Friday, April 29, 2011

Buying our house: Report #15

The countertops were installed Wednesday (Thanks, Rafael!) and the remaining kitchen appliances (stove, microwave, and dishwasher) and utility room sink, which the plumber had to track down Thursday AND we have water in the kitchen and utility room. We are so happy! We finally have a real kitchen. And I think most of the boxes are unpacked. We got the cabinet hardware Wednesday also.

Our new windows--entire house for a total of 24 windows--were installed Monday through Wednesday, and Larry, who has helped us with so much from the beginning when we moved in, removed and hung blinds back up as the window crew worked their way around the house. And when the crew left early (chance of rain, and they didn't want those huge gaping holes in the house in case it did), Larry covered the rooms on the south side of the house with his drop cloths and our sheets so we didn't have to slink through the house. (The house is very close to the road and sidewalk.)

Our friends, Bob and Cheryl, bought two paint samples from Sherwin Williams Wednesday, and Bob started painting the kitchen walls so we could make a color choice; then he went home and brought over two paint samples from his collection. The kitchen walls are covered with four different paint colors now. The colors are Jersey Cream, Compatible Cream, Blonde, and Sand 3. We think (lots of input from visitors) that we're going for Compatible Cream. (Hmm. Is it too dark?) No, that is it. The painter is coming Saturday, though there are a few more things that need to be finished. The dry wall crew didn't come today to patch one last hole left when the dryer hose was rerouted from the attic to an outside wall. And the remaining pieces of our cabinets (a door and four "skins") didn't come from the supplier.

Today (Friday), the plumber installed grab bars and a faucet in the bathrooms. Bob installed new fluorescent lights under the kitchen cabinets because the old lights didn't fit the new cabinets. Cabinets are apparently smaller these days, and the microwave sticks out, which surprised me, but a friend said that her daughter had to order their cabinets deeper so that wouldn't happen. No one told me that!

Tonight a new neighbor brought over a beautiful, big hydrangea plant (blue) as a housewarming gift. Wow! One of my favorite plants--and so impressive! I love our new house and the neighbors and our friends and my kitchen and... Thanks to everyone who has helped us!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Buying our house: Report #14

Well, we won't be having Easter dinner at our house. Fortunately we have a friend's house for backup. Our countertop and appliances won't be installed until next week.

Wednesday, April 20, the dry wall crew was here all day.; they were in the kitchen--and briefly in a bedroom to patch a hole in the ceiling where a light fixture had been--all day--from early to about 6. We had to drink warm water from the bathroom. (We have cold water in the fridge, but everything in the kitchen was covered with plastic.) And Blizzrd chewed up stuff in my bedroom 'cause she was in it so long, so I crated her after that.

AND that day we got an e-mail from the contractor's coordinator, who said that the granite slab had come in, but it didn't look like the sample we'd chosen, and Tim of Forestwood Design (the cabinet and countertop sub-contractor) wanted us to come choose another sample. (He e-mailed us a photo of the slab; it had rusty looking streaks in it; it wasn't at all what we'd wanted so I'm glad he queried us.) His store is far south, and we didn't have time and the house was full of guys till forever so we asked him to bring some samples. 'Course samples are big and heavy and there are lots to choose from, so he threw a few that he thought we might like (from our choices earlier) in his truck, and he and his son brought them over. When they got here, our friends, Bob and Cheryl had stopped by, and Bob caught a problem in the kitchen (hardware not removed from the windows). A guy had queried me about it, but I said I didn't know what to do about it and since the window guys would be working there, to let it go. Well, Bob went to the hardware store nearby (we didn't have what he needed), got a tool, used our chisel and hammer and climbed up and took them down so the dry wall guys could clean up that area. The kitchen looks a lot better now! It was rough from where the tiles were and full of holes on the walls and ceiling. Anyway, Cheryl joined us in choosing the granite. I wanted something light, but what we all agreed on was a darker sample that goes better with the cabinets. Cheryl said that of all the granite countertops she has--and she has lots!--she disliked the light ones the most 'cause they showed stains more. Good point.

We also had our own plumber replace an outside faucet and a shower head that day.

Thursday, the 21st, a carpenter put in a new threshold and ripped off the old door frame to do it. The old frame was tighter. (I can see sunlight when the garage door is open.) The drywall crew picked up all the stuff they left yesterday. And Tim came by and dropped off a new counter sample for the utility room. The one we chose isn't available. And we got a new schedule. The kitchen appliances will be delivered Friday and wait in the garage. The countertop won't come until Wednesday; the aplliances will be installed after that, along with some other stuff, and the painter comes the 30th when everyone else is done.

Quotes from friends:

You’re practically rebuilding the house! (G)

Did you get anything you chose? (M) I'd have to check.

Lots of trials, but you’ll manage and all this effort will be a dim memory. (G, who also supported me during the building of our last house.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bathroom window treatments (link)

There are some good ideas for enhancing your bathroom windows on this HGTV webpage. I like the idea of buying two matching shower curtains and using one for a valance, or you can go for imitation stained glass. For other ideas, go to: Fun, Frugal Perk-Ups for Bathroom Windows : Rooms : Home & Garden Television

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Laundry rooms (links)

The laundry room in our new house is big, though mostly it's long. And it doesn't have a window like our old one, but it's got storage, and one of these days it'll have a utility room sink. (The old one had to be replaced.) The long empty wall gave us plenty of room for our Shaker pegboards and the old chalkboard. I have to confess, though, that it's dull, so I enjoyed the ideas on this HGTV website: Laundry Room Ideas- Decorating, Organization, & Storage Ideas

Let's see, some color, yes. Maybe not so much! Ah, a rug or two, and baskets and maybe some dividers on those big open shelves at the far end of the room. I have a plan!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Buying our house: Report #13

The remodelling process continues to be challenging. We've had to make some changes, which I hope turn out well.... The contractor said that he's glad we're so flexible. The tiles we were going to keep in the kitchen had to come down; the dryer can't be moved to the outside wall after all, so the new counter will have to be installed on the other side of the washer and dryer, and we're going to be short of room there; and I'm not sure the hardware is going to match the kitchen cabinets as well because of the change in color. The cabinet supplier made a couple more mistakes with our cabinet order, but we got upgraded from birch to maple, which is nice; however, they forgot the caramel glaze, which is why the hardware may be a little dark for the light cabinets. The cabinets were removed Wednesday, April 13; they (Tim Wells and his son) finished cleaning up the kitchen yesterday. Today the new cabinets are being installed, and when Louie is done, we're going to start unpacking and putting things away! We know we'll have to clean up later, but we'll know where things will fit, and we expect to find things that are still missing. And maybe I can get some of the boxes out to the curb before the garbage truck comes. The electricians were here Wednesday and Thursday; they installed a ceiling fan and lights in the kitchen, which was already wired for that, but they had to take out a globe light in the small bedroom and install a ceiling fan and lights there--in a new location. Then that light went into the foyer--where there was no light. The living room had no overhead lights at all, so we had a ceiling fan and lights added there as well. The electricians had to crawl around in the attic a lot and cut out a few holes. They were glad we have good decking up there. That was challenging, but then they had to tackle the kitchen wiring and move and add outlets while removing a switch. They were going to remove the wiring for two cabinet lights, but they couldn't track that wiring down. They did discover that there was old and new wiring in the kitchen. The first night--after they left, I opened the fridge, and it was dark inside! What happened?! I tried another outlet since the one it was plugged into was obviously dead, but I had to keep moving the fridge down the wall--Keep pushing it towards me--until I found an outlet that was live. They finished working on that wall the next day--and discovered the circuit breaker for it; it was labeled south wall/kitchen. We have very interesting wiring in this house. I'm still grateful to our friend Bob for helping us figure out light switches and outlets earlier. Yesterday we had to choose faucets for the kitchen and a bathroom, but I don't know if we need to choose faucets for the new utility sink--or when it's coming. Okay, I asked the cabinet installer, and he said that he was also installing it. (It's supposed to be in the garage with the other cabinets; they were all delivered yesterday.) The top cabinets are up on one wall. They're beautiful! The template will be made here this aternoon; it has to wait until the cabinets are installed. We could get that next week--Thursday. In time for Easter dinner! Habitat for Humanity picked up some of the old kitchen cabinets, a ceiling fan, hardware, etc., but they wouldn't take the lovely blue kitchen tiles 'cause the mud hadn't been removed. We'll have to find new home for them; and we learned that they're swimming pool tiles, which was interesting. Now the cabinets are installed, and everyone says that the glaze is not a good idea for the cabinets since they're factory finished, and we're happy with the color. The hardware didn't get delivered today, but we had one handle installed, and it looks good so we're pleased and relieved. Rafael, who's going to work on our granite countertop came by and measured the cabinets, and we discussed the type of edging we want--probably 3/8 round. (The other choices are pencil, 1/4 bevel, and 1/2 bevel. He made drawings of them all to help me visualize them. All the sub-contractors have been so helpful! Oh, and the electricians stopped by today to do a few more things with the wiring. There'll be more work done next week... And thanks to all our friends who bring us food and take us out to eat.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Herb of the Year

The International Herb Society has named horseradish as the Herb of the Year. I learned this in the spring issue of The Herb Quarterly. I also found out that horseradish fights scurvy and that a dash of horseradish added to ketchup is what makes up cocktail sauce. And the plant needs to be controlled so you might want to grow it in a pot.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Buying our house: Report #12

We had another cold front come through Tuesday, April 5; it brought more rain, so our plumbers postponed putting in the new sewer line until next week. Friday a GE technician came (fast service, btw) to check out the washing machine and fridge. The washing machine is supposed to sound like that, he explained. Well, I still don't like it; it sounds like a tiny squeak on steroids. We continue to buy plants from various nurseries and plant them all around the house and along the fence and walkways, though we have a long ways to go to fix the drainage/erosion problem. Now and then interested passersby stop and tell us how nice the place is looking. Monday morning building materials were delivered for the front porch pillars and the doors; later the carpenters, Scott and Vernon, came and begin replacing a side door; they also removed the kitchen door, and after wrestling with the side door a couple days (this is a tough concrete block house that fights back), they installed a front screen door that can also serve as a storm door. (They came back Wednesday since they had to wait for the screen door and because of the storm that went through the area.) Scott and Vernon finished installing the doors, plus door hardware yesterday. Then the painter came by to get a handle on his projects. No painting will be done until everything else is finished, which will be about two weeks--after the new windows are put in, since we won't choose a kitchen paint color until we see everything installed. (We're thinking about a pale yellow. It can't clash with the blue tiles we kept.) And our cabinets are postponed until next Wendesday, I believe, because the supplier sent the wrong cabinets. And we continue to work on our brush piles; we got all the pruning debris out of the driveway, and I cleaned up the leftover pile out back so the dogs have more room to romp. So, after yesterday's pickup, we filled the three garbage cans again, along with four big black garbage bags. No more working on brush piles until after next week's Wednesday pickup. The big brush pile by the curb has to wait for a truck with a claw...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Design and decorating ideas

Here's a great idea for your kitchen eat-at counter: Instead of stools, use two matching high benches. You can see that idea in the April issue of Southern Living. And consider using your under-stairs space for a pantry. (I wish I had some under-stairs space!) There are some lovely garden idas in this issue also. If you have a big empty space, divide it into smaller ones. This idea could help us in our landscaping challenges at our new place... Hardscape always helps. And don't run your front path in a straight line to the front door. Give it a jog and maybe a bench. (The before picture shows what a difference that makes!) There are a lot of lovely plant photos to give you ideas also, including azaleas. (I've never seen a spider azalea before.) Of course, there are more home, garden, and food articles to enjoy, plus designer Tobi Fairley says that paint colors she often uses are Sherwin-Williams Believable Buff, Wool Skein, and Silvermist. Sparkle note: If you drag a treat from the box, and click on it again, Sparkle will jump up and catch it!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Honeysuckle (pink) decorating ideas (link)

Honeysuckle is a popular spring color. Check out these photos, including a honeysuckle damask door covering, and check out that pink tutu bedskirt. If you love pink or other bright colors, you'll enjoy these fun and lovely ideas: 12 Ways to Decorate With Honeysuckle : Decorating : Home & Garden Television