Archive for August, 2010

We are officially under contract!

The Anthony Wilder Design/Build team came to our home today to make it legal. We met with Anthony, the owner, George and George (architect and lead carpenter), and John (all-round construction guru.) We signed the papers, looked over the plans, and wrote a big check… WOW. It is really going to happen. I’m glad I’m not doing all this sorting and boxing up for nothing! 🙂

The start date is next TUESDAY!
The finish date is around December 3rd.
Yes, that means that I will not be cooking a turkey this Thanksgiving.

Today we also met Shannon (a.k.a. “The Kitchen Whisperer”) from Anthony Wilder at Ferguson’s. We picked out the possibilities for the sink, faucet, drawer/door hardware, and pendant lighting over the island. We’ll see how the pricing shakes out with our selections and the pricing vs. our “allowance.” (Let’s just say I have expensive tastes!)

The pace is starting to build on loading out the furniture that is in the work area, packing up dishes, etc. I haven’t even STARTED the kitchen packing yet, but I’ve thought about it. (Does that count as progress?) We did get the dining room chairs, some art glass, and other things that we can miss for a few months over to the storage unit.

There’s still a lot of work to do, inside and out.

Even the garage and back yard will need some prep before work starts next week. Tonight, Bearded Brewer did the honors on disassembling the ceiling fan on the arbor. The folks from Potomac Fence, who designed and built the arbor,  are helping us with the demolition. The arbor will come down over the next few days. We’ll store the pieces here on the property and hope that they can be put back up before winter hits. Since The Farmer’s Almanac says it is supposed to be a “kindler and gentler winter” it’s a good possibility!

Here’s a view of the back of the house as it is now. Where the arbor is will be the location of the addition for the kitchen. It will start at the corner near the garage and end on the right side of the kitchen window. Then approximately where the kitchen window is now, there will be a sliding door. We are re-using our present one. It will open to a small porch along the side of the addition.

I can’t even tell you what’s next on my “do” list. I just know that there is an INCREDIBLE amount of work and very little time. I’ll update THE list and post it — maybe tomorrow.
But……   EEeeeeep!!!

P.S. Reedy Girl and I filled a “renovation prescription” when we were on our way back from taking a load of furniture to the storage unit. We re-stocked the household on ice cream! Mint Chocolate Chip and something else that was bodaciously chocolate.

I have packed my last box available. I even emptied a ream of paper out of the printer paper box… and…. we’re out.


So on a quick stop at the grocery, I found myself eyeing the boxes that produce came in. I checked. No, none were available. Dropped by the friendly liquor store, and no dice. Monday is box crushing day. I decided to head home, particularly after a rather dismal morning on errands.

I did purchase some over-sized ones for larger items, but I just don’t want to spend more money on “little” ones.

Just like dorm life…

Posted: 08/29/2010 in temp kitchen

This last week we moved our college girl back into her dorm. As we helped her get settled, I thought to myself, “Wow. Mini-fridge. Microwave. Coffee/water pot. Basket of a few plates and utensils. Hmmmmm. During remodeling, we’ll be living it up like dorm life.”

We’re still debating how much of what to have where for our remodeling kitchen. I found out late last week that where I WAS going to have a temporary kitchen, they will be digging through the foundation to attach the “new” space to the old space. Concrete dust al fresco, anyone? Nope. THAT won’t work. Once that part of the work is done, though, we will be able to have some semblance of a temporary kitchen in the basement.

It did bring to mind one “apartment” I lived in when I was young, poor and single and working in New Jersey. I had the third floor of a home. I had a microwave, fridge and toaster oven in my bathroom (It was a HUGE bathroom!) and did my dishes in my sink. It was a creative, cheap way to live… for a while.

I didn’t think I’d be re-living that experience again. But really, I’m just grateful we will have running water and electricity. 🙂

Excavation and discovery mode

Posted: 08/28/2010 in clutter

So I went and cleaned out my desk in the family room. Truth be told, I don’t sit at it much. It doesn’t have good storage for bills and the fold-down desk is not big enough for anything more than a laptop. The shelving is sized for books, as long as they aren’t bigger than a standard 1 inch binder. But it was my grandfather’s desk and it holds a lot of helpful things like cards and smaller office supplies…

However, in the process of cleaning out and boxing up the contents, I found I had a bit to throw away. For instance there were school directories from six years ago! And I unearthed some partially used and now dried up office supplies (pens, ink pads, glue, paint, etc.)

I have four Freecycle collections posted and awaiting their eager recipients. I found some great resources to send to one of my sisters who is a media specialist at an elementary school. But the ultimate finds were several unused, unopened 90 minute cassette tapes, and a folder of carbon paper. I considered donating them as artifacts to the Smithsonian… but nope! They are being Freecycled too.

One thing I’m not sharing? A wad of twenties I found in a birthday card from a few years ago. 🙂 Yippee!!! A BONUS!!

Today’s tasks

Posted: 08/27/2010 in almost ready to go!

1. pack up pictures and art on the walls on the first floor

2. begin to pack up the college girl’s closet (we are relocating coats, etc to her room)

3. get a haircut for myself and the high school girl

4. pizza for dinner!

Edited to add…

We took nine boxes in the afternoon and I’ve just scratched the surface. I either need less stuff or bigger boxes. I’m guessing, however, that the answer is “less stuff.”

Temporary storage

Posted: 08/26/2010 in just an update

I did the math and considered our options. We have to rent a storage unit because of the number of areas which will be impacted by remodeling. It’s not JUST the kitchen that’s impacted. Because we are doing a bump out, the workers have to have access to the utility room area beneath the kitchen. That’s where we have our major in-home storage. Yup. It’s all got to be moved or swathed in plastic.


So I called around and found a good deal at Gaithersburg EZ Storage for a ground-level, climate-controlled space. First month’s rent is only $1. There are a few administrative fees to pay, but after seeing what the cheap places look like, and the lack of security that they offer, I’m completely happy with paying a little more.

Today I started figuring out how many more boxes we will need, and which pieces of furniture can be left in place and covered, and which ones have to go to storage. While I had put “storage” as a budget consideration, this will cost more than I anticipated. If we have to rent a truck to haul things, it will be even more.

It’s less than two weeks until we start a major kitchen renovation/remodel/addition. I’d post the spreadsheet of tasks that are yet to be done, but I don’t want to depress myself. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to do. We’re delighted with our design/build firm (Anthony Wilder Design/Build) and the way that they have helped us think through the process of this project.

I’ve been surfing and trying to collect ideas on how to live without going bonkers in the remodeling process. I do promise pictures, questions, issues and sharing our ultimate delight of it finally being over. And as I figure out any tips and menus for cooking without a kitchen I’ll be sure to share those, too.

So here’s the “before” picture… it’s truly the finest 1973 had to offer (minus the avocado green appliances and lineoleum! That much we had already done…)

The previous owners put stick-on tile OVER the green linoleum. They painted the kitchen white instead of light green before they put the house on the market. (We are thankful for small favors!)  When we replaced the wood siding with vinyl, we added a kitchen “garden” window to bring in more light. And we changed out the two oven avocado green electric range for a gas range/microwave combo instead.

We also did a remodel of the pantry, putting in ELFA shelving and door mounted units. And we added a free-standing butcher block top base for storing microwave and plastic storage dishes.

But that was ALL we could do with the current space…

In an “L” shape attached room, open to the kitchen, is the family room. It was paneled in a dark wood paneling. Very 70’s. I tried playing with pickling or painting/staining the wood but it had a heavy finish on it, which would have required stripping in place BEFORE I did any treatments. I was not that ambitious. And so here is a shot towards the family room…

Part of the remodel (I didn’t get a picture to include) is that there is an interior wall which creates a narrow hallway from the family room and kitchen area to the front hall and door. In fact, if you wanted to take out someone with the basement door, all you have to do is time it right. (We almost did — by accident — when our design firm owner, Anthony, visited our home for the first time. It was hilarious.)

So the plans call for removing an interior wall and making the kitchen truly “open” to the basement steps, the front hall and the family room. It also will mean that the door between the kitchen and dining room will be relocated to the outside wall, allowing more interior wall storage (pantry).

Removing the interior wall and the paneling will really “lighten up” the space. I can’t wait to see the transformation take place!

Here’s a view from the present family room of our planned “after” picture. The kitchen will be moved out of the narrow “galley” into a full sized kitchen. This is just to inspire me. It will be worth it!

Some of the changes that are planned:

– we’re removing an inner wall and bumping out an outer wall
– we’re adding an island, new appliances, sink and kitchen window
– we’re switching to granite countertops and new cabinetry
– the outside door will be moved to the other end of the kitchen
– the door to the dining room will be relocated to provide more space for the pantry
– the dark wood paneling in the family room is going buh-bye!!

And now it’s time to tackle that to-do list…


…but it will be worth it.

I’ll update this soon with some initial thoughts, photos and plans.