Archive for the ‘Kitchen’ Category

Intersection of Facebook and Obsessive Documentation

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Rejuvenation counted comments yesterday, and my Mexican/Dutch wallpaper won in a landslide.

Who’da thunk that joining Facebook and becoming a Rejuvenation fan (and asking for comments) would have resulted in needing to find a sweet home for this? Only in a custom, not-available-in-any-store* finish of antique copper?

Rejuvenation's McCoy Pendant with Jadeite Shade

It’s an outcome I didn’t expect. We’re either going to put it over my baking center in the kitchen, where it will be framed by the pass-through window into the dining room, which has a Rejuvenation antique copper chandelier and it will reference the green streaks in the soapstone,** or over the kitchenette  in our master suite, where we plan to display the Jadeite pottery I’ve been sort of collecting as we travel. Either way, it will look super. Umm, it will look super and the space will look super once we get the countertops finished, and the trim installed, and the appliances in, and the wallpaper in the dining room, and … Meanwhile, it will add a touch of class to a not-yet-finished space.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of my digital camera, which has been very helpful – both in documenting wallpaper and in documenting where speakers should have gone.

*Am I channeling Ron Popeil or Billy Mays?

** We’ve installed the soapstone, but I haven’t uploaded those pictures yet. First coat of mineral oil, and it’s looking really good. Also the marble in the baking center. And the cooktop. And the double oven. And the sink, but not the drain. Or the faucet. And the dishwasher was in the middle of the kitchen yesterday, so it must be going in soon. And I think the fridge comes today, even though it wasn’t expected until April 15.

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I’ve got twenty minutes … only now it’s twelve minutes

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

I put rice on the stove, and thought I might be able to wrap up one of my (many) pending posts and post it, but … I have a cat who insists on kissing my thumbs (when she’s not investigating the computer screen) and I’ve lost the cord that lets me download photos from my camera. (The camera was out of commission for a while when its card wore out. Then the computer had to go back to be completely rebuilt. The new computer, just bought in December, needed so many parts that the computer guy said that he was at the point of demanding a new one for me. Feh.) So, this will be a random thought post without much editing.

We are making great progress. Not enough that the bank doesn’t get another opportunity to foreclose this week, but great progress. The banker came by Friday, and asserted that he would recommend that the construction loan be closed out, but we’ve heard that before. Without a certificate of occupancy, I expect another bill for $212 to extend the construction loan another month or two. I’m hoping we’re weeks away from a CO, especially since we have family coming in town in early May and I think we’re still on the hook for hosting the Little One’s grade school teachers’ appreciation lunch in May.

Progress: kitchen cabinets are installed, of the 5 bathrooms: one (the basement 1/2 bath) is complete; one is grouted, caulked, and sealed but lacks installed fixtures; one is grouted and sealed and should be caulked by the end of tonight, one is grouted and sealed, but for the shower which does have backerboard, and one has the floor installed, but not sealed and the shower has not been backerboarded. The stair treads and risers are installed, as are about 1/3 of the balusters. (You really need to see photos: marble tiles in three baths, cherry and oak stairs with cool balusters inspired by a Greene & Greene inspired staircase, creamy yellow kitchen, … but I’m racing against the clock.)

Still need: hot water, and two toilets upstairs and a functioning shower. I’d appreciate having the soapstone countertops installed in the kitchen and the appliances installed, including the washer and dryer. (Fridge is backordered until April 15th, but we have one of the tenant fridges on the front porch which would work.)

And, there comes the kid and there goes the timer. So here comes the post.

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Salvaging tile

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Reclaiming tile is pretty easy, actually. First you buy a house with five kitchens. Then you tell your husband that you are sure the tile in Apartment 1 can be saved. Then he saves it for you while demolishing the kitchen. Two years later you try to figure out what to do with it.

Old kitchen tile

We ended up treating it like hardware covered with paint. Put them in an old slow cooker (we paid $1.25 for ours at a garage sale), covered with water and some dishwashing soap. Cook for a while. Remove with tongs.

Tools for salvaging tile

Prop in a dish drainer because the tile is hot. Scrape off the mastic and glop with a table knife. (If it’s too hard, put it back in to cook for a while longer.) Let cool.

Cooling tile after scraping

Of course, this takes a long time so you should have something else to do while you work on it. Like snuffle around the house with a cold. I got 21 tiles done today. I think it may end up as a backsplash in our kitchen. Maybe. We picked out creamy yellows for the walls, ceilings, and cabinets that are compatible with the tile, in any event.

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Kitchen Wish List

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Carrying on with my lists, we’re about to build our third kitchen in six years. (Fourth if you count the Ikea kitchen cabinets Don installed on the Hill, and I guess you should since we also put in a under-counter fridge and added a kitchen table and silverware and ate breakfast there occasionally, and drank lots of coffee). Or maybe our fourth and fifth, since we will likely build an interim kitchenette upstairs and then work on the big kitchen downstairs.

We used a kitchen designer for the first one, along with an architect, and it turned out quite nicely.  (The kitchen that came with the house was awful: the fridge door opened into the cooktop, which tilted so you couldn’t fry an egg, and the wall oven took up all the space to the right of the cooktop, and the only remaining counter space was occupied by a massive microwave.  And it was dark and grody.) Only things missing in the new kitchen: a place to put the phone and the kitchen towels. (Funnily enough, our architect in Chicago, Thomas Leo Prairie, actually went to school here in Fayetteville.)  I lobbied for the table-height side of the island you can see in the picture, and I really liked it.  The stained glass light is from Don’s time as a lighting store employee.  It’s in storage now, waiting for the right place in this house.  (The kitchen deserves its own post, but not today.)
lag-kitchen.jpg

Our next kitchen we did ourselves. The kitchen (along with the adjoining butler’s pantry and mudroom/pantry) was worn-out, but the lay-out was functional. It certainly deserves its own post, but here are some after pictures.

kitchen-with-passthrough-to-pantry.jpg kitchen-with-laundry-chute.jpg pans-and-griddle-cabinet.jpg tin-ceiling-and-salvaged-beadboard-in-kitchen.jpg kitchen-quartersawn-oak-floor.JPG

custom-butlers-pantry-shelving.jpg original-butlers-pantry-cabinet.jpg mud-room-with-pass-through.jpg

We never cooked in the kitchen after it was finished, but some of the functionality that I liked includes:

  • open shelves,
  • cookbook shelves,
  • laundry chute,
  • storage instead of soffits,
  • ladder storage (to reach the storage nearer the top of our 11 foot ceilings),
  • potential for library ladder (sold house instead of installing the library ladder — it’s now in storage),
  • shallow pantries custom built for me (measured my canned goods, my cereal, my rolling pins),
  • tray storage,
  • pass-through to the mud room (see the tulip stained glass window near the stove? It swings open).

I also liked the mix of maple and cherry, the colors, the tin ceiling, the salvaged beadboard, the salvaged quartersawn oak flooring, the lights (not pictured), and … but this post is supposed to be about my next kitchen. 

So, in no particular order, things I would like in a future kitchen (or nearby):

  • storage for dry goods
  • upright freezer (have one in storage)
  • French door refrigerator
    • with ice and water dispenser
  • possum belly hoosier cabinet
  • double wall ovens (already bought)
  • second dishwasher (considering a one-drawer washer in the laundry room or maybe an 18″ d/w upstairs)
  • coffee space near sink
  • marble baking space (maybe with a drop-in cutting board)
  • open shelves, with lots of room for cook books (we probably have 6+ linear feet of cook books)
  • soapstone counter tops
  • farm sink
  • plug mold (really want it this time – electricians keep claiming it’s too hard to do)
  • cook top (bought a five-burner in Chicago over Christmas, but the picture is in the Little One’s camera).
  • space for cookie sheets, loaf pans, muffin tins (lots of baking stuff)
  • the Kitchen-Aid mixer
  • lots of electric devices (maybe a wall of cubbies in the hallway)
  • linen cabinet/drawers (in the dining room?)
  • china storage (Don has bought me two sets of china we’ve never eaten from) (in the dining room with a pass-through from the kitchen?)
  • trash/recycling drawer
  • a dumbwaiter (for laundry, groceries, and so forth)
  • eat-in space

And probably some other things, but my list (and my sketches) are Some Place Else.  Maybe with Harriett Elizabeth Cow.

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Kitchen stairs in mid-air

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

We continue demolishing the house.  (I hope that it’s not the ceiling tiles on the walls that are holding the house together because they’re gone.)  Last week, Don called me at work to tell me about the kitchen door in mid-airwall.  To put it in context, below is the kitchen (looking north toward the scary, grody hallway) before we bought the house.

Kitchen facing north (Nov. 2007) 

Same view after our tenant left:

Kitchen facing north (post-purchase) 

Same view after Don took down the door to the scary, grody hallway connecting Apartment 1 to Apartment 2 and the layers of yellow tile:

Kitchen stairs 

Wait!  What’s that door doing there?  Hanging in mid-air? Oh, it’s just a second way to get to the stairs.  Or it was.  See the risers’ shadows?

Kitchen facing north (behind the wall) 

That explains the little bend at the first landing:

Foyer landing 

“An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You would never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.” Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005).

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Dining room to kitchen to family room pass-throughs

Monday, February 4th, 2008

I have advocated for a pass-through from kitchen to dining room for most of my married life. My grandmother had one in her kitchen that worked pretty well. At Thanksgiving, you could put serving dishes and silverware and whatever on the pass-through and elves* would magically transfer them to the table, and the dirty dishes would return to the kitchen in the same way. (Her pass-through was actually a cabinet on wheels, so that you could remove it and roll wheelchairs through if need be.)

I forget why it didn’t work out in our Kensington kitchen, and our Ashland kitchen wasn’t actually attached to our dining room so it wasn’t possible there. (You had to go through the butler’s pantry.) And one of the criticisms of our Ashland Italianate was: “The kitchen doesn’t open into the family room.” (Don got tired of hearing that. He felt they should be grateful the kitchen wasn’t in the basement.) So, we are working out open, yet maybe closable, connections to the dining room and family room.

dining-room-facing-west.jpg Kitchen facing east

Above you will see two sides of the same wall, dining room and kitchen. The kitchen wall (with the yellow tile) had the tenant’s washer and dryer with the fridge to the far left, and the dining room wall had paneling and wallpaper. That bump out to the right on the kitchen wall is probably a chimney. There is a shallow bookshelf between the door and the chimney. I think we’ll be removing the chimney. (There’s another chimney in the bathroom in Apartment 1 that should come down. The chimney in Apartment 2 that is attached to the only fireplace will probably not be coming down, but it will need major work done.)

family-room-facing-east.jpg kitchen-facing-west.jpg Kitchen facing west

These pictures are of the future family room wall (facing east) and the west kitchen wall (before the tenant moved out – and as it looked last week). The bathroom door from the kitchen is just visible to the right in the kitchen shots. (The family room picture was taken after we got most of the closet out.  It’s all gone now.) You can see the clapboard and the former window. The former window is pretty much in the corner of the current kitchen. Below is another view from the second bedroom of Apartment 1. Don is standing in the bathroom door, the kitchen window is visible through the stud wall (load-bearing, btw), and the kitchen door is also visible. Barely.

Family room facing east

We’re thinking about taking over the bathroom to make the kitchen a bit bigger, and relocating the bathroom elsewhere. (Remember we have two full bathrooms on this floor right now along with two kitchens.)

You might see where I’m going with this. Restore the window-sized access to the family room, and either a window of similar size or bigger to the dining room. Centered, I think, because symmetry is important to me. I’d like to have storage on that dining room wall, maybe like this one (below) that showed up on Craig’s List in Chicago, only bigger and longer. Then I could keep my china in the dining room, and set it on the pass-through when it comes out of the dishwasher to put away. Maybe use some of the doors Don bought off Craig’s list last fall.

built-in-oak-park-2.jpg

(Isn’t it nice? Craig’s list in Chicago. $3600. 77″ long by 66″ tall and 21″ deep.) And I could throw popcorn at the people in the family room, or whatever it is you do with a kitchen that opens onto the family room.

I checked out the Bungalow Kitchens and Bungalow Dining Rooms from the Fayetteville Public Library today. (We have B’Kitchens and B’Bathrooms somewhere in storage.) Examples of pass-throughs and built-ins abound. I’d forgotten how much the focus is on California in those books until re-reading them. I saw at least one where the pass-through was closable. Like a pocket door hung perpendicular to the ordinary way. I suppose tambour doors or sideways doors could also be closable if I wanted to close off the pass-through.

*Elves might be an even better idea than a pass-through, but they seem to be harder to keep happy.

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30+ Deco Kitchen Handles: Want some?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

We have at least thirty of these kitchen handles (and corresponding cabinets and drawers) which we will be pulling out of the kitchen in Apartment 1 rather soon. Anyone interested? I think they would go well in a mid-century house since that’s when I think this remodel was done.  The curly window trim is another clue to its date.

kitchen-handle.jpg upper-cabinets-example.jpg over-kitchen-door.jpg

I haven’t checked the upstairs kitchen hardware in person, but my file photo (below) suggests that at least one of them has cabinets that are definitely of the same vintage, and may have matching handles, increasing the number further.

apt-4-kitchen.jpg

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Searching for More Appliances

Monday, December 10th, 2007

We hit two more big box store clearance aisles this weekend, confirmed that our double oven deal was a great deal and the front-loading washer was a good deal, and didn’t find a perfect other deal.  We saw a French door stainless fridge with water and ice in the door, but it was a bit high.*  We saw a Duet dryer, but it was electric.  We saw a great cooktop, but it was full price.  No dishwashers of interest anywhere.  I felt a bit like Goldilocks — everything was too big or too small, and I want something juuuuust right.

Of course, we haven’t exhausted our local options.  We have Tucker’s scratch and dent (closed on Sundays) in Springdale and, I think, Rogers.  And an appliance place (Master something?) near the Lighting Emporium in Lowell, which our painter says has great deals in the back room.  And a mysterious warehouse, Nino’s, in Tontitown, which claims to have LG appliances (scratch and dent) for amazing prices. (Consumer Reports seems to like the LG dryers just fine, except for the lack of repair history.) The time or two we’ve tried to visit, they weren’t open.  Maybe we can take a break next Saturday and explore these places and revisit the ones we’ve been to.  (Not Nino’s.  It’s only open Monday-Thursday.)

It isn’t a crisis just yet (having only owned the house three or four days), but it will be easier to design the kitchen once we have the appliances.  Maybe we can wrap up the kitchen appliance hunt in January.

*We used our scratch-and-dent** French door fridge last Christmas in Chicago to store appetizer trays, and really liked it.  (Kitchen wasn’t done enough for us to make our own treats so we ordered trays.)  We don’t think we want to go back to a single door fridge since we would have to allow more space to walk around it.  The side-by-side would be OK, except for the width of the interior refrigerator space.  We don’t need a big freezer space since we have an upright freezer.

**I am glad Don has accepted the idea of scratch and dent — he originally (say, six years ago) was opposed to the very notion of it, but now he gets that many of the dents are where no sane person would ever look.  We started out with scratch and dent washer/dryers, and have moved forward from there.  I think all our appliances in the last kitchen were scratch and dent, or previously owned (found on Craig’s List or EBay in Chicago).

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Acquiring Appliances

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Since the tenant in Apartment 1 is leaving this week,* we can start work on the kitchen soon. So, it is time to start acquiring appliances. (We left all our appliances, except the upright freezer, with our Italianate.) Don thinks I have good luck at finding them, but it is probably more serendipity.** Friday night, we made our Lowes’ run to make Day 2 of demolition smoother, and I persuaded the Little One to play house in the kitchen area instead of the windows and doors area while Don found putty knives and electrical tape. (By the way, the windows and doors area is splendid for playing house. The kitchen area? Not so much.)

Anyway, I checked out the clearance appliances. Mostly, they weren’t what I wanted, but there was a nice Whirlpool Duet front loading washer and a very nice Frigidaire double wall oven. The double wall oven was not yet priced, but the washer was 45% off the regular price. We kept playing, and eventually someone came out to price the double wall oven. It was 35% off. I found out the wall oven was a former floor model which had had its bottom window replaced by the manufacturer, and the washer was a former loaner (so it had had someone else’s clothes in it — horrors). It was pushing 9 o’clock, so we went home to watch Frosty the Snowman*** and do our due diligence.

Went home, checked Consumer Reports and pricing. Confirmed the prices were good. Went to bed. Saturday morning, we re-discussed whether we wanted these appliances.

1st issue: The Little One is likely to always be little, and Don’s mom had trouble using her wall oven due to height — the oven was too tall, and she wasn’t. Resolution: The second wall oven will be lower than the first, so it should be OK.

2nd issue: Whether we could deal with reduced counter space. Resolution: Make the kitchen bigger if we need to.

3rd issue: Whether we wanted a washer with such a distinctive look that we might be compelled to buy a matching dryer. Conclusion: Risk we’re willing to take.

Off I went to buy appliances at 8 a.m. Saturday morning – quick before the sitter arrived so Don and I could spend the morning doing more demolition.

Buying the appliances was a relative breeze. Partly because I went by myself. Partly because 8 a.m. is pretty early for the big box store on a Saturday. Partly because the employees really wanted to work.

I hit a snag or two, like the wall ovens had a hold on them by someone in management, and I was issued two rebate coupons, when I expected one, but the employees just rang up people who knew how to resolve the snags. And, by the way, besides saving $1246 off list, I am getting $259 in rebates (which I mailed today). ($59 for delivery and the rest for buying expensive appliances, even though they were on clearance). I think the delivery includes an appliance removed for each one we bought, so I am hopeful we can send a range and maybe a dead fridge. (We have five. Of each, although I guess they aren’t all dead.) I did buy an extended warranty, which I don’t usually, on the theory that the manufacturer’s warranty may be dead by the time we get to use the kitchen.

Decided against buying a pedestal for the washer ($227 or so, list), but will keep an eye out for that on clearance. Our painter has a dryer that may be a match for the washer. Electric, when I wanted gas, so I will have to think about that. Will want to watch for a nice cooktop now. And a French door refrigerator. And resolve the hood versus microwave debate. But no big hurry. We still have more demolition to do.

Wall Ovens Front Loading Washer

To wrap up our Saturday, we went to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and then to a different Lowe’s, which had no appliances of real interest, and then Braum’s for “dinner” (at 9 o’clock). The Little One fell asleep on the way home.

*Don even saw his four-wheeler with the broken axle leaving. I had sort of assumed it would be abandoned in our one-car garage.

**Serendipity: Having a prepared and open mind so that you recognize luck when it comes your way. Created by Horace Walpole, and derived from a story about princes of Serendip who made discoveries through a combination of “accidents and sagacity.” The Wikipedia entry has an interesting collection of examples from science. And The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity, by Merton and Barber and reviewed in American Scientist, sounds like a book my father would enjoy.

***I love the Tivo-like thing that comes with our cable package. We can record Mr. Rogers and This Old House, and watch them at our leisure without having to understand much in the way of technology. Very annoying though because DIY plays just three seasons of TOH over and over and over. (The Carlisle barn spec house, D.C., and that one with George in the red modern house.)

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Adventures in Salvaging, Part 3: Craig’s List

Monday, November 19th, 2007

So the Little One is out of school this week, we don’t own a house (yet — maybe next week), and we need to do something, anything.  What to do, what to do? 

I started checking out Craig’s List, got bored with Fayetteville, and moved on to Chicago (and Dallas and, well, anywhere in between).  In Chicago, I found:  (1) a mess of salvaged divided glass cabinet doors  (11 doors plus for $120), (2) two Rejuvenation craftsman sconces for $120 (list $174 each), and (3) salvaged quartersawn oak hardwood flooring for $4/square foot.

An advantage of having a SAHD is that he can go to Chicago if the fancy takes him.  An advantage of the fancy taking him this week is that the Little One is out of school and can go see Grandma and cousins with him.  So, a few emails and phone calls later (plus 12 hours on the road to get there), we now possess a mess of doors and two sconces, and the promise of plainsawn oak flooring, delivered, in December, and the Little One has had a good time at Grandma’s.  Now to get them home again.  (Salvage and family, both.)

Quartersawn is sold out.   The flooring guy salvages floors for a living and has to come to Arkansas in December anyway, which would save us a trip with a trailer.  $3/square foot for plainsawn, I think, plus whatever we negotiate for delivery.  (When we pulled the quartersawn ourselves, I think we paid a dollar a square — that was hard work, and not exactly convenient to Arkansas.)  We’re thinking we’ll pull the downstairs floors out of our house, and use them upstairs, and install oak in the living room (or perhaps throughout downstairs) to cover up/resize the huge floor grate.  Anyone else in Arkansas want some salvaged hardwood flooring?  We could probably work out a deal for volume.  (And the turn-of-the-century stuff is pretty easy to work with — it’s much longer than what you get now, and the flow is so much nicer.)

I can’t wait to see the salvage — Don says the cabinet doors were rescued via dumpster diving from a condo conversion, and the un-installed (NIB!) Rejuvenation sconces came from a beautiful Victorian, whose owners are going to Thailand to do something for the Department of Justice (I think).  He says the finish is nicer on the sconces than in the picture (below).  I don’t seem to have saved the Craig’s List photo of the doors, so we will have to make a separate post later.  (The doors are destined for either our pantry or kitchen, depending.)

craigslistsconce.jpg

And the Little One was so exhausted last night that she missed me and wanted to come home.  (I miss her, too.)  She played with her cousins from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., when they had to go home.

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