Monthly Archives: August 2011

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta’…*

*Lyrics from the Geto Boys’ song of the same name. As (poorly) fake sung by fake Kermit here. As heard first in Office Space. Totally not safe for work, by the way. Maybe not safe for most. You’ve been warned.

Client renovation – days 18, 19, 20 (+ 20.5, aka Saturday)

By the third day of the cabinet install it was clear that my position as photographer/designer/jack-of-whatever-trade-you-need was going to be utilized in a new way: as a painter. I was already acting as a coffee fetcher (what else is new), lunch grabber, vacuumer, sweeper, holder of things that require extra hands, trash collector, and back acher. Well, that last part was my own contribution to myself. But, no matter how you sliced it, my camera was going to have to be put down for much of the week. Still, I managed to get some photos (don’t cry!), so you can still inspect the progress for yourself(ves).

read on…

What are we gonna do-hoo with you, you don’t make it easy on me…*

*Lyrics from Jenny Lewis’ song Godspeed from her album Acid Tongue. I’m always impressed when people sound even better live than in their studio album. Good stuff.

Client kitchen – days 16 & 17 (start of week 4)

Cabinets. Oh, boy, cabinets. The week started out rocky-ish, and not in the Sylvester Stalone way. (Well, maybe, but I’ve never seen Rocky, so I can’t say for sure. Stop throwing stuff at me!) Suffice it to say that the cabinet install wasn’t the simple, straightforward, mythically easy process that IKEA claimed. Still, for a budget as tight as Mr and Mrs K had, it was a practical choice, and one that Team Carpentry was determined to make work.

read on…

Back in the high life again…*

*Lyrics from Steve Winwood’s Back In The High Life Again. Yeah, I went there. Oh, and the video is terrifically awful. The ’80s were a different time.

Client kitchen – days 13, 14, 15 and a little bit on 15.5 (aka Saturday)

By the end of week three, the floors had been sanded and coated three times. Let me put that another way: the floors were sanded and coated and sanded and coated and sanded and coated. In that order. Just writing that was exhausting, so you can imagine how tiring it was to do. (I have to imagine it, too, since my primary function was to open and shut windows to avoid thunderstorms, and to turn on or off fans to help the floors dry smooth and clean.) The Team worked extra hard, watched the weather and the humidity adjusting their schedule to suit the optimal times to coat, and managed to get the entire space finished in the span of only a few days.

read on…

If you haven’t got problems I feel bad for you son…*

*Lyrics from Jay-Z’s 99 Problems as resung by Hugo on his album Old Tyme Religion. I may even prefer the Hugo version, though the video is absolutely stupid. The sentiment remains the same. And it ain’t a bitch.

Client kitchen renovation – days 11 & 12

The week started out great. Tile. Flooring. Wall color. Mostly all hits (as I said in my last post, there’s a shade of yellow that’s under investigation). And we even made an ambitious and detailed schedule for all of our sub contractors so we could confirm finish dates and get a game plan for the end date. That’s when we hit our first significant snag. Ugh. The countertop installers have us at the back of the line, the bottom of the list, and aren’t able to complete our project within our overall timeframe. Blerg.

read on…

But don’t ask me where I’ve been or what I’ve done…*

*Lyrics from Amarillo from the Gorillaz album The Fall. The album was recorded using almost exclusively iPad apps. Crazy and cool.

Client kitchen renovation – days 9 and 10 (end of week 2)

With an insanely tight schedule and a rapidly dwindling summer calendar (I hate the knowledge that soon we’ll be voluntarily using blankets, sweaters and other implements of warmth-making) Dave, Jonas and Brian got busy finishing the drywall and flooring installation. Details left to tackle: taping, mudding, sanding, paint and thresholds. Though it may seem like a small list, the actual work involved spanned days. The breakneck speed which started off the short week eased into a quite rapid but not hideously over-fast speed, and the guys put their heads down and got to work. I am constantly impressed with how much they each do (Jonas can paint, don’t let him tell you differently), and how many things they are capable of doing (and well!).

read on…

I bet the groove that you’re hearin’ is keeping you satisfied…*

*Lyrics from 2 In A Room’s 1990 “hit” (can you say it was a hit if you had to hunt wikipedia for information on it?) Wiggle It (Just A Little Bit). This one’s for you, Dave Powell. This is what you get for mentioning off-hand old lyrics to a crappy song from our youth.

Day 8: Client kitchen renovation

My head is still spinning from how much work went on today. After a week of waiting for subcontractors and inspections (passed!), after many mostly quiet days spent twiddling thumbs (or leg jiggling, fingernail biting, pacing, etc.), today Team Carpentry made up for the lack of visible progress and then some. Working through sweaty, humid and dead of summer weather, the guys rolled their way through installing 3/4 of the new hardwood flooring and installing sheetrock on nearly every wall and ceiling. Let me put it another way: there are now floors and walls and ceilings where yesterday there were none. It’s a mighty impressive step toward making the space take shape, toward realizing the vision for the design, toward putting back together the bones of a formerly hard-working (and much missed by Mr & Mrs K) kitchen.

read on…

Don’t let it kill you, baby, don’t let it get to you…*

*Lyrics from Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker’s 1981 hit The Waiting (is the hardest part).

Client Renovation: end of Week 1 and days 6 & 7 (if you missed the beginning of this tale, read about it here and here.)

Yeah, that’s right, I went old-school with my song lyrics today. But that’s because it fit too well. This past week, or rather 5 days spread across two work weeks, has been about waiting, primarily. Waiting for phase 1 to be complete, waiting for plumbers to arrive (which they finally did, but not without breaking promises to show up at least 3 times), and waiting for the electrical to be completed (which happened in a timely manner, but over a couple of visits due to a nasty cold). Waiting IS the hardest part. Mostly.

read on…

Obligation, complication, routines and schedules drug and kill you…*

*Lyrics from Radiohead’s Little By Little from The King of Limbs album. Clearly, I’m obsessed. Try here for the remix. Also clearly, I have some more music shopping to do.

Days 2 & 3: Client Renovation

As predicted by Dave and Team Carpentry, demo and framing was done in two days. A full crew, fully caffeinated, fully focused and fully drenched in sweat ripped apart that room revealing ancient (ok, more like 90+ years old) lathe that was in good enough condition to be able to affix new drywall to. A bonus since that’s what Dave had hoped for. Also discovered (and expected, but not hoped for) non-plumb, non-level spots on the salvageable walls that will definitely make things trickier to install down the road. But, all in all, a successful two days of cleaning out the old to make way for the new.

read on…

You’re on a roll and now you pray it lasts…*

*Lyrics from Matthew Wilder’s hit 80’s song “Break My Stride.” The video is pretty remarkable – the fashion, the dancing, the Solid Gold. I’ve been saving this one up for today’s post.

Day 1: Client Kitchen & Bath Renovation

It’s hard to imagine that last year at this time Jeff and I were excitedly and nervously counting the days in our own renovation, already hitting day 11 by the beginning of August. Well, today was day 1 for my clients’ (heretofore known as Mr & Mrs K) kitchen and bathroom renovation. I don’t know that they’re as nervous or excited as we were, but I know that they’ll be counting the days as we did. How can you not? I mean, when more than half of your house is taken over by teams of people, tools and materials; when the only sounds you can hear during the daytime are hammers banging, power tools vibrating, and things being heaved into a large, and loud, dumpster, it’s pretty hard not to pay attention.

read on…

Open your mouth wide, the universal sigh…*

*Lyrics from Radiohead’s song Bloom from their album The King of Limbs. I mean no disrespect by using the lyrics in this playful manner – the song, the album, both amazing. Worth every penny and every minute of listening. Every time.

There’s a light (shining at the Frankenstein place). There’s a ligh-hi-high-hi-high-hah-ha-hight (burning in the fireplace!). There’s a ligh-high-uh-hight in the darkness of everybody’s life. There’s also a light in my office now. So, woo-hoo!

Many moons ago I began compiling bits and pieces for my inevitable office transformation. Up until a few years ago I would have self-identified as a hair colorist who was struggling to find my place in the world. Now I’m not afraid to say I’m a budding artist and designer, and a student of interior design (albeit a former student). Before our kitchen renovation began I had a little tiny area of the kitchen that I referred to as my “hair studio.” Now I have a fully-fledged, proper office. With a portable drafting table, portfolio pieces, and countless implements for design and drawing. (Perhaps not countless, but who wants to count that sort of stuff?)

read on…