Monday, January 31, 2011

A Cardboard Island and Exciting News

We knew we wanted an island almost immediately after seeing our house. We knew we wanted to change a lot of things immediately after seeing our house, but that's what we loved about it.. it's potential! And the potential to completely make it our own. It was like a blank canvas that we couldn't wait to work on with so many possibilites. One of those things, as I mentioned was to add a kitchen island. We wanted the work space, we wanted a place to put our dishwasher, we wanted to a sink there, and we knew Chad would probably build it himself. After some searching around on Craigslist, I found a beautiful granite countertop that was cut specifically for a kitchen island with the sink already cut out and included for way cheap! We think with all of the detail it had and the size of it, it would have easily cost $3,000 to order something custom made like that from granite. What did we pay? $200. Yep! I'm pretty sure I did a few happy dances especially after knowing for certain that the size was PERFECT for our kitchen space. Woo hoo! And get this, the ad asked for $250, and I offered $50 less than the already super cheap price and got it! The piece was custom made to fit a specific island. The reason it was on Craigslist was because they decided to go with a different color. You can't really return something like that, and the chances are slim that someone had that exact size island in need of a countertop just like that. That's why I offered less. We just happened to be building our own island, which hadn't been started yet, so we were able to go by the size of the counterop instead of the other way around.  I think they knew they wouldn't get much out of it if they could find anyone to take it at all for that reason.

Chad makes fun of my bargaining side from time to time, but he's secretly thankful. One time, Chad let Cale play with the truck keys after strapping him in his seat while I was inside of Lowe's paying for some home remodeling goodies. On his way around to the drivers side, he heard a "honk honk" and froze because that noise was the "lock" button being pressed. Oops! Cale was locked inside the truck, and we had no way of getting it open. Cale was too young at the time to understand what daddy was saying through the window. (Press the TOP buttom Cale!) When Cale threw the keys at daddy's face through the window, he knew that idea wasn't going to work. I came out to a rather frazzled Chad and called a locksmith. After the locksmith said it would be $50, Chad looked at me with suprise when he heard me say "Would you take $40?" I got off the phone and he said "Were you really bargaining with the locksmith?"  I saved us 10 bucks though and little Calers was fine with a little peekaboo through the window until he got there.

Anyway back to the kitchen island. We knew we wanted to be extra certain that we were sure where we wanted the island before we settled then wished it were a few inches in a different direction from bumping into it.  What easier way than to make a cardboard cutout? It's not glamorous, but it does the job.  I was happily suprised with it after coming home from my sister's last Sunday.  After tweaking the placement just a couple inches here and there, we knew we were happy with it's position.  I didn't miss having that area open like I thought we might since it's a pretty big change, so Chad got to work on the frame for the island itself. After a quick trip to Mendard's on Monday the frame was complete, and the granite countertop that had lived in my laundry room for much too long finally had a place to sit! As well as our dishwasher that finally got a place of it's own in the laundry room after I got tired of looking at it every time I did the dishes by hand. It's still not hooked up, but it's sitting neatly under the island just as we envisioned when we bought the house.  We were anxious to see what the final product might look like.

We wanted to test out different countertop heights with bar stools until it was just right.  Once we found the perfect height and placement, Chad wrote down the measurements and it was time to cut out a space for it in our kitchen tile.  It was time to see how well we did putting the slate down! Chad and I worked really hard on the floor, and I was a little sad to be tearing some of it up, but the goal of a kitchen island in our space that was screaming for one made it way worth it. 

Chad bought a diamond blade (?) to cut with then created a tent out of plastic for himself to reduce tile dust flying everywhere and went to work cutting out the space by following his tape lines he made from the measurments he recorded.  It was quite an interesting experience for the both of us.. The plastic tent was working great to contain the dust, but he could hardly see what he was doing in there, so I offered to slip the shop vac hose in there for him which only created a tight vaccum space that sucked the plastic to him and made a chair which was being used to hold the plastic up, fall right on his head making him make a noise making me think he just cut himself with the saw.  I lifted up one side of the tent to let it breathe which helped but plastic kept tearing away from things which made me, frantic to not let all the dust everywhere, try to keep it contained with all four limbs in super awkward positions.  Also, everytime Chad tried to say something, I couldn't hear him so I took out my ear plugs about four times and forgot to put them back in each time making me wonder why heck it was so loud for a few seconds each time.  Never did hear what he was saying.  All of these now seem like "duh" moments, but I think that's the reality of home remodeling when you're doing it yourself.  There's a show on either HGTV or DIY Network that's called "Renovation Realities".  I think something happens with each project that makes me comment on how we would be a hit on that show.  I would seriously consider it if we were doing all of our renovations at once, but we're not, so we'll just stick with laughing at ourselves versus the world laughing with us.

When Chad was cutting out a new attic access space, I was holding the shop vac hose next to where he was cutting to suck up the dust.  Angel (our cockatiel) was out of his cage and landed on Cale's head.  Cale didn't want him on his head, so I figured I would just wave the shop vac wand near him to make him fly off.  Well I waved the end of the hose towards Angel, so of course what happened?  Angel got sucked right into the end of the vaccum!  I froze in shock at my birds head and tail feathers sticking out and didn't even think to turn the vaccum off.  I did however think to start shaking the hose to get the bird out... with the vaccum on.. poor bird.  Thankfully Chad turned off the vaccum (genius) and Angel never made it all the way down the hose which would have certainly been the last of him.   Cale was standing there eyes wide repeating, "Angel stuck in a vaccum!  Angel stuck in a vaccum!"  Chad grabbed some gloves and pulled the completely freaked out bird out to safety.  Angel looked incredibly frazzled as you can imagine and is now forever enemys with any vaccum.  I mean seriously, this stuff is made for tv!  I blamed the fact that between Chad's loud saw and my earplugs, I didn't hear the vaccum running, which you usually do when you're using one.  It took so long to cut the attic access hole that it was almost like I was just holding something random.  Bad excuse?  Yes.  Now anytime I vaccum, I have a little hissing white bird to remind me of my mishap.

Back to the process!

It was a tedious job removing not only the mortar, but also the backerboard, and extra layer of mortar we had put down to level things out to get down to the plywood we had put down which means me did a darn good job tiling our kitchen!  Between doing hardwood floors and tile replacement in a mall, Chad has removed many many tiles and chipped away at a bunch of mortar.  He said that our floor was the hardest to get up!  Good deal.   We can lay us some tile!  Which is good because we still have our laundry room and two bathrooms to do.

Here are some photos that I almost forgot we took from the tile removing process.  No other major blunders after the plastic tent incident. (Thank goodness!)

Cale wasn't afraid to get down and dirty with us!

Cale thought it made a cool new track for Thomas.
This was Cale's way of asking for a bite of my banana.

Hopscotch :)
Working on the frame.  See the back of the granite in the photo?  I wonder who saw that and thought "I bet that will look nice all polished up!"?
Lots of clean up
It has a place!  It finally has a place!
Woo hoo!
Nice and level
All dusty and getting ready to leave.
We needed a few more things and took off to check out pendant lighting! Woot woot!

We now have the pendant lights picked out, faucet picked out, granite in place, and the sink in place.  Can't wait to show you photos!

We have been doing so many projects like this since Cale was a baby.  He probably thinks everyone has some part of their house torn up in a project at all times because that has been our normal.

I'll leave you with some big exciting news for our family.  My sister is having a baby tomorrow!    I'm so excited to hold her!  Photos to come!

Off to run some errands with Calers..wish us luck it's a bit icy out.   We have a ton of snow coming over the next couple days.  I will see my new niece though even if I have to drive 5mph the entire way.  I just hope they don't close the interstate. 

Happy Monday!

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