Saturday, April 28, 2012

About Time...

I am happy to say that every square inch of my beautiful new cabinets are now happily painted and I can start the process of moving into all of this wonderful storage space!!

With over two years of planning going into the design of my kitchen, I had several ideas that I knew I wanted to incorporate.  Pinterest was a HUGE help to me in gathering all of my ideas in one place and having easy to see pictures to explain what I really meant to my incredibly patient carpenter!  (If you don't have a Pinterest account, email me for invitation.  It will forever change the way you bookmark!)

With the current layout of my house, I knew that I didn't have enough space for a mudroom, either now or in the future, but I did want a drop zone to put things.   When you enter my carport/garage door, the entrance I use 100% of the time, I now have a place for my purse, keys, sunglasses, schoolbag, and a charging station for my million electronic toys.  (Eventually I will have undercabinet lighting in here along with a fancy charging station but for now it's a 4 outlet plug and ambient light!)

I must say, it works wonderfully, when I remember to use it!  I am slowly getting better and better about it, but it's taking some time.  For 2 years I've been dropping my things on whatever flat surface was open.  I've got to get used to having a certain spot again.

Now that I have somewhere to store my stuff, what about my everyday food items?  Enter my kitchen pantry cabinets, not to be confused with my full room pantry off the laundry.

A few things about my pantry.

-I love the pull-outs at the bottom.  This keeps large things from getting lost in the back and makes each shelve completely accessible.

-Notice the cream box on the left in the middle?  That's the backside of a covered electrical box that has my laundry, and kitchen light switches and an outlet on the outside pantry wall.  (I'll try to shoot a pic so that my jumbled description becomes more clear.)

-The u-shaped shelves up top were my carpenter's idea and they work great.  They allow me to store canned goods and other shorter things that I need to access, but still have space for basics like cereal boxes and oatmeal (my daily breakfast) where I can reach them.  

Function is one thing, but my kitchen has to be aesthetically pleasing to me or I won't use it...  I know, I'm petty thinking about surface beauty, but if being able to cook was all I needed I would have never done this remodel!  I wanted my island to be symmetrical, and I needed to store pots and pans, and I wanted it to house my trash/recycle, and my nifty paper towel holder..

Not too much to ask right??


Thanks to Pinterest, I had my problems solved...

 I have two working drawers for cooking tools and silverware, left and right respectively.  My paper towel holder is in the middle.  The lower left drawer is my trash/recycle center.  (more on that later).  The middle drawer is one deep drawer for my large stockpots.  (I'll be sure and let you know when I get one!)  The bottom right is not one, but two drawers, hiding behind a single door.  Confused? 

Does this help?  From the outside the look is clean and symmetrical, but on the inside is very, very functional.  I love having the shorter drawers for storage. 

I wanted a dedicated space for not only my trash, but paper recycling.  I hate having piles of mail everywhere.  Go paperless people!!  (Yeah, I hear the irony now because my house is covered in mail piles.  I need to sort them and put them away in the office, but the stuff that's in my way in there has to be put away in the kitchen first.  Argh!)  Anywho...  Enter my cabinet trash drawer.  The first bin is for trash and the second for paper recycle.  The rest of my recycling is stored in the laundry room, out of the way.

When you're buying bins to fit a specific drawer, either give the bins to your builder before the cabinet is built, yeah would have been smart..., or purchase bins from multiple places and try them all.  The ones from Lowe's were too big and would have had to be trimmed to fit.  The exact same size bin, but different manufacturer, at Home Depot fit like a glove.  Go figure. 

Pull-outs have to be my new favorite thing.  I also had them installed under my kitchen sink.  The braces eat a small amount of space, but the functionality of the drawers more than makes up for it.

I can easily access everything and in case I need to get in the cabinet to work, the drawers lift out without a hitch. 

The last super custom piece I put into the dining room side.  I received many antique linens from both sides of the family.  Hanging them is the best way to store them so that they stay wrinkleless neat and air can circulate. I requested a closet rod in the top of the cabinet for this purpose.  The shelves pictured will be lowered for storage of large platters, but I need to drill a few more support holes.  (I'll let you know when I get my platters too!)

All in all, I am thrilled with my new kitchen.  Now if I can just recall where I put everything!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No more handwashing!

While I was literally waiting for paint to dry and the air to clear, I did some shopping.  My kitchen is in sore need of a dishwasher.  Since I haven't had kids yet and am still looking for Mr. Right, I am the resident dishwasher.  With the only working sink near the kitchen being a utility sink built for people with no spine who don't mind touching their toes to wash dishes, you can imagine my distaste with the whole process. 

I've been drooling over the Kitchenaid dishwasher with the new utensil rack.  Basically it's a 3rd rack that goes above the top rack that holds silverware flat so that it can truly be cleaned.  Add to that the energy star rating and the 40 dB sound rating and I was sold!  Until I saw the $1300 price tag.  WHOA!  Nope, not gonna happen...

So, back to the waiting board I went.  (No need for a drawing board, I knew what I wanted, I just needed to wait until I could afford it.)

Enter Factory Builder's Store annual scratch and dent sale!  Score!!  They had almost the exact same dishwasher I wanted for hundreds less.  The upper back side has a small dent, but no hoses or cords were damaged and it runs without any issues.  I did have to sacrifice my dream 3rd rack, but in exchange for not having to hand wash everything?  I'll gladly take it! 

Isn't she beautiful?

Monday, April 23, 2012

paint fumes...

With the arrival of all of my new kitchen, I had a dilemma.  How should I finish them??

Dark cherry stain?

Orangey oak?

Glazed paint?

Plain paint? 

The options are truly limitless...

My goal was is to do this remodel thing once and NEVER, EVER again.  (okay, unless I'm just writing the check from an account with plenty of money in the bank and then I'll do it again...)

So, I wanted a look that was timeless and would age well.  Orangey-oak was out of the question.

Stained cherry?  I love the look, but with only one wall out of 4 with natural light, I was scared that the cherry would make the room feel small and cramped. 

Glazed paint?  Let's face it, I'm not the neatest person and adding a layer of glaze would only make the cabinets seem dirtier faster to me.  (I love them in other people's homes, just not in mine because I would see them daily and notice when the glaze became more intense from all of the gunk that accumulates over time on kitchen cabinetry.)

I did like the idea of paint though.  Clean, fresh, white cabinets.  Okay, maybe not white-white, but white-ish.  I picked the same trim color that is in the rest of the house to be the cabinet color.  Once I had that part down, it was time to call in the painter.

Yup, this avid DIY'er said call in the painter.  Since I spent, compared to other projects in my house, a TON of money on my cabinets, I wanted the finish to look flawless, ie no brush marks.  (Disclaimer:  my cabinets were a steal compared to off the shelf at the local big box stores, but I still was shell-shocked at spending so much money, even though I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  They are worth every penny I paid!)

In order to get a flawless look, I knew that a professional sprayer would be involved.  I had also researched paint enough to know that if I wanted a more durable finish that would last and last, important since I was going with white cabinets, I would want to go oil-based instead of DIY friendly latex.

So I looked around and ended up with a painter's helper who picks up jobs on the side.  My kitchen was a true no man's land for a while when everything was taped up.

While I was pleased with the result in the end and happy with the price compared to a professional painter, his timing skills were way, way off.  Because of the oil based fumes, I had to move home for more than six weeks while my place was fumigated painted.

Primed and ready...

Maybe I should have been tougher on him and fussed more about his schedule (he canceled multiple times for random reasons), but I'm happy to say that the whole darn process is finally over and in a mere 2 weeks (cure time) I can start to move into my new spaces...