Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kitchen and Porch Update 9.14.13


Things are moving along.  The old back door has been removed and covered up
and the new French door has been framed in.  I may leave the upstairs door
until spring.  I'm over budget and need to make cuts.


The first floor porch is framed and the forms for the piers and new stairs were made...



...and poured the next day.



I planned wood stairs but switched to cement at the last minute.
I get huge icebergs that form along the edge of the porch roof that
eventually come crashing down and I thought the concrete would
end up being a lot less maintenance.   I thought this was a concession
but I really like how they turned out.



The edges of the cement were softened with a 1/4 round edger before the
cement was totally set .  I think it makes a big difference.  They look very similar
the steps on the old townhouses in Back Bay and the South End of Boston.



Inside, the new kitchen joists and subfloor are in.  Just like brand-new.

Having a new solid, level floor made me consider doing a tile floor in the kitchen
but I really think I'm going to stick with wood.  I'll probably use the same
white oak flooring I have in the rest of the house but bleach and/or pickle it.



The new floor joists span the second (inner) foundation so blocking was put in
so foam insulation can be sprayed in the unheated space between those two foundations.

The plumbing and electrical should start next week.





The new plumbing stack has claimed a new victim:  the upstairs bathroom.
To get the plumbing stack and vents tucked back into the kitchen wall, they'll
need to pass through the upstairs bathroom.  It just seemed easier to open
up those walls to do the plumbing.

This bathroom is also going to be renovated but it
had to get cut from the budget in this phase. 



Notice the wall where the sink was mounted under the window.
It's an historical document to all the colors the bathroom has
been painted in the past.


And one small section makes a wonderful abstract painting.

I'll be busy this weekend picking my appliances and light fixtures.
It feels like such a commitment. 

76 comments:

  1. really love those concrete steps. everything is looking good.

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    1. Nothing fancy at all but I'm really happy with the result.

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  2. Steve... I am astounded at your bravery and your tenacious spirit as you move forward with this renovation phase. You seen undaunted and have taken the surprises in stride. Thanks for allowing us a glimpse... Can't wait to see the outcome! Happy weekend.. Susan

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    1. I'm learning that there's really nothing that can't be fixed. Yes, it costs a little extra but it seems there's always a few things that be cut from the bedget or left for later.

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  3. Everything looks great and is moving right along! Renovations can be so complicated but you are handling it so well!

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    1. I'm fortunate to have a contractor that really thinks things through. The floor replacement was a surprise but its replacement will make a much better renovation in the end.

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  4. That "abstract painting" could be a nice photo, enlarged, to hang in your finished home. A reminder of the courageous diligence you needed to accomplish all you are accomplishing.

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    1. I trying to figure out if I can get that section of wall out in piece and frame the real thing.

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  5. You are doing soooo much better(and calmer) than I did thru my kitchen/laundry room expansion/renovation.
    I applaud you!
    I found wine helped me get thru it.....

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    1. I'm find not having a kitchen makes for easier house cleaning but a few cocktails don't hurt either.

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  6. I was just thinking about your kitchen today while at work and wondering how it was coming along. Come...home and here is an update. I'm ready to get through with this phase and on to the pretty stuff. I had a customer today saying she was redoing her kitchen and I told her that a friend of mine was redoing his and using antique furniture instead of cabinets and how fabulous it would be. Both the customer and my co-worker looked at me like I was insane. They just don't it. I said..."Trust me it will be fabulous...this guy has the very best of taste and it will be wonderful." Again, I got blank stares. People have no vision....except here in Blogland!

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    1. Nita,
      That's funny. I often get the same thing. Even from friends. Many of them have started to say, "I'll have to see it when it's done." Oftentimes, I think you're right, they can't envision what something is going to look like. I'm ready to get through this phase too but there's still lots of plumbing, electrical and insulating to get through.

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  7. Hi, Steve — I notice that you've got old newspapers in your upstairs bathroom wall, also historic documents of sorts! Your renovation makes for a great blog, and it would be an equally exciting book. In any event, I look forward to each chapter!

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    1. Yes, there have been a lot of newspapers found around the house. It seems it was a popular insulation of yesteryear. It's usually crumpled up and shoved into cracks and unfortunately way too fragile to open and read.

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  8. How utterly exciting (and exhausting and expensive) this all must be!!! I so wish I could follow you around as you choose all your appliances and details. You always choose so well, but there is always a wonderful story that comes along with it that is almost as good as the thing itself. I agree, you really should see if you can remove that section of board/wall and preserve it. Such a marker of your home's history. You could frame it. xo Terri

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    1. I wish you were with me too...especially for the lighting selections. There are SO many options it's overwhelming. I've picked everything at least a dozen times.

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  9. It's all looking good in the sense that having the right base is what you want to build on. I'm with you on the unusual cabinet choices, but I'd say for lighting, trust your gut and stick to classics. You know you'll always return to them happy.

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    1. Good advice, Jacqueline. I'm driving myself crazy with the lighting choices. There are just too many great choices. It gets overwhelming.

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  10. I like the concrete steps...simple and hardworking...they'll probably be easier to keep clear of snow and ice too. Have fun with your selections...pick what you like and walk away or you'll keep second guessing yourself :) Looks like things are moving along...maybe you'll be able to cancel those Thanksgiving restaurant reservations after all!
    am

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    1. A little optimistic with cancelling the Thanksgiving reservations. I'll run out of money before I finish unless I find more places to cut back or find some cash somewhere.

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    2. I hate running out of money...puts such a damper on things ;)

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  11. It is so exciting to see construction after all the destruction. Have fun making all the appliance and lighting choices. I love the concrete steps and the edge detail. Leave it to you to fine tune even concrete steps!
    Best...Victoria

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    1. I wish I could take credit for the soft edge on the concrete stairs. One of the guys on Sam's crew does concrete countertops and I think that's his input which I'm grateful to have.

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  12. Yowza!! The Boston Bees are a workin! Cannot wait to see it all spanking new and shiny!

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    1. Yeah, it's kind of nice to be over the demolition hump and have it turned around in the right direction.

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  13. Hi Steve, The steps are fabulous and never would have guessed you hadn't set out to do them that way in the first place. I love the way they look. And I think you are right to stick with the wood floor in the kitchen. I would love to pickle my floors. Have fun picking out appliances!
    Phyllis

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    1. I'm happy with the decision to stay with wood. It feels right for the house. I sometimes question the options and I'm happy when the house tells me what to do.

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  14. Blowing in the insulation between the foundations should make a huge difference in the warmth - especially at floor level. Should help with fuel cost, too. A two-fer! It's already looking good, tho i am sorry about your upstairs bath. Glad you just re-did the guest bath.

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    1. Webb,
      I hope so. The floor was always so cold in the wintertime, I was afraid my feet were going to stick to the floor! I knew this bathroom was going to be taken out of commission; in fact, I was planning to renovate it at the same time but the porch project put that to rest for now. One bathroom is really enough for me.

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  15. so exciting! Your rooms should be warmer this year! Good luck with appliances and fixtures- a super fun shopping trip1
    xo Nancy

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    1. You're right, the shopping part is fun. There are several different directions I can go in so it's fun looking, hard work to make a decision.

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  16. I think the concrete steps look fantastic. They are in keeping with the age of the house. Your contractor is doing a great job (stairs, blown in insulation, plumbing stack, floor, etc.) and not taking any shortcuts. It will make for a better, more satisfying finished product. Which equals happy home owner.

    Have fun picking out the appliances. My better half ruled the roost on that, although I did get the drawer microwave that I wanted.

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    1. The drawer microwave is indeed a good idea. I'm not a fan of having them over the range, or on the counter, so it's the best placement in my opinion.

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  17. I love the abstract "painting" in the last picture. Hope you can preserve it somehow. The concrete steps are beautiful. I love the sound of bleached or pickled wood floors in the kitchen. You sound pretty sane, for someone living through this.

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    1. I bleached and stained white the old floors of I loft I lived in in the North End many years ago so I'm eager to try to the bleaching and pickling on new white oak floors. I love doing that kind of thing.

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  18. I really like the concrete steps, wonder how they'll be when it's icy. I have flown off the wooden steps on my back porch a couple of times and wonder if another surface would be better. I like the idea of wood flooring in the kitchen, I think it's easier on your back when your standing there cooking. Enjoy picking out fixtures!

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    1. Not sure how they'll be in the winter. Fortunately they face south so the sun seems to meet everything really quickly on that side of the house.

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  19. I too, love the concrete steps. You probably already know this (but unfortunately I did NOT) they have to cure at least a year before putting salt on them during the winter or they can pit and crumble.

    No matter what you do, someone will love it and someone will hate it.
    I love the idea of freestanding furniture rather than boring generic cabinets. I'm excited to see what you do. I know it won't be repetitive but truly original.
    Hang in there.

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    1. I didn't know about the salt but that's interesting. I don't usually use those steps much in the winter but I'll be sure not to use anything on them this year. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  20. You and I have a lot in common. I recently BOUGHT new lighting fixtures and appliances for our almost-built kitchen. You have good reason to be anxious over the "commitment": restock fees, prices, colors, reliability, etc. Pull the trigger; bite the bullet; it's only money. Jo @ Let's Face the Music
    PS Looks like you're making good progress; I'll stay tuned.

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    1. Jo,
      There are definitely more decisions to make than I expected. Good luck with your kitchen!

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  21. Only you can make construction pictures look like artwork ;-)
    I can't wait to see what you choose for lighting. What an undertaking. Aren't you afraid with no door to lock right now?

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    1. I can't wait to see what I choose either! There are WAY too many choices.

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  22. The foundation is set and ready for the pretty to start coming in soon, so exciting to watch!
    We have wood floors in our kitchen and had a dishwasher leak last week. A few boards lifted a bit but we caught in time before to much damage. Still wouldn't have it any other way, much softer under foot than tile.
    Have fun shopping!

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    1. I had a friend that had the same issue with a dishwasher leak that ruined the floor. At least it was able to be sanded down and refinished. But that's a drag, Debra.

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  23. Well this is my third time here. tried to comment before but i was needed urgently by the cats both times. Guess they had to go in and out for the millionth time.

    Looking good, the stairs that is. And exciting to see the kitchen taking shape. You've got a great guy there and clearly his crew is just as creative.

    Love the stairs.

    xo Jane

    PS how was the shopping?

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    1. I did luck out with getting some artistic people. They sometimes even exceed my expectations.

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  24. I really like the concrete steps. Funny how a concession isn't always a concession after all. Can't wait to hear how you finish your floors.

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    1. Cindy,
      I've been doing research on various ways to pickle and I'm looking forward to doing some samples.

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  25. The steps look great. Over budget! You???

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  26. The steps are lovely. And my how handsome those joists are! I have found that wine helps. I also found that it helps to treat yourself to things that ease the chaos. Retail therapy does work!

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  27. So the concrete was poured over that bit of wood construction?
    Wow, no wonder we find US buildings flimsy! Here it would be done quite differently.
    How long will that last?

    Enjoying watching your renovation, it really is mind-boggling compared to what I see my son-in-law doing with their old farmhouse!

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    1. The wood is a form or mold, like a huge cake pan. The concrete gets poured into the form and then the form is removed. So they're solid and should last hundreds of years in theory.

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  28. I so admire your patience and effort

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    1. It's all show. I'm a basket case on the inside!

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  29. Love this update!
    The stairs are perfect with that rolled edge. Good call.

    You'll have to give the pickling demo on video so I can copy it in the future :)

    I totally get the "Whaaaa?" that people must be giving you over your bespoke kitchen non-cabs.
    I get that same head-tilt from my Boomer when I ask him for advice, LOL

    Whenever you get overwhelmed with choices, go watch this: ( Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M

    Perspective, no?




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    1. Yeah, but on that pale blue dot there was still a billion light fixtures and the one, THE ONE, I want is discontinued.

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    2. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
      Go on Ebay/Craigslist and see if it's lurking...I bet it's out there. :) you should have us sleuth for you-name/item number/etc and your readers can scan FB, CL, and EBay local. Like a scavenger hunt!

      I have been dithering around for months picking a new tea kettle. Yeah, I know, but I use it daily and if it's going to sit in my line of sight it needs to be fab. UPS "dropped" a box that I had shipped up here to OR when I moved and my old "cordless electric" got mangled. I've put up with hubby's aluminum beast far too long, but FINALLY I found one I can love. I get it.

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  30. My recent foray into the appliance world has not been happy. First of all the prices are astronomical for the kinds of things that my Mother used to get as a base price like burners that put out more heat. I have a $2000 refrigerator whose door must be PUSHED shut. Who ever has to push the frig door shut? The only thing I got that is a pleasure to use is a Fisher Paykel drawer dishwasher. I really like not having to duck way down to fill the dishwasher and it runs so quiet that I can't hear it in another room. I have wised up over the past few years about extended warrenties. Because all appliances are made elsewhere I now buy the extended warrantee and over the past roughly 10 years have found that it really did save me money, a lot of it. A big help in the selection process for me was to read the reviews on Amazon or the box stores because they tell you what goes wrong. Have fun, my heart is with you. Ann

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    1. They don't make 'em like they used to. Yes, reading Amazon reviews is great if you have the ability to sort out the crazies. That's interesting that you've made out well with the extended warranties. I always thought they were kind a scam.

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    2. Oh, I like how you have to pay more to get a burner that turns down to simmer.

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  31. Very smart to change to cement...its coming along...cant wait to see the pickling demo!

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  32. Looking good! Thanks for taking us along and sharing your progress. Ah, appliances. My favorite. Really. I love them. Unfortunately, the ones I like best are way out of my price range (glass-doored refrigerators, top-of-the-line ranges that wouldn't even fit in my kitchen, etc.). Enjoy the process.
    Claudia

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  33. It's really coming along. So impressed with the process. Have fun picking out the fixtures!

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  34. Love that you are sticking with wood floors. It is going to look wonderful and more cohesive than tile would.

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  35. Steve,

    Of course you like the concrete steps, they are gorgeous and macho. I agree to do wood floors in the kitchen. You will have to show us samples bleached vs. pickled. Would pickled be more spotted and distressed?

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  36. Wood will be beautiful in the kitchen and can't wait to see the appliances...moving along!!

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  37. Hello!
    Having just completed our second kitchen complete renovation (virtually all work done by my husband and myself) I have a suggestion regarding the microwave. I am in the camp that feels it's just an unacceptable appliance to merit top real estate on the counter or to ruin the hearth/focal point opportunity over the stove, the height and proportions are all wrong and the vents are useless...
    I too thought the drawer was the way to go and eventually came to a new conclusion. A microwave is a disposable appliance that gets used for heating hot pockets by my 17 year old son, melting butter, and heating the occasional bowl of soup or plate of leftovers, maybe popcorn... I prefer to cook over " nuking". I realized the inflated cost of the drawer as a brand new toy on the market was just too high. We went to Canadian Tire and purchased the smallest microwave with a real handle ( I hate the push button door) that could handle a dinner plate without tipping it sideways. I borrowed a plate from kitchen wares to test them all. We purchased a 19 inch microwave for $100 and placed it inside a cabinet in the island. It is completely gone until I want it and takes up very little space and even less budget. You will also save money on the custom drawer front /construction/ fitting as well. If it dies in five years get whatever they have invented as the next best thing.
    Best regards,
    Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer,
      That's a really good thought. I've been living without a microwave for two years and I seldom miss it. I drink my coffee cold, I don't eat hot pockets and leftovers can almost as easily heated up in a pan on the rare times I want to do that. Popcorn is about the only thing I miss occasionally but that microwave stuff must be horrible for me anyway. I have a place I'm going to be hiding mine if I decide to get one again and, I agree, I'd like it to be a small as possible.

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  38. You are doing a spectacular job on your renovation, your doing it all the right way.
    My only concern is how the two miss-matched windows on the sink wall will look.

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    1. Yeah, I've been through the same thoughts. Changing the windows is a HUGE deal because of setback issues and I didn't want to go through the process of a hearing just to change one window. I think the small one which will be at the corner of my L-shape of countertop will look like an accent window. I have a few design ideas that should take care of it. But, yes, I've lost some sleep over it.

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  39. You kill me...you are the only person I know who can post construction pictures and get 75 comments....everybody loves your ass.....I am liking those concrete steps and just think if there was no budget you could heat those suckers and all the snow would melt off! About that bathroom upstairs that got cut cause of budget...well it has a great shabby feel so I am sure you could whip it into shape and show us something cute....whatever...you are the bomb.

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