The Madness Continues

 In case you've been wondering from our silence these past two weeks if we decided to throw in the towel on our kitchen renovation project, give up on homeownership and move in with our parents, I am here to tell you that we're plugging away on kitchen pierson and we're alive and well, albeit very very tired (as demonstrated by Evan's lovely laser photo above ... this was Tue night at 11:30pm after having been up since 3:15am). As for me, I've started to loose the thrill of my nightly "washing the dishes in the tub" routine.

But I'm just thankful we now have our microwave installed, and the other night we finally put our stove back in place. I even scrambled up some eggs and bacon tonight as a celebration (followed by the washing of way too many dishes in the tub). This photo cracks me up:

Right now Evan is busy getting some much-needed shut eye (seriously, the guy sleeps 3-4 hours at a time, followed by a shift at the airport or kitchen duty - or both!) so it's up to little ol' me to recap our adventures these past few weeks. The problem is, for the most part I've been at work during the day so haven't witnessed the nitty gritty steps in person. But I have a ton of photos to share so I'll just have to make up what I don't know. ; )

Hold on to your seatbelts folks, as I take you on one crazy ride inside the walls of our kitchen to take a peak at our plumbing! What? Not the eye candy you were hoping for? I'll make it fast.

Evan and Mark (the handyman) actually did some impressive and essential work on our old kitchen plumbing. I heard one of our old pipes was completely filled with rust and plain old grossness. So thankfully they took the extra steps to get 'er done the right way. This photo is where the sink used to sit, backed up against the bathroom. (Dad, you might recognize these pipes!)

They also spent a day working on electrical. In the morning when I left for work they were debating where we place our overhead recessed lights.
If you can tell by the sketch, we were debating between having the lights evenly spaced in block formation and having them staggered. 

We placed flags on the ceiling to help us visualize it (I think this is the staggered look). Notice the light above the window is for a future pendant light.

In the end we opted for the even block formation, but splurged on six recessed lights. We ended up getting LED lights (not sure the brand) but they are supposed to last for 20 years or something crazy like that, and then you replace the entire thing. Between those lights (which are on a dimmer!) and the window, we are just basking in all the light.

 They did a lot of electrical work, actually, installing multiple new boxes, switches, and moving around some floor/wall vents. Evan really loves putting on the electrical hat. I think he'd much rather do that than tape and plaster the walls or even paint! Just look at that concentration ...

Next up: drywall! Not a fun step but it sure does clean things up! (There's insulation wrapped in plastic underneath those walls.) On the right you can see the little pony wall at the end of the counter that will carry the countertop around to the backside for a little extra sitting area or serving of meals when we host T-day.

I've shown this angle of the room many times, so here you can see that pony wall (and all the outlets!). Check out the floor where our old cabinets used to sit - you can see the outline! Oh, and all of the blue chalk lines were so they knew where the studs were, I do believe.

Having fun sealing up those lines. He ranks this right up there with caulking ... aka, he'd rather eat tofu.

Before this post gets too dry I better add something shiny, glossy and brown for you to ooh and ahh over. I know that I did when I came home to this sight:
I'm loving our laminate flooring! It was a real cinch to put together too. Denny (E's dad) and I did a good portion of the dining room last weekend, so I got my share of selecting our "pattern" (we have a non-pattern pattern), clicking it in place, then tapping it with a mallet to ensure a seamless fit. But as you can see, Evan did a lot of it most of it.

Finally, at long last it was time to install our cabinets! Last weekend Evan's good high school friend Josh, and his wife Jena and baby Lilian drove up to help us hang some cabs ...

But of course baby pictures always come before cabinet photos!

Yes, I did help out! Jena and I, priming the walls.

Getting ready to hang everything above and around the stove

As I said, he loves that electricity!

Tonight we installed some drawers in one of the cabinets, Evan bought baseboards for the room, he spent some time fixing/adjusting a few things, and is gearing up for a big day tomorrow: hanging the big cabinet above the fridge (hooking up the fridge?!), installing two sideboards, possibly installing our new dishwasher, and ... well there's a long list yet, so I'm sure he'll think of something. Our main handyman will be back for a day or two soon but besides that, it's just team Pierson going forward and any willing parties who come to our door. Wait, that sounded a little creepy. Any willing parties we can entice with pizza and beer : )

Read up on the first half of our kitchen renovation project: day 0day 1day 2day 3day 4, and the big window day

... And Then There Was Light

Although we were busy with kitchen renovation on the 4th of July, we did find time for some classic Fourth activities, like this:
Yes, I finally kidnapped Evan's iPhone and figured out how to do this Instagram thing. That is me, around 2pm when it was fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot outside, and I decided to plop down and slice up an ol' watermelon. If you can't beat the heat, join it, right? It felt good to actually prepare some food (if you count slicing a melon "preparing") since we are sans kitchen. Since it's just the two of us, I think I've since eaten my weight in watermelon. Later that evening we did venture out to some fireworks, which may be the cause of Evan's subsequent sleep-in and tardiness at the airport (didn't get up til 4:30 - oh no!). But it was fun. Albeit hot. We also did some dishwasher shopping and Ikea negotiation planning (scroll to the bottom of this post to see how that turned out!)

I'll fill ya in on some of the other projects going on around here, like the plumbing and venting work. Very crucial stuff, but the improvement I'm most excited to share is just HUGE, in my book.

Today, while I was sitting pretty away at work, the guys decided to let some light into the house. Here's the view when I walked through the door:

We now have a WINDOW in the kitchen!

Here's the view before the window was installed, via E's iPhone. Reminds me of looking out of some horse stables or something.

And to show you how much of an improvement this is, let's take a gander back at what the kitchen looked like less than a week ago:

What I didn't anticipate, was all the added light that comes streaming in, not only to the kitchen but the hallway as well! The window is facing west, so it won't always let in this much light. But on a summer evening it is perfectly golden.

And look - as Evan pointed out, parts of our house are being touched directly by sunlight for the first time!

Look at that beam. Just picture me (and Evan, achem..) doing dishes in front of that window, basking in all the light.

Here I am standing at the window looking back in. Evan had to call everyone and fill them in on the big news. (Actually, I think he's on the phone with my mom who's flight was cancelled on her way to Minnesota, boo.)

Now for a fun Before and After Progress photo. Well, technically it's a progress and progress photo since we're smack dab in the middle of the project. But you get the idea.

In case you were worried about our plan of attack against our former love, Ikea, rest assured we are happy campers now. 

Here's proof:

I'll probably fill ya in more when I post about the cabinets themselves, but in a nutshell: they're honoring the old prices! Remember in our last post when we got all heated? We didn't even have to make a big scene - no stomping on swedish meatballs or anything. I guess that's what happens when you talk to the right people. Yea, we're sorry Ikea. Looks like we'll have to eat our words swedish meatballs.

Read up on the first half of our kitchen renovation project: day 0day 1day 2day 3, day 4

Day 4: Red, White and BLUE

Happy 4th of July!
This happens to be one of my favorite holidays. It's like the essence of summer all thrown together in one day: picnics, bbqs, races, the beach, the lake, sun, sun, sun, and of course there has to be a flag cake. And fireworks. And some barefoot running in the grass and cartwheeling the night away. Oh wait, I'm not ten anymore? shoot ...

The above photo is from a couple of years ago when we were down in Lake City for the 4th and even visited an Eagle Center (how patriotic of us). Things look (and sound, smell and taste?) a little different this year:

Evan and Mark are busy in the kitchen today - and they're not baking a flag cake! I'm hoping to go pick up something patriotic at the store, E bought some sparklers we'll have fun with tonight, and we might venture over to some fireworks later on ... although with Evan's 3:15am wake-up call these days, that probably isn't the smartest idea. So we're not exactly doing our traditional 4th activities, but at least E has on a blue shirt, and house projects are always our idea of a fun time. Although to be perfectly honest, I'm not too involved in this process, besides helping pick stuff out, researching, picking up supplies, and other small tasks. But someone has to keep up the ol' blog, right? Actually, I've been working a lot and will even be working on a few stories today (for my current magazine job) once I get this guy posted.

But let's talk about day 4 of our kitchen project - Tuesday. Yesterday, while I was holed away in the office working:

Evan and Mark were holed away in the kitchen:

Tuesday consisted of ripping out more drywall (since the cabinets left the walls too messy to salvage) so we tacked up a plastic sheet to help keep the dust from creeping into every nook and cranny of our house. It's kind of spooky - there must be a draft through that doorway, because every now and then it gets puffed up with air and looks like the ghosts have decided to pay us a visit.

Let's peek behind the curtain, shall we?
This is what it looked like yesterday (that's the right wall, right when you enter the room)

And here it is today, on Day 5:


Straight ahead there, that's where the window will go! The picture on the right shows the supports that have been temporarily added so that we can cut through the wall without the ceiling falling in. Kind of important.

Finished ripping out the top layer of laminate flooring.

Evan called a little meeting and showed me the electrical plans ... I don't expect you to follow this drawing, but it's fun to see their scribbles all over random pieces of wood and even the walls.

We'll be back, hopefully tomorrow, with updates from the rest of today. Mark is going to get the plumbing and electrical done, and E and I are hitting up Ikea to give them a piece of our mind. In a nutshell, here is what happened: we researched, planned and budgeted for this project and decided to go with Ikea because a) cabinets look good and b) they're affordable. We went in last week and bought the first two cabinets; since we have to assemble them anyway we didn't want to buy them all at once. No one said a thing to us that we might want to purchase them all before the end of June because their prices are about to change. So when we went back on Monday we learned that each cabinet is now $40-60 more, which equates to $400 more total, at least. Needless to say, we're not happy with the big blue and yellow box and are going to go stomp all over their swedish meatballs.

Until next time.

C & E

Read up on our kitchen renovation project: day 0, day 1, day 2, day 3

In case you were wondering, the BLUE in the title is emphasized since it also describes our feelings about our Ikea experience.

Day 3: Bring in the Heat

Monday was all about the heat. And not just the 100 degree tropical heat wave we were experiencing up here in the land of ice and snow (aka: Minnesota).

 I was at work from 9-5, so wasn't witness to all the action, but Evan grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos throughout the day.

Who needs heat when it's hot and humid outside? Yea, it's pretty much the last thing on our mind - right behind hot chocolate and Norwegian sweaters. But we all know that in six months, old man winter will come creeping in and make himself at home for a good long while. By the feel of our floor in past winters, I'd say he makes a den right underneath our dining room addition. Since we're hoping to be spending lots of time in our new kitchen space and lounging on our banquette, we decided to take an extra step and add in some heated flooring.

Here's a little run-down of that process:

Put down a layer of aluminum foil to reflect the heat into the room.

Cover it with tar paper.

 Next up: staple down some wire mesh.

No one likes a fire hazard.

 Top her off with a layer of cement to cover everything up and even things out.

 Yea, you'll get kinda dirty

 Sidetrack: I came home around 6 after a quick stop by the Tile Shop to buy some more cement. Changing immediately into workout clothes was essential to survive the heat ... and it just felt right considering the attire of everyone else in the house. You can't really be in our house without getting dusty these days. P.S.-thanks Sarah for leaving the tank top behind!

Since the kitchen is out of commission, we've been frequenting our local dining establishments, like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles, pizza.
... I've dubbed this Evan's-favorite-week-ever week.

Let's pause, shall we, and enjoy this lovely meal on the front stoop. People don't spend time on their front steps enough these days. I've started eating all of my meals out there recently (backyard is kind of a mess too, with old cabinets) and love looking out on the street, surveying the neighborhood. Makes me think I'd made a good watch dog. Or cat.
Anyway, Panera's Sierra Turkey is an E & C favorite, and their lemon orzo chicken soup is quite tasty. Although who gets soup when it's this hot outside?!

If you've never enjoyed a glass of Santa Cruz Lemonade, you need to run to the nearest Whole Foods and buy yourself a case. (They've been on sale for the past few months, which is why we've refilled our stock and now have 100+ stacked in our basement - cherry lemonade is my all-time favorite.)

Tangent complete.

Now back to the project via some final photos:

 E soaking in some works of wisdom from Mark the handyman.

And here's what it looked like when we called it a night. 

Today, (Tuesday) we learned that Ikea is not our friend. But I'll save that for another post. Right now I need to help Evan with some number crunching to see how low Ikea has landed on our thanks-for-the-betrayal list.

Did I mention my mom and sister will be here this weekend? Thankfully they are fans of a little DIY action so won't be offended by the mess. But it would be nice to start cleaning up a bit before they arrive. Here's to a productive 4th of July!

Over and out.

Read up on our kitchen remodel project with this post on our overall plan of attack, this one on demo-day #1, and here we tear into the floor.

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