Tag Archives: renovation

Kitchen Reno: Adding some bling

After hours and hours of searching through photos online I had decided on the hardware for the kitchen cabinets. We headed to Menards to see if they had a slightly cheaper option in the same style as my favorite online hardware and impulsively changed my vision of softening up all the angles of our shaker cabinets with classic round knobs to going for a more fun and playful octagon knob. It may not look that different but I think it makes a huge difference.

I love my Octoknobs. Tim loves them too because they are… something mathematical.

I went around and marked all the cabinets and then Tim did the scariest Kitchen Reno job yet. He drilled into our brand new custom cabinets.




And then the meticulous and scary pulls were marked, templates lined up and Tim started drilling again.




Putting in the pulls took an extra trip to Menards. It took Tim three separate drill bits to get each hole drilled for the pulls. There are two holes needed per knob. Tim put in 7 pulls on Sunday afternoon.

Starred Photos19


Starred Photos20


It was a long process to get all the knobs and pulls in and they still are not all in.

I can not figure out what to do for the wider drawers. Two pulls per drawer? And then what should I do for the tall doors on the pantries? More knobs or a handle?

The other thing that Tim did on Sunday was getting the new light fixture installed. We see the contractor every few days. Sometimes he stops by for 20 minutes and sometimes it is for a few hours. It is never consistent and it never feels super productive. Maybe I just have a bad attitude after 3 months of what the contractor said would be a 3 week project. But I am not impressed. Tim and I have been doing more than we should to keep the process moving, but if it gets us closer to finished we will install lights and hardware.

I will post a better photo of the new light soon.

For now you can bask in the glory of our awesome camping sink situation. I know you are jealous. That faucet used to give me something to look forward to while I did dishes in a tub that I filled from the bathroom sink. Now I just feel like that faucet is mocking me.

Not ready to laugh yet

You know when things are so overwhelming, frustrating and maddening and you are exhausted and you feel like you could cry or scream but instead you just start laughing? I don’t know what professional shrinks call this phenomenon but I assume it is akin to when someone laughs at a horrible moment in a movie because they are just so tense that they need some sort of relief from the scene.

I am not quite to the laughing part of this renovation.

We were told we could move back into our house today. Nothing could be placed on the newly stained and sealed floors but we could walk on them. That meant we could check out of the hotel, sleep in our own beds, and hang out in the almost finished basement.

When I walked into the house this morning I was encouraged by the tolerable level of fumes and the color on the floors looked great. There was bubbling in the topcoat but that is to be expected before the final sand and seal which will be the last thing that happens before the renovation is complete.

When I walked into the kitchen this is what I found.



Tim and I pointed out the gaps in the flooring when we came home to the unfinished floors after vacation. We were promised the gaps would be filled. We asked why the less damaged area had been replaced but not the area in front of the fridge that got the most water. We were told the gaps would be filled.



Not okay.


I talked with the contractor. He is called the subcontractors. Our contractor admitted this was his fault. The subcontractors did what was asked of them. Our contractor told us that the sub contractors are “super busy” and they will not be able to come back and fix the floors for 3 weeks. Three weeks.

I am not ready to laugh yet.

Contractor is done!

Warning: Bad phone pics ahead. Please excuse the under and over lit grainy photos!

Let me tell you about how happy I am to finally be done with the contractor part of this renovation. It is so nice to have the house back and to be able to walk around without worry about being in the way or stepping on tile that isn’t set.

If I am happy about this, Lucy is ecstatic. She looks like she has achieved some new level of lazy dog zen this morning. Today is the first day that we are contractor free and I think Lucy knows that. She has been locked up in the master bedroom and basement throughout this process and she is more ready to be done. The noisy, hat wearing man is gone!

The project still isn’t done. We opted to paint ourselves because paying someone to tile is one thing, paying someone to paint – well that is a little silly. When we get back from our mini 4th of July trip to ND we will start painting.

The bathroom is the closest to being complete. It needs some wood-filler, paint, mirror, door knob, art and a few bathroom decor pieces but the toilet flushes and the sink works! Here is where we are now.

The entryway has farther to go.

We plan on living with where the entryway is at for now because we want to be absolutely sure with what we want to do with it. We know we want a bench and some wall cubbies, but how we do that is still up in the air. If you follow me on Pinterest you will get an idea of where we are going by peeking at my Entryway Board.

Here is where we are now.

We also have to figure out something for the stair rail…

For now we are so happy with where we are at. I will take some photos with the camera later, for now you can still get pretty good idea with just the phone pics. More here. 


Under Construction

Our house, not the website, is under construction. In fact, I dare say that the blog is the only thing functioning as it should right now. The house is even more of a disaster than usual.

The following is a post I wrote on Monday but didn’t get around to finishing until tonight. Maybe the blog isn’t functioning as well as I thought. 

You know all the normal day-to-day problems that come up like, can’t get the TV sound to work, or there isn’t anything for the kids’ snack or the kids fighting over something stupid? You know what I am talking about, right? Well today, just like many days, the kids fought, something technical was beyond my fixing abilities and there wasn’t an easy grab and go snack for hungry, cranky, low blood sugar kids. BUT today we have two contractors banging – I mean BANGING! in our house.

The entryway and main floor bath are finally being renovated and I am so happy about that. It is the living with construction that will push me over the edge. All day I have been quick to get angry, cloudy headed when it comes to making decisions, and overwhelmed by the slightest thing.  I am not exaggerating.  This morning the wrong kind of ball was put into the water table ball tunnel slide thing causing a ball traffic jam. Having to unscrew and take apart the table to unjam the balls made my blood boil and caused me to raise my voice to what Michael would call the orange zone, “SERIOUSLY! WHO PUT THE WHITE BALL IN THIS TUBE?! ONLY BLUE AND RED BALLS GO IN THIS TUBE!”

Not my finest moment.

Looking back, it should be laughable but I haven’t had a lot of time to take a breath and gain enough perspective  I must remember – New entryway. New 1/2 bath.

I was doing OK for a while but then the construction noise raised to a deafening level and the kids started to feel the strain. I loaded them up and we went to go shop for vanities.

Bad. Very very bad idea.

It was the first time since they had finished breakfast that morning they were able to hear themselves and the entire 25 minute drive to Home Depot (road construction sucks) the kids screamed. I don’t know if their brains just needed the noise input after growing used to the loud demolition that echoed through our home or they were just happy to be out of the house; either way, the screaming was just as loud as the construction noise and I was on the verge of a mental breakdown.

You can just imagine how nicely they walked around home depot while in that state of hyper craze. I tried to take phone pics of vanity options so Tim and I could review them later but the kids were being too naughty so we left. I was no closer to choosing a vanity. The only thing I was closer too was having a meltdown of my own.

Home Depot was a bad choice for an outing so you will be surprised to hear my next decision.  Remember what I said before about not thinking clearly? The colossal mistake happened when I decided to follow-up the Home Depot trip with a Menards trip. Genius, right? Masochistic is more like it. I figured I would just quick pop in, take a few pics and leave. That didn’t happen.

Not only did every single one of my children climb in and out of every tub and shower stall in the bathroom section, they also reenacted the Tom Cruise sliding across the floor scene from Risky Business. Except, lucky me, the boys upped-the-ante by turning it into a competitive sporting event.

I lost it. I went from hissing warnings like a back alley tom cat to full on threatening them with a growl that put Lucy’s “The Schwann’s Man dared to knock on our door again” growls and bark to shame. I was always more of a Mezzo Soprano but let me tell you what – I was channeling every bit of alto in me. I didn’t know my voice could drop so low when I was angry.

You would think that seeing your mother transform into a crazy person just short of steam shooting out of her ears would have snapped any kid out of their naughty behavior, but not mine. You got to hand it to them. My kids are resilient.

And then, while I asked an employee to see how many of a certain cabinet they had in stock, all three kids simultaneously started to whine about having to go to the bathroom.

The employee told me that the floor model was the only one left. I asked for a discount while the kids danced in place and I told them to “Just hold it one more minute.” I looked at the employee and without really thinking I asked him to ring me up and meet me out front with it.

And that is the story of how I came home with a bathroom vanity that I don’t really like. At least I got a deal on it. It was priced at $229 down from $299, and I was able to talk them down even farther, so after taxes I only paid $214. It is a little more cottage-y (the name Cottage Ensemble should have clued me in on that) than I would have liked but I love the color and the counter space is big enough for a bottle of soap to sit on.

Side thought – does anyone even use bar soap anymore? Doesn’t it frustrate anyone else when a sink has the bar soap spot that no liquid soap bottle will sit level on? Like having clumsy toddler/preschooler and kindergartner didn’t make enough mess in a bathroom… Just try and imagine how messy a sink gets when wet clumsy hands try and pump soap out of a soap bottle that isn’t sitting level.

Oh well. The measurements work and that is a victory in and of itself. Our house must have the narrowest bathrooms ever because it is so hard to find a vanity with a depth of less than 24 inches. We had the same challenge with the basement bath.

Lesson learned. Don’t impulse buy vanities when you are angry, exhausted and have 3 kids driving you crazy. Even if they don’t have the stupid bar soap groove. If my biggest problem for the week can be solved with two (one wasn’t going to cut it) Blue Moons at the end of the night, life isn’t so bad (even if I have to live with a less than perfect vanity)

A few more pics of the renovation in progress.  More posts about our first world renovation problems coming soon. Plus, I may throw in another mood board if I am feeling creative what with all the spare time I have since we are hiring out this project! There is something quite magical about hiring contractors. Yeah you have to live with the construction but you get to live during construction. Tim may be right. I still love to DIY but this whole hiring out is pretty awesome too.