Doug & Marie's Kitchen Adventure

A daily progress journal

October 20: Nook Floor Complete

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October 20, 2009: Marie inspects the newly refinished old oak floor in the nook. 20 years ago, when we first moved into the house, we started to peel up tile that had been glued down on this floor, but didn’t get too far before realizing that peeling it all off, and  restoring the original floor was just too big a job in the context of everything else we had to do. Now it’s done, and it looks great.

The floor guys finished their work today and it turned out very nicely. They tell us the boards on the left were replaced many years ago, and that the boards on the right are original. You can also see the perpendicular boards right at Lucy’s feet. They had been pretty messed up over time, but the guys did a nice job of restoring them. So there’s no transition bar between the floor in the nook and the floor in the dining room, which is nice. We’re expecting a small transition piece into the new kitchen once the new floor goes down, but they’ll be installed at virtually the same grade.

The now-perfect floor highlights the far-less-than-perfect finish on the wainscot and other trim in the nook, so refinishing the vertical surfaces in there is coming onto the radar screen. Earlier in the project, Marie made a strong push on painting all the woodwork in the nook: wainscot, trim, etc. I think she’s relenting on this for now. We are carefully considering having a booth and table built for the nook, along the lines of something you might see in a cozy restaurant.

No tile today…that will be tomorrow. More pictures to follow then.


Written by Doug

October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm

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October 19: Nook Floor in Progress

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Sorry, no picture tonight. But a bit of an update, since you are wondering:

The two floor guys spent the entite day here, much of it removing the rest of the black mastic goo that was hardened onto the floor. They told us it gummed up their sander a bunch of times and in the end they went out and rented their own heat to help loosen the goo. Fortunately, they were successful at that, allowing a full sanding of the floor and patching of holes. They found a couple of interesting anomalies: the room part of the floor is original, but the walk-through part has been replaced before. Hmm. They also found that the last part of the floor before it transitions into the dining room is made up of boards that run perpendicular to all the rest of the boards. Tonight, the whole thing is an unphotogenic  uniform wheat-colored surface because they’ve applied a filler to address the cracks and holes. Tomorrow they’ll buff that off, sand again, and then apply the finish. Finley was here today still recupe-ing from the flu and he said it was really loud all day. They plastic-ed off the nook (to keep the dust from the rest of the house), so tonight we have to walk outside and around to get to the basement. Hopefully one of the last nights in this seige that we’ll have to do that.

In other news, Sergei was here and completely picked up all the construction debris in the backyard, so we’re looking a little more together on that score. Joe confirmed that all of the hardware and lighting has been ordered. And the audio guys were here to move one of the wires so that we can relocate some of the audio equipment to a more strategic location.

Tile starts tomorrow (it’ll be an interesting dance with the floor guys…they’ve spread out into the rest of the kitchen) and should be done by end of the day Wednesday. Electrician and plumber back on Thursday to hang fixtures. We’re definitely getting there.

Pictures for sure tomorrow night.

Written by Doug

October 19, 2009 at 7:53 pm

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October 12: Counter Tops

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A big day for the west kitchen. Pat the cabinet guru was here all day working on getting the maple countertops installed. Looking pretty nice. See for yourself:


Remember, the cabinet and drawer fronts are not on yet. They’ll be the last pieces to go on so they don’t get dinged. The stove goes in there on the right. Tile backsplash all the way around.



Looking from the old “east kitchen” into the addition. Doug’s workspace in the east, Marie’s in the west.

Scheduling problems prevented the tile guy from starting this week, so the job will be quiet for a few days now. The floor guy came to look at the nook today and will be here next Monday-Tuesday to do that floor. Tile guy on Tuesday-Wednesday next week. Marmoleum goes down two weeks from today, then appliance move-in day on Thursday the 29th. Joe was right: in time for baking Halloween cookies (in response to Marie’s question about will the kitchen be done in time for Thanksgiving…).

Written by Doug

October 12, 2009 at 5:48 pm

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October 11: Nook Floor Redux

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It’s the most annoying job we’ve done in a while: peeling old tile and thick mastic off the original oak floor in the nook. Peeling is not the right word, because it actually takes about three passes at the stuff to do it right. Yesterday we pulled out the contemporary wood floor that we put in in 1990. Then we started in to heat gun every single dang tile on that floor. Maybe a couple hundred, all glued fast to the oak underneath. Check out the work in progress:


For the first pass, you heat gun the top of the tile and pull it off, which leaves the glue underneath. You heat gun that and scrape. Heat it again and scrape. Not fun. You can see the oak beginning to emerge there on the right side. Don’t worry, Marie didn’t do it all, though she did a bunch while I was off being a soccer dad. We actually had a nice double-team system down with one person applying heat and the other person applying elbow grease. Blisters to prove it.



We had the tile checked to make sure it wasn’t asbestos (it wasn’t), and had good ventilation. If you look on the right side in the center of the picture you can see the holes where the radiator plumbing used to come up. We’ve moved the radiator to the west kitchen, freeing up some floorspace in the nook, and we’re considering having a carpenter build a booth-like unit. Hmm. Sometime this week the floor guys come to remove the remaining little bit of glue (we actually got all the tile and most of the glue up) and refinish the floor. It’s been a busy weekend ’round here.

Goals for the week: Maple counters in the west kitchen; cabinet and drawer fronts installed; stove and convection oven installed; tile backsplashes underway (completed?); paint fully completed; nook floor; back door installed. We need to keep the momentum going just a little longer…

Written by Doug

October 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm

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October 8th: Local Color

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Leon and his crew of painters have been busy, just about done with both interior and exterior. The last of the cabinet frames are in, and the soapstone counter has been installed in the east kitchen. We’re getting there! Take a look at these scenes from this afternoon:


Leon, with head cloaked for painting, steps back to check his work. The bed moulding under where the soffit meets the wall, the brackets, and the foundation are all that remain to be painted outside. The foundation gets the dark green to match the existing foundation. The porchlet and stairs are not complete, and will be the last item to be built and painted once everything inside is done. Note the green paint visible inside!



Another view of the exterior. The guys are painting the entire existing west face of the house as well as all of the addition.



Wow. Look at that. It’s the same green as we had in the old kitchen. The windows are beautiful and crisp. Leon has not painted where the tile backsplash goes (which will be installed next week). We’re using white subway tile with a nice black detail line that runs through. Stove, convection oven, and maple countertops go in next week.



Another view of the back wall. Tile backsplash goes on the left. The tall cabinet with green backdrop is where the fridge goes. Cookbooks above. The cabinet to the right is a pantry, with door. Wine rack above that.  We really love this window wall, and all the light it allows into the space.



East kitchen, with the new soapstone counter (part of which is still masked from paint on the right). Tile backsplash behind the sink up to the bottom of the window sill, and then wrapping around under the cabinets. Under cabinet lighting. The over-the-counter cabinets get beveled-glass doors. Cabinets on the left get doors. Dishwasher in the lower left.

Written by Doug

October 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

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Paint and Normalcy (sort of)

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Painters are here this week with the intention of being completely done by Friday. Today the guys primed all of the trim in the kitchen. Color (the same friendly old enamel green) comes next. Outside, the window sash is done…take a look:



We’ve reclaimed the bedroom, making it a nice parlor-like reading or chatting spot too. Finally.


Not completely set up, but you get the idea. Room for some art on these big new walls…

Written by Doug

October 6, 2009 at 10:23 pm

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Witness to Progress | Catching Up

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We’ve been gone for the last 12 days, and during that time, the guys have made solid progress. Have a look:


Cabinets and drawers are in (but not drawer faces). All the interior and exterior trim, sills, etc. are on. Marie spent part of her first afternoon back in Portland placing pans, pots, lids and other kitchen items into place to see if it all fits.



I think we’re convinced that it will all fit. Note the lazy susans in the corner. The fridge goes into the large opening behind Marie. Workmanship looks really sharp.



Looking back into the old kitchen. The tall cabinet is where the fridge used to be.


In addition to the nice progress, we found that the bedroom was done, and so we moved in last night, fresh from 24 hours of traveling and two very long plane trips. What a treat to have that room back. We look forward to catching up with Joe next week to get the revised schedule on the kitchen. Not much left on the inside: countertops, tile backsplash, cabinet completion, and painting, painting the walls and trim, installing the floor and setting the radiator and the final details of lighting and plumbing fixtures. Outside: exterior paint; porch deck, stairs and railing. Yippee!

Written by Doug

October 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm

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