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.

 

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Blog Envy – a counter top story.

OK. I’ve pretty well had it with my fellow bloggers.

Every day I read countless posts about your new wall paint and/or wallpaper removal. I hear of your agonizing deliberations over floor tile and curtain fabric.

Frankly I’ve had enough!

Well, really – I’m just a tad envious. I love looking at your blogs – liking them and commenting on some – well, OK – a lot of them. After all, you’re my main source for stolen design ideas. Being unable to work on my renovation for the past three months due to my ladder accident, I have lived vicariously through your triumphs and failures. But reading about your latest design ideas or seeing your beloved before & after photos – well, it leaves me feeling – well – a little inadequate.

What’s a guy to do? My posts are so far (except for one bathroom) little more than stud walls and plywood floors – holes made and cabinets without doors. I’ll get it done, but I wanna join the blogs with the pretty stuff.

So I’m pulling out the only pretty thing I’ve got so far for the kitchen – the counter tops.

This was a story in itself. I feel so sorry for my wife. She’s married to one obsessive dude. The quest for counter tops was a year + ordeal. I wanted something more in line with marble, but with a more durable surface like granite. I have this thing for natural counter tops, so that left the man-made stuff out of consideration. Looking around the web and every design site I could find I settled on a material called Quartzite (link below). Not to be confused with quartz counter materials, those are made from quartz stone and resins to make a really nice counter top. Great material – but as stated above, I have a thing for natural stone counters. I checked in our town, and with every fabricator (this was in 2011) no one ever heard of Quartzite (they all kept insisting I meant Quartz – the man made stuff). I knew a few road trips where in my future.

So the quest began – fortunately (or unfortunately from my wife’s perspective) we live at the very bottom of Indiana – across the Ohio River from western Kentucky. This location is perfect to get to the larger cities that might have some Quartzite. From home, Louisville is 2 hours away – Nashville 3 – St. Louis is three and a half. Chicago? Why just a quick 6 hours away!

Gas up the car – we’ve gotta look at some counters.

Needless to say it wasn’t pretty. We made trips to all of the above – multiple times to multiple stone warehouses. Some were clueless, some knew exactly what I was talking about! See honey? It really does exist! I swear I have the most relaxed wife. She just doesn’t care that much about looks. (Could this be why she married me?) Give her a stove that works and a roof that doesn’t leak – and she’s fine. Not many women like that – I bet. But we sure don’t argue over design ideas – and that’s a good thing.

Finally on our second trip to Chicago I found it! The quartzite mother load!

And in the rows upon rows of slabs I found this.

Do you come here often? I want you to come home with me. If I was in a bar – I’d be buying this hot slab drinks all night long.

counter-1Only one problem – she’s taken. As were her two friends – Married! – all reserved by the same big time Chicago designer. Got any more? Nope.

Crap.

So back home we went – well, we had to make a couple of stops at fancy fashion related stores for Francia. I guy’s gotta sacrifice, right?

A week later we got a call – the slabs I was lusting after were getting a divorce. Yep, they were breaking up with that big time designer because his clients were just unsure – and the hold date was up.

Do you want a slab? “I’ll take two” I said. Well, you need to come up in the next day and select the two you want and pay for them – or we will put them back in the bar (I added the last part). “Can’t we just pick them by the photos?” No.

So I told my wife that night that I just wanted to – you know casually take a trip the next day – you know, just to get away from work and spend a little time together.

“Where do you want to go?” she asked. Um, I don’t know…how about Chicago? I like that little Thai restaurant – we could go for a late lunch.

Six hours for lunch? I know, pretty lame – but she went with me anyways. Sometimes guys are so transparent.

So the end of the story we got the slab above and this one too.

counter-2It’s called Bellavita Quartzite

Bellavita QuartziteIt says so right there. You can get lots of Quartzites and learn what the heck it is from these guys.

MGSI Marble & Granite Supply of Illinois

The slabs are in town, sitting in our fabricators lot for the past year – and it looks like it will be there till 2014, but I’m determined to have them laying horizontal in my kitchen one day.

Don’t worry girls – I’m not a one night stand – I want a long term relationship.

Enjoy your week.