The Adventure continues!

New Kitchen for 6 Silver Spring

Back to Part 1.

Week 8 (September 1-8)

Week 9 (September 9-14)

Week 10 (September 15-22)

Weeks 11 (September 23 - 30)

Week 12 (October 1-7)

Week 13 (October 8-14)

Week 14 (October 15-21)

Week 15 (October 22-28)

Week 16 (October 20 - November 4)

Week 17 (November 5-11)

Week 18 (November 12-18)

Weeks 19 & 20 (November 19-30)

Weeks 21 (December 1-7)

Weeks 22 & 23 (December 8-21)



Sept 8 (D)

Not much progress this week. Plumbers are supposed to work this weekend preparing for tankless water heater - Will's told the contractor to make good use of the days we'll be in Seattle. Let's hope?

9/16: (D)

Progress! Well, some progress. They started preparing for the tankless water heater. While they're working, though, we still need hot water, so the water heater is set up in the front yard. Interesting decor, isn't it?

And speaking of decor, there's still plastic sheeting everywhere. And despite all the precautions, I still leave a trail of white footprints from the plaster dust as I enter the house... Oh well...


They got the inspections done, installed wall board and started "mudding". You can really get a feel for the space now.

Will's standing where our sink will be, facing the family room. We're running network and TV cables. I'm "assisting". My highly technical role involves watching for the snake, and feeding wires.

The shot below is notable for what's NOT there: No weird built in bar, no opening for the wine cooler, no "Harry Potter" cupboard.
And the view from inside the kitchen, looking toward the sink:
Chicken Schwarma for dinner tonight - Yum!

Sept 17-22(W)

More drywall progress, and even more exciting no more big holes in the floor!

There was also a necessary design change. The original plan was to have the kitchen ceiling be a nice smooth continuation of the family room ceiling. Unfortunately the best the plumbers could do with the the pipe from the upstairs toilet was to get it more or less flush with the finish ceiling... Meaning the plan was to try and bury the pipe in "drywall mud".

Mid week it became obvious this was a bad plan. The"bump" was going to be pretty bad, and worse with the pipe so well coupled to the ceiling the noise of running water was going to be quite loud. So time to give up on the flat ceiling and add a "decorative soffit" to enclose the pipe.

Below the dining room floor has now been stripped of all of it's flooring. (The old hardwood floor had already been sanded one too many times and would not refinish again.) Also the remaining bits of electrical renovation have been done.
Laundry closet is now 10" deeper with new plumbing. It will soon get a "Floodsaver" pan and surround so that any overflows or other watery failures of the washing machine will not flood the house.
Also this weekend got the last of the network cabling done. That's me below inside the "Harry Potter Cupboard" running the last ENT conduit (the blue hose around my neck) for the network/antenna jack just to the left.

For dinner last night, I tried to recreate a rice salad that Will enjoyed in Seattle. Got close, but still needs tweaking. Balsamic vinegar was a mistake, muddying the colors. And parsley was good, but not what he had in Seattle. So will try again. But still a delicious dinner. (With yummy leftovers for lunch!)


Sept. 23-29: (W)

Sunday (the 23'rd) Diane is unloading the dryer and I hear her call out:

"Honey, come look at this for me... Oh and bring your tape measure". Totally clueless I grab a tape and wander into the construction zone.

"Does that look crooked" pointing at the new passage between the kitchen and the living room.

"Crooked in what way?" says I.

"The top's not straight". says she.

"Probably an illusion." And I proceed to measure the distance from the rough floor to the top of the passage at each side. Sure enough one side is an inch higher!

"Maybe the floor's not level." So I go get my level and put it on the top of the opening. As best as I can extrapolate with a two foot level one side is an inch high -- same answer. Also when and got my framing square and check the corners at the top of the opening (which is probably what our eyes were really picking up on...) sure enough out of square.

"Well, maybe it's not so bad." Says I. "There's no way to fix it without tearing a lot of drywall back down!".

"But you'll look at it every day" Says she.

So the end result is that we lost a week. The Contractor's first response was "If it's not square it's because your floor is off". I tried to explain that I had carefully measured from the floor several different ways. Besides I 'd seen them lay out the framing for that ceiling with their laser level. Far more likely someone laying out missed by a whole inch. After measuring for himself multiple times he agreed that it wasn't right.

To fix it, the contractor ripped out a 4'x6' section of the ceiling. Not sure what he did but somehow raised the framing on the low side and replaced the drywall. The texture guy was put off until the next week. As was the tile guy.

October 1-6: (D)

Progress! We have paint! We have texture! We have tile!

And that's really important, because tomorrow we need to move all the furniture out of the living room into the family room, so they can rip up the old (shot) hardwood. So for one day, we get to take down the barricades.


Haven't seen this view in a while!

Sunday, 10/07 (D):

Moved from the living room to the family room, so they can tear out the hardwood tomorrow (let's hope the contractor shows up with crew!):

And Will did a couple little demolition projects: Remove the tatty plastic molding from the living room, and tear out the clumsy wooden shelves from the hall closet:

October 14th (D) -

Progress! Contractor demo'd the rest of the worn out oak floors. Charlie and Zeljko, our floor guys, were hot on the heels of the contractor's crew. They are a Czechoslovakian and his nephew (and some helpers) They're very hard-working and do beautiful work. They worked until 8pm to get all the wood down. Now it has to set for two weeks before finishing.

Will noticed that the path from living room, through front hall, through dining room is long enough for a bowling alley. Or for little kids to sock-surf. (Or for Will, when he doesn't think I'm watching!)


Will got the hood connected this weekend too! Hopefully, we'll get cabinets this week.

I went and picked tile for backsplash Friday during lunch. Cream field, with the tile below for accent.


October 15-21: (W)

Very limited progress this week. The cabinet guy should have been have been here, but he's now a full week late...

Most significant thing (such as it it) is that the plywood subfloor was added to the kitchen (needed to bring up the level so that the vinyl flooring in the kitchen will be even with the 3/4" thick hardwood floors.


October 22-28: (W)

Bit more progress. Electricians showed up on Tuesday, installed all of the outlets and light switches. For reasons unknown they failed to bring the actual light fixtures, or the floor outlet fixtures, so that remains to be finished.

The electricians were also supposed to pull the wire for the Oven circuit. I had specified #8 wire. #10 would have been sufficient for the existing 30 Amp Oven, but I figure that it might someday get replace with a newer bigger one that needs a 40 Amp circuit.

So they unload this roll of wire from their truck and I say "What's that for?". "For the oven circuit" they reply.

"That's not #8!". I could easily see that the wire on the roll was many times larger than #8 --- in fact about twice the diameter as it was #4 wire. Somehow they failed to notice this, doesn't inspire confidence. Needless to say they agreed that they really didn't want to use that much copper on my oven, and will return another day with the correct wire. (Hopefully with the light fixtures as well.)


Cabinet guy finally arrived on Thursday (4 weeks and day after the second "3 weeks" estimate), and made further progress on Friday.

The flooring guy arrived Saturday (2 days ahead of schedule) and started on the floor finish. Sanded all day Saturday, and applied the stain. Also installed new baseboard in the area. Sunday he returned to do the first coat of finish. So both nights this weekend Diane and I have to go outside to go from the family room where the TV is to the rest of the house (where the bedroom and bathroom are). But then we've been trekking to our garage kitchen for 4 months so this is only slightly more inconvenient and only for a couple of days.

October 29 - Nov 4: (W)

Very little visible progress, mostly little things. Granite fabricator arrived Tuesday to make the templates for the new counters. Installation of the granite is currently scheduled for Monday the 5'th.

There was a bit of a panic on Tuesday when the Cabinet guy was MIA. Turns out he had a family emergency. However his crew was persuaded to do some work in his absence. He returned Saturday and got a bit more work done, including the base to go under the granite. Important as the granite is to be installed Monday.


You'll notice that there are now under-cabinet lights -- installed by me on Saturday.


Kitchen Sink goes about where the chop saw is sitting.



Other minor work included finishing up the upstairs, paint, New bathroom door (were there wasn't a door before, new medicine cabinet (still in it's protective wrappings).

Plan is to install carpet Tuesday!

November 5 - 11: (W)

Good progress this week:


Monday is mostly little things, fixing up the paint in the downstairs hallway, (remaining from the "oops" of several weeks ago), and most importantly getting the Duct for the range hood connected. (Which required opening the upstairs floor once again..


We also worked on getting the new range into its final position. However here we got a bit of a surprise. In designing the cabinets, etc I relied on the Thermador installation manual and it's reasonably detailed drawings, including the following:

As you can see. the diagram pretty clearly shows the power cord for the unit coming out the bottom, as you would expect.



However when we pulled the unit out of the box we found that the cord comes straight out the back! I'm not sure how Thermador thinks this unit is going to be installed against a wall like we are doing. You can see in the picture at the right we took the expeditious solution of drilling a couple of large holes in the drywall, one behind the stove to line up with the cord, and one in the cabinet below. Fishing the cord into the cabinet is not fun.



Also Monday was getting the "rough top" the layer of plywood on top of the lower cabinets that will support the granite. Also getting the hole cut for the sink, all 45 inches of it (see below).


Tuesday is Carpet and Granite.

Below the fellows are fitting the single piece of granite that wraps from the sink around the the adjoining counter. We were able to get by with only a single seam in the granite just to the right of the sink. (The edge that is on the far right in the photo below.) At the same time the carpet crew is working on the stairs in the background.

Same view after the crew is gone


Upstairs New Carpet it in!

Wednesday is all about floors. First the Carpet guys return to finish up the carpet on the stairs. At the same time the new vinyl flooring is put down in the kitchen. Finally late in the evening Zeljko returns to put one final coat on the hardwood floors and to finish the baseboard in the kitchen and the family room. It's starting to look finished!

There is one issue with the sink... The granite overhangs a bit too much on one side. They should be able to cut the hole just a bit bigger in place, but we'll have to delay hooking up the sink until then.

Thursday is NO work, to let the fresh finish on the floor cure.

Friday is the cabinet guy coming back to work on bits. He now promises "By Monday for sure". We'll see, he has a lot left to do. Friday was also supposed to be the electricians to finish up the wiring for the oven, the grounds required for the new panel, the kitchen lights and the floor outlets in the family room. Well we got the kitchen lights. The rest will have to wait till Monday.

Sunday however Diane and I have moved back into our Master Bedroom, and the other areas of the house have been put back to the way they should be.

November 12 - 18: (W)

Well it's not done, but as of Saturday Nov 18 we are using the new kitchen instead of Maison Garage!

Monday nothing happened.

Tuesday the granite guys arrived and re-cut the hole for the sink, and did an excellent job. So sink was put up into place and it's plumbing finished. (Including Garbage disposer). Running water in the kitchen!


Wednesday the cabinet guy finally returns and makes some progress, mostly on the wood cap that tops the wall around the kitchen sink.

Thursday is new water heater (finally!)

Saturday is a flurry of activity as the cabinet guy AND the tile guy arrive. Tile guy goes to work on the new tile backsplash. Unfortunately our contractor somehow manages to mis-calculate the amount of tile needed by nearly a factor of two (too little of course) and manages to get the wrong bullnose trim pieces entirely. So the backsplash tile is started, but far from finished.

Meanwhile the Cabinet maker gets handles on all off the drawers and cupboards, so that we can start using them.

After they leave late afternoon Diane and I move just enough stuff in to be able to cook spaghetti for Kate and Erich who are arriving that evening. Kate and Erich are a big help on Saturday as we move most of the rest of the kitchen stuff back in. Sunday Ian and Mary arrive and the big kitchen space finally shows it's worth as there is room for 4-5 cooks at the same time!

November 19 - 30: (W)

Not much to report:

The holiday week nothing happened at all.

The following week the cabinet guy came Monday and Tuesday and got things mostly finished. Most importantly he got the shelves installed in the lower cabinets. That allowed us to unpack the majority of the kitchen.

All that is missing on the cabinets is the wire-basket pullouts for one of the lowers, and the double-level cutlery trays for two of the drawers. This is stuff that should have been ordered weeks ago, but for whatever reason wasn't. So now we're waiting on parts.

Also still not finished is the wood "cap" for the short walll (visible in the picture above). This part will probably have to be re-made, as it is too narrow to completely cover the drywall on the one side and the tile on the other.

There is hope for next week. Supposed to finish the kitchen tile starting Tuesday, new front door is scheduled for Thursday.

December 1-7: (W)

We are now on 21 of what was to be a 12 week project. Getting close to double the original estimated time.

The job is now probably 98% complete.

Tuesday was the tile guy returning for a marathon session (he was here until 7 PM). The backsplash tile is done:



Or at least almost done. It seems our contractor yet again failed to order enough material, we are short 6 bullnose trim pieces. The tile guy will have to return anyway to finish up the entry hall.





Thursday was time to install the new front door. Out with the old and in with the new.

December 8-21: (W)

We are about to start week 24 of what was to be a 12 week project. As we slowly lurch towards being done.

Wednesday 12/12 they got the drywall patched around the new front door, and got a coat of primer on the door..

Friday 12/14 the door guy returned to finish the casing around the new front door, as well as a window in the panty.

Tuesday 12/18 the tile guy returns to finally finish the tile! Another trade complete.

Friday 12/19 the cabinet guy returns to do his last bit of work. (Primarialy the wood cap on the short wall dividing the kitchen from the family room.)

Friday 12/21 the front door is painted as well as a singinficant fraction of the touchup paint needed elsewhere in the house.

Spent part of Saturday 12/22 unpacking more stuff that was stored in the garage. There's now finally room in the garage for one car!

Meanwhile we have been using the kitchen quite happily.


Diane: I can attest that we're almost done: I cleaned the windows this weekend - no reason to do that with construction dust every week. And we unpacked Eleanor's salt box and the cookie jars. First time in our new "old house".

January 26 - Epilog: (W)

The project is still not "finished' however all that remains is the granite guys have been promised to return and polish out a small chip in the counter of unknown origin.

We got a signed off Final Inspection on January 8, so using that as "finished" total project length was 25 weeks.

January 10 the contractor took care of last major job on the punch list-- replacing the drain line from the laundry. He sort of questioned why I wanted to do this until he cut the old iron line out. What started out as a 2" pipe was at best 3/4" the walls being uniformly lined with a cementeaous mixture of rust and other crud.