Category Archives: kitchen

kitchen love: fridge

I recently heard someone refer to housework as “home care” and I really like that. Somehow just changing the language makes it feel less like work and more like the relationship with the house I was talking about in my last post. The idea of “caring” for our home sounds so much more appealing than “working” on it.

I always tell myself I’m going to participate in the Apartment Therapy Home Cure, but guess what? I know myself too well, and I know that the schedule that’s required to keep up with that is just not going to happen in my life. Instead I’ve decided to just go with a modified version that I can do on my own time. I’m planning to work on each room in the house, one at a time, and give each room a little TLC. And in keeping with the “monotasking” resolution, I’m not going to think about any other rooms until I’m finished.

I’m starting out with the kitchen, which is a room that is pretty much set, but there’ve been some straggler things I haven’t done, as well as some upkeep items I need to take care of. So yesterday, January 1st, I dragged myself off the couch and out of my pjs and took the opportunity to get started by cleaning the refrigerator. Like, REALLY cleaning it. I got all up in that fridge’s business and gave it the cleaning of a lifetime. I found areas that I never knew existed, and accordingly filth that I never knew existed. I found an entire little bag of Babybel cheeses in a weird nether-region behind one of the crisper drawers. I employed the use of sponges and dish soap, toothpicks, antibacterial wipes, paper towels, you name it. I threw out stuff that had expiration dates of 2012. I cleaned that mofo like nobody’s business.

GROSSNESS:

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LESS GROSSNESS:

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So here’s the kitchen list as it currently stands:

scrub floor
wash windows
sand and oil countertops
clean fridge
clean out cabinets
hang a print
clean the oven
wash all canisters
fix vent hood
repaint windowsill
touch up cabinets
hang shelf in window
purge uneeded things
door curtain – wash and hem

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Remember this kitchen?

kitchen before demo
Remember how we spent a lot of time and a ridiculous amount of money to have it professionally gutted and rebuilt from the ground up? Yeah, I vaguely remember that too. And I was just thinking about what high hopes I had for it. It was going to be the heart of the house, I was going to cook delicious meals involving things like risotto and produce from the farmer’s market and have friends over and sit around the table laughing and eating and drinking wine. I think I could count the number of dinner parties we’ve had on a woodshop teacher’s one hand, and when I do cook I try to find the simplest recipes possible and get out. The cabinets are disorganized, the walls are blank, and there’s a layer of grime on everything.

Well it’s time to do this kitchen justice. For the next couple of weeks I’m going to be giving it some TLC, including a good cleaning from top to bottom, reorganizing the cabinets and drawers and adding some decorative touches.

It’s a small room, but when you start to work on it you realize all of the nooks and crannies involved and it starts to feel pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. Then I start to think about the rest of the house and all the nooks and crannies that need to be gotten into and all of the junk that needs to be sorted through and the dust and pet hair and….and then I start to hyperventilate. So that’s why I need to reel myself back in and focus on the kitchen.

In the mean time, please enjoy the following photos of my shame:
gross kitchen
gross kitchen
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gross kitchen

gross kitchen
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gross kitchen
gross kitchen
gross kitchen

99% there.

Sorry for the long absence, but the good news is that we’ve been too busy actually working on the house to blog about working on the house. Well, also we were away for a week somewhere in there, so to be perfectly honest we haven’t been *that* busy with the house.

The kitchen is 99% done. All that’s left is grouting the tile, cabinet knobs (which for some reason have taken over a month to arrive) and painting the trim. *In theory*, they should be done Tuesday. We had a bit of a backsplash debacle which may or may not have been our fault, but we’re going to have to live with it for the time being. We requested “white” backsplash tiles, not remembering that much like every color name, “white” is a relative term. In our heads, we wanted “white that would match the cabinets”, but unfortunately that thought never made it out of our heads and into our contractor’s ears. It’s true that they sent us a sample that we ok’d, but that was before we had cabinets to compare it to. As a result, the tile we got was “ivory”, which means it most definitely doesn’t match the cabinets. So while this was partially a miss on our end, it was also something maybe the contractor should have mentioned before holding it up to the cabinets and deciding it was ok to install. After initial anger and anguish, we’ve decided to try to put it behind us, but it definitely takes our excitement levels down a bit. If we hate it in a few months, we’ll deal with it then, but for right now I just want my house and my sanity back.

Our next big expensive project for this year (and hopefully our last for quite a while, barring any major catastrophes) is new windows. We’re hoping to make a decision today, because as the temperatures dip I’m beginning to think that another winter with these circa-1950 single-pane windows is not really feasible. Luckily other than the sting of another sizable check to write, this is the sort of job that will only take one or two days of someone else’s labor. And if I’ve learned anything from this whole experience, it’s that the best kind of labor is other people’s labor.

I’m having a birthday party in two weeks, which has definitely helped light a fire under our asses to get stuff done once and for all. We’ve stripped all the wallpaper from the 2nd floor hallway, including the enormous wall leading upstairs from the living room. By tomorrow I’m hoping we can have it totally prepped, painted and ready to go. Next week I want to get the kitchen set up, so I can do some Halloween baking and get all that homeless kitchen stuff out of the dining room. By next weekend we’ll have the dining room painted so we can get everything set for the big party the next weekend, at which point the downstairs will be basically done. Wow.

Every once in a while it occurs to me that all this progress we will have made by the party means that I can actually sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays for reals this year. Like, I have this beautiful new kitchen to do all sorts of baking, and then I can cozy up in the living room with some cocoa and Charlie Brown, and have people over for festive dinners in our lovely dining room, all the while not feeling guilty about all the work I should be doing on the house. I can barely contain myself at the thought.

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holy cow we are SO CLOSE!

I’ve been meaning to upload these forever. We are excruciatingly close to being finished, all that’s left is the backsplash, cabinet knobs and about twenty small details that still need to be taken care of. I’ve been spending at least a half hour a day just standing in there fantasizing about where to put my new food processor and coffee maker and mentally assigning things to drawers and cabinets. It’s amazing to think that in two weeks, I’ll never have to eat another Lean Cuisine again. EVER.

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underfoot and overhead

The floors are coming along, albeit a little later than expected. I should have been posting pics all along, but here’s the progression so far:

1. Radiant heat mats

2. Thinset overlay

3. Tile

I wasn’t really sure about how the tile would look in the actual kitchen, but I think it’s going to look pretty neat, especially once they grout it.

We’ve also been struggling with the guest room. We’ve done two coats of ceiling paint, but somehow this mysterious phantom grime keeps popping up, and we can’t figure out if we’re just not doing a good enough job coating the surface, or if we should have done another coat of primer first, or if it really is ghost grime. Sort of akin to the walls bleeding.

We picked the color for the walls, which is a bit bright, but we’re going to give it a shot. One of the walls will be covered with a mural anyway, so most of the room actually won’t be yellow. And if we hate it, we’ll paint over it, right? That always seems like such a great solution until I remember how much I actually hate painting.

I also started spray painting the baseboard heaters, which is pretty easy except for the fact that I now have white boogies. Pretty scary. Note the “before” color on the right hand side.

so this *IS* going to be a kitchen after all

Just a quick shout out to my HUSBAND OF ONE YEAR! We had big plans for the evening to go out for Indian food and eat one-year-old stale cake, but instead we got sandwiches, watched the Eagles game and painted the ceiling in the guest room. Who said the honeymoon is over?

The presence of upper cabinets has made me remember that there’s actually a kitchen being built in there, and that it’s not just construction for the sake of tearing the house apart.

Tomorrow they start the floor, and in a few days when everything’s all dry and ready, the base cabinets will go in. Now we better get our asses in gear and finish our other projects before I turn into Julia Child. Or more likely Rachel Ray, although I think Greg would divorce me if I started using the word “delish”.

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Day 16: I’m running out of subject lines

The stage is set and the floor is ready for the tile to go in on Monday. Now what they’re planning to do for the next two days, I have no idea.

Clearly the floor is going to be something special, what with the presence of Wonderboard…

Also, may I present one of the biggest problems DIY-ers face in their homes: Tantalizingly peeling wallpaper just BEGGING to be pulled at, in a room that happens to be last in line for plans of remodeling. It’s like a stray piece of yarn in a sweater, or a small flake of last week’s sunburned skin. But I really have to contain myself, as I’m in over my head as it is.

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Day 14: Do, do, do lookin’ out my back door!

Good progress today with a new back door AND crazy purple drywall! I had no idea drywall was purple these days, who knew?

And for no other reason other than this has been stuck in my head all day, here’s my favorite song of the day by the Kinks, who have crept up to #2 in my last.fm listening stats. Unfortunately WordPress won’t let me embed the player onto the page, so we’ll have to do it the old fashioned way and send you through a link…


Picture Book by the Kinks

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Day 3

More visible progress yesterday!

Goodbye window, hello lots of space for cabinets!

Greg was a very happy camper yesterday when he came home to find his most hated thing, the archway, gone. Don’t ask me why it’s his most hated thing, he just likes to pick strange things to hate. We mainly just got rid of it to open up the space a bit and to match the rest of the archways in the house, which are rectangular, and because you could actually see the outline of where they added it.

Here is our nice new enormous window, all ready to go in:

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Day 2

I really wish there were more hours in the day. Every day, I start out with a list of things to do that I am somehow never able to get to because there’s some other situation I have to deal with. We did go out and pick up the last of our appliances, along with a light fixture for the kitchen, and we also picked out a faucet for the sink. So it wasn’t a completely unproductive evening. We got sidetracked by the fact that I completely forgot how dusty these projects are, and in an effort to keep up and not be living under three inches of old plaster dust, I spent the remainder of the evening vacuuming and dusting as many surfaces as possible, because each and every square inch is covered already. As opposed to my plans of doing laundry and possibly cleaning the bathroom.

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