Monday, February 20, 2017

Dear Jacinda - The Kitchen Post

I can't believe I haven't done this. When you mentioned wanting to see more updates, I didn't realize just how long it had been. You missed it all, man. It's been forever. So here's some images to amuse you, and update you on the craziness we put ourselves and this little house through last fall.
This is what we started with. To the right you can see the studs of the wall that divided the dining room from the living room and kitchen. I discovered after pulling all the sheetrock off that the wall was indeed load-bearing. The consequence is a 22' long beam in my attic that cost a tidy sum, but was well worth the investment.
 I think this may be the first time Gene has ever demo-ed a kitchen on his own. I had taken the wall down, the carpet was all up, but I was working a lot and he hadn't started work yet, so he got the brunt of the kitchen demo. My favorite moment was when he announced to me that removing old built in cabinets was "a big pain in the ass". Yes, dear. Yes it well I know it.

 He proceeded with the demo and we eventually were down to nothing. The plan was to sheetrock the entire space; living, dining and kitchen, including the ceiling. I wanted to save as much of the old crown and baseboard as possible, not so much for money but because there isn't anything wrong with it. Why throw it away? The contractor was pretty sure I was nuts, but I really didn't care. In the end, all the crown and baseboard is original with a few small exceptions. I just primed and painted it all after pulling all the nails. 
 This is into the living room from the dining room - you can see on the floor where the old wall and closet were. 
 From the pictures above, to this...still in progress, but that partial wall/bookshelf with the pillars is about where the old closet was. The near edge of the gray rug would have been the original wall the divided the kitchen and dining room. 
Another view of the bookcase things - I wanted to create an "entry" feel, which I accomplished beautifully, I think. The remaining closet on the left is perfect for jackets, etc. The pillars and bookcases are now painted white to match the trim and cabinets. The flooring is "luxury vinyl", which was a cost saving decision. If the entire space had been hardwood, I would have made different choices. Because it was mixed old vinyl over plywood and hardwood, it was more cost effective to just go over it with the vinyl and save the money for other things, like granite on my island.
Kitchen almost done. Lights are not in yet, and the backsplash isn't up. But you get the feel. We still need to paint the interior doors white. 
I will put some more photos of it "done" at the end. But now an update on what we do with our spare time...Gene went on that roller coaster, repeatedly. It is called Fury 325 and I love it. It's huge and fast. It's about 45 minutes from here at Carowinds. We also went to Dollywood and rode the coasters there, including a new one that may have ruined me for all other coasters.
 I work sometimes, when not wearing glasses with lights on them. Honest, I really do work. 
Jen and I went horseback riding in Tennessee, and then I dragged Gene and made him go too a few weeks later. It was fun. Very pretty scenery. I like Tennessee a lot. Jen and I had planned to go to the beach, but Hurricane Matthew changed the plan. Mountains, beach, whatever.
 We went to Florida (as usual) but without seeing Mickey Mouse not even ONE time, and ate insanely fresh strawberries from a roadside place. It was amazing. We also were advised to visit a place called "Robert Is Here", which we did - and ended up eating some of the most intriguing fresh tropical fruit I have ever experienced. Highly recommend. We sat outside watching chickens while slurping down smoothies made from crazy things. Very fun.
Everglades visit - we took a boat tour into the 10,000 Islands, and the dolphins followed us around and jumped in the boat wake. At one point the whole pod was there, including a baby shepherded by two adults. It was really cool.
I think this is from the keys. We drove all the way down to Key West, and then drove back to Key Largo where we were staying. This isn't a thing I would probably repeat.
We took selfies. This was snorkeling somewhere...maybe? Or maybe just a swim. We stopped at a bunch of beaches up the west coast, because instead of flying back we drove home. We swam and snorkeled wherever it was possible. I loved the beaches, particularly Venice. I did not like Naples much. Entirely too chi-chi for me. 
When I sent you the text about the place we had dinner at in Everglades City that you would love?  This is it, Camellia Street Grill. Lights on strings, a dance floor to the left out of the frame, lots of bare feet and beer and stone crabs caught that morning. They have a wonderful salad with fresh herbs, and just generally are the sort of laid back image I have of old Florida, before the Damn Tourists Showed Up and Ruined It.
 This was also in the Everglades; a board walk through a jungle, surrounded by wildlife. Snakes, gators, birds. It was picturesque and slightly intimidating. I was happy to be on the boardwalk. We did see tons of gators lying on the bank of a channel beside route 41 between Miami and Everglades City, and a couple of large things draped in trees that I suspect were pythons. They weren't gators, and weren't birds, but they were something big and drape-y. 
Quilt 1: Started for my father, but the lady wasn't going to get it back to me "in time" back there, so it sat until now. Now it is done and has no home, but there it is. 
Quilt 2: Jelly Roll Race quilt made with a jelly roll I got for free somewhere. We like this one and will probably keep it.
The quilt that made me hate quilting. I started this when we lived on Jewett Road I think, and it sat forever unfinished. I finally just threw a back on it and had it finished on a long arm here, and sent it away to Texas to a good home. The good news is that I like quilting again. 
The finished kitchen. Granite on the island, the legs we got for $1 a piece at the ReStore. There is a prep sink in the island, which is right close to the fridge for easy prep. The "big" sink is under the window, and is a single-bowl 32" long, quite deep one. I was really frustrated by not being able to fit my half sheet pan easily into the sink, because we use it fairly often.
Quartz countertops on the perimeter. Kitchen backsplash tile is ceramic wood-look planks intended for flooring. I love them. Plus they cost me less and 1/4 of what a wall tile would have cost. We got these at a discount place in Charlotte. I LOVE this tile SO MUCH. It echoes the floor, and gives some interest without being overwhelming or pigeonholed to a color. 
 There used to be a wall there, separating these two spaces. Crazy. 
And there. Wall-be-gone! Dining room into living room, everything open and light now. It was SO dark at the back of the house before, but now light penetrates everything.
And last one - the living room. We kept the built in, which houses the TV perfectly. The picture over the fireplace is a poster of a picture I took in Plymouth mounted on canvas and framed. Loved the picture and it its perfectly. 
So that's it, that's the nutshell update! Lots of other things going on, but mostly just working and being in this place, which we like...but we're open to more change in the future if we feel led to wander again. I like NC, but the road is always open and seems to be calling! 

And a note for Sally...yes, we are right down the road from you, and have been to Troutman a few times! I am starting a new job in Statesville, so I am up and down 77 through there more often now. Small world! :)