Making it Worse, Before it Gets Better: Kitchen Edition

Quick note to begin: I know I have a year and a half’s worth of backlogged projects to blog about, but I am going to get started with current stuff now, and then work my way back to recapping previous projects.

And now on to Making it Worse, Before it Gets Better: Kitchen Edition!

We have officially torn up our kitchen!

After months of no progress due to insane work schedules and lack of motivation, I finally couldn’t handle living in our condo with half of our stuff in the kitchen, our appliances in the dining room and nothing where it was supposed to be anywhere in our condo. (I know, took me long enough, right!?) So I decided to do something about it. I took out ALL of the supplies from the kitchen and set up a schedule for the kitchen remodel.

The week of April 9, we took photos of the cabinets, the oven/range and the microwave and posted it all on Craigslist, to see if we could sell some of it. Then, that weekend, we set about unscrewing (and in some cases ungluing) the cabinets from the walls, disconnecting the microwave and the oven/range, and arranging times for people to pick up the items from our kitchen.

As luck would have it, we were able to sell ALL of it!

And so last week, our kitchen sat completely empty, until we were able to start the next phase of demo – tearing up the hardwood floors!

Our good friend, Carl, came over and helped us painstakingly tear up each and every board in our kitchen, most of which had two flat, serrated nails driven in to attach them to strips of board underneath a tar paper. We had to move the washer and dryer into the dining room (Sad!), and found a few holes along the way, but by the end of the day on Saturday (4/21), we had torn up all of the flooring.

That morning, I had looked into ways to dispose of the wood once we had torn it all up, investigating options like the Rebuilding Exchange (who would only take it if we de-nailed it, which was NOT going to happen), Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (who would take it if it could be re-used (most couldn’t be), and didn’t have drop off times on Sunday), and a dump site in Melrose Park (which would have cost us $50). We also listed it on Craigslist and for free, to see if anyone might be able to use it.

By the time we had torn it all up, we hadn’t received any bites from Craigslist or, so we loaded all of the wood into our neighbor’s truck (thank you, Joel!) and prepared to take the scrap wood to the dump the next day, despite the $50 charge, just to get it out of our way!

But, as luck would have it, we had a few offers come in over night from people on Craigslist who were interested in trying to salvage the wood. I called up one that looked particularly promising, and we were off Sunday morning to drop off the wood at his house, where he was hoping to use pieces of it to patch a portion of his own kitchen floor. We unloaded it into his garage, and while Dan played golf with Carl, I worked on cleaning up the last of the scraps and garbage that we found under the flooring (broken light bulbs, lighters, pieces of tape measure, scraps of wood, etc.). And by the end of the day on Sunday, our kitchen looked more like this:

Next steps:
– Speak with the contractor about a few questions we have about laying the subfloor, the pantry and the laundry room
– Get the subfloor laid and prep for the contractor to do the pantry and electric work.
– Get samples of the countertop and make decisions about tile and paint!

It’s still going to be a while before our kitchen is completed, but I’m really excited to be seeing progress and I can’t wait to see the final results of all of our hard work!


Living Room Chairs

I’d been looking for quite a while for two chairs that we could put on the other side of our living room. I was determined not to spend a lot on the chairs, because I knew I’d likely have to recover them in order to tie them into my theme, and yet I knew I wanted some nice, comfortable chairs, that would be good for reading in front of the fireplace on cold winter evenings and pulling around to the other side of the room for additional seating and creating a separate conversation area in the large expanse that is my living room. So I’d scoured the internet, looked during garage sales, and watched Craigslist on a near-daily basis.

Then, this morning, I saw these on craigslist:

A few e-mails, a change of plans and a trip to the ATM later, we were out on the street sitting in chairs that had been delivered by a woman and her mother from a model home her mother had just sold. Purchased only to be used as staging chairs, they were practically brand new and oh-so-comfortable!

So, at just $60/chair, we were sold and hauled our treasure up to our condo and placed them behind the sofa. They’re a bit taller than the back of the sofa, but I think with reupholstering, the right table in between and a lamp, they’ll add just the right touch of comfort and pizzaz that I was looking for on the other side of the room, to help separate it from the darker pieces in the main area.

Now, to look for the right fabric!

Gettin’ Her Done

We’ve been searching Craigslist for a while now for pieces for our offices. We both needed desks – Dan needed a black one and I needed a white one. We also needed a large piece for the office that could hold our rather large printer, textbooks, and some CDs.

The first item we found was Dan’s desk (pictured above). We trekked out to Mount Prospect to pick up a black desk that was nice, simple and came with a set of drawers and a piece of glass to protect the top. The guy who sold it to us was a cop and he and his nephew were extremely nice and helpful. They helped us take the desk apart (it was an IKEA piece) and take it out to our car. We had agreed on $75 for the desk, which seemed to be a great deal compared to what we had been seeing other black desks sell for. When we got home it seemed to be a bit bigger than the guy told me it was, so it ended up being a bit larger than I wanted. Looking back at it a bit… we probably could have found a desk for a little bit less, particularly one that might have been a bit narrower and not take up as much of the office. Oh well… Dan likes his desk and he’s happy with the amount of space he has to work.

The next item was my white desk for the kitchen nook. I needed something that was going to fit within the nook and give me space for storage on both sides of the desk. I kept tracking Craigslist for desks and finally stumbled across a plain white desk with drawers on one side and shelves on the other side that I could fill with baskets. And… I got it for $20! [Picture Pending]

Our final purchase was a large buffet that had doors on the bottom and shelves on the top that was large enough for the jumbo printer, and everything else we might want to store within it. I had been scouring Craigslist for a piece that would fit that description and one day, Dan asked me about this piece. It was white, and for sale for $100. Unfortunately, it was also located out in Wheaton, IL. Not to be daunted, we asked for the measurements, confirmed it was two separate pieces, decided that the piece would fit in our car, and headed out there. Big miscalculation. After taking it apart and helping us lug it out to our car in the snow, the owner must have thought we were crazy for thinking it would fit, because there was simply no way. Fortunately, the guy was extremely helpful and he and his family were planning to come down to the city the next day. So we tied one half to our roof and he stuck the other half into the back of his large SUV and arranged to drop it off at our apartment the next afternoon. Thank goodness!! He even helped Dan bring it up to our condo. To thank him, I baked them a couple plates of Christmas cookies (it was just before the holidays)!

So I primed it and painted it black – and it works PERFECTLY within the space! (More on the painting in a later post!)