Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Kitchen- part two

I had a lot of 'splainin' to do because my contractor had never installed a pot-filler before (and he swears he had never seen one in a house). A pot filler is a faucet that you add close to your stove, so that you do not have to do a lot of heavy lifting of water from the sink to the stove. When I started shopping around, they were pricing at around $200 to $1500. One rainy afternoon, I looked on, and found this one. It is now over $900, but for some strange reason (and apparently a pricing mistake on their end), it was listed for $132. So that is how much I paid for my pot-filler.

My cabinets are good old 'Lidingo' cabinets from IKEA. A little while ago, I was skeptical about using IKEA cabinets, until I read an article on Consumer Reports that ranked IKEA cabinets highest in the basic brand, and even better than several mid-level brands. I knew I wanted white cabinets, and IKEA has three different versions. I went with Lindingo because of the style of the glass pane (it was not frosted), and because the lines are clean, but not ultra-modern.

There were two things that blew my budget in this renovation - even though I did manage to recoup the costs in other kitchen savings. One of them was this fun microwave. It is a microwave drawer and fit perfectly in the top part of a 24 inch cabinet. Aside from it being a perfect fit, it is a convection microwave oven and has so many great features that I cannot list them all. 

My love affair with the Bosch started when my friend Jess told me about the birthday gift that she received from her husband. A BOSCH DISHWASHER- and how great it was. Now, I love this dishwasher. It is an ultra, ultra quiet, but very efficient. My German husband says- well, what do you expect- it is GERMAN ENGINEERING!

One thing we did not realize immediately was that this dishwasher needs a rinse-aid to dry the dishes. Once we figured that out we were very happy. It is very quiet, cleans great and is very energy efficient.

More to come- the faucet, the countertops and the wine cooler. And what is left to be done?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kitchen renovation progress- Part One

I was so excited to get my first comment today. Thank you ADD. I love your blog, and I was so pumped that you checked out my 'beginner blog'. ADD just completed a kitchen renovation that is especially yummy. You can check it out here.

Speaking of being a beginner blogger- I will apologize in advance. I only have my super duper iPhone 4 for a camera, and have not been able to get the best of pictures. I will have to make do until I get one of those super duper cameras with some photography classes. (Hopefully, my husband is reading this)

When we first bought our home, I knew the kitchen was not going to work for us for a number of reasons. I like to cook (A LOT), and that translates to having decent prep space and enough storage space. I also like entertaining, and have always enjoyed having a kitchen where guests can hang out too. Our old kitchen was a smaller galley kitchen next to a larger dining room. (The dining room had a full bath in it, but that is a whole different story). We decided to tear down the wall and create a more open kitchen/dining room combo with an oversize island. Here is an overall picture.
(There are several things that still need to get done. Have not picked a light fixture, not picked paint, trim work etc. )

In planning the kitchen, I had to build around a few things that I already had (or already had in mind). I had purchased a full size fridge and full size freezer (for 350 dollars a piece!) at a builder's auction earlier this year. I wanted to have a wall of storage with the fridge and freezer. They were both counter depth and 30 inches wide.

Also, I wanted to get a professional gas range and electric oven, but did not have a VIKING and SUB-ZERO budget. I did a lot of research, and 'settled' for a Bertazzoni stove which was significantly cheaper than the Viking, but had great performance and reviews. I decided to call around to a few stores to purchase a floor model (since they carry the same manufacture's warranty). I was able to find a Bertazzoni Heritage stove and matching hood for less than the price of an entry level stove ONLY. The stove was still 'my big splurge' in the kitchen, but I saved a few thousand dollars by doing lots of research and calling around. There are so many things I love about my stove, but that will take an entire post to document.

Part two follows tomorrow.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The kitchen before

Here are a few pictures of the kitchen before the renovation. It was actually an almost-new kitchen, but a really badly planned one, and one that was not practical for us. Everything was cramped, you would open one cabinet and end up bumping into the wall. The backsplash was to ummmm... yeah- backsplash. 
The flooring was interesting. There was a layer of laminate, over a layer of vinyl that had been put down with some black goo-ey glue, over original hardwood floors. Getting that taken care of was DRAMA- and I will post about it later.

There was an opening into a 'pantry' that we ended closing off to get more cabinet space. And my not-so-favorite this was the popcorn ceiling.

The kitchen was galley-style and small compared to the rest of the house. I love a space to entertain, and so we opened everything up and created a kitchen dining combo.

Enough about the old kitchen, this week I was at a random tile clearance store in Virginia, and was able to score some white carrara marble subway tile for the backsplash. 137 square feet- my contractor says it will be enough- for 50 bucks. SCORE!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tastes like butter

I feel like I spent the entire month of May sourcing/researching/ordering the new kitchen. I am really happy with what it looks like so far. Here is a sneak peak.

There are still a few tasks that need to be completed with the toughest one being 'PICK A PAINT COLOR'! I decided to go with a white on white kitchen despite being told by 'everyone' not to. There is a lot of color in the stove. I have put up a few paint swatches, and still keep gravitating to a really light, fluffy color that reminds me of 'butter'. (Clean, just opened parisian butter, not yucky already cooked with grease) And a part of me wants to pretend that I am cooking in butter. But then another part of me thinks it might be a very mellow kitchen being white on white on WHITE/BUTTER. I guess I will deliberate for another 10 weeks.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's getting hot in here

Our house is two years shy of it 100th birthday. It has beautiful, albeit painted radiators that function really well. We figured we would keep the radiators, since they provide a dryer, more comfortable heat, and we would add individual thermostatic radiator valves to each of them to control the heat. However, the house did not have any air conditioning. There was one window unit installed in one room upstairs, and two dead window units in the basement. We decided we would install a dual-system AC unit in the property.

1. We have four floors, it would be more efficient
2. Basement and first floor would get Standard Central AC since we would be able to build bulkheads without looking to intrusive.
3. Third and fourth floor would get a small duct high velocity system.

The craziest task had to be getting the small duct system unit up on the roof. My contractor had four people lift it to the roof. It was insanely frightening.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Well- its about time!

So I will be very upfront- I am not a great writer! So the idea of getting this blog together to document the process of our renovation has been a tad frightening. At the same time, part of me feels like all the blogs that I have been reading have been really helpful in enhancing my creative senses, and I should do the same for other.  So here goes......

We have had our new home for about 2 months now. This was not our first home, and this is not our first renovation, but this one is a little more emotional seeing that we are not planning to move any time soon. We have moved three times in the last three years, but this time we will be staying put until when we decide to get out of DC altogether.

Our home is in the District of Columbia, in a 'neighborhoody' area that is a mile from the excitement of Dupont Circle yet covered with green from Rock Creek Park. Cooper is our dog, and he loves that he can get out of the backyard, and onto the trails at the park. Our house is a decent sized house for a DC house- and an 'upgrade' size-wise from our old house, which was (and I am not exaggerating)- THE SMALLEST DETACHED VICTORIAN IN DC. (We checked all the records!)

In the first month of buying our home, we focused on getting central air conditioning going. (Will post more on that later). Needless to say- it did not get done in time for our June 1st move-in, and we were stuck in the DC summer heat for a week or so. Our next project was getting rid of the yucky kitchen and the powder room that was in the middle of the dining room. We have made progress with the kitchen, and I can't wait to share all the details with you in upcoming blog posts.

Welcome to Casa Cooper :)