Skip to main content

Ren-o-va-tion!

Well, well, well....the Smith manse is looking a bit spiffier these days, with the addition of new countertops in our galley kitchen!

The genesis of this started, oh, years ago, from our obsessive viewing of HGTV (and it's not just my wife, as I like many of the design and real estate programs) and the desire to update our kitchen.  You see, we attempted to sell and relocate a couple of years ago (a story I'll tell at length at some point in the future), and while our kitchen contained a new-ish fridge, range and microwave, the countertops, primary lighting and wallpaper were original equipment from our home's construction in 1987.  And at the suggestion of our realtors, we did nothing to it except clean thoroughly, as our realtors felt that most homebuyers could look beyond any dated decor and foresee placing their own stamp on the space.

So we were unsuccessful in selling.  Then, in the early part of 2009 we decided to strip dated wallpaper from our downstairs bathrooms and our kitchen.  Thankfully, our son and his wife had bought a wallpaper steamer when they purchased their current home, so I could use their device and take my time.  Over the course of about six weeks I completed all of the stripping and repainting, finishing with the kitchen.  My wife and I both liked the outcome but kept thinking that the counters were really dulling the effect of our efforts.  So we looked and thought and looked and thought and did.....nothing.

Not because we didn't want to, but because we couldn't really justify granite countertops, even in such a small space.  But somewhere along the line we were at a home improvement store on one of our wandering Saturdays (my wife calls them "Rick days") and happened into the kitchen cabinet section and found a decent selection of countertop pieces with the laminate surfaces already affixed.  And to our surprise, many of them had the look of stone, but at a fraction of the price.  We agreed that this would be a worthwhile undertaking to inexpensively facelift our kitchen a bit further, but time passed and we occasionally saw these prefabricated countertops again and picked up a few surface samples to look at in our kitchen.

Gradually we settled on the color choice for WHENEVER we decided to go forward.  And more time passed....

But a couple of weekends ago we accompanied our son, his wife and our adorable granddaughter to IKEA, north of Cincinnati.  If you're not familiar with IKEA, look them up online.  It's a veritable Mecca of home furnishings and fixtures, and they have many, MANY kitchen models set up to show how easily you, too, can remodel.  The kids obviously plan to redo their kitchen, but that probably accelerated our interest, and, before you know it, the following Tuesday I was removing the backsplashes from our counters (they were separate from the countertops).  My wife questioned my motives and, indeed, my sanity, as our daughter and her family will be visiting for a spell later this month.  I explained that I had to sand and paint the walls behind these backsplashes and that I would see to it that it looked presentable.

In truth, that sanding and painting job was a little easier than I anticipated, so my next step was to see if our son, who had worked in residential and commercial construction during and immediately after college, would be available to assist (which is pronounced "do it for me") that weekend...LAST weekend, to be precise.  He was, so now we were heading down that road and gaining speed!

Friday night I cleared the space beneath the sink and removed it and the garbage disposal (we had decided to keep all of that).  Then I called our preferred home improvement store to ascertain which location had the goods we needed, and on Saturday morning our son and I set sail to buy it all.  But first we had to unload the truckload (I'm not kidding) of tools and aids necessary to this job.  And our son bought a table saw for the occasion, and assured me he would be using that device for lots more than our little kitchen job.

Removing the old countertops was really not difficult.  What was difficult, though, was dealing with the walls in our kitchen.  The house was constructed by an independent homebuilder with, shall we say, liberal definitions of quality control.  So my running joke is there isn't a square angle in the entire house, and the walls of the kitchen were no exception.  And the countertops we bought had the backsplash already built into them (four inch height), so there was no allowance for a slight curving of the backsplash to hide imperfections in the plumbness of the wall.

So, to make a long story short, after about eight hours of effort on Saturday and another five or six on Sunday, our kitchen renovation was complete.  We were absolutely stunned by the results, and since I had removed the plumbing, I insisted on replacing it myself (after all, I had to so something on this job, right?).  All went well, except....

....a guyser when we went to use the dishwasher.  A vent piece that sits atop the sink (most everyone has something similar) had fallen out of the cover and thankfully we were standing by when Old Faithful appeared, so that we could shut everything off.

....the seal around the garbage disposal decided that now would be a good time to fail, so a couple of abortive efforts and finally the purchase of some plumber's putty did the trick.

Am I happy?  Absolutely!  Did the job come in under budget?  We really didn't set a budget, but the whole job was completed for just over $300, which ain't bad, regardless of how you count the money!  And is my wife happy?  Oh, yeah!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oscar Magico!

Good Monday morning to everyone!  If you're like me, and stayed up to watch the Oscars last night, you're a little sleep deprived.  I mean, after all, how often does an awards show end with a major twist in the ending?

If you didn't watch and have not watched or read the news, then you don't know about the colossal screw-up that ended what was a pretty entertaining Academy Awards show last night.  The final and biggest award, for the Best Picture, was being presented by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, selected apparently because 2017 represents the fiftieth anniversary year of their vehicle "Bonnie and Clyde."

In any case, after a brief political statement, the pair got down to business and introduced the nine nominees, then Beatty appeared a bit flummoxed by the contents of the envelope.  Dunaway laughed and said "you're impossible" and announced "La La Land," the odds-on favorite, as the winner.

In the midst of acceptance speeches b…

Learning opportunities

Good Monday morning to you.

Perhaps I should state up front that it's a bit of a blue Monday here in the Big Blue Nation, as our beloved Kentucky Wildcats went down in defeat to the arch-rival North Carolina Tar Heels last night in a wild and highly competitive game.  Kentucky's team never really got going in the first half, owing to foul trouble for three starters, and that foul trouble and lack of rhythm carried over for the rest of the game.  Somewhat miraculous that Kentucky had the lead at a couple of points late, but Carolina's depth and experience won out.

Though my wife doesn't agree, that's pretty much the end of basketball for me this year.  I don't watch much other college basketball except to see who Kentucky might end up playing, so if they're done, I probably am, too.

My company is getting into a new aspect of business that you've probably seen and heard about, but because I don't talk in detail about work in this space, I won't el…

Stunningly apathetic

Good afternoon to everyone.  Unusual day and time to post, but my schedule got a little fouled up this week.

Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl?  For a number of years, starting when our kids were, well, kids, we really made a big deal of the day of the big game, buying special snacks, planning a menu appropriate to the site of the game or the participating teams' cities, and so forth.

Last year was great, since the Denver Broncos won and our daughter and her family are season ticket holders!

But this year?  Hard to get excited about the New England Patriots (again) and the Atlanta Falcons.  Admittedly, the Falcons have a Kentucky native and UK grad on the roster, tight end Jacob Tamme, but he was injured mid-season and won't play.  But otherwise, the Falcons don't have any players who command a high level of attention from me.

And then there's the Patriots.  Sorry to my friends in the northeast, but I don't care for the team owner, the head coach, the offens…