Friday, 22 July 2011

How Does the Garden Grow?

Very nicely, thank you.

Today it attracted its first hummingbird. I rushed to fill the feeder, and will now wait hopefully for its return.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Kitchen Floor

While we wait for the counter tops, our attention turns to the floor. Our plan is to have the old fir boards refinished, just as we have done in the rest of the main floor rooms. So in came the sanding machine and the huge vacuum to keep the dust to a minimum.

You never know what surprises you'll find in an old house. When the sanding was done, it revealed a 4 ft x 4 ft piece of plywood right in front of the chimney.

 Most of this would be covered by the carpet under the dining table, but nonetheless we agreed it would be best to have it repaired. Our refinishers were able to source some fir of similar vintage and width and did a great job of blending it into the existing boards.

 When they first put it in, it didn't look like much of a match.

 However, once sanded, it  was much less obvious, and considering that the carpet will also be in that area, we'll never notice the slight differences.

 Besides, the floor has a decided patina of irregularity already thanks to its age and a certain amount of abuse at an early stage in its life. With nail holes, stains and gouges that can't be sanded out, it is definitely a floor of character. With that in mind, we are very happy with the glowing results, especially the way the hall now blends seamlessly into the kitchen.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Kitchen

At the end of June we took a week off and went to Chicago. (More about that on my new blog specifically for travel:
When we came back we were ready to tackle the kitchen. We had already lined up the cabinetmakers and the floor refinishers. I had decided on a new fridge and dishwasher, and narrowed down the choices of a new gas range with dual-fuel oven to three. With Michael's help we made that decision too.
To prepare for what was to come, we began to take everything movable out of the kitchen. The cupboard contents went into our guest room,

or the downstairs bathroom,

or were boxed and stored in the basement.

Michael removed the old linoleum,

the plywood beneath it,

and the ancient tiles under that.

At last only a grey film of paper and glue covered the original boards. We replaced the linoleum loosely, just to keep down the dust until the boards were sanded clean.
On July 4, the kitchen table and dresser went into Michael's room, leaving just enough room for him to squeeze past the table to sit at his desk.

We set up our temporary kitchen and eating space on the back porch with a small table to serve for both food preparation and dining.

The next day, serious work by serious tradesmen began. The frames of the top cabinets were left in place, to be painted and fitted with new doors. The bottom ones came out altogether.

So did a hand of cards that had fallen down behind the cabinets. Not a winning hand, I guess.

As the kitchen island couldn't be installed until the floor was refinished, I'd hoped it would be delivered later. Unfortunately, it arrived with the rest of the cabinets. The good news is that it came in two pieces; half ended up on the back porch, half in the living room. With the old fridge also jammed onto the back porch, we had just enough room remaining to there to cook on our little camp stove and wash up in the laundry tub. There was no hope of sitting at the little table as we had planned.

Ah well, there was the front porch, and when it was too cold to sit there, the living room.
Meanwhile, the new cabinetry went in smoothly.

 Once they were in, a man arrived to measure for the counter tops. Cutting them to fit was going to take two more weeks.

One more wall

Although Michael's room was close to completion, we delayed finishing the wall with the new window. Eventually, Michael plastered the gaps and framed it in.

I think we both dreaded the sanding of the plaster around the window frame, so that got ignored for several months. However, when Michael was away for a week during June, I decided it was time to get the job done. Kitted out in my Value Village hoodie, I sanded away, covering myself and the vicinity in fine white dust.
Painting the wall and the window frame was easy after that.