Hurrah for productive holidays!
Monday, December 1, 2014
Friday, November 28, 2014
So here is my kitchen window. All our windows are the original 1950 aluminum windows the house was built with. The glass panes are held in only with caulk. No joke. We had one blow out and shatter when we had a windy thunderstorm.
Here's a close-up of one. The cons: they're ugly, inefficient, and would cost a fortune that we don't have right now to replace. Especially with a baby on the way. The pros: if a pane breaks, we just drive down to Home Depot and have them cut a piece of glass for us and we caulk it back in. And as it turns out, if you're feeling a little stabby over the appearance of them, you can paint them.
So I started by caulking edges of the window against the trim for a clean finish. Then I began painting the frames glossy black, inspired by a few online tutorials and a post by The Nester on her wooden-framed windows she painted black. The consensus of the tutorials I searched said to tape off only the trim, as painter's tape doesn't stick well to glass, and just score and scrape the glass after the paint dries. So that's what I did. (And the ugly deposits that had stained the glass around the metal framing also came off with scraping, so two birds killed with one stone.)
Sadly, when I replaced the bamboo blinds, the black just looked ... wrong. Because the black contrasted from the surrounding white trim, it drew unwanted attention to the fact that the blinds were definitely not custom, and didn't quite fill out the window's opening perfectly. See the sides of the frames that are visible beside the blinds up there? Not the effect I was going for.
So I started over with the white trim color. This is after one application. Really felt like I was back where I'd started here.
But by late in the evening, the third coat had adequately covered the black underneath, and I started scraping paint off the glass. Then I hung the blinds. And I LOVED it.
Here's the other kitchen window painted white. (Spoiler: those cabinets are the next project during this holiday...stay tuned)
Honestly, in person these windows look new and clean, especially since the scraping removed most of the old staining on the panes. They're also easier to wipe clean than the old aluminum surface, which was not as glossy. They even make the whole kitchen look brighter and more finished, and for the cost (free, since we already had the trim paint, caulk, and painters tape), it was well worth the effort. I know some will think this was pretty tacky of me to do - paint aluminum windows instead of replacing them - and I agree it was definitely not the ideal option. Believe me, I'd rather have more efficient, newer windows, both for our comfort and for resale value. But since we didn't have the finances to replace them before the baby comes, I was willing to take the risk. And I am so glad I did.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
What have y'all been up to?
Friday, August 29, 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
There is still plywood exposed on the foor, and a little step-up to where we stopped ripping up the 5 layers of linoleum on the rest of the kitchen. People trip on the little step - which I guess we can enjoy as built-in comic relief. No dinners have been lost to spills yet! We still need to caulk between the tile and counter, finish with trim on the left and right walls around the tile, and add one shelf on the wall on the right (beside the fridge). The bottoms of the cabinets need trim, and the cabinets themselves need painting and hardware. But we have sturdy, undamaged subfloor, no holes in cabinets, extra counter top space, and no gaps between the counter and the wall. And, as one of my friends exclaimed upon first seeing the new cabinets, "the cabinet doors CLOSE!"
Also, that blue wall is starting to grow on me. I was planning all along to paint the walls light grey when we renovated the kitchen, but now I'm falling in love all over again...
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I will, however, list the majors:
1)Water heater busted (there is still a gaping hole to the dirt under the house and the attic above, covered only by a sliding door nailed into place. I used painter's tape in a fit of desperation to block all the holes so critters wouldn't come in the house)
2)We went 2 months without a renter in our NC house (that we pay a full-on mortgage on)
3)Gutted the mother-in-law suite's bathroom to repair water damage
4)Storm knocked a huge limb down on our power lines, cutting power to our house and the mother-in-law suite. The power company came in the middle of the night with chainsaws, but would only re-connect the power to our house because the mother-in-law suite's connection wasn't to code. Our amazing electrician friend came and reconnected power to the mother-in-law suite so the next tenants/friends could move in.
6)Oven broke. But with all the unexpected expenses we put on credit after blowing through savings this year, we got some kickbacks and the cost was covered between that and my dear mother (see it in the photo below?!)
7)Kitchen disposal broke. More on this below...
8)Turns out when that big limb knocked down our power lines, our neutral was fried. All the electrical here was not to code, and we only got 100amp service (you're supposed to get 200-250). We got a quote on having electrical upgraded and corrected to code, but it was several thousand dollars that we didn't have. That amazing electrician friend of ours helped my husband do all the work to (initially get power back on, then) upgrade our electrical over the last couple of months. We have an upgraded, to-code system that cost us less than $1k and a lot of that friend's time. We are so blessed.
So back to that broken disposal.
We knew we needed new cabinets eventually (there were holes through the drywall and floor inside them that allowed critters to come in through the doors that wouldn't shut, and I had to wash almost everything before using it because there would be insect droppings in it. yuck), so we didn't try to remove these cabinets gently. We knew we needed new countertops (there was about a 1/2"-3/4" gap between the fake wood linoleum and wall where critters could get in, and we wanted to extend the countertops), so that was ripped out with a satisfying quickness. I knew I wanted a white sink - new or used - because the stainless didn't exactly jive with the oiled bronze fixtures, and the faucet would wobble because the stainless wasn't sturdy enough for it. So that came out too, and is now in storage in case someone needs one.
I really cannot say enough about this man. My husband works a day job well over 40 hours a week, and comes home and uses time off to work on this house for me and the kids. That's just amazing. He did this work over a holiday weekend, and if I remember correctly my water was back on when the work week started.
What's that? You're wondering what went in next? Then come on back tomorrow for a little "reveal."
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Lettuces give shade and protection to newly transplanted tomatoes. Chive and scallion greens shelter zinnia sprouts, and basil is germinating in the shade of kale.