Archive for June, 2011

One Piece Away

29 June 2011

The kitchen is one piece away from being finished.  Today I went to Home Depot to send back the piece they’d sent, which was wrong, and had them order the correct piece, which will take who knows how long to come in.  But the kitchen is FUNCTIONAL!

The key thing making the kitchen finally functional is the sink.  I picked out a stainless steel double-bowl sink with a lower-than usual center divider.  When I washed the dishes tonight I was thrilled that our largest skillet fits entirely inside the sink!  The handle of the skillet would have stuck out if the center divider went all the way up.

Check out the spiffy faucet!

Anyway, the end bit of the faucet, where the water comes out, pulls out to be used as a flexible sprayer, and can be used for spraying or streaming water, and you can pause the water with the upper black button.

But I am getting ahead of myself.  If you come to visit us, your first view of the kitchen will be as you enter the dining room from the living room, and as you turn you will see the wide opening into the kitchen like this:

What you see first

Open and inviting, I think!  We will probably get some sort of curtain thing to go on the window in the back door, but we need to think about what we want.

Ok, so in the sink photo, you can just see the edge of my tea kettle.  Here is the full view of the “sink wall” with the tea kettle, since I made my tea IN THE KITCHEN this morning instead of in the dining room!

At the lower right corner you can see where the missing piece will go.

I imagine that Greg’s coffee maker will go on the right like it was before.  I think I will get some shelves to go on the left, under the cabinet, for my tea tins and infusers and stuff.  Hmm, IKEA?  Also, we will probably put a curtain on this window to match the one on the door window.  And Greg suggested some sort of stencil or mural across the soffit, which could continue onto the stove wall.  Well, we will see.

So as you look around to the right, you will see the “stove wall”:

I've closed the basement door for the photo

We plan to put pots and pans in the drawers to the right of the stove.  To the left of the stove, as you may recall, is where the garbage and recycling go.  Somewhere along here we will put the spices, and the utensil bin on the counter, and you may notice that the under-counter lighting has been turned on.  When I cooked dinner tonight, I used the vent and light on the microwave oven!  It was so nice!  But again, I am getting ahead.

Continuing around to the right…


I took this photo kind of high so I could show the mini-fan again (see previous post) and our LED lights.  We’ll eventually put magnets back on our fridge, but for now we have only a timer and a beer-opener.

OK, so the final view is this:

Looking into the dining room and living room

Here you can see the back of the peninsula, and the phone, which we plan to replace.  The dining room table has been temporarily squished into a corner but will be moved back to the center of the room soon.  Where you see blank wall in the dining room, we’ll put the chest of drawers that contains the table linens and the wine opener, and we’ll hang the large Chinese painting.  We definitely have to do some thinking about where things will go, and maybe also about what things we don’t actually need.

The cutlery drawer!

I have already decided that our flatware goes in the top drawer nearest the dining room.  Greg hasn’t disagreed (yet) so maybe it will stay there!  I got one of those “expands-to-fit-the-space” organizer things from Bed Bath & Beyond.   But I didn’t stop there, I made dinner!  I made tofu and vegetable stir-fry, with the first of Greg’s beans from the garden!  Which reminds me I have to do a blog post on this year’s garden.  Greg has done a lot of planning and a lot of work on it.


Oh yeah, the other thing that happened today was I got a haircut.  The stylist blow-dried it straight, but once I wash it again it will be wavy again.  I like it, and I hope I like the salon enough I can keep going back there.  It made a good first impression, and was very inexpensive, so that’s a good sign!

As I was saying, however, here I am cooking, with a handful of beans that Greg just brought in from the garden.  And wearing an apron my mom made, and drinking red wine, of course. I am really happy now!

Nearly Finished

19 June 2011

Well, I AM finished with school for the summer, but the kitchen is only nearly finished. Check it out!

First, some details:

New ball valves

The kitchen sink now has new ball valves instead of the kind with the round knob that you have to turn a bunch of times to open or close all the way.  Of course, I had to test these out when they were first put in, so I leaned over to get a good close view and I turned the knob…and immediately sprayed myself, the ceiling, the inside of the cabinet, and the window with water. DUH!  If anyone else had been there they would have gotten a very good laugh, but I was alone so I had to laugh at myself.

Hidden trash receptacle

Next to the stove is where we will keep the trash.  There really isn’t a place to put a trash bin in the kitchen, so this is a good compromise.  It is near enough to the peninsula where we will be doing food prep, and we can put recycling into the second bin.

They open ALL THE WAY!

Apparently, this is how they make drawers these days.  They open all the way so you can see what is in the back instead of having to feel around for items.  What you can’t see here is that you can’t slam the drawers shut.  Old drawers wouldn’t have that problem because they are too high-friction (I’m thinking of the ones in my parents’ kitchen) but modern drawers have bearings and tracks and slide super-easily.  So when the drawer is almost all the way in, a mechanism engages that slows the drawer and closes it gently and quietly.  I have stood in the kitchen and opened and closed the drawers multiple times because I find this fascinating.


To me, a pantry will always be the pantry in my parents’ house, which has tall glass-fronted cabinets where all the plates, glasses, bowls, stemware, fancy china, etcetera are stored.  There is a giant flour bin that tilts out from under the counter, cabinets and drawers full of linens, paper plates, candles, plastic wrap, cereal, liquor, and sometimes cookies, and it provides passage between the dining room and the kitchen.  However, our new “pantry” is a tall and deep cabinet with these handy pull-out shelves (which also pull out all the way) where we will keep our rice and flour and sugar and other supplies.

Under the sink

Under the sink we have a place to put sponges and dish soap, and shelves for more cleaning supplies. It looks so nice!

Also in the sink photo you get a good glimpse of the new flooring.  It is environmentally-friendly “marmoleum” from Forbo which is basically linoleum (linseed oil and pine sawdust from renewable forests) on MDF HDF and with a cork backing.  It will gradually get less yellow over the next few weeks as it is exposed to light, and will finally settle on a color that Will selected for us (the Footprint Architecture guy) which is called “Carribbean.” It is mostly kindof sand-colored with swirls of darker sand and also blue that matches the trim color.  We like it!

So anyway, the kitchen now has all the appliances back in and we are waiting on a few pieces to be delivered:

  • A replacement filler strip to go over the fridge-and-pantry, since the original strip was the wrong color
  • A wider filler for between the dishwasher and the wall, since that space is too large for a regular filler strip and too small to put anything useful into
  • The butcher block slab for the peninsula
  • The manufactured quartz counters for everywhere else

However, here are several views of the nearly finished kitchen:

The "sink" wall, with dishwasher in place

The "stove" wall

Over the peninsula, into the dining room

One of two cute mini-fans, and two of four LED ceiling lights

We have not made any decisions about window treatments for the window or the door to the deck, but that may happen later this summer.

Some progress

13 June 2011

This is the last week of school so I am feeling a little under pressure here, but I wanted to at least post this photo:

so you can see the paint job and the handles on the drawers.

The flooring was put in today and the microwave oven is in place, and the counter top people came and took all the appropriate measurements, but it will be another two weeks for the counters to be done.  I think the electrician is coming this week to put in the fans and the LED lights and I have no idea when the plumbing will be done and the stove hooked up again.

I’d go into more detail but this is the last week of school, as I said.  I have work to do!

A Little Progress

1 June 2011

We love coming home each day to see what has been done to our kitchen.  First, the new wall got its studs, and the ceiling came off.  This was a little surprising, since we thought just the icky part of the ceiling where the leak had been was going to be patched, but the decision was made to take down the whole ceiling.  This makes it easier for the electrical work, which includes 4 recessed lighting fixtures, two mini fans (24″ span) and a pendant light.

Oh look, it's the bathtub drain!

Then some cabinetry was placed, and today the electricians were here all day installing outlets, moving outlets, moving the phone, moving light switches, and making sure there was wiring for the under-cabinet lighting.  They were here longer than expected and didn’t quite finish.  They’ll be back–particularly since they are also upgrading our service to the level of “most modern homes,” or 200-Amp service.  This raises the total cost, of course.

Drawer unit with flooring sample

Cabinets on the "stove" wall, with space for microwave

Cabinets on "sink" wall

New phone location: next to pass-through

Meanwhile, we have acquired the new microwave, the counters have been ordered (though we haven’t go all the cabinets in yet so they are not templated or anything like that), the natural linoleum-on-cork flooring should be in early next week, the new sink has been delivered, we’ve been to Ikea once, Sears twice, and Home Depot over and over again.

Dinner has been a daily adventure as well.  We’ve discovered a Mexican restaurant we really like, we’ve been to the local diner, we’ve been to our local Bertucci’s, we’ve had several nights of sandwiches, and we attended a potluck Memorial Day picnic which we contributed snacks and veggie burgers to.

A note on photos—I will be uploading a more complete set to flickr at some time in the near future.  Also, I will certainly continue keeping you updated here!