December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

Jan

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Kitchen Reno: Into Week Three and Still Not Done!

ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

Drywall patching is a word that starts with B and rhymes with WITCH.  It seems the painter/drywaller brought in by my contractor to mud and prime the drywall patches  thought his job was finished after 3 coats of mud, a sanding and priming.

Not.

Divets and dings in mud not caused by anything I did, areas that clearly to my untrained eye need more mudding and uneven sanding to smooth out transitions between the existing drywall and new patches, as well as unresolved "waves" in the mudding (not sure how else to describe them and they don't photograph so I can show you clearly what I'm seeing) --

The whole job should have been completed the Friday before Thanksgiving week.  All the guys took off for deer hunting up north, the opening of gun hunting season in Wisconsin.  Guess it was too much to think the job should have been finished right BEFOREthe crew took off for deer hunting.  But not in Wisconsin.  Maybe not anywhere, LOL.  It's like a sacred ritual or something.

ANYWAY.  The following Monday contractor guy appears to begin re-installing woodwork and also trouble-shoot the problematic transition between dining area flooring and the living room carpet, at about 3/4ths inch different heights.  He had to create his own transition threshold to fill the opening created between the two spaces by the removal of the wall because it's so wide and that was the fastest solution to solving the problem.  It works - sort of.

I showed contractor guy the relatively few issues with the drywall and he said he would call the painter/drywaller guy, who was supposed to call me to check on whether I was satisfied with the job (he did not call).  Contractor guy agreed more mudding and sanding needed to be done, possibly another 2 or 3 coats.  Another week of work, depending on how quickly the mud coats dry.

Contractor guy arrives the next day to install more woodwork and also the completed custom threshold.  Guess what -- the new woodwork doesn't marry correctly with the existing old woodwork because the old woodwork is thicker.  I have to laugh, I can't cry about it!  So.  contractor guy says no problem, I will replace the rest of this (a long stretch down the hallway wall to the bathroom door) with new woodwork so it all blends in.

He also told me that he had spoken with the painter/drywall guy and that he - contractor guy - would be finishing the mudding/sanding as needed to make sure the patches look as good as we can get them.

So - I had my Thanksgiving in a torn-apart house that is STILL not finished after more than 3 weeks to close up one simple doorway opening and open one simple doorway between two rooms.  Bloody Damn Hell.  I could have done it myself with my bare hands in this amount of time.  My hands, nails, and some spit.

My custom for many years has been to put up my Christmas tree and start Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving weekend.  Not this year.  Today - November 29th, contractor guy got tied up on another job and was not able to come to finish.  And frankly, I doubt he will be able to finish for at least 2 more days.  He has to still sand what I hope was a final coat of drywall mud he put on yesterday and also finish installing all of the new woodwork trim.  Prime the sanded drywall patched areas and stain the new woodwork.  Rutsa ruck.

I shopped online until I dropped to spend some of my frustration over the past few weeks.  More on that in post above this one.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Kitchen Reno: End of Work Day 1

Holy Hathor!  So noisy!  But -- the guys made wonderful progress. [Day 1: Before]

All the wood trim on baseboards was removed and saved for re-use/patching as needed.

The electrical outlets that were going to be relocated were disconnected and moved; some openings in the subfloor had to be made to route the wiring, as well as accommodate the new location of the cold air return.

Wall between the living room and dining area was cut to the floor; framing reinforced.



Original entrance framed in.  Drywall up!


Tomorrow the painter/drywaller will arrive to put a first coat of mud on the drywall, and be back in the afternoon to apply a second coat (assuming the first coat dries).  Now I understand why the work is going to take all week - the mudding/sanding that needs to be done.  Didn't think about that before, duh!

Third coat of mud and possibly final sanding will be done on Wednesday.  No work scheduled for  Thursday.  Everything finished up on Friday, including patching floor, adding transition between the dining area and living room, trimming out the baseboards, and priming the drywall (I have paint matched to existing colors and will do that myself).

As with any remodeling, a few surprises were discovered, including a hidden junction box (code no-no) that was then disconnected and removed, and the fact that the prior owner added approximately 1/2" of height to the kitchen and dining area floor by adding a new layer of plywood over the prior floor surface before putting down the current flooring!  So my contractor is going to custom mill a transition threshold to fit the space between the dining area and the carpeted living room. That will stay in place until I replace the kitchen/dinette flooring and have the carpeting removed and hardwood floors refinished in the living room and hallway, the only areas where it remains on the main floor.

The guys are cleaning up right now (1:42 p.m.); they worked straight-through from 8:00 a.m.

I will give everything a wipe-down after I eat something - I'm starving!  More pics:



Height difference between kitchen floor (dark)
and living room (carpeted): 1/2 inch.  New
threshold will be sandwiched between and tapered.


I didn't do a thing and I'm exhausted - what's up with that?  LOL!

Kitchen Reno!!!

Hola everyone!  It has been a little while since I last posted, and I have been uber-busy with the garden, the yard, the Shezebo, the new privacy fence along the north lot line, and now, fall clean-up, which will end about next May.  And now, I am undertaking a reno project, my first - ever!

Ever since I moved into my retirement Maison Newton in July 2014, I've been wanting to open up the "window" that exists between the living room and my dinette area of the kitchen, and close off the existing doorway to the hall that leads to the bedrooms and bathroom. Closing off the existing doorway will give me room in the kitchen proper to slide my fridge over next to the existing cabinets and free-up space across from the peninsula and the dining area, while also giving me a more open traffic flow.

In the current arrangement the fridge is sitting in space that normally would be considered part of the dining area of the kitchen, and even though my fridge is Euro-style sleek, narrow and counter-depth it has always looked out of place to me, sort of stuck in a no-man's land between the kitchen and the dining area.  Here are some photos which show the less-than-optimum arrangement of the space:




Two of the identical floor-plan homes that I looked at before I bought this home had been remodeled so that the wall between dining area and living room was opened up and the former doorway to the kitchen off the hallway closed up.  The result was a modern-looking open space and flow between the kitchen/dinette and living room areas.  Here are a couple of photos of one of the houses where the wall was opened and how that looks:



And so, after much thinking about it and hemming/hawing, I decided to go ahead with a phased kitchen re-do that will, eventually, include a new countertop, new blacksplash, painted cabinets, new flooring, new cabinet hardware, and new light fixtures.  Eventually also a new range, dishwasher and microwave to go from black to stainless steel.

Phase I is opening up the wall between the dining area and living room and closing off the existing doorway.  The current "window" that is cut into the dinette/living room wall will be opened all the way to the floor and widened about 12 to 15 inches, depending upon stud location.  Today is the FIRST DAY!

Three guys are here and taped off the living spaces to contain the construction dust as much as possible, covered the carpeting with plastic and dropcloths; electrical outlets have already been moved and an inconveniently placed cold air return removed; they have also removed the woodwork in the construction area and have already cut the wall down to the floor!  Now they are working on relocating the electrical outlets.

Not sure how long they will be here today; originally the contractor told me they would be here all week, so I don't imagine they will be working 8-hour days for 5 days, not when the work is already progressing so quickly!

I am presently holed up in my den, which I somewhat cleaned up yesterday, knowing I would be working in here all week :)  It is amazing what an impending eviction from my dinette table (where I normally sit, looking out over my backyard through the patio doors) can do to motivate me to attack my messy den. It is now, at least, livable.  Eventually I will get around to finishing the taping I started in January (yes, in January), and repaint these dark and dreary walls!