Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kitchen Odyssey: The Waiting Game

We are very fortunate to have friends who can help us with this remodel, keeping costs down. Well, I should say we are fortunate that our children have friends who can help us out. Mikey (yes, that is what he calls himself) and Tony have both worked in construction their whole lives. In addition to general construction, Mikey is a journeyman electrician and Tony is a plumber. Both are happy individuals, who work hard, sing off-key, and love to play golf.

It’s a good thing they like the golf, because there are frequently days when they cannot work due to delays not of their own making. They had a two-day delay thanks to a local building inspector. Maybe he was being overly cautious, maybe I am just a rookie who didn’t prepare the plans well enough, maybe a bit of both. We also had 4 hours of standing around and hand-wringing when the cabinets started to be installed. Then another day waiting for the granite installer to come and measure.

Let me just say that I am a timely person. I show up at the appointed hour for events, dentist appointments, airplanes. I am not very tolerant of those who are late, unless they have small children that inevitably cause delays. So when someone says they will be at our house at a specific time, I plan everything around that. Like the granite installer. When he came to measure, he assured us he would be back the next day mid-morning. Now mid-morning to me means 10-11 am. When he had not shown up by noon, we started calling him.

Now I don’t want to piss this guy off, because he is installing a lot of granite and I want it done right. So I try to play it nice. But Mikey and Tony showed up and were going to install my new hood vent. But since they start at 9am, they wouldn’t have enough time before the granite guy showed up. So they picked up our baseboards, measured out all our window and door trim, made their cuts…and still no granite guy. We put a call into the granite guy and they went off to get lunch. When they came back…still no granite guy. He finally returned our call at 1pm and said he would be over in an hour. Not enough time for Mikey and Tony to install the vent hood, again. So they left to play golf.

And what time did the granite installer arrive? 3:15 pm. I was out getting more primer and paint for the trim, which was probably a good thing. It gave me time to cool off.

Of course, installation was not without its hiccups.

· They had to cut into our sink wall to get it to fit tightly. Not sure if that is because the granite wasn’t square or the wall wasn’t square.

· One counter run is longer than 8 feet, so we knew there would be a seam. I had assumed that it would be in the middle of the sink. But the granite installer recommended it be a foot or two to the left of the sink, as he could get a 9-foot piece. He said that seaming is much better these days and that is preferred. I took him at his word, but now I think he was full of shit. While the seam is nicely done, granite varies so much in its look and color, that now I have a 2-foot seam of mismatched granite, rather than a 3-inch seam at the center of the sink. It doesn’t look terribly bad, but in hindsight, it should have been seamed on the sink.

· He also said the cabinet wall that cases in our refrigerator was not square and gave us a choice of placing the granite tight to the wall, meaning the edge next to the stove would not be straight, or making the edge next to stove straight, leaving a slight gap next to the wall. He said we could always adjust the wall to tighten it to the granite, so we went with the square edge next to the stove. But when he placed the backsplash, he did so tight to the wall so it now cannot be adjusted. We have to hide the small gap with a piece of scribe.

While there were issues, Mr B was fascinated during the whole process. He kept relaying interesting tidbits about the installation process to me, kind of like a kid reports a baseball score every half inning. It was cute to watch.

While granite was never my first choice for countertops, several factors played into it ending up the kitchen, namely our realtor recommended it, potential buyers’ expectations dictated it, and the pocketbook could afford it. At $190 per 8-foot slab, it was cheaper than almost anything else. And it does look nice. But I have learned a wealth of lessons here that will serve me well on my next kitchen remodel.

And for your viewing pleasure: our new stove and vent hood, and the fancy outlets that Electrician Son installed on the sink run.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kitchen Odyssey: Weekly Update

We are now on Day 31 of our kitchen demolition and rebuild. I had a mental target completion date of February 28, which everyone told me was unrealistic. When you move a whole wall, relocate a door, rip out everything (and I do mean everything), and install everything new (except fridge, dishwasher and disposal), it is typical to expect 8 or more weeks, but I had faith in my team and they have not disappointed. All the main elements will be installed by the 28th. All that will be left are small details to finish up next week (two cabinet doors that need glass, paint touch-up, etc.) I should be able to cook my first meal this weekend, assuming I have the time to drag the boxes out of our storage shed and get all my dishes/cooking utensils/food put back in place.

Here is where we are today:


· First coat of paint done (Ralph Lauren Roadster White).

· All cabinets have been installed (KraftMaid Huntington Maple Praline). Toe kick trim and scribe installed, although we are waiting on additional scribe (we were short 16’) and all the top molding (we chose 1½” solid stock to keep with other design elements of the rooms. Waiting to hear from the KraftMaid rep to come and correct deficiencies.

· Hardwood floor installed (Aztec Cherry from Lumber Liquidators).

· Sink install today (Ticor SS3510 Undermount 16-Gauge Stainless Steel Kitchen Sin.).

· Granite installation underway today (Giallo Fiorito granite from Brazil).

· Faucet (Moen 90 Degree Pull Out Faucet), air gap and disposal air button to be installed.

· Disposal and dishwasher to be reinstalled.

· Water line to be run from sink to refrigerator (under house).

· Electrical outlets, switches to be installed.

· Undercabinet flourescents to be installed.

· Vent hood purchased yesterday and to be installed.

· Stove to be delivered Friday between 10 and 12 (BlueStar stainless steel 36-inch all-gas range).

· Backsplash to be installed (comprised of 12x12 tiles, 2x2 tiles, and random glass/rock tiles).

· Baseboards (5½ inch), window and door trim to be painted, cut and installed - using a Craftsman style trim. ¾” x 3½” side trim with a 1” x 5½” top trim. Still debating sill vs. bottom trim.

· Install stair nose floor trim to garage

· Final coat of paint.

· Install ceiling light trims.

Dining Room

· First coat of paint done.

· Hardwood floor installed.

· Need to paint and install baseboards and window trim (same as kitchen).

· Final coat of paint.

· Install 2 outlets and all outlet covers.

· Reinstall light fixture.


· First coat of paint done

· Going to be starting on the new flooring (Jerusalem Gold Honed Stone with Red Onyx accent). See sample layout at right.

· Paint and install trim.

· Final coat of paint.

· Install new light fixture.

· Keep my eye out for a door that will work with a barn slider.


· Hardwood floor installed.

· Walls painted.

· Need to paint trim and finish trim install.

· New lighting was done several years ago by Electrician Son. Center lights the whole run of the hallway, which not only has a dimmer switch but also can be focused on our Rogues Gallery (family portraits).

· Install threshold trim to each bedroom.

· Install doorbell chimes in cold air return vent (brilliant idea by Electrician Son – hides the hideous nature of doorbell chimes).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cabinetry 101: Learning as You Go

Warning: this is a long post, but hopefully it will help you avoid the problems and pitfalls we encountered.

In a perfect world, I would have hired a designer to plan out my whole kitchen. It is the wisest thing to do, and usually provides the best results. It also takes an enormous amount of stress off of your shoulders. But I had a budget, and a designer was not something that I could afford. In all honesty, I did enjoy going and looking at cabinets, mock kitchens, open houses, all to get ideas. I enjoyed the research and hunt for sinks, faucets, and especially my stove. But with the big items, it’s a little trickier. I needed to trust in my own judgment and that of the sales rep who helped develop a floor plan and what cabinets to purchase. And the lesson here is, that I have a lot to learn and need to be more wary of salespeople of any kind, no matter how nice they are.

Given that many kitchens, including mine, don’t adhere to standard cabinetry sizing, the best way to go was probably custom-made cabinets. Not that they would have come without issues, but slightly odd wall sizes can be accounted for. Again, this is a pricier option, and not in the cards. So I took my chances, picking out the exact style I wanted (realtor approved, for future sale purposes) and what company to get it from (based on consumer reviews from a variety of sources). Our final choice was KraftMaid Huntington in Maple Praline, which is a shaker-style cabinet in a warm wood tone.

I brought a floor plan into Grand Tile and sat with Neil while he mocked up the kitchen on screen. We went through various incarnations before choosing the best layout, for maximum cabinet space given the allowable vacant walls. I specifically asked for spice inserts, vertical shelving in the cabinet over the fridge (for cookie sheets and serving trays), pull-out drawers for pots, pans, appliances, and a few other items.

Lesson #1: Bring in your written laundry list of needs/wants. Make sure that each one is checked off and guaranteed. And make sure you understand how each feature works. I, clearly, did not. My understanding of the spice drawer inserts was that they were removable, in case we did not need/want all three. Not so. They are permanently glued in. The vertical shelving in the tray cabinets are missing or non-existent.

As we went along, our sales rep would recommend certain features (flat front drawers, heavy-duty pull out trays). Often he would say he would throw those in for free, but I am not so sure that he did.

Lesson #2: Review your itemized bill very, very closely. If you do not do it at the store, do it at home that night. Go through each item. If there is any question, call them immediately. Or ask what the price difference is when the subject is broached. Is it really an upgrade? Think about the necessity of each item they recommend. Remember, they are in the business of making money.

Once we purchased the cabinets, I brought home the plans and started to decide where everything would go. But I didn’t really look at the plans closely. Had I done so I would have noticed that the sink run is not centered under the window, that the left cabinet is further away from the window than the right cabinet. Little things, but they can be important.

Lesson #3: Look at the plan closely. All those measurements can be confusing, but double check each one. Make sure that tall cabinets are not too tall, make sure that there is adequate space for appliances, make sure that sink is centered on the window!

Delivery time was reasonable on these cabinets and KraftMaid was very good about calling to schedule a delivery date, later confirming that date. Even the drivers called when they were on the way to deliver. Good customer service on the delivery end of things. But we were not quite ready for the cabinets when they came, so we had to find space to store 21 boxes. Not an easy task. We were lucky, we have a large garage and they all fit easily and tightly together so that damage wasn’t really a possibility.

Lesson #4: Try to time your cabinet delivery as close to the install date as possible. The longer boxes are stored, the more that can go wrong. And if they sit for too long, the company may not honor any defects because they were not disclosed within a certain time period of delivery.

Once we were ready for the installation, we started opening boxes. Cabinets go through a lot in their lives. They are manufactured, inspected and boxed. They sit in a warehouse until they are needed. They are loaded on a truck and taken to the rail yard. They are loaded on a train to travel across the country. They are unloaded into storage. They are loaded onto a truck. They are offloaded at your home. A lot can go wrong. Damage can occur at any stage. Fortunately KraftMaid packs their cabinets well. Nonetheless do expect issues. We have a door that is warped, as well as several warped shelves, plus some damage to the pantry, and a few scratches.

Lesson #5: Inspect every part of a cabinet when it arrives. All corners, all drawers and doors. Look for dents, dings, scratches, warps. Take pictures of anything you find, while the cabinet sits on the box. Detail everything in writing for later use. Do not trust your brain to remember. I can hardly remember what all the electrical outlets are for, let alone 21 cabinet pieces and what shape they arrived in.

Unpacking the first install item, the pantry, brought about panic. The 4-inch toe kick was actually 4.5 inches. The toe kick, along with the 91.5 inch pantry = 96 inches. But we have a new subfloor and new ¾-inch hardwood, meaning we only have 95 inches, and you need at least 1/2–inch clearance. So we were 1.5 inches too tall. The salesperson did not take the floor into consideration when he came to measure. The solution is to cut down the toe kick, but we did not want to void any warranty.

Lesson #6: Make sure your salesperson knows what type of flooring you are using when s/he is measuring the space.

Lesson #7: Before you modify any part of your cabinetry, call your sales rep to make sure that it will not void any warranty. We waited and were assured it would be okay, but every company is different.

Modifying the pantry meant that the companion lower cabinet to its right does not line up along the bottom cabinet door level. The pantry sits on a 3-inch base, while the cabinet sits on 4.5. In the case of the pantry, the toe kick is separate and easily modified. With cabinets, the toe kick is integral, and is difficult to modify when the cabinet has an outside face. Any little misstep and you can ruin a cabinet. Our choices: return the pantry for one that fit, modify only the pantry toe kick, or modify both toe kicks. In the end we decided to just modify the pantry toe kick and not risk damaging the cabinet. To the untrained eye, the issue isn’t noticeable. Of course, we know its there and it will probably always bug us.

Lesson #8: Before modifying, look at companion elements. Make sure you will be happy with the overall look once modified. If not, hold out for replacement parts.

The pantry also has a small door issue. All the other upper cabinets have a gap between the top of the cabinet and the door, but the upper pantry cabinet doors are flush to the top of the cabinet, making it impossible to put up molding. Our sales rep has said that KraftMaid will come out and deal with all the problems, and will provide us with the proper doors.

Lesson #9: Document, document, document every single issue. As soon as install is complete, send the sales rep a laundry list of issues. Wait a suitable amount of time for him to respond with corrective action. If you do not hear back or are unsatisfied with the answer, go to the manufacturer directly.

Per the plans, the cabinets on the pantry run were installed. The only problem is that the sales rep had ordered the upper cabinets with doors that opened the wrong way. The left cabinet opens right and the right cabinet opens left. We found this problem with one other cabinet. Looking at the plans, this could have been avoided if I had understood how their stock numbers worked. For instance, B18L.2DXFWT means it is a bottom (B) cabinet, 18 inches (18), with a left hinge (L). The rest of the gobbledy gook has to do with the drawer insert and pull-out shelving. But what was important is the L. It opens to left, when I am at my stove and I want to open this cabinet on my right cabinet to get the oil, I can’t just open it and get what I want. I have to walk to the other side of the cabinet and open it so I can see inside. I have been assure that KraftMaid will take care of this (even though it is the sales rep’s fault.)

Lesson #10: Ask what the stock numbers signify. Or go online and figure it out for yourself. If I had, I could have avoided this issue.

The little things can also be most annoying. What do I know about scribe, wall filler, and molding? I had (incorrectly) assumed that either the cabinets came with molding or that it would be ordered in a sufficient amount. Truth: No molding was ordered whatsoever, other than scribe molding which goes around the side edges of cabinets, and for which there was too much ordered.

Lesson #11: Make sure you ask about the finishing touches. KraftMaid has at least 80 different above-cabinet moldings to choose from. Who knew? Pour over the brochures, look at the pictures, look at the extras. Did you know the toe kicks are unfinished and that you have to add a front veneer? The devil is in the details.

Overall, we are happy with the look and finish of the cabinets. We are disappointed in the issues, almost all of which could have been avoided if our sales rep had been more detail oriented. Now we will have to have KraftMaid come out and correct those issues, such as switching doors, which will leave holes in the cabinetry. Not ideal, but it is the price we pay for not being able to hire a designer, trusting our sales rep, and not knowing enough beforehand.

Live and learn….

P.S. Mikey and Tony rock!!!

New Cabinet Run
(replacing the beloved chalkboard)

New Stove Run

New Sink Run

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kitchen Odyssey: Status Update

I think it will be cutting it close to finish this project by the 28th, but we have no one to blame but ourselves. Small design changes can cost days, not to mention one delay caused by the city inspector. I’d say overall we are about 4-5 days over schedule (that would be the schedule in my head, because I have never bothered to actually write it down, although I had the best of intentions). By all accounts we are whipping through the project and people are always shocked to think we did a total demo (including moving a wall and relocating a door) in one month. Mind you, I am not complaining, just stating the facts.

Last week was the week of mud. This is not something an amateur should do, and our main man Mikey wanted it done right, so he opted out. Electrician Son sent us over the best, Schaefer Drywall (they just got done doing Condoleeza Rice’s home here in the Bay Area). Owner Mark lives about 6 blocks from us and could’ve walked over if he didn’t need to bring so much equipment and supplies. When we moved in 15 years ago, the kitchen had wallpaper, which we stripped. The walls were essentially flat with no texture. The adjacent dining room (aka my office) had been used as a family room and had paneling. We removed the paneling and did a skip trowel texture on the walls, mostly because it was the easiest and quickest texture to accomplish and it hides a multitude of sins. This type of texturing can be found on any 1970s-1980s tract home and I could tell right away that Mark didn’t like it. He hinted about it. He called Electrician Son and asked if he thought we would consider changing it. Eventually he asked us himself and we agreed to do something a bit classier. This meant retexturing the whole dining room, rather than just the one pony wall. So an extra day with Mark and Joe, but it looks wonderful and we are very happy.

Then came the paint decision. Our realtor wanted us to keep in neutral, although she did say we could have an accent wall in the dining room. I brought home paint samples and stared at them for 3 weeks. I took them outside, I took them up to the realtor while she held an open house, I asked everyone’s opinions. No consensus. I finally decided that the color in the foyer and hallway, Ralph Lauren Roadster White, would work well throughout. It is a warm creamy color that we like and it would tie the rooms together. Mr B and I primed the two rooms and one foyer wall on Friday, which made me realize I am not as young as I used to be. We fired up the hot tub to relieve the sore muscles and aching joints earned after 6 hours of hard work. But it was ready for the painter on Saturday morning and we now have a completely blank canvas, ready for floors, cabinets and counters.

We have also ordered our faucet. Again, not an easy thing to do. There are so many choices: one handle or two, two handle centerset or single hole, with or without side spray, integral spray feature with or without pause mode. Chrome, nickel, bronze, stainless, black, white. Retro, modern, traditional, classic. Hot water dispenser, cold water dispenser, soap dispenser. You get the picture. I had to whittle things down one by one.

• One hole, one handle
• Integral spray (aerated and rinse functions) with pause mode
• Stainless steel, to go with the sink
• Modern, but in keeping with the detailing on our cabinets

I’ve gone to several showrooms and looked online. Prices range from $200-1,500. I have had enough faucets to know I should not skimp and to get a brand that is well built and will not fall apart in a year or two. We finally settled on a Moen 90 Degree Pull Out Faucet. It’s got square features, which fits in with the cabinetry, and it is about 12 inches high, meaning only an inch will be visible above the windowsill. I’m still debating a soap dispenser. I hate having too many holes in the counter, and because we already have the air gap and are installing an air button for the disposal, I am hesitant to add the 4th hole. But I like the idea of a dispenser and it gives us the option of using the hole for something else later.

I was also able to check off the foyer title from my list. The current flooring is 4x4 puke gold tiles with grout that probably was beige back in the day but is now dark brown (no amount of scrubbing can return it to its original incarnation, believe me, I have tried). We keep it covered by a rug. So it’s time to chip it up and do it again. Budget constraints meant using slate or getting something from the clearance aisle. My goal was to keep it under $500, which wasn’t terribly easy for 77 sf. It can also be a difficult choice. The first showroom we went to, back when we were also looking at backsplash options, almost caused me to have a meltdown with sheer volume of choices. I’ve since been to several other showrooms and have built up my tolerance for wandering aisles ten times over to look at samples. On Saturday we went over to Grand Tile, where we bought our cabinets and counters, as we knew they had a good selection. But they were closed. So we headed to a nearby store, Artistic Stone Gallery in San Carlos.

The young salesperson was quick to help us find something within our budget. I don’t like anything shiny and Mr. B has been expressing his reservation about slate, which can have some pretty irregular color variations, so we looked at other natural stones and perused the sale aisle, which had some very good choices. We found one 12x12 stone option at $2.69/sf that was displayed in a pattern with 2x2 accent stones. While we liked the layout, the stone wasn’t quite right. Samantha found us a similar stone that was on sale in the main showroom that worked perfectly. The final decision was 12x12 Jerusalem Gold Honed Limestone with 2x2 Red Tumbled Onyx to use as accent. We will put an enhancer/sealer on the tiles once they are set to liven the colors a bit and I think it will look great with the hardwood flooring. This actually came in about $20 over budget due to the 2 sheets of 2x2 that were $9.50 each. But without the accent, the floor would be a bit boring, so it was worth the extra little bit.

We also ordered some register vents for the 2 rooms. I wanted something a bit more decorative but not overly so. Some of the nicer ones do not have a damper (that can be opened and closed), so I opted for a 4x14 Wicker Brushed Nickel Floor Register. Simple but a nice accent in both kitchen and dining room.

I am doing my best to ignore the thick layer of dust that has built up. I did sweep, vacuum and dust once last weekend, but I know it is futile. I think the hardest thing about doing a project like this is the lack of control that I feel. I have to let go of the need to cook and keep the house clean, try not to worry about delays and glitches, and just have fun with it all. Fortunately every one who has been involved in the project has been upbeat and happy, keeping the mood light around here. Now if Mikey would just stop singing to the radio….

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kitchen Remodel: Mud, Mud and More Mud

When I say mud, I mean joint compound. Boxes and buckets of it. All day every day. Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration. We started taping on Monday, cleaning up the joints and corners, thanks to Mark Schaefer of Schaefer Drywall. Tuesday Mark sent in Joe, who has been evening out all the walls. Fans and heaters going trying to dry it all out but apparently to no avail. Wednesday morning the coat from the previous day wasn’t completely dry. But Joe soldiered on, stirring up bucket after bucket of mud, artfully smearing it on every wall. We’ve chosen a new texture, necessitating that the dining room/office walls be redone, adding time to the project. It is looking good and I am happy with the decision, but hate any delays.

We’ll prime tomorrow and the painter will be here Saturday. We get a day off on Sunday and then the hardwood floors begin on Monday.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Cost of Remodeling: The Little Things

When I started this project, I didn’t sit down and work out how much each item would cost. I had a set amount of money that I needed to work within and I did a lot of research to get the best possible materials/appliances for the best cost (without using big box stores). So far, we are doing pretty good and I think we will come close to within 10% of what we had to spend. But I am always surprised at the cost of the miscellaneous or unaccounted for items. Some examples:

Backsplash: Just trying to find something we liked for the backsplash was a daunting task. We initially went into a really nice tile store that probably had 5,000 samples (seriously). I crawled around on the floor with my counter/cab/floor samples checking every one out. By the time we left I was almost in tears—due to both the price of things and the overwhelming number of choices. By happenstance, while looking for slate for the foyer at United Tile, Brilliant Daughter found the perfect combination for the backsplash. It is comprised of 12x12 tiles (14 sf), 2x2 tiles (7sf), and random glass/rock tiles (3 sf). I paid $533.14 for the order. When I went to pick it up a week later it was in two boxes. Two 12x12x4” boxes. I told the man there must be some mistake. I mean, really, how can two small boxes like this cost $533.14? But there was no mistake. Dammit.
Wood: Yes, we decided to move a small wall and change the doorway, as well as lay hardwood floors. While I knew this would necessitate lots of plywood (16 sheets to be exact), 2x4 lumber, 2 new beams, and nails—four trips to OK Lumber yielded receipts totaling $798.02. That’s with the contractor’s 10% discount! To be fair, there are also non-wood items purchased: a large roll of insulation (to meet current code), a 500 sf roll of kraft paper, 7 joist hangers, several saw blades, and a few other things that I don’t even know what they are. I feel bad not only for my pocketbook, but for all the trees.

Electrical Supplies: We are fortunate to have a son who is a licensed electrician, which saved us paying for 18-20 hours of labor (at a minimum of $50/hr). But code required us to redo every single piece of electrical wiring in the kitchen. This means all the old had to be pulled out and we had to install all new wiring, boxes, junction boxes, GFI outlets…and the actual lighting configuration. In order to decrease energy consumption, California adopted an energy code (Title 24) that significantly impacts lighting in new and remodeled homes. This necessitates that at least 50% of installed wattage in a kitchen must be from fluorescent, CFL or HID lights. We just put in new ceiling cans last year, but we could not reuse the three large center cans, as they were not fluorescent. That meant pulling those out and replacing them with fluorescent, as well as adding two undercabinet fluorescent lights. So far, supplies have run $640.30 and I still do not have the undercab lights, switchplates, outlets, or the eating area light fixture. While we did get the contractor discount on most of those supplies, and the labor was free, this is gonna run us over $1000. A bit more than I had budgeted for, unfortunately.

Such is the way of things I guess.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: First Week Recap

It’s been a very exciting week with the start of kitchen renovations. It’s going rather quickly. There have been a few changes to our original [loose] plans, based on suggestions, which has resulted in additional work we did not factor in initially, but I think we are pretty much on track.

Monday, while it was pouring, we went and picked up the hardwood floors at Lumber Liquidators in San Jose. They are currently sitting in what was my office, acclimating to the house. Tuesday Mr. B took off all the cabinet doors, and deconstruction began. All hands on deck to take out the cabinets, appliances, flooring. On Wednesday walls were ripped into, and we made the first design change. Our refrigerator, which resides next to one run of cabinets, sticks out into the door jamb. It is awkward and a bit unsightly, so we made the decision to move the whole wall back about 3 inches. This will necessitate changing the vent shaft for the hood and moving the gas line for the stove, but I do think it will be worth it.

Thursday a new load-bearing beam was installed in the ceiling, the wall torn out and relocated, and the structural elements to the ceiling, walls and floor were taken care of. More deconstruction ensued on Friday when the wall with the foyer door being relocated to the center of the wall. A heavy duty header was installed all the way across the wall (in case we want to use the barn slider doors), and the old door was framed out. Electrician Son came over and ripped out all the electrical, made some changes on where things would go, and started install. Electrical is about 50-60% done. (New fluorescent cans below - consistent with Title 24 requirements.)

I picked up our backsplash tile. When I got it home I realized they had given me the wrong glass tiles. A quick call to United Tile and they reordered the right sheets and they should be in early next week. Good thing I caught that now, instead of when it was ready for install. I spent an hour looking at knobs and pulls, and am just as confused as when I started. Should I use knobs? Pulls? A combo of both? Should they be silver, brushed, black, rustic? My final decision is to wait until the major items are installed and then bring home samples to decide. In other words, I’m gonna procrastinate on this issue……

On Saturday there was a few hours of work on the kitchen, including new plumbing for the sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator, and then we drove across the Bay to Urban Ore in Berkeley to donate some recyclable kitchen items, like the sink, faucet, cabinet door hinges, etc. We looked at doors to use on the barn slider. Couldn’t come to a consensus.Very overwhelming. We'll have to go back once we have a more concrete idea of what we want.

As an aside, we had a great meal at 900 Grayson while we were in Berkeley. Brilliant Daughter ordered the Demon Lover’s breakfast, spicy buttermilk fried chicken paillard over waffle with lovely real maple syrup. I had The Charlie, a fresh piece of seared ahi, sliced and served on a fresh bun with an Asian slaw and wasabi mayo. Mr. B ordered the Grayson Burger that came with some yummy bacon slices and crisp thin onion strings. Great herbed fries and the ginger Rickey was so refreshing.