Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Only Thing I Do Now

I pulled down the wallpaper in the kitchen closet, the last remnant of the kitchen decor from when I bought the place. It's good to have finally vanquished it all. Check it:

It's sort of like a cross between a children's picture book and an acid trip. That cow always seemed slightly demonic. Anyway, that was the border at chair-rail level. It was paired with two very busy patterns, the busier one on the bottom. You can kinda tell from this:

I took that photo when I was still considering buying the place. The visual chaos obviously blinded me to the fact that the cabinets weren't attached. Oy.

Meanwhile, electrical work is being done and lighting placement happens tomorrow, leading inexorably to insulation and drywall. Woo-hoo! I picked out some pendant lights for over the island. What do you think?:

I love that red! I also got a new microwave for over the stove:

Mmmm, shiny. Now you'll have to excuse me while I go do my dishes in the laundry tub.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Structurally Sound

Kitchen progress is being made. The floor is now level and the opening between kitchen and dining room opened up:

It's comforting to have a sturdy header over that opening, where there was none before. The back door was especially alarming, where some yahoo had just cut a hole. In a load bearing wall. The studs just ended at the top of the door! That? Is amazing. We now have a better solution:

I'm looking forward to having a new door in that opening in the next few days. The cat is very confused as to why I can't just let him out there.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's Not too Dark, is it?

More choices have been made -- see above for my new chestnut flooring. As of now, the cabinets will be a nice buttery cream color and the island will be a chocolate brown. I'm thinking of a muted gold for the walls. Or a muted green. Or a muted slate blue. It will definitely be muted.

These choices are very stressful! Why is that? I've survived many other poor paint choices -- what's the big? Oh, who am I kidding... it's not about the paint, it's about the money. The sheer, staggering most-of-a-year's-salary size of the bill. I'm hard wired to spend only on utility and not on pretty. If the lovely maple cabinets are $1000 more, I must have painted. I won't choose to open up that doorway, even if it would make the space more comfortable, until it becomes clear those new headers were going to have to go in anyway and the money isn't an issue. Spending money on improved mechanicals is one thing, spending money on the beautiful teak flooring is selfish. Of course, I have a budget. The cuts have to come somewhere. What am I going to do ... decide that the floor doesn't need to leveled after all? I don't think so:

Still, I realized today that I've been repeating an obscure little mantra to myself: "I'm improving the city's housing stock." Yeah, so important these days, with all the foreclosures! (Huh?) But clearly I feel I need to tie my remodeling project to the greater good in order to justify the expense to myself. If you know me, I assume you're not surprised.

Say something encouraging, y'all.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm No Good at This

More kitchen dithering. I'm not a good shopper, people!
The original cabinets I chose -- plain shaker-style doors in a pretty lightly stained maple -- proved to be beyond my budget. So now I'm going with painted cabinets, maybe in an off-white. What do you think of this door style?

I have to go back out to the cabinet showroom -- I don't know exactly what's available. What about these? I kind of like the more yellowish cast of this color:

I'm going to ask if the paint color on the island can be different -- maybe a smoky blue or an olive green. I'm going to choose a wood floor in a darker warm tone. I love the crisp line where light cabinets meet a wood floor:

Click through for the laminate I've picked for the countertops. What is your advice people? I have no idea what to paint the walls. I wish there was some place to put it together so I could see what it would look like. My brain hurts.

Meanwhile, all the warts have been revealed in the kitchen. The floor has been torn out:

Four layers! There is now a two inch step down from the dining room:

The floor now pitches even more precipitously toward the corner (note the listing stove--not a trick of the light). The remodeling guy called it a "disaster," which was just hyperbole to justify the extra money he's going to charge me to level it, I think. Apparently, all the previous owners subscribed to the "add a layer" school of home remodeling. Somebody should have told them that plywood and drywall don't work well as insulation.
Good news: I think the anxiety has caused me to lose a couple pounds!