Articles, Blog

The Finished Product

So, we did it! We could not have done it without my husband and his tireless efforts.

Is my husband a contractor or a plumber? No, he is not. What he has is experience with plumbing during his time in the Navy, as well as with electrical and electronics. He is a very smart and very strong man. I am a lucky girl.

So, without further ado, here are our afters:

A working kitchen!

 

I love all of the white.

 

*Note: the cabinet doors above the coffee maker close completely.

 

Our side porch exit.

 

Okay; so here are the realities of this kitchen.

  1. There is very little countertop space. However, it has not been a problem for me. I’ve cooked complex dishes, too. Standing in the corner spot to the left of the fridge and the right of the stove while I chop, dice, and mix has left me with plenty of room.
  2. There is no dishwasher. This has also not been a problem. However, I should add that I am married to a man who does not mind doing the dishes. He and I also grew up in houses devoid of dishwashers (and now our son will, too, lol). It really isn’t hard to keep up with keeping the dishes clean.
  3. This is a small kitchen. This, for us, is a plus. Sure, I look at pictures of my friends’ kitchens and I see the comfort that they provide. However, I don’t need so many feet of countertop space. I also don’t like to see all of my kitchen appliances on the countertop.
  4. Our dining area is minuscule. There’s no two ways about that. However, it is only my husband, my son, and myself that live in our home. That’s three chairs. We have another one in the guest bedroom. Also, our table has leaves to it. If we need it to be bigger, we’ll move it to the center of the kitchen and extend the leaves.

The most important reality here is that this kitchen works for our real life. We love our real life.

 

Cyndia Rios-Myers

 

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Kitchen Cabinets Install

So, our appliances came in. I cannot tell you how happy and I excited I was to have a working stove and fridge again.

Oh, a happy day!!!

 

So, I forgot to talk about the baseboards. We went with flexible vinyl wall base for the baseboards. It was easier. It fit in with the floor.

If I would have thought to take pictures of Ikea and our purchase process, I would have. But I didn’t. Here’s the folder you get, though, when you spend a good bit of money on Ikea’s cabinets:

The folder. Very important.

 

One of many receipts.

 

The aftermath. You should have seen the stacks of boxes!!!

 

So, the folks at Ikea were great. We paid a kitchen consult fee, which upon the purchase of a kitchen, was refunded to us (the consult fee) via an Ikea gift card. The numerous boxes carrying the cabinets, counter tops, and hinges were delivered just a few days later.

If there was a hierarchy of importance as far as Ikea cabinets installations are concerned, the most important part is the Sektion Susension Rail. Literally speaking, everything about the cabinets installation hangs off of that.

 

Sektion rail is up. Hubs is hanging the upper corner cabinet.

 

Something else to know about Ikea cabinets is that you have to assemble them. Also, EVERYTHING is sold separately. The doors are purchased independently of the cabinet boxes. Same thing with the hinges.

 

Things are coming together.

 

Okay – so the counter tops are sold separately too, obviously. We went with the butcher block counter top. However, what we did not  know was that they were not solid butcher blocks, but birch-veneered particleboard. Le sigh.

Lessons were learned. Pricey ones.

 

The hubs got it done, though. He did everything. Electrical, plumbing, and even stuff with gas lines. I am a very lucky girl, I know.

So, the kitchen was mostly done. We still needed the cabinet pulls and knobs, though. Want to see what they look like? Come back and check out my blog in a few days time. You’ll see the final pictures then.

 

Cindy Rios-Myers

Articles, Blog

A New Floor!

For those of you who did not read my second blog post (or was it my first one?) regarding our flooring choices, our floor choices was Armstrong Vinyl Tile in Little Green Apple.

Here it is going in:

I love it!

 

So, here’s a few things to know about vinyl tiles: they have a grain and they have a backside and a front side. We learned that the hard way. Still, things worked out.

Still loving it.

 

It took some work to finish. Some had to be removed due to grain directions and front and backside confusion. It took a bit of cutting for the the hubs to get it all right. But in the end, he did.

 

All in!

 

 

View from living room doorway

 

 

View to where the cabinet, sink and fridge will be.

 

So, yes. I love it. I truly, truly do. I love the way it feels on my bare feet. It still needs polished and buffed, but that is something the hubs and I (two former U.S. Navy sailors) are quite familiar with.

Another consideration that stemmed from this flooring choice was the fact that we loved it so much that we did not want cabinet toe kicks to hide the flooring.

This is where Ikea came in. Stay tuned to read next week’s post to find out how the appliances and cabinets went in!

 

Cindy Rios-Myers

Articles, Blog

Demolition and Nailing Schedules

Any fan of HGTV will know what demolition is and what it consists of. Watching it on TV is fun. There’s nothing like watching someone else do a ton of labor. Doing it yourself, though, is a different story.

Upper cabinets are gone. Working on the lower ones.

 

Left behind

 

A history in flooring

 

Ready for the new underlayment.

 

I know what you are thinking. An underlayment? The vinyl flooring needed a firm base. After doing some research online and speaking to a floor pro at Lowe’s, the husband bought the plywood sheets that would work as underlayment.

Here’s another term you might not be familiar with: nailing schedule.

A nailing schedule is the distance where you must drive nails – or screws, or staples – into a piece of wood. Three inches and six inches is what the hubs came up with.

Nailing scheduling nailed

 

Gluing a floor down is not easily done. You have to buy the right underlayment, the right glue, and the right notched trowel (a v-shaped trowel or a square shaped trowel – it really gets that specific).

Glue is down. It actually needs a good while to get tacky before you can lay the vinyl tiles down.

 

At this point, we were beside ourselves in excitement to see actual vinyl tile laid out on the floor. I hope that you are, too!!! Stay tuned for the next blog post, where I will cover just that.

 

Cindy Rios-Myers

 

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How to Update – What to Use – How Much to Spend – Second Look

Again, the hubs and I aren’t new to the home reno game. This is our third time doing it. We’ve learned lessons along the way.

  • Lesson I learned from real estate appraisal school (and appraisers I used to work with): never over-improve for your neighborhood. You NEVER get your money back. (If you have questions on how much to spend on an update, contact your realtor for advice – if you are still friendly with him/her. You could always shoot me a message, too!)
  • Don’t go radical with paint colors. Learned through any HGTV show ever.
  • Don’t apply a different style to your home. If your home is a California Rancher, don’t make colonial updates. Learned through my own tastes.
  • “Professional” only means that someone is paid to do something for a living; it does not mean that whoever did the work is the best at it, or even very good at it. Learned through re-doing shoddy home repairs.
  • Updates will ALWAYS exceed your reno budget. Learned through experience.

Many years of marriage has taught us about each other’s tastes. I lean towards modern design. The hubs is alright with that as long as it is not too edgy.

You’ve seen the pictures from the previous post. We had no refrigerator. The oven was quite old. So, after driving to a couple of places, we decided on Lowe’s for a new fridge and stove. We would go with white. We liked the cost, and cringed over the long delivery time.

  1. Appliances decision made – white, and from Lowe’s. (But delivery would take three weeks!)

Coming up with a plan takes some time. After we put in an offer for this house, my husband and I already began talking about update ideas. For a while now, I’ve been intrigued by marmoleum. Linoleum and vinyl tile, too. My interest began while we were updating a home in Southern California. We pulled up a stinky, stained carpet to find linoleum tiles in awesome beige, brown, and white colors. After pulling those up, we covered the slab with engineered hardwood. Still, the hubs and I marveled over how much the tiles did not bother us. A few rentals between then and this place cemented a desire to have linoleum, marmoleum, or vinyl tiles in our home. After showing the hubs Pinterest pictures of marmoleum tiles, he was on-board. At Home Depot, we quickly jumped jumped on a color. It simply made us happy. We placed an order (it was not a stock shade), and waited for it to be delivered to our home.

  1. Flooring decision made – Armstrong vinyl tile in Little Green Apple:

Vinyl Tile in Little Green Apple

Cabinets were the next major decision, and the priciest of decisions. First, we had to decide on a color. Given the size of the kitchen and a lean towards a brighter floor, we decided on white for the cabinets. We went to Lowe’s. We went to Home Depot. We then went to Ikea. Prices were compared. Delivery timelines were computed. We then discovered Ikea’s kitchen planner tool. After that, we discovered Ikea’s kitchen planning consultation services. We were sold.

  1. Cabinets decision made – white, and from Ikea

Now, we knew that our timeline would be a bit hinky. Ideally, we’d receive our appliances ASAP, as I was cooking on a cheap, solitary, and unreliable burner purchased at Walmart:

See? I wasn’t lying.

So, our hopes were that we’d receive our appliances first, flooring second, and the cabinets third. The wait was long and miserable, but we got our flooring the same day that we received our cabinets. The appliances came a few days later.

Thankfully, it worked out, though, as the hubs was able to get rid of the old cabinets and then install the new subflooring and the vinyl tile before we received our appliances.

Vinyl tile installation. Sigh. Lessons were learned.

The flooring install post will come after this one. Stay tuned!!

 

Cindy Rios-Myers

Blog

A New Kitchen in an Older House – First Look

Well, we left Vermont. As planned, we moved to Pennsylvania. Land of my husband’s birth. Where my husband’s been trying to get back to for a few years now. I joke and tell him that I am his war bride. He says that is not accurate, though, as I was in the military, too.

So, we bought a little house. In the area we wanted, and within the budget we wanted. It’s in a nice neighborhood. We have a nice little piece of land.

It is a small house, though. Far smaller than the houses my friends are buying. I am okay with that. As a matter of fact, that was the plan – to live a life that is lived with less material goods. However, walking the walk is different than talking the talk.

We knew going in that the kitchen would need work. However, we are experienced in home renovations. We’ve updated two other homes, after all.

This kitchen will be of work, though. EVERYTHING will need replaced. The flooring, the cabinets, the appliances, the plumbing pipes, and even the underlayment for the floor, too.

Here’s the “blank” canvas:

The view of our kitchen from the entrance from the living room (and the man who will do all of the work – the hubs):

The counters are sparse here. No two ways about it. And the floors! Yikes.

 

*Refrigerator not included with purchase of home. Neither is the missing cabinet. Also, dishwasher not included. Neither is the plumbing for such. So, you’ll be dishwashing EVERYTHING by hand.

 

The side patio entrance/exit in the kitchen – one of my favorite things about this house.

 

This little kitchen might have been a big “no” to anyone else in the market for a home. It was a yes to us, though. It fit a new standard of living that we wanted to adopt. (On that, read this: http://www.cyndiariosmyers.com/the-book-thats-changing-my-home-and-my-life/)

Back to work, now. I hope you’ll check in to keep tabs on our progress.

 

Cindy Rios-Myers

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Hurry Up and Wait

The past month has brought with it the type of news that delivers only half of the news.

An irregular Pap smear, a mammogram picture re-take, and the status of a home loan application.

Here are the results I have so far: All is well in woman-land; up north, and down south, too. I’d be annoyed over the second tests I’ve had to take, but I am not. I am old enough and have lost enough people to know that a clean bill of health is not something to take for granted.

On the home loan, though, I still wait.

Something else that we’ve had to wait on here in Vermont is the spring. We actually had a snowstorm on April Fool’s Day. It’s almost as if nature played a joke on us. Or, maybe it is just telling us that things come when they need to.