Friday, August 31, 2007

We got published!

Yes, even as I struggle to get my PhD work published, in just a mere couple of months we've managed to get a letter published in American Bungalow, in the fall 2007 issue (should be on newsstands soon).

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

And now the kitchen sink

The sink is in! We were invited to a lobster picnic yesterday, but finished the sink first and here's the promised after photo. Note that I managed to capture the first drop of water!

More later (I'm on coffee break and thus the super-quick post) - the pantry with vintage oak doors will get done tonight for sure.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Everything but the kitchen sink

We are almost done installing the countertops, cabinets, and kitchen sink, and we're not posting those pix until we're really done. However, we're definitely a few blogs behind - it's been an extremely busy (and productive) couple of weeks. We've tried to be on vacation and working on the kitchen with laser focus, but of course, have had some diversions. Anyways, before we share those final pictures (by the end of the weekend, dammit!) we realized we haven't told you about all the various kitchen parts we've been collecting over the past year and a half or so, so here goes.

First, you've already seen the cabinets (, but we thought we'd share them in 'diamond-in-the-rough' form - the photo we got from the folks who sold them to us for a mere $100 (thank you!!!) Not the prettiest things, and hardware - blech - from circa 1981, but they had the charm we wanted and the right sizes. You've already seen our 2 antique cabinets in the previous blog, they make the kitchen pop so these basic versions (repainted & with new hardware) can just look plain and functional.

Second, our kitchen island/tall table, which we love, love, love. Read all about the $2 island here (

Third, lighting. This part is in progress and slated for a later completion date (code: got no time now, we'll do it later). However, we bought the lights and got total steals on good ol' ebay. There are 2 transitional mission pendants with square loops (all brass) that looked like clown lights on ebay. Luckily I saw those square loops and we got 'em for like $20 (yes, for the pair!) Then the hunt for shades and fitters - I ended up with some goofy lots of lighting parts (a few bucks here & there) until I got a pair of lovely Hubbell fitters and in the meantime, we found the main fixture for the room - a hanging, dual pendant dealie with square loops and acorn pull chains (this is a very desirable thing, by the way). Oh my god, and check out this site if you ever need to know the history of light sockets( It was missing a canopy, and we got one from Rejuvenation, it's about all we could afford from them! Then we miraculously found 4 glass shades in the style we wanted (transitional, slightly curvy square shades, sorry no pic yet) and even though they were yet another ebay find, it turned out the guy selling them was about 3 miles away, so we drove over & got them all for under $20. So lighting: check! Under $150 for the whole setup. Which is actually expensive for us.

What else...switchplates, found a crazy sale at Lee Valley, and some were only like $3 each, then we needed just a couple at full price. They're great and perfect style.

Finally, yesterday's fab find - a lovely seafoam-blue-green vase (on the left) and my favorite antique store, while shopping with mom, here on a visit. It has cattail handles and the mark looks kind of like r-r (one r is backwards), and then c 5. Anyone know who this is? It's a very Roseville-esque glaze.

Let's see - that's it for now - we have the neighbor's oak doors which will be pantry doors, but not ready for primetime yet. Cost: zero dollars. Satisfaction of saving SOLID OAK DOORS: priceless.

See you on Sunday with the final countertop installation...

Saturday, August 11, 2007


We put in the cabinet carcasses today. By the way, Ken is writing today, Sarah is packing for our trip this week, I'm already done. There does not seem to be much to cabinets, not a lot of supports or bracing, but when they go in, they always surprise me how sturdy the structure becomes! We used old cabinets we got from Uncle Henry's (see old posts) after we primed and painted them. We also added some bracing for the sink and new hidden feet.

(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!

Most of the work involves hiding the attachments and shims you use to level the cabinets. We planned fascia boards and kickplates to hide the myriad of shims used to take up the 1/2 inch of drift in the floor. Not bad for an 80 year old house. And the only corner we put cabintes in turned out to be naturally square!

(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.