Friday, March 30, 2012

Kitchen Reno: New beginnings

The electrician was busy on Tuesday morning, adding power points and moving light switches.

The builder came on Wednesday to finish off the walls, which I neglected to take a photo of (well they weren't that exciting, they're just walls), and he also jackhammered up the tiles and glue, leaving us with a blank slate.

On Wednesday night R & I plastered up the bulkhead, & The Puzzle arrived first thing Thursday morning.

By lunchtime on Thursday the cabinets and bench were in, and it was starting to take shape.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kitchen Reno: Out with the Old (Part 2)

The electrician came on Monday and disconnected the oven. On Monday night, R got busy with the screwdriver and pretty soon, it was ready to take apart.

I bought a new chisel on Saturday morning, and the tiles came off the wall really quickly - well, except for the few stuck to the duct in the corner. I thought R should be allowed a turn with the new chisel too, so I left him some..

Underneath the bench-top, the whole kitchen was only four parts; the pantry and these three. 

Empty space! Ready for the final preparations.

That was last night. The electrician was back today and connected up all the wiring in the right places.  it needs to be fitted off, so for now there's just cables hanging all over the place.

Tomorrow's job is the final preparations, but there's not much to do. :)

Kitchen Reno: Out with the old (Part 1)

I got an email from the kitchen guy, Ross, last Tuesday night, saying he'd be ready to install the new kitchen on the Thursday following. R & I were still in coasting-mode, slowly finishing off the bathroom, so the email was a bit of a wake-up call to come back to reality and get on with the next part!

R's had a lot on his mind with work and going away to Adelaide, and was feeling a bit stressed about getting it all done on time and doing a good job. If you're gonna do it, do it properly, he says. He's a good man. While he's been away, I've made the most of my time (usually while I'm waiting for the kettle to boil) and made a start.

I unpacked the kitchen and have relocated as much of it as I can into the dining room. I hope there aren't any important birthdays coming up that I need to bake for, my tins are buried... Also now that I look at it, I'm not sure why I ever feel like my pantry is full, there's really not that much food there.

I was feeling adventurous, and after taking the shelf down, I got a little screw-driver happy and removed the space-filler that joined the top of the pantry to the ceiling. Then I spoke to R on the phone and he told me there was a screwdriver bit for the drill, and how to make the drill go backwards. Yay! Much easier.

So, about a dozen screws and a good bit of wiggling later, I pulled the pantry down. I barely caught it though, it turned out to be a little heavier than I was expecting. Still. I had a little 'I am Woman, hear me Roar!' moment. (I discovered later I have quite a bruise down my leg where it scraped, but hey, battle scars are cool, right?)

It's hard to tell from these photos, but the room feels a lot wider now. I was expecting it to feel bigger, and longer I guess, but wider was a happy surprise. Hey, in a townhouse, any feeling of more space is very welcome!

It is now possible to stand at the stove and see the TV. (We watch TV through the computer in the corner, in case you're looking for an actual TV set in the photo somewhere and going crazy because you can't see it.) And yes, the pantry will stay right there in the middle of the lounge-room until R is home and there's another guy here to help with some muscles. Did I mention it was heavy??

I think the cabinets look small now, but the room feels bigger. Can't wait to see the new one go in!

Looking through the new doorway from the garage. (Behind the cabinets is a piece of plasterboard, and behind that is the new dishwasher. Yay!)

Next, the electrician will move some light-switches and add in some power points; the carpenter has a bit more work to do to finish the wall and doorway (and he'll kindly lift the tiles with his jackhammer too); we've got to fix up the bulkhead; then the kitchen will go in on Thursday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kitchen Reno: Prep

We'd originally planned to keep the same layout in our kitchen and just replace the whole lot with the same but new (and better colours!), until one morning I had a stroke of genius. What if there was a way to move the pantry out of the centre of the room, onto the blank wall? It would mean removing the small wall beside the fridge (was that even possible?) and moving a doorway (in a load-bearing wall, no less). Two opinions from two builders said the same thing - yep that should be fine. And there was much rejoicing!

Earlier this month, while we were renovating the bathroom, our builder did the prep work for the kitchen. Our fridge has been under the stairs this whole time. I'm getting used to walking the extra 5 steps. I keep telling myself it's just like having a massive kitchen in a big house.

The bulkhead had to be opened up for the bathroom pipe-work, there's a picture of the mess here. It didn't take the guys long to remove the nib wall.

A new doorway and a new wall, mid-construction.

Looking through the new doorway from the other angle, inside the garage. The room feels so much bigger now! Can't wait to see how it'll look with the pantry moved.

Starting is so exciting. Then it gets messy and turns into hard work, but it's still fun. At least I think it is.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kitchen Reno: Before Photo's

It's time to renovate the kitchen! Woohoo!!

Here are some photos taken before we touched it:

That pantry. Right in the middle of the room. It will go!

When I moved in early in 2008, we put in a new oven and cook-top. We remembered to make sure the cabinet was wide enough for the new oven, but forgot to measure the height, and so we've had an ugly, dusty gap above it ever since.

Oh yes. Cream with the wood trim. This style was popular in the mid-to-late 80's and became the preferred cheap alternative for the townhouse-builder of the mid-90's.

The calendar wall, AKA a huge waste of space in out small house. (And please ignore the carton of rubbish beer, it was a Christmas present from R's work which has since been passed on to someone who doesn't mind drinking it.)

What's that exciting thing on the TV? Oh, never mind.

The room, from near the front door.

And next comes the fun (and dirty) part. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bathroom Reno: Almost done

Yes, I know, I've been slack with posting bathroom progress pictures. To be honest, not much has changed, and towards the end there we lost momentum and trailed off.

After my small stress about the tiles, we took the plastic sheets off and cleaned up the room. While I'm not in love with the floor tiles like I was expecting to be, they are great and they do look just fine.

The plumber came on Friday to fit the toilet, and there was much rejoicing.

On Tuesday night just gone, we installed most of the accessories - towel rails, toilet-roll holder, etc. The main light and exhaust fan are yet to go into the ceiling, and we didn't get to the shower shelf. We're still tossing up about soap dishes - R doesn't particularly like them, but he's the one who likes his soap in a bar. The cornices need a little more paint, and we have no architraves or door yet. Oh, and I keep forgetting about the blind.

It's a bit like planning a wedding, I think, you get all the main things organised, then it's just the little things at the end that trip you up and slow down the process.

The toilet-roll holder is a bit of a novelty - the old one was broken when I moved in over 4 years ago, and we never got around to fixing it, so this really is new!

We propped up the old mirror temporarily, until we sort out the new one. We were expecting a guy to come and give us a quote for the mirror and the shower screen two weeks ago, and then he didn't show up. Then he organised to come last Friday, and didn't show up then either, and we've not heard from him again. (Read: if you need bathroom glass, don't ring Martin from Diamond Glass.) We've since gotten a few more quotes, and will make a decision over the weekend.

I thought the robe hooks behind the door were a nice touch. I'm not sure they're really necessary, but having extra hanging space in the bathroom is useful.

Almost done!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bathroom Reno: A little plaster, a little paint, and - HEY! What happened to my tiles?!?!

After a sleep-in on Saturday morning, I got stuck into some sewing and R had some well-earned time out. I covered and taped up the bathroom, mainly so that the white grout wouldn't by damaged by people walking on it and dropping paint on it. After it's cured, I'll seal it to keep the stains to a minimum.

Then R put on the top-coat for the plaster-work, and when it was dry he sanded it all back to smooth. And let me tell you, when R sands something to smooth, it is SMOOTH. The downside is that he likes to make sure he has plenty of product to sand back, so there was quite a bit of dust. Everywhere. But if that's the worst of it, then it hasn't been too bad.

A note about cornices - they're tricky little things! R spent ages practicing to get the angles just right, and has even hung onto some templates to help him remember next time. He glued them up just fine, and filled any small gaps with the cornice adhesive. Bad idea. Cornice adhesive dries super hard, and remember how I said R likes to have plenty to sand back? Mmm. He was not a happy camper, and neither was I, but the lesson has been learned. Gyprock top-coat is the way to go.

On Monday, I painted a couple of patches of undercoat so the electrician could finish his work, and finished the first coat of undercoat on Monday night. Tuesday was painting day, and R helped me get another coat of undercoat on. I splashed some ceiling white on the ceiling, 'builder's white' on the walls, and she's all done! (Well, apart from those patches on the cornice, but when they're dry they'll be easy to finish.)

Having a light above the mirror was a must - the vanity is on the opposite side of the room to the window, so the natural light is behind you which makes applying make-up, or shaving, difficult. R found a neat little power-point with the switch incorporated, so it all looks very tidy.

After I painted and sat down for a rest, I cleaned up a bit in preparation for the plumber coming to do the fit-off. I peeled back the drop-sheet on the floor in the toilet corner, to find that my white tiles are no longer white. (I included a photo from last Thursday, after the tiles had been laid, to compare. I don't have a picture from the same angle with it grouted, but the grout just makes it all look whiter.) Yes, you can call me fussy, but if you'd spent the last 4 years planning your bathroom renovation and it turned out different, you might be disappointed too. Especially if your colour scheme is white-grey-black, with no warm, cream or brown neutrals at all. I didn't get overly upset (mainly because I'm so tired!), but I think I've settled on surprise as my main reaction. I realise that when you put two whites together, they'll look different, because no two whites are the same, and one of them will look off-white - I just wasn't prepared for half-strength milky coffee.

It's right before my very eyes, and yet I'm having trouble believing the amount of colour change. Matt from Beaumont Tiles dropped in on Wednesday night to check it out, and even though he thought I was just being fussy, he could see that they weren't white next to the walls. He suggested painting the walls again with a bit more colour, to see if that would help, but we don't really want to do that. (Besides, the colour we've picked for the kitchen cabinets is a very white white, so we'll have the same problem downstairs.) His other suggestion was to change the light-bulbs to a bluer light, which would probably help for the couple of hours at night that the lights are on, but we can't change the colour of the sun! 

I've taken a few deep breaths, and I'm learning to live with it. And in reality, this is what you'd call a 'First World Problem'. It will all look different when everything is finished and we've taken away the drop-sheets and cleaned it all up. I keep telling myself that it's just a two-bedroom townhouse that's going to be a rental, we're not going to be here forever. The irony is, we could have gone for off-white grout after all. Haha! Oh well, live and learn.

We were meant to be visited on Friday by a guy who does glass and mirrors, to organise the shower screen and the mirror, but it's Wednesday morning and we haven't heard from him... Apart from that, we're waiting on the plumber to fit the toilet and connect the taps, we need to paint the gloss around the window and door, put a blind on the window, and I keep forgetting about the accessories - towel rails, shelf in the shower, toilet roll holder. So close!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bathroom Reno: Tiles, baby!

Yesterday and today, our bathroom was injected with personality. Style. Flavour, if you like.

The floor tiles are plain, semi-gloss white, 300x300mm. The wall tiles are 400x200mm, gloss black with a faint marble, and difficult to photograph! They either show up all black, or just reflect everything. R managed to snap this one - a little fuzzy, but you get the idea:

The tiles came from Beaumont Tiles at Loganholme; thanks to Matt for his help.

I was nervous. The tiles were the one thing I wanted to be perfect. Our colour scheme is a bit risky - was it going to be too bold? Was it going to make the small room look even smaller? The area the tiles would cover had to be different to what we'd originally planned - was it going to look ok? They had to start in a different place to what I originally wanted - would all the lines be right? And then Stan, the tiler, started placing the tiles by eye, with no spacers. Yep, I was nervous.

But then I checked again later, and voila! Straight, level lines. And here's Stan. He only let me put his picture up if I tell you if you need a tiler in the Beenleigh / Beaudesert / Greenbank / Jimboomba area, his number is 0403 039 843. Well, there weren't really any conditions, but seriously, he's done a great job.

Here's where I eat my words. The vanity is in, and yes, the tiles went in after the vanity. There are several reasons, like the way we had to do the plumbing to avoid extra bulkhead in the kitchen, and the tiler's preference, and the way it is next to the bath, and I guess that's what happens when you rearrange a second-floor bathroom. Fingers crossed it never needs to come out - well, while we own it, at least!!

Thursday (yesterday) afternoon, the tiles were all laid. There are a few things that I would have done differently if it were possible, because I'm a fussy bugger. But, some things are not possible, and I am satisfied that we have the best result, given our options. (And I'm not going to tell you which things I would have changed, because you'd probably never even notice anyway.)

 So neat. And shiny. Well, semi-gloss shiny.

Here's the finished product, grouted and siliconed. It's a bit grubby, and will need a final clean before we use the bathroom, but that will be the last thing we do.

I couldn't talk myself out of white grout on the floor. I know, it's going to get dirty, but it just looks so good... We'll seal it too, which will hopefully help protect it a bit more. We went for the slightly wider chrome strip at the doorway, which gives a really nice finish with the carpet edge.

Stan says no more work in the bathroom today, which sounds like we get the afternoon off, but I've got sewing to finish and R's out servicing a friends car.

A glass guy is coming later this afternoon to quote for the shower screen and mirror. There's a bit more plaster work to do, including the cornices, then painting, plumbing fit-off, electrical fit-off, architraves, get a blind for the window, paint the door and put it back on, give it all a good clean, and I think that's it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bathroom Reno: Holey Sheet!

Things are looking serious now! After the plumber and electrician did their bits on Tuesday, we hung all the sheeting with the help of our plasterer/renderer neighbour. He had somewhere to be that night, so after the ceiling was in he had to run, leaving us with instructions for finishing it off.

It all went together really well, there were only a few pieces that needed minor adjustments.

The ceiling went up much quicker and easier than expected!

Our bedroom has turned into the dumping ground for everything from tools, cables, the rubbish bin and even the toilet. (The other option was to use my sewing room, but that one's off limits for now!)

The master plasterer at work. When the tiler arrived on Wednesday morning to paint on the waterproofing, he was very impressed with my work. Then, our plasterer/renderer neighbour came round to see how we'd gone finishing it off, and was also very impressed! Not bad for a first timer. They joked that I should take it up. I wonder what the pay's like....

The tiler could tell the job wasn't done by a professional because I'd done too much - all those screws and nails didn't need to be done with the base coat, which is what the white patches are. That might have been good to know at whatever time that was in the early hours of Wednesday!


The tiler will be back early tomorrow (Thursday) morning to lay the tiles, then he'll grout it all on Friday. We've still got a bit of plaster work to do, then painting. The plumber and electrician will fit it all off, and we're yet to buy the mirror and shower screen, but at this stage it looks like we'll be able to use it early next week. Yay!