Saturday, November 26, 2011

Build progress - Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day, America!

Now that the cranberry sauce is wiped off our faces it's time to get back to reality... Well, we never even got that far. The current house is a packing zone so no time or space to prepare anything remotely looking like a Thanksgiving dinner. Driving around town shows us that our town is simply closed. Nothing is open on Turkey Day, not even Pizza or other fast food chains. Ended up at Denny's to at least up the calorie count.

For the house on Black Friday I did armrest shopping on the same device used to write this post. Actually scored a GPS for my wife for getting around town in the apartment which is 20min away and 2 Waste King L8000 garbage disposals all for a very good price. I think the disposals might even be covered by our allowance for it.

Also updated the house picture with a shot taken at Thanksgiving Day. Starting to look like the Dream is becoming reality. Back to the other reality of packing up the current house.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kitchen progress

Today we had the rare opportunity to see our kitchen cabinets taking shape. This is one of the advantages of doing a custom kitchen. After our sons nap we loaded up the car and headed south deep into Amish country. True Ohio splendor and gives our son the ability to know what a hay-stack actually looks like and let him appreciate the simpler life that can be equally fulfilling. The trip takes all but an hour and - when not raining - makes for a very pretty drive.

At the cabinet maker's wood shop we saw our kitchen dreams become reality for the 1st time. We were both in awe of the craftsmanship before us even without the final treatments of the beautiful natural maple. The fit-and-finish is unparalleled and the construction is rock-solid. The prep island already has the Blum Servo-drive installed for the recycling center and all the other Blum BlueMotion hardware had arrived a day before. The whole kitchen will be soft-close (both the drawers and the doors), full extension and full overlay with no particle board insight. After seeing them look this good in their current state we feel 110% certain we made the right decision for the kitchen which is the focal point of the dream house.

The finished cabinets were also undergoing some rigorous Quality Assurance test by 3 boys (aged 2 through 6) climbing through them, playing on them and running around them. Didn't even hear a squeak...

In about 3 weeks the cabinets should be all done but before mid-December we might get another sneak-peek when they are about to be stained. Can't wait for them to be delivered and ready for us to use.
Our recycle center with...
... a little trick, the Servo-drive release and close (by Blum)
The Master Carpenter, Joe Yoder, and his craft. (Photo taken with permission for the blog)
Dovetail construction, in pieces.
Dovetail, finished. For the record, completely sanded smooth...
Bottle cubbies.
No particle board... all plywood and solid maple.
Blum Bluemotion soft-close hinges.
Blum Tandem Bluemotion soft-close drawer slides.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pantry Update

It's been pretty crazy around here with a flurry of showing on the current house, and finally, after 211 days, AN OFFER! It took less than a day to work out the details, and hopefully we'll get through the inspection and have our closing date on December 12. 

So now, in addition to packing up our house in 3.5 weeks, we are also trying to find a place to live, and make the last slew of decisions for the new house, including what to do with my lovely 9'10" x 9' pantry, which currently looks like this: 
Niels demonstrates the width of the pantry.  We want the first floor to be wheelchair accessible, so the door is 36" and there is room for a chair to maneuver around inside. 
From the kitchen looking in toward the right. The appliance shelf will go along the long wall, and 12" bookcases will go along the back wall for my bulk foods.

From the kitchen looking in toward the left. We'll have a full size upright freezer, a 5' tall shelf with open drawers, and hopefully another 7' bookcase.
From the back wall of the pantry, looking across the kitchen into the dining room.
From the back wall, looking into the great room.
We've been coming to appreciate the wisdom of prioritizing structural upgrades over cosmetic, but months of looking at model homes, design magazines and home decor websites can sure test your resolve. Our trim carpenter's estimate for tricking out my pantry was more than half the cost of our custom Amish made kitchen cabinets, so we went to plan B: looking for an appliance counter to go with the solid wood bookcases we want to  re-purpose.
6 and 7 foot unfinished wood bookshelves, currently used to sort  paperwork.
These shelves are 12" deep, which is perfect for the green storage containers I use for my bulk foods. I'm so excited to finally be able to expand my selection! 

Here's a look at my current pantry.

Love my label maker!
Last week I was at Value City furniture checking out the clearance section when I found this bookcase:
HomeCourt bookcase
What caught my eye was the baskets on the bottom. It wouldn't work for the appliance shelf, but I thought it would be good for storing potatoes and onions with the open ventilation. And the tall cubbies on top would be great for storing trays. I could put baskets in the other cubbies. The espresso wood is the same stain as our kitchen cabinets.

Around this time, my toddler son got restless and started walking away. As I caught up with him, I saw these two pieces that were part of the same collection:
HomeCourt Chesser

HomeCourt Dresser and Mirror (the mirror will go in our son's room)
I thought I could push those two pieces together to get the 8' counter I wanted. As a bonus, there's a nice mix of shelves and drawers. That's when I learned that these pieces were actually part of the LeBron James HomeCourt youth bedroom furniture collection. The funny part is that we're in Ohio, which is not keen on King James these days. No wonder it was all on clearance! Good for us, we got it for a steal (about 1/3 of the list price). I put a hold on it until I could show Niels, and he agreed that we wouldn't get anything nearly as nice for the price. 

I started playing around with the layout, and came up with this:
From the bottom, moving clockwise: 36" door, HomeCourt bookcase,  full size freezer,  7' bookcase, 6'  bookcase, 7' bookcase, 6' bookcase, chesser, dresser.
I've been eyeing the butcher block topped Varde collection at Ikea, and was thinking that would be our solution, but since our nearest Ikea is 2 hours away and delivery charges are highway robbery, the HomeCourt collection will be cheaper. However, I'm still wanting a butcher block top to make the two dressers look like one unit, something like this:

I think the lighter top will make the two sets look better together. I don't think I want to stain the bookshelves because it might make the pantry too dark. 

We have 9' ceilings on the first floor, including the pantry. But I'm only 5'4", so upper cabinets are wasted on me. However, I may get a couple of these light shelves to give a little more storage space and keep things light.
Our kitchen colors are green, purple and gray, with white counters and espresso cabinets, so now I need to decide what color to paint the pantry. I'm leaning toward this green: Sherwin Williams Oyster Bay (6206):

Sherwin Williams Oyster Bay (6206) with the room visualizer.
The best part of this downgrade is that I'll still have a full solid wood pantry with oodles of shelves, my appliance counter and even a few drawers for less than $1,000. Can't beat that!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Progress and Current house - Nov 11, 2011

Today is 11/11/11 and again it has been awhile since we've made an update. The house is coming along nicely and short of the light fixtures, the exterior of the house is now done. For the interior, all the trim work is completed so all doors and their frames, the window sills and base boards are all done. Major items left are the flooring, cabinet installs, paint and fixture installation.

On the other front - we are FINALLY under contract for our current house with a projected closing date of 12/12. Their is a contingency on mineral rights but that seems to be panning (no pun intended) out. The interesting things is that we still have another showing on the current house tomorrow. Both the agent and potential buyers are aware of the contract so hopefully we'll get a backup offer in case something unexpected will happen with the current contract.

Tomorrow we'll start apartment hunting since the dream house will not be ready by 12/12 and we still have the option to lease it back to our builder as a model for a couple of months to showcase some of the more interesting aspects of our new home, if that makes financial sense to do.
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