Monday, September 14, 2015

Mess of the Month Part III: Flooring, Appliances, and Hardware

My biggest mess of July, August, and now September, has been my kitchen remodel project. So, please forgive me for my terribly slow blogging and enjoy this third installment. Also, feel free to catch up using the links below if you're interested. 

Part III: Flooring, Appliances, and Hardware
Part IV: Backsplash and Finishing Touches

After a day of driving around Southeastern Wisconsin we made it back to Whitewater to start installing flooring. I'd finally broken down and bought a circular saw to make cuts that my chop saw couldn't, and we'd stocked up on beer, cheese, and materials. 

Earlier in the summer I spent far too many hours trying to pick the perfect flooring from a few dozen samples Build Direct. You see, they let you order as many samples as you want. Yeah, you read that right, as many as you want. It sort of comes across like an invitation to to go nuts. Trying to select one got a little bit daunting. Eventually I just ended up taking a poll of all my friends. I let them make the decision by making Sharpie mark tallies on their favorites.

Because of Build Direct's minimum order policy, I'd purchased more than enough flooring. I brought it all into the house before the project began to start acclimatizing to the temperature and moisture level in  my home. I ended up with Toklo 15mm laminate in Aged Bronze ($2/ sq ft), and a roll of very cheap underlayment ($0.10/ sq ft) from the Hobo.
There was a pretty substantial learning curve on the floor laying, and thus, some pretty substantial swearing at laminate. With the new saw and three sets of hands, we got the floor down in about two days despite the cursing. The key lesson we learned is that it's easier to put the slide a piece with a longer "tongue" into place where there is already board with a shorter "tongue" than vis-versa. In retrospect, that seems perfectly intuitive, but please take a look at the images below.

The one on the top is put in place correctly. See the long tongue going into a groove. That's the easy way. Try to set all of the boards the way I've put the the board in the bottom images will make you crazy. Notice the long tongue remaining in place and the shorter part coming to meet it. That's wrong. Don't do that.
After Dad took away my floor laying privileges because he didn't like the way I was doing it (this is a story I will omit for the sake of the blog) I set to work on installing the cabinet hardware. I'd ordered these glass knobs from Amazon for the cabinet doors, and had repurposed the old drawer pulls from my original kitchen for the drawers. Really, all that was needed to repurpose them was fair amount of nail polish remover and scrubbing to make them less scuzzy.

Per Dad's instruction made a "jig" out of a scrap of flooring before installing the hardware. I measured just where I wanted all of the knobs to be, then drilled a hole in just the right spot of a piece of "template" wood to use as a guide so that all of the knobs are in the exact same spot on their respective cabinets. For knobs, this was easy. The drawer pulls, unfortunately, were next to impossible to install because they were all bent and stretched from 75 years of use. The solution was to drill much larger holes than were necessary, and buy screws with big heads. I know this seems like cheating, but it will save you many, many hours and no one will ever know. Big holes. Again, you've been warned.
Once the floor was down, we slid the old stove and refrigerator into place. Dad installed the dishwasher and we gave it a test run. Then, we invited all of my friends over for dinner to celebrate a kitchen that almost looked like a kitchen!
Perhaps the most exciting thing to happen at this stage was that I could finally move all of my kitchen things off of the shelves in my living room and back into my kitchen. I may have forgotten to mention that while remodeling, all of my kitchen supplies were in the living room on my built in bookshelves. I felt like a crazy hoarder lady. If you ever wonder what that feels like, empty your kitchen into the living room. It feels like you are living in a pile of food and tableware. I didn't take a photo because I was too embarrassed.

This was the point at which I packed up my bags and traveled California like a vagabond for a month... so not a lot got done.
When I eventually got back to WI in mid August, progress was slow. There was a lot left to do, and with functioning kitchen and without my mom to wake me at 6:30 with a to do list for the day, I stopped making progress.

Eventually, after nearly breaking a toe on the step up into the new floor, I installed some transitions around the laminate flooring. This took multiple days, act impressed.
Then, I took a break and installed laminate in the mud room. Remember the mud room? This turned out to be a solid challenge. Dad was right to take away my floor laying privileges. Installing transitions and cutting around door jams turned this alone into a 2 week project. But, now there are appropriate flooring choices in nearly every room of the house, and we're down to just 30 sq ft. of ugly linoleum (bathroom, I'm coming for you).

No comments: