Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Kitchen - part 3

But wait... I thought the kitchen was done?  What is this all about?  Dishwasher details?  Nope, sorry.  But I was right there with you as far as thinking this was done... until my family came to visit for Easter.   Not exactly sure how it happened, but next thing I knew we were back at Lowe's - my parents, sister and her boyfriend included - looking at Formica colors, sinks, faucets, etc.  Somehow we managed to convince my husband that granite is not the only option for a kitchen countertop, and that we could make a wonderful - and much more reasonably priced - change by simply picking new laminate.  We picked a color (from the 4 colors of countertop that they carry in-stock) and thought we could install it ourselves, perhaps with the help of a handyman with a bit of experience.
On their way out of town, Mom called her handyman, who gave her the name of a laminate installer buddy of his.  Within a few days, "Bob the builder" (turns out he lives next door to a co-worker of mine whose young children lovingly gave him this nickname) was over to give us his thoughts.  For various reasons, we couldn't use the in-stock pieces, but his price was very affordable, and his schedule was open enough to get us done before Baby, which was crucial since we were about 4 weeks from due date.  Pro: we got to go back to the sample-board to pick a new color... great since I hadn't actually been 100% sold on the in-stock one we had picked.  Con: we had to go back to the sample-board to pick a new color... this time, without the color-wise eyes of my family members in tow.  We came up with the following options:

Didn't take too long to eliminate the middle option due to the distinct leaf pattern that I wasn't sure we wanted on as big a space as our kitchen counter (it was called "Frosted Leaves" after all).  But then we got stuck.  I wanted the lighter top color as I feared the lower would be too dark.  Isaac wanted the darker color, fearing the other would be too similar to what we have and would show too many spots.  We nagged votes from 2 family members... who were also split down the middle.  Oh man.  Headed out on the morning of my birthday to buy the new sink, faucet, disposal, etc. planning to poll my cousins that afternoon when they came over to celebrate, and hoping they'd break the tie.  We stopped at the sample-board again, and (yeah God!) stumbled across another color we must have missed the first time around:

Though closer to the dark one, it was light enough that I thought it might be okay, and yet dark enough that Isaac felt comfortable.  My cousins' votes, interestingly enough, had one going for either of the 2 lighter colors, and the other for either of the 2 darker!  Thus, the middle ground won :)  Isaac and I both felt good about it, and we had external confirmation that we weren't making a terrible mistake.  By Friday, our buddy Bob was over and ready to get to work.  He took it from this:

to this:

to this:
 to this:

in about 36 hours (no worries, he went home to sleep for part of that time!).  Wow.  What a difference!  I'll be honest, the darker countertop took a bit of getting used to. 
 But the sink, faucet, and filtered water dispenser had me at hello :)
 In all it's completed glory:

FINISHING the kitchen project... Soli Deo Gloria.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Christmas in May!

So much for being "back" to blogging.  Oops.  All kinds of posts in the works, but the long and short of it is that now that pre-baby prep is essentially finished, perhaps I can use some of my "down time" before his arrival to update this.  No promises, since you see how well I did with that last time :)

Anyway, no time like the present, and what's a post without pictures?  After using my 10% off Amazon registry completion coupon, this is what I came home to today:

Felt like just a little bit of Christmas, I tell you!  Of course, I already knew what was in all these boxes, but still fun none-the-less.  What was in them, you ask?  I certainly wouldn't be so rude as to keep that a secret.  Here you go:
What you see there is a Graco Travel Lite Stages playpen in Nottingham (to be used as bassinet & pack 'n play), some Seventh Generation wipes, a crib bedding set, some unbleached cotton cloth diapers, 2 Kissaluv's diaper pail liners and a pair of Lily Padz.  Oh yeah, and an under-the-sink water filter.  See - isn't that kinda like Christmas?  I mean, if you have a baby on the way it is.

Shopping for baby... Soli Deo Gloria.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Kitchen - part 2

What I failed to mention at the end of the last post is that, when we decided to not renovate the whole kitchen, my hubby agreed to getting a new dishwasher.  Ours still technically worked, but it was icky-looking on the inside and it gave me the heeby-jeebies to think about washing baby bottles in it.  So at the end of my peaceful sleeping week, we were in Lowe's starting the dishwasher investigation, and Isaac stumbles across some clearance cabinets.  Can't say I ever even knew they sold pre-made cabinets at home improvement stores.  Next thing I knew, these puppies were sitting in our kitchen:
At $4 each, they had our "renovation" plans started back up, and at a whole different level.  Wow.  So much for sleeping well!  Had to bring the "design team" back in, evaluate whether it would look tacky to add new cabinets on top of our existing ones, how we'd get them to match (i.e. whether we felt comfortable painting them or not), and determine whether neighbor/cabinet guy would be interested in the project and at what price.  In addition to the significant savings on cabinetry, another benefit to this option is that we would not be forced to replace the countertop at the same time.  We could split the cost by doing the countertop in a few months/years/decades.  We eventually decided to move forward, and by mid-April, our kitchen looked like this:
We saved so much that we were even able to add fun features like the shelves to the left of the sink, and the roll-out shelves to the right of the fridge!  Now... how to make them look like one unit, rather than a hodge-podge of miscellany?

Mom and I were in a paint store preparing to paint nursery furniture (post forth-coming), and "happened" to overhear a lady ordering paint for her kitchen cabinets.  Always on the ball, my Mom starting asking her questions, and turns out she was an interior designer and had a cabinet painter that she regularly recommended to her clients, who was also getting ready to have him paint her own cabinets!  Wow.  Again.  We snagged his number and called him on the way back home.

His price was very reasonable, and after painting (or assisting with) the nursery furniture, I was ready to never see another paint brush again, so we signed him up.  We had picked a paint color back in phase 1, so that was easy-peasy at this point.  Just a few days later, our kitchen looked like this:
Crazy!  We went out of town for the weekend to avoid the fumes from oil-based paint, and then came back to hang the doors.  By Easter, we had this:
And just in case you forgot where we started:
Beautiful.  Lovely.  Wonderfully spacious and practical.  Fresh and clean.  Not orangey.  Oh, so many ways to describe our "new" kitchen.  (P.S.  Did you note the new dishwasher from picture 3 to 4?  My hubby still let me follow through on that one.  We haven't done a great job of capturing photos of that, but maybe one of these days.)  Essentially, I was in love, content, and not broke.  And there was even time to spare before Baby's arrival!  Life was good.

Going green (really)... Soli Deo Gloria.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Kitchen - part 1

Get ready... this may be a long post (I mean, it's already long overdue, so why not just make it long as well, right?).  Scratch that - I'm going to write it in phases, pre-dating it so you can see a basic timeline.  Feel free to read it all, or just look at the pretty pictures :)

For Christmas this year, Isaac gave me a card that said we were going to renovate the kitchen.  As that's something we've been talking about since we moved in but never felt like spending the money on, that was awesome and exciting!  If it didn't happen now, one could safely assume it would "never" happen after Baby's arrival, so no time like the present.  This is what we were starting with:

My pet peeves were the orangy tone of the cabinets, and the essentially unusable (and poorly decorated) space above the cabinetry.  My husband's was the white laminate.

We had two contractors come to give us estimates, and essentially we discovered that our "budgets" were quite different... oopsies :)  Lesson #1... at least minimally discuss budget with spouse BEFORE starting to get estimates.  Then we found a neighbor who goes to our church who does custom cabinetry.  Turns out, his price was in the same ballpark as the other folks, though of course it required us to track down our own countertop installer.  And thus came our tour of granite shops.  As it would be, we have expensive taste in granite.  Who knew? 

The whole thing snowballed into chaos - in an effort to find some clarity, we had several design-savvy friends (including my sister-in-law) and a realtor friend come to give us ideas.  Of course, that just led to more confusion, as they all had wonderful - but very different - suggestions.

In the midst of all this, and with Isaac spending 3-4 nights out of town with work for several weeks in a row, our fridge broke.  Appliances were never part of the original plan, so that threw us for a loop.  Praise the Lord, we found a 1-yr-old but unused fridge on Craigslist for essentially half-price.  My "blog-friend" Kim had recently purchased a new fridge, and thus had done all the hard work for me, and the fridge on Craigslist met all the requirements.  Wow.  Total God thing.  So with the help of some cousin-muscle, we brought this puppy home one Saturday in February:
Tax refund unexpectedly put to wonderful use :)  We continued to mull, plan and investigate, all the while realizing that most projects would take 6-10 weeks (order or build cabinets, install, cut granite, install, etc) and that we were running out of time if we didn't want a half-completed kitchen when we headed off to the hospital for delivery.  Add in some potential job changes which essentially served to remind us that we have no idea exactly how long we'll be in this house, and we finally came to the conclusion that the project was not meant to be at this time.  We could have our dream kitchen for way too much money, or we could have a half-baked partial upgrade for more than we wanted to spend for something only half-baked.  The Lord gave us peace, and I slept beautifully for a whole week!

Putting projects on hold... Soli Deo Gloria.