She’s Going To Be GORGEOUS

Tom is THE MAN!  I prefer to write post that show certain projects from start to finish, but in this case I was too excited to wait.  The built-in that I saved is going to be absolutely gorgeous when it’s all finished.  Tom has made my vision for restoring this piece come to life.

For those that remember my Armed with 2 PB&Js, Vitamin Water and Gatorade post you know my house had a built-in that stood in the way of my open concept kitchen/dining room.  I loved the piece; it was one of the many cool elements that made me fall instantly in love with my house, so without question it was going to be saved and relocated.

Once freed the cabinet was going to be located next to the refrigerator, which means that the left side of it will be exposed.  The sides weren’t meant to be shown (hence the word built-in), so they were not pretty.  For months I stewed over what to do until I furniture-18022-2received an email from the Wooden Nickel, which showed a picture of a pine hutch they had for sale (now sold).  I went to see it in person and the idea was born.  I decided to take strips of wood and frame the sides, like you see on the hutch.

Now a normal person (I’m not normal) would just nail on four strips of wood.  I wanted it to look original, intentional, so I wanted the inside edge to have the same profile as the doors.  This is the same profile I put on my kitchen cabinets20180405_194421.jpg and master vanity.  This built-in was really the inspiration behind many of my design choices, so I had to make her right.

Before I moved I got my former neighbor to help me rip down in thickness and width new pieces of pine I bought from Home Depot.  I purchased a router bit that would give me the rounded affected from the doors and he used his router to add the profile.  I bought a router last year and it’s still in the box.  Now was not the time for a crash course.  One thing I learned through my floor restoration is that new wood will not stain the same as old wood.  Then I remembered I had a supply of old pine planks given to me by my friend Joan.

Her wood was covered in a thick, shellac like, coating, but Tom, the Man, Milfeld was able to run it through his planer (my next tool investment) and use my router bit to create the same strips, but with old pine.  My friend’s building is about 50 years older than my house.  He completely understood what I was going for, so while I unpacked more boxes, he got to work attaching the strips to the sides of the cabinet.

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Now it’s up to me to get her across the finish line.  I’ve got to get the tile work finished on the first floor bathroom, but I’m biting at the bit to get her finished.  I still have a few more surprises to share in the final reveal, so stay tuned.

Blue Is My Favorite Color

I found another great tradesman/finish carpenter, Tom Milfeld, and in the nick of time.  My kitchen cabinets were delivered on Monday, November 12 and I was moving in on the 17th.  In addition to having great skills, he is an absolute DELIGHT to work with.  He has allowed me to be his assistant saving me money and I’ve learned some great tips on replacing floor boards, cutting with a circular saw, etc. that I’ll put to good use.

Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, so thanks to all the sweat equity employed on this project by me, friends, and family, I was able to design the kitchen and master bath of my dreams.  The HGTV 2017 Urban Oasis kitchen had blue cabinets, so that’s when I first started thinking of painted vs. stained.  I grew up with brown, wood, cabinets and definitely wanted something different.  I did not select the same shade of blue they used, Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue HC-156, because I was not going completely custom.  Instead I selected Sherwin Williams Naval, the stock color offered by Shiloh Cabinetry, the builder of my kitchen cabinets.  I carried the Naval into the master bath vanity made by Homestead Furniture.  They matched it as close as possible, so not a custom color.

The bathroom vanity was tackled first.  I utilized my Walabot gadget to locate the studs.  I totally forgot my father and I had installed wood blocks in between each stud in anticipation of my floating vanity.  Tom’s measurements and cutting out of plumbing fixture holes were exact.  We placed a temporary support beam on the short wall, which greatly aided in hanging this very heavy cabinet.

 

I love the trough sink I found on Build.com.  I will lack counter top space, but since my drawer/storage space has quadrupled from what I’ve had over the last 4 decades I’ll work around that.  Sherwin William’s coordinating color system on their website really makes it looks like I know what I’m doing from a design perspective.  The Icycle and Pacer White are perfect complements to the vanity.

 

For as many bad contractor experiences I’ve had, there have been equally good ones and another noteworthy one is Ohio Valley Solid Surfaces.  I am a repeat customer of theirs as I worked with them when I replaced the Formica counter tops with Corian at my former house over 15 years ago.  I also purchased remnant granite tops for my two full bathrooms about 6 years ago. Their crew arrived the morning of November 12th promptly and the quickly unloaded my much-anticipated blue cabinets.  I had priced my cabinets through Pease Home Improvement, but went to Ohio Valley Solid Surface for my counter tops as I hoped to luck up and find another remnant slab.  I was able to find a remnant piece of soap stone that I will use as the top for the built-in.  Turns out they were also a dealer for Shiloh Cabinetry and their price came in $600 under Pease, so with the help of Emily Womble they became my one stop shop for kitchen cabinets and counters.

The process for hanging cabinets was simpler than I thought and my house only presented one wall that wasn’t square enough to the point you see a slight gap between the wall and cabinet.  The style of my doors intentionally matches the doors on the built-in I saved and will eventually relocate back in the kitchen.  My doors are inset (again like the built-in), so it was very important that the cabinets be level or they would not open and close properly.

I love the soft close feature and wish I had splurged and had them added to my vanity.  They were standard with Shiloh Cabinetry and would have added $350 to cost of vanity.  The goal was to get the cabinets hung by Friday, November 16, the day Ohio Valley would return to measure for the counters.  I have totally snoozed on his name, but the same gentleman that installed my Corian counters at Inner Circle, came and took the measurements.  I think employee longevity is a testimony of a good company.  By meeting the November 16 measurement deadline, I was guaranteed to only live without counters for a week after my move-in.

20180415_182937One of the fortunate outcomes of self-funding this project was that at the time I ordered the cabinets I didn’t have the money for the counter tops.  Cabinets were a 6-8 week lead time whereas the counters were only a week, so I had time to find more funds.  If I had placed the order with the cabinets I would have gotten Silestone’s Pietra (sample B).  It has blue and grey swirls and was the top vote getter by people attending my house blessing gathering.

When I had to finally commit, Emily shared with me some new options of overstock slabs they had on hand.  Selecting one of them could save me about $900, so I took a serious look.  Yes, I loved saving the money, but I actually think the Neve Corian Quartz I ultimately selected for the kitchen looks far better installed than what my original choice would have.  It’s almost marble like, less busy, and oh so elegant looking.  In the master bath I was able to select another overstock slab, sample A above, Ceasarstone Misty Carrera.  The sample was honed (non-shiny), which is what I wanted, but the overstock piece was shiney.  Again to save the money I made the change.  I didn’t go with one stone for both, despite both being blue, because upstairs needed something that would coordinate with the hexagon tile I laid for the tub.  Misty Carrera had a brown undertone to it whereas the Neve had a grey.  The Misty Carrera is on the vanity, but it will also be the bench and ledge for the shower.

The same crew, plus one, that delivered the cabinets did the counter tops and as with the delivery they were punctual in their arrival and efficient in their install.

Ten days after moving in I was able to stop relying on the basement utility sink with the addition of the faucets.  On the first floor my goal has been to maintain the original charm of the house, sticking with decor reminiscent of a 100 year old house.  From Signature Hardware I selected the Bellevue bridge faucet and their Hazelton 27″ stainless steel farmhouse kitchen sink,   Ohio Valley crew drilled the holes exactly where I wanted them, but in retrospect I should have put a little more distance between faucet and sprayer.  Regardless I love the combination and have selected pulls for the drawers that are a great complement to the classic, elegant look of the faucet.

The master bath is all about modern luxury.  I wanted the faucets for the tub, shower and sink to match.  Signature Hardware doesn’t carry many “family” products, but once I selected the shower system, they were able to suggest a tub filler and sink faucet, the Aviston, that matched.  I bought all my bathroom fixtures in March, so I’m long past the window to return even though they just got installed.  Unfortunately my faucet has the wrong reach for the sink.  I love the look, hate its function.

The vessel sink version of the same faucet reduced the reach by 2″, but is an inch taller.  They gave me a 50% discount on it for not being satisfied with the first one, but sadly the flow rate on this faucet is half of what the original faucet provided.  I probably would have been happy with it if I had not bought the first faucet.  Now I have four faucets I don’t like the function of.  I’m going to live with the right reach, poor flow, but my loyalty to Signature Hardware is over.

20181210_001735In addition to the faucet mishaps the pop-up drain I purchased for the first floor bath and the drain shown in the video that came with the original faucet failed to hold water.  You should be able to see some pieces of metal in a cross shape at the bottom of the drain pictured on the left, but they broke off when attempting to tightening them to stop the water that was gushing into the basement.  I ended up replacing both drains with drains from Home Depot.  Signature Hardware did agree to refund my money on the drains, but I’m petrified about connecting the master shower and tub given how poorly these performed.  Water running into the basement was no big deal, but if the master tub and shower fixtures fail they’ll ruin drywall in the living room and guest bedroom.

 

You Need a Good Finish Carpentar

Months of sweat equity and pinching pennies has led me to the stage of finish work and the need for a finish carpenter.  Recently my friend Joan hired Ed Vach of Progressive Design to replace spindles in the stairway of her OTR 5-story walk up.  She told him about my project and provided an opportunity for us to meet on her job.  We talked and he came and took a look at my house and agreed to do some work for me.

The first floor bathroom can be the first completed room in the house as I have all the window trims, fixtures and tile purchased.  Laying the tile can’t start until the casing, molding, and aprons (new term I just learned thanks to Ed) have been placed around the windows and doors.  While I could have tackled this myself, I know I lack proficiency that would lead to material waste and a lack of efficiency.  I want to move in my house this year and start my new journey, so I turned this over to Ed.  He charges by the hour, but gets a lot accomplished and his quality is GREAT!

The 1st floor bath, when I went to remove the trim from around the window disintegrated, I assumed due to decades of moisture build up.  In the kitchen, I resized a window and relocated the pantry, so the original trim will not work.  As you can guess my exact trim is not made any longer.  My budget does not allow to have it custom milled, so I decided to get a close match and place all new trim in these rooms and installing it is Ed’s project.

Fortunately I took a lot of before pictures, so I was able to show him how the original trim had been applied and he did an awesome job getting it close.  Here are some before pictures:

Here are some after/work in progress pictures:

During that first walk-through Ed called me a “purest”, because when/where possible I’m trying to replicate or restore the original.  I turned the entrance to the 1st floor bath into a pocket door, but still plan to use the original door and glass knob.  What I needed to add was a pocket door locking mechanism, so Ed handled that too.

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Against his recommendation I had him place the new lock in the location of the original lock and because the original screw holes were so ate up, the new lock won’t secure, making it difficult to notch it for recessing.  I’ll have to do some wood epoxy patching, but the hard part (drilling hole in door) is complete.   I feel comfortable finishing it up myself.  Per the instructions from the Johnson Hardware pocket door kit, I need to paint or stain the top of the door before attaching the hanging hardware.  I still need to match stain colors, so Ed can’t complete this project at this moment anyway.

Ed also taught me a valuable lesson about wood qualities, stain grade vs. paint grade.  I went to Hyde Park Lumber for the trim and they sold me stain grade wood, no knots.  It’s expensive.  What I could have gotten and ended up purchasing from Doppes Building Materials (serving Cincinnati since 1869) was #2 pine.  I will be painting the new wood in the kitchen and bath, so I was able to save my stain grade wood for new window sills in the entire house.  About 50% were cracked or missing, so Ed’s final project, on this rotation (he’ll be back – say it like Arnold) will be cutting the sills for the entire first floor.