Thursday, April 28, 2011

Doors? We Don't Need No Stinkin Doors!

We were always planning to remove the doorway into the hall from the kitchen. I knew it would open things up but I didn't know how much it would open things up. I pride myself on being able to visualize these sorts of things without seeing them in person. Turns out, I was way off! What a different. It's a little difficult to see in these pictures, but you'll just have to trust me. It makes a whole world of difference. Here...see for yourself:

And a random shot of the back of the bookcase in the gym room. At least it's secure now...

After standing in the house exclaiming "Wow" about a thousand times we decided to bite the bullet and do away the doorway into the dining room.

When One Door's good...Two are BETTER!

And there went the 2nd door...

Can you stand how much brighter things are?! WOW! In fact, we originally wanted to open up the doorway from the hall into the living room, but due to cost constraints we had to cut back on that. an effort to be honest, I have to say that I'm not 100% sure on the whole "open it up" plan. My reasoning is that I love old houses with divided rooms, beautiful moldings, and lots of character. Call me weird, but it just feels so much more homey to me! I'm growing accustomed to the new, more open, floor plan. Besides, it's not as though I can change it now! It's a step towards the Great Room that the husband always wanted. And with the vent from the microwave now leading directly out of the house, I'll be a much happier camper with the whole open floor plan idea. It's the food smells that really bother me with the open floor plan...well at least one of the things that bother me about it...

Anyhow. I know you're all bored reading this so hope you liked the pictures. Next up...walls!

New Windows

We're still waiting on one window...but here's a sneak peak at the new windows...

First off, we have new shingles on the house. In need of paint obviously...but it's a start!

Not to shabby. Can't wait to share how we "opened" up the place! How's that for a'll just have to wait! It's coming!!!

And today we're getting walls and a ceiling! How exciting!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

One day last week we woke up to this! Seriously, I'm not exaggerating. It was literally overnight that we went from dirt on the side of the house to this!

Last weekend, while I decided to selfishly sit out in the sun and read for a while the husband transformed the above into this:

Ok's still a mess. Go easy on the guy!! The bed has been cleaned out. The driveway is still sprouting weeds, but what can you do. This year's project is the kitchen, not landscaping. So deal with it!

And apparently we have wildflowers growing??

And this was taken this morning. Can you believe how fast these plants are growing. Gotta love the Hastas. No work needed! Not the prettiest things, but what can you do?

Light Switch

I've never been so excited about a light switch in all my life!'s the little things in life...

That's's a light switch in the hallway. Can you see it? It's sort of small off on the left there...
In fact, it's going to be a 3 way light so it can be turned on from the hall near the living room and from the kitchen. Fancy isn't it?

And even more exciting, the stupid/annoying pull cord light that's currently in that location will be removed and replaced with a recessed light to match the kitchen lighting. We were going to put in a little drum shade type fixture, but in order to open the basement door we needed just enough clearance. The options were slim and the one that we both agreed on is backordered until July. No dice... Recessed light it is! Much better choice (let's hope!)

Floor Progress

Leveling the floor has been an ongoing process for about two weeks. Here are some pictures of a couple sections where you can really see the change. In fact, some of the boards had to be removed and replaced due to rotting.

Here's hoping a lot of progress is made this week! I'm about ready to move on from this project.'s not really that bad to live through. But I am really tired of not being able to cook the things I want to eat. Oh well...

Also...the key to this project is having a good dishwasher on hand at all times. ;)

The Header

Some of you have heard about our "Header Dilemma"...basically it's necessary for supporting the 2nd floor. Turns out...there was nothing supporting the whole second floor width wise in the entire house. Oops! Of course, now that we've uncovered the problem we have to remedy the situation in order for the kitchen to pass inspection. At first we were under the impression that we could put in a recessed header in the ceiling which would be totally hidden from view. Sadly, this isn't possible without ripping out the entire bathroom. Now, the thought has crossed our mind to redo the bathroom while we're at it with the kitchen project...but if we do it now, we're required to pull permits and hire an electrician and a plumber. Even though we don't plan to change the layout one bit, we'd still be required to go through all those steps. Basically, the contractor will do the bathroom for us after the fact for a small fraction of the cost because he won't need to hire anyone else to help with the project. make a long story short...we're stuck with a header in the ceiling that will be visible. It's actually not so bad, but it still isn't great! As you may recall, we're getting rid of the door into the hallway from the kitchen. The idea was to open up the kitchen into the hallway will not transition like a door or wall, or doorframe. But, we'll still have that pesky header in the way. Truth be told, the real reason I'm upset about it is because it doesn't go straight, it's at an angle. Those of you who know me well know that I will harp on this annoying tidbit for the rest of my life! It would be so much better if it were straight...but alas, it isn't possible due to the location of the structural columns for supporting the first floor and second floor. Oh well!

There are some other ways to address this. We could create a soffit. We could install lighting in the soffit to make it look intentional, we could create a drop down ceiling of sorts, or we can do what I think we're going to do. That is, just box in the beams with blueboard and plaster, and paint it to match the ceiling. I'd much rather do my best to make it "disappear". I see no reason to spend more on strange lighting. I think that will just make it stand out more.

On a brighter note, at least the header is on the outer edge of the kitchen and not right through the middle!

Here are some pictures:
Oh and sorry for the weird angles. I was trying to show the angle of the header to you...Didn't really work out as well as I'd planned. Remember, the doorway behind the header into the hallway will be removed.

What do you think? Not so bad right...but just not great either...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Window Work

As you know, we're altering some of the windows in the kitchen. Actually, all of them! The window over the soon-to-be sink area is being cut in half to accommodate the sink and countertop. The window to the right near the radiator is being replaced with a new window, and lastly, the window in the mudroom is being expanded to about twice its original size.

The last few days the guys have made slow progress by working on re-framing the windows that will be changed. It's not very exciting, but it's a step in the right direction!

Here are some pictures!

p.s. Casa Benedetti (strange mix of Spanish and Italian there) has been even colder than usual for the past week. Surprisingly, the minimal insulation and old drafty windows in the original kitchen did do a little something to keep the house "warm." Now that the insulation and walls have been removed, and that the window has been removed and replaced with a plastic bag, the interior temperature has been less than warm. Thank goodness for my electric blanket! If only we had two so someone else could be warm also! Oh no, I don't mean me...I am sure to snag MY blanket whenever possible! I'm just looking out for the husband here... :)

p.p.s. We learned some VERY interesting facts about our house last week. Turns out, it's older than we thought! Strange right? We thought it was built in 1930, but it must be closer to 1900. Knob and Tube wiring made it's first appearance in 1925. It wasn't exactly considered mainstream at that point. Perhaps several years later it was used everywhere. Before that time, gas lights were used. Turns out our house has experienced it all! When the walls were removed we learned that our house has knob and tube as well as old gas lines for gas lighting! Crazy! and Very cool! Can you imagine..only 1 gas light hanging in the center of every room? Glad to have the fire hazard removed, but very intrigued to learn about the history of our house!