Category Archives: kitchen remodel

bathroom, day 3

Yes, I am aware that I am not counting actual days here, but i see no better way to keep track of these posts.  After Jay grouted and sealed and installed the toilet, we have a semi-working bathroom now. Hooray!  No more of the boys racing each other through our bedroom at 4 am, turning on every light as they go.

We actually got a fancy new toilet because we had some money left over on our Costco gift card and they had these $80 gems there that appear to be decent.  All the kids gathered around as Jay introduced the new family member.  It has a state of the art “quiet closing lid”, which the kids enjoyed taking turns to see how hard it could be slammed and still be quiet.  I was impressed.  Being the environmentally conscience people that we are, however, we were most excited about the all new “dual flush” technology.

Shortly after Jay finished installing and caulking the new potty, Ikey decided he was going to be the “christen-er”.  I was in my bedroom with Noah dealing with a discipline issue involving his reluctance to want to sit down and work on some homework.  I was very intentionally speaking to him about the issues in his heart causing his sour attitude and how Christ wants us not only to obey with our actions but for our attitudes to reflect an obedient spirit as well.  Just I was getting to the part where I confess where I sometimes struggle with this same issue, he let out a small whimper.

“FINALLY he is getting it,” I thought.  I have gotten through to him and he sees the root sin to all his complaining.

“What is it Noah,” I prodded then leaned in close to hear his little heart….

“I am just so afraid that Ikey is going to use the pee button instead of the poop button.”


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I can’t wait to share about the weekend trip I just made to be in my friend’s North Carolina wedding, but since I opted not to bring my camera (crazy, I know), I am at the mercy of those who did to send me some pics.

Until then, I can tell you about a little project that is getting underway this week.  Unfortunately this is a re-project.  I don’t know if that is the technical term, but what I mean is in the slow process of redeeming every corner of our home, this corner is one that is requiring two visits.

The kid’s bathroom was in dire straights when we moved in, besides the cabinetry being very worn and the walls covered in pink and blue southwest print wallpaper, the sweet old couple who first customized the house chose to put carpet in the bathroom… gross.  SO, the summer before last we tore out the old carpet, vanity, wallpaper and mirror and put in a new vanity we found at costco, wainscot and some cheap slate tile.  After only a year the vaneer wood on the vanity started peeling off, and we realized why it was such a good deal,.  Also, the slate I was set on getting did not go in as well as we had hoped.  It was different thicknesses and made for a very bumpy floor.

So, a couple weekends ago we removed the vanity, took it back to costco and with the giftcard we received from the return, bought them out of travertine tile.

I started removing the “old” slate on Tues.  Equipped with a sledge hammer and a crowbar, I was able to remove about half of it in an hour and a half.  Usually Jay loves the demo, but since I was the one who insisted on this subpar flooring to begin with, I have taken on the task of removing it.

… and I carried it downstairs and outside in this.

We do like deadlines for projects, but this one is going to be close.  Our deadline for having this completed is the end of the month when we are having a stranger stay with us for a couple days.  Hopefully she will have a functioning bathroom … without having to brush her teeth in the shower.

stay tuned…

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recession remodel- part 3

the BEFORE picture

There has been so many other amazing things to talk about, I almost forgot about my kitchen update…..  We are done for the most part.  Done with what we can do.  Saving up for the rest.  Now that I am far enough away from it, I am starting to get that post-project-it-wasn’t-that-bad-didn’t-take-that-long feeling that always overshadows how absolutely crazy it was around here for a bit.  This is why we still do projects.  All joking aside, most of it is enjoyable.  Jay and I get to spend hours and hours of time together, sometimes late at night with a bottle of wine, sometimes mid day while are kids are running around the neighborhood naked… but it is time to talk and dream and just be together doing something we both like.

I do want to thank my sweet sister-in-law who was the very first one to see the kitchen finished.  The first thing she says (while not doing a great job disguising the disgust in her voice) is,

“You guys got new counter tops?…”

“WHAT?  NO!  They have always been pink, we didn’t choose this color, it was here…. don’t you like the cabinets????”

So, yes, as with most things, improvement can exacerbate imperfection.  We didn’t realize whitening the kitchen would result in a sort of strawberries and cream effect.  But with the cost of granite, we are learning to love the flavor for now.

The last thing to tackle was the island.  We knew we wanted it to be a contrasting color and since it is small and manageable we decided to go with a dark stain.  Three cans of stain later we settled on this one which is as dark as you can get for oak.  Jay added the wainscot in the recessed area which I really like.  We put wainscot in the laundry room right around the corner so it kinda ties it together.

This is the first coat of stain…

This is after 3 …

We had the 4 cabinet doors “dipped” to make sure they were “naked” for the staining process (‘ ” ‘ indicates terms I have learned recently.)

After the sanding-priming-sanding-priming-sanding-painting-sanding-painting routine with all the doors and drawers I decided to do some sort of glazing technique.  I was not nervous b/c everything I read or saw made it sound like you had to be an idiot to mess it up.  Well,  I wont tell you I messed it up, but it did take me several tries to come up with a technique I liked.  The “all over” technique looked less antique-y and more just dirty to me so I decided on a “pinstripe” technique just to accentuate the details.  It took a long time- when I got good, about 30 min/door.  I wouldn’t let Jay do any b/c I wanted there to be consistency so it was quite a job.

So here it is!  Of course, if you were at my house I would tell you that we replaced the electric cooktop with a gas one I found on craigslist for cheap and we bought the hood on ebay and then I would go through all the things that we still plan on doing (wood floors, granite counter tops, tile backsplash, new light fixtures), but I wont go into those and just say that I am content with where we are.  Wiping speghetti sauce off drywall is not as bad as I would’ve thought.


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recession remodel- part 2

So last I left off we had started the upper cabinets.  We decided it was necessary to sand each and every door- front and back and then the cabinet frames as well.  The cabinets were in such bad shape we really couldn’t get around this arduous task.

At this point I’m sure everyone’s question is “were you able to save the cabinet liner” and unfortunately the answer is no.

Next, we painted the cabinet doors, drawers and frames with an oil based primer.

This picture was taken right after Jay said, “What are we doing?”  No worries, he says it at least once a project.

As you can see, everything is disastrous and we are well beyond the point of no return.  I am embarrassed to say we spent several weeks in this survival mode, fixing garden vegetables next to paint cans and emptying the dishwasher into the formal dining room.  The whole kitchen was covered not once, but twice in a thick coat of dust from the heavy sanding Jay did.

We did the uppers and lowers in two stages for sanity’s sake but I’ll combine the stages.  We ended up using two coats of primer finding the expensive paint went a lot farther this way (requiring only two coats).

This was Havi’s favorite part of the remodel.  She was sure we had decided to make our kitchen into her playground and took it personally when eventually the doors went back on : )

The next step was to paint the top coat.  This was quite an experiment as we had no idea what we were doing.  We used oil-based primer on the advice of someone who had done this before but it is so much harder to work with, I was desperate to use a latex topcoat.  We finally found a good Sherwin-Williams paint that was made for wood doors, cabinets and trim.   It is called ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex and it is a waterborne paint.  I have no idea how that makes a difference other than we were not going to have to put on a polyurethane finish which was music to my ears and made the added expense worth it.

You can see here where Jay has added some of the molding…

Jay’s next task was to take down the tile backsplash… seemed easy enough.  However, when I got back from a trip to Lowe’s I saw that it had turned into a little more of a project than expected…

I guess the tile didn’t come down without a fight so Jay got to practice his sheetrocking skills as well.

You can see here the finished crown molding Jay did on the tops of the cabinets.  Isn’t he amazing!  Okay, that all for now.  Final reveal in a couple of days.


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