Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kitchen Countertop Dilemma

This is exactly what I do NOT want my kitchen to look like. Just wood everywhere... Dark, dismal, country bumpkin pioneer kitchen. If this is your kitchen and you love it, no offense is intended, it just isn't what I have in mind for ours.

We had decided to get butcher block counter tops. Some of my favorite magazines to browse are home magazines from England and I absolutely love the way that the wood counter tops shine and look so fabulous in all the homes. They are very popular in Europe and very tastefully done.
Because they look something like this photo above. I love, love, love this photo.
Last night I had an epiphany. Wood ceiling with wood beams with wood floor with wood counter tops with wood cabinets = a LOT of wood. A whole lot. Too much.
I spent the night scouring Flickr and google and HGTV to try to find an all wood kitchen that suited me. I didn't like any of them. I think having a contrast between painted surface and the butcher block counter top is key. I love this black island above.

Here's our dilemma. To my sweet husband, painting any kind of wood is a mortal sin.
I think that maybe if we just paint the island base and leave the side cabinets wood it would be an improvement on what we're headed towards now - that first photo I dread.
Another solution might be to use butcher block on the island and slate or soapstone on the side cabinets....
I'm scrolling through prices and photos right now.

In other happy kitchen news, Sean began saving us a $1,000 yesterday by cleaning up the broken old hearth and preparing to pour a new concrete base for the new hearth. I love having a husband capable of DIY!

I emptied out the last of the sewing room (above the kitchen) so that room can now be gutted. There are only two remaining room to be emptied of lathe and plaster in the old part of the house! So encouraging!

And lastly, still no sweet baby in arms. I'm keeping busy, drinking my nettle and raspberry leaf tea and last night began using Evening Primrose Oil. Not much longer to go, right?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just a quick update. Here's what is new:

1.) First estimate for getting the old fireplace re-pointed was way out of our price range. About $120 an hour. This price would be if Sean did all the prep work by chiseling out the existing mortar and laying a new concrete foundation for the brickwork on the hearth. We'll definitely be getting more estimates before deciding whether or not to do it ourselves.

2.) More sticker shock when the final price for our composite granite counter tops came back. We knew there had to be a beautiful alternative that we could love and live with and we've decided to go "green" with butcher block counter tops and island. The price for the granite composite? About $90 sq. foot. The price for the butcher block - $900 for everything.

3.)Tonight I'm shopping online for an under mount apron sink.

4.) We've been paying a friend to gut the extra rooms on the old side of the house. I'll post photos soon. It's coming along great!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mr. Sandman

He's been busy - the sweet, handsome love of my life. On Friday afternoon he came home pulling this monstrous contraption behind his truck.
From then on, breaking only for sleep and a pancake breakfast, he's been beautifying the old beams in the future kitchen. If you, recall, it looked like this before:

A sooty, messy fireplace that we had unwalled... Twelve layers of paint on every painted surface, included doors with antique hardware, 200+ year old stairs, etc. All just waiting for my Mr. Sandman. Here he is below in his superhero Sandman costume: And the magical wonders he performed on that fireplace:

And on the 1791 ceiling beams that we want to leave exposed in the new kitchen/old keeping room...

The wires up there belong to lights that we were trying out. We liked how they fit up in between the beams and so they'll stay.

Take a look at those stairs. They are steep and lead to some unheated upstairs/to be gutted rooms. They were most recently painted an unflattering gray and white with plastic non-stick thingies glued on.

Aren't they purty now? Just awaitin' my hand sander and some poly. Those fancy speckles all over the treads is the sand from my Mr. Sandman's sandblaster.
"Do you want me to replace some of these treads?" the sandman asked. "Some of them look worn down..."
He must of sensed the heat from my glaring because he turned around.
They are two hundred and sixteen years old. I think they've earned the right to look worn! I love them.

Here is some more of the sand all over. Sean also sandblasted the door in the background which leads to the future master bedroom.
I think he started out with four hundred pounds of sand. I'll have to ask how much he went through. The sandblaster came with his own supersuit, as seen in one of the first photos, with a separate air hose for Sean. It sounded like a jet was landing in the new kitchen while in use. My Dad and lovely Stepmom were here visiting and suddenly the air began to look cloudy and taste... sandy?
Even thought the rest of the house is closed off from where Sean was working his magic, that sand and dust went EVERYWHERE.
The kids and I took off for Panera and Target for the evening. After a sweeping, vacuuming and mopping, the dining room is back to normal. I thought drywall plaster sand was bad...

Enough of my messy, dusty house... Here is some more beauty brought about by Mr. Sandman.

This door in the new kitchen leads to a cedar closet. We'll be making it into a mudroom connecting to the garage.

Above is that same door before.

Here is the lovely original hardware, ready to be shined up. Love it.

Some more pretty beams. These were incredibly dark before being sandblasted.

Sean was also gracious enough to take off the cellar door and blast away the paint on it for me. It's most recent color was an 80's seagreen. It is a handmade door like the one above and looks great now. Photo to come later, promise.

Edited to add:
Sean says he started off with 1,000 pounds of sand and used about 800.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Fancy Smancy

Our new slide in range is on its way! Ordered via ebay, it still cost as much as my first car (a 1990 Ford Escort hatchback that I once fit eight people in on the thruway and boy did it bottom out and no, I am not that irresponsible anymore....) and even though we payed a $1000 less than the stove's price in local stores, I'm still having sticker shock...

Why we picked this one:

1.)Very superficial here - I loved the professional looking knobs.
2.) It has a built in downdraft. Putting any cook top or stove in an island requires either an enormous hood and ventilation system or a separate downdraft.
A separate hood and pipe or a separate downdraft cost at least $1000 each. Jenn Air is the only company that makes a stove with a built in downdraft.
3.) It is duel fuel.
Electric is better for baking and gas is better for cooking. It is convertible to propane, which is the fuel we'll be using out here in the country with no gas lines available.
4.) Comes with a full warranty.
5.) Roomy oven. While I'd still love to find a nice wall oven on clearance for say, $200, this allows me not to have to hold my breath while we wait and watch.

So, viola, here is the stove and it should be in next week!