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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Our 7th? Move…Plus Kitchen Remodel

Kevin and I are no strangers to moving homes.  We've done it so many times that I've lost count.  I could probably give you a definite number if I really tried, but let's just say that the number is closer to 10 than to 0.  In almost 10 years of marriage, I'd say that's pretty impressive.  The house that we sold two summers ago was what we thought was our dream home.  It was in an incredible neighborhood, we met some of our best friends while residing there, and we poured a lot of sweat and tears (I don't think any blood) into it.  The girls had their own rooms and bathrooms, there was space for our pets, and a huge pool in the amazingly landscaped backyard.  Who would ever want to leave that?

Early in the summer, before we decided to sell the house, the girls and I were visiting family and friends in Idaho.  During this time every year, I have very few responsibilities because we stay at Kevin's parents' home, and they spoil us with food, childcare, and pretty much anything else we can imagine.  This time also allows space for self-reflection.  While I was there in the summer of 2013, I had a revelation (driving down the country roads will do that to you.)  I called Kevin (he was home working, and planning on joining us a few weeks later) and told him that we needed to sell the house.  Of course he was in shock because I LOVED our home so much.  I tried my best to explain my feelings to him without sounding like a crazy person.  Sometimes (sometimes?) I tend to get a bit enthusiastic about things, and perhaps even a bit obsessive.  This was not really different, but it was for a different reason.  I told Kevin that I had a strong feeling that we were living our lives the wrong way.  There is no explanation as to why we should be stretching ourselves every month to live in this house, albeit beautiful, when we spend so little time there.  We both work full-time (enough to say about this in another post), and Kevin was putting in 2-3 overtime shifts every week just to get by.  Now, I have to be honest and say that we were absolutely not changing our lifestyle in order to save more money each month.  Not in the least.  But that was kind of my point.  I wanted to have the things that we had, take the kids on trips, shop when we wanted to, and not have to have this steep mortgage payment on top of everything else.  Can you imagine the upkeep, too?  It was a big job!

I thought for sure that Kevin would find my revelation typical, and maybe not take me very seriously.  Usually I spend weeks after we return home crying about how I want a simple life and how I want to move back to that area (again, another post.)  To my surprise, he said, "Okay, whatever you think."  Or something Kevin-ish.

So I came home and we did it.  We put the house on the market, without another one in mind, and it sold in 9 days!  Obviously.  It was lovely.  Then, the craziest thing happened.  I knew that I wanted to live downtown because I wanted an older home.  Coincidentally, a nurse from Kevin's work was preparing to move out of her newly purchased home, and we fell in love with it.  Well, not really with the house--but with the house's potential to be great.  And the trees!  Ah, the trees have been had for 60+ years!  And, we were a little bit desperate to find a place that would work for us in the short term.  Worst case scenario, we would update the house a bit and then sell it.  Yes, absolutely crazy.  Whatever.  When it was time to move out of our dream home, I was so sad.  Not even sad.  Bitter.  I wanted so badly to hate the new owners.  They were actually amazing, so that didn't happen.  Nevertheless, moving day came and we loaded our boxes and furniture into a truck and hauled all of our belongings to the new house (onto the nasty covered patio.)  With plans to remodel, there was no way I was moving myself and the children into the new house before at least some of that happened.

Here's what we did:  the girls and I stayed with my parents (with my entire closet in the back of my car) and Kevin slept at the new house.  At the time, he was working night shift, so he would sleep at the new house during the day while I was at work and the kids were at school/daycare.  Smart.  That was supposed to last 30 days.  Well, September came and went.  We were well into the new school year and Homecoming Week was fast approaching; easily the most stressful week of the year.  To top it off, that particular year the girls had dress up days at school that same week, and my 10 year reunion was that Saturday.  SERIOUISLY?  Planning committee?  You're looking at her.  What happened at the end of that week?  Breakdown of the century!  Like for real, the only time I've ever thought that I would end up divorced…or worse.  Yikes.  But you guys, I hadn't slept in my own bed in months, my parents live in a 55+ neighborhood that we were getting kicked out of, and I hadn't seen my husband for more than a few minutes in the longest time.  Yes, things could have been so much worse.  No one was sick, we HAD a home, and our kids still loved us (maybe.)  Things could have been more difficult, but I'm so glad that they weren't.  And, to be honest, that time sucked.  Majorly.

New plan: move into the new house by the end of October.  Nope.  Halloween was spent at my parents' house.  Thanksgiving?  YES!  So much to be grateful for!  We finally moved into the house, and it was amazing.  It still needed so much work, but the bathrooms were functional, and the kitchen was completely finished.  The wood floors were restored and carpet was installed in the bedrooms.  Thank goodness!

I'll post some pictures of a few of the biggest projects we completed before moving in.  Slowly but surely, I will try my best to take you through some current projects.  Clearly, I have changed a few things already.  But, afterall, it's been two years! Here's the kitchen.  My descriptions of each picture are under the images.

This is the kitchen when we first purchased the house.  Beautiful color scheme, yes?  This was so horribly designed for the size of the appliances.  Many of the cabinets didn't open because they were blocked by other things and the doors in the pantry (now laundry room) hit the ceiling light when they were even slightly opened.


This is the view from the other side.  Behind me is the soon-to-be laundry room and the wall you're looking at gets a doorway cut into it for easy access to the garage that doesn't fit my bus.  That's okay, though.


Here is the kitchen after all of the old stuff was torn out.  Let me tell you what  a huge mess that was with disgusting insulation and who knows what else we were forced to inhale.  Luckily, we had help from some trusty friends in cleaning up the demolition.


 Kevin had the honor of busting out the windows, but I thought I'd pose for a picture, just to pretend I wasn't afraid of getting cut by the glass.  Not sure what's up with my face.


 This is the door that leads into the tiny garage/space for all of Kevin's crap building materials.


 Remember the windows?  Now just holes.  It was probably upwards of 100 degrees this day.


 Sheetrock!  And a door!  Progress.  Oh, and new sub-flooring.


A little info on this laundry room.  It used to house a ginormous water heater and floor-to-ceiling cabinets.  I was stressing out about my washer and dryer being in the garage, so I  forced requested that Kevin rip the existing stuff out (we planned on installing a tankless water heater outside, anyway.)  Lo and behold, behind the cabinets was plumbing for a washer and dryer!  For real!  I wasn't crazy afterall!


 Finally, everything was taped and mudded, and ready for some texture, paint, flooring, etc.


We used soapstone on the dream house remodel. It was so nice.  The price is a little more per linear foot (I think that's how it's measured) than other stones, but it can be cut with a regular saw, so we saved a lot of money on the labor.  Since it worked out well in that house, we thought we'd use it again.  We originally bought this in slabs, and the dealer we used cut it into strips for us for $150!  Mostly, I think he was just afraid that Kevin and his dad would kill themselves trying to do it on their own.  The coolest thing about soapstone is that it looks grey like this at first, but when it's wet, it turns dark black (some pieces are greenish, but not ours) and the veins turn bright white.  It's lovely.  We use mineral oil to keep it fresh looking.


We made a deal with the kitchen contractor (the cabinets were the only thing we used a contractor for) that resulted in a lower price if we did the cabinet installation ourselves.  If you've never met my husband, you wouldn't understand how offended he would be in someone came in and tried to install something for him.  If you've never met me, you wouldn't know that I am a bit particular and NO ONE can do things as well as Kevin.  So, there you go.  At the end of the day, the cabinets are probably my favorite feature in the kitchen, and I'm glad we splurged.


The other nice thing about using a contractor for something we knew little about, was that he took all of the specs for our appliances and designed the cabinets around them instead of just throwing in some appliances after the fact.  One of my biggest pet peeves in a kitchen is when the appliances don't fit well into their respective "holes".  This is where the microwave and range belong.


Dishwasher space.  And the drawer pulls!  We chose these cup pulls because they're fairly timeless looking.  Plus, after pulling from all 3 Home Depot locations, we were able to get them in town.  Find them here.  They're Martha Stewart.  And we know that she's always right, so we couldn't possibly go wrong.


When we first befan designing the kitchen, I knew that I wanted black and white flooring.  Yes, I was inspired by Kris Jenner's house (I know, judge me) , but I knew I wasn't willing to invest in expensive marble for such a small house.  And, at this point, I didn't plan on staying here long, remember?  Yeah…Anyway, we went with two different types of tile.  The white is really shiny, and the black is matte with lines etched into the stone.  Several people asked me if I was going for a 50s diner theme.  Um, no.  No themes for this gal.  Moving on.


The appliances went in, and fit perfectly… after some slight issues.  The original kitchen was set up for  and electric oven and stove.  I wanted gas.  Okay, no problem.  Kevin moved the gas line before the new walls went up.  The problem was that the new gas pipe stuck out from the wall too much, and the range was pushed out about 4 inches.  It didn't look right.  Kevin tried with all of his might to convince me that it was fine.  I didn't sell my dream house and live with my mom for months to have anything be fine.  Gosh, listen to me be all bratty.  Guilty.  Also, the range was pricy.  It was going to look fabulous.  My sweet, handy father-in-law was visiting and helping Kevin finish up the kitchen, so I will admit that I was a little bit embarassed that I threw a little bit of a fit over the gas line situation.  Maybe he appreciates that about me.  For sure Kevin does.  Ha!


Here is the kitchen finished, but not really decorated.  The paint shown here is parakeet from Sherwin Williams.  I loved it for a year, but repainted it several months ago--a Sunday night whim.  Luckily, there is little paint actually exposed in here!  The backsplash is just cheap (I think maybe 11 cents per tile) subway from Home Depot.  We used a darkish grey for the grout, but I regret not doing it even darker.

I love the kitchen.  It's where I spend the most amount of time, and it is without a doubt, my favorite kitchen so far.  Yep, even over the dream house.

Tomorrow, I'll take some updated pictures and show you my favorite things about the kitchen space.  That requires some cleaning, and I'm just not into that right now.  Plus, it's bedtime and my children have only had a bowl of Captain Crunch in the last few hours.  Just keeping it real over here!  Until next time…

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