Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 1 Complete

First day of our kitchen cabinet makeover is now complete. It was fairly anti-climactic and it went pretty quickly. Some how I envisioned the demolition process like they do it in HGTV, where they take a sledge hammer and just crush all the cabinets to pieces, not the case.

Around 10 a.m. I had a really quiet young Chinese man named Tom, in a white van, meet me at the security gate. He didn't speak any English, and I only know 3 things in Chinese...but only two words that I can actually use, "hello and thank you." The third is "I love you," which I don't think I will get me any where with him. By lunch (1:30PM) he had already taken apart all the cabinets and cleared everything from the kitchen. The guy was working nonstop, so I went out and bought him a Subway sandwich. When I returned, the kitchen designer also had just arrived and she made sure that all the measurements were correct and that all the materials were delivered.

So far, so good. Before Tom left, he had already assembled 3 of the cabinets. I wasn't sure about the 3 day turnaround, but I think they may just pull it off.

Check out some of the pics:

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a New Kitchen

I'm dreaming of a new kitchen....ok, more like daydreaming. I'm so distracted because tomorrow we begin the 3 day task (I hope) of changing our kitchen cabinets, which has me a bit nervous/anxious.

A few weeks ago I blogged about our plans to change out our cabinets, and that little cabinet store I found on my way home. Well, we decided to go with them and our new cabinets are finally going to happen. The cabinets were ordered last week, we chose our granite counter on Saturday, and tomorrow is day 1: DEMOLITION (shivers run up my spine).

Check out the plans for our new kitchen:

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good Taste, Better Home, for the Wannabe

Since buying our condo, I have been relentless with my wannabe designer kicks. I am notorious for buying things for the house that my wife makes me return, give away or just tolerates. I know I'm not talented at design, but hey I try and in the last year and half I have learned so much.

So it was to my surprise to see the June issue of Better Homes and Gardens (no, don't think I subscribe or anything, just stumbled upon it on another blog) had the lanterns I bought from Ikea (for our balcony) on the cover. Wow, I felt so redeemed....I may actually have good taste for a wannabe.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Addicted to Etsy

In my quest to begin buying art for the condo, I have been scouring the net for artists that catch my attention. Some of my favorites to date include Shepard Fairey, Shag, Michael Kungl and Will Rafuse. I have pieces from most of those artists, but they live in my office at work. Since at home, I am not the only one that has to like what is hanging on the wall, it becomes quite a challenge matching my wife's taste for art and mine.

Most recently, I got hooked on a site called Etsy. A co-worker turned me onto this site a few years back, but really never had looked at it in depth. As I began to look for new artists and new art, I became lost in the thousands of prints in so many styles. I got so into looking at all the types of art that I don't think I blinked for a good hour. The outcome was I found a really cool digital print from a talented graphic designer in San Francisco, Melissa Crowley. I immediately emailed it to my wife to see if she approved. My first thought was maybe this would look cool in our bedroom, but we'll see. To my surprise my wife really loved it, so I bought it. Check it out below.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Tiny But Great Outdoor

Notice that outdoor is singular, thats because the only outdoor space we have is a small balcony. For me this was a really tough area to decorate because its only 5 X 12. At the same time, for a long time we used this space for storage. This was until I came across a posting some posts online, regarding decorating small balconies. I immediately knew I could do something with this space and began to study any pottery barn, crate and barrel, ikea or Bed Bath and Beyond ad that came to our place.

After I finished clearing out the balcony, I only had my grill and a container for our recyclables. So my first step was an attempt to bring a bit of color to the boring brown balcony, I bought a hanging planter box with some flowers. Wow, the flowers made a difference right away.

My second step was to buy some type of patio furniture, so to conserve space I bought a bistro set that I picked up for under $75 at Bed Bath and Beyond. Cool, now I can drink my coffee and admire my flowers on the weekend. After I got the bistro set, I ran into a creative block, and didn't touch the balcony for about 4 months. My flowers died and didn't even replace them.

Anyway's a few weeks ago I got a creative breakthrough, and decided to head to Ikea. I came across these really cool lanterns, so I decided to use an old gift card that my wife had given me a year ago. I still had about $30 on the card so I bought 2 of the lanterns, a smaller table lantern, and some candles. When I got home, I realized that I would need hooks to hang lanterns, so I went over to Home Depot. While there, I decided to pick up some new flowers for my planter. Later that weekend I decided to install the hooks to hang the lanterns, and plant the flowers. Boom, the lanterns looked great and the balcony began to have a little bit of character. My wife and I had dinner (with candlelight) out there a couple of times, and afterwards I realized that only one thing was missing an outdoor rug. I picked one up at Target a few days later. Check out the final result.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kitchen Cabinets

When we moved into our condo, the kitchen was in really poor shape. We kind of upgraded it a bit by putting laminate flooring, repainting it, and new appliances. Just those minor things really made a huge difference.

Despite the upgrades, our cabinets were still hurting pretty bad. They are water damaged, and many of drawers and doors are broken. A few months back I was opening a door and it came off in my hand. Around the same time I began to notice that some of the cabinets were coming off the frame and you can see the bevels holding them together. I don't know why I didn't see all these problems during our inspection, yet another lesson learned after the fact.

Anyways, we have finally managed to save enough cash to change out the cabinets. We have gone to Ikea and looked a various kitchens that my wife and I liked. Ikea is great DIY, but when you are missing the handyman gene, it can be a bit of a pain. First, the nearest Ikea is about 20 miles away, so its rare when we have time to go. Second, their setup is designed for you to do all the measuring and layout design, and third the nearest Ikea approved contractor for demolition and installation is another 15 miles away. Now some of you may be reading this, and saying "what a wus, measuring is easy, and so is the installation." Well, I just don't trust myself with those tasks, and the last thing I want to do is have to incur another cost for a miscalculation.
The other draw back to Ikea cabinets, is that while they are affordable, they basically particle board, which is what we currently have (not the best).

So on Sunday as we were coming home, we saw a local cabinet store was having a sale, for a 10X10 kitchen with granite counter top and free sink for $2600. Wow, what a deal! So I called the next day and scheduled a free estimate. Yesterday I met the kitchen designer in the afternoon and she took measurements and priced it out with demolition and installation, at $5900. Wow, still not bad and the cabinets are real wood and granite counter tops. The lady told me that it would take about 2 weeks to get the materials and 3 days to install. I think that is pretty amazing, considering that I have heard stories of it taking about 2 weeks to install. So, my next question is, are these peeps legit? Fortunately the cabinets lady informed me that my next door neighbor, just had some work done by them. I guess I will ask my neighbor about her experience.

Now, we have one dilemma, my wife wants white cabinets (more expensive). More on that later.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Triumphant Return

Oof, it took me about 11 months to add a new post, but I guess I finally have stuff to talk about.

Just a quick update, with more details to follow in the next few days.

1) Finished completing bedroom furniture (roman shades, curtains, nightstands, dresser, mirror, chest, and lcd flatscreen tv).
2) Put up some decent artwork, got a Rafuse canvas print for the kitchen.
3) Finally completed the furniture for living room (new coffee table, 2 book cases, and roman shades).
4) Completed balcony (bistro set, outdoor rug, balcony garden planter, and hanging lanterns).

In the works, new kitchen cabinets (might as well put that hard earned government stimulus check to use.)

I will begin posting photos soon.