Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Swedish steel, shower "experiences" and the F-word before 9 AM

So, our house renovation is in full swing. We moved out on May 14th, and the next day the interior looked like this:

(formerly our bedroom and the house's full bathroom. Do I miss the blue tub, sink and toilet? No I do not)

(formerly our kitchen - the sink was under the window, and the avocado green range hood was to the right. I can't figure out why this image is so small, but, well, you get the general idea)

The entire basement has been ripped down to studs, and plumbing and electrical work has commenced. Our general contractor seemed impressed that we really did (mostly) empty the house so his guys could have free rein. Frank (the GC) is an old school kind of builder - no web site, no front office, just him and his van and seemingly thousands of contruction workers and tradespeople who know him well. It is as if we hired a contractor out of Central Casting. Frank is well on his way to becoming part of the family - R has included him in his weekly spelling assignments "Frank and his friends are building our garage." and Z told her teacher that "Frank is making our house nicer and more colorful." I would include a shot of Frank here, but I don't think he'd allow me to take his picture.

Perhaps I should backtrack and tell you what we're doing. Well, it's pretty much a whole house remodel, plus the addition of a garage and master bedroom suite. The house was built in 1961 and is a fairly nondescript split level. We hired an architect to design the addition and make the house not seem like two trailers sitting on top on one another.

After the foundation for the addition was dry, a group of workers parked their van on the front lawn and spent the next 48 hours framing the addition. And swearing. A lot. We tried to take the kids out to other activities that weekend so they'd be away from the bits of falling lumber and partially used nail gun cartridges (for the record, Frank is against nail guns - he really is old school) and, mainly, the near constant use of the F-word. I was sure the neighbors would be pissed, but in fact our project seems to have brought them closer in touch - they are curious, in a good way, about what we're doing.

Frank asked us to pick out our plumbing fixtures asap so he could build the proper rough ins and valves. This meant a trip to the bathroom store, where we had to remind Z that the potties on display are not for using. We also looked at the Kohler website, which lets you custom-design your bathroom. As we decided not to put a tub in the master bath, my Better Half instead decided to, as the website invited, "create his ideal showering experience." Which, now that I think about it, sounds kinda dirty. In reality though it meant that he was able to use the site to pick fixtures: a variable spray showerhead plus two side-mounted sprays for our new shower. I am sure Frank now thinks we are yuppie scum.

And speaking of yuppie scum, this weekend it was time to pick out kitchen fixtures, so I went to the recommended appliance and lighting store near here. They have full-equipped working kitchens, and you can bring your pots and pans to test things out. They even cook things in the Viking/Wolf test kitchen and give you free glazed chocolate donuts that were cooked just moments before in the built-in deep fryer. It was like Homer Simpson's perfect kitchen. There were free fridge magnets with stickers reading "Experience Swedish Steel" and tasteful black and white photos inviting you to imagine how easy entertaining will be when you have a built-in steam drawer and under-counter wine fridge. I got so woozy from all the choices that I wandered back into the Viking area, where they now were serving mini cupcakes and cookies baked in the high-speed convection oven.

The architect and I also met with the kitchen cabinet lady on Friday. I had seen a kitchen in a magazine I rather liked, and asked for a variation of that. We're going with maple base cabinets, with white cabinets above. There will be a blue/green floor and backsplash, and a contemporary look. How contemporary? Later that day I got an email from the architect good-naturedly pointing out that this seemed to be the look we were going for:

Well, there *will* likely be an iMac in the kitchen...


Blogger FemiKnitMafia said...

I love it. I love it. I love it.
Those demo pictures are awesome, and it sounds like the finished product is going to be stunning! More, more...

7:03 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Yes, more! more!

I don't envy you now, but I will when the project is complete.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

I like maple cabinets and a travertine floor. Good clean look.

3:47 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

Maybe they make a waterproof imac and you can blog in the shower.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are total inspiration! we are just embarking on a remodel and i am totally terrified!

1:45 PM  

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