Posted in Kitchen Reno

Punch List

I’m holding off posting pictures of where we are now because we are so close and I really, really want to have that BIG reveal.

Instead I thought I would list (in no particular order) our punch list. For those new to DIY (or home repair in general), a punch list, according to google, is “a document prepared near the end of a construction project listing work not conforming to contract specifications that the contractor must complete prior to final payment. The work may include incomplete or incorrect installations or incidental damage to existing finishes, material, and structures.” So basically, all the piddly (or not so piddly) stuff that comes at the end.

Still Left To Do:

Buy door trim/baseboard, paint, cut and install

Vent cover

Buy, stain and install thresholds

Caulk backsplash where caulk has shrunk (and dig out a bad spot I found yesterday)

Filler panel between fridge and over-fridge cabinet and under cabinets on either side of microwave

Filler pieces cut and installed for under microwave

Install paper towel holder and foil/plastic wrap holder on inside of sink cabinet doors

Adjust doors and drawers so that they are all perfectly level, then install soft close hinges

Electrician out to do finish electricity

Electric inspection

Drawer pulls (I finally gave in and bought a template because I just couldn’t figure out how to make one)(it arrives today, so this will be done today)

Figure out configuration of island interior (shelves on one side/drawers on other–depends on how electrical outlet will fit) and install drawers/shelves

Seal backsplash (today)

Outside: fix/replace trim/siding and an outlet from door installation

Return unused/unneeded stuff to Ikea

And that’s it! Some is just a few minutes. Some is fairly labor intensive. Other than the toaster and coffee maker (which is waiting on the finish electric) we are using the kitchen full time. I have about four boxes of stuff still in the living room to go into the island but that is also waiting on the electrician. Last weekend we finished the floor (!), put the stove back (can I get a Hallelujah!) and even put the table back. We ATE DINNER on Sunday night using the stove and the dinner table. It was WONDERFUL.

The biggest thing, for me, has been the transformation from a full time construction zone that had a makeshift kitchen to a full time kitchen that had a little construction. Many of the tools and tool bags are gone. The Shop Vac is gone (another Hallelujah!). The remaining tool bags are in the living room.

Yesterday we put the panels on the island and Jim installed the rest of the toe kick. It makes for such a finished look, especially against the floor. And today marks 17 weeks. The end is finally in sight!

Posted in Kitchen Reno

15 Weeks

The list of things left is still kind of long, but at this point everything we do makes a big difference.

Jim and Bennett had FTC Kick off yesterday and then Jim had to work, so nothing got done on the house. That was ok. Sometimes a day off is pretty good. Today (which is actually a whole day after 15 weeks) we got some important things done–although the range is STILL NOT INSTALLED.


Today we worked a lot on flooring, which was annoying, painful, exhausting and exhilarating. Flooring changes everything about a room. Really. As much as the cabinets and countertop. We also (because of the flooring) were able to install the refrigerator. It’s been in the kitchen, just off the the side where the kitchen table used to sit (and will, Lord Willing, one day sit again). Jim also did the toe kick under the pantry, which just totally finishes how it looks.

Here’s the proof:


Last weekend we finished the tiling and the grout (which looks impossibly amazing given the fact that neither one of us knew a thing about tiling!)

Here’s a close up from last weekend (before we did the faucet)


Also, please note the knobs! I figured out how to make a template all by myself! I used a DRILL ALL BY MYSELF (while Jim was at work even!). Such a sense of accomplishment!

Having water in the kitchen and a usable dishwasher is fantastic. It had been so long since we had a dishwasher I actually couldn’t remember how I used to load it! It was a little surreal.

This coming week we’ll be continuing on with the flooring. Once it’s under where the range goes Jim will hook up the gas and finally install it. And I’ll start baking! And making spaghetti and all sorts of lovely stove top/oven-y things! Yay!

Thanks for sticking with us in this incredibly long journey!


Posted in Kitchen Reno

14 Weeks

Today marks 14 weeks since we started. The end is actually in sight. Most of the interiors of the cabinets are in. The granite is in. Half of the backsplash is tiled. However, I can’t put the shelves or drawers in the island until the cover panels are on. I can’t put in the interiors of the cabinets to the right of the fridge in until we take off the fridge panel, take a bit off the bottom to fit the flooring, and then reinstall. Too much sawdust!

So, today I’m taking a day off the kitchen (I’ve worked on it every day this week so far!). It’s a little weird, I’ll admit!

This weekend we will:

  1. Tile stove wall, grout both walls
  2. Remove aforementioned fridge panels, cut a bit off the bottom and then reinstall.
  3. Install the drawers/shelves in two cabinets
  4. Install floor
  5. Get water working for dishwasher and hopefully sink.

If we have time:

  1. Install cover panels on sides of island
  2. Put in shelves and drawers in island

Busy and really productive weekend ahead!


Posted in Children

15 Years

Somehow I have three 15 year olds. Three mid-teenage-year people who are all taller than me (although one by only a little) that don’t look like little children anymore. The time has FLOWN by. Someone once told me “the days go slow, the years go fast”. When they were little it didn’t seem like it, but now, just WOW. We are only three short years from college for two of them. I’m seeing posts on Facebook of friends taking their kids to college and don’t know how I’ll manage it. Really. With cyber school they are home so much and I’m so used to that. No sense borrowing trouble, though.

15 years old triplets and one in heaven. Happy Birthday to my crew.

Posted in Kitchen Reno

11 Weeks

If you had told me, back in May, that at 11 weeks I’d still be in the thick of this I would have cried. If you could have told me that a ENTIRE DAY would be taken up on ONE FRIDGE PANEL I would have been in disbelief. Yet that is a true statement.

Last Friday Jim took off work so we could really bang out a lot this weekend. That strategy sort of flopped, but it’s ok in the end.

Our plan calls for two large (LARGE) panels on either side of the fridge to box it in. They would attach to the cabinet at the top and I guess hang down and rest on the floor (we would floor around them, not under). Sounds simple, yes?


Our walls are not plumb. Our floors, for all that work that we did, are not really level. Our ceiling is so out of level it’s ridiculous.

We took the 36×96 panel to the basement to use the table saw (yes, Jim owns one). It was really heavy and unwieldy. Got everything set up, cut off the side and the bottom. Bring it upstairs a little more easily because it’s now smaller and less unwieldy. Hope for the best and put it against the cabinet. Not even close. The wall is rather unplumb (meaning it bumps out several places doesn’t sit at a 90 degree angle to the floor). Get out the circular saw and try to shave down some of the side to make it sit for even against the wall. First battery on the saw dies. Change battery. Try again. 2nd battery dies. It starts to rain, so our impromptu sawing area on the back deck is unusable. Jim takes Laura on a road trip to get a different brand (aka good brand) of circular saw because we have many, many cuts ahead of us and using one that can’t even get through one panel is not an option.

The rain finally stops, we try again and finally FINALLY can hang the panel and get it into place. Followed by a giant fight and raised voices. It was pretty yucky.

Renovations are HARD, people!

The next day we picked Ethan up from his week-long camp, had brunch in Philly with Jim’s sister, came home hoping to do stuff but then Jim felt sick. We ended up taking the whole day off. Also, there were apologies and talking things out because we are married and love each other and that is what we do.


Up and at ’em at 9am. Hang the 2nd panel with so much less stress and strife because we learned from the first one. Started locking uppers in place and screwing to each other, only to discover that the electrical outlet for the microwave was too low. Jim managed, after finagling, to move it up (thank you God for handy husbands!) and we finished the rest of the uppers and one of the lowers. Then he cut 2×6’s to support the weight of the granite in the corner where there is no cabinets.

Brought in the other wall of cabinets, built them and put up the upper railing. Installed the two parts of the full-length pantry and put the other upper in place, but couldn’t do anything with the base because the electrician forgot to move the outlet and you can’t bury it legally.

Here is the fridge wall and those lovely panels.

End of Date Sun Aug 14 A

And here is the pantry wall. You can’t see the outlet behind that bottom cabinet, but it’s sure there! And the shelves in the pantries will be moving up so they form a bottom shelf for when we install the upper doors (each pantry has an upper short door and a lower long door).

End of Date Sun Aug 14 B

The theme for the weekend seems to be “All’s Well That End’s Well”

Posted in Kitchen Reno

Lots of Progress

It’s good to finally put that into the title, even if I’m typing it with a really-sore-I-hope-I-jammed-and-not-broke-it-left-pointer-finger.

This will be a post with a lot of pictures!  *insert cheesy smile* So happy to do THAT as well!

July 26 I dove into this pile (so much behind that pile that you can’t see!):

All the Boxes
That’s our flooring to the right of the cabinets. Sigh. Someday, right?

With this “helper”

Stitch Helping
Stitch is a great cat, but can be a little annoying sometimes!

And I was SO PROUD when I built my first ever Ikea box:

First Box Built
One down, 18 to go!

I built three the first day, then we went away for the weekend to Knoebels Amusement Park (more on that in another post), then we came home and I built a couple more and we did this:

Uppers West
The microwave cabinet needs to be cut in the back for the outlet!

It looked so weird. For so long it’s been a big empty rectangle of a room and then finally it started to take off. The rail system that Ikea uses? Meh. It has its pros and cons. We aren’t sold on the concept and Jim declared tonight he wouldn’t use Ikea again. Not because they have a bad product–everything has been pretty perfect–but the lack of box flexibility with our less-than-perfect walls is causing problems.

I built more boxes this week. Wall cabinets are much easier with having solid sides. Base cabinets just have two strips of metal across the top for structure. I have three more bases to build, one wall and two halves of a pantry.

Today we worked on the north wall, where the sink and dishwasher are:

Aug 9 A

Jim locking a cabinet into place

End of today is pretty great. The wall where the dishwasher is has all the cabinets installed and locked into the rail system. They are done and ready for finish work (shelves, doors etc). On the other wall the cabinets can still be moved around  because we are still working on final placement. We need to get the refrigerator panels in and see where they go and move towards the wall from there. Everything is approximately in the right place, but not exact.

End of Date Tue Aug 9

All in all, a great way to end the day!

Posted in Kitchen Reno

Painting is DONE

Not sure how well it comes across in the picture, but it’s a warm gray–almost has a little beige in it. The areas that we left white will be behind cabinets. No sense wasting paint (or the time to paint)!

Today I’m going to find and get the boxes from the garage to build the uppers on the far wall (where fridge and stove will go) and hopefully will start building tomorrow!

Painting Done