It takes forEVER


We are in the home stretch!  You wouldn’t know that by looking, but we are ‘this close’ to being done.

Its been awhile since I posted anything about the kitchen remodel.  At some point it seems to be the new normal and I stop thinking of the milestones.

So, randomly, here are some things that have happened…


I wanted white rocketship styled lights aiming up (for less than $300/ea, if you don’t mind)

Lights were installed.  I couldn’t find the uplighting I wanted – a modern, rocketship shaped light – so we settled on these sleek black ones.  We might paint them later on, depending on how soon we do, or don’t, get used to seeing them.

I tell our clients to never buy light fixtures from Lowe’s or Home Depot, but of course, we do exactly that.  Basically, 1 in 4 lights are bad, for some reason, and we have to exchange it.


There’s that 1 in 4 light that didn’t work…

But, I couldn’t find the lights I wanted elsewhere – especially for a reasonable price – so, Lowe’s is where we bought these lights.


They were hanging slightly crooked, you can see that in the photo, and Rick was trying to straighten them and busted the shade.  Back to the store for a replacement.  Installation of that went well until we flicked on the switch and…nothing…Rick checked the bulbs, the wiring.  Of course it was the fixture itself.  Fortunately, my handyman had saved the workings of the busted lamp and swapped it out with the bad light fixture.  Happy days!

The lamps are above the island and to avoid any issues with lights not be exACTly the same height – since they are mounted on a vaulted ceiling – they are hung at different heights!  Brilliant, right?  He figured out how to straighten them, even.

We have ceiling can lights over the sink area.  If we need more light, we’ll add it later.  Oh, we are going to add lights under the cabinets, so that will be good task lighting.

On the subject of electrical wiring, we always have something weird going on.  One of the dimmable switches isn’t dimming…one of the switches turns off in the up position and on in the down position, but it looks to be wired properly, oh and another switch only turns off in the middle position.  Just more items for the punch list (which is what they call the list of stuff to be fixed).


There’s a little slider to the right of the switch lever for dimming.

The flooring was installed last week.  Apparently, we were a few feet short on our purchase of eucalyptus 5 years ago…or else the previous installer was a little inefficient with his installation.  In any case, we have a couple areas with shorter-than-normal boards…if you see them, pretend you don’t.   I went online to see if I could find eucalyptus flooring and the only stuff they had was coffee-colored or darker.


Area to be feathered in, old with the new


Post-feathering.  I might not have chosen that dark board to go right there, but at least it shows how perfectly the post matches the floor…

And, then there are the areas that are uneven…but we have that in the rest of the house, too, even though we didn’t feel or see any low/high areas back before we moved in…you can feel them now.   Could it be dry rot?  Maybe, but that’s something for my future self to deal with, ha!


This is George Thompson – he is a Jack-of-all-Trades – did the floor, a bunch of demo and also the new framing.  We’ll be calling him back to help rebuild our deck.

Again, you feel those spots, you ignore them.  Just like you’re going to ignore the drywall patching area that looks terrible.  We took a wall out at that spot.  We’ll put the grandfather clock in front of it, you’ll comment on the antique clock and overlook the bumpy area above it.


Is that not pretty?

The counters were measured for the tops 2 weeks ago.  They were supposed to be installed today.  The company has a more important order from McDonalds so we are being pushed out…aargh…very irritating.  This is the ONLY local company that installs the product I want, which means I’m stuck.

I didn’t take a photo of the guy doing the measuring, which was dumb.  He takes slim, long wood veneer and places it where the edge of the counter tops would be on the cabinets and island, creating a big template that he clamps and glues together.  He took the template and the sinks back to the shop with him where the counters will be manufactured and the sinks mounted to the underside.

Then he returns and installs the counters and grinds the holes for the faucets.

After THAT, we can put the fridge and stove in place, install the dishwasher, garbage disposer and microwave and its exhaust hood and install the backsplash.


Under the sink, awaiting appliance installation

I originally wanted a garbage disposal in both sinks but Rick was having an issue re placement of the switch for it.  There’s not enough room in the backsplash area.  They have new-fangled counter-top button switches for them now but Rick wasn’t overly excited by that.  So I’d have to have 1 switch in the cabinet under the sink and then in the backsplash beside the sink for the other of them.  Then we realized that we have a built-in compost bin next to one of the sinks.  Problem solved.  I don’t think we’ll use the garbage disposal much anyway with the compost bin.


{screams like a little girl} Built in trash, recycling and compost bin!!!

After the counters are installed, the cabinet people return to add trim, cabinet pulls and the post wrap and caps.

And all by the Fourth of July, right?  RIGHT?!?  maybe…maybe not.  I’m not gonna fret, life is too short to be upset by stuff I have NO control over.  And I have control over so very little in the grand scheme of things.

I’m lucky to have a handy husband who wants to have a nice kitchen and who doesn’t know how to sit still!  He actually thinks its fine that I’m sitting and doing this instead of painting something or cooking something or sewing something.  Woot-woot!


After scooting around on the floor pulling old staples out…dusty butt print!





We bought a duplex last year.  Its on a nice corner just this side of hell where people routinely get shot.

The place was owned by a slumlord.  Everything done to ‘fix up’ the place was done by a cut-the-corners handyman.  Ill-fitting windows poorly installed, gaps between the roof and eaves where birds could get into the attic and set up camp.  Shoddy workmanship everywhere.

It was a mess.

When we pulled up to see the property for the first time there were 2 women trying to shove a COUCH through a side window.  Nice.


These guys came THREE TIMES to haul away trash.



View of the basement from the landing

The amount of stuff in the basement was crazy!  Nasty place to be until it dried out because….

One of the kitchen sinks was draining into the basement, the Home Inspector  wouldn’t go down there until we showed him the leak wasn’t human waste.


The bedroom is where the 3 tiny dogs were allowed to go potty.  Lovely.  Guess who got to clean THAT up?  Yeah, that would be me.  We carpeted the bedroom.  It was too far gone with paint – white, yellow and red – to salvage.


Actually, I’m pulling up carpet nails here.  Dog poop is long gone, love the floor paint! 

What is it with people who want to paint their walls but don’t bother to go higher than they can reach?  And check out this color!


Kinda of a terra cotta…at one point the living and dining area were this color, too!

For months we tore out the bathroom and kitchen, scraped, patched and sanded walls.  Cleaned out the basement.  We’d get back to the house and strip down in the garage, throwing our clothing directly into the washing machine.  I wouldn’t let us into the house because of …


Can you see the damn roach?  Its unafraid of Raid, but I am NOT to be trifled with and I sprayed and bombed and sprayed for months.  They were EVERYWHERE… There was no food and still they came out.  They loved to snack on fresh paint.

We were able to save the wood floors in the rest of that unit.  I gently sanded away candle wax (?!?), blue paint from who knows where and white paint that the professional painters got all over…thanks for that, guys!  Fortunately, it came off pretty easily.  There was just a lot of it.  The floors aren’t great but still OK.

We had the plumbing redone and did much of the electrical work ourselves (that is, Rick did the work and I helped somewhat).

Then we were prepping for the painter, I discovered yet aNOther electrical panel, bringing the grand total to 3, this one with old-fashioned fuses.  At that point, trying to discover what was hooked up to it, the living room light went out and we couldn’t figure out why after tracing and tracking and turning things off and on and putting fuses in and out, blahblahblah.

So we hired a pro.  Its important to recognize one’s limitations.


Oh, here’s a photo showing one of the gaps in the eaves.  The new tenant said there was a lot of noise in the attic. When the critter control people went up there they said there must be 50 pounds of bird poop to be removed, ugh.20160812_174324.jpg

We know our limitations, remember, so we hired pros to deal with that!  Can you imagine?  Hazmat suit, for sure!

I’ll find more ‘after’ photos for next time.  But for now, here’s one.


The floors in this unit were fanTAStic.  Not so much the other side…

Inexplicably, we are thinking of doing another fixer-upper.  I sincerely hope that we don’t have to do quite as much work as this one ended up being 😉


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