Remodel Part 2

Finishing up where I left off w/ remodel part 1 – and only a month late…

After drywalling went up things started happening really quickly. The mud/tape guy showed up and made the walls and ceilings smooth and pretty, the hardi-plank siding went up, the deck started coming together, and the hardwood floors were installed. It felt like we’d be done earlier than scheduled.

There were a few hiccups…

Just after the mud and taping happened I woke up at 4am and realized that the electrician hadn’t wired for the range hood and no one else had noticed. When I pointed this out to our project manager and carpenter they casually replied that they’d get the electrician back to fix it. (They were a bit embarrassed.) I pictured drywall being torn out but in the end it was a mostly simple job of feeding wire through a small hole in the drywall that would be re-covered by the vent (of course, not as simple as it would have been had they not missed it in the first place)!

The hardwoods were stained w/ 2 coats of low VOC finish and the pressure was on to make our final decision on paint colors and cabinet finishes because everything was scheduled to happen very quickly in the next 2 weeks. I ordered a handful of painting samples (and ended up going with my original pick – upper top left – Benjamin Moore Gray Owl) and we easily decided on Amerock’s Highland Ridge pulls and knobs in oil rubbed bronze.


And things did go very quickly at that point. The cabinets went in and the cabinet hardware was installed. It really started looking like a kitchen!

Also, just as things were coming along, our lead carpenter took a few days off without warning, removing all his equipment that he was actively using to install all the trim work (saws, tool belts, etc…) from inside the house. It was pretty frustrating to come home to nothing being done after weeks of daily progress! And then just like that, he showed up again and continued working. We suspect he had an emergency job he had to work on but who knows. Communication could have been better…

Our contractor picked the Bellmont 1600 line of cabinets for us (they sub-contracted a cabinet specialist to help us pick the specific layout and types of drawers and configurations and to take measurements and draw up the plans).

Another little hiccup involved the “oopsie” of not taking into account our upstairs landing. From pretty much day one, we’d mentioned that the cabinet to the left of the fridge would not be able to go up to the ceiling due to that landing. The contractor was informed, the project manager was informed, our carpenter who demo’d the kitchen was informed, and the cabinet sub-contractor was informed. And yet, still, in the cabinet plans, the cupboard went all the way up to the ceiling. It finally took an onsite visit from our contractor to notice the real issue and get the plans updated and approved by us. And that all happened after the cabinets had been ordered and were being built. Sigh.

Yet another hiccup! We specified glass in the dining room cabinets and as you can see below they are not glass. That little error wasn’t fixed until almost a month later…

Next up countertops and backplashes! We went with Caesarstone Quartz “Concrete” with the standard finish (we had considered “honed” but had heard that honed stains easier).

For the backsplash we kept it simple with white subway tile and “Pewter” grout color.

We also went with a Kraus single bowl 32″ undermount sink. I specifically went with the single bowl so I could soak large skillets w/ handles. I love it!

BTW, Houzz forums were great for helping me make decisions. We went to a few show rooms but I got much more information from online forums. Maybe that’s just how I deal with things but I think showrooms are kind of useless except for touching and seeing actual finishes.

The deck was slowly coming into place and our lead carpenter was doing a great job on it, but then he announced that his wife (whose due-date was the day before our scheduled finish date) was going to be induced early. I begged him to finish quickly!

The painters showed up and started working on the windows. For these, we chose Benjamin Moore Onyx.   We were happy to hear that they had sub-contracted out the painters that we’d already hired to paint our house exterior. They did a great job!

And yet another hiccup. We opened up the entry between the living room and kitchen by a foot and the opening was to be finished with “drywall corners” vs. wood trim. However, the drywall guy was long gone at this point and the painters needed to continue working so we were forced to go with wood trim (which cost us more but in the end we’re very happy with).

That hiccup also almost cost us a weird alignment issue with the sink. Our carpenter was going to try to make sure the sink was lined up under the window, even though that would mean bringing the cabinets closer to the entryway trim but the project manager (whose previous job was a kitchen installer), made an executive decision without our approval to move it over a few inches to the right, screwing up the window/sink alignment. Fortunately, our super nice carpenter agreed that it wasn’t the best idea and he was able to readjust the cabinets back over to the left before everything else was permanently installed.

Notice in the photo above where the light switch is located. It’s on the other side of a heating duct (previously, it was located on the opposite side of the duct, next to the old room entryway). None of us ever considered putting it on the other side of the opening where it could be located close to the entryway… We’re used to it now but it was a bit weird at first.

So. Many. Hiccups. So. Little. Sleep.

We had one crazy day that reminded me of the movie The Money Pit. Where everyone was there all at once working on different projects and we had to be home that day for the appliance installation so we witnessed it all and I will say that was the most stressful day of the entire project.

First, our carpenter went on paternity leave (and without finishing our deck!).

Second, the new guy in charge was the project manager who has a bit of a different communication style and wasn’t there nearly as often (but in the end, got all the work done, and did it well).

Third, the electricians showed up before the project manager did so we let them in and they proceeded to install all the electrical finishes, asking us questions along the way (not our job). A few set screws were missing in the chandelier. One of the pendant globes was mishapen. Amazon replacement shipments to the rescue! (Anyone want our old rejects?)

Fourth, the appliance installers showed up and a) couldn’t install the dishwasher because the plumber hadn’t finished something, b) had to wait for the electrical guys to finish their work before installing the fridge, c) found out the the range we ordered required a different electrical outlet than the one the electrician had put in (we had them return it and we ordered a dual-fuel model that was $700 more), and d) couldn’t fit the hood into its spot until, finally, the project manager showed up and suggested they nudge a piece of wood in between the cabinets to widen the  opening a speck (it worked).

Fifth, the painters were there, moving through all these other people, magically doing their thing with cutting in, paint matching, and not causing any problems.

In the end, we were basically done with the entire project!

Notice in the photo above the upper cabinet to the left of the fridge. That’s the weird stair landing issue we had. They ended up shortening the cabinet on-site. The fridge is a Liebherr. So lovely. So perfect. I bought some cilantro and 3 weeks later it was still crisp in there. A miracle!

Our dishwasher and range are KitchenAid and the faucet is a Grohe Minta with a Supersteel finish.

The butcher block counter top in the photo above was temporary. Even though we’d picked our butcher block way back in March or April (we picked a myrtlewood countertop salvaged from wood found in Southern Oregon), they didn’t coordinate the order and delivery until too late to have it finished by our end date (which ended up being about 10 days later than originally scheduled). We finally got it installed just after labor day.

We were able to occupy the space by mid-August, just in time to have a professional photoshoot for the Seattle Remodeled Homes Tour which takes place in October. After the photoshoot, the painters showed up again and finished up our exterior and by late August we were finally done. Let there be no more home improvement projects for, well, forever.

Exterior color: Benjamin Moore Asphalt.


And now we’re enjoying our space. We eat meals at the dinner table again! We have our weekend coffee at the peninsula while we discuss our cats. I’m getting back into the habit of cooking again! No regrets. So happy!



1 Comment

  1. sheesh … does that scruffy gray cat think she’s photogenic or something? Also, why didn’t you highlight the new crawl space, and the (permanent?) amazon-cardboard-box patch i stapled in place (temporarily?), to keep that gray cat from escaping while construction was in progress?

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