*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 We Are Family as sung by Sister Sledge. I debated about which of the several horrible videos to share, but settled on the one from Solid Gold. The pyrotechnics alone make it worth the viewing. The outfits, well, they’re just the cherry on top of that sundae. (Oh, and the Solid Gold link is solid.gold.)
Between the after effects of Tropical Storm Irene (hurricane to some of you), and closing on a house for my mom, I’ve had barely a moment to reflect and enjoy the last fleeting moments of a summer that practically sprinted by. Labor Day, traditionally considered the ‘last day’ of summer (though summer lasts well in September, if we’re lucky) became a reason to enjoy not one last lazy day filled with sunshine, hammocks and cookouts, but to enjoy discounts on appliances, toilets and sofas for the new place. And due to the gap in schedules at Mr and Mrs K’s kitchen/bath remodel, I was able to switch gears and get into full remodel zone for my mom’s new condo. So long, summer. I wish I got to know you better.
*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).
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.
*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 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.
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!).
*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.