- 5/29/2006: What a fun Memorial Day weekend... We
began installing the new hardwood floor, and things went amazingly
well. On Friday evening we moved all the furniture out of the
living room, and used the spread on moisture barrier on the bare
By Saturday morning the moisture barrier was dry and we were ready
to lay the floor. We started by laying out the
frame that went around
the fireplace hearth. Working off of the front of the
hearth we had a nice straight edge (I had measured from the wall
when we laid the hearth to make sure it was square). With 3
sets of hands we made quick progress, and the boards went in very
well. We used
lots of blue tape to keep the boards together (using straps can
lead to buckling the floor). Of course the glue got
everywhere, so we spent a lot of time
wiping off the boards.
We finished the entire living room in by 4:30 Saturday afternoon,
and then sealed the bedroom/office floor in preparation for the next
day. Sunday morning Jay pulled all the blue tape off the
living room floor and
polished it up nice an pretty. I was amazed at how well
the hearth blends with
the new wood floor. The overall effect is just
spectacular, and the
room is very warm and inviting.
We spent Sunday laying the floor in the office, and were able to
relax all day Monday. We hope to finish the rest of the house
this coming weekend.
- 5/24/2006: New projects talk about, and new pictures to
show. Here is a quick peak of the kitchen with the
hardware installed. We also installed a
cool light over
the desk area. For those of you who did not follow all the
kitchen improvements, you can read about it
After getting the kitchen looking so nice, Jay wanted to continue
along with the rest of the house. I figure if his checkbook
can handle the supplies I am glad to do provide the labor. We
ripped up all the old
carpeting from the house. There was also a
very ugly 12" tile
under all the carpeting that needed to go. After removing all
the flooring, we were left with a nice
smooth concrete floor
that is ready for the
Peruvian Walnut flooring to be glued down.
Before we could start on the hardwood floors there were a couple of
minor changes to make in the living room. The hall closet
originally was the first thing you saw when you opened the front
door. We removed the door, and built a
nice little niche
in its place. We will put a can light in it when we run new
wiring to the living room. The closet door has been relocated
to the other side of the closet, so you can open it in the hall
(where it should of been in the first place).
Another big change is the
eyesore of a fireplace. Jay wanted to remove the raised
hearth, so that it provides more walking area. Of course, the
painted brick also had to go. First
HardiBack backer board
was put on the bricks of the fireplace to provide a smooth surface.
We had several 18" travertine tiles left over from the kitchen, but
there was a big variation in their looks. We cut several of
the tiles into 3"x15" strips. We surfaced the fireplace with
the strips, in a well planned (for the most part - stupid math)
Of course when you are fighting gravity, nothing helps more than a
lot of blue tape.
We kept 4 of the best and most
consistent tiles to be the
The plan from here is to grout the fireplace tonight, and start
laying the hardwood on the weekend. We are going to put a
moisture sealer on the concrete, and then glue down the flooring.
It will be an interesting process, but it will certainly be worth
the effort. Check back soon for some flooring pictures (I
- 4/9/2007: After 7 weeks of heavy duty construction, the
kitchen is put back together, and functional. We don't have all
the finishing touches done, but those will be completed over the next
couple weeks. Some of the items left to do are install the new
back door knobs, cabinet hardware, and touch up some paint.
We completed grouting the
early in the week, so that the tile surfaces could all be sealed
before the appliances were moved in. With the grout in and
everything polished the
together very nicely.
Over the weekend the
sink installation was completed with the faucet, and stainless
steel air gap for the dishwasher. The appliances were moved
in. The stove was
a very tight fit, but once we squeezed it in, it looked like a
custom fit. The
refrigerator went in next to the pantry, and slid in with no
dishwasher is a flush front with the controls on top of the
door, and looks very sleek.
Once it was all put back together, the final look was just what we
planned. From the
entry of the house you get a nice view into the kitchen.
The dining room
is all put back the way it belongs, and received a new light
bar area is not only very functional, but it looks great to
For those who don't remember what we started with, here is a
Here are some of the final shots -
won't be making any new posts to the site for a couple weeks.
Around the first of May I hope to have some new stuff to post.
- 4/3/2007: The push to get done continues. Lots of
little things were done in the evenings after work (hooking up the
sink & garbage disposal, cutting the desk top piece, making templates for some tile
cuts, getting the
pendant light in over
the bar that matches the one
over the sink,
etc.). The weekend was spent getting the counter and
backsplash tile installed.
Saturday we started by
dry laying the
counter top. When the installation started I tried to be
very careful about making sure each tile was at the
These tiles have a bevel along the edge that acts as the grout line.
By butting the edges together the bevels create a 1/16" grout line.
However by putting the tiles that close together, any difference in
height is very noticeable. By
checking the level
on each tile as I went the surface stayed pretty smooth.
Because of all the small trim pieces needed to complete the
countertop, I got
Jay to give the tile saw a try. We worked into the night,
and installed the
edge trim pieces to the counters
Sunday morning brought the big
cleaning of the tile. The
lines all looked
good, and once the grout is in it will really finish it off.
One of my favorite touches is around the sink. I bought a 2
1/4" diamond tip hole saw on E-Bay to cut out the corners for the
sink. I made plywood templates, and used those as a guide for
the hole saw. I then made the straight cuts with the tile saw.
The final look is
very clean, and the fit is just right.
Sunday was dedicated to the backsplash. What I thought would
be an easy day turned into another all-nighter. Fortunately,
Jay was feeling very comfortable with the tile saw, so he cut the
tiles as I set them. It took a while to figure out how to get
around all the
receptacles in the wall. It took us about 5 hours to
do the sink side of the kitchen, but we were able to knock out the
stove side in
just under 2 hours.
After we had finished, Jay decided to make a small change on the
window sill (not 'siell' - Jay is from Louisiana and I like to make
fun of his little accent). We decided to continue the nice
one tile up
the side walls of the sill. That entailed pulling about 5
tiles off the wall, and taking one last tile to EdgePro in Loomis
(which we needed to do anyway, because I had made a bad cut earlier
in the day). Except for the 3 missing tiles on the sill, we
were able to get the
completed. Sunday night was finished when I
completed the installation of the
- 3/28/2007: Another big weekend is finished, and we are
moving right along. I had spent the week getting the
ready for their tile. Since we are flush mounting the sink, I
also had to get it
installed. However, on Friday, we discovered that we had
missed getting a tile bull nosed in the correct direction for the
side of the counter. Rather than laying the counter with a
missing tile, we decided to go with plan B and tackle the floor.
Saturday morning Jay began to lay out all the tile for installation.
Although we were just doing a random pattern, we wanted to make sure
it looked good, and put all the prettiest tiles in the main walkway.
Jay set up all the tiles in the back yard to get them in order. I marked a
center line down the
floor which was our guide for laying the tile.
We then began to carry the tiles in for a dry lay. It is a
little more time consuming, but I like to get
all my cuts done
before I start setting the tiles with thinset. We (I) decided
to push on into the evening, and get the floor completed on
Saturday. After picking up all the tiles, we began to install
them. Finally, at 10:00PM we were
done setting the
tiles. It was a long day, but the
final product was
certainly worth it.
Since we had finished laying the floor on Saturday, the only thing
that had to be done on Sunday was grouting. While Jay took
care of removing some of the construction dust from the house, I put
the grout on the
floor. We did a 1/8" spacing on the tiles, so the
grout line is
nice and thin.
- 3/20/2007: Week 4 is done, and we are sore!. We spent the
entire weekend installing cabinets. It took a little while to
figure out a good system, but we finally got the routine down.
Before starting installation, we spent Friday evening leveling the
floor. There was about a 1/4" drop from the center to the
outside wall. We bought some self leveling compound at Home
Depot, and mixed up a bag. This was my first time using a
product like this, and I give myself a C+ grade on the
Next time I will mix it a little thinner, and use my float more to
smooth it out (I mainly used a 6' screed to smooth it).
I was also able to mount the
lights to the uppers. I gave myself an A+ on this project
because every light fixture matched up perfectly with the wire I had
left in the wall. Before closing up the walls, I made a map of
the wires I needed, and each hole I drilled exposed the needed wire
on the first try.
We started mounting cabinets first thing on Saturday. We
started with the lowers, so we could determine exactly where they
ended. We then started at this point and worked back to the
side wall with the uppers. That allowed us to make sure that
the distance to the window was equal on the uppers. We
finished one side
of the kitchen on Saturday. We even were able to get the
on the other side which gave us a jump on Sunday's work.
Sunday's work went very smoothly. We had a good system figured
out for the installation, so we were able to get all the
rest of the
cabinets installed. I was amazed that the vent pipe for
the microwave exhaust was exactly where I needed it to be, and the
exact length that I needed to boot! We were even able to get
installed on Sunday.
Jay is very happy with all his design choices, and the colors seem
to be working well. Even
Molly was impressed
with how the kitchen is coming together.
- 3/14/2007: We continue to move along with the kitchen remodel.
By putting in a couple of long evenings after work, we are back on
schedule for cabinet installation this weekend. We have
purchased all the tile
we need for the backsplash (black), counter tops (mutli-color), and
The order of business for the last week was finishing the walls.
I had to fill in all the small
Then I started all the
and texturing. By doing a coat of mud each night, I was able
to let the stuff dry, so I could
add more and
feather it out. After reading some tips from the pros on the
Internet, I started to get the hang of what it took for smooth
seams. I even added a
little cubby so
the oven gas connection wouldn't keep the stove from being flush
with the wall.
Rather than replacing all the ceiling, we just decided to
skim coat the
surface. It took 2 coats to achieve the smoothness I wanted,
but I think the final product was worth it. Here is a
picture of Jay
after he was done doing the final sanding of the ceiling.
With all the walls looking good, the time came to add the texture to
them. I hadn't been very successful with my texturing in the
past, but with a little thought and prep we did the walls and
ceilings, and I was very happy with the outcome.
This week we are spending our evenings getting the paint done.
Jay did all the priming, and yesterday we started adding the color.
Jay is bringing the Monarch color from the dining room onto
2 of the kitchen
walls. The 3rd wall will be the
same color as the
living room area. We touched up the transitional areas into
the living room, and now all that is left is adding another coat or
2 of the Monarch.
- 3/5/2007: Week 2 of the project comes to an end, and we got a fair
amount of work completed. We are a little behind schedule,
but I hope with a couple of evenings this week, we will be ready
for the cabinets when they get here.
After a bunch of running around, I found a great deal on
travertine tile for the kitchen floor. We got it a
Home Depot for only $1.97/ square foot.
One thing I figured out this week, is that it is best to make
sure all your connections are glued before you turn the water
supply back on. If you don't you might have a
big mess to
clean up. On the positive side, it did get the floor nice
The weekend started by starting the new wiring for the kitchen.
Jay's house is 50 years old, so we tore all the old wiring out
of the kitchen, and added new grounded wiring. I added 3
dedicated 20 amp circuits for the new appliances, and 2 new 15
amp circuits for lights and GFCI plugs. This was the first
time that I worked inside of an electrical panel box, but all
went well. The only confusing part was determining the
best run for the 300' of wire we used.
The new layout includes 5 new plugs at counters, 6 ceiling
under cabinet lighting, and a light over the sink, bar, and
desk. The porch light box also came into play, so Jay
installed a new junction box, and
I also had to move the vent for the stove over about a foot for
the new cabinetry placement. I used some
4" flex tubing
and tied it in to the existing vent system.
½ days of wiring, we added
to the outside walls, and started putting up
This week will be spent finishing up the sheetrock, adding
corners. Taping, texturing, and just making a lot of
- 2-26-2007: Oh Boy!!! A new project!
My roomie, Jay, has been courageous enough to let me try my hand
at a kitchen remodel. He is living in a 50 year old house,
and has started the process of updating the look. I
figured I would earn my keep by offering to help redo his
kitchen. The goal is to have it done in 8 weeks.
We spent lots of time at Lowe's deciding on
cabinets, and he ordered those last weekend. Since they
will be delivered in 3 weeks, we decided it was time to get to
Here is what the kitchen looked like
before we started.
Our plan is to tear down to the studs. Update the wiring,
add a dishwasher and other new appliances, and put some nice
that comes out into the living room will become an counter bar.
We pulled the cabinets out, and created a
kitchen are in the dining room so we can still have the
fridge and counters. Then the demo started. I was
able to tear everything off
down to the
studs in just a few hours. The house had termites in
the past, so Jay was not surprised when we
damage in the wall and ceiling. While Jay loaded up
the trailer for a trip to the dump, I pulled out and
the rotten wood. The
space for the
counter bar is set up and ready for rebuild.
Day 2 started with heading to the dump, and then
a 3 hour trip to Home Depot. When we got back to the
house, we started on the plumbing updates. We are adding a
line for the ice maker, and are using
CPVC for the
line. The new
was added where the refrigerator will live. The old
kitchen sink and counter have a new home in the garage. I
plumbed the sink into the existing laundry system, so now we
have a good
utility sink to use.