Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Is anyone there????

Greetings.........its been hummmmm 2 years since my last confession....... I mean post.....

Life has changed a little in the couple of years I've been gone....

ONE I had a baby......who just turned ONE. Joy of my life. So there's reason number one I stopped blogging....AND 
TWO we had some funding issues, property waiting to sell, economy..... etc. and that always stops slows progress.  

The good news the waiting caused us to reshuffle our plans and redesign some less expensive solutions. Downsizing means living with less which I believe stings at first but in the end is a better living solution.  We don't all need that much...plain and simple.

((For those that are just coming on board to this blog journey I moved up to the pacific northwest to a small town on the Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend WA. A desert born Nevadian it was a huge climate change, one that I welcomed with open arms. My journey to build/design a custom house from start to finish for my mother started with a 530 sf studio apartment and garage (which I call the Tree house) it was a wonderful launching off project. I designed, built and completed it with a huge sense of  accomplishment and reassurance that with my design education and prior work experience I fulfilled the gap that I  felt I was missing.  So.....))

Here we are... about to complete the final chapter we have all been patiently been waiting for. We of course have our challenges, some big some small, however starting out at this same point last phase I was sweating bullets unsure of how this big construction puzzle would get put together, this time around even though I got a little person on my back I'm feeling good, excited to tear down the dreaded rat house....yes I said it RAT house and start new......

Moving my mom out of the Rat House

Friday, November 4, 2011

Being Reborn

We are getting to a point in our world where we will start mining our landfills.  And I think I will see it in my lifetime.  Already companies are crushing down toilets and sinks to turn them into tiles, the "green movement" has gotten out of hand in my opinion, it's turned into a money maker instead of a environmental conscious effort. 

Part of me wants to salvage because I hate throwing things in the landfill, another part of me just loves old stuff.  We work so hard to make a product only to rip it out and "update it" when it still has so much life left in it.  What we should do is choose things that we can live with for longer periods of time that are durable, fairly priced and environmentally friendly. But most of the time price is our first deciding factor and throws out all other options giving us only short term solutions. My budget really could only afford laminate counter tops.  We would have installed them and then within the next 5 years riped them out to something we really liked.  I would have paid for a product that took lots of chemicals, time, and fuels to make only to throw it into the earth to rot and pollute.  Doesn't make a lot of sense.  I just cant do that.  So I put my out of the box thinker cap on and decided to wait for something that I could really like/live with long term.  I hadn't planned on tracking down chalk board slate as counter tops, but stumbled on them while searching for something else and realize that it had all the key factors that I was looking for.  Its extremely durable you can set a hot pot directly on it and it wont burn, its stone which is a huge upgrade from laminate and can probably outlast me and its recycled so its priced really well.  Plus its just so cool........

It had been used in a old school for many years and with technology black boards really aren't in use anymore.  I see why someone decided to nix it, it makes sense..... but nothing is wrong with it.  So, why not carefully rip it out and let it have another use?  It's already been mined from the earth the damage is done so why not keep using it? Very few people have used it as counter tops, but it's no different than any other stone.  Well except for the fact that you can write on it......and I think that puts it on a whole new level of cool.......

Its properties are a lot like marble, it was cut with a marble blade hand saw. (We decided to hire the cutting of the slate, the last thing we wanted to do was break a piece in half by not having the right equipment, we attempted to DIY but decided some things are best left to the pro's) We attached 3/4" plywood substrate down to the bottom cabinets, with a 1/4" hardy backer board and a layer of thin set the slate was installed. We still have some edging to do, but overall it was relatively easy.  My favorite piece is the island side.  It has original lines for practicing handwriting.  I attempted to write my ABC's..........

It's a great juxtaposition to the new and fresh environment, it feels used, but just's almost like graffiti, we can create and have people create, there's never going to be a dull moment in this kitchen! 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

A complex set of boxes

We have never built a kitchen island.

Its a little bit different then the rest of the kitchen.  Let  me explain.

You construct your cabinet boxes, attach them together then level and bolt them to the wall.  Those little suckers won't go anywhere.  An island starts off the same way, building little boxes, attaching together but what do you bolt them to?  The answer:  the floor. 

Not as easy as you think.  And to top it off, there's alot going on in this 4 x 5 space.  A kitchen sink, a small miniature dishwasher, wine nook, decorative cabinet and power for a desk station. Oh...... and did I mention my favorite thing......a full sheet of chalk board!!!!!!!!!

For the last couple of weeks we built the boxes and distracted ourselves with other items that we easily decided were more important. But as other items got checked off the list we were faced with having to finish it. So we finally just jumped in and did it.  Why we were so hesitant to begin this build? It's our tile floor. Our tile is a through body porcelain meaning its the real deal not just a porcelain top coat. 

What this really means...... it's tougher then nails.  It took a series of 5 to 8  masonry and tile drill bits, some smoke and even water to drill 4 little holes.  Not what we expected. Who knew tile could be so strong? Duh....  We started on one side and worked our way to the other, it's probably not the exact way a cabinet installer would do it but I know that baby will never budge a inch. 

Now all it's waiting for is a top........yes that's right a chalk board top.


Friday, October 28, 2011

A bit behind, but worth it!

The best news ever that I am delayed in sharing is that I DID IT!!! (Those who follow on FB know what I have already done), and I'm a little behind in sharing this amazing news, but on 10.25.2011 I officially passed by final inspection and have owner occupancy!!!!  We have been working like little busy bees on our checklist of smoke detectors, hooking up water lines, installing the toilet etc to make our deadline.  I only had ONE more day before my permit expired for the year, and the last thing I needed to do was shell out more money for an extension.   

This piece of paper for the last year has been a major element in my life.  Each and every signature for every inspection I held my breath hoping that I had done everything correct.  I followed the rules and code's required there shouldn't have been any worry, but it's just that "our of your hands feeling" that puts you on edge.  The building department is like the DMV you get that defensive look, the constantly sizing you up look and I think secretly hoping you slip up a bit so they can have a little fun.  I had a amazing inspector who really was as low key as a person could hope for, but the minute he signed that paper and drove off I let out a huge screaming


 The bottled up anxiety and tension from almost 1 year to the day fluttered away in an instant. I received that blank sheet of paper a year ago with hardly any knowledge of half the items on it and little to no self esteem in myself that I could actually do it. And now I run my finger down that list and laugh at how easy most of it was and what knowledge and self worth I gave myself in this challenge. I really love pushing myself to see how far I can go before I crack.  This one really takes the cake, there has been trials and times that I questioned myself but I made it........ almost......and it feels incredible.   There is still lots left to do trim, tiling, etc. but now big brother isn't breathing down  my back and that's a great feeling. 

Like I said I'm way behind on what we have been up too, so stay tuned lots more to come!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

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A little bit of this and a little bit of that

Well hello.

We have been working away and I wanted to show off the new bits of the kitchen.  I couldn't just decide on one cabinet style so I choose two and really like the contrast between both.  Those gorgeous wood doors were actually purchased even before we broke ground and had the kitchen finalized but they were being discontinued and you know how Ikea is.....things go quick.  So amongst many Ikea shoppers on a Saturday I sat myself down in a corner of the store blocked out the dreaded noise and made it work. A little risky yes, but those doors were my major "wow" factor and needed to incorporate that driftwood inspiration that I pulled from the exterior materials. 

There are still some details left to be completed, one being the island cabinet.  It's in a very rough form at the moment causing some head scratching for sure........

And then there's counter tops..........another huge head scratching element.  Can you say Chalk Board Slate...

Monday, October 10, 2011

When it feels like a home

Again, a new layer has been reached in the final chapters of this all consuming process.  A comforting realisation of what we as humans find as security. It's our space and our stuff. Living within our stuff kind of defines you.  It shouldn't control you, but it helps relax the mind into letting your guard down and being yourself. Don't you just always feel comforted when you get home from a long day at work, of after a vacation walking back in the front door for the first time after being gone.  You just breath a little sign of relief that "your home".

What spurred on such deep thought provoking philosophy while assembling kitchen cabinet boxes with the bald headed no clothes wearing ikea helper man above? Well, we have been living without our "stuff" like two gypsy's for over a year while building this project. Just our clothes and essentials shacked up in my mothers house, but I'm grateful for having a place to lay our head.  All of our "home" is in a storage unit waiting to be unpacked and loved again patiently until we finish this amazing chapter and return to our lives and next adventure.  I'm missing our "home" so much lately that I think I'm really in tune with registering my lack of that feeling. You think you don't need that feeling that it's freeing without that security, but when it's gone for a long period of time it starts becoming more present in the day to day little things. And for some reason, starting to hang the kitchen cabinets the space transitioned into the beginnings of the home feeling.  It has mostly felt up until now like a art gallery atmosphere.  Its very nice but not livable, or a place you want to spend a long period of time in.

It could be that I turned on the radiant floor heater and it feels wonderful on the toes, but I just don't want to leave. I just find myself sitting in there envisioning what it's going to look like, how good it would feel to live in.......a little like my home away from home.