Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm excited! The weather is finally getting warm. My little house is getting spruced up. The siding has been repaired. The phone has been fixed. The Leland Cypress trees (damaged from the snow) have been trimmed. And, I've finally resolved the kitchen cabinet challenge. But, not without some trials and tribulations. I considered painting them, but want the cabinets to extend to the ceiling. So, I bought a table saw and built a topper cabinet. Actually, it looks pretty good and now I've reduced my fears of table saws (albeit, not entirely.) When the time came to build a cabinet door, things got more hairy. I couldn't find a router bit to match the old cabinet doors, and the mismatch would drive me insane. Next step....look into cabinet refacing. I can build the cabinets up, replace the doors and reface the exposed surfaces.

As I was searching online for door options and refacing companies (just to see what it costs), Long Fence and Home called me. Typically, I don't answer my home phone unless I recognize the number, but the sales calls are driving me crazy! So, I decided to start answering the calls and get off their phone list. (An unlisted phone number and the "Do not call list" is a complete joke.)

So, since there was something serendipitous about it, I agreed to let them give me an estimate. Here's what I asked for:

The cabinets are Imported Polynesian Hardwood. The solid doors are about 1/2" thick. When I opened a sample door, I was sold. In my entire life, I have never felt a cabinet door so heavy and solid. The quality was amazing.

I didn't like the really long handles in the picture, so I chose some smaller versions. I don't have enough cabinets to go with the 2-tone, so they are all dark wood. The kitchen in the picture is too dark for me, so I chose a quartz counter top that is lighter in color but with red flecks to match the cabinets. They gave me a nice price (I think), so I signed the contract. It's a lot more money than I wanted to spend, but I'm tired of struggling with this kitchen. I have 3 days to cancel the contract, so I'm headed to Home Depot to check prices, installation fees and the quality of the cabinets. If I stick with the contract, installation starts in about 2 months! The agony of the wait.

The remodel doesn't include the back-splash (I want glass tiles, which I'll do myself) or the floor (I haven't decided what I want...tile or wood, which I may do myself). I'll take pics and post as the installation progresses.

It feels good to finally make some progress!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm beginning to think that the home repairs never, never end. I know that may not be new to some of you, but my last home was brand new, whereas this one is about 20 years old. Sigh. This was a particularly rough winter on my little abode. The January winds ripped siding off my house. That took several months to get repaired. Do you realize what a scam the insurance companies run? The insurance adjustment for the repair was only half of the estimates I got from siding companies. I was basically forced to use the company recommend by my Homeowner's insurance company (Met Life) , or I had to pay the difference myself. With all that said, it worked out fine and the siding has been repaired. It actually looks pretty good.

So why am I whining? Because now my land line phone doesn't work. I stopped working the same day the siding was repaired. So, now I need to call someone to fix that. Sigh.

With all the snow this past winter, it broke several of my Leland Cypress trees. Sigh. The estimate is $600 to trim and haul the brush. Sigh.

A condo is looking more appealing to me every day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Change of Focus

I haven't blogged in awhile, but still plucking away at the home improvements. The kitchen has been placed on hold due to limited funds. I'm focusing on saving for a rainy day first, then I'll go back to the kitchen.

So, my family has been encouraging me to post my day-to-day homeowner challenges. The thought is that maybe it will help someone else out there in virtual space.

I live on the East Coast and we were hit with a historical blizzard this weekend. The storm started Friday evening, and by Saturday morning, we had about 12" of snow. The house was cold. I mean 57degC cold! Panic set in. There was no way I was going to get BGE Home out to help me, so it was up to me to figure it out.

I went down to the furnace and I could hear the fan running, but no heat from the vent. I saw the flame kick on, but about 10 seconds later, it shut off. Obviously, we weren't going to get warm that way. Panic again! The fuel must be getting to the burner, so maybe the exhaust can't get out? Maybe there is a safety switch that turns the furnace off if the exhaust is blocked? Maybe snow is blocking it?

I ran upstairs and loaded on the snow gear. My son begins to question me and looks skeptical, but hey...there's nothing to lose. Turns out that there was a drift on the side of the house about 2.5 ft deep. I swept the snow away from the exhaust vent and came back inside. And...drum worked! I subjected my family to harassment ALL weekend about how toasty warm it was in the house. Ah...I had bragging rights.

That's when we decided that the blog would contain all of my day-to-day challenges.

Well, we're preparing for another snow storm of 12-20 inches on Wednesday, on top of the 41" we already have. I'm worried about my gutters. There are icicles and piles of snow in them. I hope they can handle it. I've include a picture from my front door.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kitchen Updo

I've decided that I really want new kitchen cabinets, even though I bought all the prep materials to paint my current cabinets. I want a modern kitchen with a traditional feel. I want glass fronts with lights. And I want it cheap. So, I looked at the Ikea cabinets and really like what they have.

There's a little too much white for my tastes, but I love the cabinets. Now, I only need to walk through the 5 simple steps (sarcasm) outlined by the Ikea website.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ocean City Updo

Just so you don't think I'm sitting on my a** doing nothing, I'm actually in the middle of doing some improvements to my condo in Ocean City, MD. This is a picture of my living room with the new berber carpet.

Still need to paint that paneled wall and replace the curtains, but it is already much improved over the "before" living room with the turquoise carpet.

This shot shows the new kitchen and dining room tile next to the carpet. I love how they blend together.

I had to throw in a shot off the balcony with sun glistening over the ocean. This is why I bought the condo.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Planning to Plan

I'm thinking about glass door fronts. I've looked and looked for textured Lexan, but couldn't find any interesting designs. Going with glass seems unsafe, but there are more pattern options. I think there are extra measures I can take to keep the glass in the doors.
I found a nice link on how to remove the center panel and install the glass.

I like the botanical pattern. It gives a calm, zen feeling. But the geometrics are appealing to me as well. Now that I see them side by side, I'm leaning in the zen direction.
Now for the top of the cabinets. All that wasted space drives me crazy since I have so little storage space. I'm thinking of building horizonal cabinets up there. Something like what they sell at Ikea. I would paint them to match the rest of the cabinets, and no glass. A simple, elongated handle to emphasize the horizontal nature of the cabinet would be nice.

This will be a challenge. Although I've gained some skill with a router, I've never built a cabinet.
But really? How hard can it be?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kitchen Remodeling

Well, here's my next project. The kitchen. This is the "BEFORE" picture, and I'll post pictures as it progresses. My plans are to replace the floor with a ceramic tile that has a simulated inlaid wood finish, and replace the countertop with granite. What about the cabinets??? I can't afford to replace them right now, so I plan to paint them.

The paint on the walls is Ralph Lauren Suede. My son replaced an obnoxious florescent light with the recessed lighting. The floors are vinyl tile that was new when I bought the home. I replaced the appliances with stainless steel.

The counter cabinets are double sided with doors. Convenient when you are looking for something. Inconvenient when things fall out the other side from packing it in.

Just another view to the right. I didn't buy a SS dishwasher because this one was brand new. Maybe later.

A view from the kitchen to the eating area. The kitchen table will be replaced with a pub table. I looked for a pub table this weekend and found nothing that I like or will fit in the area. Need to keep looking.

Many people have different ideas on how to paint the cabinets. I searched the internet, and it said to clean the cabinets with TSP, sand them, use a high build sandable primer, sand them again, then add the top coat.

I talked with the Home Depot guy and he said that was way too much work. He suggested that I use Klean-Strip Liquid Sander Deglosser to remove the finish instead of sanding. Then use Glidden Gripper primer/sealer which will bond to the cabinet surface. Then add the top coat of paint.

Since the prior residents were restaurant oweners, ALOT of restaurant cooking was done in this kitchen, leaving a thick layer of grease on the cabinets. So, I decided to use the TSP first, Klean-Strip 2nd, the Gripper 3rd, then top coat.

If anyone has suggestions for improvement on this approach, I'm all eyes. ;-)