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.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Part TWO of a dozen

Grouting makes a world of difference, all the little imperfections just disappear. Good rule of thumb is to never judge a tile job until it's grouted and sealed.  A lot can change with a little 1/16th line.

It is however my least favorite part.  The process drags on and on and it takes FOREVER to clean.
Layer by layer of thinset mudd has to be buffed out, but in the end it's worth it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Part ONE of a dozen

There are so many steps that have had to occur in order to get to this point.  And there are still a number of steps left to complete before we have finished tiling the floor.  We are in the middle of a little bit of limbo at the momment, not the best feeling, but we are pushing through.  Tiling is not an easy task, but we have tiled enough to feel comfortable with it and are up for the challenge of such a large space. This floor can look HUGE when your moving tile by tile across the room. Lot's can go wrong!

We both have our jobs, I lay and he cuts. Both are messy, exhausting and keep you on your toes. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Its that time of year..

I am way behind on my blogging and have been working round the clock and have had no time to show you all what we have been up too!

The chill is in the air and winter is coming round the corner faster than I had wanted. And, naturally we are starting to install the heating system, so it's perfect timing!

I am a huge fan of radiant flooring and have used it on other projects and recommend using when at all possible. Even just in the bathroom if you can.  It does take a little getting used to.... when you turn it on at the thermostat nothing happens right away. No clicking on,  no hot air running through ducts, no immediate warmth....but sure enough the air starts to change and your toes are cozy, and all of a sudden your warm without you even realizing it. It's a much better heating system then forced air or baseboard heaters.  It only heats the lower to middle areas of a space (basically where people are) and doesn't fluctuate from hot to cold all day long. Its just super great, ok!

There are lots of different radiant flooring options, I chose the electrical option for cost purposes and ease of install..........

  Well, the ease of install in not technically true.  Its nice to not have to hire someone to install it, I can do it myself but you have to be able to read there confusing layout maps and have some good knee pads....ok and a little patience. But well worth it!