Mark left for home just a few minutes ago. He is officially complete. We are grateful for all his hard, hard work, the many edifying conversations we had while he was here. He is truly a stand-up guy and made the process fun, interesting and with a better result than if we would have been left to our own devices. If anyone ever wants to get a kitchen done and can talk Mark into doing it, their lives, not to mention their kitchen will be the better for it.
The big thing that was completed in this pass was the addition of the ceiling light fixture rings marked in red in the picture. There were several other items that are not really visible like the fixing of the dishwasher to the counter and stuff like that. The reality is there are several minor things left to complete, only one of them on Mark’s agenda (a small step for the back porch he can do better in his shop). Lorena and I need to change a few light fixtures and add some furniture, then we will take a few pictures for posterity to bring this second kitchen remodel series to an end.
*There will be one more post with pictures after this one.
Duane and Josiah, our new painter friends, finished up the painting for the remodel yesterday. It completely changed the appearance of the entire main floor of the house. Lorena was ecstatic with the result which the only measure of success. We have really enjoyed eating lunch with the painters every day and we will miss that a lot, but it is very nice to be able to see the hardwood floors again (they were covered with paper and blue tape to protect them from the painting process). Mark came in on Tuesday to put in the base moulding and finish a couple of other items on the punch list. He is scheduled to be here on Friday to do the final pass. The kitchen now looks pretty close to how it will appear when it is complete, but we will wait until it is all done before we take some pictures of the final result.
The painting started early in the week, but has proceeded in small steps. The windows were sanded, primer coat was applied, there was more sanding, etc., etc. Hopefully this phase will be complete by the end of the weekend. We have not, as yet, seen the actually color that was selected except for the ceilings which are, unsurprisingly, “ceiling white.” Actually, this was a much bigger process than we thought it would be. The preparation and attention to detail is pretty amazing. We are very happy that it is Duane and Josiah doing the work. Duane in particular is a perfectionist.
After Mark attached all the drawer pulls yesterday afternoon, he stayed all evening to install the stove hood. It is not quite all done as he has to add some flashing on the outside of the house where the blower fan resides. Still, we can use the stove and hood now and we are quite pleased with it all.
Things are spinning back up again. Today, Mark put glass in the cabinets that needed them and add drawer pulls to the already installed cabinet door pulls. He also plans to have the stove hood up and working (with a little more work required for some flashing and other things when he comes back. Wednesday, the paint guy will start his work on the kitchen and living room. We can hardly wait to have this all finished.
Work inches forward on the remodel. We found some pretty serious defects in the floor, so the floor guy came back, fixed the defects, did something called “refill” and then put a coat of semi-gloss finish. Lorena was ecstatic with the finish. She liked the previous matte, but likes this much better. Next week we hope to have the stove hood in place, glass in the kitchen cabinets, and the painting mostly complete. The hood was planned for this week, so things have stretched out a little.
We had a great time with Mark here yesterday. He did a lot of finish work on the kitchen including the adding of three missing can lights in the ceiling, undercabinet lights, cabinet door alignment and the placement of all the cabinet door pulls. He put the stove hood in his van when he headed home last night so the exhaust fan could be added “at the factory” instead of in the field. They have the tools and special skills to do it. He will be back next week to add all the drawer pulls, the moulding in the living room so we can paint and install the stove hood. We are getting awfully close to being done.
One additional thing we discussed was the addition of a gas fireplace close to the kitchen so we can have it set up similar to our house in Raleigh. It is a great idea, but will require that a window be moved. Mark said he was up for that small addition, but probably not much more. We still have a few months to work on him although I am pretty sure we do not have a winning hand when it comes to the apartment in the basement. We have not yet given up hope.
Our contractor, Mark P. came today and got a lot of finish work done. He looked at a couple of issues with the floor, installed the floor vents, and decided to bring the floor guy back for about a half days work. The floor vents are beautiful. In addition, Mark adjusted all the cabinet doors so they were aligned properly, installed all the cabinet door pulls (but not the drawer pulls), installed the remaining under-cabinet LED lights, installed the missing three overhead lights, and installed the replacement oven door for the one that was broken. I will put up pictures of all that other stuff tomorrow.
The really good news, though, is that he has agreed to help us put a gas fireplace in the kitchen/dining room. We came up with a great plan that he says he should be able to complete before the end of the fall so we will have it this winter. We hope he will be able to draw us a plan, but it is not so complicated, so that may not be necessary. At any rate, we think it will be a great addition to what Mark has already done and we appreciate his willingness to come back here because we know it is a major effort for him to do it.
This morning, the plumber and his son showed up at 8:00 AM on the dot to plumb all the faucets and the dishwasher. We were very pleased with the work. Right now it seems like the work is proceeding inch by inch. After the plumber left, the granite guy came back to drill another hole in the granite for the sprayer beside the vegetable sink faucet. He was an hour later than scheduled, but we enjoyed the visit very much. He did a great job. We spoke Spanish the whole time he was here (a Puerto Rican guy who married a Mexican girl from Michoacán).
Every time someone comes to fix something, one or two more things are uncovered. This time it was the attachment of the dishwasher (I will eventually put up a picture of that) to the granite. It requires another piece of metal no one had yet considered, but Mark P. promised he will install. In addition to that, we could install the vegetable sink sprayer, but we could not hook it up to water because the plumbing guys were already gone. Mark P. is going to deal with all of that after he gets back from vacation at Crescent Lake in Oregon after the Fourth of July. I will not get to see it until the week after that though because I am spending the fourth of July in China.
P.S. We have water to the faucets and drains in the sink so we actually have an operational kitchen. It will not be completely operational until we have our hood and the replacement for the second oven door, but we are getting very close now.
For a non-eventful day, today has been pretty eventful. Yesterday, we realized that the ceiling in our house is really high. Mark and his wall and/or his ceiling texturing guy brought an eight foot ladder to texture the ceiling. It turns out he needed a ten foot ladder. It dawned on us that we would need a ten foot ladder to clean the windows, so we went down to our local Ace hardware store and bought ourselves a new ladder. The texturing is done now so the living room and the kitchen are now ready to paint.
In the mean time, we have now ordered our third vegetable sink faucet. The first one was too big, the second one was too long (we would have water on the floor–it is a little sink), and now we hope we have ordered one that is just right. It is the same brand as the main sink and the pot-filler sockets so it should match nicely. Also, it is what is called a “bar” faucet so the length of the spout is only eight and a half inches so it should center itself over the drain in the sink. In addition it has a sprayer. That will require another hole in the faucet, but it will be worth the wait. We ordered it from Amazon and paid for one day shipping so, hopefully, we will have water before the weekend.
The latest and most painful challenge so far for Lorena is to decide what color she wants to paint the walls. I am staying out of it. I am sure it will be fine whatever it is.
Mark asked us to check the package for the main faucet to see if everything was there, so we pulled it out and put it into place. We like it a lot. the vegetable sink faucet is scheduled to arrive today. We are looking forward to seeing that, too. The water is not yet hooked up to anything. We are looking forward to that happening next week.
We have had a little bit of a struggle getting the faucets here to our remodel to be able to really start using the kitchen. We were really happy today the first set arrived today. It consists of the faucet and sprayer for the main kitchen. We ordered the pot-filler and the vegetable sink faucet, but they are not scheduled to get here for another week or so.
We had a struggle choosing the faucets. We found the main sink and pot-filler faucets that were just perfect, but we could not find a vegetable sink faucet, so we ordered the best the closets we could find. Today, though, Lorena found one that was much better so I ordered it on Amazon. We will have to send the previous one we ordered back, but in the end, we will have faucets that match.
I thought I would try to catch up on the kitchen remodel posts today because I unexpectedly found some breathing room from my day job and side gig. The kitchen is really starting to look like it is going to look in the end with a couple major items some medium size items and a lot of small items. I thought it would be easiest to just show some pictures of where we are and explain what is left to do.
First, I promised a picture of the oven that got broken in or before shipping. We no longer have the shattered door, but we have a picture of the empty space where the door should be. It does not even look so bad that way, but it is worthless for anything other than shelf space the way it is now.
Here is all the stuff remaining that we know needs to be completed:
1. Faucets for the main and vegetable sinks and a pot-filler faucet for the stove
2. Exhaust hood for the stove top
3. Glass for the buffet/coffee service cabinets
4. All the drawer and cabinet door pulls
5. Adjustment of the cabinet doors so they are level and even with each other
6. Bottom oven door replacement
7. Paint for the kitchen
8. Moulding for the living room
9. Moulding for the cabinet tops
10. Paint for the living room if we can afford it. Otherwise we wait or do it ourselves.
Update: Oops. Thought of a couple more:
11. Light brackets for the ceiling lights
12. Wall plastering
13. Under-cabinet LED lights
14. Electrical fixtures
More pictures to give a sense for the state of the kitchen:
I thought the picture on the left was a great picture of our contractor Mark and his electrician with the ceramic guy in the background. We arrived on Wednesday night while they were still in the house. What a great team of people. It has just been a joy working with Mark and his people. The picture on the left is of the installation of one of the under-cabinet LED lights above the coffee shelf. The LED’s are great because they do not heat up too much like halogen, are now just as bright (for this application) and last a long, long time.
This pictures gives a sense for the state of the kitchen when we got there on Wednesday night. It is much further along and I plan to post a bunch of new pictures this weekend. The ceramic tile back splash is completed (we love it). This is the ceramic guy getting ready to do his thing. We really enjoyed having him here working. He placed the tiles on Wednesday, then came back and spent another four hours on Thursday morning to add the grout and (non-silicon) caulking. I think he spent more time cleaning and shining the back splash when he finished installing it than he did on the installation itself. Lorena was super, super happy with how it came out.
I just have a few minutes now at lunchtime to put up what happened so far today. I have more pictures from last night when Lorena and I got home which I hope to put up later tonight. The kitchen has come a long way, but there are a ton of details left. The following are of the backsplash before and after grout behind the coffee shelf and the stove top. The first picture of the stove top shows it with the stainless steel knobs. The second one has the classic Thermador blue knobs. We are not sure which ones we like best. Fortunately, they are easy to change whenever we get tired of the ones that are on there.
Well, a ton of stuff got done today on the kitchen and Mark took a BUNCH of pictures for us. The problem is that he texted them to us and we do not have access to our text messaging on our phones until we get back to into (or at least within radio range of) America sometime tomorrow evening. Nevertheless, he got the pavers put down to make a pad for the propane tank which will be installed along with the gas lines tomorrow. That we means we will have a mostly working kitchen when we get home.
We are very excited to see how it all looks, but are not sure we will be able to put up many (or any) photos tomorrow because we are going to try to make it to our Wednesday night bible study if we possibly can. One of the other things they will be doing is hooking up the Kitchen phone line which we will not use for phones, but only for our DSL service. What that also means is that I have about a half day worth of work to set up wireless for all three floors in the house and especially my upstairs office.
This post is not such an exciting one unless you are really into drawer and cabinet pulls, but later tonight we should have something on the shattered bottom oven of the double oven set. We will have to wait a week or so until a replacement door gets here. Everything is now installed except the stove hood. The back splash has to be all installed before that can go in. The black splash cannot really go in until the potfiller over the stove goes in, so I think we are a few days away from having everything. After that, they will paint. Hopefully, I will have one or two pictures of where we are later tonight.
Mark found the exact pulls Lorena wants and will be installing them soon. This picture is from the catalog.
We are trying to figure out what faucets we want for the kitchen. We need three: 1) the main sink, 2) the vegetable sink, and 3) the pot-filler. Mark told us to just pick some we like, then we will go back and forth a little as the plumber will be supplying the faucets. They just need to know the style and finish we want for each. Here is what we found that we like. We will see how close we can come to this.
On another note, we are starting to look at outdoor kitchen options. We are thinking of going with this grill cooler for the side deck to get us started.
I have a ton of work to get done for my new job, but Lorena sent me the pictures of the granite as it went into the kitchens. I do not have time to say much other than a few notes, but the pictures kind of speak for them selves.
Prepping the cabinets — a steel bar needed to be added as a support for the relatively large over hang.
The small piece of granite for the coffee and tea service area.
The vegetable and main sinks.
Some overall views.
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.