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Days 10 & 11: Big Push, Mostly Finish

[This is part of an ongoing series chronicling our one and half week attempt to finish a handful of moderately involved home improvement projects.  See the whole series here.]

Sorry we’ve left you hanging … the few minutes a day I’d been taking to blog simply weren’t available in our last-minute push to get things as finished as possible.  So here’s what you missed in the last two days of our spring break:

Day 10 (Monday) started with the final (third) coat of paint on the cabinets, as well as some moulding and cabinet shelf painting.  We wanted to get the cabinets painted so they could fully dry in time for us to start putting things back in them before too long after the kids had returned home.

The Dremel Multi-Max did make undercutting the doors a lot easier, as hoped.  It still probably took 2 hours to do them all, but that’s a whole lot better than it would have been by hand, and in some cases it’s really hard to imagine how that would have worked with hand tools, regardless of time spent.  (Much respect to the 19th and early 20th centuries — you folks were hard core.)

Before we got back to the floor we spent a lot more time than anticipated replacing the rubber splash guard (that little rubber thing with the flaps) between the garbage disposal and the sink.  This is supposed to be an easy task, and except for needing a hardware store trip to get the correct replacement part (not the one we’d initially bought) it was, at least until it was time to put the disposal back on.  For whatever reason ours was incredibly difficult to get on, and we both struggled with it for probably 30 minutes before it finally went into place.

Anyway, we ended up back on the floor mid-afternoon.  (Not starting on our main objective for the day until mid-afternoon turned out to be recurring theme.)  The floor moved steadily, but we needed a lot of time in the door jamb intensive area, as it involved a lot of tricky measuring & cutting of floorboards.

The kids returned with Grandma & Grandpa in tow Monday evening.  It was great to have our family back under one roof, and I think the kids were happy to be home, though a bit disoriented by the state of their house (still very much a construction zone).  We’d convinced Grandma and Grandpa to stay and help, so after the kids went to bed the four of us kept at it, working on the floor, kitchen sink faucet installation, and cabinet door reassembly until about midnight.

Day 11 (Tuesday) was our last day off of work and the kids’ first day back at school.  Grandma drove the school bus today, so Amy and I were able to keep working (along with Grandpa, who spent much of the day installing new light fixtures in the entire project area).   The stream of reinforcements continued with the arrival of other Grandma, who was a great help painting trim & windows, lining cabinets, etc.

By about 10:30 Tuesday night we put the last floorboard in the kitchen, ate some delivery pizza, and went to bed.  Normal life was coming back in the morning, and we needed to get some sleep.  (I roughly calculated it while driving to work on Wednesday, and we worked the equivalent of more than 4 work weeks each during our break!)  We spent evenings after work this week putting appliances back (including re-installing a piece of countertop in order to let the stove fit 🙂 ).

If you’ve been following along from the start, here’s where we ended up relative to our initial goals:

  • replace the kitchen floor – MOSTLY DONE
  • paint the kitchen cabinets white –DONE
  • replace the kitchen countertop – DONE
  • replace the kitchen sink faucet – DONE
  • replace the ceiling light fixtures in the kitchen, stairway, foyer, and upstairs hall – DONE
  • paint the kitchen, back door, hallway/foyer, stairway, and upstairs hall – MOSTLY DONE
  • refinish the stairs – MOSTLY DONE

The kitchen floor still needs its moulding put back, and the kitchen pantry is waiting on delivery of one more box of flooring (due, I suspect, to a mathematical error on my part).  The hall between the kitchen and the pantry still needs to be painted, and every other stair needs one more coat of stain, and the stairs still need their polyurethane.

We’ll finish up the remaining items in nights and weekends over the coming weeks.  This weekend we’re going to get the tile backsplash up in the kitchen.

Overall, I think we did pretty well.  We had fun, and our house looks a lot better than it did 2 weeks ago.  AmyJ will get more pictures up soon, I’m sure, but for now here’s what things looked like a couple of days ago.

kitchen, mostly done