Friday, January 18, 2013

Our first set back...

Hey all!

Ok I totally planned to have a full update for you today on our brand new floors, but unfortunately, working 8a-8:30p at this work trade show is really kicking my butt and my downtime is in the negative.

However, I will share a quick pic of our first kitchen setback...Keepin' it real.

We (aka Chris and his his dad) did an AWESOME job of laying the thinset and our beautiful 3x6 travertine pavers and everything was looking great. That was until we discovered the thinset was bad (it somehow got wet) and 2/3 of our tile was coming back up.... Sooooo we had to redo it all.

Ugh!!

Yes, a setback, but better finding out now and fixing it rather than having the issue later on down the road.

Anyone else have a renovation setback? We can't be the only ones with a little hiccup...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting excited about the little stuff... our (AWESOME) new faucet

Appliances aren't the only new thing we have to buy for the kitchen... its the tiny stuff that's pretty thrilling to buy too...

Like faucets... who in their right mind gets excited about a faucet?!  Me, this weirdo right here...

Chris and I cook a LOT (correction: CHRIS cooks a lot) but that means we need to have a super functional faucet since the one we have now is stuck facing one direction.  As you can probably guess this makes it pretty difficult to use when cleaning pots, pans, glasses, etc.

So after a lot of looking around at big box stores like Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears, etc, we found ourselves at a builders surplus here in Dallas, Seconds & Surplus.
Since buying at a surplus its kinda a crap-shoot since you never really know what you'll get, we were floored when we saw this beauty right when we walked in.
 Definitely more industrial than the "country cottage"/"shabby chic" we are going for in the kitchen, but after seeing a very similar model in a friend's house and getting the chance to play with it, both of us knew it would be the most practical choice for us.  Especially as often as we cook and clean, a heavy-duty sprayer is a must.

On top of finding exactly what we wanted (seriously, when does that ever happen?!), the price was pretty awesome too: $227.50!... Take  that compared to the $499.99 Home Depot one we saw; a whopping $250+ savings!!! Score!!

So now, we have this little beauty sitting at home, just WAITING to be installed.
 Ahhhh SO EXCITED!!! A working, movable faucet?! What else could a girl ask for?!?!?!?!

-Samm

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Knocking down a wall and creating a built in!

Sooo.... remember this pretty extremely boring wall which took up VALUABLE space in our super tiny kitchen?
Yea, dead, unusable space = no beuno.

Since our kitchen is pretty darn tiny, about 11x14, we decided that we were going to knock back this wall and make it a built in for our fridge and pull out pantry.... the pantry is probably my favorite part.  The wall isn't large enough to hold a fridge and 12" door for a normal pantry (we'll probably have 6"-8" inches) so, through the magical world of Pinterest, I found this and fell in love.
Since we are having custom cabinets made (friend of a friend knows a guy who is giving us a SMOKIN' deal) and he agreed to make us this pantry!!! Hooray!

But back to the hole in the wall.  The hole actually backs up to the wall in our guest room.  Here's the the view...
We went back and forth about even knocking down this wall; not knowing if its worth taking up the space in the guest room, but in the end, we ended up calculating that it would really only take up about 12sq ft (3ft deep by 4ft wide).  We also plan on flipping the opening of the door to swing against the wall so you wont even see it when walking in the room.

Eventually, we decided to go for it.

And the demo began.

All the drywall had to come down first...

Then, I was (finally) allowed to channel my inner Jackie Chan and kick down the wood boards through the other room.
This is EXACTLY how Jackie would have done it
It was awesome.

We tried to salvage as many as the boards from my massive karate skillz as we could so we could reapply them over the new wall to keep the room looking seamless.
Next came removing the studs.

We did have to be careful though since there was electrical wire running through two of the studs.  Luckily the guys broke out the reciprocating saw to cut through them without hitting the wire.
And although everyone was waiting for it, no one got electrocuted...
Now THAT is a hole...
or just a HUGE lack of wall...
Step number 473, umm actually, I've lost count... The "next" step was removing the wood floor that "used" to be in the guest room.  We had to get everything level for putting in the travertine pavers, so the wood had to go.

Enter Blake:
He's an engineer and more precise than a brain surgeon on adderall, so I'm glad he took care of this.

And THIS is where we finished for the day. Phew!... the wall in ADDITION to everything we did earlier, we accomplished A LOT! ...(again, I use "we" very liberally)...

However, the next day was my birthday (yay! And please don't ask how old I am... I'm old enough to now not answer that question) and my friends got me the BEST. PRESENT. EVER.... a mult-hour brunch with bottomless mimosas.

When I came home 5 hours later, I was so relaxed, happy, calm, centered, at peace, slightly drunk excited to see a full framed cut out of where my fridge would someday sit.
Here's the view from the hallway...
And from the guest room...
Here's even a picture of Chris standing in our (future) freezer.
They also managed to move all the electrical (Chris's uncle is an electrician) and the water line.

But if you think that is cool... look at this!!
WHA-WHA???!!!! Yea friends... that's perfectly completed and patched dry wall! (Sorry I dont have pictures of them putting everything up.  We have a trade show this week for work and havent been home nearly as much as I normally am)... But honestly, have you ever seen anything so pretty??? (well at least until the floor is down)

We will still have to texture the little side wall there on the right (just light orange peel... nothing too crazy), and add molding... and baseboards... and paint... ... ... ok there is still a LOT to do, but the progress is so much fun!!

Have you guys ever knocked down a wall to make a built in or just to increase space in a large room? If so, did they allow you to Jackie Chan kick the wall? Because if they didn't, you didn't get your money's worth...

-Samm

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Craigslist Confessions

Ok, sorry, we have to interrupt this regularly scheduled kitchen demolition to bring you this awesome "Craigslist Confessions" story.

If you have been following along with my fun little blog here, you already know that I am an avid Craigslist fan (seriously, most of our furniture, tables, accessories, and even my rehab project have been bought and sold on Craig's List (I feel the man deserves ownership of his list... its only proper)).

But, from time to time, I have some weird run-ins... Like this 1950's stuffed cat with working "mewo" string, or this super awkward conversation I had with a man regarding a futon (check them out, I promise they are worth it) and so... I have another one for you.

Back story: my family's business is mortuary services.... there, I said it... the full transition to random, weird, awkward internet creeper/blogger is complete.  But its true: Spangler Family Mortuaries out of Los Altos, CA (we have three locations!! #mostawkwardbragEVER).  I lived there (IN apartment ABOVE the mortuary... just like the chick from My Girl) with my parents until I was 2.5 and we moved to Scottsdale.  What does this have to do with a Craigslist story? Well, the fact that I found THIS at a garage sale:
Since this is something so weird only a girl who lived in a mortuary can appreciate, I had to buy it.

Chris? Less than thrilled.

Since we have a policy in our house that we don't keep/do anything unless we are both in 100% agreement, I was sadly forced to sell it on Craigslist.

I actually put it up there a couple weeks before Christmas and completely forgot about it since no one wrote me and I was in Arizona for a while... that was until last week when I got an e-mail asking if it was still available. I told him it was and we agreed to meet... ... ... and I forgot to call... I wrote him again, apologizing and agreed to meet again... and I forgot... (worst person ever)... finally the guy wrote me again and said he would pay the full asking price but he really really wanted it and truly wanted to meet.  So I remembered (yay!) and we met at the Walgreens by my house.

A normal transaction ensued: I showed him the sign, he liked it, paid me for it, and we chatted for a bit about how weird the sign really was...

Me: "Yea, it's pretty unique huh?"

Guy: "Yea it is!  I actually used to be a designer, and although Im not anymore, I somethines head-hunt pieces for my other designer friends in LA and New York.  One of my friends is remodeling a house for a client in LA who wants a death/funeral room and asked me to look for stuff for her."

Me:... (slightly awkward look of horror on my face but still trying to smile about whatever weirdo that would want a DEATH ROOM)...

Guy: "I sent her the picture of this sign when I saw your ad and she showed it to her client who loved it.  He really wants it and I'm overnighting it to my friend tomorrow."

Me:... (shaking my head and moving toward my car)... "Awesome! Im so glad its going to work out for every body."

Guy: "Yea, Axl Rose (!!!!!!) loved it and that's why I kept e-mailing you. He kept bugging my friend about when he was going to get it and thats why I kept e-mailing you to meet."

Me:... (replace my look of horror with a look of SHOCK and my jaw dropping about 3 inches to gape open like when Taylor Swift wins a music award (psh, please... like she's ever surprised...))... "Oh, ok. Umm well, umm.... you tell Axl Rose to enjoy my funeral sign?"  (why did I end it as a question? no idea...)

Guy:  "Thanks will do! Have a great night!"

And thats when I got in my car and wracked my brain for someone to call that would actually BELIEVE what just happened...

So, what did I take away from this experience? 

I, in someway, am an interior designer for Axl Rose.

You're welcome internet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Demo... it has begun...

Cue the Jaw's theme music, because the scariest thing that we will probably ever do to this house HAS. BEGUN.
Yea, so... welcome to our kitchen...
Chris and I have been planning this for a while and we KNEW it was coming... Me? I was slightly anxious but mostly nervous about being way overwhelmed, everything costing a fortune, someone accidentally sawing off a thumb, getting tetanus from a rusty nail, finding a dead body in the wall, you know, all the normal things people worry about when starting a big project. Chris? Like a kid on Christmas morning ("I get to sledgehammer stuff today!!!  Yeaaaaaa!!!").

But lets review first... and see the kitchen that we have been with since May of 2011 when we moved in.
view walking in from the hallway
View from the hallway... showing the wall on the left that we are taking down


View walking in from the dining room... this is blank spot right in front is actually where the fridge was
Wall that will eventually hold the fridge and pull out pantry... wall backs up to the guest room

View walking in from the dining room
View from the sink facing the opposite corner
View from the laundry room... again, the fridge has already been moved out
And now we return to Demo Day 2013.

 Like the great friend he is, our buddy Blake came by to help with the demo.
 First step, turning off the water and removing the dishwasher (which will also be replaced with a new stainless steel one)
 Side note to all those curious, make sure you also TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE DISHWASHER before you remove it... (I encourage you all to ask Chris WHY that is important and have him show you his melted metal pair of pliers which almost burnt down the kitchen within the first hour of starting this 3 week remodel... great start, great start)
 Eventually, they got everything turned off and able to set the dishwasher free... (free: aka selling it on Craigslist)
 
 Hooray hole!!!
 Making double-triple sure everything was off, disconnected, secured, sealed, and tightened, the fun could finally begin.
 And now I give you: "Chris's Favorite Moment of his Entire Life"

 Next up was Blake...
 And then me...
 
 We then took out the sink...
 Sink and disposal will also be new :-)
 Saying good-bye...
 Psh, whatever, we were never that close...
"I hope you and your disposal drown in the rain!!"
 It was at this point in the project I began to have huge regrets about this whole project and asked the boys to stop.
 HA!!!... Yea right....

A little while later, our other friend Bobby came over to get in on the sledge hammer action
Chris had to make some cuts with the saw to get the last piece of the cabinet out...
 ... and then it was gone...
 Pulling out the rest was pretty easy...

"For the love of God, Samm... put the camera away"
 And this is what we were left with...
 For the uppers, we were going to try and salvage them to use as extra storage in our garage.
 One set came off super easy...
 The other, not so much...
 
 Getting one set out of two isnt bad...

And now this wall is naked.
 Oh P.S- sorry, did I mention we used a Bagster?
 Totally awesome and WAY cheaper than renting a full dumpster... with everything said and done, it cost us about $150 (bag + pick up) vs. the $350-$400 a regular dumpster costs
Welcome to our home.... dont you just LOVE curb appeal?
Once demo on the main wall was done, the other half of the kitchen was super easy and involved a lot more sledgehammering (seriously, so fun... I recommend everyone trying it)
 We also had to remove a "bit" of drywall since the previous backsplash had been applied with ultra, extra strength super glue (apparently) and couldnt be scraped off without taking chunks of wall with it.
Simple drywall install, patch, and cover with pretty new travertine backsplash and it will be all pretty again
 And so, this is where I am going to leave you with day 1...
 
 All this was actually done by 2pm and the rest of the day was spent putting a GIGANTIC hole in the wall for our future fridge.  I will be back either tomorrow or Wednesday with all those pictures (spoiler alert: I got to kick in a wall!!!)

So until then, here's a picture of all our manly, demo gentlemen....
From left to right: Blake, Bobby, Chris (mine), Chris's dad, and Chris's uncle
 Can't wait to show you more!!

-Samm