Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Getting close.....

More fun stuff going into the house........
Lighting fixtures:
RAB Lighting in bed alcove

Laundry Rm sink painted to coordinate with the walls!

Colorful stairs in BM Palladian Blue (risers) and BM Harlequin Blue (treads):

Pink pantry (Pratt & Lambert Angel Wings):

Kitchen appliances - 2 DWs, full-size freezer with ice-maker:

Got the flooring under the bake center and attached the two farmhouse table legs:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More painted rooms

My favorite part! So much less stressful than the flooring.

This is my FAVORITE room and FAVORITE color in the whole house. I just love the Kittery Point Green in the laundry/mudroom. And I love all of the beadboard and trim we put in here.

Here's the Burnt Peanut Red Guest BA:

The Palladian Blue beadboard ceiling above the window seat:

And finally, some hardware on the cabinetry! 1 1/4" glass knobs from D. Lawless:

Floor me

Tristan took the day off on Friday just so we could start installing the flooring.

You might not know this, but I'm usually filled with angst everytime we begin a new DIY project. Mostly around "How the ?#*%! do we do this?" I usually do a lot of research and read lots of sources (Internet, library books, manufacturer's instructions), but I'm still very anxious, worrying about the details.

With the flooring, gads what a worry list:
- How do we get the flooring under the bake center cabinet?
- How do we get the flooring underneath the fireplace stone surround?
- Will it fit underneath all the door casings?
- Where should we start the first board, since that pretty much determines the rest of the floor?
- Should we have gotten a more premium underlayment?
- Did I order enough flooring?
And so on.

So...we actually started Thurs night, prepping the subfloor; filling in holes and craters with self-leveling compound and smoothing out humps of drywall mud with a spackling knife and wonder bar. Then vacuuming and getting the subfloor as clean as we could.

The next morning, we were ready to roll out the underlayment. The Kahrs Combo underlayment is basically two pieces of plastic with tiny little styrofoam beads sandwiched in between. It's supposed to protect the wood flooring from moisture that might come thru the concrete subfloor, plus it provides a bit of padding underfoot. It's only 1/8" thick and looks VERY wimpy.

I considered buying other underlayments that were supposedly better (more cushy, better sound absorption), but some of them did not come with a built in moisture barrier, so we would have to first put down a sheet of 6mil plastic, then the underlayment and then the wood flooring. That extra step laying down plastic was a put off. As it turned out, the Kahrs Combo is fine; it actually works despite its deceiving looks.

Because our appliances are being delivered on Wednesday, we needed to get the kitchen/Great Room floored asap. So that's where we started. Unfortunately, it's also the most complicated room with all of the cabinets, island, fireplace, sliding patio door and various doorways that open onto the space.

The underlayment was fairly easy and straightforward. We rolled out 40" wide lengths, butting the sides, then joined them together using Kahrs built-in taping system. We only rolled out 1/3 of the room, then decided to start laying the actual floor boards.

According to the instructions, you cannot rip any board narrower than 3" in width. Therefore, before laying down the first board, we had to calculate how many courses of planks would be needed to go across the room (subtracting 3/4" to account for expansion gaps on each side), divide by the width of a full board (7 7/8"), then make sure the remainder was more that 3".
But because our Great Room isn't just one big rectangle, we had to account for up to 10 different "obstructions" that would require us to rip boards. Aaack, it made my head hurt.

Here's our first board!! The blue stuff is the underlayment. We started at the doorway between the laundry/mudroom and the Great Room. I'm still not 100% sure we won't have any boards less that 3" in width.

Here's four or five boards installed:

We had to cut around the corners of the wall and cabinet.

And now we've got an entire course running down one side of the room:

At the end of one day, we had installed one box which equals 30 sq ft. We bought 45 boxes. You can do the math, but suffice to say, I was feeling pretty disheartened.

The next day, Saturday, we were back at it. This time we put in 5 boxes worth. We were getting over the learning curve, plus we had moved away from the walls and out towards the middle of the room, which meant a lot fewer cuts, which meant a lot faster installation.

We even managed to install enough flooring under the bake center cabinet so we could remove the temporary brace:

and install the farmhouse leg:

I feel better about our progress, but more importantly, I have a lot more confidence we can handle the curve balls.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Yikes, don't forget the kitchen countertop

Gosh, in all the excitement, I forgot to mention our kitchen soapstone countertop got installed on Tuesday. I love 'em! Right now it's a dusky gray, but after oiling and with time, it will "age" to a charcoal. We got our soapstone from M. Teixeira in SF; that's all they sell. And since there aren't a lot of soapstone vendors, they've gotten customers from as far away as Montana. Soapstone is slightly softer than granite or marble, so M. Teixeira also has their own fabricators.

It took them a good 5 hours to install the countertop plus the fireplace surround. The later was a last minute change. Originally, I was going to use 12 x 12 slate tile. But I remembered seeing in some magazine three rough slabs of stone used around a fireplace and thought I could do something along those lines with whole pieces of soapstone. Those black lines in the photo below are used to fill in the joints. After it dries, they sand it off with an orbital sander and you can hardly even see the line.

Paint, Paint, Paint

Rolling along with the paint:

Here's our color palette downstairs:

and upstairs:

Some painted rooms (all colors Benjamin Moore):.
Soft Pumpkin in the Girls' BR:

Palladian Blue in the boy's BR:

Concord Ivory downstairs in the Office/Arts & Crafts rm:

Palladian Blue again in the hallway:

Elephant Tusk in the Master BR:

And here's my project, painting the kitchen island using two coats of different colored milk paint. I first removed all the drawer fronts and cabinet doors. Then painted the first coat using Barn Red.

The final coat of Soldier Blue was applied over the Barn Red, then sanded down so that some of the red came thru. Then the piece was finished with a mixture of linseed oil and paint thinner to protect it from water and oil stains.

We're done!!! With trim, that is.

Yipee! A milestone. We FINALLY finished the last of the trim, the beadboard wainscotting in the laundry/mudroom, which depended on getting the pocket door cased, which depended on getting the pocket door shortened. Thank goodness for Mr. Xu. He took the pocket door down, shaved off a half inch or so, then reinstalled the door and lined it up nicely with the framed opening.

Oh yeah, and we also had to build and install the niche storage space. I went to Lowe's and had them cut 3/4" veneered plywood into the right sizes. For less than $5, they made all the cuts for two storage niches. Sure beats doing it ourselves. Then with the help of Tristan's Uncle Steve, we installed it piece by piece into the mudroom niche. You can see it on the right side of the photo.

My favorite part was doing the cap rail for the wainscotting. Just plain 1x3s and 1x2s. I liked doing the 45 degree cuts at the ends and rounding them off lightly with the sanding block.

Well now that the trim is done, that means the painter can start downstairs! And once the painter's done, the electrician can finish installing all the light fixtures and switch plates. And once the electrician's done then we can have an inspection! Ooops, forgot about the plumber. He's got a few things to finish up. Maybe we won't be having that inspection quite so soon.

postscript: a couple of days later, the painter noticed the inside of one of the closets had not been cased. Oh well, so much for being done with trim.