Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

$500 Kitchen Finale

…again with the dangerous word, finale! I realized I never included pictures to conclude our $500 Kitchen Redo II post…so here we go…


Painted cabinets, relocated dishwasher, subway tile backsplash, and homemade light!


Vintage island spray-painted red and we added castors for height and mobility…most used piece of furniture in house!


I would be remiss to not mention these smart under-cabinet LED lights that Jim installed. The lights came from IKEA but when you’re looking into the kitchen you don’t see these flat little housings at all but you see their nice light cascade onto the tile. Jim routed the cords behind the subway tile and here’s the kicker–the switch for them is INSIDE THE UTENSIL CABINET! All of the ugly wiring and electrical is totally and blissfully hidden. The nice thing about starting from scratch is that you can hack the hell out of something and you don’t mind ripping out new dry wall or new anything for that matter. Excellent job as always, Jim, in jiggering and making a dollar out of ninety-nine cents.

Are there a million more things we’d like to do? Sure. A new stove? Yeah, that would be nice. Preferably one with a built-in microwave and exhaust fan…I’m sick of having to open the windows when I really want to crisp up my perogies…but since that wall the stove sits against goes to the back mudroom / stairs to basement it’s a bit tricky to get that exhaust installed. I’d love a farmhouse sink and a soapstone counter…but for a debt-free, weekend warrior effort we are damn proud of the result!


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Project Hoist

The home inspection of Pine Avenue was nothing more than a cursory, obligatory part of the mortgage process. Surely nothing short of sloped floors caused by improper building of the actual infrastructure itself wouldn’t have stopped us from purchasing this property. Surely.

I still recall Mr. Inspector standing in the middle of our sloping living room, arms wide like he was pretending to model an airplane, expressing it was “natural” for homes of this age to sag on the sides. Very natural! Upon moving in, Jim removed some of the pretty white ceiling tiles in the basement to discover some pretty “natural” structural problems–something to the effect of there maybe probably used to be a wall in the basement that maybe most likely provided much-needed structural support to keeping the center of our house straight and strong. So…Jim is building a wall in the basement to bring things to their rightful shore.

Our good friend John the Engineer visits nearly every Sunday for a couple of hours to help Jim hoist up the house. With each quarter turn of the jack, new cracks breathe relief into the plaster. You’ll hear faint moans as the joists in the walls find their natural balance again. Each week, the plaster in the library cracks like an old China plate–cosmetic paint jobs are no match for 10-ton jacks. The main entrance, living room, and little library are all level now! It’s really pretty amazing.

The coolest thing is that our staircase creaks about 45% less than it did before and despite the crackers of plaster on the staircase wall, our stairs are level!

I’m grateful that my husband has the knowledge to undertake such an enormous project. Quite literally he is moving our house up, straightening out the bones. I’m grateful for the knowledge, once again, of John the Engineer, as we navigate yet another endeavor in Old Home Property Ownership. But I can’t help but feel sorta useless this time around because I can’t physically HELP with this one. Oh, I can take the kids to the park. I can make lunch. I can just stop talking when I feel so nervous that we may have bit off more than we can chew with Pine…because that certainly won’t be a help to anyone. At times the projects seem insurmountable but we just have to do what we can, one dusting of plaster at a time.

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