wall, they don’t necessarily have to be screwed to the wall. So you didn’t have to make sure you were spacing them out to match existing studs – you could space them evenly.
So now you need to attach the cleat part of the assembly to the studs at the height you want – you have to be sure to hit studs if you want the shelves to stay attached! You can also screw through the brackets into the wall if you think you need to.
5. Last step: screw the shelf down to the cleat-bracket assembly. Then just fill all your screw holes, touch up with paint, and you’re done.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
2. There are not that many cool choices for cabinet catches. We found some that work great, are pretty forgiving, and not totally cheap looking from Lee Valley (of course) - they're ball catches. They are on every door in the kitchen now & working great.
3. Even cheapo-generic beans look good in a fancy new pantry!
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
We got the issue in the mail the other day, just as I was contemplating what to do after yet another discouraging round of reviews on my research paper. Ah well, what can you do?
Anyways, our letter publication was perfectly timed, as we asked what to do about the tricky tranisition between painted woodwork around doors in the kitchen and unpainted woodwork around the dining room side of the doors. The editors answered and we're ready to get going on our trim. After a couple of other projects...and a break, now that the sink is working!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Second, our kitchen island/tall table, which we love, love, love. Read all about the $2 island here (http://bangorbungalow.blogspot.com/2007/05/more-trash-to-treasure-2-kitchen-island.html).
Saturday, August 11, 2007
(Sarah here - Ken was waiting for me to finish the pre-vacation work marathon so I could download pix, so I'm adding photos & captions to his blog).
These photos: The before, mockup. In case you were wondering what cabinets we're using, we got them for $100 through Uncle Henry's here in Maine. I think the folks who took them out just didn't want to pay to have them hauled! They were pretty ugly (and yes, the hardware will end up in next year's yard sale pile), but I knew that painted, they would give us the right look. By the way, in case we haven't mentioned, our kitchen budget is a shoestring, although we've got a few nice extras. Lucked out with free sink & fridge! We only needed a couple because we're going to do upper shelves. There's an antique cabinet (far right, picture 2) that we want to make into the focal point for cabinets, it will be painted the accent (green trim) color and gives the kitchen some class. I haggled the folks at one of my fave antique stores down to $60 from $100 for that, the hardware is worth it (patented 1873, cool eastlake cast iron bin pulls). Plus we got a Napanee Hoosier Helper (little white cabinet, on left in first pic) in rough shape, I also haggled it down to about $60 because it needs a good bit of work (and had horrendous hardware!) That will be painted either the cabinet cream or green, jury's still out on that one). We love the porcelain top, it's great next to the stove & has a pull out cutting board which is great when you've got a hot pan & no countertops yet!
(Sarah again: these photos show the painted cabinets & the installation. Obviously they'll look better with doors & drawers, but we're thrilled with them as compared to the old cabinets, and the way these looked before painting!) Look at that sunlight streaming in! Now that's a kitchen!
OK, that's all for now. We're out of town, Ken's doing some work and I'm getting a pedi (a rare treat, but it's been a long trip to finishing the dissertation) at one of my favorite spas, the Common Man in NH. Kicking off the vacation right, and maybe a paraffin dip will get all the rest of the floor adhesive & alkyd primer off my feet! Poor pedicurist, she doesn't know what she's in for.