Kitchen Demo Weekend – Day 2

Day 2 of 3 – Actual Kitchen Demo

9am – While tarping  up both sides of the hallway, while hanging a temporary light (thanks to my purchase of black tarps.. duh future note get the clear ones..) our first helpers arrived to help with the demo.

First we needed to get the appliances out… however we could not fit them through the narrow opening of the existing doorway therefore we needed to take down part of the wall first to slide the appliances into the kitchen. The door frame was removed, and exposed some (what I think is) Awesome Wall Paper, two layers underneath the paneling, and I was pretty upset I didn’t get to see the wallpaper for the last year and a half as I think it was prettier then the paneling.

(Note: We didn’t remove the whole wall at first, under the guideline of you can always take out more, but it would be harder to add wall and paneling back.

It took a lot of effort.. and as more helpers arrived everyone got there turn to swing a  hammer..

However I may be a little partial…

After part of the wall was out, appliances were removed which made the space feel HUGE!

Especially from this angle.. this is where I did a little happy dance..

Next up was getting rid of the pantry:

And the built in original cabinets and countertop:

How many helpers were needed you ask… seven 1/2 including me.. but obviously me on my camera with bronchitis I wasn’t the greatest extra set of hands..

With the countertop out, Greg was hoping to save the cabinets for the garage or basement work space.. however the cabinets were custom built in the kitchen they weren’t going to come apart in boxes.. so off to the Bagster they went..

In his picture is where Greg and Fran learn that the painted over square tiles are actually adhered metal tiles glued individual and painted over at least a couple of times. Each square on this wall and behind the fridge

After a break for lunch , the concrete came down with a 12-lb sledge hammer borrowed from the neighbor.. However as this was occurring we realized that the Bagster was getting almost too full.. so I opted for a quick Home Depot run to pick up a second bag.

By the time I got back, I helped finish removing the opening wall, while Greg angle ground off the wire mesh from the top corner perimeter (note: that stuff is evil according to him)

By 4pm: our house looked like this:

With a little sweeping here is what the kitchen looked like on Saturday before Demo and Sunday after Demo.

Closing with Greg was pretty proud of himself and wanted a picture in the new kitchen to remember the big day from.

Total Spent – Day 2: $1300

Bagster 2 – $30
Pizza & Beer for Family and Friends – $65


Kitchen Demo Weekend Day 1

The day finally came, it was DEMO Day!!!

Okay well almost, lets back up a little.. we broke demo weekend into 3 parts (since it was a long weekend and we had plenty of time).

Day 1 – Saturday- Organization
This entailed getting everything out of the kitchen in addition to setting up our temporary kitchen for the next 3 + months. Deciding on what was absolutely necessary the below is what we came up with. (As we’ve now been living like this for a week and a half, I’d say we did a pretty good job remembering the essentials… however I”m sure I forgot something)

Our main appliances are limited down to:

  1. Fridge
  2. Toaster Oven
  3. Hot Plate
  4. Coffee Maker
  5. Hot Water Kettle
  6. Hot Air Popcorn (Greg’s impulse grab)
  7. Blender (small ninja blender attachment)

Shelving 1

Top Shelf: OvenMitt, Kitchen Towels, Plastic Wrap, Aluminum Foil, Plastic Bags, Toaster Oven Accessories

Breakfast Essentials: Cereal, Rasins, Oatmeal, Dried Fruit, Coffee, Sugar, Coffee Filters

Middle Shelf: Gluten Free Cookbooks (Crockpot meals!), Coffee Mugs to take to Work, Disposable Everything: plates, silverware, bowls, napkins, coffee mugs. Spice Basket.

Pots: Includes 1 small pot, 1 stirfry everything pan, kitchen appliances and 1 Mixing/Popcorn Bowl, 1 Colander, 1 2 Cup Measuring Cup, Cheese Grater, Wine Opener, Beer Opener, Pizza Cutter, and Tbsp & Tsp Measurements,

Baking Items; These are all of my flours however since they were opened I didn’t want to put them in the basement.

WINE: We already have 2 wine fridges (1 white, 1 for red).

Mini- Kitchen: Appliances, cutting board, knives, and mini mug of 5 essential cooking utensils.

Shelving 2 – Food and misc items

We also kept our kitchen dishes however honestly we haven’t used them for the shear convenience of disposable. However we still have a dirty dishes bin (to carry downstairs to the utility sink). In addition to the trash and recycling bins are in the gray bin on the bottom shelf, we just put a lid on it so Guinness can’t get at everything… its been mildly successful..

In addition this metal folding table serves as our counter top and the hub for our mini kitchen. Since its metal we’re figuring it can handle the heat from our appliances over a traditional plastic table.

So now that the mini-kitchen was set-up we were all ready for DAY 2. DEMO DAY!

Total Spent – Day 1: ~$1200 (includes $1000 from cabinets -here)

Shelving – $120
Bagster – $30
Dust Masks – $10 (already had from Habitat Re-Store)
Garbage Bags – $10
Plastic Bins (to store all other kitchen items) – $30 (6 @$5/pc)

Deciding on a dime

After purchasing these beautiful woodmode cabinets over a year ago (see here), we couldn’t wait to get a layout doing. However after a year and half it became crunch time… so its a good thing we finally made a decision.

After getting the cabinets Greg and I mathematically placed the cabinets on every inch of wall space, great for practicality right? Well it did mean that our appliances were all lumped together in order fridge, sink, stove and nothing really appeared functional or aesthetic.

Therefore we asked a designer friend of ours to sketch up plans for us. However with some mis-measuring and we taped the layout on the floor and after a few weeks of going back and forth we decided this layout still felt closed off. (Which was opposite from our 892374932 reasons to gut the kitchen).

Notice the doorway on the right only gets opened by 6 inches.. which isn’t the open feeling we were hoping for. And after walking in the “newly taped” space we realized it was going to feel more enclosed and smaller by the sink then we had originally intended. With 2 people in the kitchen the lack of countertops already.. space would still be hard to come by in addition to the addition of a second empty wasted space corner cabinet (left corner). (Because we only have 1 lazy Susan corner cabinet)

We loved the open shelving, and the fact that we actually could have a functional pantry.

However the plan also required multiple fillers, skins and edge panels (something we had expected going into this) but in addition to having to purchase 2 additional cabinets ($1500-$2000/per cabinet) the $$ started adding up pretty quickly for a layout neither of us were jumping for.

So after a day of thinking on it, I landed on this sketch and we both fell in love.  We could take down the wall to the dining room opening up the entertaining space, which so many of our friends and families had also suggested, in addition to adding an island for the helpers in the kitchen.

This layout still utilizes the same cabinets from craigslist, a few modifications to the pantry and above fridge cabinet, and the abundance of open shelving we wanted.

Did I mention I also get my pretty stainless steel hood vent fan 🙂 and lots of open upper shelving paired with an extra base cabinet for even more storage!

We are using this as our base layout knowing that since both of us are indecisive there is a 99.99999% chance modifications will be made as we start diving into the details, but for now this is just the motivation we needed to MOVE THAT WALL!

Little Mean Green Eating Machines

Around our house we have what I like to call our little mean green eating machines which would include: our viscous life eating puppy, the innocent adorable neighborhood bunnies, and we can’t forget Greg & I’s complete lack of green thumbs. Growing a garden in the ground in our back yard seemed to be an impossible feat.

hound dog hunt bunny

Therefore to combat the first two issues we settled on ideas similar to these:

Even Ana-White had a DIY plan to build one, but instead of $80 for lumber or $90-$250 to purchase a garden box we decided to shake what our momma gave us..  <<insert awesome dance moves here>>

As our home used to have an in-ground pool.. then turned dirt pile when we purchased it.. now turned normal grass back yard. [Read more of that saga here].. we  luckily inherited the remains of what was the old in ground pool fencing.

One beautiful Tuesday spring afternoon,  I was searching for a proactive outlet for one of those frustrating days at the office. [one of those days where you wanted to rip yours or someones hair out…]  <<Insert hammer into hand>>

Greg came home and asked no questions as he observed me ripping fence picket boards off their 2×4 frames and tossing them all around the yard. It was actually super easy, quite painless and only required a few minutes of my time, and after a long day at the office and a beautiful spring afternoon, it was just the outlet I needed.

recycling used fence boards

dirty used old fence boards repurposed

After a sufficient number of boards were laid out I cleaned up the fence boards by scrubbing them all down with the Behr All-In-One Wood cleaner.

behr all in one wood cleaner

After a nice scrub on both sides with a deck brush and some elbow grease the boards were ready to go.

Clean Fence Boards

All ready for the weekend, where i’l need an extra set of hands to get our idea on paper..

A Stripe of a Monday

It was one of those rough Mondays… the kind where you want to pull the covers back over your head, the cup of coffee doesn’t help get you going and nothing during the day seems to go right. While I couldn’t be more looking forward to Friday.. for me accomplishing a DIY project can turn my whole day/night around.

Last Monday I came home and looked at my living room, it was bright outside, but so grr… well gray on the inside. And while gray is what I wanted, but without artwork it was just kind of blah…

what are those colorful cubes in the corner.. we’ll get to that another day..

I read a few blogs that said putting stripes on a wall took less than 3 hours.. Well I had 3 hours to burn before bed so off I went. I combined two tutorials to get my end result.

First I followed the how-to guide from the unskinnyboppy.

1. Using what your momma gave you…
A free project requires getting creative.. so I used my off white trim paint that we had left over from the trim work. Yes it was satin/semi-gloss paint.. but not having to worry about it meeting at the trims really excited me.. I’d recommend going with a matte in the future.. but again using what your momma gave ya..

2. Lucky number 7
I like Beth wanted 3 wide strips across my wall, I took my total wall height which is only around 85″ (yup old home=short ceilings). So 85/7 = ~12″ apart. to make 3 defined stripes across the wall. And for you math geeks, the extra .45802 can be found at the bottom in about an extra 1″ (don’t notice.. Great! We don’t either!)

3. Tape! Those! Lines! (with as much excitement as “Move That Bus”)-
This is where I followed thehouseofsmiths‘ technique. I used a long level, pencil, a handy dandy measuring tape and a ladder or Greg when the long measuring tape and pencil juggling just didn’t work with 2 hands.

As Beth recommended I always measured down my chosen 12″ from the ceiling and made a pencil mark. I penciled across with the level as a straight edge and then.. Taped! Those! Lines!- I used my insurance card to smooth the tape across as I went to get a crisp edge.

ps. remember to tape on the right side of the line.. and if you mess up the best part is you can rip up and try again. (I only did this once or twice… it got dark quick..)

4. Watching (or in this case not watching) Paint Dry 
I painted one coat on each of my 3 stripes, and then went back and did a second coat after about 30 minutes (while I taped the other side). After the second coat you want to “Get that Tape Off” (okay, not nearly as catchy?) but the key to crisp paint lines is taking the paint off right away.
After comparison testing painters tape and working with the tape manufacturers its their #1 recommendation. Longer the tape is on the surface the more prone it is to drips, blips and bleed through… seriously its 3rd party tested.

5. Admire Your Handy work
After about 3 hours of work, I cleaned up and then was able to admire my handy work.
I admired it right away…

And again after I cleaned up:

And again the next day..

Yay Stripes!!!.. okay so I was a little excited.. after a week its worn off.. but I made Greg and my poor brother look at least every day… haha

I’m one of those stubborn I’d rather finish it and feel the accomplishment right away then have a project drag out.. Any one else feel like that after a project? Or have a week day inspiration to tackle a quick project? Did it make you feel better or was it a disaster?

*Tweak*ing our way to an updated living room

As you’ve noticed I’ve become a HUGE slacker in writing posts.

Anyways I started reading a blog called House*Tweaking , I fell in love with their blog (mainly because I like how she refers to her husband as HH (*Handy Husband*) but also because of the tag line of “because home doesn’t happen overnight”.

Now almost a Year into home ownership (<– Yes it’s really been 1 Year since I’ve been back in Buffalo and we looked and fell in love with our house). Anyways.. after a year now I realize while we both work full-time jobs, our home really is a continual series of small mini projects. We can’t typically dedicate solid days to a project but each of our *tweaks* really does add up.

Here is a great example of a series of *tweaks* we’ve done to the living room. This is a side-by-side *before* and *current*: (oh and don’t worry we have even more added tweaks up our sleeves).


I think it looks drastically different. The old space was small, dark, closed in and seemed very very tiny. The new space is large, big and bright.

However, since do work full-time,  this post documents a series of *tweaks*. Each tweak didn’t necessarily change the room drastically, but it does show how small tackled projects can help make a big difference. So without further ado, a series of living room tweaks up to now.

Upon Moving In:

Living room

Moving our existing furniture in.. - living room old style

A quick change of curtains [i love, love, love, love, love  ikea clearance bins!] ikea curtains

A little re-org, a new coat of paint, and removal of the old trim.

New trim mounted and painted…

Then came the fun part.. taking down the unusable bookcase. [It was seriously 7 inches deep… even the bottom cabinets.] Also Greg had fun doing this as you can see…

Only 1 casualty on the way.. Lesson learned: A crowbar will go right through the original plaster walls..

With the book-case out, we moved onto mounting Greg’s baby… *no not Guinness* his 55″ HD Fancy Schmancy TV. He hard-wired a mounting box behind the TV above the fireplace, with all the wires exiting down to the side next to fireplace for the to be new appliance cabinet.

After the TV went up we arrive where we were  just a few days ago. *Voila*

oh and of course: this is all guinness approved:

Next Up for the Living Room:

-Mount TV
-Remove Bookcase
-Paint Walls
-Update Trim & Molding
-Patch Water Damage in ceiling (Guess we could add replace roof onto this.. boo)

-Update closet door ( I want to replace all the doors in the house eventually.. and I have my eye on something like this or this but in white)
-Update window coverings (I love the no curtain look, but I would like the lady next door to not see me enjoying it)
-Wall accent pieces for both the walls
-Hall Entry Furniture, Table/Desk/Dresser?
-Accent Furniture chairs for additional seating
-Get light into the room! Ceiling light? New side lamps?
-Built in cabinets/storage for the side of the fireplace
-Fireplace Re-Fresh (To Paint the Brick or Not to Paint the Brick? and Re-Tile the front of the fireplace)
-To Accent Rug? Or to go bare beautiful floors?
-Coffee Tables/Ottoman (Without the L on the couch its hard to get comfy, and there’s  no place to put your drink or feet)

*side note.. yes we have taken down our Christmas tree.. although it did take awhile..*

Also I apologize in advance if the blog gets taken over by *how to* DIY wedding items.

Adirondack Chair Repair

Did you notice the Adirondack chair that was in the summer wrap up? When we purchased the house there was this sad little piece of furniture left behind by the previous owners. While we didn’t have any outdoor furniture it looked like it was on its way to the curb.  It was weathered, tired, and unstable… (poor chair)

However, Greg tightened up the loose nuts and bolts and it became sturdy again. Ta-Da! Okay we wish, but it was still pretty grungy, dirty and yucky looking.

So once it was structurally okay, I worked on the restoration (my apologies for the lack of pictures). I used a Behr wood cleaner, and with some a scrub brush and within 2 applications it really brought the wood to a natural shine.
Note use gloves when using that toxic stuff, it worked awesome but I did learn my lesson.

After a few weeks of going back and forth I picked up a blue outdoor spray paint which I had hoped would match the cushions for the other patio set we were building. I found the perfect bright blue satin color at my local Valu Hardware store and went to town. It took about 3 cans (and while it still needs another good coat),  I was too anxious and after it dried I fell in love with it. ::happy chair::

❤ What do you think? Are brightly colored furniture going to be out of style? Anyone else have a piece of furniture they helped bring to life?

Summer/Fall 2012 Outdoor Wrap-Up

So summer is officially over. ::sad face::  As summer and fall blurred this year (or at least I like to blur them) I thought I’d wrap up the progress we’ve made outside in the last few months. Here are some before and after shots from when we purchased the house until now. It excites us a lot!

Weed, Lay Top-Soil & Grow Grass from Seed



Build outdoor patio furniture

The grass is still spotty! But its a worlds improvement from where it was!



Install Gate to Backyard





Comparing the before and after shots really helps us to feel like we are starting to cross items off of the to-do list. Some of the remaining goals left for next year are:

  • Remove the small old fence posts
  • Install Lattice Top to Other Fence Gate
  • Paint/Treat Gate
  • Finish Concrete Pad
  • Build Patio Sofa or 2 More Chairs
  • Make Cushions for Patio Set
  • Plant Trees
  • Build Raised Vegetable Garden
  • Start & Maintain Compost Pile
  • Install Privacy Screen/Pit/Shade

We’ll see what we cross off in Spring 2013. Anyone else wrap up projects before the cooler weather has hit?

Building a Gate – Part 1

Now that you’ve seen the designs, I thought I should show you the progress we made the first weekend. We tried squeezing in as much stuff as we could before the afternoon rain set in so we attacked it in two parts; Greg took installing the posts while I spent the time in the basement building the actual gate.

As you may remember this was our intended design:

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Gate Ideas

As this weekend turned into putting up a gate to blockade our Master Escape Artist, see hereGreg & I began to look into what type of gate we’d want to put up.

This is what Greg was originally thinking we’d do:

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