December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I Got the Kitchen Blues

Hola darlings!

This is the kitchen I wanted -- at 4029, the house I did not buy (could not reach agreement with sellers on a purchase price, we were $2,000 apart in price and both stuck to our guns; ultimately, this house, listed for $169,900, sold for $168,000 -- much more than what I paid for 3982 with identical square footage and general lay-out, just up the block):

This is the kitchen I'm buying at 3982:

The basic lay-out and floor area of each kitchen are mirror images of each other, right down to the angled double sink in the corner looking out through two corner windows.  But - oh my - the differences.  Holy Hathor!

This is the dinette I wanted -- at 4029:

How spacious, open and airy the kitchen and dinette are, and how they flow into each other seamlessly, and into the living room from the dinette with the wall removed.  All that is missing at 4029 is the patio door I wanted instead of the window on the wall to the right!

This is the dinette I'm buying at 3982:

Oh my.

As you can see, I have some work cut out for me.

There are three important differences between the remodeled kitchen at 4029 and the remodeled kitchen at 3982:

(1)  The location of the entrance into the kitchen from living room at 3982 cuts off the flow of wall space so that there is no room for a pantry unit or refrigerator to the right, while the kitchen at 4029 appears to have extended the wall to provide for these areas.

(2)  3982 features a pass through into the living room rather than the wall being removed as was done at 4029; that option provides free circulation into the area from the living room and gives a much larger open feel.

(3)  3982 features a breakfast bar peninsula that cuts the kitchen/dinette area in two and impedes free traffic flow between the two areas.

What you don't see in the photos of 3982 is the large sliding patio door on the wall to the left of the little dinette table. That is a BIG plus for me, one of the improvements that sold me on buying 3982 instead of 4002.  I won't have to pay to have one installed and steps built down to the back yard/patio.

What don't you see in the photo below:

A refrigerator!

What I intend to tackle myself (gulp) is removing the cabinets on the left wall (uppers and lowers) to make space temporarily for a new fridge.  Oh oh -- shoot!  I sure hope the countertop comes off with the cabinets -- and there is that white backsplash -- what am I going to do with that?  Hope it comes off with the countertop!

It is a priority to get a new fridge as I told the sellers to take their Incredible Hulk black monstrosity with them (it is lurking menancingly on the other side of the narrow doorway from the living room into the kitchen and you cannot see it in this photo).  There is another fridge in the house, which sellers agreed to leave behind (they were probably breathing a sigh of relief that they would not have to get rid of it); it is a rather vintage full size energy-sucking fridge that serves the bar area in the rec room in the basement, er, lower living level (LOL!)  That will be my fridge until I can get the cabinets removed and a new fridge in place.  I will then donate the lower living level bar fridge to charity, if any of them are willing to come and haul it up the stairs and outside! 

I've no idea what I'm going to do about the dark grey tile left behind once the cabinets are removed (or the white backsplash, if it doesn't come off with the countertop), but that will probably be mostly hidden by the new fridge once it is in place in that corner so I'm not going to worry about it (too much).  I want a lower pull-out drawer freezer, cabinet depth fridge.  I am not fond of the black appliances, so I am shopping for a stainless steel or platinum finish fridge with some black trim, or a black fridge with some stainless steel trim.  I can't afford to replace the other black appliances (there is a black dishwasher as well as the range and microwave), so I need something that will "blend" in.

The existing cabinets will be painted white.  I am staying with a classic black and white kitchen and live with the grey elements in the room.  I plan to put some cabinets back along the refrigerator wall once it has been extended and the entry from the living room into the dinette area has been expanded with removal of the pass through in the dinette (the other side of the currently existing doorway).  I am pretty sure, judging from the photos of 4029's redo, that an engineered header beam to support the load above will have to be installed. 

The other thing I want to do as soon as I can is to get rid of the peninsula!  I don't like it at all.  That's ironic, as my current kitchen/dinette has a peninsula too, although it is not set up to use as a breakfast bar.  The dimensions of my current kitchen/dinette (11' x 19') are just about the same as 3982's space.  So why does my current kitchen/dinette feel roomier (photo taken last Christmas season)?  Is it because it is open to the family room?  It is that effective illusion of more space I hope to achieve by opening up the wall between 3982's dinette and living room.

And oh, I'm going to miss my gallery wall of family and friends!  There is no wallspace to put it up at 3982 -- not in an area where I and visitors will see it all the time. I could put it in the guest room, but rarely will anyone see it there.  I could put it in the basement rec room, er, lower level living space, but frankly, the idea of being in a basement (with carpeting -- that will be ripped up within a few days of moving in, let me tell you!) -- well, it creeps me out the idea of any of any of my precious things being down there. 

Do you suppose I'd be able to saw the countertop on the cabinet forming the peninsula in 3982's kitchen so that it will disconnect from the cabinet I want to leave behind (the one flush with the wall?)  And how do I finish off the sawn end-piece of the countertop?

Also targeted for removal at 3982:  the inset wall cabinet in the dinette that is off-center.  It looks ridiculous.  And I will need to consult with an electrician to see what can be done about those switches in the dinette.  Why are they so far apart?  Can they be combined into one compact area right next to the door frame to the basement hallway?  The ceiling fan, and the light fixtures in the kitchen are going!  They're not my style.  Since I have to keep the black appliances for some time, I want some light fixtures that I really really like -- and I don't like any of the ones in the space at present. 

The woodwork will also be painted to match the white cabinets.  It doesn't bother me to used different wood tones in the same room, but the mish-mash of textures, color tones and styles in my new kitchen/dinette is something I can't live with. 

Cha ching!!!!!!

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