The Kitchen Reveal

After months of renovations, including a full on gut of the entire original house, I can happily say we are settling nicely into the new kitchen. My camera was a little MIA during much of the renovations, and so was I from this blog. To say things were a little hectic would be an understatement. In addition to only taking photos with my phone and posting them to Instagram most of the time (which you can see if you feel like scrolling – a lot – and trying to pick them out), I replaced my phone and ultimately lost the vast majority of the photos that I thought were uploaded to iCloud.

The long and short is this – it’s almost impossible to even fathom the old house from the new house. The best I can do right now (at almost 10pm on a Sunday) is this:

Before:

Kitchen Before

After:

Kitchen After

The renovation also included four rooms off of the kitchen, which now include:

  • A small guest room.
  • A bathroom/laundry room
  • An entryway/mudroom area
  • A dining room

Each of these spaces still have more work to be done in them, but the drywall is complete (with the exception of an extra patch we need to make in the dining room but you wouldn’t notice it on first glance), and the flooring is all refinished. It was too dark to take photos tonight of these spots, so I’ll get them soon! Overall it’s coming along well, and the kitchen is just about complete minus some window trim. The bathroom is all plumbed in and I love having our washer/dryer where the closet was (and hot water running to the washer for the first time in 8 years). The new entryway is so nice, giving us a good spot to take off our shoes and coats before we come into the rest of the house from the door yard. This is a view from the entryway into the kitchen.

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If you’re looking close, you’ll see something special in the back right of this photo. After years of dreaming about it, Andy and I finally bit the bullet and got a wood cook stove for the kitchen. Specifically a Glenwood K. We absolutely love it, and use it at least a few times a week. We’ve already had a pizza party with friends and have made quite a bit of meat in the firebox broiler system on the side (I’ll explain this in an upcoming post!).

The wood cook stove meant we sacrificed some more storage, but as you can see in these photos I think we’re all set. We also have a Viking range and a Gaggenau double oven.

If you’re counting, that means we have a total of 12 burners and four ovens – four and one respectively which are wood driven only. Admittedly the Viking oven does not work with the exception of the broiler. That’s what you get when you get it for $0.00 dollars through the magic of reclaiming items other people don’t want. Seriously, a broken oven and we got it for free. Truthfully we aren’t planning on fixing the oven anytime soon since we use the Gaggenau’s quite a bit. All six burners however work and I absolutely love cooking on it.

Overall we are beyond happy with this renovation, and are so happy to finally be at a point in this house where we have nothing big left to do. The rest is all small – including installing the downstairs bathroom. Once you’ve been through as much renovation as we have, on as large of a scale as we have, in addition to building a garage and barn, it turns out that finishing off the installation of a bathroom feels like a cakewalk.

There’s more to come, and now that my camera is back in action I hope to write a little more about a few things going on including an on demand water heater Andy has been working on installing, a little more about the wood cook stove, a few things we’ve been doing around the homestead, and general updates about things going on.

I hope life has been treating you guys well over the last six months or so, and you had a wonderful holiday season and are so far having a great new year three days in!

Here’s to 2016 – full of many big and small changes around here, but that’s nothing new.

xo,

Heather

Renovation Update: Rail & Baluster Installation

It was really cool watching the staircase come together, since it was my job to sand and finish all of the stair parts. Even though Andy built all the parts and put the staircase together, this is definitely the project in the house where I feel like I helped the most. It made it so satisfying to watch come together.

In part 1 of this post, I explained how Andy installed the newel posts on our staircase.

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Part 2 – Rail, Baluster & Newel Post Cap Installation

Seeing the rails and balusters go up was very cool, not only because I had a part in it, but because it was the first time I really saw how things happened. I was too enthralled in the process, and admittedly busy taking care of other things around the house, that I sort of forgot to take photos of the baluster installation. I’ll explain as best I can with finished pictures. When it came to the rails, which are made of walnut, I was curious to see how the exact level and angle was determined. Turns out, you need a few levels and a few clamps.

DSC_8583-01 DSC_8586-01 DSC_8590-01This method was awesome because it really gave me a chance to visualize where the rail would fall, but also to figure out if it was at a comfortable height. Andy nailed it the first try, so he marked it off with painters tape, and measured and cut the rail.

DSC_8594-01To install the rails to the newel posts Andy attached them a couple ways. Most of them were attached through a groove in the bottom of the rail, but a few needed to be attached through the top. Either way, Andy drilled two angled holes on each end of each rail at the same angle as the rail and screwed them into each newel post.

DSC_8596-01For the rails screwed through the top, Andy made plugs and glued them into place.

DSC_8939DSC_8935Each rail attached through the bottom groove didn’t need to be plugged, since they were patched after the balusters were installed.

To install the rail to the wall where we had no newel post, Andy did a simple block. We debated on doing a half newel but though a block would look better.

DSC_8940For the balusters (painted poplar, also known as aspen) Andy and I decided on a spacing we liked (two balusters per tread). Andy then cut each baluster to the correct angle and nailed it into the bottom groove of the rail. Once all balusters were installed, he then cut and placed a piece between each baluster to fill in the groove. Each piece was secured with a finish nail.

DSC_8933Once the rails and balusters were installed, it was time for the crowning glory, and the final parts, of the staircase—newel post caps. When it came to what wood to use we debated on a nice maple, walnut, or beech. We finally decided on a chunky but simple walnut cap to tie in the rail. I loved the idea of bringing in some darker wood somewhere else. Even better, Andy had a piece of crotch walnut which he could make one of the caps out of.

DSC_8938 The other two caps were made of regular walnut and are also very beautiful. To keep the balance we put the other two on each end, and the crotch walnut in the middle. We also did this because the stairwell light is directly above the middle newel post, which highlights the beautiful cap even more.

DSC_8931 DSC_8934DSC_8961Overall we really love how the stairwell turned out, so here are a few more pictures of the final stairwell.

DSC_8929 DSC_8946 DSC_8952 DSC_8957 DSC_8959This spring we’re going to start building out the upstairs bathroom, and I can’t wait to share that process with you guys. It’s going to be beautiful when it’s done and should hopefully be an inspiration for all of those with a tiny 3/4 bathroom. Once the bathroom is finished, and funds permit, we’ll be able to start the big renovation on the original house which can only mean one thing—kitchen time!

For now we’re staying busy fixing our cars that keep breaking (oy vey, don’t ask – a new car is on the near horizon), working out in the woods with our neighbor, starting seeds for the garden should the snow decide to fully melt at any point this spring, and over all just doing the day to day working & typical house cleaning and errands!

xo,

Heather

Renovation Update: Newell Post Installation

We finished the stair tread installation a while back but we had yet to install the newel posts, rail and balusters.  Up until about a month ago we’d had a staircase with no rail, but that is no more! We officially have a full staircase which Andy completely built by hand. I’ll be breaking this post up into two so it won’t be so long.

Part 1 – Newel Post Installation

I have to first say I love the newel posts Andy built. Like the stairs, they’re made of beech and they’re beefy which looks so good in such a huge stairwell area. The photos below show how nice they are, but at the end of this series you’ll get to see the caps we put on them which are beautiful.

To install the newel posts, Andy started by ensuring they would have a solid base and be super secure. We have three posts, so we picked up three Sure-Tight newel fastening systems.

DSC_8449-01Next Andy test fitted where the newel posts would go, marked it off, found the center, and drilled a hole for the screw.

DSC_8496-01To ensure the screw would thread in easily, Andy utilized a soap scrap from Green Barn Soaps.

DSC_8499-01 DSC_8501-01Once the threads were soaped up, it easily screwed in.

DSC_8517-01A quick vacuum of the soap scraps that inevitably turnout while you screw it in, and a quick ensure that the screw was deep enough, and Andy was ready to install the newel post.

DSC_8523-01To start he vacuumed out the post from the bottom and top just to make sure no wood shavings from the drilling process were in the way.

DSC_8525-01 DSC_8526-01Once the newel post is put on the screw, there’s a nut that holds it down inside. The thing is, of the hundred wrenches we have, none would fit properly to be able to screw it in. Andy, of course, didn’t let this hold him back. I give you newel post installation fabricated wrench.

DSC_8547-01 DSC_8548-01Win! Andy removed just enough of the metal to be able to fit the wrench, and also turn it to tighten the nut.

DSC_8558-01 DSC_8560-01One by one the newel posts were fit, drilled, and installed.

DSC_8486-01DSC_8578-01I really love how these look installed, and will be sharing the rest of the installation process of the rails and balusters this week! While you’ll have to wait, don’t worry, you’re not the only one!

DSC_8575-01xo,

Heather

Locking It Up

We’ve started moving furniture up into our bedroom.

WAIT WHAT?!

I know! I’ve barely taken any photos (see time management above) and frankly, it’s a little hard to take pictures when you’re hauling one end of an oak dresser. So here’s what’s happened since Andy started installing trim:

First, we finished the trim. Literally, we finished installing it and putting a finish on it. I know that painting trim white is this huge thing in the blog world, but we did not. We did a simple Danish oil to preserve the natural look of the wood. We did a simpler trim style upstairs, and Andy jokes that it’s “camp chic”. Now let me be clear, I grew up with painted trim and I actually like it. I think it makes the room seem more ethereal. When I first met Andy he showed me a room he liked and I said, “That’s so much wood!” to which every family member in the room looked at me and gasped. There is no such thing in my husbands family as too much wood in a home. So, in some ways I’m still getting used to it but I have to admit it’s super pretty in person. It just feels like such a grown up house. Am I a grown up yet? I guess so. I have a great job with awesome benefits and I’m almost 30. How did that happen?

image7 image9Second, for the last few nights I’ve been painting a second coat in each room. Because I’m a messy painted, I taped off all of the baseboard and around windows to ensure I didn’t make a giant crap-fest of everything. I’ll get you photos when we’re done with all the rooms but to be honest, they don’t look much different. I will say that the Eider White in the master bedroom looks more like the swatch now and is a little more gray and I really love it. I still need to finish the downstairs bedroom, and we need to do the staircase walls as well as touch up the ceilings where I accidently bumped them with rollers. I told you – crap-fest.

Third, and the point of this post we installed door knobs / locks on the doors!

I got the door knobs though, so it’s all a win. I can say that finding knobs I was happy with wasn’t really that easy but it wasn’t that hard either. Here was the criteria:

  • Silver to match the locks on the front and dooryard doors
  • Not glass. I wanted vintage glass knobs but Andy doesn’t like glass knobs as much so we nixed them. I wasn’t 100% set on them anyway
  • Low-profile
  • Very very simple design (it’s the modern preference in me)
  • Not expensive
  • Available in a pop/twist lock and plain
  • Brushed so fingerprints aren’t on them all the time

We first went to Lowes and while they had an option we liked from Schlage, they didn’t have the style I liked in stock. At just under $30 a knob (with tax) I was a little *gulp* about it. It’s really not that pricey but for not the exact style I wanted I wasn’t totally sold. The next day I went to Home Depot on my way home from work and found a set from Kwikset that was both in stock, and cheaper. They were definitely up my alley, and a style I was very happy with.  

image2Andy was installing these, while I was painting the upstairs bedroom and the moment we not only saw a knob on the door AND that we actually had a door in the house that shut and locked properly it was like reality happening. This dream of when we bought the house was real. Weird that of all moments the knob was one of those “this is real!” moments but it was.

6 3Simple, basic, and wonderful. Now to finish the painting, get the railing put up, finish moving in and….you know what, I’m just going to stop and enjoy the moment for what it is in this moment and not think about everything else ahead that needs to be done. Knobs? Happy.

xo,

Heather 

Psst – We’re slammed lately, so I’ve decided it’s time for my twice-annual social media cleanse. I am not taking a break from the blog though! I feel most everyone should take a couple weeks away from social media, or at least do it very minimally at least a few times a year. So, for now I’m taking a cold turkey break from Instagram, Twitter and I’ll be minimal on Facebook (maybe checking once or twice a day to respond to anything, since let’s face it – it’s how lots of people connect with each other). If you want to catch me in the mean time, shoot me an email or leave a comment!

Wednesday Renovation Recap: So Many Stair Parts

Hey, friends! I have something to tell you before I delve into this renovation update. Here it goes.

I, Heather, am totally into the now-cancelled show Ready For Love. There, I said it. I’ve been watching the season on-demand since it’s been cancelled. I don’t even care that it’s like a jacked up version of the Bachelor without any roses, plus three bachelors and dating coaches. I also think the Rancic’s are a totally cute couple even though I literally know nothing about them outside an interview I saw and the fact I watched about four episodes of their reality show in a row one time. To be blunt, this show just makes me inexplicably happy due to the love factor and the hilarious awkward laugh factor. So the lesson is this, don’t question what makes you happy, even if it’s awesomely bad TV. I sort of wish it was going to have a second season.

Whew! I am so glad I got that off my chest. With that said, let’s get into the renovations! As you know we finished the living room and we’ve pretty much just been enjoying it since, with little work on the rest of the house. That doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting around though. We’ve been working on the garden (update to come next week!) as well. With all of the enjoying and planting going on it doesn’t mean we can stop working on the house for too long. With that said, we need to get these darn stair parts finished and out of the master bedroom so we can lay flooring and move up there already!

DSC_3923-01Over the last couple weeks or so I finished up the stair treads and finally was able to take them off the scaffolding and move them aside so I could start the balusters, trim and a few other boards.

DSC_3930-01Once the stair parts were moved out of the way, I used the scaffolding to set up all the other parts. You never quite realize how many stair parts there are until you’re prepping them all!

DSC_3943-01I think total, between the balusters, trim, risers and other wood parts Andy asked me to take care of, there were over 50 parts I was priming. Yep, you read right, priming. Believe it or not we do paint wood, just very selectively. All of this wood is poplar which was both free for us (sawed from our woods),  but it’s not exactly the best wood to seal and let the natural shine through. I actually asked Andy to keep them natural but he really wanted them white. Truthfully, I’m okay either way. I’ve learned that Andy’s ideas are often beautiful. While he’s almost always against painting wood, he absolutely loves contrasting staircases that allow gorgeous wood to shine. By painting the “meh” poplar white, we will be able to showcase the walnut rails and the beech treads. Don’t expect to ever see white trim in our house though, you would be just as shocked as me.

DSC_3946-01With the stair parts finally primed, we’re ready to paint white! While we aren’t there yet, we will be soon. I’ll be picking up basic bright white eggshell paint this week. We’re going eggshell to allow the white parts to “sit back” from the glossy wood we’re trying to accentuate while still allowing the white parts to be easily cleaned. Update: I bought the paint and we’re going with satin since it has a soft sheen to it, and is easier to wipe down than eggshell. After researching it more I realized that eggshell was a pretty bad idea for high-traffic surfaces. We’re not painting the stair parts Dover White like the rest of the main downstairs area simply because it isn’t bright white. We really want it to be a classic white just in case we ever decide to repaint. The Dover White we have from Sherwin-Williams is a beautiful white but it does have a slightly yellow undertone, which we don’t want. It will also be best if we ever decide to change the wall colors, so we’re not left with a staircase with a slightly yellow undertone which could clash dependent on the color we re-paint. We’re certainly not intending to, but it’s a lot easier to repaint a wall than repaint stairs!

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Balusters in process!

That’s all for now in the stairs department. With the treads and railings finally done, and all the other parts close, we’re still making progress.

DSC_3925-01Though, I do have to admit, it’s pretty hard to keep progress going when all you want to do is stay outside planting your garden until dusk and then sit in your living room you’ve been waiting years for. On and up though! Next milestone goal: Move into the new master bedroom!

xo,

Heather