Christian has been to work for three days and it looks like he is getting his arms around things in the lab. He really likes the area where he lives although he says the culture is a little more direct. Actually, he did not exactly say “direct,” but you get the idea. He hopes to look around a little in Boston this weekend, maybe get in a workout and see the art museum across the street.
On another note, we got a call today from our builder, Mark P. He said the granite guy called him and wants to install the granite in the kitchen tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Lorena was very happy with that. The appliances were supposed to go in this week and the granite next week, but it looks like it will be the other way around. We should have some pictures to put up tomorrow.
The only things we have left after the appliances are the backsplash, painting and a few odds and ends. It will be nice to be able to cook on a stove and in an oven instead of on an apartment balcony grill.
Bob and Gena are true champions. They have been kind to us way above and beyond the call of duty. They arrived in Centralia with all our stuff from North Carolina Friday evening. All of us, including their daughter Bonnie, went to the McMenamin’s Olympic club to celebrate–the weather cooperated wonderful as we were able to sit outside and talk and talk.
We made arrangements for two guys to come help us unload the truck. We got unloaded in about three hours. After two years of taking care of parents and living in apartments, we are grateful to have all our stuff in one place and to sleep in our own bed in a house of our own and not an apartment. After everything was out of the truck, Kelly arrived from Seattle while Bob and I ran the truck to the U-Haul center and returned the appliance piano dollies to the local rental store. Bob, Gena, Lorena, Kelly and I sat out on the deck, ate fresh cherries Kelly brought to us and enjoyed the sun.
It was one of those moment to realize it is great to be alive in this time and place.
Bob and Gena are on the last stretch home with our load of stuff from North Carolina. We are very grateful for their efforts on our behalf, but also pretty envious. They had some excitement (see the burning car), saw some beautiful places, got together with family and made friends with some of our (and their) old, dear friends from Raleigh. This picture Gena sent along of their drive yesterday through the mountain west did not do anything to make me any less envious.
Gena said, “This is my kind of country -cowboy country! Ranches, old homesteads, horses, cows, sheep, antelope, sage brush, rolling hills, tall mountains, odd rock outcroppings, small streams, large rivers.” Boy howdy. It is my kind of country, too, even if it is not my home state like it is for Gena. Right After I got the email, I called my cousin, Udo, who lives in Bozeman and told him we were coming out to see him soon.
The cabinet designer Mark uses has an amazingly broad range of cool things to have in a kitchen. There is a lazy susan that allows for the use of the normally difficult area beneath the counter in a corner (see the picture below). It makes that space way more accessible and just about perfect for bigger pots and pans. The “two trash cans in a slide out drawer” is amazingly useful as are the suggestion for ergonomically exceptional placement of pullout cutting boards. The big opening on the left of the image is, of course, for the refrigerator.
The problem Mark saw when the cabinets went in is the placement of the lights too close to the cabinets. He opened them up and will move them to a better place sometime this morning–a minor foible.
Lorena and I have a date with our friends, Harvey and Gladys, later this afternoon. The last coat of finish goes down on the floor then, too. We expect to be in the house (probably with one of the builders) late this evening. The smell might be a little strong for a few days, so we might spend one more night in a hotel, but we can hardly wait to get there.
Tomorrow, I will try to put up a few more pictures. We are supposed to pick out the granite, back splash and sinks in Olympia tomorrow, too. Hard choices.
We are completely slammed with the move (drove to Tempe to spend a few days with Christian, went to a church event in Casa Grande for four days, drove from Tempe to Bakersfield yesterday, then from Bakersfield do Central Point, Oregon today), but I thought I should put up a few images of the work Mark and his team has been doing on the house. We particularly like what he is doing with the wall across from the island. It is a narrow cabinet, but has glass doors and a “nook” with a granite shelf for coffee and hot water (for tea) pots. Eventually, the door to the right in the picture will feature a glass window, too.
One thing that happened that was pretty frustrating is that the lights above the cook top, ovens and cabinets on the opposite side of the room from the coffee nook were too close to the cabinets.
Mark said and I quote, “…they looked really, really bad.”
He is such a consummate professional that he is bringing the electrician up tomorrow to reposition the lights. It is a long drive and well above and beyond the call of duty, but we are very grateful for it. A little bit of a setback, but to say we are pleased with the work so far would be a wild understatement. We have a lot more pictures which I will put up as time permits.
Mark brought the cabinets to the house on his trailer this morning. I was worried because weather.com forecasted a 90% chance of rain. Mark told me to chill out though (no pun intended) because there was a zero percent chance of rain until 1:00 PM and, as usual, he was right. We are very excited to see how it looks. They got everything off the truck and into the garage about mid-morning and the path to the kitchen from the garage never goes outside, but through the laundry room so it is all good. The next thing is to figure out how to get the furniture into the house if stuff is drying or we would be in the way during the whole process. We might have to leave at least some of our stuff in the garage for awhile to wait for stuff to get finished. It is all supposed to be either finished or very close to it by the end of the month so this is a very minor inconvenience and we love to watch the work progress anyway.
I am not sure how far the installation will get today because there is some work that has to be done on the walls before they can start on that. Still, the cabinets should mostly be in place by the end of the weekend. I hope I am going to have time to put up some pictures, but we will mostly attending things and driving through Monday or Tuesday, after which we will be staying in the house full time (along with some of the builders, floor people, etc.).
Mark just sent me these two images of the current state of the hardwood floor. This is not the last of the finish that will go down, but the first two coats. The first image is from the living room looking into the kitchen and the second image is from the kitchen looking into the living room. It is very early in the morning because Mark hauled the cabinets up there and will be putting them in place after he does some additional work on the walls.
The drywall started going up today. I guess the floor is not quite finished so that will happen tomorrow and, hopefully, the cabinets will be ready by Friday. In the meantime, I think we started cutting the grass in the nick of time. Mark P. was able to send us this shot of our new friend down on the lawn going at it.
The installation of the hardwood floor was completed yesterday. You can see the pictures here and if you notice in both pictures, just to the left of the newly installed floor is the old floor with somewhat of a yellow tint to it. Those old floors are being sanded today so when the new Swedish finish goes down, the floor in the middle of the living room will have the same look as the floor in the kitchen. We think it looks great now. There is more work on the floor today, but as soon as that is complete, other work will start and the final floor finish will go down at the very end.
The installation of the floor in the living room was completed today. Notice the Brazilian Cherry from around the red oak center. The red oak, actually is the same as the previously installed floor you can see at the left (bottom) edge of the image. Because the old floor still has its finish on it it has a yellowish, shiny cast. The next step is to sand away the finish from the previously installed floor so that when the new finish is put down, all of the red oak parts will appear the same. Mark mentioned (even though we think it is beautiful already) that there will be a much more striking appearance when the whole floor is finished. We are really looking forward to that.
The view below is the view from the entry to the house. Lorena and I both noted that it is a small room, but made much bigger because it is wide open to the dining room and kitchen. Well, that and the spectacular view out the windows to Mount Rainer.
Mark started in on replacing the kitchen window that looks out on a small, covered patio with a door. The window is at the opposite end of the kitchen from the windows that look at Mount Rainier. The reason for this is that we figured this patio would be a perfect place to put a gas grill. Lorena cooks on a gas grill all year long. The deck with the view at the back of the house is not currently covered. As the house is now, to get to the little patio you have to go through two doors–one into the laundry room and a second out onto the patio. With a glass door, we will not only be able to easily get from the kitchen to the cooking patio, but we will be able to see out their very well, too–at least that is the concept.
Yesterday, Mark brought in his electrician who removed most of the drywall in the kitchen to adjust and augment the electrical infrastructure. The found the control panel for the telephone wiring. Normally we would not be interested in that at all because we have not had a land line for over a decade. Sadly, though, cable internet is not available in our neighborhood. That means we need to get DSL because I have to have pretty fast internet to be able to do my work from home. In the past, DSL generally did not mean anything really great, but I have not used it for so long that I am not sure of it current capability. The company that provides it came out and checked it before we bought the house and assured me I can reliably get the needed speeds. The electrician will wire it so we can put a wireless router by the DSL modem and hardwire the upstairs for second router to give good wireless connectivity through the whole house.
Mark sent along another picture of the continuing electrical work, but also of the work that is being done on the floor in the living room. In this shot, about half of the underlayment is now in place. I understand the hardwood floor will start covering that later today or tomorrow morning. In the picture below you can see some of what someone standing at the kitchen sink will see. The best part, though, is to the left and out of the picture. It is the view of the city down the low with Mount Rainier rising above it. The new floor is scheduled to be installed and the finish removed from the rest of the hardwood floor that is already there followed by a good sanding of the whole thing. The Swedish finish will not go down until everything else is complete so we are probably about a month away from that.
Mark kicked off a lot more work today on the kitchen. He found a place to position the propane tank, roughed in the plumbing for the kitchen and got the hardwood floor guy going. Tomorrow, the electrician will start. I think there must be two phases of these things. My sense is that their is additional electrical and plumbing things to do after the cabinets are in and to prepare for the appliances. Mark said the final Swedish finish goes on the floor at the very end so the only thing that happens right now is the installation of the living room floor and the sanding that needs to be done. I am wondering when the window in this photo is removed and replaced with a door. All that, I think, has to be completed before the cabinets can be installed.
In the meantime, there was a wind storm in Centralia that blew over a tree that might or might not (maybe Bob and Gena have an opinion–they sent us the picture) on our property. The trees are dense enough there that probably most of the trees close to our property are somewhat protected.
Our friends Bob and Gena E. went over to the house yesterday to see how the work was going and reported that Mark cleaned up and left the place spotless (Thank you Mark, Bob and Gena!). I do not know whether it is a normal part of the process to put down a tape outline of where the island will sit, but it is very cool that Mark did it. He sent me these images. The image at the top left shows the placement of the cabinets that will hold the counter top. There is room for two stools between the two legs extending toward the bottom of the image and one or two more to the right of the right-most leg. The sink is planned for the angled cabinet on the left.
The red arc in the first image below shows the placement of the granite on top of the cabinets. The cabinet and sink placement of the previous kitchen only provided 7′ 6″ between the end of the cabinets on the wall and the island and the back wall of the house. That is important because that area is what passes for the houses dining room. It is a little non-traditional but features a spectacular view of the mountain. When all was said and done with the design Mark’s team put together, there was an additional foot and a half space between the end of the cabinets and the back of the house for a total of 9′ 0″ and a respectable width for a dining room.
You can also notice at the bottom of the last picture, there are some exposed joists. That is the area where the raised hardwood floor was removed. The hardwood floor is to be extended across the living room at the same level as the kitchen and dining room, but with a border of a different species of hardwood (darker) around what used to be the higher floor. This is to give it an appearance of separation. An additional benefit of a single level floor is that we can put a very long table that runs across the dining room and into the living room if we need one that long. We HAVE needed one that long in the past for Thanksgiving and other assorted get-togethers.
Here are three late arriving images of the demolition of the floor in the living room. I know, that is not technically the kitchen, but there was a trip risk going from the kitchen into the living room because of the step up and it is all one big open room and floor. The first picture is taken from the kitchen looking out toward the living room. The second image is taken from the entry, the kitchen being to the left. All the windows are at the back of the house with a view of Centralia and Mount Rainier behind that. The last picture is of über-contractor/designer/kitchen-king, Mark P. using the new kitchen for its intended purpose for the first time.
We were very excited that Mark P. made his way to Centralia today to start the kitchen remodel in our newly purchased (old) house. My brother, Doug, was up in Seattle so he stopped in to take a look and we scheduled him for a visit when he and his bud, Dave N., head up to Seattle for a Mariners game in July. That gives us a target date to get enough furniture together to receive some visitors! Here are the pictures Mark sent of how things are going. We are looking forward to meeting his partner in crime who, I am sure will show up in future pictures as the project progress. For reference, the image to the top left is how the kitchen looked before they started and a link where I discuss that start of the whole project. That is Mark P., our contractor (highly recommended–this is our second kitchen remodel with him–pop me an email if you want contact info).
The images below are the start of the demolition of the old kitchen. Actually we are taking out a raised hardwood floor to make it the same level as the kitchen and, particularly so that people will not trip when they are in the house. I will post more of that later as the remodel moves along.
The kitchen is GONE!!!
Mark P., our contractor, said there are only a few things missing in this drawing. The microwave will be above the double oven, the range top is not drawn in and a few other details that we have actually already settled. One thing that is cool is that the curve at the bottom of the island is the line the granite will follow. The big challenge now is when we can get started and it depends on resources–ours, Mark’s and his subs. The next thing we we need to figure out is lighting and granite. We have finished with the cabinets (hickory with a pecan stain and handles, not knobs or pulls).
We are starting to figure out that picking styles of stuff for the kitchen is not for the faint of heart. We thought we had made great progress when we decided we wanted Shaker style, but no. The minute I sent out the email I got a message back asking whether we wanted pulls or handles or both on the cabinets. I have NO idea about that. I asked Lorena, but then asked our über builder, Mark P., what he thought and, even more importantly, what is the difference.
Right now Lorena is out looking at granite colors to try to figure out what we want for that. In our discussion with our builder, we just got more confused by the different grades of granite and hardwood floors not to mention hardwood species that go with the floors that are already there. Fun and challenging.