Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ready For Winter?

Neither are we!  BUT!  Today, the next home improvement project is taking place!

We’re doing some weatherization… and by “some” we mean “a ton” !!

Through our membership with the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, we learned about what we can do to make our home more efficient.  The biggest thing in a bungalow is air sealing…

So, we applied for a grant through the Bungalow energy$avers Program and were accepted!  And today, DNR Construction is here!

So far, we’ve been through the first blower test… and oh my!  Our numbers were ridiculous… over 7,000… which ain’t good!

You can read about what the U.S. Department of Energy says about  blower tests here.  It was pretty neat!  You could feel the air whooshing around and coming through cracks and through our attic storage spaces… it was amazing!

And now, DNR is sealing up those cracks, adding insulation under the floor boards in our storage spaces, and blowing it under the floors of the attic.

It’s noisy around here, but so worth it.  Warmer house and cheaper gas bill here we come!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – COMPLETE!

It’s done!  Well, there are a few bits we’re waiting for delivery on (like a replacement cabinet door and some hinges and such), but we’ve moved back in and have a kitchen!  A long project, to be sure, but we are happy with the results!

And now… the much-anticipated BEFORE and AFTER shots!

(so much Before that we hadn’t moved in yet!)

It’s bright, and kitschy, but there were no cabinets and no counter space… and no refrigerator (it was a walk away in the pantry).  And the patterned floor may photograph well but was FILTHY and would not come clean!




Photos were taken at night, so they’re not the brightest, but now there are cabinets! And counters! And more counters! And a refrigerator in the work triangle! And a peninsula to sit at! YES!



Take a closer look behind Half-Door Number One:


A GIANT thank you again to Babs and Rich for their amazing help during this project. And another thank you to Paul the Painter!  THANK YOU!!!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Are We Done Yet???

You’ve probably been anxiously waiting for the FINALE of our kitchen project…

Hang in there!  We’re almost done!

We’ve been handling a few final projects, like repainting the pantry, reassembling the pantry shelving and adding more, touching up the kitchen, staining and replacing baseboard, quarter round, and chair rail, and moving back in (the biggest project of all).  Our goal is to be done this weekend… unfortunately, until the rest of the projects are done, the kitchen is not in a photographable state… so… sorry for the wait!

We’ll be done soon!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 33


The Cafe @ The Bungalow was open tonight for a Friends & Family PREVIEW!  The chef served chicken in a mustard and sour cream sauce over peas and rice. Delish!

And here’s another preview…





Saturday, July 31, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 30 Teasers

Our overhead light fixture was installed this morning and it looks great!

We’re spending the day cleaning and re-settling in… already re-completed the piano room… heading to the den, dining room, and basement next, and of course the kitchen.

Speaking of the kitchen… here are some teasers!

IMG_4061 IMG_4067IMG_4064IMG_4065 IMG_4066


Friday, July 30, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Days 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31!

Yeah… we’ve been a bit remiss in posting… Nothing to report from days 25 and 26.  Day 27 was a stressful day but at the end of it we saw a couple of our appliances installed… and we were actually able to cook that day too!  Day 28 was a meeting with the Project folk to finalize the last bits, install the final appliance, and establish a day when everything will be done – looks like Friday, August 6th, aka Project Day 36 (!), is that day.  Also on Day 28 we did some cleaning and prepared meal #2.

Days 29 through 31 will be filled with cleaning, cleaning, more cleaning, and moving in to the Kitchen!  Phew!

We’re not gonna post any pictures for a bit (though we may add some teasers) – we should have the final final Kitchen on Friday – 1 more week!

Please cross your fingers for us… that the scheduled 15 day project will truly be done on Day 36… We are really ready to have our house back to ourselves… the end is in sight!  :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Days 20, 21, 22, 23, & 24

F L O O R S !!!!

Our hardwood floors are getting redone… so we really don’t have any updates today… and won’t for the next few days…

Check back with us on Sunday or Monday?


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Projectin’ Our Kvetchin’ – Day 19

Just shaking it up a little.

Hey look!


Our kitchen likes us!  Or it’s laughing at us, mocking us…. No, I’m going with it likes us.  Actually, this photo is just proof that the microwave is in!  And we didn’t plan on it making a face with the cabinet knobs, I swear. 

It’s still in plastic because…Stanley is starting the floor do-over tomorrow!  We are thrilled he can fit us in this quickly, as the sooner the floors are done, the sooner the appliances go back in.

Hey look!


A working sink!  Now I know what people lost in a desert feel at an oasis.

We also had our last granite delivered, and all of it was caulked.  The installation guys caught up on almost everything from the punch list.  So now: floors done by this weekend, appliances in Monday?, toe kicks put on the cabinets, and then we’re just waiting for a few finishing touches.  Literally!  ‘Cause it’s stuff for the finish of the cabinets.  Ha!  Try the veal, I’ll be here all week.

Speaking of punch list, Gretchen and I are both getting punchy as our project goes on.  Next thing you know, we’ll be using the microwave as a puppet.  Hmm….Gotta go figure out the logistics of that.  I mean, there is a vent to the outside to put your hand through…

Monday, July 19, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 18

We had a revolving door of people in today.  First our electrician came back to move some electric wiring, and the plan was for him to install our overhead light too.  But, when he saw the fixture, we realized that it wouldn’t work with the old type of electric box that’s been in there.  So we got something to create more space, and It should work now.

The granite guys came back too, and were able to get out most of the nicks and scratches that were in the counters.  They brought the final piece for the counter near the refrigerator, but misjudged when cutting it to fit, so they’re bringing a new one hopefully tomorrow.

Lastly, our designer and her installation team came by to work on a few remaining pieces.  The cabinets now have hardware, IMG_4490

and final alignment of doors etc. has begun.  Most of the plumbing is installed, as well as the disposal.  We all went over the punch list Gretchen and I made yesterday to make sure everything was covered.

Tomorrow will hopefully bring a conclusion to most everything, installation-wise.  We’re still waiting on a few ordered things, floors, and ceiling fixture now, but the end is in sight!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our Kitchen Project - Day 17

Today was mostly a day off from kitcheneryosityness. Gretchen was doing a roll-out for work this weekend, so worked some crazy hours, resulting in her sleeping in this morning. Then we went down to the Beverly neighborhood for the closing performance of a show Jason music directed: Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr., done by 5th-8th graders. The kids did really well!

When we got back home, we started putting together a comprehensive list of things still to be done with the kitchen. Given our combined attention to detail (have you noticed we're both Type A?!?), we wanted to make sure everything was covered. Then we stained a piece of wood for use in a small "extra" kitchen project, and also reattached one of our favorite vintage pieces of the house: the buzzers!

When we were looking at the house to buy it, we noticed there were two buttons kind of hidden under a shelf on the kitchen hutch. Of course, we pushed them, and discovered they were connected to a buzzer on the second floor and one in the basement. We call them the "Come to dinner!" buzzers, and we were careful to notate how they were connected when we did the kitchen demolition so that we could have them in the New! Improved! version of the kitchen.

In theory, tomorrow is the last major day of kitchen work until the floors are redone. We're most likely leaving the appliances out in the dining room until then. If only they were lighter; we could move them daily and have a kitchen du jour - in the dining room, a bedroom, the garage....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 16

Well, we had Stanley Flooring take a look at our kitchen floor today and the issue with the transition from the kitchen to the dining room… and he advised that the whole thing needs to be started over, which we suspected…

We trust Stanley as he did our upstairs and he did a great job.

Our contractor talked to her other floor guy and he also said it needed to be redone…

So, looks like our floors are getting redone.

Which of course puts us behind again.

So, no further work was done today in the kitchen.  And none tomorrow.

We did go shopping today, taking a look at counter height chairs/stools for the peninsula. We found some we like, but they were out of the price range – we have excellent and expensive taste!

Monday, we’re having an electrical line moved. And everything else in the kitchen is supposed to get done too by the contractors.  That means all plumbing, cabinet installs, alignments, and finishing.  Hopefully granite too - that one missing piece and a section we found that needs to be polished.

Then, we look at schedules and figure out when we can tackle the floor… and whether we install the appliances in the interim, or continue living in temporary kitchen land…

Fun for us!

Anyway…  Night!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 15

Well. Today is Friday. We are supposed to be done. We are not… looks like we’re continuing possibly through Wednesday of next week.

On the plus side, our counter tops were installed today and they are beautiful!

Here are some “in progress” shots:

IMG_4464IMG_4465 IMG_4468 IMG_4467

We ran into some issues that prevented completion today.  We have some electric that needs to be moved because of where the hood vent needs to go.  The sink plumbing wasn’t finished. And we ran into pretty major issues with the floor – so that didn’t get finished today either.

Here’s where we ended up today – it is looking really nice, but the issues are not letting us enjoy it yet…

IMG_4470IMG_4476IMG_4475 IMG_4482Tomorrow morning, we have a floor consultation with Stanley, who did our upstairs floors and we trust, to see what can be done about the issues.  Hopefully we will be able to make a decision on that tomorrow.  Monday, the electricians come back to move the one line.  Then later on Monday, the installation crew comes back to finish the cabinets, the plumbing, and everything else not related to the floors.  We have one piece of granite we’re waiting on - hopefully that comes Monday too.

Then, we deal with the floors – the floors need to be completed before the appliances can be installed… so we don’t really know when we’re going to be back in our kitchen.

Will you please send some hopeful thoughts our way?  We need them…


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 14

Today, all of our electric got finished. Hooray!

Outlets and outlet covers:


Timers for our outdoor lights:


AND fancy new dimmer switches in the kitchen:


Tomorrow is a big day… supposedly when everything gets finished… yikes!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 13

Today was sort of an in-between day.  Our installation crew came in the morning to do a few odds and ends in the kitchen.  We went over some of the detail work remaining, to make sure we were all on the same page.  They installed the water line for the fridge, bringing it through the basement.  (Our basement ceiling is totally open, making it easy to run new electric, gas, and water lines – all of which we’ve had done - without drilling through walls.)  They also made a cutout in the peninsula for an outlet, which was the final piece we needed to prepare for tomorrow’s final electrician visit.  Our floor guys also came by to apply the second coat of polyurethane.   That means no walking on the floor for a while, which means you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the latest pictures! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 12

What a day. Crazy, just crazy.  So many details and so many decisions to be made… and we’re really going to be finished in 3 more days?  I’m not sure…

Cabinets continue to be installed, they’re not done yet.  Granite was measured tonight, 7pm to 9pm.

Here’s where it all ended up – including some fake cardboard countertops I made so that Jason could see what the counters were measured to when he got home from his long work day:


IMG_4438 IMG_4439 Between when the crew left at 5:50pm and when the granite measuring began at 7:00pm, I worked on fixing one of our kitchen windows. Jason had released the window from its paint seal, and I was on task to repair the sash weight system.

I took the window apart and got to the weights


I removed the broken cording ad attached chain to the weight:IMG_4435 Weight pulley fixed!


The granite guy arrived about then so I worked with him for a couple of hours before returning to the window.  Then, I attached the chain to the window and reinstalled it.  Working window!


It’s not quite done… the weather stripping in there is pretty beat up and needs to be replaced.  I’ll probably finish it up this weekend, but the hard part is done (without the new counters in the way).

How’d I learn how to do this?  This Old House website video.  I kid you not.

LONG day and night over here.  Jason and I just went through the whole To Do List for tomorrows final cabinet installs… it’s a long list.

It’s way past my bedtime now… so…


Monday, July 12, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 11

Cabinet install begins!

I worked from home today to the dulcet sounds of hammering and drilling and sawing and pounding… but here’s how today progressed!




Cabinets arrive!

IMG_4418 IMG_4419

And they start going up!

IMG_4420Radiator goes back in!




More uppers!




We have one damaged piece, and, tonight, we need to decide to either cover it with a molding, or re-order it and wait 2 weeks for it to come in before our cabinets are completely installed…

But, here’s where we’re at at the end of today:

IMG_4430 IMG_4431Off to Barrel of Monkeys to see That’s Weird Grandma with my Grandma!!!  Bringing the laptop tonight to get more VOTES for Barrel of Monkeys on Chase Community Giving!  Only 4.5 hours left to VOTE! Click here to VOTE now!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Kitchen Project – Day 10

Enter Paul the Painter!

IMG_4408Got an early start and painted today.  We tackled the pantry first then moved on to the kitchen.

Taping the trim, and a bit of the kitchen Before:


Ceiling in progress:

IMG_4410Painting the lower wall:





The ceiling and upper wall are “Simply Irresistible” (Benjamin Moore 205) and the lower wall and backsplash are “Barley” (Benjamin Moore 199).


AND… that’s our last piece of labor!  Cabinets begin to be installed tomorrow… and we should be in our new kitchen on Friday night!

Another early start tomorrow so…