Closing Out January

So January is coming to a close – and what a cold one it is! I hope you, your loved ones and your plumbing pipes are all safe and warm. A warm up is in our future, so hang in there. Here’s a little recap of the shenanigans over at the Misadventures project – we’re getting closer to the finish – if that’s possible.

We’ll start with a small problem. When I drew up the kitchen island design, the cabinetmaker missed this little detail. I needed some extra room next to the dishwasher bay to add the receptacles and switches between the upper and lower countertops. I thought I could get away with these shallow switch boxes – but nope, not gonna work.

Looking at the back of the dishwasher bay, you can see a boatload of electric that needs to find a home and these little metal boxes just aren’t quite big enough. Oh the pains of free-style design.

I fabricated a 3/4″ panel to attach to the cabinet side to give me a little more depth for the electrical boxes. I changed out the metal boxes for these – the blue boxes have a little more room for wire wrangling.

So with a little persuasion we have all the wires where they belong – and the dishwasher fits as well.

Another little misstep. I thought the white controls and receptacles would work – but no. I’ve changed out these eyesores to black. The two receptacles are gfi protected on two circuits – just as code requires. The others are a speaker balance control and a 3-way switch for cabinet lights.

I was trying to get everything done before the countertops went in – it makes life so much easier when you can work from the top. I’ve plumbed the main sink and dishwasher and run electric for disposal and dishwasher.

Final work to get ready for the countertops I bought back in 2010 – Time to get rid of my cardboard counter you can see in the background.

Steel plates were glued and bolted in place to the counter overhang. I added a 14″ overhang at this end for a small seating area.

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Of course, the countertop install day had to be one with a rainstorm that wanted to tag along.

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So after a couple of hours the quartzite counters are in place, ready for me to start on the finish plumbing. I bought these stone slabs so long ago I had forgotten what they looked like. You can read the post about the counters here. The kitchen is 27′ long and opens into the 16′ wide sunroom, which makes for a 43′ long sightline – it creates a very open and bright workspace.

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The upper sink area is a standard 36″ with the lower level at table height (30″). The modified galley kitchen design with central island allows traffic to flow through the kitchen to any other part of the house without passing through the working side of the kitchen. Which is a good thing when someone is in there with a hot stove and sharp knives. The lighting may seem a little overboard, but since I do lighting design as part of my day job it was designed to create a shadow-free work area. The centers are 3″ MR-16 LED and the others are 4″ led recessed lights. The aisle lights are a schoolhouse design. Since the trim on the lights are the same color as the ceiling, they minimize the Swiss cheese effect of all those ceiling light holes.

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The little wine bar area is almost finished with the exception of the tile backsplash and the glass shelves. And the plumbing of course. Looks like my wife is already finding a home for her flammable liquids.

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The small deep prep sink by the stove will have a instant hot water dispenser. The tile backsplash and single shelf also will need to go in. Since my wife is Filipina, she likes to have one or more girlfriends over to cook together. The kitchen accommodates three in the kitchen to prepare food.

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Instead of hanging pendant lights, I opted for these schoolhouse style lamps that would have been used in the 1930’s. The lights allow for a multi-directional light to complement the directional recessed lights. 

The upper level cleanup sink is a single bowl with the dishwasher to the left. The lower drawers on the island are for dinnerware and serving pieces. This position makes it easy to load and unload the dishwasher. The island is 30″ wide, a little narrower than standard, but the 9′ length of the lower counter makes up for the width. My wife likes to work off the lower level, especially when rolling dough and preparing some of her more complicated recipes, as she has room to spread out. 

So onward we go, mare details and cabinets to build, but at least we’re getting to the pretty stuff. I promised some bling – it’s just taken nearly 10 years to get here. Stay warm and see you soon.

 

November Ramblings in the Mis-Adventure House

Well, another month has gone by and I made a personal goal to stop and post about the projects – interesting and uninteresting – at the close of November – so here you go. It’s a long one.

Let’s start here. I’ve posted about this staircase a lot over the years, and one day it’s going to be finished. Not today, but some day. We’ve got the handrail in place and I’ve painted the skirt boards and polished them to a nice 800 grit sheen. I’m not sure why, but I like a highly polished skirt board. It’s a quirk in my personality I suppose.

I’ve also painted the risers as well. The center area of the stairs get a carpet runner, but the paint on the risers has to be uniform nevertheless. Now to attach the majority of the treads I’ve decided to use pocket screws from underneath.

I figured out a way to do this by myself. You just reverse a bar clamp’s jaws and now it’s a handy Kreg jig holder.

So the calculations are 108 Kreg holes need to be drilled in the stair stringers – 9 total for each tread. The bad news is that each hole needed the Kreg jig re-positioned and clamped. And the positioning of each hole had to be done above the stairs, while the drilling of the holes needed to be down below. For each hole it was up the stairs – reposition the jig and clamp, then down the stairs and underneath to drill the hole. Then back up top to reposition and down again to drill the hole. The good news is I only had to do that 108 times – it took awhile.

Now that we have all those holes drilled, it’s time to finish the stair treads. We trimmed these to size and fitted each to the stair in an earlier post. Now it’s time for finishing.

The stain color is a mix of Golden Oak and English Chestnut on white oak. I added and subtracted the ratios until I got a color fairly close to the floor color.

So we dive right in, after opening the grain with a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water.

Now the one thing I miss the most about the renovation is that I can no longer stand in the middle of the living room and flail away, making mounds of sawdust. Nope that will never happen again, sadly. But I still can use our old house’s living room as a drying rack for my stair treads.

So while the stair treads are being finished we hop back over to the Reno house and do some plumbing. I know the younger set like that fancy plastic pipe (PEX), but us old dudes like to get out the torch and live a little dangerously. After all, you can’t burn down your house with that plastic pipe.

This is a closet the opens under the stairs and is the back wall of the kitchen. I left this open so I could run all my plumbing and electrical. This is what I have to work with. Drain beside the two water supplies. I cut out a wall stud and added a header here to give me more space to work.

After a few cuts and fiddling with some fittings, we have everything in a more conventional place. 

Getting bored with plumbing, it’s time to start clearing out the space for the kitchen.

I’ve built all of the cabinets and vanities in the house, but on this I hired it out to some Amish cabinetmakers. I wanted to build them myself, but my wife wanted them done within her lifetime. I can see her point.

A large Amish community is about an hour away, so after a few trips and drawing out my designs the kitchen finally starts to go in.

The sun room opens into the kitchen with the living room off to the right. Handy when I need a snack,

The wine and coffee bar cabinets go in. I still have lighting and tile work to do, but it’s progress just the same.

Within a few hours the cabinets were in and they were on their way home. Now I have to take over.

The two level island is just a bank of drawers on the lower side. This is table height, so a standard dining room chair will work as seating on the end. The island is about 17′ long overall.

I’m test fitting the appliances before I finalize the water connections. Still a lot to do.

Floating shelves, under cabinet lighting, tile work and lots of little details to go. I like to make shadow lines and break up the depths of the cabinets to make it a little more interesting. 3 sets of cabinets have lighted glass uppers and three sets have solid doors with mullions to match the glass doors.

The cardboard mock-up really helped to visualize where everything should go. Several changes were made during this process. But I won’t know until we have the counters in place and it finally becomes a working kitchen.

So there you have it – the going-on in November – we’ll keep marching along, one step at a time.


OK, Kitchen – I Need A Kitchen. Suggestions?

Now that the floors are in and finished with 2 coats of clear. We need to get on with designing a kitchen for the space. I have a pretty good idea in my mind’s eye. But what looks good upstairs might not work so well in reality. So I’ll lay out my plans and you can all chime in on what, when, how. If you’re a cook, all the better – I need your insight. I’m not the best of cooks, but I do make one mean scratch made Cream Puff. I’ll make you some if I ever get this place done. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Here’s the space as it sits today. The water supply and drains are in place for the island. The bucket is full of electric for the dishwasher, garbage disposal and receptacles as well as controls for the ceiling speakers.

Now most of you probably draw out your designs or use sketchup or some other fancy visualization 3-D whoop whoop software. But down here in southern Indiana we use a little more primitive technology. OK, work with me now – the door is the refrigerator. Those half sawn doors with the cardboard flap – that’s the stove. Squint real hard – can you see the shiny new kitchen?

OK, maybe not – here’s a reverse angle. The 2 legged table is cabinets with drawers. The white slab of cardboard above is a cabinet for a toaster oven and microwave. An island runs down the middle.

I’m sure by now you can almost smell the bacon frying. The shelf on the left will be lowered a little – to hold cooking oils and salt and pepper stuff I suppose. The right hand shelf  is for plates and bowls so they’re handy when I make my fried baloney sandwiches. A prep sink will be to the right of the stove so I can wash off my food when it falls on the floor.

The range hood has a 8″ duct that goes straight up through the roof. I’m working on adding an automatic make up air system to replace the air in the building when this thing is turned on high. Didn’t think about it until now. Most building codes require a make up air system if the range hood is rated over 400 CFM – I have a KOBE hood that’s rated at 840CFM on high.

And the space between the sunroom and living room is a coffee / wine bar. Humm.. 3 sinks in one room – maybe I should have thought this through a little more. But the plumbing is there and the sinks and faucets are bought. This will have a small sink with a wine refrigerator below on the right. Above are a couple of open glass shelves and the rest is cabinets for pantry items. The thing is – I don’t drink wine or coffee. Maybe I better get a beverage center so I can chill my Diet Coke.

The Drawings

So after I built the mock up I did make some drawings. Look professional? Just a little bit? OK, well you’re right they’re not. I used my trusty Microsoft Publisher from Office 2000 to make the scaled drawings. I guess you’d call that ‘Old School’?

I plan on making the island on two levels. The sink side is 36″ and the lower side is 30″. That’s a standard table height. My wife is only 5’2″ and I thought the lower height would make it easier if she ever decided to cook something. The lower level can also be used as a table with regular height dining chairs if we needed more table space. I thought about exdending the end of the counter so I could get a couple of stools under for a place to eat.

The layout is made so you don’t have to walk through the working spaces to get to other rooms in the house. The back mudroom entrance allows you to go to the sunroom and living room by walking straight ahead, or going to the two offices, bathroom and upstairs by turning left.

So that’s my plan. I’d appreciate all of you creative people’s ideas. Bonus points if you know how to cook.

 

 

The Kitchen – Yes, I’m Still in The Kitchen

Well, I’m still fiddling in the kitchen – this is the last post in here until the floor is installed. So let’s get this post out of the way. We’ll move to the mudroom next and finish those cabinets that were built several years ago.

First up is finding an old picture light and painting it black. Being in the art business, I have lots of picture lights laying around. But most are just too pretty for this space. I’m using an old trade in and painted it black. I’ll add a ledge and light switch somewhere on the frame.

But right now we have to finish the trim and paint in this space.

Above the shoe bench and to the right of the storage space I added a deep shelf. I plan to use this to hold a big piece of Italian majolica.

Like this example I have in my gallery. This one in particular if no one takes it home first. It’s 24″ tall and just fits the space…how did that happen?

Now to take care of some things that were bugging me about the design. I made this pilaster / wall cap stepped back above the wainscotting. I wanted a little more room visually, so I thought this would work. Looks dumb.

So grab a scrap piece of wood and carefully cut out the profile.

And fine tune it to fit the column. I feel better now.

But not that much better

I painted the whole kitchen with  SW Egret White. It’s the same wall color as the sunroom walls are painted.  I painted two coats on all the wall trim, panels and battens. Sanded that and then coated everything with two coats of Varathane satin finish. I use a small brush, as it gives it a more authentic finish than using a roller – It took a long time. But now, I’m not feeling it. The paint has a tinge of pink I think.

So I had to make a test patch to see if I could live with the slightly pink color – pastels are in right now, right?

I couldn’t

So here you see me with my 2 1/2″ brush doing to whole thing over – twice.This is a BM custom white in a pearl finish. The custom color is actually a match of Valspar ceiling white – which I painted the first floor bathroom and mudroom. Why I didn’t do it here – I’m not sure, but it was a color mistake that cost me about 20 hours.

I feel better and I’m ready to move on. Mudroom’s next – so stick around..

 

Still Hanging in the Kitchen – Shoe Storage

My original plans were to breeze through the kitchen area and march right upstairs to get this place done. But sometimes my intentions and my “what if” thought process do battle – and usually the thought process wins.

Like This Time

The main wall is paneled and painted and the clear coats are on – great. But down at the end where the mud room is I have a little alcove area when you come up three steps to enter into the kitchen.Here’s that space a long time ago.The little alcove area is about 12″ deep. My original intention was to put a little table there and call it a day. But then I thought “What will I do with my wife’s gazillion shoes?” I have two pair – my lucky ones you have already seen and one other pair. But my wife on the other hand has ‘countless’ numbers of shoes that all look the same to me and pile up at the back door. We’ve got to find a way to hide some of them.

OK

We’ll think about what we’ll do about the shoe problem, but first I’ll finish this storage area that is 3’X3’X8′. This space is over the basement stairs. I’ll make a pantry or something out of it. First we gotta finish the drywall and paint.

Done – and the casing is added around the opening. I intend to make a pair of doors for this.

After a couple days of research and head scratching, I came up  with this idea. A shoe storage bench. I found the pivoting shoe caddy brackets at Lee Valley Tools. This thing was hard to get right. The sides are 3/4″ plywood and the other pieces are 1/2″ plywood. Stuff I had laying around already. I’ve made up the basic carcass – and my shoes fit. (That’s my other pair).

I then made a front face frame from 3/4″ poplar and an inset of 1/2″ plywood.

The fitting is pretty finicky, but I got it to work. That’s another pair of pivot hinges- just in case I messed up the first pair. They’re made from ABS plastic – I wanted something more substantial, but couldn’t find anything. I thought if these broke I could use the second pair as a pattern and make a set out of wood.

My idea was to incorporate this into a bench. You can sit and take your shoes off and have a place to put them.

I made this so that it can be removed for the hardwood floor to be installed. You never know, I might want that table back as I originally intended.A little more adjustments and it works as intended. It holds 18 pairs of shoes. I hope she doesn’t need any more than that at the back door.

Now we’ll take a break and work on the chalkboard. Here’s the frame I made from an old 2X4 that was removed during renovation. I looked around for a piece of real slate to use, but couldn’t find any.

So I went out to the garage and cut a piece of cement board and gave it a few coats of chalkboard paint.

I’ll add a little picture light and a chalk ledge for this when we get closer to the finish.

Since I now had a can of chalkboard paint, I thought I might as well make this whole wall a chalkboard as well. At least I can doodle while the bread’s in the oven.

And I added another chalkboard painted area above the bench. We’ll just keep going – and hope the “What if” thoughts stay away until we get upstairs.

Hang in there, we’ll get to the pretty parts one day.