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BekkiM's Kitchen Renovation Dreams


BekkiM
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Shockingly, the renovation is actually on schedule and pretty darned close to being on budget. :blink: I have no earthly idea how we've pulled that off for this long... lol

For the next week or so, we're in a bit of a holding patter as all the big, dusty work has been completed and we're waiting for our cabinets to ship (scheduled for Sept. 6, according to my husband, but I'm not sure where he got that bit of news). In the meantime, here's what's been going on...

Drywall is completed in the kitchen and family room (which are really one big room) and we've painted everything. It looks fabulous.

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Here you can see the circular dropped ceiling in the family room with the raw drywall. I think it gives you a better sense of what it will look like than the framing alone...

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And here's another view, now with the painting done and the floors tiled. Sorry that it's so dark, but the side walls are a deep, deep chocolate brown and the floor tiles are a dark grey-brown, so the rooms is, well, dark. Trust me, it's lovely. The dark square on the left side is the fireplace, which has been lowered to the floor level and will be surrounded by 24" walnut panels (eventually).

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The perspective on this is a little odd, but you're looking down on the floor tiles (which are 24" square) and the inset walnut floor registers (that will match the fireplace and a dropped ceiling over the kitchen island).

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New French doors have been installed in place of the icky sliding glass door (or, what my inlaws in the mid-west call a "door wall") that the original builder included in every house. The doors open outward, which the installer thought was crazy, but, hey, it's my house and if I can't have a NanaWall, I at least want to draw people outward through the open doors. The tacky shiny brass door handles are going to be replaced, in large part because they're at least 1/2" out of level with each other which irritates the crap out of me every time I look at them. Also, the deck is being resurfaced and a pergola added, which will make the view out that door much more pleasant.

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My refrigerator (GE Monogram 42" built-in with custom panels) has been delivered and is sitting in my garage in its box (which is killing me, since I want to fondle my new appliances)--behind it is the new range (GE Monogram 48" 6-burner w/griddle dual-fuel), also nestled in its box, awaiting installation.

On a side note, one of my coworkers was recently in Napa and sent me the following text message: "I'm 15 minutes from sitting down at the French Laundry and was thinking of you, with your new stove still in a box, in the garage..." Nice, huh? :raz:

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And, finally, here are just a few of the thousands of tesserae I've cut from sheets of stained glass for my custom mosaic backsplash. It will be beautiful once it's done, but since the original plan, when it was going to be about 7-8 sq. ft., the project has grown to 37 sq. ft. of mosaic, covering the entire wall where the sink and the French doors are. That's a lot of mosaic! :blink:

I just ordered my faucet (we went with a KWC--price be damned!) and have selected cabinet hardware. I'm working on light fixtures for the walnet panel over the island and the circular dropped ceiling in the family room. The ID kept telling us she had an idea to make something for those two locations, but after nearly two months of begging her for a picture or a sketch on a cocktail napkin and getting nothing, we're moving on...

Right now it's looking like mid-to-late October before we're completely finished, which is seeming like a VERY long time right now. But if the cabinets don't go in until 9/13 and they take a week, then counters get templated 9/24 and they take 3 weeks, then the glass backsplash on the range wall (two sheets of plate glass, painted on the back) gets templated 10/15 and it takes a week, then the mosaic can't be installed until 10/22, so mid-to-late October.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Oh, Bekki, I can't wait to see your finished mosaic wall! Those are beautiful. LOL about fondling your appliances. Know what you mean.

My cabinets are being installed September 17, and then the countertop templates will be shot. The contractors are saying 5-8 weeks for them to be delivered and installed. What kind are you getting, again?

BTW -- nice call on the KWC faucets! They are a client of my husband's, and have become close personal friends. We are getting KWC faucets and the bar sink will be KWC as well. nice stuff!

What is the dropped circular part of your room? Is that for lights, or a fan?

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I am just thrilled about the KWC--we ordered the soap dispenser to go with yesterday, along with cabinet hardware (RusticWare--very plain, kind of distressed brushed nickel, if that makes any sense--they're the ones in the upper left of the "Satin Nickel" section here) and appliance pulls (Colonial Bronze, 18", also nickel, here).

The circular drop in the family room end of the space will be wallpapered on the face (something "chartreuse" according to the interior designer--jury is still out on that) and then have lights. The ID has been telling us she's going to make them for us, but (a) I can't imagine paying her to do arts and crafts and (b) it's been 6 weeks and we still don't have a picture of the lights, so we're about to fire her anyway. I've been searching for some small, crystal pendants because I think we need a bit of bling in that dark room--if anyone has ideas, I'm all ears.

The large island in the kitchen will be a blue limestone (mink grey, I think it's called), 6cm straight edges, "floating" above the cabinets by about 1/2". At least, that's the plan now. We still need to meet with the fabricator to discuss the engineering of a 4'x11' slab of limestone, with a 3' cantilever at one end for seating. The plan is to have our carpenter fabricate walnut legs to support the overhang, but it's a tricky scheduling job, since we won't know the exact dimensions of the legs until the cabinets are in. I'll see if I can find the ID's sketch of the legs--it'll make it clearer, I think.

The perimeter counters are going to be white caesarstone or silestone--some sort of engineered quartz, anyway. The original color we wanted has been discontinued, but I don't think there's enough difference between them to worry me much. The ID, of course, is in a panic since she can distinguish between 72 different shades of white, but they all look the same to me and it's my kitchen, so I think it will turn out okay. :biggrin:

I completed 9 sq. ft. of mosaic this weekend (I'm gluing the little buggers onto 12"x12" mesh squares) and I'm really happy with it. Unfortunately, it's taking me pretty close to 2 hours per square, so it's slow going. I've had several friends offer to help, but I'm afraid that I could be a real bitch if they don't do it exactly right (I'm a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to something like this that's going to be a major focal point of my kitchen), so I'm debating the wisdom of hurting someone's feelings just so I can get done a little quicker. I'm also starting to stress a bit about installation since I know I'm going to have just as many control issues there. Maybe I'll brew a big pot of herbal tea to sooth my nerves and sit there and watch the tile-setter the entire time... lol (well, it's kind of a joke!) In the meantime, I think I'm going to be watching a lot of movies to make the time pass more quickly while I'm creating my masterpiece one tile at a time. It's a little like Tetris--each piece has to be laid "just so" :biggrin:

We should be getting our first sample walnut panel for the fireplace wall this afternoon. It was supposed to be last week, but the mill screwed up and they had to order another one. If it works out, we'll get 11 more of those, plus the 3'x10' piece that will hang over the island and get to work on installing them. The only thing I'm missing are the glass "pegs" that the ID wants to inlay in the corners--making it look, I guess, like the pegs are actually holding the pieces in place. I found a source online that will cut glass rod to specific lengths and polish the ends, but they wanted $200 for 48 pieces of glass and that seemed a little steep to me. Don't know why I'm balking at $200 given the overall budget of this project, but it must be the frugal New Englander in me.

Last, but not least, the deck is finally finished. We too decided on ipea for the decking, but used redwood for the railing and pergola. I can't wait to start growing vines on the pergola to give us some shade from the fierce southern sun. Pictures will come soon...

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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  • 2 weeks later...

WOO-HOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! The cabinets have arrived!!!! :biggrin:

All of the cabinets were delivered yesterday morning and Robert the cabinet installer (I love Robert) is "staging" them in the family room end of the kitchen to inspect them all before he begins actual installation. I am thrilled with my selection and can't wait to see them start going in to place. (Pictures tomorrow--unfortunately this major event in my life has coincided with a major deadline at work, so I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment)

We had one minor glitch when we realized that the pantry/refrigerator cabinets were going to overlap the recessed lights--(a) we forgot about the crown moulding when we planned the lighting layout and (b) the electrician couldn't get the fixtures all the way to 30" on center due to the soffit framing. So my husband and I (with lots of help from Robert--have I mentioned that I love Robert?) spent 4 hours yesterday laying out the profile of the cabinets and figuring out how to get smaller recessed fixtures (we switched to renovation housings) into the soffit space. We ended up drilling into the soffit framing itself ("scalloping" out a 2" bite from the edge of the 2x4) to get the lights out far enough not to interfere with the cabinets. Nothing like frantic electrical wiring at the last minute.

This is so exciting!

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, almost all of the cabinets are in place (lots of trimming out still to do, but the basic skeleton is there) except for the pantry cabinets. Robert focused most of this past week on getting the island cabinets laid out so that we can template the counters tomorrow. He had to build a custom-height toe kick to accomodate the extra-thick (6cm) limestone on the island.

Here are some pictures of the progress so far:

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This is the end of the run of cabinets along the sink wall--the taller cabinet on the end will have glass fronts and will hold dishes. The shorter cabinet will be trash and recycling.

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The right-hand side of the range wall. In retrospect, I needed a lot more bookshelf space so now I'm haunting eBay looking for some sort of hutch to double as desk/cookbook storage in the family room. Those odd metal "arms" on the cabinet next to the shelves will be lift-up doors on an extra-wide cabinet. Robert is currently working on making shelves for that cabinet since it didn't come with any (very strange for a 36" tall cabinet--guess someone assumed I'd be storing a lot of tall vases).

And I've now completed 18 sq. ft. of my mosaic tile--here's a picture of one. They're truly lovely in person, but I'm very, very sick of gluing... :blink:

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It's getting close now... But having read Genny's comments in Fabby's thread on her kitchen, I'll be joining Fabby in giving her a big pinch if she actually brings this thing in by Thanksgiving. We started in July and I think it will be a miracle if I'm not still painting trim and hanging wallpaper by Thanksgiving... :raz:

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Bekki, your mosaic is amazing! You have such patience I couldn't even imagine. Like you, I'm often one to need things to be exactly so and can't always trust others to do the same quality that I insist upon. I don't know that I wouldn't get sloppy towards the end of such a large project but I am dying to see the finished product installation!!

Did I say Thanksgiving? Ha ha ha. I mean Christmas! But even then I think it would be an absolute miracle.

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I think the best approach is to say "Oh yes, I think we'll be done by Thanksgiving..." Just don't specify which year! :biggrin:

Countertop man arrived this morning to measure and he thinks it will be at best 4 weeks, and probably more like 6. Oh no! There go my plans for being ready by Halloween. We're also going to be very, very, very tight in the sink cabinet due to the size of both the sink itself and the radius on the base of the faucet. Countertop man is going to pull the sink as far forward in the cabinet as he can, but I still think we're going to end up with ~1/4" clearance between the back of the faucet and the tiles of the backsplash.

In retrospect, we should have had the sink cabinet moved out from the wall by an inch or so (we've certainly got the space) to give more clearance for the faucet, but it's a little late now. Once everything is in, it will be okay, but as my husband says, there's going to be a lot of cursing before that sink is functional. We're going to have Robert cut a bit out of the back of the cabinet to give us another 1/2" of manuevering room for installing the faucet, but it's still going to be a tight fit.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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I think the best approach is to say "Oh yes, I think we'll be done by Thanksgiving..."  Just don't specify which year:biggrin:

You said it, sistah! :laugh: I feel for you, with the faucets. Some days I think I should have built the kitchen around the sinks and faucets, instead of the range and work-space.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I think the best approach is to say "Oh yes, I think we'll be done by Thanksgiving..."  Just don't specify which year!   :biggrin:

You said it, sistah! :laugh: I feel for you, with the faucets. Some days I think I should have built the kitchen around the sinks and faucets, instead of the range and work-space.

ROFL... :wub: Thanks! Now I have a graceful opt out. Thanks Bekki!

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The appliances are in!

Well, sort of... They're in place, they're just not hooked up yet. Apparently, the gas line from the old cooktop, which we thought was going to work just fine where it was, has to be moved, so the range is just pushed into place. And our installer has been MIA for a week now... I think his brother is sick, but we're not sure when he's coming back. My husband's a little irritated, but (a) what can you do about it?, (b) show a little empathy, man, and © what's the rush, the countertops aren't coming for at least 3 more weeks. I think we're all sick of having this disruption in our lives, though, and are ready to move to the next stage. Also, the new couch for the attached family room arrives on Saturday and we were hoping to move it straight into its new home which is impossible with the cabinet doors and drawers stacked in what is currently a staging location for the installer. Oh well, it can live temporarily in the library with the rest of the kitchen stuff.

In the meantime, we have our final meeting with the interior designer this evening (hopefully--she's a little flaky and I have my doubts that she will arrive with the final items from the punchlist in hand, at which point I may throttle her). We've got to get light fixtures ordered for the island and the circular ceiling in the family room, as well as an area rug and some additional furniture pieces. I ordered a chair on eBay which arrive via Greyhound express two days ago and I'm strangely pleased with it. It needs new cushions and new strapping, but the frame is sound and it was pretty inexpensive (a pleasure, given how much this project is costing us).

eBay has definitely been my friend this year--I got my sink (Blanco), my faucet (KWC), my soap dispense (also KWC), and now furniture and every purchase has been a satisfying one. All three items came from Home and Stone on eBay (Home and Stone) if you're interested. If you're planning a project like this, I highly recommend it if you're the kind of person who can do the digging and research required to sift through the mountain of stuff and find the hidden gems. Otherwise, it's a nightmare and you'll probably get a good enough deal without the stress by purchasing through someone local. I ordered my cabinet knobs from a place called Knobs-Etc (knobs-etc) and they were fantastic--I got a good price, the shipping was reasonable and prompt, and the handles are lovely. On the other hand, I ordered the refrigerator handles from a different vendor (Home Decor Hardware)) and I've been less than pleased--their shipping is expensive, they misled me about when my stuff would ship, and when I complained, were virtually unresponsive with a sort of "sucks to be you" attitude. I definitely don't recommend buying from them.

Anyway, here's a picture of the stove (naked, without it's doors and grates) in it's new home:

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Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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I'm glad things are going well for you. Our kitchen teardown happens on Tuesday and we'll only be without the kitchen for 2 weeks. Our Kitchen Designer is giving us a temporary counter and sink while the granite is being templated.

Ebay hasnt been my friend. I bought a faucet and long story short, the seller never shipped. I bid on another one and now its been 10 days and I still dont have this one( from another seller). This seller is sending to canada so that might be the hold up. Time is really running out for me with the faucets so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

As soon as our kitchen is empty, I'll start my own reno topic to avoid hijacking yours.

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Bekki, KWYM about the disruption. You have a youngish kid or two, don't you? My son has been entertaining at home a lot lately, which drives me nuts -- the house is ripped apart, dusty, and most everything is in boxes.

Anyway, the break in installation is nice sometimes, isn't it; it's not the same as having the place back to yourself but at least it's a little calmer.

Looking forward to more photos. What will your first meal be when it's all up and running?

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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The good, the bad, and the ugly...

Actually, let's start with the ugly... Here's a shot of the stack of boxes and bins that are filling up my dining room, mocking me with their kitcheny goodness:

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The good is that my new stove is now working; I can even turn on the burners. I haven't cooked anything yet, since I don't have running water or countertops (I'm too chicken to attempt washing more than a small cutting board in my bar sink in the basement), but I have turned on all the burners (more than once). The installers were laughing at me this weekend because I had the stainless steel cleaner out even while they were still slaving away at installing the refrigerator. So, without further ado, here's the range:

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There isn't really a bad (hyperbole is a lovely thing) except that we're in a lull in visible progress right now. As Fabby points out, though, at this point of this project, it's actually a welcome respite to have a home, no matter how disrupted, that is free of random workmen. I can stand in my kitchen and dream about the meals we'll create together without interruption or embarassment.

This picture is a little dark (I didn't have time to lighten it), but here's a shot down the center of the island so you can see the entire layout:

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Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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  • 1 month later...

I haven't been able to make myself post for a while because we've been having issues with the countertop people and I've been in a deep, deep funk.

It all started with our first choice for the perimeter counters... The island countertop was selected as "mink grey" limestone and the one we liked came from a little granite shop that imports its own stone and does not sell slabs for other fabricators. Okay, so we'll just have them make the perimeter counters too...

We selected an engineered quartz from Caesarstone only to discover they'd discontinued the one we wanted. No problem, we picked a similar one from Zodiac. In August, we gave them the preliminary drawings and paid our deposit. In the end of September, they made their measurements and sent us the drawings which were, um, how do I say this?, WRONG. So we made them come out and measure again and signed off on the corrected drawings on October 9th. No problem.

They said it would be about 3 weeks for installation. At the beginning of the 4th week, they called us to tell us that the Zodiac material wasn't available. After a moment of stunned silence, a long moment, we asked "What?!" and they tried to blame it on not signing the contract. "Oh, no you don't," we said "You should have done this weeks ago" but they hadn't and we needed them to finish because starting over would take us even more time, so we didn't yell much.

They offered us a third option, by Dal Tile. "There's a truck full of it at the distributor's now," they said. "The truck will be unloaded on Monday, we'll pick up the slab, and cut Monday afternoon." On Monday afternoon they called us to tell us that "Ooops, the truck is in Portland, not Denver, and it won't be here for 3 more weeks." At this point, my head feels like it will explode and I can only hope it happens when I'm near enough that the shrapnel will take them out too...

So we rush down to the yard to pick out an alternative. As you might imagine, I'm in a great mood doing this. :blink: So, we pick out a natural stone, not an engineered quartz, that they have sitting on the lot. It's dark grey/brown, which looks fabulous with the cabinets and the mosaic and is actually in stock. As of today, they're claiming that they will install our countertops (FINALLY) on Friday. I'm asking anyone reading this to keep their fingers crossed that they show up with the counters because otherwise I'm going to spend Thanksgiving in jail for murder...

-Bekki

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Bekki, I'm laughing as I'm groaning. Kitcheny goodness ... Mommy's in jail, honey, eat your turkey and we'll go visit. :laugh:

AUGH about the countertops. SIGH about the range -- it's a beauty. It's all going to be worth it in the end, you're doing such a great job. Can't wait to see the mosaic when it's all done.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Kitcheny goodness ... Mommy's in jail, honey, eat your turkey and we'll go visit.  :laugh:

That might be my new sig line come Friday... :raz:

Chad, who is somehow associated with the kitchen designer and who is NOT Robert, whose awesome and we love him, and who is the one who stepped on my freshly varnished floors, is supposed to arrive this afternoon to finish up a last few installation issues.

For one thing (and let this serve as a warning to anyone else contemplating a kitchen remodel), the mixer stand (the kind on a hydrolic hing that allows you to swing the KitchenAid up and out from a lower cabinet so that it doesn't have to be stored on the countertop) is not, as I had assumed, a standard height... :wacko: It's too high and therefore the mixer cannot be easily and smoothly swung up from below as it runs into the top of the cabinet, coming to an ignoble stop well below a useful height. Yes, I should have tested it while Robert was still here, but how was I supposed to know? So Chad's going to fix it.

For another thing, the bookshelves for the cookbooks... THere were, originally, 3 shelves spaced evenly in the 42" that make up the shelf unit (not including the bottom of the unit which is, effectively, the fourth or lowest shelf). My cookbooks are pretty standard cookbooks and are too tall for this arrangement, so I needed to eliminate a shelf. However, apparently to shave off a few pennies of manufacturing cost, the sides of the unit do not have a continuous run of holes for shelf brackets, but just a few clustered for each of the 3 shelves. So I can't readjust their height. Chad is going to return and drill the remaining holes so that I can put bookshelves whereever I want them. It's the little things that will drive you insane at this point in the project... :smile: (As an aside, he's going to do the same thing inside the pantry cabinet where the microwave will be living)

And, last but not least, he's going to install the undercabinet lights which will, hopefully, come Friday, illuminate my new countertops...

Oh, and Robert (we love Robert) is coming by on Friday to drop off the now stained and lacquered (sp?) walnut panels--the large one that will hang over the island and the square ones that will adorn the fireplace wall in the attached family room.

So this weekend will be plumbing for hubbie and wiring the lights in the walnut for me... If all goes well, I'll also be preparing the turkey stock from this month's Saveur since I'm making their apple-brined turkey as one of my offerings for dinner next Thursday.

Fabby--looks like we're still neck and neck in this race. Can't wait to see more pix of your project. I'll post pics on Friday (either counter shots or mug shots--too soon to telll...)

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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  • 3 weeks later...

You might have thought, from the suspicious silence, that I actually did commit a Thanksgiving Eve murder, but it's not quite true...

So the [countertop idiots] did show up the Friday before Thanksgiving with some of my counters... No, that's not a typo, they only showed up with *some* of the counters. The newly selected marble perimeter counters to be specific. The island material (limestone) was still having issues with "pitting" and the owner was still working on figuring out how to fix it. We'd known on Wednesday that they were having problems, but on Thursday they had assured us it was fixed and they'd be installing on Friday. There aren't enough curse words in all of the Earth languages combined to describe my reaction when the lead installer informed me that the island wasn't ready--but I tried to keep it all an internal diatribe since I needed him to get the perimeter counters in so that the sink and dishwasher could be plumbed. To add insult to injury, Dave's response to my shock upon discovering that my island wasn't ready was the equivalent of "sucks to be you". He said if the counter wasn't ready by the end of Friday, they'd *try* for Saturday and if Saturday didn't work, they'd *try* for Wednesday (Monday and Tuesday being reserved for higher-paying clients up in Vail apparently).

To make a long story short, the perimeter counters (with the exception of one piece that they scratched and had to take back to the shop for additional polishing) went in on Friday and the island went in on Saturday. Wait, did I say I was making the story short? Wrong. Dave told me the pitting had been corrected and installed the island before I had a chance to examine it (a huge mistake on my part)--glued it to the island counters and everything. When I did get to look at it, there were CHUNKS out of the surface--not minor "pitting", but divots at least 1/2" deep. And when I pointed these glaring defects out to them, Dave's said "well, we'll have to come back some time and fix those, but I don't think there's much we can do" At which point, for the first time in this entire project, I burst into tears. After all this time and money and work, to have an island that couldn't possibly be used for any cooking activities because there's no way to actually clean it (imagine how much gunk would build up in those craters)--I just couldn't cope. So Dave, the fricking peach, left, leaving the poor installer alone with a crying woman. He (the installer, not Dave) felt terrible and spent at least 3 hours painstakingly filling as many of the major pits as he could (some of them are too shallow to hold the material). So it's functional, kind of, but not perfect. We're meeting with the company on Monday to discuss what, if anything, can be done about it.

I admit it's partly our fault--we should have insisted on seeing in situ installations of the material before signing the contract--but we did discuss the material in depth before selecting it, including asking them if the the pits in the sample would be smoothed out. They assured us it would all be taken care of during installation. So we'll see what happens.

On the plus side, the island (at 4' x 11', we've decided it's more of a continent than an island) is fucking beautiful, there's no other way to describe it. And the perimeter counters are absolutely lovely. Without further ado, here are some pictures of the final product...

The money shot:

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As you can see, the walnut panel hanging over the island has been installed with the lights and it's very much the focal point we were after. The pendant lights took forever to install--I must have had a bad piece of romex b/c they kept shorting out (and frankly, lights just aren't complicated enough to justify shorts--it's all color-coded and it's not rocket science) and I must have torn them out and started over at least 15 times. But they're beautiful now...

Here's a closeup of the walnut panel:

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And here's a closeup of the curved end of the island:

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For the island, we had the material double-layered, so it's 6cm instead of 3cm. We had seen a picture somewhere of that look and decided we wanted it for the island. We also kept the overhang to a minimum--basically the vertical surface of the edge is nearly flush with the face of the cabinets. We had Robert install a sheet of 1/2" plywood edged in black vinyl to give a "shadow-line" between the tops of the cabinets and the counter. It looks awesome. We're still trying to figure out if the steel framing under the counter will be enough support for the cantilever or if we need to make some sort of leg. For now, it's just cantilevered and seems completely stable.

Here's a closeup of the marble on the perimeter:

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And, since part of the drive to get the counters by Thanksgiving was to get the sink installed, here's the sink with the KWC faucet (which ROCKS, btw):

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In CaliPoutine's kitchen topic, there's been a bit of a discussion about TVs in the kitchen, so here's our solution. The TV is a 24" flatscreen mounted on a bracket on a small section of wall at the end of the kitchen:

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The TV is visible if you're sitting at the end of the island (where I just happen to be sitting right now), perfect for my son who watches a show each morning as he eats breakfast. It's a little more visible than I would have liked (given my choice alone, I wouldn't have had a TV in the kitchen at all), but it's a good compromise since my husband wanted to put it front and center on the mosaic wall--and we couldn't have that.

The equipment (HD receiver and DVR, as well as the amp for the speakers in the family room and on the deck) is housed in the cabinet above the refrigerator, a relatively awkward space that probably would have been unused otherwise:

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Another "storage" solution that I'm pretty happy with is that we put the two most commonly used (by my son, if not by me) appliances--the toaster and the microwave--inside the pantry cabinet next to the refrigerator. They remain accessible, but I don't have to look at them:

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Forgive the poptarts, but I did say that the appliances in question are used primarily by my 10-year-old son... :rolleyes:

And for my final thought of the evening, I had planned a couple of specific drawers in the kitchen, next to the sink, for dish towels, clean and dirty. The top drawer holds a large stack of clean flour sack towels that I use for everything from drying dishes, to pulling hot pans out of the oven, to drying washed herbs. The bottom drawer is for dirty ones (and dirty napkins and aprons), so they can be stockpiled for laundry day. So far it's been a great solution:

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We're definitely nearing the end, but as Fabby has said, things really seem to slow to a crawl at this point of the project. Everything is so exacting now that you can't rush it, and everyone has to be scheduled in series. But I've been able to cook and I am so happy with the overall result. Thanksgiving day worked perfectly--guests gathered at the rounded end of the island with snacks and wine while I had the other end completely to myself for cooking and prep tasks without being isolated from the action. And when it was time for dinner, the island was a fabulous buffet staging location.

No jail yet and lots of happiness. Overall, very much worth the effort.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Bekki, I'm jealous (and glad that if it can't be me cooking in a new kitchen yet, it's you. And Cali.)

Beautiful stuff. Your countertop issue made me want to scream on your behalf -- it's maddening. Just maddening. But it's awfully pretty, and it sounds like a nice time was had by all at Thanksgiving.

I didn't see anything about the backsplash, so I guess the story's not completely over yet? I hope??

Oh -- we're faucet twins! I have the exact same KWC over my cleanup sink. Glad to hear you like it so much. Does your kid try to shoot his friends with it? :laugh:

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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