Wednesday, August 29, 2007

you asked for it.

Okay, fine. I've got the capabilities to load photos now (Blogger willing) so I won't delay any longer. You want to see where we live? You want to see where I spend my time- where I sit when I'm on the phone with you? Where I blog (or try), where I sweat, and clean, and toil away on this house? Where I sleep, where Bella sleeps, the color schemes, the progress I'm making? You do? Fine.This is our disaster zone- our crime scene, our demolition site of a home. This is the state of squalor and chaos we are living in right now. As you can imagine, I am constantly on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Being so single-minded and obsessive, I can give no thought to anything that is not related to this project. Anything else- ANYTHING else is a distraction that threatens to push me over the edge. So I think of little else- I devote my time and attention almost solely to remedying: this. I have to remind myself of the obvious daily habits that must still continue despite the fact that my world has focused on these 1300 square feet that are practically under renovation.
Next on our tour is the lovely kitchen. Notice the complete lack of cabinetry and drawer fronts. Also you should observe the dangling wires and exposed studs and nails from the 'soffet-removal project' Timm began nearly 4 weeks ago. What you cannot see is that a not-so fine layer of sawdust lies on every surface in or near to the kitchen. Also not shown, are our lovely appliances, 2 of which I believe are original to the 20-year old house. The best part is that every appliance is a different color! White fridge, almond range, black dishwasher. It gives a great unexpected, eclectic, I'm-not-trying-too-hard look. (But they all work.)

These little gems have been the bain of my existence for going on 3 weeks. I had no idea what a project these would be. I can provide before and after pictures for 'oohs' and 'ahhs' once they are complete. Why have they taken so long, you ask? You have a very small kitchen you say, none too diplomatically. Well, I'll tell you. *(What I am about to describe is a very in-depth, boring description of how to paint your kitchen cabinets. Feel free to skip to the next picture. But remember- you asked for it, so I expect the courtesy of at least reading through the post. Geez!)* First, you obviously have to take off all of the cabinetry. (The one part I have received any help on, mind you.) Then you have to prep them, i.e. make sure they are free from dust and debris. Which they weren't. Then you have to tape off the cabinets left on the wall. Not fun. You have to apply 2 coats of this mega primer, which needs 24 hours between applications. Remember- with each coat, you still have to 'cut in' on each cabinet, and you have to paint front and back. I forgot about the back when I was calculating the effort involved in the project.The stuff is thick, and dries very quickly, leaving drips and marks within a minute or so. You need to really lay it on thick to cover the oak wood grain. Oh, and the fumes are very strong and can have a crazy-literally, effect on you if the ventilation isn't good enough. I don't think there was any noticeable effect on me, but then again, I was largely alone for 2 weeks. For all I know, I could be exhibiting the effects now, as I write this astonishingly long report. So-Then you have to cut in and largely hand-brush all the cabinets on the wall and the drawer fronts. (Oh, and this was during the record 100+ heat wave, when the ambient temperature in my air-conditioned, ceiling fan-powered house was at least 80 degrees. Even at 10 pm. Remember- two coats again!) Remember to move the appliances for adequate coverage! Then you can start painting. Wait- no, you have to sand the cabinets. They got marks all over them from drying on a tablecloth or a sheet, even though there was more than 24 hours between coats. After you've sanded, then you can start painting. The paint goes on a lot smoother and easier. Remember to cut in front and back, wall cabinetry and drawers for each 2 coats of paint. After they've dried for a day, you can begin to distress them lightly. Now they are ready for hanging- no, wait. They need a polyurethane sealant. At least 3 coats. To do this, you have to haul the cabinets outside into the aforementioned heat, and set up a painting station outside. Every half hour, apply a coat of spray primer. 4 coats total for front, 3 coats for the back. Inside: you need to brush -apply the sealant to the cabinetry, waiting 2 hours between your 4 coats. You are also supposed to sand between each coat of poly, but recognizing that as the final straw that might push me to the limit, I declined to do so. Then wait 24 hours, and you can hang them. If your husband's not too tired. After he installs all the hardware. If he's not too tired. And if he can see by the dim lighting because you are still short one spray-painted chandelier still lying on the floor. And that is how you paint a very small kitchen by yourself, in just under 3 weeks. Woo woo.

Studio- soon to be. It has a bare dangling light bulb until Timm can go up to the attic (gasping at the heat!!!) and rewire a ceiling fan and light. There is no room to walk in the studio. I hate it right now.

We still have many boxes of miscellany to unpack. (The irritating, questionable caboose of unpacking.)

We are still in the state of exposed light switches and outlets. I need to round up the remainder and just put them on!

Here's our bedroom... it's close to coming together!

Bella is still obligingly sleeping in the porta-crib. Good for her since Timm hasn't had time to put up her real crib. This is the 'nursery'. The room I intend on using in the future, an unknown distant time in the future, when we presumably have another baby. Bella's room is 'under construction' and it also close to being done. It rocks.

And here is my sitting station. I still love this ultimate D.I. find. It was the impetus for the design of the whole living area- we spun off of these colors. This couch has an amazing tendency to suck things into it, into the gullies of the cushions, like none I have known before.
So there- you asked for it, but I'm not sure how many of you actually had the constitution to read all the way through, especially without merely browsing over the dialog. I will post a cliffs-notes version shortly for the less-interested and those of lesser-constitution.
This is where we live. This is how we live- for now.


michelle said...

And now you know why I still have not painted my kitchen cabinets! What a headache. Just be glad that you don't have any school-age children right now with music lessons, playdates, etc. Bella is happy to just hang out in the unfinished house with you. I know you are probably going crazy with the chaos, but you're fortunate that that's all you have going on and you can really focus on it! Can't wait for the after photos.

Anonymous said...

WooHoo!!! I love it all. I second all Michelle said and would be happy to have the "lazy" toddler schedule I have now with all that- esp. if I had the toddler that Bella is!

I am giddy with the photos! :D

The after shots are going to be even more to die for.

Anonymous said...

Oh...and Bella looks...BIG :(

Diana said...

Yea, photos, your hard work is paying off. I was happy to hear that you were going to post pictures.
I agree with Hannah Bella looks big!

RoRo said...

Yippee! I made it all the way through! I love home improvement projects and boy do you have a big one! I applaud you in doing your cabinets all by yourself! What a feat! I can't wait to see the finished kitchen!

Beatrix Kiddo said...

Yeah, seriously, Bella...amazing.

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