The downside of humidity…

(Not a post about frizzy hair, I promise.)

So, we cleared out of the Decatur Project for four days to let Lee Bailey and crew work their voodoo on the rest of the downstairs.  The plan was to strip up the carpet/do the other requisite demo, sand, stain and apply first coat of poly on Thursday, followed by one coat of poly Friday and one coat of poly on Saturday, leaving at least 24 hours before we came home to let things dry.  Well, it is August and they don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing, friends.  90+ temps and rain = bad drying conditions for newly refinished hardwoods.  Which means they didn’t dry according to plan and were still wet when we returned home yesterday.  So, there is still a sofa in our kitchen and we used all of our spidey-skills to jump from the kitchen to the hallway leading to the bedrooms (those floors were done three months ago), over the wet hallway.  We have grown accustomed to such chaos.  We still aren’t used to this kind of gorgeousness:

Sorry for the bad blackberry pics.  Who even knows where the real camera is…I tell you.  Chaos.

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Never say goodbye…

Lee Bailey, god of hardwoods, is in the Decatur Project.  Right. Now.  Seeing him makes my heart sing, because every time he is here he rips out nasty carpet and gives us gorgeous hardwood floors.  He is back to finish up the house starting today, ripping out the carpet in the entry, front hallway, living room, and dining room.  Which means everyone needs to pour one out for this gorgeousness…

See you later, crunchy, dirty, nasty, dusty, rose encrusted carpet.  You had a good life.   You helped us out enormously during the kitchen reno – protecting the what lies beneath from potential dings inflicted by a tile saw or circular saw or primer or paint (all being used in the dining room) or large kitchen appliances being stored in the living room.   For that, we will be forever grateful.

Lee Bailey offered to make us a doormat from a piece of the carpet.  We politely declined.  Onward and upward!  Pics to follow when gorgeousness and order is restored.

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Christmas in July.

The time has come, ladies and gentlemen….

The BIG reveal.  Our NEW kitchen!

First, let’s take a look back – here’s what we had when we moved in:

That was the view when you came in the front door and walked straight back to the kitchen.  So pretty.  Below, the view from the dining room.  Love the cave-like arched doorway and the saloon-style doors.

One more – here’s a wall in the kitchen that was completely unused.  Except as space for a clock.  Which is an awesome use of space.

Now for the AFTERS.   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, are you ready?  Here you go…

View when you come in the front door and walk straight back to the kitchen now:

And, the view from the dining room now (you can’t totally tell from the shot, but yes, we said a sad goodbye to the saloon doors):

What we did with the clock wall:

One more, of the wall with the range and microwave:

There is a single, glistening tear of joy rolling down my cheek.  We are done with the biggest renovation we’ve ever tackled/lived through.  Better still, the kitchen turned out exactly how I saw it in my dreams.

I should note that there are still things to be done.  I am playing with changing out lightbulbs once again, the bookshelf upper cabinet is not styled to my liking (we have lost a box of cookbooks in this house.  we will find them.  but not today.), we need a doormat for the back door and maybe a small area rug, etc. etc.  But it is functional.  It is clean.  It is largely unpacked.  We still have empty drawers and cabinets to fill.  But we are totally getting there.

More soon.  I have a post in my head on sources and lessons learned.  For now, time to clean up and go grill.

Happy weekend!

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To tide you over…

So, the finishing touches aren’t quite finished on the kitchen.  I will post pics when it is done.  I am hoping it will be the end of the week.  In the meantime, and to tide you over, links to two new-to-me blogs.  Are you reading them?  If you aren’t, you should.

Nienie makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me think.  Every time I read it, it makes me grateful for the little corner of the world I occupy and reminds me of how precious life is.  It has become a daily read for me.  I am also enjoying another blog she writes – cuisinie – because I am always on the lookout for new recipes.  Which speaking of…

…I am obsessed with Smitten Kitchen.  A friend (thanks Kip!) turned me on to this one over the 4th of July weekend.  Let’s just say I spent two weeks plotting what my first recipe attempt would be in the new kitchen.  I love her ideas and her style of writing.  And then there are the pictures.  Oh man, the pictures.  Maybe the best thing about it, though, is how searchable her recipes are.  You can search by time of year, type of food, ingredient (particularly helpful if you find yourself with 37 eggplants in your farmbox and no ideas).  Check it out.  Make something delish.  You won’t regret it.

Also, for those who have asked: BKF is available at Target.  In almost every store I have visited and seen it, it is in found with the cleaning products, but on the bottom shelf.  So, look down.

Carry on.

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Don’t be alarmed…

I am playing around with the look of the blog.  Feel free to let me know what you think.  It is a work in progress.

Off to help the Dude fix supper.  IN. OUR. NEW. KITCHEN.  It is functional.  It is almost (almost!) finished.  We are so psyched.  A few last details will get wrapped up and cleaned up at the beginning of the week, so I will be keeping you in suspense until then.  But I promise, the final product is mighty fine.

Have a good weekend!

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Reason #867,932 I Owe My Mom. Big Time.

She found the countertops.  They were installed today.  I drool every time I get near them.  Here’s hoping I will get over this condition before the kitchen is finished and/or I invite any of you over to see it.  Drooling by yourself is one thing.  Drooling in front of others?  Well, that requires a bib.  And no shame.

Do they make you drool?

Good, right?

So, back to why my mother deserves the credit for the countertops…

My parents came to Atlanta/Decatur (this is before we had moved into the Decatur Project) back in May to visit.  We were under contract to buy the house, so we did what any normal family would do.  We sent the boys to buy meat to grill and to drink beer and watch sports and Mom and I went to fabric stores, to look at paint swatches, and as a last-minute addition to our list, to look at granite.

You see, I had found a quartz countertop that I liked a great deal.  It seemed low-maintenance, was the pretty gray-green color I wanted, and was within budget.  But on a lark, I called Atlanta Intown Granite the day before the my parents arrived just to see if they carried what I had already found.  After telling Al (who eventually made our countertop happen – big ups, Al!) that I didn’t want granite because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life sealing it, he talked me into coming in to see what they had in person.  Off Mom and I went.

We both really liked what I had already picked, so we agreed in the car that the goal of our visit with Al was to find something we liked twice as well for half the money.  Unachievable, right?  Wrong.  Anything is possible with Merdo riding shotgun.

We checked out their quartz/silestone/corian/blahblahblah and it was a bust.  One of the salespeople suggested we go out to the warehouse to see a couple of granite slabs that sounded like the colorway we wanted.  We checked those out and gave them two enthusiastic thumbs down.  As we turned to head out of the warehouse, my mom pointed at the backside of a large slab that we had walked right by earlier and said, “What a shame that is the underside of that slab.  It is exactly what you want.”

I stopped.  The salespeople stopped.  We all stared.

Then Al said, “Actually, that underside is honed granite.  You could totally use that.  It is pretty, isn’t it?”

Friends, my mother – Merdo the Great – had found something I liked twice as well for half the money.  Literally.

The slab was Kashmir Gold polished granite.  Not my fave.  Clearly not a lot of people’s fave, as it was on super clearance.  The other side was honed and very similar to Kashmir White – a granite I love, but could not afford (costs twice our budget!).  I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect for the kitchen of my dreams.

Al hooked a sister up and sold us the slab for the clearance price (even though people pay way more extra to have a slab honed), threw in a half-price sink, and guaranteed a 22-year sealer that means by the time we have to re-seal the countertops, we’ll have children who can do it.

You can’t beat that.  At. All.

Thanks to Al and the whole crew (templaters and the fastest working installers EVER) at Atlanta Intown Granite.  I highly recommend them if you have the need.

Al also informed me last week that they have now sold most all of the Kashmir Gold slabs – by selling them as the honed underside.  I think we should get a cut off of that.

And, of course, thanks mom.  I would have ugly countertops and bad paint colors if not for you.

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Templates for countertops are being made today.  We have bunny rabbits in our yard.  And, we found out yesterday that in Decatur, you don’t actually have to put your garbage bins at the street.  The garbagefolk will go behind your house in a golf cart to retrieve it for you.   It is utterly absurd, but sort of nice?

All of the above have made me happy this week.

More soon!

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