Thursday, May 28, 2009

Post and run

Quick post, gotta finish the thesis draft, but I'm too excited not to show pics. We got the floor done last night and all of the cabinet frames painted! Only doors left to do.

Far away pic of finished cabinets:

Sneak peek in bad lighting of AWESOME new floor. More details on the how-to with better pictures hopefully soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Mama

I have the bestest mommy in all the land. Through various twists of fate, she had a week off after my brother's graduation and plans to come to Boulder BEFORE we had even bought our new place, let alone knew we needed to finish our major renovation of the kitchen, packing our stuffed apartment, moving and finishing my thesis, all the very same week. Thank GOD for moms.

So today she selflessly went to the apartment to finish the painting of the cabinets so we could install the floors tonight, while I stayed at home and made major progress on my thesis. Just in time too because I had a dream last night that one of my teeth broke out of my mouth and that is never a good sign. Not to mention that I wake up early when I am stressed and I woke up before 6 this morning (6:30 is normal level of stress lately, 8 AM is no stress).

I will definitely post pictures of the "after" when I get there, but I know that even yesterday, when we got the final coat on most of one of the cabinets, the difference was amazing. The difference between primer, first, and second coats is like a revelation with each coat. I can't wait to get the doors done and hung! It's going to be SUCH an improvement!

So now we are on a dinner break, we'll all go back to the condo and start putting in the floor! With any luck, we should be able to get it mostly, if not all, done tonight, which would be beyond wonderful. I still have some holes to fill in before I can say I have finished my thesis (unfortunately, not to the final draft yet, but close!), so I hope we have some time tonight so I can turn this puppy over to my adviser! And none of it would have been possible without my amazing mama!

Pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Priming and Painting (with Pictures!)

I promised you pictures, and now I shall deliver. Sadly, they are not the stunning "after" pictures. Not yet. Next week I'd better be able to deliver, since we need to move in!

First we have the sanded, but unprimed cabinets on the right. The cabinet in the middle will soon be replaced by a shiny new microwave/hood, to save on our precious counter space. It is now sitting on the floor, after being ripped off of the wall by my manly husband.

Next we have the primed and partly-painted left cabinets! The faces and the part of the inside of the far left cabinet have their first coat of the white we are using. It's True Value "Charming Smile," I think. Let me just say that this line of paints (one of the few oil-based we could get in eco-friendly Boulder) has the WORST names ever. Other brands have names like "Sandy Beaches" or "Porcelain." These ones are named things like: "Family Dinner," "Chicken Wire," and I wish I was making this up, "Irony." Who the hell wants to paint their dining room in irony?

Honestly, I just went to their website, because I could only remember Irony, and when I got to the part I was looking for, I didn't even realize I was looking at the paint color names at first they were so bad AND I ALREADY KNEW THEY WOULD BE AWFUL. Here's some more from the page, for sheer entertainment value: Sideshow, Continuous, Close Knit, Significant Journey, Audition, Fragile Heart, Aristocracy, etc. ad infinitum! I think they just picked words out of a hat. OK, rant over. I'm just bitter I have to say my cabinets are "Charming Smile," even though some of the other contenders were WAY worse.

Finally, the primed cabinet doors. These now also have their first coat, so they do look better, though I think because of the cheapo wood used on the panels, they *might* need a third coat. We'll see how they look after the second. I am posting these so other people attempting to paint their cabinets know what to expect after the primer coat.

I am super grateful for our decent-sized porch. It would have been much messier to do the power sanding and the painting inside, so it's very nice to have. Plus, we get to look at this while we paint:
Yup, we lucked out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Balancing Act

Yesterday was priming day. Today was thesis/job interview day. Wednesday and Thursday will be lather, rinse, repeat.

How did the priming go? I'm glad you asked (and sorry to say, still no pictures! I was too busy working to take them). I think it went pretty well. I hope. I'll let you know after tomorrow, when the first coat goes on. After some stirring issues (you need to stir oil-based primer a LOT), I got it to where it needed to be and it was very enjoyable and relatively quick after that. I finished all the doors that were sanded (a few need some touch ups), all of the floor cabinet faces and all of the wall-mounted cabinets on the left. Tomorrow I will finish priming the insides of the left cabinets and do all of the right cabinets, plus get the first coat of paint onto what was primed yesterday. Fun!

I also picked up a light fixture for the kitchen I scored on Craig's List ($20). Luckily it fits perfectly into our little cubby.

Today I switched gears and did more professional stuff: thesis writing and my first job interview. It went really, really well and there should be an offer as soon as I send in my transcripts (yay!). I also have three more interviews this week and next, so I won't be rushing off to accept the first position that comes my way. I am very, very grateful to be in this position, but I have also worked my ass off and spent the past four years in grad school to be here. But still, so lucky and happy to be in a profession that is still in demand.

Tomorrow: finish as much painting as possible!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekend Renovations

Ahh, our first weekend filled to the brim with home improvement. Or: How I learned to avoid Home Depot on a Saturday afternoon at all costs.

I was just kidding about the floors being the next thing. We realized that we should paint the overhead cabinets before we put in the floors, just in case. Ergo, Saturday and Sunday were spent sanding, sanding and sanding all of the cabinets. Peter got to buy not one, not two, but THREE new orbital sanders for the job. (SO worth the $60, BTW, if you plan on repainting many things that have flat surfaces).

Why three sanders, you ask? The first was the one we planned on getting. He did the research and it was decently priced (local hardware store, not the depot of homes or Lowe's). Then two different store workers mentioned this other "finishing" sander they had in their semi-annual tent sale outside. Regularly $70 for $30! So of course he had to get one. Turns out, it worked better than the original one, so he got another one on sale so multiple people could sand at once, with the idea of selling it or giving it to a friend afterward. Sweet!

So Peter and our friend, KyKy (hereby dubbed such in the bloggle), manned (literally) the power sanders on Sunday while my friends and I hand sanded all the little molding parts that the power stuff can't get to. We tried other methods, but hand sanding worked the best. Unfortunately for us.

So now it is Sunday night and all the cabinets are sanded, cleaned and ready to be primed tomorrow. Which I get to do by myself because Peter has this "job" thing he has to do. Lame.

I should have taken pictures, but it really wasn't that exciting. Just imagine us in face masks and everything pretty much covered in wood dust, and there you have it. I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow of my progress (should any be made).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New chandelier and destruction of the kitchen

Sorry for that tease! I hit publish accidentally, and then didn't have the time to actually write the post at that moment (life!).

So here it is for realsies:

I will be documenting our renovation progress here, for the benefit of any who might care (and for our own memories down the road!). As mentioned in the last post, we made some good progress over the weekend.

Here is what the kitchen looked like "before" (with the seller's staging stuff):

And here is the destructive "during." My brother and Peter had a good time taking out all of the appliances and cabinets from the kitchen:

And then put them all in the living room:

Good thing we aren't living here yet! Our sole goal is to get this kitchen done before we have to move in (June 4th is when we need to be out of our current apartment).

We are redoing the floors by putting plank vinyl in that looks like wood, and so needed everything out. I am very happy we did so because we found that the builder (30 years ago!) didn't put the vinyl all the way under the cabinets, which led to some water damage near the sink. Luckily, it wasn't that bad and we just had to replace a patch of drywall . Our hope is that the new flooring extending all the way across the floor will help protect against any possible damage to the floor.

We are thrilled about the plank vinyl because: 1) it's very cheap, but looks decent, which is great for this place as we plan on making it a rental in a couple years; and 2) it is one of the easiest types of flooring to put in yourself. It cost us a little over $100 to replace that god-awful '70s floor (which we found had some pretty damaged spots)!

OK, next exciting thing. The dining "room" (nook?) had an awful, awful chandelier. To wit:

This weekend, Brother and Peter made my heart sing by switching it out for this:

And in context with the framed poster we will hang on the wall in the dining nook (along with construction crap):

SO much better! You may notice a strong theme in our renovations: inexpensive updates. This place is not and will never be a luxury condominium. The people who rent here are largely students and we are mostly hoping to make this place more inviting while we live here, as well as hoping to attract a slightly better renter by having more updated things.

Stay tuned for he next project! Installing the floors! How will the missing vinyl pieces affect our timeline and our budget? Is the plank vinyl as easy as they say? Will it look better than the '70s trip to Mexico vinyl?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Awesome Days

The past three days have been great. My last day of my internship, Thursday, was really great, with a field trip and lots of sweet cards made by my kids. Then Thursday night, we surprised my parents, who had flown in earlier that day, with my brother, who we flew in as a Mother's Day surprise.

Friday was graduation, which was wonderful because I got to see all of my classmates, most of whom I haven't seen since December when we all went out on internships. We were a pretty close class, or at least as close as you can be with almost 30 students. Every single person in the class was amazing in their own way and brought so much to our department. It was a little sad seeing everyone too, since we probably won't all ever be together again. I also got a very honoring and humbling award, particularly so because my class was so great that so many others were just as deserving.

Saturday, we had a great picnic hosted by several of my friends in our graduating class. It was a perfect Colorado party: hanging out at Chautauqua with great friends under a perfect Colorado sunny sky, great beer, great food and cornhole. What more do you need? Then after the picnic, we found this incredible place that is kind of like an organized junk yard with home improvement/construction stuff (think salvaged doors, cabinets, faucets, and other we went to our new place and again I wished that my family lived closer. After exploring there, we went back to the new place, where my brother and Peter replaced the hideous brass chandelier with a much nicer nickel one, thereby making my day.

Sunday was the day of demolition. After a lovely Mother's Day brunch, the boys got everything out of the kitchen, including the low cabinets and all appliances, so that we are now almost ready to put the flooring in. We still need to figure out what we are doing with the sink cabinet, that won't require shutting off the water to the entire building, but we should be able to cross that bridge by tomorrow.

My parents left today, but the brother remains. It was so very nice to have everyone in town and it was really fun to have everyone helping out with the renovations in the new place. I feel much more optimistic about our chances of getting everything done before we have to move in at the end of the month, but only if we keep plugging along!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My head is going to explode

My head hurts. Has hurt all day, ever since I started to count up the things I need to do in the very near slash immediate future. My family flies in tomorrow for my graduation, our apartment is a wreck (per usual, lately), moving boxes are piled in the little open space we do have, I am finishing my internship tomorrow, I need to write about 30 pages of my thesis (read: finish a complete draft) by next week, remodel the kitchen, pick paint for every room of the new place, pack, apply for multiple jobs, etc.etc.etc. My head hurts again.