Kitchen Renovation: It's Really Happening.

Here we go guys. Tomorrow morning it's goodbye floor, see ya later appliances (thanks to the magic of Craigslist), and sayonara sink. In other words. This thing is really happening. And I'm terrified.

Here are a final few "before" shots.

kitchen before demo

before demo

before demo

I'm not sure what Cooper thinks of the whole impending mess...

before demo


But I think it's safe to say he's as anxious as I am!

Tomorrow, I'm planning on doing a live streaming blog of the demo process. (Not sure how it's going to work yet, but the plan is to publish a blog post, and then update it throughout the day with pictures and little anecdotes. Should be hilarious. Or hellish. Or both.) I hope you'll stop in digitally... or in real life.

I have a feeling we'll need some coffee.

The Floor Dilemma: I just like wood.

Even though there were tons of options, choosing marble for our kitchen countertops was fun. Choosing what to do with our floors? Well. Let's just say I haven't taken a picture with anything. This has been a toughie. Problem #1. The current tile.

IMG_1140Big brown grout lines, orange mexican tile, umm... what else is there to say? Believe it or not, we went back and forth for a while about whether or not to leave the floor (and save a few hundred buckaroos) but, I felt like if we're redoing everything else, I would walk into the kitchen and think—why didn't we do the floor while we had the chance? So. We're doing the floor.

Problem #2. All the other floors under our current floor.

old kitchen floors

This is the air vent. When we pull up the grate, you can see the sediment of floors underneath our tile. Tile, cement, hardy-backer, linoleum, ????, pine. I put those questions marks there because apparently, way back in the day when it was really cool to cover your beautiful pine wood floors with a layer of plastic, contractors used a particular type of glue that contained a$be$to$. I don't even want to admit that it might be there... because then legally, we might have to hire a hazmat team to come clean up this blog. Anyway. That's a major dilemma. We don't know for sure what it is... but there's a good chance it is what we don't want it to be.

Problem #3. We already have two different hardwoods in the house.

two different hard woods

Check out this view through the kitchen. In the front room, we have these beautiful, original birch beech wood floors. In the back (an addition made who knows when) we have oak, which was laid the other direction. Similar finishes, but different wood.  Currently, the tile breaks it all up a bit so you can't notice. But for a while, we himmed and hawed over what to do—because I simply couldn't find a tile that I liked to replace the tile we already have.

The truth is... I just like wood.

But would putting down a third hardwood floor be a huge homeowner faux pas?


Option #1. Leave the tile. Not an option.

Option #2. Dig through the layers and refinish the pine. Most dangerous (because we could be disrupting that mesothelioma-inducing stuff)... and potentially most expensive, because the pine down there is probably not going to look all that great after all these years and all those layers on top.

Option #3. Find another tile. I really couldn't. And believe me. We looked. And pinned. And failed.

Option #4. (WINNER!) Dig down just beyond the hardy-backer, leave the linoleum, and lay fresh hardwoods, and forget anyone who says you can't have three different hardwoods in your house.

So there you have it folks. I just like wood. But I don't like @$be$to$. So we're splitting the difference.


What are your thoughts? What would you do? Anything we haven't thought of? Have you had to deal with the a-word before? It's getting close to demo time!!

Sweat Equity: The Kitchen, Before

So while the front yard is still very much in progress, Patrick and I have already started talking about our next big project. And this one is a gargantuan, move-out-of-the-house-sized project.

The Kitchen: Before

IMG_1127Our kitchen is a small, 8x10 space with Mexican-tiled floors, laminate counters, white cabinets and white appliances. The owner before us  installed a backsplash with several custom Italian tiles and painted the cabinets white, but she left a whole bunch of paint runs and brush strokes behind, too.

Take a look for more... 




IMG_1133The refrigerator sticks out from the faux-custom cabinetry, and the cabinets on top of the fridge don't match the rest of the cabinets in the kitchen. Also, the space above the cabinets is pretty awkward—too small for plants and pots and accessories, but too big to ignore!

IMG_1140The floors are pretty horrific - and this picture is embarrassing, but whatever. The cabinets are incredibly dirty (despite the fact that we've scrubbed and scrubbed). Also,  the mexican tile have huge grout lines, and the installer used brown grout—which makes it look perpetually grimy. There are no toe kicks where the tile meet the cabinets, so food and crumbs and things get caught there in the cracks. GROSS.

IMG_1143We have one red accent wall (just for fun), and we've considered knocking it down ever since we moved in. It doesn't exactly do anything except block the kitchen from being visible from the front door.

So there you have it folks. The "before" pictures in all their greasy, gritty glory. Patrick and I have a bunch to do—and I can't wait to chronicle the whole process as we go!

Check back later... I'm going to post some photos we've found for inspiration, and a mood board for our renovation. 

Sweat Equity: The Front Yard Before

Curb Appeal Before Like I said a few days ago, Patrick and I are preparing ourselves to get down and dirty with our house this spring. First on the list? Transforming our front yard.

First of all, you need to know that I'm a horrible an ignorant gardener. I have no idea what I'm doing. What are these plants? When do you trim them back? When do you cut them down? When do you weed? (How do you weed?) What do we do with the three thousand trees that the former owner planted in our yard? The questions and ignorance have kept me inactive. And here are the sad, despicable results:



These hedges used to be ten feet tall. Not kidding.



We've already cleared out the backyard (which sadly, I did not document), and now, it's time to tackle the front yard. Watch out Home Depot. Here we come.