Sunday, April 24, 2011

Are we there yet?

Not unlike many inexperienced but imaginative people among us, my romance has come to an untimely end with much hard work, excitement, exhaustion, and finally, disappointment. My romance toward renovation, that is.

I was hoping for something that would stand out in a crowd, but resulted in something quite different. Here's what I meant:

Before the renovation I had high spirit and energy. I wanted something that's either a farmhouse despite the fact that my Yorkie was the only animal I owned, or a Cape Cod although I really have little idea what that looked like. My vision was roughly based on this:

or this:

The general idea was white cabinets and dark floor. I even picked out a beautiful granite countertop with swirl and movements that would make you go "Ahhh" when you walk into the room:

I soon found out those white cabinets I loved so much were out of my price range, unless I painted them myself. So was the granite. In the good name of conserving resources, this is what I ended up with: (Before)


and this is now:

and this:

The baseboards and trims are yet to be completed. Due to Easter Sunday the free helpers all of a sudden decided to be religious and refuse to work. The audacity of some people.

So instead of "Ahhh" now the granite just greets you with a "Blah," but I can live with that. From the five slaps of granite they cut to fit this kitchen, I probably saved a thousand dollars by downgrading the granite. I even sealed it myself.

Next project is to address the moisture problem that caused us much headache while installing Pergo. The side yard has accumulated years of dead leaves. While sweeping them up I pulled a number of interesting items from beneath, the most unusual one being a lawn chair.

I swept one-third of it and the waste bin was full. Two more weeks the leaves should be all gone.

Cape Cod-dians will probably be caught dead to have this remodeled style, which is not a style at all. But when you have to make compromises, you have to let go of style--a concept I've rediscovered accutely. As a reward to myself, maybe I will visit Cape Cod after all is done. I hope that will heal me from this hopeless renovation romance, which will be my first and last one.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Renovation is...still fun?

My free laborers worked hard to remove the old cabinets. That saved me about $400.00 from the contractor's bill:

After hours of trying to remove the two layers of linoleum floor in the kitchen to no avail, our contractor told us it's best if we remove the particle board under it as well. Except for the entry way and the master bedroom, the whole house will have two layers of plywood basefloor. Just when we thought NOW the Pergo can go on it...not so fast. The moisture has caused the foundation to shift, and it's more severe than the home inspector had told me. 

The real contractors had to come in and level the floor with shims:

and more shims:

Naturally, I had to ask for tiled bathroom floor. The baseboard underneath the linoleum is even worse than the kitchen:

A fan is working hard to dry the floor before the contractor can install the tiles. I don't think it's effective when I checked yesterday. We may have to pull the basefloor up and install a new one. You know what that means...$$$!

The cabinets arrived yesterday and was I surprised! The top cabinets are much larger than what the contractor told me. I hope the corners will agree with my forehead in the days to come:

Before the cabinets can be installed, the drain has to be moved to inside of the wall:

They told me that was the correct way. I wonder how the repair can be done should there be a leak in the future. After all, every drain in the house is leaking right now.

In the meanwhile, I'm travelling between the two cities almost everyday. The view is lovely on the hilly freeway:

and the delivery of my first-ever brand new refrigerator was exciting:

as much as when the first plank of floor was installed:

but the sadness is getting stronger each day with the project progressing along.

I will be relieved when I don't have to drive so much and have to make choices I've never done before on a daily basis, such as what color of cabinets go with what granite countertop, what's a flush mount and is it compatible with the current mount, should I get a single-hole faucet or a multi-hole, or simply forgo all the choices so far and go with a more affordable version, (It seems "compromise" is the word for me nowadays.) the endless tiresome hours spent wondering up and down the isles of HomeDepot and such, will hopefully soon be over, and my fingernails will be restored to their normal state when I stop biting them, or the knots in my stomach from all the anxiety of not knowing what I'm doing, will finally go away. 

I will have one thing to worry then: my mother not liking any of the improvements I've made so far. That will be tomorrow's chore. I have to go and meet the workers there now.



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