- Dining Room
- Porch/Foundation
- Living Room
- Guest Room
- Master Bedroom
- Deck and Patio

Things I have
found helpful:


I have been spending all of my time on pushing through with the kitchen—I really want this done and I am not spending another winter without a kitchen and plastic over exterior openings. Again, I am using a design-build approach so I can deal with all the surprises that arise when remodeling an older home.

Note: The most common comment I have received is 'BIGGER PICTURES!' So, I have made the images for the kitchen larger.

Latest Project Progress

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21 January 2013 — Last Cabinet Doors
Finally got the last two cabinet doors over the vent hood hung. For the main door I used the Aventos HK Stay Lift System which allows the door to be opened and stay in any position. With all of the doors in place, I've drawn up a cut sheet for everything I need to build the face frames for the upper cabinet and also the pantry wall. Then I can send everything off for paint!

Chronological Progress

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Starting Point—The Before Pics

20 February 2007 — Tile!
I have gotten so many tile samples and purchased so many boxes so I could lay them out on the floor and see if I really like them. It took several months to finally select a tile that I was really happy with. The one I settled on is 18"x30" Italian porcelain in a mottled brown finish. I layed out a couple boxes for this photo.

11 March 2007 — Wires Everywhere!
Sorry for the blurry picture—but, I had to show all of the original knob-and-tube wiring I have to deal with. I will be so happy when this last bit is removed and the whole house will be up-to-code and all outlets will be GROUNDED! If you live in an older home—you know EXACTLY what I am talking about!

13 March 2007 — Beams, Beams, Beams
I removed the ceiling and was getting ready to start on the new collarties and realized that I had to work out the details of the ceiling before I could go any further. So, I bought some 1x pine and did a proof-of-concept for the beams that will be part of the ceiling. There will be two 6.5" box beams parallel down the length of the room with 4.5" beams attached and beadboard on the flats between the beams. I think it turned out pretty nice.

18 March 2007 — Pop goes the ceiling
Ceiling removed and installing the new LVL collarties. Since code only allows going up a third of the total height of the roof dimension, I am only gaining 18 inches—but, what a difference it has made. The additional height makes the room feel so much bigger. I can't wait to get everything framed in and insulated—it still can get pretty cold overnight.

25 March 2007
I have re-worked the electrical/lighting plan so many times—like I said, Design/Build—the current plan calls for six recessed lights and three schoolhouse-style pendants down the center of the ceiling. I was finally able to work out the placement of the recessed fixtures, but that in turn caused me to rethink the light over the sink. Instead of a single light, I put in boxes for two pendants.

08 April 2007
Almost done with the new ceiling joists—all collarties and blocking in place, fixtures installed and wired, ducting, insulation and vapor barrier up. The next step is to finish the wall framing up to the new ceiling and then re-work a wall where the refrigerator will be along with pantry and storage space.

16 April 2007
Finishing up wall framing and insulation. I have rerouted the remaining knob-and-tube wiring outside of the new kitchen envelope. I will replace it all when I move to the wiring phase of the project. Once the ceiling is fully insulated, I plan on pulling up the existing subfloor to reroute heat vents and plumbing. Once the new subfloor is down, I can frame the east kitchen wall and the area leading to the basement stairs.

06 May 2007 — The Walls Came Tumbling Down...
This wall will be completely rebuilt—up to the new ceiling height—once I put down new subfloor. The refrigerator will be set into the wall as it was before—I am just going to shift it to the right so it is centered on the wall. There will also be new pull-out pantry cabinets on the left.

13 May 2007 — The Walls Came Tumbling Down...continued
The remainder of the wall is gone and now working out the details for the subfloor since the new space for the refrigerator will cover a portion of the stairs leading to the basement. Yes, that is my stove in the pic—I am looking forward to actually having the stove IN the kitchen! I am trying to keep a functioning kitchen sink for as long as I possibly can. I have heard all the horror stories of washing dishes in the bathtub, etc. and want to avoid all of that—if I can.

30 May 2007
I removed the rest of the walls in the kitchen—it is now just one big open space. Now I need to pull up the floor so I can re-route plumbing and heating ducts. Once I have the new subfloor down, I will build the last remaining wall and finish framing the ceiling in the section leading to the basement stairs.

10 June 2007
Previous owners had nailed down two layers of chipboard over the original floor—why, I just don't know. They even put plastic sheeting between those two layers—no wonder the floor squeaked! As I was pulling up that mess I found the original linoleum floor. It's interesting, but just too busy. I'd like it if there were half as many inset colored-squares.

22 July 2007 - Plumbing
I am so far behind schedule! I have been traveling for work and a couple weekends I was just tired of 'working on the house.' I have the plumbing roughed-in for moving the kitchen sink under the window and insulated duct for a heat vent. I decided to use PEX for the hot and cold supply lines. I was going to use copper, but PEX is so much quicker and easier to run and you never have to wonder about a soldered connection leaking.

03 September 2007 — Labor Day - it sure WAS!
It's been a while since I have posted a new pic. Lots of progress—from all new sub-floor to framing to electrical—almost ready for sheetrock. The opening on the far left will hold two banks of cabinets—basically a pantry and also the microwave. The next opening will hold the refrigerator and the opening above will have a flat screen TV. Through the doorway will be more floor-to-ceiling cabinets—you can never have too much storage!

04 January 2008 — Insulation
My local utility is offering a rebate of .35 a square foot for added attic insulation. The purchase price is .75 a square foot so I figured it was worth adding insulation bats perpendicular to the joists for added comfort and energy savings.

11 April 2008 — Temporary Kitchen
Not really... I am working on confirming counter height and the placement of the upper cabinets. The uppers will hang from a suspension rail and I need to determine the location so I can put blocking in the wall before the sheetrock goes up. I am leaning towards 36" to the counter and 20" to the bottom of the upper cabinets. I plan on installing plug strip under the uppers instead of outlets in the walls—it's a cleaner look.

25 May 2008 — Insulating the Wall
In all of the other rooms I have glued rigid foam insulation between the furring strips. The plaster on the kitchen wall is very uneven and extra thick near the ceiling. I decided to use spray foam to make it easier in that I can spray it on as thick or thin as needed. It went on quick and easy—the hard part is using a saw to trim it flush with the furring strips.

19 July 2008 — Orange Floor!
Not really—I'm installing electric mats from SunTouch under the tile so it will be warm in the winter. You can see the blue wire in the mat on the left. the mat is stapled to the floor and then embedded in latex thinset. On top of that I am installing Ditra, which is a decoupling membrane that allows the sub-floor and the tile to move independently and as a result it's supposed to minimize future cracks in the tile.

27 July 2008 — Setting the tile
The color of the tiles really varies from one piece to the next, so it took a couple days of spreading out the tile and moving some around until I got a good mix that I was happy with. I numbered the tiles so it would be easy to lay them—the numbers are on the blue tape. Once all the tiles are down I will use a gray grout that matches a color in the tile.

02 August 2008 — Wire, wire EVERYWHERE!
All of the wiring is complete—as usual I have pulled video, data and voice cable and there is also the box for the thermostat that will control the floor heat. Backerboard and sheetrock up and first layer of mud-and-tape on the seams.

07 August 2008 — C'mon, say it with me... PROGRESS!
Primer on the walls, upper and lower cabinets are installed along this wall and the kitchen sink is placed on the base cabinet. It took some work to keep the sink centered under the window and still leave the required space for the dishwasher and other cabinets running to the wall. Soon I'll be able to move the refrigerator out of the dining room where it has been for more than a year.

09 August 2008 — More cabinets...
Working on getting the cabinets installed along the opposite wall. The range hood will be encased in cabinetry with only the stainless edge showing along the front. There will be smaller cabinets with glass fronts above the other wall cabinets—they aren't a standard size so I still have to build those boxes. The masking tape on the front of the first two wall cabinets is holding the undercabinets lights in place while I figure out spacing.

30 August 2008 — One stove... two stove...
All of the cabinet boxes are installed and the new stove/slide-in range arrived and is connected. The original stove is sitting in the refrigerator niche—just waiting for a response from the company that rebuilds old ranges so it can be sent to them. The TV will be on a swing-arm bracket and all of the upper cabinets along the pantry wall will swing up and out of the way. I am now working on the measured drawings for all of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

14 December 2008 — Kitchen Ceiling Coming Together
Been distracted with life and working on the kitchen as I can. The beadboard is up on the flat and slope part of the ceiling and I am working on getting the faux beams in place. Here you can see the blocking in place and I'm starting to assemble the first beam—refer to the pic showing my 'proof-of-concept." I have made one change in that there will only be beams on the perimeter of the room and no smaller beams.

26 March 2009 — Cabinet Fronts
The cabinet shop has finished the lower cabinet door and drawer fronts, now I can work on getting them primed and painted. Once I get them all installed and the face frames built I will have final measurements for the countertops taken and installed. Then I will work on the doors for the upper cabinets.

05 May 2009 — Upper Cabinets
Picked up the doors for the upper cabinets. Drilled all of the holes for the cup hinges and hung the doors. You can see how the small upper cabinets are lit and there will be semi-opaque glass in the doors. I'm thinking that I would rather pay someone to paint all of the doors, mainly from a time perspective.   I still need to order the doors for the three pantries and also finish the cabinet facefames.

09 June 2009 — Lights!
The lights I ordered from Schoolhouse Electric have arrived—with all these boxes it's almost like Christmas around here! The light on the left will go down the center of the room—three of them will provide the main lighting for the room. The light on the right will hang from the sloped ceilng over the kitchen sink—there is a pair to fully light the area and not have a shadow from the head of the person standing at the sink.

24 June 2009 — Paint
The faceframes, doors and drawer fronts for the base cabinets are at the shop being painted and I am working on painting the beadboard ceiling. I have two coats on and will apply a third. Once I get the cabinet parts back, I will nail-up the cabinets and have the template made for the countertops. Once the countertops are installed I will work on the faceframes for the upper cabinets and the pantry walls.

28 June 2009 — Lighting
Third and final coat of paint on the ceiling and the main lighting installed. I purchased the lights from Schoolhouse Electric. They have a great selection and the options seem almost endless.

I chose the Union 4 to go down the center of the room and the Hamilton 2.25 over the kitchen sink.

19 July 2009 — Countertops
The paint shop finished the base cabinet doors and face frames and I nailed everything up and hung all of the doors. The template for the countertops was then created to make the countertops and installed about 10 days later. I chose LG HiMacs Black Pearl for the countertops—a dark gray with black and white flakes.

17 December 2011 — Doors
Been awhile since I updated things. In the meantime, I've built bookcases for neighbor and other things like trimming out the kitchen window and the windows in the back hallway. I also ordered the last doors from TruStile. Installed them on the back hallway, the top of the stairs into the basement and on the bathroom. Now I can finish the trim and then final coat of paint on the kitchen walls.

19 August 2012 — Countertop Lighting
Well, it's been awhile since I posted any progress pics/info so I thought I would give a quick update. Been busy with lots of miscellaneous things and also yard projects while it's summer. I did finally find some LED countertop lights at IKEA. That has spurred me on to finally make a choice on what to put on the backsplash, so this is also the BEFORE pic and the AFTER will be coming soon.

23 September 2012 — Backsplash Tile
I love white subway tile, but worried that white cabinets and white tile would result in a HUGE WHITE MONOLITH in my kitchen. A considered stone and glass, but never found anything I liked. A buddy told me about some mosaic tile at Costco — yes, COSTCO! It's a mix of travertine, marble and glass tiles. The haredest part was figuring out how to do the open edge, but I just cut and pieced it together so the glass tiles all had the factory, and not a cut edge.

14 October 2012 — Undercabinet Outlets
Instead of traditional outlets along the backsplash, I used Plugmold for continuous outlets under the cabinets. Instead of attaching it directly to the underside of the cabinet, or directly to the wall, I ripped a filler strip at an angle so it would be easier to see the outlets and plug things in. I really like the way it turned out and it was much cheaper than the systems offered for the same purpose.