Monday, June 30, 2014

Fourth Week Kicks Off

Snacking is a very important component of beaching.

Pretty mama.

Emma tries out the Minnie Mouse pool.

Mr. Chill

Earnest explanation.

Some of our beach people.

Our babies

Still snacking, Bo photo bombs the down by the water crowd.

Summers boys get in the mix.

Mack and Bo working together. On something.

Anderson and Mack race to the ocean.

So far, Mack is winning the Best Beach Hair competition.

So much precious in this wagon.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Before and Almost There

I'm not sure a home improvement project is ever really done so these aren't before and after shots of what's been going on in our kitchen...just some before and almost there photos. So far, it does seem like the changes are going to solve the problems we had before, thankfully.

This is how the window wall looked before we got started. Pleasant enough, but you can see how that island dominates! Notice, too, the lovely (ha) light fixture over the sink.

This is the same view. The island is longer and skinnier, we did get a counter depth refrigerator, and the lower cabinets on the right are 18" rather than 24". We love the new light over the sink and the fully tiled wall, too. An unexpected bonus is that we enjoy sitting together at the corner of the island. The new comfy bar stools help, too! 

The pantry wall before featured a deep pantry with shallow shelves (lots of wasted space) and a desk that didn't function well. 

Now we have much better use of that wall. On the far end of these cabinets, there is a can pantry. The microwave is hidden behind a recessed door (I'm sure we'll leave it open most of time, but it's nice to close it, too). The former desk is now 'the beverage center'. Those upper cabinets will hold coffee cups and supplies, all of the glassware, pitchers, etc. and I still have a couple of lower drawers for desk items and files.

The refrigerator wall is where the large opening for the 1990 microwave mocked us every day. The counter there wasn't usable, really, because that microwave cabinet extended over it.

Now there is extra cabinet space AND counter space for food prep. AND lighting! I've really used that space this week. 

The very wide island. I did love the expanse of space for projects but it really hampered traffic. As for the vinyl floor? It was way past its prime.

From this view, you can't really tell much difference. The new one actually has a little more surface area than the old one, but it's in length. Also, the placement is further away from the sink, which is working out nicely for traffic flow, too. You can see the unpainted wainscot in the background along with a glimpse of the wall color (Aviary by Valspar; it's a chameleon green/gray/blue).

The kitchen is functional now (hallelujah) but due to an issue with shelving, all those upper cabinets are empty (and yes, the dining room is still a disaster area). Hopefully, that will be resolved tomorrow.

We've also had a debacle with the ceiling fan over the island. I researched so carefully and it seemed like Casa Blanca made the best. The first one had a bad motor. The second one wobbled like crazy. Both went back and we bought a less expensive fan after doing no research. It will probably last forever!

The last big thing is getting the trim painted, which will be some time in July (painters are busy!), and finishing up some detail work on the cabinets. Look for a 360 tour when we get completely settled into our new space; there have been a few minor changes in the eating area, too.

For now, though, we are happy to be almost there!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

39th Anniversary

St. Simons Getaway

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Inspiration is a good thing.

Here's a little inspiration vs. reality; more to follow when more is finished!

The cabinet above the refrigerator has a slide out for easier access to the bottom shelf. 

Top: inspiration
Bottom: reality

The corner between the refrigerator and sink will function much better now (the previous configuration was a blind corner).

Top: inspiration
Bottom: reality

A shallow can pantry by the laundry room door is a lot of storage and only shortened the adjacent cabinets by about eight inches.

Left: inspiration
Right: reality 

E.W.'s favorite part is his drop zone and charging station just inside the back door! The usb outlets work great.

Left: inspiration
Right: reality

Monday, June 16, 2014

Getting closer!

This is just some of what we checked off the list today (and by we, I mean the electricians and plumbers):

Changed ivory outlets and switches to white
and added under cabinet lighting.

Wired three outlets (with usb!) in the bookcase.

Installed new ceiling fan over island.
Set new utility sink and repurposed the old kitchen faucet.

Plumbed the new faucets for kitchen and bar sinks 
and installed the dishwasher.

There's still a lot to do but the great kitchen update of 2014 (and its two master bath improvements) is past the halfway mark, for sure. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Day 2014

Today was harder than I thought it would be.

Friday, June 13, 2014

There's light at the end of the tunnel.

Lots of progress this week in the kitchen! 

Monday started off with a bang; the countertops arrived a little before 8:00 and the installers were finished and gone before 10:30! Making choices this important is scary but so far we are pleased with what we have. Again, not trendy, but practical, functional, and way updated from our 1990 kitchen.

The tile folks got here shortly after the countertop guys. Replacing the floors in our bathroom (which were in desperate shape) wasn't related to the work in the kitchen but was one of those might-as-well-while-we're-at-it things. It's never good when you hear the grout crunch (again, desperate). It was even more challenging than we anticipated; the subflooring next to the tub had to be replaced (desperate, remember?). My dream flooring it's not, but it IS sturdy and we are so happy about that! 

In the middle of all of this, the dishwasher was delivered. The range was not; it was damaged and had to be reordered. If something had to be damaged, I'm glad it wasn't the dishwasher. Don't want to hold up the plumber from his work! 

We had the lovely Jenn-Air downdraft, so a new exhaust system went in as well. Thankfully, the new ductwork needed to go straight up through a closet and there were no major obstacles (joists, etc.).

All of this on Monday! 

Since ductwork isn't photogenic and the bathroom floor is rather plain, no point in taking pictures of either. Today's stars were the Black Orion leathered granite on the perimeter and the London Grey Caesarstone on the island! They are practical versions of the soapstone and marble I covet and I'm happy with both choices (whew!).

a glimpse of Monday

On Tuesday, the ductwork for the new exhaust system was finished. Again, not photo-worthy but necessary. 

What else happened on Tuesday? Backsplash tile AND sealing of the slate floor! Now we can really see it coming together, a big difference from last Friday

backsplash waiting for grout, slated sealed and drying

Wednesday was all about the grout. Slate floor and backsplash in kitchen as well as the bathroom floor. Hard to tell a difference in a photograph!

This is when we started with the one step forward and two four steps back thing.

Not sure how I missed it and I'm really not sure how it was overlooked during sealing and grouting, but late Wednesday afternoon as the sealant was drying, I realized late that a tile had been installed upside down. The ridges were very noticeable when the tile was drying.

Seriously? No tile people noticed this?
(The tile was replaced Thursday, so one of the four steps back was checked off the list.)

Another step back: the sealant on the slate had been applied with a brush around the perimeter and a sprayer on the rest. By Thursday it was apparent that the two types of applicators yielded two different results.

Brush applied enough sealer; sprayer did not.

Application by shoe gave a better result than the sprayer!

Then, after really checking out the bathroom grout, it was obvious that we had a situation there, too.

Grouting right into the carpet? Really?

Lastly, I was wiping down the island countertop Thursday night and noticed a very deep scratch in the Caesarstone. Ugh.

Looks so brown here but at least
I managed to get a shot of the problem.

Friday was all about remedies. The grout-in-the-carpet problem was rectified and it only took a few minutes.

much better

Then I called my contact at the store where we bought the Caesarstone and explained the issue; she had never heard of this happening. Someone coming Monday to check it out: hope it's an easy fix.

As for the sealant on the slate, they finished a few hours ago and so far, it looks great. Hope I can say the same tomorrow!

Next week: Lighting, plumbing, trim, and appliances. After that, getting the painters here to deal with trim and wainscot and getting the cabinet guys out for touchups and tweaks.

Oh, and getting all of the kitchen stuff out of my living room, dining room, and front hall moved into the kitchen. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's a Fairbanks thing.

My dad was an eleventh generation descendant of Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks, who immigrated to Dedham, Massachusetts from West Riding in Yorkshire, England in 1633. Their home was built in 1636 and remained in the Fairbanks family until 1904. For the last hundred years, the homestead has been maintained as a historic museum by Fairbanks Family in America, Inc.

Fairbanks House, Dedham, Massachusetts

Last fall there was information in the the Fairbanks Family newsletter about a new walkway that was to be installed. I bought a paver in memory of daddy and my contact there was gracious enough to send me a photo. My daddy was proud to be a Fairbanks and I know he would love this.

Daddy's paver on the walkway at the Fairbanks House

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