Kitchen sneak peeks

Well, the kitchen is still coming along. We feel like we keep hitting little snags at every step, but there’s no doubt that it’s really coming together now. It’ll be a little longer until it’s completely finished, but when we look back we’ll probably realize how quickly it all got done.

Here’s what it looked like a little earlier this week:

That’s even more cabinets on the walls! And base cabinets! It’s like a real kitchen!


Continue reading


Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

A little time-traveling reference in the title there to get you in the mood.

Matt has updated our Before the Blog section! So now you can travel back in time a little bit and check out some of the very first things we did to the house – tearing down a wall and making the floors look nicer.

Tear down this wall!

A facelift for the hardwoods

Just dropped in to see what condition our kitchen was in

One of the things we’ve crossed off our kitchen to-do list that has made a huge difference is painting the walls. After the walls were sanded, we primed the walls and let them dry for 24 hours. The next day we painted three of the walls white and one of the walls the same color blue as the living room. The reason we had to paint one of the wall blue is because the way the header in the living room connects to the kitchen wall, there’s mo logical place to stop the blue color and start another. So instead of trying to figure something out, we were perfectly fine painting one wall blue and calling it an accent wall. We love that color anyway.

But we are very excited to see the other walls nice and bright white and clean. If you recall the kitchen used to be a dark hunter green, and the white walls and white cabinets are going to be a nice change of pace when the kitchen comes together.

Oh, and Matt also did what has to be his least favorite activity of all time – painting the ceiling.

And somewhere in the middle of all the painting I was apparently feeling goofy:

We’ve also started construction on the kitchen cabinets and it is definitely exciting to see them start to come together. We’re assembling the upper cabinets first since those will be installed first. We also called in some reinforcements for cabinet assembly and it seems to have made the job a little more enjoyable.

Maybe too enjoyable…

The Ikea cabinets came together like any other piece of Ikea furniture.

Step 1: Unpack the piece of furniture with a wealth of confidence.
Step 2: Locate the directions and start to feel your confidence wane.
Step 3: Position all the pieces exactly as they are laid out in the directions and try to figure out which holes you’re supposed to be putting dowels and where you’re supposed to be attaching hardware. (You are encouraged to flip the pieces and the directions around several times during this step while trying to figure out what to do.)
Step 4: Curse the Swedes.
Step 5: Finally figure out the directions and how to assemble the furniture and proceed to do so in about 2.76 minutes.
Step 6: Fly through the rest of the pieces wondering why you were ever so confused by this intuitive furniture. At this point you may also feel confident that you will never again have trouble putting together another piece of Ikea furniture.

After we were finished with the 6 Ikea steps, our basement looked something like this:

Over the weekend Matt, his Uncle Boob (which by the way is actual nickname and not an unfortunate typo like some of you thought after our last post) and his dad also spent time finishing up the work on the outlets and installing the face plates. They also screwed down the subfloor to help eliminate squeaking and then nailed down the luon flooring to help level the floor and provide a surface for the Pergo flooring to later be installed on.

Having the luon flooring installed and covering up the subfloor has already made a huge improvement in the room.

But perhaps one of the most exciting events of the weekend was the beginning of the installation of the cabinets! We have cabinets on the walls people!

The first step to installing the cabinets was to screw the J-track to the wall.

Once the J-track is installed all you have to do is lift the assembled cabinet up to the track and bolt it on. (These explanations were given to me by Matt and while they sound fairly easy, I’m certain it was more work than he’s giving himself – and his uncle and dad – credit for.)

So those cabinets went up on Saturday, and then today Matt’s uncle took a well-deserved break, giving Matt and I the day to ourselves. Buuuut, we still spent the time working on the kitchen. In true Central New York fashion Saturday was cold and windy, and today was bright and sunny and even warm. It was at least nice to keep the windows and doors open while we worked and get some fresh air into the house.

When we moved into the house the light fixture in the kitchen looked as if it had been in there since the day the house was built, and for me it was love at first sight. But the light fixture had definitely seen better days. While it had a great vintage look, it looked like it was on its way out. But Matt spent a little time and used a little elbow grease and got the fixture looking like new! We both love the idea of keeping an original piece in the house. Matt keeps calling it an “homage to the house.” I just think it looks cool. Either way, we’re both happy.

Don’t worry, this is not the entire fixture. I just neglected to take a better picture of it. We’ll save some things for the kitchen reveal though. 😉 While Matt was doing that, and some other little things around the house, I touched up some of the painting in the kitchen.

Someone else also enjoyed the nice weather today. Since Cormac has recently completed his training and we have an electric fence installed in the backyard, we’re looking forward to just leaving the back door open and letting him go in and out as he pleases. So today while we worked inside, he worked on his yoga skills outside. This is probably the best downward facing dog pose I’ve ever seen:

But apparently it’s also very tiring:

And just to round out this post, a few bonus pictures of things I will definitely not miss when this is all over. Since work on the floor began yesterday the refrigerator also had to be moved into the living room. At least it was reunited with the stove.

And while it may be obvious, in case you were wondering how we were doing any dishes without a kitchen sink:

Bathtub dishes. The worst.

But I guess I really can’t complain, especially now since it’s getting easier and easier to actually see the kitchen coming together! What do you guys think? Should we start taking bets on how soon this will all be finished?

P.S. Bonus points for anyone who understands where the title for this post came from!


Matt here.  I thought I would finally contribute to the blog and write about a few projects that have been both ongoing and slightly out of sight. When we first walked through the house with the realtor we found out that it had quite a few issues with the basement and the electrical. After just a few months of renovations it has become even more clear that the electrical problems were a bit more of an issue than anyone had thought. Before moving into the house my Uncle had a friend of his come in a fix the main line in to the house from the outside lines and set us up with a new circuit board instead of the old fuse box. He was well worth the money and his work would prove to help us in the following months when we did repairs on our own.

One of the first things we did was try to get all of the electrical into some sort of pattern that made sense.  We found that one or two breakers were powering half of the house and they didn’t seem to be placed with any sort of planning.  Sometimes a light switch in the bedroom was on the same breaker as the toaster in the kitchen, or a motion sensor light that could have easily tied in at much closer locations was run down a wall, through the basement, and then back upstairs.  Initially, we just wanted to get the house to a point where the lightswitches and outlets all worked without tripping, which was achieved without opening up too many walls.

Now, with the addition upstairs and the walls all ripped out during the kitchen renovation, we took the opportunity to fix a lot of the previous issues we had. We were able to run new lines for areas that shouldn’t have been carrying such a large load and also shorten up a lot of all the redundant lines.  It also allowed us to run new lines for the kitchen as well as the bedroom/bathroom that will be going in upstairs (someday!).  After all that we are in prett-ay good shape.

Another issue that we found in the basement was that all of the old storm windows had either been kicked in, smashed, or were buckling after years of the house sagging.  Since the house was built in 1953 and the windows had probably never been changed out, I’d say they served their time.  This was one project that I was actually excited to take on even though it was going to have very little visual benefit to the house.

We took out the old windows, which was actually quite a bit of fun, and replaced them with these nice, fancy pre-fit glass blocks that my dad was able to get from a company he works with. They not only keep the cold damp air out but they keep the local cats and bugs out as well… something Kristen was very excited to learn (no more house centipedes!).  They are the first step in the face lift that I am trying to put on to the basement.

With the kitchen renovation coming up I knew we would need a place to assemble all of the cabinets going in, and also some of the work on the kitchen would have to be done from the basement, so I wanted to get some proper lighting in. If you look at the before picture you can see that the previous owners were using old junction boxes and light fixtures downstairs.

Here you can see just the bulb at the top of the picture. There were just a few of these lighting the entire basement.

For about 100$ my dad and I bought a bunch of new fluorescent shop lights and installed them.  Since then we’ve had a much easier time navigating down there and doing laundry. I also feel a bit better knowing that we fixed a lot of really questionable old junctions with old wire. My brother now refers to the basement as our baseball stadium because of how bright the basement is now.

The last notable thing we’ve done down there so far was this thing:

Meet Craptopus.  (Octopus + … well, you get it.) This is the new setup for all of the drainage in the house installed by my Uncle Boob, the family plumber/general handyman and myself. It took a couple days of planning and then finally cutting and installing this thing, but when all was said and done we had lines installed for the 1st floor bathroom and kitchen as well as the 2nd floor bathroom. That means when we do finish the upstairs we already have the electrical run, insulated, and plumbed! Feels good man. I should also give credit to my mom on the plumbing for swapping glue holding duty with me and sweeping like a crazy person.