November 12, 2017:

Hola!

It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived early in my hometown. One week it was in the 70s and gorgeous outside, the next week it dropped down into the 40s and then boom, less than a week later, into the 30s. We've already had several hard freezes, the earliest that's happened since I moved here in 2014. Anyway, the trees had not even begun to turn color yet in the neighborhood - and now most of them are bare due to the many hard freezes and strong winds that blew most of the days last week. Wowsers! Today, however, the sun stayed out all day, there was no wind to speak of, and the temperatures felt positively balmy outside. I was very glad because I had to be out and about today.

So, the poor trees did not have a "fall" this year but we did get enough rain to ease my mind that my pines and shrubs will have enough moisture in the ground to survive the winter. The squirrels are SO fat and SO furry, I can't help but think they know we're in for a bad winter. Sigh. I'm way behind in everything including lots of garden clean-up that now I won't get to unless we get a few days of "Indian Summer," which doesn't seem likely this year. I did, however, get everything outdoors pretty much put away, except for the area rug (it needs to be "washed" with some soap and rinsed off) and the mosquito net curtains on my Shezebo. Now I'm already thinking about Christmas, and soon it will be here, before we know it! So, I figured it's about time I put up my "autumn" photographs from prior years as the seasonal header here at Maison Newton. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, that will be here soon and then it's into full-tilt Christmas decorating. Take care, everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2016

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!

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