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Kitchen Floor Update

Now that I’m trying to figure out a plan for Bambino #2’s nursery, it’s got me thinking about the longevity of things.  And since I’ve been focusing on picking out a rug for the nursery, I’ve been trying to see how rugs hold up.  Now, that could be a whole ‘nother post, so I’ll try to stick to the title of this one.

And with that, it’s been just about three years, and I have to say that I’m still in love with our kitchen floor.  Remember when we had it installed (see here)?

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Well, through multiple winters, parties, and Idiot Nation assaults, our floor still looks brand new:

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It actually makes me regret that we didn’t just install it in our whole house instead of having our wood floors refinished.  Sigh.  Those haven’t held up so well, but that’s a story for another day.

Oh, and I realized that I never gave any details about what type of flooring it is, so here goes:

It’s the Exalt Luxury Vinyl Tile in Woodland Gray (unfortunately they have since discontinued this color, but they’ve replaced it with Grey Pine which I actually might like even better).  It’s a click-together, no-glue floating floor, which is why it was so easy to install and only took our contractors one day.  The best thing about it is that it is completely impervious to all types of kitchen spills–water has no effect on it, food and spills wipe right up with water, and even salt from Buffalo winters cleans easily.  It’s a commercial grade flooring which I think is also the reason it’s held up so well–it was more expensive than the cheap-o luxury vinyl tile you can find in home improvement stores, but there’s a reason for that price.  It’s so much thicker and more cushiony than the thinner stuff.

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So now my mission is to find a rug with equal staying power.  Any suggestions?

And along the lines of updates, here’s a recent picture of Mini Bunches–this was her first glimpse of what Santa brought her on Christmas morning.

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Cher is on the Sea

Huh?  Just look . . .

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Clear?  Okay, okay, I don’t actually know where Cher is (probably Vegas?), but it was either that or “Her son is on the sea” and that didn’t sound as catchy.  Still confused?  Well, don’t be–it’s just that I finally finished a home project that I’ve been wanting to do since we were in the midst of our kitchen renovation.  Of course, I didn’t get to finish it then because, well, I had a baby.  I know–weak excuse.  So through the magic of the Internet, let’s go back to the beginning . . .

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I know it’s hard to focus on just one atrocious part of the above pic, but let’s try–focus on the pantry doors in the hallway.  They become even more off-putting once the rest of the kitchen gets a face lift.

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See what I mean?  They were just awful.  The first step?  Painting the trim white and priming the doors as dark as possible.

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Already so much better, right?  Mr. Bunches was all, ‘Oh, we’re going to paint them grey?  That’s awesome–they look great.’  And then I had to be all, ‘No–that’s just the primer.  Puh-leeze.’  But, it did make me think that maybe we should paint the rest of the doors in our house–possibly in some darker shade of grey?  Just sayin’.

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The next step?  Chalkboard Paint!  We used Valspar Chalkboard Paint from Lowe’s.

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They look pretty slick, right?  Of course, they need new handles, but I was under a bit of a time crunch (this all took place prior to the holidays), so I figured the new handles could wait.

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And while you may think that they were ready to be all chalked up with some fun holiday greeting, well, you would be wrong.  See, first they had to be “conditioned” which basically means you have to cover the entire surface with chalk and then erase it.

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And in case you were wondering, yes, this process is messy and DUSTY with a capital D-U-S-T-Y.

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Once the conditioning was done (and the dust vacuumed), then it was time get my artsy on.

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Once I finished chalking the doors up with season’s greetings, I thought they still could use a little more cheer.  So I decided to move my Instagram pics out of Instagram and onto my doors:

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I left the bottom blank since we were expecting some wee visitors at the time and I figured they might like to get their own artsy on (they did).  All in all, I’m in love with the result and I can’t wait for Mini B to make masterpieces on those doors as she gets older.  But for now, we’re just cherishing the season :).

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Our New Kitchen!

It’s reveal time!  Hooray.  Hurrah.  Kazam.  Schlamiel.  Schlamozal.  Yep, just making up words as I go.   But let’s get to some photos, shall we?!

First, a reminder of where we started on move-in day:

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And where we are today:

That last view is a big change from where it used to be, huh?

And I’m in love with our open shelving.  It’s so easy to grab things now, and with the removal of all those extra cabinets, the kitchen looks twice as big!

Can you believe this was where it started?  Ugh–and that soffit making the ceiling feel even lower that it already was (our ceilings are only 7-1/2 ft high, so every inch we can gain is HUGE).

But now it’s gone!!

Obviously we still need to change out the odd leafy light fixture, and down the road I plan on doing something with all the doors (maybe staining them dark?  Who knows . . . ), and a later project might be putting some built-ins on that far wall for coat and shoe storage, but at least things are open and airy now, right?

The only soffits left are above the upper cabinets that we decided to keep.

And did you SEE my new sink?!?!

Let me take you even closer, because–yes–it is that good.

It’s so glorious–wide and deep, and the faucet is awesome!  It has a great range of motion and a super powerful spray.

We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out (and the fact that it is finally finished, er, well, if you don’t count the fact that we need to put up new light fixtures to replace the weird leafy ones, buy bar stools, maybe put an area rug in front of the sink, hang some art work, and do one last coat of paint on some of the door trim, but let’s just pretend that’s all taken care of, shall we?).

And just for kicks, here’s what I hid from the shot on the other side of the room (didn’t want all that stuff cluttering up my after shots, now did I) . . . ha!

So there you have it, our kitchen renovation!

Next week I’ll do a quick run-down of where we got everything, paint colors, etc., but for now, I’m just enjoying the view . . .

Kitchen Decision #4: Hardware

Alright, so the post title makes it sound like there were only 4 decisions during the renovation of our kitchen (check out decisions #1, 2, and 3 here, here, and here), but obviously that wasn’t the case.  If it were, well then, it would likely have been the most boring “renovation” ever.  But nope–there were probably 736 decisions in total, but since I can’t photograph or document everything that goes on in my mind (because let’s be honest, how not awesome would that be for everyone reading this?), I’m limiting myself to 4.

And #4 is hardware–the reason that the final reveal photos have taken so long to come out.  And in the interest of brevity, let’s begin with option #1:

Some super contemporary handles and then standard knobs.  See, I had originally planned to use all handles, but I quickly decided against that (good thing we spent all that time filling the knob holes and sanding them down, huh?).  So the stainless knobs were at least an easy decision, but the handles are another story.

The knobs, btw, are the same ones we used in the half bath renovation:

So the original handles I picked out just seemed too Miami Vice to me.  Hard to explain, I guess, but with unadorned cabinet doors, and all white, those handles just screamed 80s (and not in a good, Goonies-meets-

Okay, quick sidenote–I just asked Mr. Bunches to name something cool from the 80s that I could pair with the Goonies and these were his first few answers:

  1. Full House
  2. The Olsen Twins
  3. John Stamos

Seriously?!  This is who I married?!  I love it.

Like I was saying, these handles were too 80s, and not in a good Goonies-meets-Full-House way :).

So then I decided that I liked the look of the half bath combo of cup pulls with the knobs . . .

But I thought those same cup pulls were too deep to work in the kitchen, so I ordered these from online.  And from afar, they looked okay.

Um yeah, that is until you got up close.

Seriously?! Why would they design them to not be flush with the front of the drawer?!  And no–this was not a case of installer error; this was how these bad boys were designed.  UGH.  (That’s the polite version of how I actually expressed my frustration once I installed these.)

In the end, I bought the same ones from the bathroom (they’re the Liberty 2-1/2 or 3″ dual mount cup pulls in satin nickel from Home Depot).  Why didn’t I just do that from the beginning?  Well, that’s a good question probably best answered by the pregnancy gods.  But at least now I’m happy with the final decision, and just for making it through this post, here’s a sneak peak of how they look in our completed kitchen:

So there you have it–from the 80s to today.  All in one post.  Phew.

Kitchen Renovation Weeks #4, 5, and 6

Yikes–writing that post title has made me realize just how long this project has really lasted.  So much for everything being said and done in 3 weeks, right?  Well, at least the contractors were done after 3 weeks (see more on what they did here).

And then we did hint at having our new floors installed once the first group of contractors was done (the floors were finished in only one day, and then our home was contractor-free finally).

And while the original plan had been to stop there (for now) and paint the cabinets after the baby arrived, Mr. Bunches and I decided to change our minds (mostly Mr. Bunches made this decision) and forge ahead painting the cabinets.  And so paint the cabinets we did. And did.  And did some more.

I’m not going to go through all the steps here, since there are plenty of great tutorials out there in blog land (one of the best here from YHL), but I’ll make a few points as we go since our process differed slightly.

First up, like I mentioned before, we removed the 1960s trim from the cabinet doors.  I just used a hammer and a putty knife to carefully take it all off.  Oh, and we also removed all the knobs.

We then filled any holes with wood putty; I used Elmer’s Wood Filler.

We then removed all the cabinet doors and drawers and laid them all out in the garage (I didn’t photograph any of those steps since they’re pretty self-explanatory).  Next up–sanding!  We sanded down the fronts and backs of all the doors and drawers with 100-grit sandpaper; we also sanded all the cabinet frames in the kitchen.

Once everything was sanded, Mr. Bunches scrubbed it all with a deglosser (we used Klean Strip Deglosser from Lowe’s–no real reason we chose this one except that it was the only one Lowe’s sold).

Once that had all dried, it was time to get our prime on.  And on.  And on some more.  We opted for Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer since it had worked so well on my sister’s kitchen.

And while we had hoped to only have to do one coat of primer, turns out our cabinet doors had something else in mind.  The wood grain kept bleeding through, particularly in the spots where we had removed the trim.  So on went coats #2 and #3, much to Mr. Bunches’ frustration.  And guess what?!  That still didn’t work.  So I finally knew we had to switch to oil-based primer (given my current knocked-up status, I was hoping to avoid all those crazy oil-based noxious fumes which was why we had waited so long to try this option; but don’t worry–all the oil-based priming was done by Mr. Bunches in the garage while I was safely inside.  Thanks Mr. B!).  So we used some leftover Kilz Original that I had on hand, and with one coat of that, all was covered.

Up next was the painting.  I took care of the inside cabinets while Mr. Bunches took domain over the doors and drawer fronts.  After two coats of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint (color matched to Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White), we were left with this:

Major improvement, right?  Oh, and I forgot to mention that we (meaning I) decided that we also needed to paint all the window and door trim.  Needless to say, Mr. Bunches LOVED that idea.

Isn’t it already such an improvement?

Since most of the painting took place over a couple weekends and weeknights, (and we had a little detour to the east coast during the process) it took a while before we were finally ready to put it all back together.  Plus, I wanted to make sure that everything had a chance to cure up well, so once we were done painting we waited three days before getting the doors and drawers back on.

And that’s where I’m going to leave things today, but I promise that before the end of the week I’ll share some actual reveal photos of the kitchen all put together.  Hooray!

Floor Heaven, a Preview

I wish I could say the kitchen is done and it’s time for the big reveal, but alas, no such luck.  Instead, here’s a teaser post for you of our new floors . . .

To put it mildly, we LOVE them.  As in, this is serious love.  I think if we both had to do our wedding again, these floors would be walking down the aisle with us.  They’re that good.

So that’s all you get for now.  We’re feverishly trying to finish painting the cabinets and get our life back in order . . . cuz let’s face it, this whole chaos-living-thing is getting old:

Next week we WILL finally reveal our new kitchen (either that or I will officially have gone insane and then I’ll be posting to you from a lovely padded cell).  Either way, should be a win-win. 🙂

Kitchen Renovation Week #3

Is it any surprise that the one-week renovation turned into a three-week job?  I guess you could say it was a bit of a surprise to Mr. Bunches and I–we knew not to hold our breaths for completion in a week, but we did (foolishly) think that two weeks was a real possibility.  In fact, we were anticipating arriving home this past Monday to a final reveal (akin to Extreme Makeover’s “MOVE THAT BUS!”), but that didn’t happen.  No sense whining about it, though, right?  Right.

While this week’s earlier post was how we left things looking as of last Thursday (when we headed out of town for a whirlwind east coast tour–more on that later), here’s how things were looking earlier this week . . .

Not too shabby, eh?  Walls have been painted, pendant lights have been hung, tile backsplash has been grouted, and the ceiling has been patched.  We’re loving the stainless steel shelves, and I have to give credit where credit is due: Mr. Bunches picked these out himself.  I wanted white wooden shelves, but that would have involved a bit more work on our parts.  So thank goodness for Mr. Bunches’ laziness, eh?  Er, I mean ingenuity honey :).

And how great do the pendant lights look?  Keep in mind that all will be better once the trim and cabinets are painted white . . .

And how about our gorgeous faucet?  We love it!  (All the excruciating details of that decision are posted here.)

The laundry room also got a new coat of paint, along with a new laundry sink and faucet.  With the removal of the lower cabinets, and the trimming of the upper cabinet, we were able to push the washer/dryer back another 8 inches.  Now, that may not seem like much to you, but to me, well, it’s a little bit of laundry heaven.  Especially since I’ve grown about 8 inches out front these days . . .

And the half bath also saw progress–the new penny tile floor and cove base was put in and grouted . . .

and the faucet, sink, and placeholders for the pendants were in.  Plus, all had been freshened with a bright white coat of paint . . .

So what’s next?  Well, the big project left is kitchen flooring, and that may or may not be happening today (fingers crossed).  Also, Mr. Bunches has decided that we should forge ahead and just paint the cabinets now instead of waiting for the bambino to arrive.  So I’ve already chiseled off the trim from the kitchen cabinets, filled the knob holes with wood putty, and Mr. B has begun the process of sanding everything down.  Here’s where the cabinets stand now (you can also see that the trim has been removed in the pictures of the kitchen above):

If all goes well this weekend, we’ll be wrapping this kitchen project up with a bow!  Hallelujah.

Oh, and some of you loyal readers may be wondering what happened to our sexy range hood (c’mon–I know that’s what you were thinking).  Well, to make a long story short, let’s just say it didn’t work out:

Sorry for the crappy phone pic, but I was a bit distraught at the time.  See, the problem was that hood was only 24″ above our cooktop, which meant that it came to my chin.  Not cool.  Especially since I love to cook.  And it was also just a lot bigger than we had thought–we took down all those upper cabinets to open up the kitchen, and now it felt closed off again.  So we made the difficult decision–no range hood.  And now we’re trying to sell it on craigslist–so if you know of anyone in need of an island range hood, please let us know!

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