Friday, February 22, 2013

My man loves fishing...

...and he'll fish for anything!  His favorite thing to fish for though are muskies.

In fact, he'd fish for them all day, everyday if he could.  Sadly for him, he's a surgeon, we live in Illinois, and it's winter, so he hasn't had a ton of time for fishing lately.

Luckily though, I have plenty of projects.  Projects that involve fishing.

*Big Smile*

For the last couple weeks we've been transforming the kitchen lighting from a three bar light over the sink, and ceiling fan...

To a single bulb in the center of the room (the light over the sink was attached to the wood valence).

And last post, I left you with this mid-work-huge-mess-picture:
Note that if you decide to rewire your kitchen in the dark (his hours don't leave us with a ton of daylight), you should stand a light up like the one pictured instead of wearing a headlamp and running around the house with just it on.  You know, so the neighbors don't think you have burglars and call the cops-- because then you have to deal with them showing up at the door asking tons of questions.  Not that WE had anything like that happen...

Let me just tell you, rewiring the ceiling in a old house where you can't access the wiring from above is a pain.  And messy.  And sometimes scary.  Throughout this project, we've discovered knob and tube wiring, cloth wiring, and 80's no-ground wiring (wired in some CRAZY ways) all in the same room.

My sweet husband though, fisherman that he is.  He fished wired through the ceiling, through the walls, down the basement, figured out which wires were coming out of where, organized the breaker box... it's been a big job.  It's taken some time since we've been doing it all on our own around the kids, birthdays, holidays, call schedules, etc.  So it's a good thing that neither of us gets too bent out of shape over a mess, or I'd have pulled my hair out by now, BUT I'm happy to tell you all that the wires are run for the kitchen lights!

So- remember- old house, no access?  Yes.  We have a few extra holes in the ceiling.  It's not going to be a problem though, because now that the wires are all in place, we'll be working on putting a bead board ceiling up to hide them.  So, that's where we are right now.  We (eh erm, he) still has to wire the light in the pantry, and run a separate wire to the microwave and refrigerator, and put the under cabinet lighting in, but these projects are small compared to how much work the ceiling lighting was.  So we're trucking along.  Slow, and steady- but progress is progress, and I'm so proud of all the fishing the hubs has done for us so far.

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Nook

When we started this kitchen movement, there was a nook area in the kitchen.  It was a strange, four foot long section of counter top, floating above nothing.  I think whoever put it in intended for it to be a breakfast nook, but really- who wants to sit and stare at a wall?

Not to mention that it takes up a lot of space in a small kitchen- and as you can see, we could really use the storage.  Also, I love having an excuse for making hubs clear a space in the office for the dogs.  Dogs in the kitchen= dog hair in the kitchen, and that's no good.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to best utilize this space.  The trouble with it is that the whole area is recessed about 15 1/2" from the rest of the kitchen.  I toyed with the idea of building a small cabinet next the the refrigerator to allow the doors to open fully without hitting the edge of the base cabinets, and following this tutorial from Young House Love to build the refrigerator in, and then putting a lower cabinet in with drawers, and open shelves above on the right side.  The problems with this was that, while I could probably build the small utility cabinet, I couldn't build the doors...and I couldn't find anyone who would make them to come close to matching what we had for less than $120 per door.  We would have needed four doors, plus supplies to make the cabinet boxes, and the purchase price of a refrigerator cabinet and base cabinet with drawers at around $550 on it's own, and shelves above that.  After all that, having it sit back so much further than the other cabinets would have left it in the shadows, and made it look terribly out of place.

Then I went on to thinking of pantry cabinets.  These would be practical.  Lots of storage, and I can use them to hide the funny recess.  The only downside I could think of is the loss of counter top space, but really, when we get down to it, the only thing I used the counter space previously was to store more junk that we didn't have room for in any of our other cabinets already.

I spent a few days at cabinet shops, big box stores, and online pricing pantry cabinets and figuring out options.  The cheapest that I could come up with locally was $2300, and that was for cabinets that would come close to matching, but wouldn't really match our existing ones, and were basic boxes with shelves inside.  I know cabinets are expensive, but ouch!  That was more than I wanted to spend...especially since they wouldn't be "perfect" and the entire kitchen project started out with the idea that I would "just" paint the cabinets.  Then the idea came to me that I may be able to head over to the Amish community about an hour and a half away and have some cabinets made to match.

(Love seeing these signs when you get into Amish country)

I googled kitchen cabinets in Arthur, IL and found that there existed another one of my favorite types of stores.  A warehouse.  Oh em geeeeee!  Cabinet Factories Outlet carries warehouse overstocks, cancelled orders, misordered product, and factory overruns at wholesale pricing.  They have everything on hand, and assembled.  You just pick out what you'd like, buy it, and take it home that day (or within 7 days).  Does this sounds similar to another place I found on my current kitchen hunt?

Friday I went to scour the warehouse, and I found some pantry cabinets that will work!  They weren't 100% what I was planning for, but I was able to get ALL of the cabinetry for the entire nook area (plus a pull out mixer stand for inside a base cabinet) at 28% of what the other quotes were ($630 with tax!). I came home and drew it out to scale, and I think it will look fine. The pantry cabs on the right are full pull outs with cookie sheet organizers in the top, and a 6 place wine storage block on top them, and the one on the left has drawers behind the lower door, and an open storage area up top. They are 24" deep, so I'll have to affix 3 inch blocks behind them to studs to be able to attach them to the walls, and leave them flush with the existing upper cabinets (which makes it a perfect depth to make it look like we have a cabinet depth refrigerator, even though we don't).

I'm so glad it's all coming together.  Today the Hubs has been working on changing the wiring around to add more lights.  Just to give you a little insight on the horror of renovation...this is what my kitchen looks like at this very moment.

Yikes.  Check back soon to see how it's going!