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Aug 25, 2014

#thecottagebungalow Kitchen Renovation: Demo and Cabinet Install

Hi Everyone!

Happy Monday loves.  We are in full swing with the kitchen renovations at the house.  This reno has been quite a deal different from the kitchen revamp at our last house mainly because our previous project was primarily cosmetic.  This go round we're almost starting from scratch.

The plan for this project was pretty straight forward: replace lower cabinets and sink, bring in new appliances, install a backsplash, replace lighting, paint and décor.  Easy enough right? WRONG!!  See here's the thing about old houses...they are much like old people.  They are full of character, and charm, and you just gotta respect em, BUT, at the same time they are undoubtedly set in their ways. I don't know about you , but Ive learned its pretty hard to give something that's over 70 years old a new way of being, if you will. So, I approached this project with the theory that rather than trying to change every aspect of the space to work with me, we will adjust aspects of our plans to work with the space. Im not looking for perfect, and honestly I don't want it.

We began with demo.  That process was quite difficult because back in the 40's kitchens were built in place.  That means cabinetry was custom built on site and they were built to last FOREVAH.  Our base cabinets were built right in to the floorboards.  This also means that todays building materials didn't exist.  Cabinets were solid wood back then and weren't 24" deep.  The ones we removed were just under 22" deep.  Another common practice was to use a mortar and lathe type installation for the tile countertop and backsplash.  If you aren't familiar with that its basically a layer of metal mesh nailed into the studs, then about a 1/2 inch layer of cement, then tile on top. 

It was not fun to remove. A very large crowbar and sledgehammer were my besties during this process. I was patient and tried to salvage as much of the drywall as possible, but holes in some areas were pretty inevitable.

Once demo was complete we moved on to installing the cabinets. We decided on Ikea cabinet boxes and frames and will be ordering doors through Semi Handmade. One of my favorite elements of this kitchen are the corner windows and I absolutely insisted on keeping the corner sink placement, so we designed the cabinet layout around that.  We also wanted to keep appliances in their current positions, so we had to tweak some things to make that happen. The biggest change we made because of this was going from a 24" dishwasher to an 18".  We decided that eeking out extra storage with added cabinets was more important than losing 6" of dishwasher space.  We thought about it and realized we never wash our pots and pans in the dishwasher anyway, so we still have ample space for our daily cups, plates, bowls, silverware, and meal prep dishes. We may not have done it if we needed to consider resale, but since this will be our home for a long long time, we can really customize things to our lifestyle.

The cabinet frames were really easy to build and we only have 4, so it took us about 2 hours to get them all built, including the drawers. We then moved on to install.  Because we have an old house with uneven floors and wonky walls we decided to use a ledger rail as a guide.  This coupled with the adjustable legs made things INCREDIBLY EASY AND FAST.  If you are considering Ikea cabinets I highly recommend using a ledger rail for your base cabinet install.

We used a 1 x 4 and installed it level about 5" from the floor, which after the cabinets and countertops go in will give us a height right around 36". This gets screwed into the studs so there's no need to figure out where studs are when installing the cabinets, they simply all get installed along the ledger.

We placed the back of the cabinets on it and adjusted the legs accordingly. It took us all of 20 minutes to get them all in place. Next came sink install. 

We opted for an apron front sink and because of this we hired this step out. We got our sink from here. It was a compromise element.  I wanted apron front, but Naomi is not a fan of old school porcelain sinks, so I ordered a sleek contemporary stainless steel version.  It took some time to find one that would work well with our requirements.

It needed to be 30" so that it would fit exactly within the cabinet base.  I also wanted a flat front with straight 90 degree angles to keep things nice and flush.  Since the sink and cabinets were the exact same dimensions width wise there was no need to create a frame underneath the cabinet to support it as with many other apron sinks.  We were able to just move down cross piece from the cabinet itself to support the sink. He added some "extra support" purely for my sanity.  It probably is doing nothing to make it stronger, but it put my mind at ease.

Since we are dealing with the corner sink, in order to get the sink base in line with the other cabinets we needed to bring the cabinet out a few inches and create a bracing  system to install the cabinet into the wall

#high-tech.  It looks completely sketch, but its solid as a rock.  The sink def isn't going anywhere.  Sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do, especially when you're dealing with a corner sink.

The biggest negative to corner sinks is there is a lot of space that gets wasted unless you spring for something custom built.  I've seen some awesome little storage cabinets tucked into the sides of them that help maximize space.  We didn't want the extra expense of a custom build, so we made up for the space in other areas.

The 30" cabinet to the left of the sink will be an open shelving situation with no doors, similar to this

Baskets and dutch ovens will be stored in it so we could take the cabinets right up to one another without the need to account for drawers or door swings.  The sink cabinet will be skirted and wont have doors either.

Today we'll be installing the countertops.  We went with Ikea butcher block and Im so so excited.  I loooooove butcher block counters and the price of Ikea butcher is just outta this world good.  I'll be getting some help with the cuts because of the corner sink situation again.  I cant wait to see them in place. 

Anyone else out there design a kitchen around a corner sink? How'd it go for you? Until next time loves....


Aug 18, 2014

Refinished Floors

Hi Everyone!

Happy Monday loves.  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

So much is happening with the new house, guys.  Last week was crazy busy as we began getting the bungalow ready for move in. The kitchen is half gutted, vendors have been bidding on jobs, new gutters have been installed, and it also happened to be back to school week for Bry and Michael.

When we purchased the house we made a list of things we wanted to tackle pretty much right away.  Most of those things were of the "not-so-fun, but they gotta be done" variety.  Ya know, things like replacing gutters, moving electrical, fixing fences, etc.  There were, however, a few things we really wanted to do that were purely for our enjoyment.  Remodeling the kitchen, refinishing the floors, and painting the exterior of the house were at the top of that list. 

While we made the kitchen a priority, we just weren't sure if we would be able to swing the floors or exterior painting right away with all the other attention the house needed.  After discussing it, analyzing the budget, assessing our schedules, and speaking with a few friends,  we decided that having the floors refinished was an investment we were happy to make upfront. We were able to manage some savings on the kitchen renos, so we were able to have the floors redone sooner than we anticipated. We also wanted to take advantage of the fact that we could have them done prior to move in.

I gotta say this was a tough one for me.  I had no intention on touching the floors.  I loved them in their original state and I was really hesitant to take anything away from that.  At first I wanted to try and tackle the project myself, but after a really good examination of them I determined they truly needed special attention and I had neither the experience nor the time to dedicate towards them.
This was a classic case of DIY vs hire-a-guy, and the latter won out.

The floors are over 70 years old at this point so you can imagine they've seen their fair share of traffic.  They weren't very level, had several areas of damage, needed some patchwork where a former floor heater used to be, had been "repaired with plywood in some places, had quite a bit of wear, and just sorta looked kinda dry and dull. 



We got 3 bids for the job. Two vendors were recommended to us by friends, and one I sourced on my own.  We chose one who was recommended, and he was priced right in the middle of the other two.  It wasn't the price that got him hired though, I went with my gut.  I trusted him right away.  He was the perfect choice.  Our floors look amazing, and more than that he really listened to what I wanted the end result to be.  I still wanted the character and integrity of the original floors, I just wanted them brought back to life. 

The process took 3 days of work and started with sanding, patchwork, filling, and staining on day 1, the first coat of ploy on day 2, and buffing and final coat of poly on day 3.  Because the floors had lots of ridges we had them sanded on the diagonal first, then with the grain to help even things out a bit. The floors are white oak and the natural wood is just gorgeous.

If you've been with me for a while you already know Im on #teamlight when it comes to hardwood floors. You also know my better half is the exact opposite and prefers dark wood floors.  I wanted to poly the natural wood and call it a day.  Naomi thought the light wood was really pretty, but could see herself tiring of the look fairly quickly so we went with staining.  Our crew also said that stain would help hide some of the deeper impressions and scars that wouldn't be able to be remedied by sanding alone.

I was adamant we didn't go too dark on the floors.  I wanted to try to stay as close to the original color as I could, but I did prefer more of a brown undertone rather than red or orange.  We narrowed the choices down to Provincial (top), Early American (middle), and Special Walnut (bottom).

They really all looked very similar once they were on, but in the end the Special Walnut was the winner.  It brought out the grain beautifully, was the perfect brown undertone, and wasn't too dark.  White oak is rarer to find than red oak and I'm really happy to have it.  It takes stain very well and has beautiful variance among each plank.  We went with one coat of oil based stain and two coats oil based poly.  The first coat of poly is semi gloss and the top coat is satin. I love the look of satin floors.  Not a huge fan of shiny. They used Dura Seal stain and Bona poly.

Here they are all done.

 There's no trace that a floor heater ever existed now, and we had the large dark spot repaired as well.

Im thrilled with how they turned out.  The satin finish is soft and subtle, and in  person they look buffed, not super new, which is perfect. I love that they look as they would've years ago. 
The total cost of this splurge was $1810.  It was  money very well spent, and Id do it again in a heartbeat. The sanding process alone is enough to make me thankful we hired out.  I imagine had we tackled them on our own we would've been looking at at least a week of work, and that's not including drying time. We are giving the floors several more days to cure before we start moving furniture in.
Im off to try and get base cabinets in today. Wish me luck.  Until next time...

Aug 7, 2014

The Cottage Bungalow House Tour

Hi Everyone!

Happy Thursday loves!  We got the best surprise and closed two days earlier than expected, so we got the keys to our new home on Tuesday afternoon. To say we are happy is quite the understatement. We just love it.  Every nook and cranny, every bump and bruise. 

I shared a few photos with you when we first put in an offer on the house, but today I wanted to give you the official tour.  I've taken so many pictures of the property over the past few weeks and I've been anxiously waiting to share them. The tour is comprised of  a mix of a few pictures from the original online listing (Metrolist), and those I snapped myself.

The Deets:

The Cottage Bungalow
Built 1950
1217 sq ft (plus 245 sq ft addition)
2 bd, 1 ba
2 car detached garage
The Tour:

Front Entry

Living Room

Side Porch (Off Living Room)

Dining Room
That wall paneling wont make it past a week! Because its hand carved I almost feel bad for giving it the ax. #notreally.  Also, notice the patch in the floor? It used to house a floor mounted heater at some point so both sides of the wall (hall and living room) have the same patch.  We have someone coming out to quote us on feathering in the correction today.

Michael's Room

Bryanna's Room

Ill snap a few better shots of her room un "staged" while Im at the house today.
Master Bedroom (Bonus Room Addition)



Laundry Room

There's also a small storage closet along the wall behind the doors.
Well there you have it.  The interior and side porch of our little home.  I just love it so. We've already begun the renovations in the kitchen.  We wanted to take advantage of the fact that we still have possession of the apartment until the end of the month. This way we can work on it without having to live through not actually having a kitchen.  I'm posting sneak peaks and status updates on IG/Twitter/Facebook.
We are off to SoCal to visit family later this evening and will return on Sunday with Callie in tow.  I hope you all have a happy and safe weekend.  I'll be back on Monday to share a tour of the exteriors. 
Until next time...
*all images taken by Shavonda Gardner for A Home Full Of Color unless annotated with "metrolist" within the picture*