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Chris - December 21, 2007

The updates have kind of fallen off the map here in Denver.  As we were entering the holiday season, I told myself that the Christmas tree wouldn’t go up until the trim and baseboards were completed - so as to not have the tree in the way of that effort.  As it turned out, though, a series of events and decisions led to no trim installation and Christmas tree decorating two weeks ago (you can’t keep a 4-year old from his Christmas tree).  So December has been a very slow month in terms of progress around the house - but at least it’s been a festive house…

The plans for the coming months include new windows for the entire house, followed by the infamous trim.  Also, I owe updates on the status of the fireplace - which will no longer be the ugly stucco’ed and sponge-painted mess it is currently.  Plenty of work to stay busy once the focus on the season has passed us by.

 Happy holidays to all.  Here’s looking forward to a productive 2008…

Concrete

Kersten - December 18, 2007

As Kersten said in an earlier post, I chickened out on the concrete countertops. Time was running short, and trying to learn a new technique on such a tight schedule was giving me panic attacks. Instead we opted for the Numerar countertops from Ikea (pronounced “eee-kay-ah” in our house because it’s more fun that way).

Because the walls are as far away from being square as you can imagine, I had to scribe the ends and cut them at strange angles so there wouldn’t be any gigantic gaps between the countertop and the wall.

Once the cuts had been made I dry-fit the countertops in place to make sure that everything fit right before moving on.

Now it was time to cut a gaping hole in the countertop for our sink. We had originally intended on doing an undermount sink, but with the change in countertop and the nearly impossible task of finding an undermount that would fit our 30″ sink base cabinet, we ended up with a top mount also from Ikea.

Making that many cuts to the countertop made a big mess.

Final step was to fasten the countertop to the cabinets and call it a day (except I probably kept working until really late)

Concrete confession

Kersten - December 14, 2007

We’re not doing a concrete countertop.

OK.

Now that I’ve got that out there, this is what happened — we ran out of time. Making our own concrete countertop would have taken the better part of two weeks. We were ready for a countertop about a week ago, concrete would have taken longer, and I wasn’t about to delay our move-in date of TOMORROW — GASP! — because we really need our own space during the holidays. I hope you all still love us.

Some day — some day soon, we hope — when we are running on more than a few hours of sleep and when Tai hasn’t been up the night before until 4 a.m. installing a tile backsplash, and when I’m out from under a bit of stress from quitting one job and starting another and selling a car and packing up our life in the middle of it all, we will show you pictures of this place. If I don’t say so myself, it’s looking mighty fine. Even without a concrete countertop.

Slow but sure in San Francisco…

Sarah - December 12, 2007

We’re officially in the design phase of our project and realizing it’s much more difficult than expected (more on that soon), so we apologize for the lack of posts. Congrats to Kersten & Tai and Chris for making so much headway. We’re also trying to keep warm in our temporary living space, which is without heat and will remain that way for some time. Don’t feel too bad for us though because it is San Francisco, and personally I don’t think it gets that cold here. Nonetheless, I wanted to share a before and after photo of our temporary living space. As mentioned before we’re living in about 150 square feet of our house, while the rest has been completely gutted. I will share more photos of our temporary living space later this week.
It might not look like much compared to all of the excellent renovations featured on RenovationVoyeur but it was actually about a months worth of work; removing a horrific drop ceiling and wood paneling, adding insulation in a few key places, installing a temporary plywood floor, sealing windows, installing electrical outlets, and painting about 10 coats of white paint to help make the space livable.

Stay tuned later this week for more images of our living space, as well as some updates to come on the design phase of our project. You can see more photos from our project here.
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Suck it, electricity

Kersten -

I put up the bedroom ceiling fan ALL BY MYSELF the other night, and I didn’t shock myself once.

It went from this….

To this (if you can even tell what it looks like from this picture)

Remodeling elves

Kersten - December 11, 2007

We couldn’t have done this process without all the help from our families. We’ve mentioned Tai’s rock-star dad on this blog many times before (see subfloor 1, subfloor 2, tile) with even a picture of the fine gent here. We interrupted his Saturday night with a desperate call for help wiring our dishwasher and garbage disposal. He graciously responded by crawling around on our floor for several hours:

My mother bravely trekked downtown in the middle of the season’s first blizzard to help us paint some closet interiors. The hall linen closet and the living room coat closet both now have paint thanks to her.

The brothers-in-law helped put down the bamboo, and my grandfather spent two back-breaking days under our kitchen sink trying to figure out our antiquated plumbing. Bless his heart — he is SO tired of doing our plumbing. He’s also been housing us since mid-August, so I’m pretty sure he’s sick of that, too!

My dad and little sister even got in the action by priming on our kitchen walls and front door. My dad made an encore appearance to prime the bathroom baseboard (ah, our lives are so glamorous!). My mother and grandfather made a much-needed dump run for us, which is why you haven’t been treated to a final photo of the old toilet in an odd setting — they got the honor of throwing it into the dump pit. I got word this morning from my mother that she ironed and hemmed our bedroom and office curtains for us (”It’s curtains for you…” was her exact phrase). And Daniel and Lacy gave us a jump start on our kitchen cabinets one very cold night just before Thanksgiving.

So, this is great. When I grumble about living in Utah (see: the last three years), it’s usually because I’ve forgotten what a benefit it is to live near family. Help with our remodeling project is just a small reason why I’m constantly reminding myself that we are indeed lucky to have all trillion of them nearby!

The Deal is Dead

Rusty - December 10, 2007

But not because of the co-op. They met and said they were fine with an investor, though they wanted me to put 10% down rather than 5%. But because the whole thing has been taking so long, my financial situation has changed, and I’m less sure now than before of whether or not I can make a decent profit from the deal, I backed out. I made another (lower) offer but she rejected it. Bummer.

No longer looking at the Great Salt Lake

Kersten -

Our window coverings have been a tricky part of the remodeling process for us. We have four floor-to-ceiling windows, one each in the kitchen, living, bedroom and office — Wendover residents could tell what we’re eating for dinner. We hadn’t bothered with blinds during the bulk of the remodel because if you’re interested enough in us stripping wallpaper, painting, laying bamboo and cutting baseboard, knock yourself out.

Since this is a short-term place for us, we weren’t willing to drop too much green on blinds. Enter Ikea (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?).

We’re quite pleased with our system. Show’s over, neighbors!

Kitchen, part 3…

Chris - December 7, 2007

As I said in the last post, because the kitchen is pretty small I wanted the materials in the kitchen to have a clean, modern character - and thus the unadorned cabinets and the beautifully-simple concrete countertops. But in order to give some life to the space, I wanted to do something special with the backsplash.

After looking at plenty of stone and porcelein tile - none of which really had the character of what I was looking for - I ended up on glass tile by Daltile. I love the reflective quality of glass tile, which in a small room adds an element of light without being ostentatious. I chose a combination of blue colors - 3″ x 6″ field tiles as the primary component of the backsplash, with 1″ x 1″ tiles as an accent above the sink. And, like with the countertops, I got a discount on the expensive glass tile which brought the cost down to nearly-reasonable levels.

The following photos show the tile installed, along with the painted walls and light fixtures from West Elm. Also, I splurged a bit on the faucet - opting for a restaurant-style combination faucet and sprayer. The appliances are all new, and from the same Frigidaire Professional Series. And the lights are pendant fixtures from west elm. And with the exception of trim and a couple outlets, the kitchen is complete. So nice to have a place to cook again…

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Kitchen, part 2…

Chris - December 6, 2007

I had decided early-on, after I’d planned to buy this house, that I’d like to check into concrete countertops.  The kitchen is a pretty small space, and I wanted clean lines and a finish to the counters that was undistracting yet distinctive - and that meant no granite.  I went so far as to get a quote from a local fabricator - but when it came back at $120 a square foot, I revised my focus.  I just wasn’t interested in paying that much for countertops, no matter how great they were…

Just when it was time to get an order in for Silestone or some other product, my uncle approached me.  This uncle does high-end home renovations for a living, and he and a friend of his had decided to start a concrete countertop fabricating business.  They’d done a ton of homework and had made many samples, but hadn’t yet made a full countertop.  And while they originally thought that cast-in-place counters were going to be their focus, they were considering the option of precast.  It was perfect timing for me, as the cabinets were just about ready to go in - and because it was a test job for them in a way, I got a really great discount.  So I dove in…

The process was surprisingly quick for the fabrication, and I’m very happy that we went with precast - it meant no mess for me, and I didn’t have to deal with the unusability of the kitchen during the fabrication (not that I was using it, though).  And I am absolutely thrilled with the way thay turned out…

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The sink is a black granite sink from Home Depot and does a really nice job (I think) of not distracting from the clean lines of the countertop and cabinets.  Again, because the space is small, I wanted the the quality of the materials and surfaces to be relatively subdued - with one exception.  I wanted to the backsplash to sparkle.  And that’s the subject of the next post…

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