This post has been a long time coming.
I’ve wanted to post so many times in the past few months, but geez, this kitchen remodel is taking every available second. (I know you know if you have ever had the extreme pleasure of going through this experience.)
It was back in March I started taking down sheet rock in the kitchen — and the lovely pony wall. The idea was…change the way it looked so I could see the possibilities. Which helped and didn’t help. (Remember we spent that horrible month dealing with pests who realized we had shifted their stratosphere. They wanted in and we did battle. And thankfully won.)
It took several conversations with architects, designers and then finally the builder we went with — to decide on the layout of the new kitchen. (BTW…I love working with this builder. He is amazing … and knows just when to call me out on my BU___T.)
A few more words on my lovely builder … we spent a lot of time in the ‘design’ phase. He advised me the more time we spent there, fewer problems would be encountered during the actual construction phase. Boy, was he right. (We still, every now and then, remind each other, ‘Hey, didn’t we talk about that. You know. The cabinet here in the corner was gonna work this way.’)
The real demo work didn’t start until about six weeks ago — and it feels like every day there is a moment when I stop and almost want to cry because I see the design taking shape. I see our shared vision coming into view.
(Speaking of view, we replaced the old window above the sink with a picture window of the backyard and this, with the new patio door — provides so much light you don’t even need to turn on lights. YES!!)
It was just within the last two weeks the sheetrock went up — and then the tape and float guy did his job.
Actually, today, some of the can lighting was turned on in the kitchen. So, what has always been a dark, dank space where I washed dishes, is fully illuminated…and since I know where the counters are going I can tell every inch will be as light as 3 o’clock on any Austin summer day. YES!! Seriously, folks, it’s bringing tears to my eyes.
One of the big moments today was the demolition of ‘cinder block’ stairs that would take you from the back of the house to the backyard. Jeff and Jason, our day-to-day guys on the job, walked those cinder blocks out to the BAGSTER out front. So, now, this is the third or fourth BAGSTER we’ve used up just on ‘little things’ with this job.
As they peeled back some of the blocks, they discovered items left from the initial construction of the stairs — a LITE PILSNER BEER CAN, an OLD MOTOR and a construction brick that says ‘FRASER CLAY.’ We were hoping to find a baggie with money, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Oh, well…there’s next week. ha!!
(thanks, btw…for sitting through this long post, and trying to make out what’s in these fuzzy images. My Canon is being shipped back to the factory — to deal with the SD card slot — which is jammed. So, for now, I’m having to take pics on my i-phone. Ugh.)
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Yes…George and I are fighting over this beast. Will it be his office, my little planning studio — or a place to shower for us both??
I don’t know. TBD…tune in….cause things are about to get really good…
Positive folks like to say, ‘it gets the darkest before the dawn.’
We say: ‘It’s darkest before it goes PITCH BLACK.’
If you were to come in our house you might think you were in downtown, war-torn Beirut.
It looks BLEAK, folks. A beautiful mess, if you will…
Just when I think I have the final design, there’s one part that just doesn’t work. Just when I think I’ve made a final decision about a color, a cabinet facing material, or where a major appliance will be located…
something doesn’t quite work/fit etc…and that impacts EVERYTHING.
There HAS BEEN PROGRESS and I have to point to it to make myself feel better…
I am lucky enough to have great friends that introduced me to the guy that will end up doing the building…
And he has been building great things in Austin for a long, long time (over 40 years). He holds my hand and leads me to where I need to go. He draws layouts and sketches (which I won’t post here for fear I’ll have you sleeping, if I haven’t already.)
He checked in on me today to see if I finished my homework from our last visit.
What he also suggested and I have done is bought a bunch of cardboard boxes from U-Haul.
They get assembled and placed where I think I want cabinets.
The cardboard boxes help me imagine what it will feel like 3-D.
Sure, we can make a 3-D sketch…but this is so much better.
It costs less than $100 for all the boxes, and I know it has already saved me from putting up an ‘appliance garage’ that would be too bulky in the space I was thinking of.
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It’s been a crazy busy week at the house…and when I think about where we are netting out, I’m proud that George and I haven’t totally lost it.
- Traps were set in the attic and crawl space. (And we already have proof that it worked!! They LOVE Peanut Butter.)
- A new door with a concrete footer was made and installed.
- The hole around the water heater line was plugged up.
- Trim repairs were made to roof lines.
- ‘Hardi trim’ was installed under the vinyl siding, to seal skirting.
- New pier installed to replace rotted one.
- Entire house and front porch leveled. (However, now we have tears in sheetrock in pretty much every room, which I knew would happen…we just had to bite the bullet on this one.)
- Copper pipe that broke during this process now fixed. (I love running water!!)
- Scheduled more foundation work to address the way joists are positioned in the center of the house.
- We are a few days away from signing papers to secure our architect’s drawing services … he’ll provide detailed sketches for the general contractor. (I love that he lives in our neighborhood!)
- (I have found through consultations with this architect that more is needed than my lame sketches. Especially when dealing with a house of this age, and the unique materials that were used in its initial construction.)
- We are close to a final design!! Yes!!
- We are very close to determining a size for the deck — one that will be coming off the back of the house, from the kitchen.
MASTER BATH REMODEL
- Tub has been ordered and is on its way.
- Fixtures arrived yesterday.
- Work scheduled to begin March 30. Yipppe!! (Gotta love a working bathroom.)
- Four recessed led ‘cans’ were installed in the living room. And this has pretty much changed our life — I think we were going blind with the lack of lighting…but NOW WE CAN SEE. Can I get an AMEN??
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I thought I had been to hell before, but this was a new kind of hell this week…
Like George said, it was more about the ‘mental torture’ than anything else.
See, little ole me thought I could pull back the walls to see what we have lurking beneath. But the one crucial step I missed was boarding up EVERYTHING after I had my ‘lil look-see.
You combine that with the fact that we live by a creek and the temps reached below freezing — and Pandora’s Box was opened to all sorts of wildlife.
I saw one little grey butt (with rat-like tail) dive back into the gap between some kitchen switch plates.
George definitely saw a critter scamper across the floor.
(We are not sure if this was a rat or mouse…it was big, however, according to George.)
Now, I’m ok with just about anything…I can be close to a raccoon and not feel a panic…but the thought of that small creature — like a mouse or RAT — possibly having access to my bed, freaks me out to HIGH HEAVEN.
My heart starts racing fast and I am ready for an EXTENDED STAY hotel.
Now, for my husband, you can just double the TERROR.
He’s a Yankee and they just aren’t used to mice, rats, coons or anything that is of BOTTOM FEEDER status.
(I mean, sure, he went to SLEEP-A-WAY camp at the Y as a kid, but he stayed in a nice sealed up cabin, not a tent. And it just appears that he has very little experience even seeing wildlife.)
So, now, George needs therapy.
(It’s just another cost to budget into the remodel. Sigh.)
Things are on the upswing, though.
After working Friday on a frantic ‘temporary fix’ — that included tons of foam and plywood boarding — we put in a call to our local CRITTER RIDDER service. (They do what’s called an EXTRACTION service.)
They don’t put out poison. No, they don’t do that because the critters would die in our walls and we’d have a rotted egg smell to high heaven. What they do is inspect and find all the exterior entrances. Then they board up all the holes and set the traps. (The traps are checked every week.)
Our CRITTER RIDDER inspection happened Monday.
When the guy showed up at our house he asked if I wanted to see a ring-tailed cat he had just removed from a house in Lakeway. (Of course, my curiosity got the best of me. So, I took picture, which I have included here.)
I bring up the ring-tail cat because 1.) I think it looks interesting and 2.) You can imagine that after I saw this, I was glad it was removed from someone else’s house and not ours — and it made our problem seem smaller…JUST SAYIN…
Anyhow, back to our house…
Our skirting was fine seven years ago when we moved in — the problem is you take seven years and then we are on pier and beam and you get shift — so that’s how we got holes large enough that a little mouse or even a rat makes it through. Oh boy!
But we are taking care of it. CRITTER RIDDER will come out Monday and patch up all our holes, covering them with Hardie Backer board — and setting traps. Hopefully, this will take care of the issue.
I hope this post doesn’t sound like we were ok with things living in our walls — all these years. WE ARE NOT. We just thought it was a squirrel or two on the roof with a pecan from our trees. They absolutely love playing on that tree.
Can the good vermin stay and the scary, creepy ones leave? Please?
Well, please send up a prayer that this CRITTER RIDDER service works 🙂
It’s our last resort.
We thought we could outrun ‘Mr. SCOPE CREEP’ man, but he got us in a BIG WAY last week.
— Actually, it’s a simple water leak that got us. — one that is super easy to prevent — so it makes this one so SUPER FRUSTRATING!!
The new problem area is part of the kitchen, but it is also a wall that houses the plumbing to our master bath room and tub.
And, now, due to the improper sealing of bath tub fixtures we have this ‘leaky’ issue. The water running in our master shower finds a tiny microscopic hole and drips onto the bath tub framing (which also helps give one of our kitchen walls its structure).
What’s so frustrating is that this could have been prevented with a $5 tube of caulking. (ok, and someone’s time to do the caulking, but still, you get my point.)
I discovered the leak last week when I was pulling a baseboard from the wall. Sheetrock was coming up with the baseboard a little bit too easy, like DAMP sheetrock. ERRRRRRRR.
This exposed enough of a hole that I could see some of the bath tub framing was wet and rotted. So, I pulled more drywall for a better view. (SEE picture of the BIG HOLE I made.)
I just knew what was coming — and GULPED loudly, I’m sure.
I touched the subfloor under the tub with a pencil. And it flecked up like sawdust.
I ran tests to confirm my suspicions that the leak was caused by improper caulking of fixtures.
I sprayed water for a five minutes over the fixtures…then walked around to the kitchen so I could see where the water was dripping out…and voila…water drizzled onto the 2 X 4 framing like I suspected.
So, I’m pretty sure we’ll have to replace the subfloor under the tub, which means removing this heavy ceramic tub. (Good thing we have a big hole in the wall now to pull it through lol!!)
We’ve got a general contractor coming tomorrow to discuss the project.
So, with all this, any movement on the kitchen remodel has stalled a bit. And this has me a little bummed.
With the kitchen remodel — and now the discovery of the bathroom leak — I am trying to carve out more time from other places …which is leading me to do ‘food production, in bulk.’
My new system is putting out about five tupperware containers…the produce box from JB Johnson Organic comes Thursday. (BTW…go here to get wonderful organic local veggies delivered by JB Johnson.)
So Thursday night I’m in the kitchen doing ‘vegetable’ prep. Washing spinach, drying spinach and putting spinach in the containers.
There’s also cutting carrots, radishes and whatever else JB Johnson has in the box.
So by the time I’m finished I have five salads for the week. And if I’m really up for it, I put together dressings for each container.
Anyway…it’s working well for now and I’m not about to toss out a system that is working well 🙂
I could have Cholera…or the Black Plague — or any disease long ago conquered by medical science….so, in a way, that’s good…right??
I just take a few pills and I’m cured…at least, I hope so….
I’m not blaming anyone…it’s just that this ‘ole gal….over the years…accumulated same nasty stuff.
After removing one kitchen baseboard yesterday, we discovered several piles of what appear to be a squirrel’s nut-storing facility (after he has removed the nuts from the shell).
Esteban didn’t think I should put my hand anywhere near the SQUIRREL STORAGE FACILITY so he gave me a stick — you know, just in case there was something in the wall that was ready to come out and strike…GREAT!!
This morning as I look around, the kitchen walls remind me of an old cantina in Juarez.
(Not that I ever spent much time in cantinas in Juarez lol!!)
I’m thinking I might sand them and keep them naked…and keep that wonderful turquoise…but George thinks I’ll be sanding forever….he actually thinks someone else will be sanding forever…
Even though we are eating on Dixie plates, we are still eating very well — thanks to our gas range — that I vow we keep until we have to remove it.
(We do have real plates, but I’m not sure where they are…and if I did, there most likely would be a layer of dust on top.)