Summer has effortlessly shifted into fall, marking the official close to a season that was full of fire and energy, heat and flooding, plenty and too much plenty. Windows were unceremoniously closed, yet screens remain in place; sweaters were unearthed from the drawers, or backs of closets, yet summer clothing has not been put away yet; seasonal cooking has shifted from tomatoes, fresh herbs and all things raw to squashes, soups and an increased interest in baking. The tides have changed, without us really noticing, though we are certainly aware.
Way back when, in late spring (a full two seasons ago!), we met with Mr and Mrs K to discuss ideas for their new kitchen (at that point merely a hope). Meeting after meeting, month after month and we weren’t sure they were going to choose us. Or even start at all. Drawing after drawing, email after email and we finally arrived at a direction, picked a start date, and boldly attempted to renovate an entire kitchen and bathroom in a month. Well, that didn’t quite happen, but it very nearly did: the kitchen is finally done!
*Lyrics from, you guessed it, more Radiohead! This time from their In Rainbows album, which cemented them for me as a go-to, must-have, favorite band to listen to at all times, preferably late at night, when it’s raining, or when you’re feeling internal (tipsy works, too). This one’s All I Need. Radiohead is all I need.
Client kitchen and bath renovation – weeks 5 & 6
For those of you who are just joining us, or maybe want a refresher, this is where we were merely a month and change ago. With a 4 to 6 week timeframe, and a hope for 4, we began, guns blazing, to tear apart Mr and Mrs K’s kitchen and bathroom. Well, a few weeks later and we’re in the final stretch. I know for them it’s been extremely hard – small child, small dog, small living space, small budget – but I hope it’ll be rewarding in the end. Today they got countertops.
*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).
*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.
*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.
*Lyrics from Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker’s 1981 hit The Waiting (is the hardest part).
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.
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.
*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.