Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Flood and Subsequent Kitchen Remodel, Part 2



After six months of living without a kitchen, we were thrilled to have things come together and be so beautiful as well as functional. Did I mention how much I love running water?!

Here is our new fireplace and dining room. We want to add tile or stone to the fireplace at some point. And maybe a wood beam mantle. 


I got a new light fixture (which I love!) for above the table, and that's my old clock (which I still love!) from Pottery Barn. I've had people ask me where I got the light. It's been discontinued, but I got it from Joss and Main - I love that site! At some point I want to find another one for my entry.



I tried several light bulbs until I found the perfect ones - antique, amber-tinted LED from Lowes. That little glass ball on the bottom is a nice touch. It ties in with the glass pendant lights above the island...


Here are the three pendant lights I chose for above the island. I love their contemporary look as well as the light they produce. And I like how their translucency keeps things open by not visually blocking the space. I bought them at West Elm, but I can't find them on their website anymore either. That's another great site. 


These deep island drawers are AWESOME! I lost some cabinet space when we widened our kitchen window and took down the wall between the kitchen and living room; now it's where I keep all our plates, bowls and plastic cups, as well as my baking utensils and a bunch of other things. I have to work hard to keep the top from getting covered with clutter. It's great for baking, rolling out dough, eating breakfast, painting, doing homework and working on projects. 

Dave installed 2 big ceiling fans, and I looked a long time for these. I did not want them to have lights in them, and I wanted them to be really big with a lot of power. They are great, and I love the clean, modern look. I got them at Joss and Main. 

We replaced the carpet with wood in the living room, stairs and hall. At first it was really loud in here, but it got better when we added an area rug. The carpet had to be replaced in the family room downstairs as well. Most of it was still in good shape, so I brought a big piece of it upstairs. Dave trimmed the edges since this picture was taken. We also got new curtains, since these ones were old and dingy and too short. I still need to get finials for the ends of the curtain rod I made out of conduit a few years ago. I'm thinking I'll go with glass balls to match the lights. 

We love the new fireplace! It puts out a LOT of heat, and it includes a fan, thermostat, light, crystals, rocks and driftwood. It's super functional and has a very sleek, modern look. 


I got the biggest 5 burner stove I could find. My old stove top was always so crowded. I like the 3 different size burners and heavy duty grates. I am really happy with it. I looked a long time for the hood. I found one I loved on Pinterest, but it cost thousands of dollars. So then I searched for one like it that was more affordable. I found it at Overstock for under $500. I love the simplicity of the design and how it's open all around it, all the way up to the ceiling. It's super easy to remove the filters to clean them. In fact I just did it yesterday. I chose a light grey subway tile for the back splash, and I broke it up with a fun lantern design in the same color above the stove. The tiles are handmade (I didn't know that when I chose them - I just really liked the color and how well it tied everything together), so there are slight variations in shape and color. That makes me like it even more.

Another last minute addition was to continue the tile around the window all the way up to the ceiling. It only cost an extra $100, and I'm so glad I did it!

Here's the view as you walk up the stairs. 




Everyone loves that drinking fountain! We seriously go through way fewer cups these days. I wanted one that was more stylish, but those didn't have filters or refrigeration. Function won out. 

Going through these pictures helps me realize why I was SO incredibly busy last winter, looking and researching and comparing and deciding! So I looked long and hard for these floors. I wanted them to be light but not too light. Warm but not yellow. Distressed but not too rustic. And wide but not too wide. I went to the local flooring store and found these ones (they fit all my criteria, and I immediately fell in love with them), but they were way out of our budget. Like $3-4,000 too high. So I searched for the exact style and color online (Anderson Bernina Maple Bianco) and found them at Regal Floors. They shipped them to us directly, and my contractor had someone install them for a very reasonable price; we literally saved thousands of dollars and still got the exact floors I wanted. 


Dave has wanted wood on the stairs forever. I tend to prefer carpet, but I have to admit that I like these so much better! They make a beautiful first impression when you walk in the front door.


These are not the counters I was originally thinking of getting, but Dave liked them, and they quickly grew on me too. We knew we wanted quartz because it is so durable, and we wanted to get something light, but I was thinking we'd get more of a marble, swirly look. These are really contemporary and fun, especially with the little sparkles in them that reflect the light and cast little rainbows when the sun hits them just right. I love them. Good eye, Dave.

We used to have a divided porcelain sink. I like this one way more. It's really big, and I can fit huge pots and pans in it. We went with the same faucet we had before.  


My contractor did a good job choosing the window. The big middle section has an unblocked view while the 2 little side windows slide in to the middle.

And here's the view from the fireplace towards the stairs. One of my kids said their favorite part of the remodel (besides the drinking fountain of course), is the wooden hall so they can slide all the way down in their socks. It's the little things in life.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Flood and Subsequent Kitchen Remodel, Part 1

We woke up to a house flood on Saturday, October 29th. There was a hole from the tube going from the kitchen sink into the dishwasher, and it ran high pressure water all night while we were sleeping. Tyler and Dallin knew something was wrong when they got up and found that the carpet outside the kitchen was all soggy. Then they saw Chloe happily splashing in the kitchen. She loves puddles. They ran to our bedroom to tell us, and that was a crazy way to wake up! The air was super humid, and the water extended from the kitchen to the living room, dining room, hall and laundry room. Our kitchen is on our second floor, and the water was pouring down into our storage room and new family room. We knew it was bad, but we had NO idea it would turn into a six-month restoration/remodel. 

We called all the kids into action, and everyone ran around trying to turn off the water to the house and mop up the puddles. Dave called the missionaries to come help clear out the storage room, which was full of water and mud. I called our insurance, who sent a mitigation company over to assess the situation. Just one man came over at first, and after he took a look around and take pictures, he called for major back up. I overheard him say, "It's bad," on the phone. Yikes!

Tons of guys then showed up and rolled up the carpet, took out the wood floors, removed insulation, and set up bunches of huge hot fans and dehumidifiers all around.


We had to keep the windows closed and the fans running for 5 days, and it was so hot in the house!

We put everything from our storage room into our garage to sort through. Some things were sent to a company to be cleaned, while others were thrown away. It took me about a week to go through all of it. The flood was the day of our church Halloween party, and we took a break from cleanup to put on costumes and decorate our car for trunk-or treating. It was a truly crazy day. 

The saddest was the pictures. I laid them out to dry, but some didn't make it. The newer ones didn't matter too much because we have negatives or digital copies, but the old ones can't be replaced.



A couple days after the initial visit to stop the damage from progressing, the mitigation company came back to gut the kitchen. I never did like our tile counters, but this is not how I expected to see them go. The laminate floors in the laundry room had to be removed as well. Luckily they put the washer and dryer right back in, so we were able to continue doing laundry. 


All the lower cabinets had to come out because water had gotten underneath them, and the upper ones went too so they could be made to match the new lowers. I was pretty excited when I heard that. We kept a few good cabinets and put them in our garage for a workbench and storage. We spent our  whole weekend packing up our kitchen and laundry room. A couple of ladies from church came to help.  Drywall also had to be removed from behind the sink because it was so soggy. We had no running water in the kitchen for 6 months. That may have been the hardest thing for me, as far as day-to-day life goes.



They went around cutting holes in the drywall to pass wires through and remove damaged areas. This was our new theater wall, and it made me sad to see it getting mutilated.


After one week of drying things out, NOTHING happened for 3 months. During that time, I did a lot of communicating back and forth between the insurance company, field adjuster, contractor and mortgage company. If you know me, you know I hate calling people, and I had to make a lot of phone calls! Also we had  Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in the midst of the chaos. One nice thing was that the insurance paid for us to eat out everyday, since we didn't have a kitchen to prepare food. My kids loved it, but Dave and I gained 7 pounds, each. Although I have to admit, it was nice not having to make dinner everynight. I would call in an order and Dave would pick it up on the way home from work. Turns out our kids love Thai food as much as we do!

Finally, demolition began the end of January. Since the kitchen had to be gutted anyway, we decided to do some remodeling. We had to pay extra, of course, but it was cheaper than paying for the whole thing. I woke up really early one Saturday morning, right after the flood, and I started picturing our new kitchen. I quickly went upstairs and started planning it all out. The first step was to remove the large 3-sided fireplace.


Yes, it was a cool fireplace, but it was really bulky and dated. I was so happy to see the pink tile go!! We hired Potter Construction; they did our downstairs remodel a few years ago. Rob is great to work with, and he does excellent work. Seriously, I kept changing my mind or adding things, and he just made it all happen. 

The next major transformation was to remove the wall between the kitchen and the living room. Can you guess I was watching a bit of Fixer Upper?! I can't tell you how happy this made me, to see it actually happening! I was beginning to wonder.


It was so much more open, I absoluted loved it! Then I had another idea (me and my ideas!): to remove the annoying drop down ceiling (soffet) over the old kitchen to open it up even more and tie it in with the rest of the "new" kitchen. I just didn't know if there was anything weight-bearing going on up there. So the workers took a peak and saw that it would be fine. I was so happy!


Good riddance!


On the day of the flood, we had to move the dining room table out of the way to remove the floors, so we stuck it under the window in the living room. We soon realized we liked it better there, so we decided to make that our new dining room. This allowed us to really expand our kitchen. I loved the new openness!


Another thing I was able to do (which I'd been wanting to do for a really long time) was to enlarge the kitchen window. I love our backyard, and I really wanted a bigger, better view. I would have made it even wider if I could have, but my contractor told me this was the largest we could do for structural reasons. It's about 6" taller and 50% wider. Love it!


See those ducts hanging out of the rafters? The old vents were in the drop down ceiling and above the fireplace, so they had to be completely redone. Dave installed 5 new ducts into the ceiling in the living room, dining room and kitchen. He had never done this kind of HVAC work before, but he saw how the old ones were done and watched youtube videos. He's so handy! It saved us a bunch of money.


After all the plumbing and electrical work (which took several weeks), the drywallers came. I was amazed how quickly it went up! Having a ceiling again really cut done on the draftiness. It was a pretty cold, drafty winter, with no ceiling or insulation, but the rain sounded super cool.


After they did all the patching, I had just 2 days to do all the painting (walls and ceiling) before the cabinets were installed. It was a little crazy as I worked around the clock, but it saved us $4,000.


We kept moving our camping table with toaster and microwave all around during the remodel, and as you can see the fridge is at the top of the stairs.


The fireplace plumbing was moved about 4' to the right so we could fit the double ovens next to the window/computer desk. We had our computer friend move all the wires from our old computer area in the living room to the new computer desk under the window. He also installed a tube up to the ceiling for speaker wire in case we ever want to put in surround sound speakers. 


It was really fun ordering the cabinets and seeing them go in. I was able to completely customize my kitchen to our needs. I thought it would be difficult and overwhelming, but it wasn't. When you've been cooking as long as I have, you know what you need and what bugs you. We used Morro Bay Cabinets and were very happy with them. 



This is where our dining room used to be. Now it's a pantry, desk, double oven and broom closet. 

We were able to use our stove almost the whole time (although the oven stopped working somewhere in there), but it had to go when they installed the cabinets. Chloe really wanted mac and cheese for lunch one day, and then I remembered we have a side burner in our BBQ! You may be wondering why I couldn't cook more, since I had a stove, fridge and microwave. That's because we didn't have a sink (or counters), and it was a pain to wash a ton of dishes in our tiny bathroom sink. We used paper plates and bowls and plastic silverware the whole time, but the big pots and pans didn't fit in the sink. I figured I could make some simple meals, thinking it wouldn't be too difficult, but then it would take twice as long to prepare as I ran up and down the hall to the bathroom to get water and wash my hands, and even longer to clean up after. We kept being late for evening activities because dinner was so late.  Another thing about eating out: we produced way more trash. We kept running out of space in our trash cans.  And it was expensive! We went from spending $200/week on food to $800/week! That's something to take into account if you're planning a kitchen remodel. Luckily our insurance reimbursed the difference. 


I was really happy with the new cabinets. I liked the look of the vaulted ceilings rising above the top of the cabinets. I had to peruse lots of pictures beforehand to make sure it looked okay. Thank goodness for Pinterest. 


We chose to have the island a different color from the rest of the cabinets to set it apart and break up all the white. I wanted it to look more like a piece of furniture. I chose Espresso, and I really like how it turned out. And I loved the size! 8'x 4' - perfect for 4 counter chairs and lots of storage, front and back. 



I was pretty excited about my pantry organizer. No more losing things hiding in the back! Everything is easy to see and accesible, and all the shelves are adjustable. 


All ready for countertops!

Funny story. So you know how we decided halfway through demolition to remove the drop-down ceiling? Well we had already ordered the cabinets, which would naturally go to the edge of the soffet. When the cabinets were installed, it looked weird having this big gap between the cabinets and the door. Dave told me to think of something that would fit just right in the space, and I quickly came up with a drinking fountain! 

The kids use it ALL the time, and it saves us a ton of cups. It's probably their favorite thing from the whole remodel. Next up: the final reveal!