Finishing Up

** Side Story: I was inspired to write this post because sister had a post she started in our shared document called “Procrastination.” The title was the only thing written. Procrastination indeed.

It seems that the cycle of DIY in my house goes something like this:

  1. plan to start a project, buy all materials we think we need
  2. wait at least one month before actually starting the project
  3. start project, realize it isn’t as hard or complicated as we thought
  4. complete project to point where life isn’t impacted by project being unfinished
  5. wait 3-6 months, think about completing project
  6. actually complete project at some distant future point.

It’s a system that is well practiced here. We routinely get excited about a project and buy all the materials, and then let them sit in the basement until we actually get around to starting the project. We also routinely omit completely or forget about the finishing step. Which is why a lot of my ongoing projects are never “finished.”

Well, I’ve had about enough, and it starts in the Kitchen.


Our kitchen was a great renovation. It took a considerably short period of time, we were able to get the things we needed complete and we now have plenty of room in the kitchen for all of our things. But technically, it’s still unfinished. We’ve been using the “unfinished” kitchen for several months now, and I’ve decided to FINALLY cross the last things off the list.

Unfinished detail #1: our backsplash.

So this is my bad. When Andrew and I went to install the backsplash, I never really thought about how to finish the ends. So it ended up looking like this. FOR ALL ETERNITY.


The tile we used didn’t have a special finishing piece that we could buy, and I wasn’t crazy about the other options (wood trim, metal stripping). NOTE TO SELF: only consider tile you can find finishing pieces to in the future. At one point we did buy metal stripping, it’s still in the basement. The most difficult parts about this project are the vertical sides that don’t end in a corner. these ended up having those crooked little half circles. Clearly we need to finish the backsplash better.

After hemming and hawing for what feels like for-ev-er (and in fact has been 9 months), I decided to just use strips of the tile itself to finish off the edges. I thought that the top edge of the tile looked the most clean, so I cut strips and glued them in place. There were 4 places I needed to fix. Instead of going through the laborious process of removing and replacing tile, I just added a new strip on the vertical spots with some caulk adhesive. There was one spot that needed to have the tiles popped off. I then used a premixed grout to fill in the spots that needed it.




 Then I simply taped and caulked. I did have some trouble keeping the caulk off of the round tiles, but it really was just a test in patience. Protip: using a we paper towel is extremely helpful.


You can see all the places that needed finishing in this panorama:


 In all, finishing up the tile took MAYBE 2 full hours spaced out into 20 minute intervals over 3 days. Totally do-able, and completely shameful that I didn’t get to it sooner.





Unfinished detail #2: Baseboards. Well, one baseboard in particular. We had to cut this particular baseboard shorter because of the drawer cabinets. I prepped and sanded the wall, and then NOTHING. Unpainted portion of wall for 9 months. It wasn’t even that bad, and only took 20 minutes of actual time to caulk and paint the baseboard and wall. What a slacker. Also, no pictures because baseboards are boring, and the aforementioned slacking.

So that’s it. The kitchen reno is complete. It only took an entire year, nbd.

P.S. The kitchen renovation does not include the back door (seen in the panorama picture), which I was never part of the original plan and this way, I can call the kitchen project officially complete!


So Many Things Are Happening

This is going to be a looooong post. Sorry, not sorry.

Maybe it’s the warm weather, but it seems like at this point every year we get a little over our heads in the project department. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fabulous to get shit done around the house and make things pretty, but it seems like we’ve been moving non-stop on projects since April. So without further ado, here’s a list of what’s been happening:

1) The kitchen: Oh yes, the kitchen is still not complete. You heard that right, folks. Still. Not. Complete.

We put up a backsplash. We chose a tile that I didn’t think would be too difficult to cut and looked good with the countertops.



Look at the optimism here:


Neither one of us had ever tiled anything (I know, super surprising). So I of course thought that it would be no big deal. You guys, it’s kind of a big deal. Firstly, there are the giant, scary warnings all over the grout packaging that says horrifying things like “DO NOT GET ON SKIN, CONTAINS IRRITANTS” and “DO NOT INHALE.” Of course the first things that happened when opening the package was dust inhalation. Then, once mixed the grout is generally smeared all over everything, including skin, but you don’t want to stop for fear that everything is going to dry too quickly. So it was a frantic afternoon of putting up tile with the Drewid.


This small corner section took us 3 hours.

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That was over 3 weeks ago, and we’ve had zero progress since then. It’s not our fault though!! We are still waiting on new cabinet fronts from the cabinet supplier/installer. It has literally taken longer to get in the replacement fronts than re doing the entire kitchen. You could say that I’m pretty upset about it.

In the meantime, we are using our kitchen fully, but there are still many drawers and cabinets that have no handle because they are not the final cabinet front. Sigh. Here is what’s left to do in the kitchen:

⇒ Caulk backsplash (we had to special order the caulk to match the grout, but we do have it in our possession now)

⇒ Put all switchplates back

⇒ Add fronts to pantry shelves (we now have a nail gun, so this should be done soon!)
⇒ New cabinet fronts (waiting on cabinet people)

⇒ Fill in nail holes in cabinets (also waiting on cabinet people)

⇒ Add all cabinet pulls (WAITING ON CABINET PEOPLE!!)

⇒ Also there is still a wall I haven’t painted. I should probably get on that.

2) If the kitchen wasn’t enough, we decided that it would be a good idea to finally finish the back staircase. Andrew and I started this almost as soon as we moved in last year, and it’s been an eyesore on going project ever since. I’m REALLY glad though that we waited so long. If we had finished this project earlier, the steps would have been stained dark with white trim. I realized that since we have such narrow steps white trim would have gotten dirty quite easily. Also, I had the basement steps to look at. After less than a year, the white risers were starting to get scuffed. So I changed my mind, and now we are in the final stages of completion. These steps are a post all by themselves (including an explanation of what happens when you apply polyurethane too thick. spoiler alert, it takes 3 weeks to dry), so I’ll just post a little before and progress photo for now, with a complete post coming soon.




PROGRESS (These steps are stained, poly’d and primed!)


Here’s what’s left to do:

⇒ 1 more coat of paint

⇒ adding quarter round to the landings

3) Our yard! I hate yardwork. It is literally the worst punishment ever. The only thing I really like doing is growing our herbs and veggies in the “food plot.” It’s about all I can care for without making me want to curl into a ball and hide from all the spiders. Who am I kidding,I want to hide from all the spiders all the time. Largely, we’ve hired out the work to be done this season, but there are still some unfinished things that need attention…. shit, this probably deserves a post of its own too.

Look, I grew some radishes this year!

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4) Uh, closets. Yeah. We decided that now was the time to build closets. Our last apartment was about the same size as our current place (3 bed, 1 bath). BUT, there was significantly more storage space in our previous place. In total, we lost 4 closets in our move (5 if you count the pantry closet that we changed to open shelving in our kitchen reno). Luckily, we gained a basement that wasn’t terrifying to go into, so we called it a win. Unfortunately, after living here for an entire year, the 4 closet loss was felt. There is no place to store coats, linens, or a vacuum cleaner. We’ve made do by adding storage furniture, but finally decided to convert the useless hallway into 2 closets. It’s going to be epic. Look, we’ve already started to fill the house with drywall and build things!


So that’s what’s going on for now. Sister and I are both working on more posts so we don’t have a long MIA stretch again.


Weekend Kitchen Update and an Encounter with Wildlife

The next step in our kitchen adventure was to tear out the entire kitchen to get ready for the cabinet install. Now, the installation technically won’t happen until Monday (fingers crossed), but we needed to get the room cleared so Andrew and our neighbor can run some new electrical lines, which is happening last weekend (yes, last weekend is as “real time” as you are going to get).

So the plan was to clear the room on Friday and get the house in a sort of organized state so when our friends showed up on Saturday we would be ready to go. That was the plan. It didn’t happen. Andrew and I drank too much on Friday and ended up being blobs on the couch. I was so clumsy that I managed to crack an egg and miss the pan. 


We’ve been really into whiskey lately, and it’s troubling because I can get plastered off of only one. I will drink two though, because they are delicious. sigh. Anyway, Saturday morning we scrambled to get everything out of the kitchen (which we did, and in record time). Then help arrived.

Ok, so technically help arrived before we finished emptying the kitchen, but there really wasn’t much left. It was fine. Our friends, Pat and Jesus, have recently gone through their own kitchen transformation, so they were very knowledgeable about how to take everything down and get it out in a timely manner. I hung around for maybe 45 minutes, and then had to jet off to my Saturday class, but by the time I came home, the cabinets were out, they had been donated and the boys had celebrated with Indian food. It was like magic.  





And, in case you didn’t believe me, a shot of the indian food:


The rest of the day was spent running an electrical line for the fridge, and adding an outlet for the microwave. Andrew and I added the last line for the garbage disposal (or dishwasher? I don’t know), on Sunday.


The next day was just me and Andrew working on things. We cleaned the floor of the kitchen, because it was nasty and covered with the corpses of 1,000,000 ants. I don’t have a photo for you, you’ll just have to imagine. 

We loaded up the van for the second time on Sunday and took all the construction trash that had been in our basement to a dumpster. We opened the dumpster and lo and behold:

(this is a video of Andrew asking what to do about the RACCOON IN THE DUMPSTER).


A raccoon.

I’m terrified of raccoons.

A raccoon that was stuck in the dumpster. We had to carefully place some of the longer scrap pieces of trim that we had on one side of the dumpster so the poor thing could climb out. I’m sure that if it wasn’t already starving and/or sleepy he would have been a mean mother f**ker.  

Kitchen-gate 2014

In an attempt to keep up with what is going on in our kitchen at all times, I’ll be posting mini updates in as close to real time as possible. Last week, we had someone come out to rip out our pantry and make it into an acceptable space for the refrigerator to move to. It was 2 days of work:



Day 1:


Day 2:


this is what is left over in our basement:



And as a result of “losing” our pantry, all of our pantry things ended up in the dining room:


Please note the maple syrup and the salsa were placed within easy reaching distance #priorities. 

Side note: we are painting the area and running the electric ourselves, so this refrigerator alcove is not ready to have the ‘fridge moved just yet. More on that to come.

Also, just because this is real life, here is where we are storing all of the extra stuff we bought until they are ready to be installed (hell yeah living room storage).   You are seeing a sink, faucet, garbage disposal and microwave. 



Needless to say, there is shit everywhere and our house looks like a bomb went off, but PROGRESSSSSSS.