Archive for the ‘almost ready to go!’ Category

We’re in the final stages of this project. It’s hard to believe. We started thinking about doing this remodeling job a year ago. It took six months of research and interviewing before we found a company we trusted. And it took three more months to get a design and begin the process.

Yesterday most of the punchlist was completed. There were very few items for the punchlist, and they were all minor tweaks. And I do mean “minor”! The few that remain are miniscule. A “great” contractor makes the punchlist a minor part of the process. In the past (with other contractors), the punchlist has seemed like half of the job.

Our neighbors are grateful that the outward signs of a big remodeling job are almost all gone. There’s no dumpster in the front yard (we seriously thought about decorating it with Christmas lights!) and the Anthony Wilder sign is also down. And when we had coffee this morning, we didn’t see George!

The kitchen was well used yesterday for baking cookies, bread and cooking a wonderful dinner. (FYI – “Taste of Thai” spicy peanut seasoning on tilapia, baked in the oven, is DELICIOUS!) The dining room is set up and I’m working on decorating it for Christmas. We still have a few miscellaneous pieces of furniture that need placing, but all in all, I’m very happy with how things are looking.

The other part of a “great” contractor is the warranty service. They will be back in the spring to re-seed and grade the back yard, and to recover the area in front where the dumpster was. They are also going to do some ongoing work with installation issues relating to the fridge. We didn’t have to ask — it was offered and handled for us. In the next month or two, the AWDB team will also host the subcontractors for breakfast so that they can see the finished project. They will also do a professional photo shoot of their work. They are proud of what they do!

Word on the street is that if you “hate” your contractor at the end of a job, that’s pretty typical. I can’t say that at all – in fact, we appreciate them! (And George can stop by for coffee any time! 🙂 )

P.S. Purtified pictures up in a few days. I’m still settling the pantry and cabinets.

Controlled chaos

Posted: 12/19/2010 in almost ready to go!

We are in a state of controlled chaos here. There’s loads of empty boxes. And loads of half-unpacked-because-I-don’t-know-where-they-go-yet boxes. And there’s piles of things that need washing. And there’s shelves not installed because the suggested layout didn’t quite work so there’s some needed exchanges/adjustments. And there’s #1 daughter home from college with boyfriend, making and eating cookies with #2 daughter. And it’s Advent, with all that brings (shopping, wrapping and celebrating…!!!) And it’s all fun and tiring and wonderful.

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And oh… I can’t find

– the cookbooks

– the Christmas tree skirt

– the stockings

– the candles for the Advent wreath (ergo, we had to make a trip and go buy them… because!)

Today was an errand day. I made the rounds: Home Depot, Container Store, Pier One… and by the time I finished at Pier One, the crazed holiday shoppers were bad enough that I went home to do some chores. Among other things, I scrubbed and re-waxed the steps. They look… well… a little better. In the single digit wind chill tonight, Ken and I took down the front storm door which has rusted from the inside out. 😦 We would like to replace it, but for now will do without.

I spent plenty of buckages at The Container Store, getting the right size drawer inserts for silverware and serving utentils. Not only are the new drawers larger, there are more of them. One of the cooler inserts I found was a knife garage that is made of cork and bamboo. The cork is loosely fitted at one end so that knives of various sizes can go in. Me likey!

I also nabbed some drawer liners for spices, and a “thingy sorter” (aka kitchen tools).

Finally, I picked up a bamboo dish rack and an absorbent rack diaper. I like the look of it, and it folds away for quick storage when we aren’t using it.

Other items: some shelf and drawer liners, some bins for mixes and seasoning packets and other things. I resisted all kinds of cool Click-Clack canisters and gizmos. I’m going to wait and see what works and what doesn’t work from the old kitchen in terms of size and space before I spend more money.

The house was full of workers today – electrical and painting contractors,  and then George and John doing all of the endless carpentry tasks towards finishing. The dishwasher, stove hood and fridge are up and running. (And don’t tell John, but we heated garlic bread in the oven. Just to make sure it worked. 😉 It did.)

I didn’t get around to taking pictures. When everything is in place, I will.

Things are progressing but it seems way too S-L-O-W-L-Y for me. I am off two days this week and had hoped to get the kitchen 75% loaded in on Tuesday so that we could start using the kitchen this week. I confess to being pretty sick of the washtub/toaster oven/microwave/paper plates kind of life. But the news at the meeting this morning was clear. Unfortunately, no. 😦 But by Saturday, we will be! So that’s pretty cool.

We have to wait for the final inspection to take place from the county, for the  walk-through and punch list to be done, and for a boatload of electrical trim, hardware installation, painting touch-ups, etc. etc. etc… It’s a lot of the little extras that make the difference though between a “slop job” and an AWDB job. Guess which one I’d rather have? 😉

This weekend is the last weekend before Christmas and I had hoped to have the tree up, cookies baked, and get someone home from college. The last one WILL happen. We’ll see about the others.


Under wraps

Posted: 12/02/2010 in almost ready to go!

We’re at the “chrysalis stage” in the kitchen. Everything is under wraps, swaddled, protected, taped and covered. Even the patio! I’ve yet to see what it looks like, but I’m beginning to get excited about the big “reveal” — soon!!! VERY SOON!!!

So that you can see what I mean, here’s some shots from the inside and outside work…

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Definitely a case of “so close… and yet so far.”


We have 90% of the heavy lifting done. All but the two remaining pieces in the family room are moved, either to storage or to the living room (which has become furniture central!) I’m waiting to carefully cover the furniture until I am sure that (1) all of the cats are sequestered out of the storage and construction areas and (2) we have finished hauling in the last pieces (our present kitchen table and chairs.)

In the mean time, we took 4 car loads to the storage unit in the last two days. We boxed up everything except our “every day” dishes. We cleared a path in the garage for the work men to store/work. And we had plants moved which would be in the way of the construction. I have one more plant I need to move because it is a sentimental plant for me — it was in my grandmother’s garden.

I am half-past exhausted, but it feels good to be close to being done with this phase.


  1. start EARLIER. I mean it. Begin boxing up your kitchen a month ahead of time. Unless you are having formal dinners, you can get the china and crystal packed up first. (I know – DUH.)
  2. watch Freecycle or Craig’s List for boxes and begin storing them for future use WELL in advance. I have been on scrounging missions and it takes so much time! And buying them is very expensive.
  3. Most of the storage places have really good prices on plain newsprint, unless you want to buy it wholesale and pay shipping. I figured it out. it comes out about the same.
  4. Get help. We didn’t. And we’re sorry. (If you’re friends of ours, we’ll spring for pizza and beer if you’ll help with the move-in!)
  5. Storage places which are climate-controlled, have good security and have a ground-floor unit open for rent are worth their weight in gold. I’m glad we got one!
  6. Tape. Lots of it. And if you don’t have a “real” packing tape dispenser, get one. The cheap plastic jobs that come pre-loaded from Scotch brand tape are junk. You heard it here first.
  7. Markers. I’ve used up two. Because…. I…
  8. LABEL EVERY BOX with as specific a list as possible. The list is on the top and on one side. If I had to stop packing a box and finish it later, I made a quick list on an inside flap so that I would not forget what was neatly packed in the bottom of the box!
  9. NewsPAPER for crushing and creating a pad for the bottom of the box. NewsPRINT (plain) for the actual wrapping. That way I can tell what is a wrapped item, and what is just crumpled paper.
  10. Bubblewrap. I love it.
  11. You can take out the furnishings and boxes in dribs and drabs as you get it packed. But for move-in, we will be getting a truck, making one big hairy load and getting it over with.
  12. Medicinal pedicures can never be over-rated. I need one. It will happen tomorrow. The same can be said for a nice wine cooler (yes, I know, girlie drink) or a good IPA at the end of the day.
  13. We have way too much stuff. (Which is not meant to dissuade any of our friends from helping us move it all back! 🙂 )

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.

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.”

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.