The Kitchen Remodel–Days 5, 6, & 7

Yeah, it’s been a few days, but all the excitement has been below the surface. Day 5 we spent in the mountains; day 6 I spent on the phone and waiting around the house for the cabinet guy who didn’t come, and day 7–today–watching more magic happen.

The drama of the weekend was about the countertop. I was all Zen the other day as the square footage added up (at $67 a sqft), and I was going with it. And then… and then! we were picking out the tile at the tile place and at the very last minute the tile guy asks what we did for counters and said he could get us the same thing for $45 a square foot installed. I almost burst into tears, except that would have been silly and I was still sort of trying to be Zen, and I was also ready to go home. Turns out it was not too late to call off the original order–less a $150 charge for the template making time–and by Monday night we had everything all set up with the second company. By this morning, we had a new template making guy at my house. Even better, he left after installing the rough tops! There is plywood screwed onto my open-top cabinets, which I wasn’t expecting until the day they put the actual countertops on. This is very good news–I’ll qualify that in a minute–because it means that now I can start putting things back into the cupboards and they won’t get all dusty and gross if some unexpected further construction occurred that would rain debris down on the drawers and shelves. It will make such a difference in my house if I can pull all those boxes out of the other rooms and restore the dishes and pans (and food!) to their places.

The qualifier: It’s a lot more fun to play around on the computer and text message people and futz in the garden than to unpack dusty boxes and cut shelf paper. No, that’s not it. I would totally dig cutting up shelf paper and reorganizing the kitchen if I could do it without my entourage. I have some good podcasts lined up on the iPod that would last me all day!

See? Even with plywood it looks almost like a real kitchen! We are making progress, people!

There was a little bit of confusion about the breakfast ledge, but all was resolved. After the counter guy left we had time for a quick trip to Jack in the Box, where I had their chicken teriyaki bowl with a side of an egg roll and was quite surprised by its flavor. (The teriyaki was a little too sweet, but the chicken was moist and the egg roll was fantastic. But that has nothing to do with my house.)

The cabinet guy showed up next and spent quite a bit of time wrapping up the tiny odds and ends, like toe kicks, door and drawer handles, and hinge dampers. The appliance garage is waiting on the countertops, and the last of the paneling will get put in when they come back for the appliance garage, and there are no dramatic changes, but handles do complete a look!

I am very lucky, it turns out, that the cabinet guy came immediately after the counters guy. The counters guy installed 5/8 inch rough top, but the way the drawers fit into the base cabinets it should have been 3/4 inch. That was very good to know. He also pointed out that the last panel was going to add 5/8 inch to the width of the “peninsula” (the wall on which the breakfast ledge will hang). That means that the rough top will have to be built up a little before the counters go on–no biggie–and that the template is 5/8 inch too short. They hadn’t started work on it yet because I don’t think the slabs are at the fabricators yet, but I’m not totally certain that my little picture is enough to guarantee that they won’t cut it too short.

I know it’s perfectly clear what they have to do. My concern is that the changes on paper are not going to make it to the saw or the laser or whatever kind of tool is used to cut the slab. The template is such a tangible, emphatic thing. An emailed jpg–even if printed out–is flimsy and weak in comparison. We may live in the Information Age, but the sword is mightier than the pen in Home Improvement Land.

I am looking forward to a day off tomorrow, when there is no reason to go to my house except to pick the tomato that spent all day ripening before my eyes (it’s a shame is has blossom end rot, but we’ll eat it anyway) and to pet the kitties. Fella and Filly are tired of being cooped up upstairs, and I am tired of being cooped up upstairs, and we all want fresh food and fresh air and will probably go to some park, where I will listen to all the good podcasts I’ve been saving up on my iPod instead of saving them for the unpacking day. The biggest decision I’ll have to make tomorrow is whether we want to stay at my mother’s house once she’s come home from her vacation. We’ve had the run of the place and it’s been clean and decorated and sunny and she has way better stuff than us–like a functioning kitchen. On the other hand, we’ll be kicked out of the bedroom and have to sleep on the air mattress in the loft. That may not be such a terrible thing (did I mention that she has a functioning kitchen, with a sink?), but it’s not the same as having the run of the place. Of course, if I can get a grandparent to watch the kids for a day, I could do some serious work at the house. Vacuuming has never sounded like so much fun.

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