Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is Anyone Else Tired of Demo Pics?

Because I sure am.  It seems like this kitchen renovation is moving at glacial pace and it's killing me.  I am a creature of instant gratification and projects that take a normal amount of time to complete, to me, are taking for. ever.  But our counters come tomorrow and I cannot wait!  That post will come on Thursday, so brace yourselves.

In the meantime, J has been working on getting some electrical stuff squared away before the counters arrive so we won't have to deal with too much mess.  Enter today's project: pendant lights.

Our new bar top is going to look something like this in shape:

So we need some nice pendant lighting to go over it.  Unfortunately because the bar was originally squared off, the track lighting as installed by the previous owners sits too far back on the bar.  And in case you need a real life mock up of the bar, here you go:
For the life of me, I cannot find any pictures of the can lights that are currently in the kitchen.  And naturally, we've already put a big hole in the ceiling, so there won't be any pictures.  Le sigh.

So you'll have to just picture it in your head until the project is complete and I can photoshop you the old layout.  But directly above this bar is the electric for the track lighting.  About 2 feet to the left, are two can lights.  

If we left the track lighting where it was, it would not be centered over the bar.  And if we move the electric to center it, it would be too close to the can lights.  So what choice did we have but to remove the can lights and shift the electric from the track lights?  I am nothing if not difficult when J presents options like this--without fail I'll pick the one that requires the most work.  But like he always says, it's better to do it right the first time.  Right honey?

Come Sunday evening after I got home from my mini trip, we decide the course of action and J got to work:

 That circle to the right of the hole is from the track lighting...

This is a shot facing the bar, so you can see where the two can lights used to be.  And that metal bar running through the middle? Not quite sure why they put that there, but basically it's secured to the joists and possibly used for reinforcement?

As I type, J is working on moving the electric and getting everything set so we can get rid of the hole in the ceiling.  So I get the pleasure of looking online for some pendant lights!  The color will be dependent on the the counters and the backsplash, but I'm loving the look of clear glass lights:

Or these disk pendants:

Or even these:

There are so many options so J and I will be hitting the lighting stores very soon!  And that should do it for demo posts this week...I'll give you all a break until next week!  In the meantime, I've got some crafts planned and a nice little Valentine's Day Wish List.

Monday, January 30, 2012

happy monday

Sometimes you just need a break from the city.  From all of the lights and the on-street parking, from the crazy highway drivers and the occasional fire and/or police sirens.  So this weekend I took a break and went home.

Home, about three hours Northwest of here, is the perfect place to head for some peace and quiet.  On J's first trip he remarked at how dark it gets at night for lack of any city lights.  You can actually see the stars and the closest 4 lane highway is the turnpike about 15 miles north of town.  Come Friday after work, I hit the road, leaving J to his own devices (or rather, prepping for Wednesday's counter installation).

Saturday morning I spent some one on one time with my mom and that afternoon, I headed over to my grandparents' house.  We got about an inch of snow overnight and I love how bright and clean it looks when it's snowy and sunny.  Something Columbus has yet to see this winter.  The above picture is the two lane road that leads to their house.

I took over some pictures that my mom and I had taken a while back of Grandpa's childhood home.  I ordered doubles so mom can scrapbook them and Grandma and Grandpa could have a set.  Here he is putting them in an album.  Isn't he the cutest?
We then played a round of three handed Canasta which Grandpa managed to win.  On the last hand.  When he was in last place.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Sunday morning as everyone was getting ready for the day, I got a little cuddle time in with my favorite pup, Gus:
Weighing in at a whopping 3 pounds, he is 15 this year.  His eyes and ears aren't the greatest, but he sure can snuggle with the best of 'em.  I keep asking J for a puppy but no such luck until we have a yard.  Can't say I blame him, but it won't mean I'll stop asking.

Mom, sister, and I then headed to the hospital where my sister works.  She's the baby, but currently holds a masters in healthcare administration and is now holding a position that got her her own office!
A little photoshop magic to protect her identity (if she's even reading this...) but I'm so proud of her.  We brainstormed a few ideas to decorate her space and I'm going to be perusing Etsy for some great art pieces.  So proud of my baby sister even if she still likes to pick on me.

The tricky part of any weekend away is feeling rested and refreshed come Monday morning, despite the travels.  I definitely had a good chance to clear my head and think and J had the house to himself to work on fixing up the electric in the kitchen and watch a little LFL.  What's that you are asking? That would be the Lingerie Football League.  WHY he felt compelled to tell me a) it was on and b) that "it's actually good football.  I recorded it so you can see." is beyond me.  I'm fairly certain his brother would back me up on this, too.  Someone needs to fill the boy in on when to use his filter.

All chiding aside, it's good to be back in the city.  I had a little time to plan some crafty projects for this week and I'll be sharing the counters with you ASAP.

Did you have a good weekend?  I'm doing late link up with Jenni over at Story of My Life again this week.  Gotta love a good summation via Instagram.  Happy Monday, all.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Wish List: Backsplashes

It seems as though the week before one travels is always chock full of events.  I've had a series of uneventful, non busy weeks since our Christmas travel but now I'm planning to head to Northwest Ohio for the weekend  and I've got something going on every night this week.  So that being said, I'm going to keep this post short and sweet, just like yesterday's.

In the never ending kitchen rennovation, we've already finished the cabinets by repainting them and adding new hardware.  And we've torn out the counters and old backsplash.  But not before picking out our new counters and making a template of the new rounded out bar top.  It feels like we've done a lot, but when you type it all out, it doesn't seem like all that much.  But we're getting there folks.  And one week from today, I should have a newly installed counter to show off!

So the last element of our kitchen is finding the perfect backsplash.  Well, that and replacing the white fridge and non-working microwave, but all in due time.  So I spent a little time online looking for inspiration.  And when you've seen one backsplash, it seems like you've seen them all.  Especially on Pinterest.   But I found a few that I'm luh-ving and would appreciate your feedback!

I like the pop of blue in this one, but more so I like the subway tile look.  Our granite has some blackish blue specks with white, tan, and a hint of silver.  So perhaps a lighter blue to go with or a stainless steel?

I really enjoy the look of a tin backsplash.  The detail adds a nice dynamic and there is nothing better than a tin ceiling in a historical building--why not share that on the walls?  Unfortunately we have a small space (like 5 inches tall) behind the sink on the island that will need covered and I just don't think tin will do it.

This granite has a very similar look to ours and I am loving the iridescent look.  Would J approve? I'm not so sure.  Honey, are you reading this?

But personally I am holding out for this one...keeping my fingers crossed, not getting too excited when J floats the idea around, lest he crush it a day later:
LOVE this tile.  It looks hexagonal or could be penny, but I. adore. it.  White cabinets with the metallic backsplash would make the counters, the cabinets, and our black appliances stand out.  And you'll remember that I referenced my awesome Tile Shop find here!

The final decision usually comes from J. After I've put in my two cents and he's gone back and forth a million times on the options.  Funny thing is that it's usually the option I would have picked, it's just a matter of getting him to see that.  This whole co-habitating thing is a lot of hard work, mentally speaking.  

I'm hoping to have a decision made soon because once that counter comes, I'll be jonesing to finish up this room!

1, 2, 3, 4

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's Electric!

<Insert melody to the cliche wedding song here because it's that awesome>

Leaving J alone with the camera this weekend while I attended my two social functions had it's perks.  He is fully supportive of my part time blogging gig and as such, has started coming up with ideas for posts.  I love it.

After returning home on Saturday, I was presented with another one of his post ideas:

"What do you think about J's Weekly Safety Tip?" he asked.

"Well, do you have enough material to give me a weekly safety tip?"

"Not really.  But I got a good one for today."

this is usually how this plays out...

Since yesterday's post was so photo heavy, we're going to keep today's short and sweet.

We currently have six outlets in the kitchen that we use for everything, from the coffee maker to the house alarm.  That's right, this place is like Fort Knox so don't go getting any ideas of stopping by to hit my heated bathroom floors, mmmmkay? 

The six outlets are a bit much and their locations could be consolidated, so we are in the process of eliminating and moving some.  And in order to do so, we had to remove the plate covers followed by the backsplash.

So the plate covers came off and the backsplash came down and we found that the part of the electrical outlet that sits inside of the wall (I am informed "screw terminals" is the technical term) was not wrapped in electrical tape. 
Enter (in booming microphone voice) J's Safety Tip of the Week, da da daaaaaahhh!!!

It's perfectly okay for these terminals not to be wrapped when they are sitting securely in the wall.  But if you are attempting your own electrical work, which is not advised if you don't know what you're doing, you best be taping them gold screws up.  Because if properly wired, simply touching them will "electrocute your ass."  Sorry Grandma and Grandpa, had to use his exact words because it makes the story more authentic.

So one quick fix with some tape-ola and you're in bidness:
Now you can resume your electrical work and even plug in a crock pot or two, all with minimal sparking and no fear of being electrocuted.  Just kidding.  But not really.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Let's Grab Our Demo Sticks!

"Is there such a thing a demo stick,"you might be asking yourself.  Well, um, no, not exactly.  But we'll get to that later.

I'm sure you're probably thinking seriously, another kitchen post?  Are we done with this yet? And again, I'd have to tell you no, not even close.  Our new counters are coming on February 1st so we are in the process of getting rid of the old and making room for the new.  And in order to make sure everything is ready, we are getting a jump start on tearing everything apart.

Enter Saturday morning.  As I was getting ready to go to a bridal shower, J pulled out the tools and got to work.  When I left the house, the kitchen looked normal:

And when I returned it looked a little less normal.  But we can't go from start to finish right at the beginning can we?  No.  So here are the in progress shots:

 Prying up the old Corian
 So much for re-selling the whole piece...
J in action...still won't let me take a picture with his face in it...

And finally with the Corian removed!  This is where I burst out into my rendition of "Oh Happy Day."  Literally.

Now with the plywood removed.  Getting tired of the pictures yet?

J did an awesome job of managing construction and photo duty while I was at the shower.  Once the bar top was removed and some tricky electrical work was complete, we called it quits for the day (J was rightfully exhausted and we had a trip to Jo-Ann's to complete!) and resumed the work Sunday morning.

Enter: Corian backsplash!

I won't rehash this subject, but word to the wise: Corian does not a good backsplash make.  And if you want to start a drinking game of how many times I say Corian, ew, and backsplash in the same post, I would encourage that.  And I may even join you.  But let me know first so I'm not drinking alone here. 

Anyhoodle, illustrated below is the ew factor.  The bottom of the cabinets are at the top of the picture, in between them is where the microwave used to sit.  Then you see a splattered space, followed by more grossness of where the the stove was backed up to.  And stove is pictured bottom left.

Out came the wrecking bar and hammer and down came the Corian!

I wish we would have had a third person on site take either pictures or video of the in progress because once it came off, it. came. off.  To avoid chunks breaking off over the cabinets, we carried the whole slab to the other side of the bar.

And in my post demo adrenaline rush, I proclaimed, "Let's go grab our demo sticks and break that sucker apart!!!"  To which J starting laughing hysterically and said, "They're called wrecking bars and why don't I just hold one end while you walk up the piece.  It'll snap into thirds."  And that is exactly what happened.  Pretty anticlimactic actually:
J spent the rest of the day cleaning off the old plaster behind the Corian and doing a lot more electrical work while I went to brunch with a friend.  Don't judge me people, I have a social life!

And when I came home, the plaster was gone and this is what remained!

All in all a pretty picture intensive post, but that's what we were up to this weekend folks!  It's hardly major construction, but I did get one pinched finger out of the deal and my reaction wasn't nice...think of that show Renovation Realities with the couples that do their own renos...yeah, I was that girl.  But the perk is that J actually knows what he's doing, I'm just an innocent, short tempered participant.

Any thoughts out there on a new backsplash?  We are thinking glass perhaps, something with a little bit of color for sure.  So yes, there will be another kitchen post this week.  Likely 3 or 4 more.  And feedback is welcome!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Rewind

After a major lack of posting last week, which was a refreshing break, I thought I'd start off the week with a Sunday night post. 

This weekend J and I got down and dirty in the kitchen tearing out the counters and old backsplash (more on that tomorrow) and I attended a bridal shower; sans camera because J needed it for the demo and iPhone was not focusing correctly.  But below are 4 snapshots that sum up the weekend's happenings:

1.  I have this magnet on the fridge and I'm looking at it more and more lately.

2.  Jo-Ann's had a huge sale on their sewing accessories last week so Saturday night J and I hit the stores and I walked away with a whole lotta goodies for a little cash.  Thank you coupons, sale, and gift cards!

3.  We have a pattern of getting snow, the temp raises to 50 and it melts followed by rain.  This was our second snow of the winter Thursday, followed by an ice storm Friday night making everything nice and slick.  And right this second it's raining again.

4.  Fantastic brunch at a new restaurant downtown.  Potato latkes with smoked salmon and sour cream with chives + great conversation with a dear friend = perfect Sunday afternoon!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend.  I am back tomorrow with uh-nother kitchen post.  Complete with words like "demo-sticks."

And tonight I am linking up with Jenni over at Story of My Life.  I aspire to be as awesome at documenting my life via Instagram as she is.  Check her out!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


We are back after a somewhat restful (read: tech free!) but rather busy holiday weekend.  Hard to think of a holiday weekend after being to work after just a week and a half since the last holidays, but it was a day off for J nonetheless.

And what did J do with his day off?  He met the counter guy at the house to measure for our counters!  But before we get there, J started in on some demolition this weekend.

It occurs to me as I go back through old posts, that I didn't include a picture of the full kitchen with the completed cabinets.  So let's start there:
Head on view

 Side view of the back wall
 Side view of the island

A few items of note:
1. The white refrigerator is going to be replaced by a black one.  Obviously stainless appliances are ideal, but buying one black refrigerator for a house you're going to turn around and sell makes the most sense financially.

2. The bar/island counter is Corian so it's a very solid surface.  But that brown laminate is just not working with anything.

3.  The backsplash behind the stove is the same Corian and is not good backsplash material.  I'm not sure what the previous owner was thinking because it stains, it doesn't handle heat, steam, or splatters of any kind that come as a result of cooking, and when you attempt to clean it, it leaves all kinds of gross smears--which you can see in the second picture.

4.  While not a good idea for a backsplash, it is a great counter option.  Corian is a man made material which has its benefits, namely the fact that it is the same consistency throughout, it's non porous, and is heat resistant.  And if you for some reason put a large gouge in your counter, you can buff it out either with a Scotch-brite pad or an orbital sander.  

With J being so excited about the counters, he couldn't wait to delve right into some demo.  Come Saturday morning, out came the drill, the wrecking bar (I am told that is not the same thing as a crowbar when I asked how one would spell crowbar...) and the hammer.  And a Venti Bold from Starbucks because someone takes his coffee and his construction very seriously.

I took my cue and headed off to the gym while J got to work.

The two pieces on either side of the stove came off by unscrewing two screws underneath the counter, inside of the drawers.  They were not glued down, contrary to how counters should be installed, so they came off a lot easier than anticipated.

The bar top is another story: it is glued to 3/4 inch plywood and the plywood is then screwed into and glued to the knee wall (the base of the island).  MUCH more difficult to remove.  

J had hoped to sell the counter pieces but once he determined the Corian was so securely in place, there was no way he'd be able to take it off without breaking it:
 Now that he had a good idea of what it would take to remove these bad boys, it was time to assess how long it would be before the new counters arrived and just how long I'd be without a food prep surface.  Not to mention, we had friends visit Sunday and we didn't really want to be eating off of plywood slabs.  So break time commenced.

In the mean time, J was explaining his vision for a type of arched bar top that would add a little something to the dimensions of the kitchen.  I am a visual person so until I see it, I can't really picture it.  So why not take one Ikea dresser box and make yourself a template?

The curve won't begin right at the corner, which I was a little unsure about until J showed me this picture:
Not our colors, but that's essentially our island.  And I love it!
And J made sure we showed you our new faucet:

There are two things I LOVE about this piece of plumbing metal: 
1.  The spray head detaches so there is no need for that secondary hose attachment to stretch out and run around the sink.
2.  You can mount the faucet with or without the base.  I love the clean look of a baseless faucet against a nice granite counter.

The company doing our counters estimates a 2-3 week period of time between measuring and install so in the meantime, J is going to work on getting the old counters hauled out of here, the backsplash torn off and perhaps locking down a new black refrigerator.

I have to admit, I'm getting a little giddy myself.  Especially once I learned granite counters are amazing to bake with because they cool baked goods super fast.  And naturally, we're going to have to test that out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

We're Getting Closer....

...to a completed kitchen!

J is in a downright giddy mood these days.  And giddy is the perfect word to describe it.  As in, "I'm so excited I will probably talk about this so much you'll be annoyed."  Literally (and that is the correct usage of the word) he said that very phrase tonight.  Twice.

What could possibly have my dear sweet boyfriend in such a fit that would rival that of a adolescent girl in the front row at a Justin Bieber concert?  Sadly it's not an engagement ring my friends.  It's counter tops.  And granite ones at that.

One of my very early posts was about our kitchen.  We have tossed around every idea from cabinet refacing to just painting.  Replacing all of the appliances to replacing none.  Corian, quartz, travertine, tile, granite, granite tiles and even concrete.  In this post and this one, I detailed our journey thus far.  

And I thought we had come to the conclusion of concrete until it became apparent that the space required to build a mold and actually construct them ourselves (because that's how we roll), was going to take far more space that we were willing to give up.  Read: our entire living room.

So we kept looking, researching (more J than me) and comparing prices and decided to bite the bullet and go with granite.  Now, there are a few things to know about granite and I'll spare you all of the confusing words in the Wiki article:

1.  Granite is a widely common, naturally occurring stone.
2.  By definition, it contains 20% quartz by volume.  We like pretty quartz.
3.  Granite is an igneous rock meaning it is formed from the cooling and solidification of magma.  The cooling can take thousands or even millions of years to complete.  
Insert J making a "liquid hot magma" quote from Austin Powers. Sigh.
4.  Granite is rated on an alphabet system (A-Z) which is determined by the minerology, texture and chemical composition of each piece.  A being the cheaper end, Z being the most expensive.
5.  Granite can be found all over the world.

Beginning with our Ikea trip last weekend, J hit the ground running on finding prices.  With Ikea in Cincinnati, we would have to use one of their contractors which meant a fee for them to travel to Columbus.  BUT, we found a color that we love and were able to use that in our shopping.  However, for those of you living near an Ikea, seriously check out their selection.  Extremely competitively priced!

Fast forward to Monday night and we found ourselves at Home Depot.  We found the same stone there for the same price as Ikea, minus the contractor travel fee since we were in town.  Score! Got the estimate.

Tuesday J visited a fabricator (the folks who install the granite) who mentioned a few suppliers that we could check out to see actual slabs.  J did some more research and found not only the color we wanted but also found it for $10 cheaper per square foot than both Ikea and Home Depot.  If it was even possible, he was MORE giddy than before.

So come Wednesday night, we were off to the warehouse to look at some slabs.  A few pictures for you to break up the otherwise wordy post:

So much to choose from! A large selection of different colors, finishes and stones:

We found so many beautiful options, but given our black appliances, we want to keep from going too dark with the counters.  As a result, we stuck with our original color plan of Azul Platino:
Difficult to see in the photos, but it doesn't look like Corian in person.  The perk is that it is in the A category of granite meaning it's among the most affordable.  Obviously since this is an investment property, we are not looking to blow the bank, but we are getting all of the awesomeness that granite can offer.  Also in person, it appears lighter with some silver flecks that shimmer in the light.  

J is one smitten kitten and I can't say I blame him.  In the warehouse he kept running his hands over all of the pieces in nearly ever category talking about how he loves the history of the rocks and seeing the lines, wondering what stories they tell.  He is a history/science nerd if I haven't already shared this with you.  I'll probably get in trouble for this paragraph so moving on...

So that is where we currently stand.  J is calling the fabricator tomorrow to discuss the dirty details of when and how much and he'll be visiting the warehouse again tomorrow to look at the actual slab that we will be purchasing.  

And I told him he can't renege on this decision like he did the concrete because I've already told the world we're getting granite.

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