Tag Archives: Lara’s Kitchen

Can it be? Is it true? Is it completed?

Well, not totally.
We’re still waiting for a couple of floor vents, and there’s a little bit of painting left for Lara to take care of, but we’re hitting the road TOMORROW (Tuesday), so let’s just say it’s finished. Thank you for coming along for this seven week journey of kitchen remodeling. And now for the Big Reveal………
(And let’s just say, before we begin, that we all really did like the original kitchen. It had lots of character and charm, and Lara really wanted to keep the charm while updating it – and of course, installing the long-desired dishwasher! )
Kitchen Before-1
Kitchen After-4
Kitchen Before-2
Kitchen During-50
Kitchen After-3

Kitchen Before-3
Kitchen During-11
Kitchen After-6-1
Kitchen Before-4
Kitchen reno-2
Kitchen After-7
(Man, we love that corner!!!!)
Kitchen Before-5
Floor progress-7
Kitchen After-9

OK – I think that about covers it. Well, there are a couple of other really special things we love about the finished project (aside from the fact it’s actually (almost) finished!).
Like the spice drawer/rack….
Kitchen After-4-1
love it!!!!
The floor…..
Kitchen After-7-1
And the backsplash and the counters….
Kitchen After-8-1
And the fact that the big tall pantry door that was hitting the trim, now can open all the way!
Kitchen After-2-1
Kitchen After-3-1
And then there’s that tall bookcase. The “designer” at Lowes wasn’t really sure how that would look, but we all think it’s great!
Kitchen After-6
I’m sure it will end up collecting lots of odds and ends, but I think it adds a lot of interest (and charm!) to the kitchen.

Of course, the other wonderful benefit of this kitchen renovation, was being able to spend 7 weeks with our daughter and be just a little part of her life for just a little while.
But it’s time for us to hit the road, and for Lara’s life to get back to normal. It’s so wonderful to walk through the house and see everything where it’s supposed to be :). By Wednesday we should be back in our own little 300 square feet of house, and by the weekend we should be in the Florida Keys. After these last busy weeks, working a good ol’ SOWER project will seem like a vacation!!!!

Light at the end of the tunnel

We’re closing in this kitchen project thing-a-ma-jig that we’ve been working on since the middle of November! But since we won’t be quite ready to ring in the new year with The Big Reveal, I thought I’d share a selection of some other random shots that I’ve taken along the journey!
countertop Gary
We were pretty glad when the countertop arrived. It gave us a whole new flat surface to work from (and fill up with tools, paint brushes, etc.)
Getting the backsplash in was a HUGE boost to our kitchen remodeling spirits! Lara spent a lot of time looking for just the right backsplash, and she’s been really pleased with her selection.

One of the things that comes with kitchen construction is TRASH! A dumpster has found its home in the driveway for the last couple of weeks. And aside from the obvious eye-sore of a dumpster in the front yard, it’s been GREAT to have someplace for all the demolition debri and the amazing amount of trash that just seems to happen.
Between the cabinets and the flooring we had a ton of cardboard – and instead of piling it into the dumpster we were earth-friendly and took it to the recycling center. 🙂

paint choices
Lara finally decided on a lovely sage green for the walls and ceiling. One of the “design elements” she really struggled with was the wide ceiling trim that in the previous kitchen had been painted a soft yellow (the walls and ceiling were the same purple even though they look like a different color in this picture.)
Kitchen Before-4
She liked the accent color idea, but after trying four different colors, decided to stick with the nice crisp white on all the trim. Needless to say, we’ve been painting and painting and painting and painting.
neck pain
window askew
(ok, so Gary’s not painting. He’s working on an electrical issue in the corner.)
And some of the painting has been a little more challenging than others –
Mom on fridge
I’m happy to report that Katie (at barely 5ft. tall) took care of the second coat.
Katie painting
I think she’s a better fit!

Do you know how much paperwork is involved in getting a new kitchen? Rebates, tax credits, warranties, manuels, receipts, receipts and more receipts. Phew. Sure am glad I’m not the one trying to keep track of it all!

And then there’s the Zoo.
This is our most common view of Denali and Evie – waiting patiently to come back inside.
Dogs outside
But this is one of the reasons we like to keep them outside as much as possible –
Kitchen Re-do-5
Yeah, not always the most helpful!
And then there are the cats –
Clem computer
Clem – you need to look the other way if you want to check Facebook!
clems search
And just what are you searching forrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr?
Since the floor is closed up (no more exploring under the house), and the cabinet doors are mostly closed, Bear has taken to slipping outside when he has the chance. This morning we realized he’d been outside all night (he’s an indoor cat, so that’s quite an adventure for him), and finally found him under the dumpster!
Bear outside
So much more exciting than that under the house stuff!Kitchen Remodel-1

Well, the youngun’s are all out at various New Year’s Eve parties, and Gary has been upstairs in bed for hours. So enough of this randomness! Here’s something concrete –
Happy New Year to all of you , my dear friends! God is Good – ALL the time! May you walk closely with Him this year!

It’s beginning to look a lot like

A Kitchen!
We had a couple of big days here at the Kitchen Reno ~
The counter guys showed up bright and early Tuesday morning with a trailer full of Bee-U-ti-Ful granite. Such excitement!
Counter Install-3
It turned out to be a longer than expected installation – and they even had to go and get a new piece – but that’s the challenge of installing a new anything in an old house.
Counter Install-5
Counter Install-6
Hmm….if we get it to line up on one side, there’s an inch gap on the back side. Quite the puzzle.
Counter Install-1
Then there was the peninsula slab – now that was one big heavy piece of rock! Unfortunately, the overhang curves weren’t right and we were afraid the whole counter would have to go back. Gulp. But not so :). These guys carry all kinds of tools with them, and recutting and bullnosing and polishing a couple of corners was well within their grasp. The glitch on the sink side of the counter was not so easily fixed, though, and they did have to go back to the shop to get a new piece after they tried to fix the gap problem.
Seams were joined –
Counter Install-7
and edges polished.
Five hours later, the kitchen had counters!
Counter Install-8
Counter Install-9
I’m happy to say that the little piece over on the refrigerator (spot) wall did not present any problems whatsoever. 🙂

But while the counter guys were busy figuring out how to make the granite fit, Gary was busy on the other side with the water heater project. After finally getting the chimney pipe (remember, that 3/5 concentric vent) down the chimney, it was time to get that baby operating. He decided to move it to the chimney wall to make that little teeny tiny closet just a tad more useful, and by the end of the day, we not only had hot water from the new tankless water heater, but Lara also had a designated Vacuum Cleaner Closet.
New Closet
OK, so you have to imagine the closet walls and door, but I’m sure you get the vision!
And did you notice that the hall decoration (aka old water heater) has been removed? Now that was a delight to behold to those of us who have been squeezing by it for the last month!

Once we had counters, it was on to plumbing! By the end of Wednesday we had a working sink, garbage disposal, cold water filter and dishwasher.
sink faucet
The dishwasher isn’t quite installed just yet, but close enough to do a load of dishes for sure!
So, what’s next?
Well, today Gary is trial fitting the large pantry and bookcase that goes in front of the Vacuum Cleaner Closet.
Tall cabinet
This picture was taken a couple of days ago – but perhaps you can see our problem. Even without the kickplates installed (which will make the entire unit 3 inches taller) there is that door cornice molding that will definitely be in the way of actually opening the upper cabinet doors. We haven’t totally figured out the fix, but Gary’s on it, as we say. Problem has been identified, and resolution will be forthcoming.
He doesn’t want to actually install the cabinet though until we do the painting behind it. And we’re still not quite sure about the color. Lara did decide on the backsplash tile – a great mosaic with lots of neutrals to work with –
We’ve tried four different shades of green (the last two are still in the running), a nice gray-blue, two shades of mocha/latte and even a deep wine color (ruled out pretty early, way before she decided on granite color and backsplash). Right now she’s going between a lighter or darker sage green or maybe that blue gray. Of course Jo (she and hubby Roy stopped by to see the progress) just said – have you ever thought of a deep gold? AAAAAHHHHKKKKKKKK…..
Help!!!!! We’re open to suggestions!

Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed –
It’s also beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
One day and a wake-up!

Sometimes it’s not about the kitchen.

Sometimes it’s about the bathroom.
Remember back in October when we were popping in on Lara most weekends (we were doing a SOWER project a couple of hours away) and we tackled redecorating the bathroom?
Bath Done-3
Aside from some art on the walls, the only thing that was left to do was the crown molding. And even though you might think that crown molding in the bathroom is a little over the top, it was only room in the entire house that did not have any. Lara wanted something that she could hopefully install by herself, so she decided to try So Simple Crown Molding, which is essentially crown molding made out of Styrofoam. Yes, like the coffee cups no one likes to drink anything out of! It came already cut to her bathroom measurements, was easy to paint, and not quite as easy to install as the video led you to believe (though the dark red walls and white caulk could have been some of our problem). But the end result is quite nice, I think.
bathroom molding
I don’t think you’d ever know it was coffee cup stuff!

Sometimes it’s about chimneys.
Since Lara is changing out her old water heater for a new tankless water heater,
water heaters
(seen hanging on the wall), there was some new vent pipe that needed to be installed up the chimney. (It’s 3/5 concentric vent, for those of you who really want to know.) It took us awhile to track down the parts in the first place, but then there was the exercise of actually getting the pipe DOWN the chimney.
Here are Hugh and Gary on the roof, trying to force the pipe down the chimney which is just a little teeny-tiny too tight.
chimney work
Yes, that is Hugh with a hammer, and Gary with the high-tech vegetable oil. Such an innovative group! (And it’s a really good thing I wasn’t home for that little bit of ladder business!)

Sometimes it’s about Family
For the first time in several years The Conrads won’t all be together for Christmas. While we’ll be here with Lara, everyone else will be doing their “own thing” for the holidays. We’re sad about not seeing how big Noah is getting –
Noah Dec 2010
Or just plain being with those Ohio Conrads!
And it just won’t seem the same without Josiah and Abigail –
This was a big year for them – a new house (love it!), a new job for Abigail (going great), and (the really big news….) a Baby On The Way! We are very anxious to HUG them!!!!
But we are blessed to be with Lara, here in Waco.
Lara 10_10
Sometimes it’s even about Christmas –
Regardless of the fact that her house is in major disarray, it is still the first Christmas that Lara has been home in Waco for Christmas. Plus, the parents are visiting! So while we haven’t been able to decorate the whole house, we have tried to bring a little of the Christmas spirit home. 🙂
Christmas Tree

But sometimes
it IS about the kitchen –
The floor is down!
New Floor
We think it’s quite beautiful!
And this is all that’s left –
Floor scrap
Gary did a great job of using every last piece. We have another full box, but since we could return the box for full credit if it’s unopened, we hated to break into it for just a couple of boards. We LOVE returns!
Because we still have a lot of painting and trim work to do, this is what the floors look like now –
Cardboard Kitchen
Better safe than sorry. That’s all I have to say about our cardboard kitchen.
News Flash!!!!!
Lara just got word that the counter and sink will be arriving TUESDAY. That’s tomorrow. And that’s pretty darn exciting!
Better go and get that soon-to-be counter cleared off.

Is that a dishwasher I hear?

Kitchen reno-3
Yes, indeedy it is!
Once the sub-floor was completed, it was on to the cabinets!
And as the cabinets progressed, so did the installation of the stove and the dishwasher.
(That’s Gary really getting into the installation!)
By this afternoon, it ready was for the counter guy to come and measure for the counter tops :).
Kitchen reno-1

And I’m pleased to report that although the installations are only temporary, we ran the dishwasher and used the stove tonight! Such progress!
But we still have a long way to go.
Kitchen reno-2
Aside from that whole other side of the room (which consists of the refrigerator cabinet and microwave cabinet on the left of the door, and then the installation of water heater (hanging on the wall), building the closet around the water heater, and installing the pantry cabinet in front of the closet and chimney), there’s the floor (pre-counter), the backsplash (post-counter), and of course painting (anytime I can do it and not be in Gary’s way). We (the design team of Lara-Katie-Me) are really struggling with paint colors, except to know that the purple will be going and the white trim will be staying. I think my next big project will be to paint the walls (and the purple ceiling) a nice primer white, and then maybe Lara (and the team) will be inspired. No firm decision on the backsplash either. Gah – we need some of the folks from HGTV to stop by!

But I don’t want to get overwhelmed thinking about all there is left to do, when there is rejoicing to be done for all that has been accomplished. Because yes, that was a dishwasher I heard!