Sunday, December 25, 2016

Bathroom and Kitchen remodel - Dec 25th, 2016

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hi All!

Lots of progress has been made since these two projects started, even though I was in Finland for work for 1 week. Small hiccups around the tile and not getting the ones that I had ordered and then scrambling to reschedule the workers. 
I have spent so much time painting cabinets that I seriously started wondering if it would ever be over.. thankfully, it is almost done!

In the bathroom, the tile on the floor is in and the shower has been started. Because the accent tile was missing they had to stop until it showed up. It just got there and they will be continuing it soon.

Accent tile... waited a week for this tile!
The cabinet frames went in while I was gone and the doors and drawers showed up this week. They were custom built by a local company owned by Mennonites here in the area and they are just amazing in their quality. 
Tall corner cabinet is a linen cabinet

Large two sink vanity

This past Friday the 23rd, we had the counter tops being put on as well as the doors and drawers so it now looks like this.. and the lights the electrician put in just make it so bright.
The doors and drawers along with counters are in..
Things are looking good to complete this by the end of the week... and I am so happy with the job so far. 

For the kitchen, we have painted all the cabinets, the counters are in and I had an electrician update the lighting. Now all that is missing is the tile, sounds like a familiar story doesn't it?
Stripping off the plywood to get it cut better - it is all the support for the quartz

The seam is glued and clamped while it dries

So much chaos when you are pulling all the cabinets and painting!

First door to be rehung... 

I tore out this light box with the terrible fluorescent lights 

New LED lights, so much brighter and use a lot less energy then the old tubes.
And here is it, as I left it to head to my sister's house for Christmas Eve, almost done!
The top cabinets are bright white, and the bottom are a dove gray. The counter is Oceania Quartz which is mostly white with flecks of silver, black and crystals. It looks so much better and I can't wait until these projects are done!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bathroom and Kitchen Remodel Update Dec 2016


A lot is happening but at the same time, it is hard to show you in pictures what is exactly happening. The bathroom has the new entry door framed so it has a proper separation from the master bedroom. It is amazing how that space is now defined by such a simple act as building a wall.

The drywall and texturing is up as well, which means we needed to primer everything. The new texture was so absorbent that it sucked up a gallon of primer for that small room and it still needed more. 

I also put 3 coats of ceiling paint on it and it sucked it up like a sponge. However, that was a fun way to paint since you didn't have to worry about spills! 

The kitchen is humming along as well, but man do I hate painting cabinets! The new cabinets were delivered and installed on Saturday to fill the spot where the refrigerator used to be. When the cabinetmaker and his son showed up, I mentioned that nothing in the house is straight, plumb or level so I am hoping the cabinets aren't a problem to put in. He said he didn't think they would be and he was wrong. The older run of cabinets were not level but were dropping off as they went back to the corner. This poor guy had to remove that set of cabinets and level them first, before installing his one cabinet. He is a true craftsman and artist and just couldn't do it any other way but the right way. I appreciate that!
Above is the space where the frig used to be and where the new cabinets are going in.

New base cabinet with a spot to hold the microwave so that it is off the countertop.  And here is the old cabinets pulled out and being shaved down to level them off. What a job he had to do!

Microwave has it's own home now which frees up the counter-top space

All the top cabinets are painted

The cabinets are installed and in place and it is amazing how good they look! I spent all weekend painting the top set up cabinets and almost got them finished. Just need to finish the doors. The upper cabinets are the most work because they all of doors.
I have a couple of weeks off at the end of the year and will hopefully get all of this finished, any volunteers that want to come paint with me would be welcome!


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Kitchen Remodel Post #2 - Painting the Cabinets


Because I don't have enough to do (sarcasm), I am attempting to get my minor remodel of the kitchen finished while the bathroom is going through a complete gut job. It is a minor remodel because it is mainly the counter top and back splash that is getting replaced. I have really nice cabinets but they are ugly, and when I moved the refrigerator to the other side, it left an empty space on the wall. The plan is to get new cabinets built to fill that spot and paint the rest of them to freshen them up.

Here is the "before" picture if you missed it  -
The left side of the picture shows where the new cabinets will go, where that trash can and microwave cart are now.

Creating new cabinets from scratch is tough when you have custom cabinets like mine, especially if you try to match the door style. We decided to remove the doors from the cabinets on both sides of the sink and replace those with glass doors. That way, the carpenter can use the door fronts from one of the original cabinets, and the new glass doors will not need to match. (I have ordered the frames for those, but still need to find the glass)
Doors and shelves removed to get ready for painting
Since we can't match the grain or the stain, and frankly I am not loving it anyway, I am going to paint the cabinets instead. The upper cabinets will be white and the lower ones will be a soft gray because that will break it up a bit visually. Also, the quartz counter top I picked out is white with gray flecks going through it.
First off, let me get this out there... I HATE painting cabinets! I did it at my old house and it literally took me 6 months to get them finished. The process is especially difficult if you have a varnish on them that has to be removed first using a stripper, and then you have to put on 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint, and 2 coats of varnish. (Not to mention if you choose to sand them between paint layers like you are supposed to.)
Thankfully, technology has improved since I painted those old cabinets over 10 years ago, and now I about 5 steps less to do. I am using a new Valspar paint they designed for cabinets and a high bonding primer for surfaces that have a sheen that would make paint not stick. First you have to clean them with TSP and water, which has been around since the dawn of time. I used TSP without the phosphate so that it doesn't pollute my garden when I dump it out. Unless you have a very dirty cabinet with a lot of grease buildup, 1 wash and 1 rinse should work. You have to let them dry completely before moving on to the painting.
New wonderful technology in paint to save my sanity!

This is them ready to get the primer coat on them... the primer is like thick pudding when you stir it. And even though it dries in 1 hour, you have to wait 24 hours before painting over it.
Primer is on and drying
After the primer dries for 1 day you can paint with the Valspar cabinet enamel. Now, this paint it pricey so I substituted standard, high gloss white for the inside of the cabinets, and will use this for the exteriors only. I did test samples of it before I went and bought the whole gallon just to make sure it was as good as it claimed to be. After about a week of drying the test samples were as smooth as if I had sprayed them on professionally, and none of the grain showed through which is difficult for cabinets like these. (that was with a cheap primer and two coats of paint)
Shelves drying

Paint is drying
For comparison, here is the finished cabinet next to the original one...
Now - these have only 1 coat on them because once again, you have to let everything dry a really long time with this paint. It takes 24 hours before you can reapply, and then 3 days for full drying. I am going to wait to apply the second coat until I get the new glass doors, so that I can match them up better. I have to say though, that even with 1 coat they look amazing! Shiny and almost like new! 
This paint is about 2 times the cost of normal paint, but it is saving me a lot of time and effort and frankly the results are impressive so far.

(I am NOT compensated in anyway by Valspar or Lowes. I just want to let everyone know when I find a good (or bad) product to save you time.)

Next weekend, I will keep plugging along. I have to wait for the two new cabinets and paint them before the counter top can go in. It will be the same quartz in both the kitchen and bathroom. I think that it is a basic enough quartz that it will look good in both areas.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving - Nov. 24th, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I am very thankful for all of my family and friends, my job and my health. I think we have
a lot to be thankful for today, even with the current tension around the country, and the world. We have each other, and we have to remember that is what is the most important. No one expects everyone to agree on everything, everyday, every time. It is just won't happen. As long as we remember those on the other side of our disagreements are humans with families, and feelings, and we respect their opinion as equal to ours, we will be okay. We should not be fighting  each other and destroying property because we didn't get our way. We should be looking to the future and trying to improve that for everyone. 

I love this country and wouldn't live anywhere else. Remember that today is not forever and the future can be changed but not by violence. All people should be tolerated and respected, no matter what color, religion or political opinion.  

In researching our family genealogy I have found that a lot of my ancestors came here to flee religious persecution. They were Quakers, Catholics and Mennonites, and were driven from their home country because of what they believed. They came here to America and created new settlements where they could continue their way of life in peace. There is room here for everyone and we need to accept those that are different.. without them, America will not move forward and will stagnate.

Have a great day! 


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Master Bathroom Remodel - Nov 2016 (Post 2)


My favorite part of any project is the demolition day festivities! I get almost as excited as a kid on Christmas when I am allowed to tear things apart. To save a little money on this remodel, Nick and I did a lot of demo so the contractor wouldn't have to do it and charge me.
It took us the better part of a day to get it done and then haul away the mess. 

Nick Tearing out the counter top
 Tools of the trade in demo!

Yes - this is me taking out the shower panels

Vanity and counter top are gone!

Nick working on the wall with the pocket door!

Shower walls, toilet and door are all out!

And there is part of the mess to clean up

Here is what it looks like now with the new wall between the bathroom framed up. This is where the sliding glass barn door will go that I bought from Home Depot. Barn Door

The closet is gone and now that area will be a huge vanity with two sinks and a linen closet in the corner area. You can see in the picture below that the window will be in the middle of the two sinks with a drawer between.

The fact that this is actually moving along after months of trying to get someone to help is fantastic!


Master Bathroom Remodel - Nov 2016 (Post 1)


It have finally started! The master bathroom remodel is underway and I am very excited! The master bathroom has always been ugly with its two shower heads and pink tile, but it was functional. Until this year when finally both shower heads have stopped working, one will not turn on and the other will not shut off completely. The struggle has been whether to do it myself and just replace things where they are, or to do a complete remodel. For me, it became obvious that we needed to fix the layout as well and that a minor update wasn't going to work. 
Finding a contractor has been the hardest part of the deal so far, because with the homes that were burnt from the Butte fire, all the good ones are very busy. And I only work with contractors who have worked with someone I know, so referral basis only.

So lets get started with the before pictures! 
The bathroom is open to the bedroom, there isn't a door to separate the two spaces except for a broken pocket door shutting off the toilet. And there is a closet at the far end that was an afterthought it seems since the door opening wasn't correct for the size of the door.
No door - all open to the bathroom

Pocket door hiding the toilet and shower

Shower with two shower heads..and the door railing you had to duck under!
Pink Tile with a white design element and blue carpet.
The blue cultured marble was used here as well as the hall bath with the vanity and shower both made out of it.

The plan was to extend the vanity into the closet to make a 2 sink vanity instead of 1 - and to rip out everything and make it nice. 

Up Next - DEMO DAY!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Oct 2016 - Critter Camera Pictures


I realized that I post a lot of these trail camera pictures but I haven't done it in a while so here you go!.
Deer in the rain

Angry Wet Turkey


Pretty Fox!

I have 2 foxes!


Goat Selfie! They come over every morning now... just to eat my grass. But that is okay.. I like the old ladies.

My neighbors dogs and they know they shouldn't be here
It seems that on October 18th, there was something happening because all of these guys showed up.. maybe a meeting of the carnivores union?