Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Building Up

So, the second exciting thing that happened this past weekend was Ryan finished up the soffit to hide the microwave vent. It ended up being a little tricky because technically you're supposed to build them before the cabinets but since we're kind of learning as we go, that didn't happen.

The frame that Ryan built.
Putting up the drywall.
and DONE.

I absolutely love it, I really think it adds to the built in look of the cabinets. Of course, that makes me want him to build something over the fridge cabinets but we're still in negotiations over that :)

To make things even better last night the plumbers began hooking up and installing our appliances!!! They're coming back tonight but here's a sneak peak of some of their handy work.

Not fully installed but getting there!

Why hello there lovely, large faucet.
Yep, pretty freaking exciting. We also got our sink in for the bathroom (it's almost hilarious how small this thing is) and our subway tiles. Last night we also managed to clean up part of the great room (where the appliances had been sitting since March), we cleaned floors that have not been seen since we started this renovation back in FEBRUARY. Crazy. Hopefully we'll have running water tonight so next week, my Mom and I can actually start unpacking things in the kitchen and possibly even using it? Do I dare say?! Merry Christmas to me :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Back to the house

While I was holed up in the office, some big things happened this weekend at the house. The first was my Uncle came down and helped us move our chandelier in to the area that we're going to use as the dining room. To do this, we had to empty out the coat closet so they could drill holes in it to move wiring (probably more technical than that but that's pretty much what they did).

I had to tell myself MANY times that it gets worse before it gets better when I came downstairs to this:

Post emptying the closet

Ryan and his Dad measuring to see where we should put the chandelier
my Uncle wiring in the closet
box installed
And just so you remember where the chandelier used to be, here's a before picture. We actually had to hold it up with a twisty tie because it hung too low and the door would hit the bottom of it if we didn't.

Chandelier- before
BUT not anymore, now she can hang in all of her glory.

So, the place is still kind of a mess but you get the picture. Of course, I had ordered a new light for the entryway and somehow it's too tall AGAIN so, third times the charm. 

Sorry for the lack of posts...

... but I have been in business school hell for the past two or three weeks. Seriously, my house is a mess, there's no food in my fridge, we have mice (oh wait? I haven't told you about that yet!?) and all I have been doing for the past two weeks is school work, BUT, since you don't really care about school, I'll get back to the house.

First, let's talk mice. Last weekend while I was studying in the office (slash kitchen, slash dog food room) I heard some noises coming from the dog food cabinet. So, as any reasonable woman home alone would do, I started texting Ryan: "I think there's something living in the dog food." A few minutes later... "it just sneezed." Followed up by a frantic phone call. Ryan comes home, empties out the dog food and basically tells me I'm a wacko. So, I leave it at that. Two days later and Ryan is getting in to bed and he's like "um, I think you were right. I just saw a mouse run across the office." At this point we assume it's one mouse and I name it "Hubert".  Well, Friday rolls around and I'm working from home, putting things away in the guest room closet and I move the clothes AND A MOUSE FALLS OFF OF MY CLOTHES. So, as any reasonable woman would do, I scream, close the door and vow to not go in that room again until Ryan gets home. Fast forward a few hours and Ryan gets home (fast forward another hour or so of me bugging him to go in that closet) and he and our other friend, Stewart, go in to the closet armed to destroy some mice. Except we don't find mice but what we do find is mouse droppings all in the cat food that had been stored in that closet and TWO mouse holes. Eek! So, we take the cat food container, bring it outside and set up 4 mouse traps. Friday night we get home and find a mouse in the dog food container so, Ryan throws it outside (we think Hubert is now gone) BUT then Saturday we catch FOUR freaking mice in our mouse traps. Yep, we caught one mouse in EACH of the mouse traps we set up. GROSS. So, now we're on the second round of traps before we close up the mouse holes. I'll let you know how it goes. So far, we haven't caught any more mice but we think that there might be a couple left. Oh, the joys of home ownership :)

Monday, December 12, 2011


Remember a few months ago when I talked about the pebbles we wanted to put in the laundry room/bathroom? Well they ran around $12/ foot (same as our backsplash tile) and originally I thought that room was so small that it wouldn't run us a huge bill but, I was wrong. Apparently that back room is 6' x 14' so at $12/ sq ft we were looking at a hefty price tag. In comes Ryan's great idea, on Saturday he called around and found a quarry around us that sold 75 pound bags of pebble rocks for $30! Granted, we'll have to still get the mesh to glue them down to but at that kind of savings, it's totally worth it. Especially since this room is essentially our mud room and I wasn't trying to splurge. We decided on the black pebble rocks and I'm pretty excited to see how they will come together. I'm still debating on paint colors for back there, I'm thinking of using the paint color below in the bathroom and painting horizontal stripes on one of the laundry room walls with the stone and white.

Speaking of the back room, Ryan started tackling the rest of the (tiny) bathroom walls this weekend. We're having a slight argument over the window wall (I think it looks hideous and needs to be covered and Ryan thinks it's too big of a pain in the a$$ to dry wall it) but, besides that tiny set back, the bathroom is coming together.

Dry walling the ceiling

Almost all dry walled and looking quite creepy.

Ryan also put up my second breakfast bar light.

The lights I had originally ordered were back ordered and when I was looking around I noticed that every kitchen I pinned had stainless steel breakfast bar lights, so, I splurged a little :) We won't mention how we only had one light up for almost a week because we "missplaced" some screws (Ryan had been blaming me but for the second time in one week, I was right and he was wrong.) As you can see, we're taking full advantage of having counter tops again.

The last project of the weekend was starting on the soffit for the microwave vents. 

Finishing it and the molding is on the to do list for this week, while I slave away at my books. Oh, grad school, I can't wait to have a break from you....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You know what's amazing?

Having counter tops. Beautiful, large counter tops.

Our granite guys came today. It was such an easy and smooth process, I would definitely recommend them. Plus, the price was in our "budget" (we actually have yet to set a budget for this kitchen but we do try and keep the costs reasonable). Here the guys are in action:

This piece looked ridiculously heavy while I watched from the couch :)
AND here the counter tops are in all of their beauty. I'm not going to lie, having never designed a kitchen before, I get super nervous that things aren't going to "go" or that I won't like them so yesterday, when the guys sent me a picture of my slab, I was having a mini heart attack... but, now the counter tops are in and they look really good.

Sneak peak of our breakfast bar light. The second one isn't in yet.

I can't wait to be able to cook in here. 
And here's a picture of our farmhouse sink in all of her glory.

The kitchen is really coming together and I couldn't be more excited. 9 and a half months in and we're finally looking at an almost workable kitchen!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let there be LIGHT!

Our electricians finished up yesterday, we have a few things to install ourselves like the breakfast bar lights (that I just recently changed my mind on) and one of the light bulbs in the recessed lights BUT doesn't it look purttyy? Ryan and Clark even installed our huge, beautiful, GLORIOUS fridge! We'll build it in a little more but you can see the room coming together. I don't think I've ever been more excited about turning on a light switch :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Tiniest Bathroom...

... that the DC code allows. We may actually have to put a size limit on people who can use the bathroom, it's that small.

It was a crazy exciting weekend at our house, my standards have clearly been lowered since I got out of college. Saturday morning, bright and early, the granite guys came by to take measurements and they were awesome. I ended up going with J&A Custom Granite and the customer service has just been amazing thus far. What's even better is that they'll be installing our counter tops on Wednesday!!! I am sooooooooooooooooooo excited (if I could add a million more o's on without being over the top obnoxious, I would; I'm that excited). And because the granite guys wanted to see the sink, we took it out of the box and put it in the sink cabinet for a hot minute.

Why hello there farmhouse sink, nice to see you on this lovely day. Swoon. I'm pretty sure I could take a bath in there, just saying....

Ryan also finished putting up the wood on our cabinets and they're looking pretty darn good. There are a few gaps where you can see the birch on the top cabinets so we just bought some sort of edger that will hopefully take care of the problem. I plan on spending A LOT of time in the kitchen (not having a kitchen for 10 months means I have 10 months of recipes that involve an oven to cook through) so I don't want the little things to bother me.

As I had mentioned earlier, Ryan also put up some walls in the bathroom. We have the electricians in the house today so we wanted them to install all of our switches and outlets in the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom.

The bathroom still has a far way to go but with the one wall up it's pretty obvious the tiny factor. It also has the world's largest window in it which is kind of strange and hilarious all at the same time. I mean, I guess it will help with the claustrophobia factor ;)

And because I have the best fiance in the world, when I got home from my group meeting last night (barf), I walked in and Ryan had this goofy smile on his face. I obviously assumed the worst until I noticed what he had done.

Installed my second light!! We actually haven't even had the electricity to that switch turned on in, oh, 10 months, so it was pretty freaking exciting. 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.... (as my bank account proves)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Because I realize the hilarity in this...

... we put up our tree last night. And by "put up our tree", I mean we grabbed it from the basement and put the two pieces together and plugged it in. Easy peasy.

I had originally wanted to get a real tree now that we have the perfect space for it BUT when your house is a construction zone you tend to compromise. So, for lack of better places to put it, it now stands on our ghetto ikea counter top/ cabinet that's been in the middle of our family room since we started the renovation. For your viewing pleasure, here's Ryan putting the star on top of the tree (this was more difficult than you would think with a cheap fake tree).

He is actually standing on a table to be able to do this, oh and ignore the construction supplies behind the tree ;)

AND here she is, in all of her ghetto beauty!

In other exciting news, the granite guys are coming out tomorrow to measure. I shopped around and compared prices at about five different places (once I had the original estimate and new the type of granite I wanted) and this place came in the cheapest (by about $1k compared to the most expensive) and includes the upgraded edge that I wanted. Hopefully, they don't just steal our money and run. I'll be sure to keep you updated....

AND THIS JUST IN.... the electrician is coming on Monday (this is even more exciting since Ryan has been trying to call him all week to no avail and just yesterday realized the guy's voice mailbox was full)! This means we'll be able to put our appliances in as well as be able to turn on lights in the kitchen. This may just be the most exciting thing since sliced bread (and not the crappy white bread the really good wheat multi grain kind).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Ryan has been putting the trim under the cabinets and it's starting to look a lot more finished. Granted we still have a ways to go but it's definitely getting there. I'm so excited for when we can get our appliances in there (we won't jump ahead on how excited I am to actually cook in there).

Ignore the mess, we were workingggg.

It's crazy how much trim makes a difference. Speaking of trim, Ryan and I (yes, me, I cut and measured wood) put trim in the windows in the kitchen which basically just sealed them up and made them look a lot cleaner.

I pretty much cut all this wood myself. Ryan installed it.

We still need to put up molding (pretty much everywhere) but it feels so much cleaner having these windows cleanly lined. 

Oh and remember a few months ago when I bought something for our engagement pictures? Well, here it is in action :)

A bike built for two :)

On another note, I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for. I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and a great holiday with family and friends. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sealed Up

Saturday, we were lucky enough to have my sister and her family come down and visit/ help. Ryan joked that it's going to be a "Vinci (Tkacz) kitchen" with the amount my family has been down to help. We're pretty lucky to have them so close and so willing to lend a hand. 

When they arrived my sister, Sarah and I quickly left the boys to do their thing while we went to a granite warehouse to pick out a counter top.

Granite warehouse
Since it's a working warehouse they wouldn't let Sarah go where the granite is but luckily the girl at the front desk was willing to (a) not steal the baby and (b) watch her while my sister helped me look through a million slabs of granite. I walked through the whole place and my first instinct when I saw the below slab was um, yes please! BUT since there was a whole warehouse we picked out a few other options to compare.

Option 1
Here were the others that we were drawn to.

Option 2- I think it was too consistent and black for my taste

Option 3- this reminds me of the Grand Canyon

Option 4- I liked the background but the black was a little too much
It's pretty hard to get good pictures on your iphone (although that doesn't stop me from trying). I had a bag full of samples from our kitchen (floors, cabinets, tiles, paint and backsplash) so it was easy to see that they would all go with our design but the first option definitely beat out the others in my mind. We also asked about marble (because the colors are perfect) but that was quickly shot down by the sales person when she said that not only do they not recommend it for kitchens (it stains, scratches and is very high maintenance) but they also won't put a warranty on it. So, my sister and I concluded that people with marble counter tops must not cook or have kids or both. Lesson learned.

When we got back, Ryan and Kevin had busy. They had put up siding on the side of the house where we had taken out the window as well as trimmed the outside of the window in the kitchen (the one that had been taken out and put back in). Ryan really wanted those two things done to finally seal back up our house before winter (is it weird that I almost didn't wear a jacket today?). They also put in our microwave (our first appliance installed!) and finished the venting for the microwave. Not only did they get all of that done, they also put up the side of our pantry while we were getting ready to go out to dinner. I'm exhausted just typing all the work that they did ;)


I love this picture.
And to make it that much better of a day, we got to spend it "hanging" out with Sarah and her ridiculously cute fleece with ears.

Uncle Ryan and Baby Sarah

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


After an amazing Napa weekend trip with my girl friends, sipping wine in this beautiful scenery...

If you've never been to Napa in the fall, GO.
yesterday, I got home to find just as amazing a scenery... my dark wood cabinets!!!

Some of the wood still has to go up but you can see it evolving.

I don't even know what I'm going to do with all these cabinets ;) 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


For the past, um, 6 months? I've been saying that I need to frame the large mirror we have in our bedroom. It was originally in the kitchen and when I brought it upstairs to use as a full sized mirror in the bedroom it looked.... bare.

Here's a before shot:

Sorry the picture isn't the best.
So, Sunday morning, instead of studying, I headed out to the Community Forklift and picked up about 5 pieces of old wood trim to frame the mirror with. I measured and cut the pieces down to size to frame the mirror. Sunday afternoon I used liquid nails and glued the pieces to the mirror and waited. Fast forward a day (or three) and not all the pieces were sticking so I re-glued and clamped the pieces (mistakingly clamping to hard and breaking the mirror... we'll call that the "look") and 8 hours later... wallah. A whole new mirror.

Another pretty bad picture... sorry.
It's definitely a cool look and makes me want to use the old wood in other projects. The best part is that I got 5 pieces for around $5. Gotta love weekend projects.