Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Everything but the kitchen sink

As in, "Everything but the kitchen sink has been a pain in the ass in this kitchen remodel." But that's not really true, because the sink was a pain in the ass too.

It started with Wells Fargo, whose poor management of my loan application put us a month behind our already tight schedule. In order to have any hope of having a timely completion, we had to order the cabinets (which would take a 4-6 weeks to arrive) before my loan was approved. My savings account did not like that. Nor did my pride, which had to be beaten down to an unrecognizable, whimpering, bloody blob in order for me to be able to borrow the money my mom was offering.

But before we could order the cabinets, we had to figure out what kind of sink we wanted so the sink cabinet would be configured correctly. Of course, I wanted a farm sink, which only complicated things because the ones we were looking at were fireclay (a step up from cast iron, environmentally friendly, lead free, recyclable, blah, blah, blah) which means every sink has slightly different dimensions. The recommendation is to wait to have your cabinet maker construct your sink cabinet until you have the sink in hand, to ensure a good fit. We didn't have that option. So we (The Man) had to search all over town for an in-stock fireclay sink, get our contractor to run over to buy it, measure it, send the measurements to the out-of-state cabinet maker, and hope for the best.

After storing a giant sink in the living room, not to mention the cabinets once they arrived, my loan finally came through and demo began.

My house is nearly 100-years-old, so I was prepared to find water damage, electrical nightmares, mummies, whatever. Instead, we found a lot of enormous spiders. This is probably the best news of the entire project so far, so let's just stop here for a minute to savor it.

Mmmmmm. No water damage. Delicious.

We also found an insanely old sub-sub floor, an oddly configured plumbing vent, and lots of brick. The brick came as a surprise to the contractors, but not to me. My house is brick, and I've long known that the plaster was applied directly over the brick. There's no framing on the exterior walls whatsoever. Just brick. And then plaster. Brick and plaster. Period. Again, I knew this, but I didn't think to mention it to the contractors. I just assumed that's how they did it in the old days and the contractors would be expecting it.

Turns out, in all their years of working in West Seattle (mostly old houses), they've never seen anything like it. ...And it meant they were going to have to get creative. Unfortunately, the wall affected by the plaster-straight-on-brick surprise is the wall with the sink. So they're getting creative with my plumbing.

Creative plumbing is what everyone wants in a kitchen, right?

I won't bore you with the details of everything else that went a little off kilter, but let's just say it was everything: the granite counter top (which, in the end, turned out to be a non-issue), the back splash, the back splash again, and the back splash a third time, the floor, the faucet, and so on and so on and so on. Everything turned into a hassle, which, I know, is to be expected during a remodel. But we're trying to beat a baby, and so every hassle lands us a little closer to a newborn and a non-functioning kitchen.

And then yesterday, The Man tells me that our contractor wants us to pick a hood for over the stove. "A hood," I say, "or a microwave? We're putting the microwave over the range, right?" Wrong. Our contractor ordered the wrong cabinet for above the range; one too low to accommodate a microwave.

Ahem.

I am not paying $30k+ for a kitchen with a microwave on the counter.

Except that I am.

After many tears (Shut up. I'm pregnant. I'm allowed to cry over microwaves.) and discussions around what our options are, the microwave on the counter ended up being the best choice. All other options led to longish delays and more cost.

Whatever. I'm over it.

Mostly.

Sort of.

Not really, but fuck it. I need a kitchen more than I need a microwave off the counter.

On the plus side, our granite was installed this morning and it looks great. Really great. And considering that we originally picked it simply because it was the least offensive of several offensive options, this is incredibly good news.

It hasn't been an easy road. There've been delays. The Man and I have different tastes in most things, and more often than I'd like arguments ensue. And even if we had the same tastes, our tastes are second in line to what prospective buyers will want. I'm pregnant and exhausted. There's a nursery that's waiting to be put together. And to top it off, we've both had need to hire attorneys during this process.

Life's a bitch and then you die. But it's not so bad. Before you die, you get a new kitchen. And we're almost there.

Before:

Demo:

Coming together:



More photos to follow, as soon as I download them from the camera.

3 comments:

BigSis said...

I can't wait to see the after! Creative plumbing actually sounds worse than the "creative financing" I practice

T said...

Wow. Nothing like a little stress to add to pregnancy discomfort, right?

Still, it will be beautiful when it's all done and you'll have a sweet baby to enjoy!

Cheryl said...

It's looking REALLY awesome actually!

Oh, how I remember the drama w/ the kitchen cabinets, farm sinks (mine is a big white, single basin Kohler farm sink which was a PITA to install in Caesarstone countertops) and the over range hood (no microwaves in THIS house)...

Be glad it's just a kitchen m'dear. I did the WHOLE stinkin' house at the same time. Floors, walls, plumbing, electrical, roof, appliances, cabinetry, etc. I moved the kitchen from the front of the house, to the back of the house and FLIPPED a stairwell in the opposite direction.

In the end, after all that, I can still say I loved Dan & Greg's work. I hope when your remodel is all said and done, you'll be able to say the same. If not, just pretend I never referred you to them.

;-)

HUGS mama! You're almost there!

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