Ordered cabinets… lots of measuring

Not much accomplished halfway through our 10 day renocation. We started off adding some plugins for this site and finished up the foamboard installation.

We went to Ikea in the afternoon to order our cabinets (eat some lunch) and rounded out the day with lots of measuring and figuring out how to put up a wall. It was nice eating from normal plates/cutlery/drinking glasses. Speaking of that, we’re out of paper plates and bowls!

We had a fight when things weren’t going so well – Paul was frustrated and I was impatient. Paul measured, cut wood, measured more, did some fitting, worked in the attic which led to working on electrical (he tidied up our box and didn’t tighten a neutral wire for the lights upstairs) That was a pain in the butt detour but necessary to add some structure to help support the new wall.

So that’s all for today. Since there isn’t much to share, how about a picture of my battle scar? Oh and I can’t forget that I got the sad news that our flooring is delayed until October 4th (our 2nd wedding anniversary, 2nd!?) – Raven is not in stock.

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Long day yet not much to show?

I’ll start with the best part of our day – Waste Management came sometime before 930am and took our Bagster and the extra bags that were next to it (thank you, if you read this!) It was like 500 pounds of plaster. I also ordered our flooring! The rest of our day was downhill from there. We left off last night not knowing how the new windows were installed. Paul asked on a DIY forum and their assumption/description was correct – they nailed right into the trim/firring strips so the ones around the windows MUST stay. The window installers also didn’t sprayfoam around the outside of the windows. Yet another project to accomplish next year. Lots of exploration for not much doing is what it felt like.

Since we had to leave the strips we had to take out all the nails from the plaster (by hand with hammers) and some nails that went right into the cinder block from the other strips – oh fun. We used our handy Dremels (we have 2) until they died, switched to an angle grinder and finished the ones near the ceiling with the Dremels after they recharged. The cut off wheel made a lot more sparks – safety first!

Yes, that’s me, Irene!

Next we cut out 2.5″ wide strips from the ceiling to make room for the new walls. This is the one issue with not having an expensive laser, it won’t make the line straight across even 7 feet. Paul figured out how to shoot a laser dot at the ceiling using a measured mark on the floor and the levels on the laser thing. Then double checked the laser beam from the back wall before making marks on the ceiling. We used those marks to snap a chalk line. It didn’t take too much time even without an expensive laser. Our biggest obstacle was how the heck are we going to cut a clean line on the ceiling. The Dremel Trio tool burned out too quickly and it went kind of slowly. We were going to buy another bit but we weren’t sure if it would finish the job (that would cost $36 for 2 bits). While at Lowes Paul got the idea to find a different blade for his circular saw. It was only $15 but holy mother of all things dusty! Ugg! We had to vacate the room after we cut out the ceiling to let the dust settle.

Then after cutting we had to beat the plaster out and pull down the strips of chicken wire I guess they used for corner tape back in those days. This made even more dust.

Spent lots of time cleaning before we could even get to the insulation. Paul (even right now) is fitting in our foamboard pieces. It won’t all be installed much to our dismay. I broke the nipple off of the spray foam can so we went back to Lowe’s tonight to get a new can of the same brand to finish that can/continue on to finish the insulating. Damn thing broke on the way home! I am not stepping into a home improvement store more than 2x a day, NOOO WAY! We’ll go tomorrow *grumpy*. Since we have to leave the firring strips around the windows we are just fitting the pieces of insulation between them. The insulation basically sits flush with them.


Cutting the foam board insulation was easy once Paul figured out that it was just like cutting drywall. Make your measurements on the blue side in pencil. Then use a drywall tee as a guide and cut the blue side with a razorblade. Bend the smaller side down and it will snap where you made your cut. Then flip it over and holding the two pieces at 90 degrees to each other cut the foil on the other side. Voila.

Did I mention what a fun time we had looking for ‘tuck tape’? When you try to explain to anyone in our local improvement stores what you need, they point us towards Duck Tape. We told them it’s the tape you use when you install a vapor barrier, it’s made of polyurethane – one guy even said we could use packing tape *silence*. I did a lot of Google searching to see if it was known as something else and what brands we could locate (not really known as something else but handy knowing what brands we could search for). Home Depot carries Tyvek and we easily found it on our own in the insulation section right with the vapor barrier. Lowe’s we couldn’t find anything near the insulation/vapor barrier. I used our Tyvek tape tonight on our foam and doing the corners was so challenging. I figured out a nice system (fold it in half, attach to one board and then smooth on the other, carefully) I have to go over my work tomorrow and possibly retape over some of it. I wish I stopped to see if there were some helpful hints on this but I just wanted to feel like we got something really done.

It’s now 11:30pm and we’ll be headed to Ikea tomorrow morning. We uploaded the final plan from Ikea’s program to the Ikea website and printed out our own spreadsheet with the list of part numbers. I hope that it’s a fun time.

As an aside, we had Irish oatmeal for breakfast; marinated pork chops on the grill with a pinto bean/avocado/tomato salad (Paul thought it was a “man’s lunch”); and for dinner fish sticks, sweet potato fries, and the rest of the lunch salad. Thank goodness for our grill and great weather! I wonder how often we’ll eat at Ikea over the next few weeks? Truthfully, I’ve never had their meatballs. LOL.

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No walls…..

We have no walls!! Today started out with no coffee… *long pause*… we went to Starbucks and then stopped by Lowe’s/Target for some things (laser, plumb bob, gloves and a thing to fix our standing lamp in the living room – food at Target)

We are leaving a section of the one wall intact so we had to make a clean cut where the old and new will meet. We used the laser to make a straight and vertical line, snapped a chalk line along the laser line, scored the plaster, and then used our Dremel Trio to cut the wall. We relied on our sledge hammer/crowbar for the rest. ūüôā




The plaster under the window on the driveway side (right in photos) was very soft, so water has gotten in that area but no mold. The corner of the house had no such soft plaster and besides some staining on the ceiling, no signs of mold on the plaster or mortar board (we don’t have plaster and lathe, boo ya) During the removal, I beaned myself on the head with a piece and whacked Paul with the crowbar, yikes! I have a lump on my forehead. I was getting tired and wasn’t being very careful. Lesson learned, just stop when you feel like you are demolishing in a less than safe way.

I wore Paul’s work hard hat the rest of the day just in case…

We ended up with 16 bags of plaster when all was said and done. We never got to make cut outs in the ceiling where the header plates will go. While cutting the wall at the left side corner our Trio’s bit broke. We had a backup but that bit overheated right away. Crap!!! So Paul went at it manually with a drywall saw (damn was that tiring. -Paul) and didn’t touch the ceiling. We took down all the firring strips except around the windows. We had to figure out how our windows were put together. The new windows were installed from the outside and we really didn’t understand how our old system worked. We stopped, Googled a bit but ultimately just needed to call it a night. Paul posted on DIYchatroom.com asking about it. Tomorrow we hope to get some answers so we can either leave the strips around the windows alone, remove them and continue on with removing the ceiling/installing foam/etc. Sorry, I just realized I didn’t get a good picture of the walls gutted. Tomorrow. You can see where the old house meets the new house in these (dark cinder is older).



I’m calling to order our floor tomorrow, Wednesday we go to Ikea to order our cabinets and Thursday our dishwasher comes. Yay! Until then, enjoy the pictures.

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Sunday.. lots of shopping and truck rental.

We’ve now been doing this for a week! Today was our biggest day.

We started out a little late since we were at the Luau long into the night. Hehe. Good times. Today we shopped! In order to get home all of our supplies, we needed a truck.

Lowe’s has a nice rental program. $20 for 75 minutes. We live exactly 2 miles away so we had time to spare. We bought 7 mold resistant drywall panels, 6 foam insulation boards, 28 2×3 studs, 3 pieces of plywood to even out the floor, screws, corner paper, adhesive and tuck tape for the foamboard, a 4 foot level, a drywall square AND a Bosch dishwasher!

That’s a lot of stuff!

The dishwasher is a Bosch Integra 500 Series – we got it for 20% off, w00t! This thing is 47dba and so quiet that it has lights that shine on the floor to tell you when it’s running LOL there is also a timer on it to tell you how much longer… I’m VERY excited.
http://www.bosch-home.com/us/SHX45P05UC.html

We finished up our day by fixing the floor underlayment. The previous owner put a layer of 1/4 paneling (its not plywood, almost like a thick cardboard) over the original asbestos tile. BUT the tile didn’t go under the cabinets, and neither did the paneling. Yesterday we took one piece of paneling up, but it was a lot of work. We decided we would leave the existing underlayment and put the new floor over them. All I had to do was fill in the empty spaces where the cabinets were and the one piece we took out. This was accomplished with 11/32″ plywood where the cabinets were and 1/4″ plywood for the piece of underlayment we removed. Paul was a little concerned because he only had a tape measure to figure out what thickness we needed…

After a lot of measuring, we got to installing! Paul did the first piece where our new pantry/fridge will go and I got to do the rest. The heights worked out perfectly.

And that’s it for Sunday! Tomorrow, Day 8, will be about taking the plaster off of the 2 outside walls, installing foam board insulation and getting started on our stud walls.

The reason we are building the stud walls is to make room for the electrical & plumbing vent. We have cinder block exterior walls from the footings to the roof. Firing strips are attached to the cinder block so that leaves little space, maybe 3/4 inches between the wall and the cinder block. The block is very wavey so it is less than half an inch in a lot of spots. Not deep enough for an the box your outlet goes into. They actually chiseled away the cinder block to make room for these “device boxes” when the house was built. Paul didn’t want to do the same, or mess with armored cable. The 2×3 stud wall will give us the space to meet electrical code for protection of the wires.

This type of construction also limits us on our insulation options. We seriously considered spray foam because of the problems of the waviness but most people won’t do a job this small and the DIY kit was $400 – foam with tuck tape and adhesive was $140. We weren’t sure what we’d get and if we’d ever really get to other walls in our house. We have no plans for taking down anything except the bathroom in a few years. Our exterior wall cavities are open to the basement and the attic to allow them to breathe. That is how they did moisture control back in the day. There is no insulation in the exterior walls. The best thing we can do is to insulate the attic very well (on the to do list) and make sure our windows/doors are good (new as of last year). It doesn’t pay off for our space unless we want to lose square footage.


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Friday and Saturday.. 10 straight days of kitchen reno..

Ahh Friday… Paul was suppose to have off but work was too busy so not as much happened. We capped off the hot water line (as seen in yesterday’s pictures) We took the rest of the evening to buy everything we needed to remove the flooring on Saturday and ripped out the rest of the cabinets!! They did not come out without a fight.

They’re are handmade from lumber pieces. Kudos to Mr Rambo (previous owner) but man, what a difficulty taking them out! We discovered some terribly rusty nails in the corner where the roof leak happened. They came apart when they were pulled out.

Good bye!!!

Saturday we couldn’t take photos. We got going well and had an early finish. Luckily the floor cooperated! Well, atleast the removal part (just peel and stick tile), not the subfloor. We’re in a dinner club which is important to us so we made time for it (great Luau, I made Hawaiian Fried Rice – cold brown rice, grated carrot, green onions, eggs, sesame oil, soy sauce.. done on the grill side burner,simple and tasty). It was also great to talk to our friends that always have something going on in their houses.

Here’s a funny picture of Paul in his suit for floor removal!

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Thursday plumbing and cooking……

… we’re still demoing (by my calculations we’ve done 7 hours of ripping out stuff)… we uncovered some of the mold and it didn’t get all the way through the wood but the whole story will be opened up once we take down the wall. WasteManagement came for our bagster. Completely uneventful! Paul called, got to tell him when they should come by and ta da. I read some negative reviews but ours went off without a hitch.

Paul’s focus was to cap off the water lines to the sink. First he tried it from upstairs. Our water lines are not properly supported *shakes head* He had to give up and attempt it from the basement. There are a lot more fire hazards (wood floor, wood joists) He took off some of the supports to be sure he could use the torch safely away from all the wood and used a make shift heat shield. It was made from some leftover downspout from our gutter work from earlier this summer.

He attempted to cap off the one water line 2x and it continued to pop off. I googled about this problem (pretty common for a first timer) and found some good solutions (I am googlicious, I am awesome at finding good answers)!

http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/plumbing/best-way-cap-copper-water-line-compression-fitting-copper-cap-242384.html

hkstroud’s response was spot on. I read the directions to Paul and it went on easily. He was overheating and had used too much flux. The other responses are important if this doesn’t help you – it’s possible you still have water in the line making steam. If that’s the case, use a shop vac to get it out or I even read you can stuff it with bread (I have no idea if that works). We also could have done a compression fitting but since Paul needs to solder for more copper work, this was a good exercise. (a compression fitting is only for temporary work!!! not suitable by any stretch for capping off and burying in the wall)

I only allowed him to do that one LOL I said I wanted a shower and we need to stick to our no working after 10pm on a work night. We average about 2 hours of work since he doesn’t get home until around 7 and as soon as we eat/clean up it’s 8pm.

Speaking of eating…. we ate out the first few days (I’m not typical, I hate eating out, it’s hard to find healthy options). We got rotisserie chicken from Wegman’s and reheated our friend Heidi’s baked beans and some broccoli/green beans. Heidi’s beans remind me of my Aunt Dawn’s and those are the best, ever. I think if she baked them in the oven rather than the crock, it may be spot on. I made a chicken and garbanzo bean soup out of leftover rotisserie chicken and bbq chicken quesadillas in the convection toaster oven (cheese, red onion, cut up chicken, bbq sauce (we use the low cal stuff) and more cheese) – bake 350 for 14 min. I also made an egg bake made from eggs, canadian bacon, broccoli and cheese which will be good for 6 meals – easy and good for the weekend coming up.

courtesy of kalyn’s kitchen

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demolition is coming along…

Ahh Day 4… We filled our bagster and Paul is calling to have them come and pick it up. I have read all kinds of mixed reviews about the pickup so we’ll see if we can keep going with this product. I hope we have a positive experience.

The cabinets in the main kitchen are coming out so much easier than the other side. They used 4 nails on average for each wooden piece!! Even the decorative wood scalloping had too many nails than necessary. I hope we get the cabs out before our floor removal on Saturday. We’ll be cutting it close. Paul has a half day on Friday so I think we’ll be able to do it.

Next week we have off so the plumbing and electrical should be completed except for the inspection. I know the electrical will be done in no time but since we haven’t done plumbing at all, who knows. (soldering copper – I’m not sure Paul has even had the time to practice) We have to vent the plumbing on this side of the house since the current vent is so far on the other side of the house that it isn’t vented well enough.

The loose schedule: order floor (I emailed about how long til it comes in, should be 2 weeks),finish demoing, have everything out by Sunday. Build stud wall, run wiring, redo the plumbing and add a vent all next week. I think it’ll also be time to order our kitchen cabinets since we’ll have a few days before rough-in inspection done by a 3rd party designated by our township.

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Day 3 and some background…

Today is Day 3.. I saw Lady Gaga last night so Paul was on his own. ¬†He finished up his work bench rewiring. Day 4 (Wednesday, September 15th) we’ll move debris, take out more cabinetry and hopefully the shut off valves will be replaced.

Day 1 we tried the shut off valves and they don’t shut off the water (no surprise, they are old and for some reason, we never tried them during the home inspection).¬† So for our Day 3 update which was quite boring we’ll discuss some of our choices in materials that doesn’t quite fit in the ‘About’

We have a 1940s Cape Cod with an addition done in 1954 (this was the information on the disclosure). ¬†The original kitchen and eating space was TINY, apartment sized even. ¬†They blew out the back and made the dining room and kitchen long. ¬†The kitchen is a little more than 7 1/2 feet wide and the dining room is a little more than 8 but they are over 21 feet long. ¬†The design of the kitchen should have been a galley but they made it into a U and it looks like they left some of the cabinetry that we took out on Day1 & Day2 from the original kitchen. ¬†It’s really not functional but they never had a dishwasher so it must have worked work them! Now we need a new design.

I found a great website, gardenweb.com/thathomesite, and read for weeks.  There are a lot of people with kitchens that I had hoped to have done but also plenty of other DIYers with shoe string budgets.  I read a lot about low-end cabinetry that lasts, counter top materials and flooring.

We decided Ikea was the way to go. ¬†Lots of positive reviews, lots of people who had them for over 10 years and a group that talked about their ‘recall’ cabinet replacement (which wasn’t as bad as the usual frustration that comes with Ikea ordering). ¬†We know we have to inspect everything and be in constant contact with Ikea during this process (don’t you for all cabinet makers though?), it may be frustrating but they are cheaper and better quality than the big box stores lowest end cabinetry (by as much as 1/2 the cost). ¬†It is certainly because we have to assemble all the cabinets ourselves but that is no big deal for us. Did I mention you also get the soft close function as a standard feature with Ikea?

We could go and buy the big box store unfinished oak but they don’t have enough choice to fit into our space to make it work – we need function, we need drawers everywhere. ¬†We also got a suggestion to go to an outlet stores of some of the cabinet makers. ¬†They had some of what we wanted but they couldn’t¬†guarantee¬†they’d get the cabinets we needed and the price STILL didn’t beat Ikea. ¬†The outlets are further, more expensive and could drag our project on much longer.

Courtesy of ikeafans.com:  I love the subway and wallpaper!

Next is the counter. ¬†I thought we couldn’t afford real stone so we were considering Wilsonart HD counter tops. ¬†They get good reviews and look like stone (but you can see the lines depending upon what kind of edging you want, the less it looks fake, the more expensive to the point where remnants become the same price – our 52sf would be $900 to install for the basic line, it’s a little more than $400 if we measure it ourselves). ¬†We were informed about a big sale coming up in natural countertops (I’ll post details as soon as we can confirm aka place our order!) and that will squeeze into our budget. We have just a few more days until we can confirm. ¬†If we can’t make that work, we’ll go search for remnants in quartz. Something to lighten the look of our floor.

We’re getting a farmhouse sink (Ikea Domsjo 36″ double, I would have loved a Shaw but go price that out lol) it sits over top of the counter top so we need no custom cuts so if this sale falls through, remnants will be perfect.¬†¬†¬† We decided on quartz because it never needs to be sealed, most of it comes from local quarries and those reasons make it a more green choice. ¬†The whole radon/granite thing freaks me out and granite is not found locally.

The floor I stumbled upon after reading about what to do about a hump in the floor for laying tile is Marmoleum (brand name from the company Forbo, most people know it as Linoleum, located in Hazelton, PA). ¬†We have yet to measure the slope but we investigated from underneath to see if we had a structural problem and we don’t see anything. ¬†Our hump must be in the flooring from above. ¬†As soon as we rip it up Saturday, we’ll know how to fix it or just leave it since it’s a forgiving floor choice.¬† If we went with tile, we’d have to fix the hump no matter how small or it would crack in less than 2 years time.¬† Installing tile can be tricking and it is no good for the back.¬† Marmoleum/linoleum is soft underfoot, easy to clean (no grout!!), made of natural materials and can last 50 years.¬† We chose a ‘period’ flooring to keep the vibe (gray and black checkerboard). Most people who want old houses want period looking rooms.¬† It isn’t entirely possible due to choices in cabinetry without going custom but I think the few touches we’ll have will satisfy that desire for something original.¬† It’s Marmoleum in Raven and Volcanic Ash.¬† The cost is $1300 from greenbuildingsupply.com

Picture courtesy of: http://alacs.blogg.se/category/x-koket.html

Choosing a faucet that wasn’t crazy expensive was tricky.¬† The reviews of what you can buy in the big box store without ordering custom were a bit unsettling (lots of mixed reviews, too mixed to chance) The gardenweb group came through again with suggesting faucetsdirect.com.¬† We decided on a Groehe Bridgeford 33 780 in Chrome to accompany our Ikea farm house style sink.¬† It has a pull out function, traditional looks and a farmy feel.¬† Love!¬† I wish we could spring for the stainless steal but it’s just not practical.¬† Most people probably wouldn’t even notice.¬† ~$368 (using code 4GROHE4)

I’m still unsure about hardware (toss up between Ikea Varde and something new from the Martha Stewart collection available at Home Depot) either way, it will be pretty inexpensive ($4.49 for the Martha and $3.50 or so for the Ikea)

Our budget breakdown so far;

Permits $150 (more on that later)
Masks,Bagster bags, sledge hammer – $100
Floor $1332 w/ delivery
Cabinets $2332 w/tax
Sink $317 w/tax
Faucet $368

Next at the estimates:
Counter $1400??
Pluming/electrical $450
Drywall/lumber $150
Dishwasher <$1000
Hood <$400
Pickup of Bagster $119 and $99 each additional bag, we’ll see if we need the 2nd or not

So that’s $8168, hopefully some stuff will be less but that’s pretty darn good ūüôā

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Day 2!

All the cabinet doors are off, the bottom cabinets are out and we are able to see how we can remove the flooring. ¬†We discovered 3 layers. ¬†2 layers over a subfloor which is over another floor that is probably glued to the wood floor (damn, I was hoping it was going to be subfloor nailed into the wood floor). ¬†We aren’t sure if it’s original floor all the way at the bottom but ¬†I guess we’ll find out since we need to figure out why we have a hump in the floor. ¬†We have no structural problems that can be seen or measured from under the floor.

We pried the subfloor and the top layer popped off cleanly so we think it’ll be a good removal Saturday – as long as we can get rid of the other side of the kitchen before then. ¬†I wonder if the floor goes all the way underneath or is like the original side of the kitchen. ¬†We’ll find out Wednesday. ¬†I will be out to see Lady Gaga but Paul may keep chugging along to keep us on time.

Our dining room kitchen isn’t that usable yet so we went out to dinner. ¬†I am getting a rotisserie chicken tomorrow to make chicken and garbanzo bean soup. ¬†I have to double check the forecast to plan some grilling! ¬†It feels too early to be eating chilli and soup.

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Day 1, Sunday September 12th

The first day of hopefully a 45 day Kitchen (Paul thinks we’ll be done by Halloween, my date was before Thanksgiving – care to take some bets? I hope he wins!)

We emptied kitchen, moved everything we need into the dining room, created a new space for washing dishes in the basement and moved the coffee into the living room.

We had demo the first day. ¬†We were able to take out one upper cabinet and the counter. ¬†I have never seen so many nails. ¬†This was a kitchen to last and it did for 50 years. ¬†We’re putting all the debris in a relatively new product from WasteManagement Bagster.

It will hold 3300lbs of materials.  Be sure to read the directions when you buy it to be sure you have a spot.  We live on a main road, with power lines below 18 ft and a narrow driveway.  We have the front corner that just barely fits but getting a traditional dumpster has similar problems of delivery. http://www.thebagster.com/

Here are some befores and our demo progress

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