Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Amusing Metafloor

We've all been there before -- putting up with non-optimal situations because we know the outcome is oh so worth the frustration.  Sort of like waiting in line for that really awesome new roller kids screaming because they want an ice-cream cone (with sprinkles), abnormally sweaty people "unknowingly" nudging you, ungrateful little tweens cutting the line to join their annoying overly-giggly friends, the lady behind you with the cackle that seems to think everything is worth a laugh, the mysteriously moist spilled popcorn that you just stepped in...ew.  But then you get to the front of the line, and you climb into that cold metal seat.  The air around you seems so fresh and free, and you even find the lingering scent of grease and burning rubber to be soothing.  The safety harness drops down and locks you into place.  Your feet squirm excitedly beneath you.  And then the cars start moving, and you have one heck of an exciting ride.  When the ride's over and you're anxiously recapping the crazy twists and flips with your friends, you don't even remember the wretchedness that was the line.  In your mind, it was all worth it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are officially at the front of the line in our kitchen renovation.  After months of excruciating demolition and repair we're ready for the fun stuff.  From here on out, everything we do is exponentially more exciting and one step closer to a completed kitchen.  Sure, you can argue that everything we've done in the kitchen is one step closer to a completed kitchen, but we're in the big leagues now, baby.  This stuff is HUGE.
Allow me to showcase our latest "Holy crap!!!" change:

I KNOW, RIGHT???  In a nutshell, the floors are stellar.  And though I'd love to take credit for their beauty, this was actually something we paid someone to do for us.  We usually opt to do everything ourselves, but there are a couple things that give us the willies.  For instance, we're not masons, so we had the pros come out and install our new french doors.  In this case we needed to match new hardwood floor to the 60 year old original hardwood that was already there.  "Feathering" the new stuff into the old stuff.  Then color match and finish it so it looks like it's been there all along.  Ehhhh, not our thing. 
Just to jog your memory, the original dining room had hardwood floors and the kitchen had only subflooring underneath the lousy linoleum tiles.  When we tore the wall down between the two rooms, we were left with a flooring situation that looked like this:

You probably know by now that I'm a stickler for preserving character and history.  I battled it out for the preservation of the corner hutch, and totally won.  Now it was my mission to save the existing hardwood floors.  I don't like tile.  I loathe linoleum.  I love hardwood.  I appreciate character.  It was obvious that we needed to install new hardwood in the "old kitchen" to match the existing hardwood in the "old dining room".  I wasn't going to budge either.
So we looked into our options, got a price quote that we were pleased with, and decided that we'd rather hire a professional than try to tackle this task by ourselves.
Of course we had some prep work to take care of before we called in the professionals.  Some of the subflooring of the "old kitchen" was in very poor condition.  In fact, we had to put obstacles over the soft spots while we were working in there so we wouldn't take an impromptu trip to the basement.  Since the existing subflooring we exposed was over 50 years old and was littered with weak spots we opted to replace most of it, leaving about 6 inches of it along the perimeter of the room as it ran under the plaster walls.  All we had to do was rip up the old stuff and replace it with new stuff right?  Ehhh it wasn't that easy.  We needed to find plywood that was the exact (or very close) width of the hardwood that was under the "old dining room's" hardwood.  Matching the width was critical because any uneven areas would encourage creaking, cracking, and fugliness in the new floor.  To be honest we didn't think it'd be hard to find a close-enough match, but we were ignorant back then.  We found some 1/2" plywood at Home Depot, brought it home to compare, and found that the width really varied from the printed number.  That wasn't going to work, so we returned it.  After about 3 days of hunting from store to store for the perfect width, we ended up finding 19/32" tongue and groove subflooring plywood at Lowes.  How's that for an awkward measurement?  The tongue and groove part was an improvement from basic plywood too since it's incredibly strong, making it a perfect contender for subflooring.  My handyman and his brother ripped up the crusty plywood and installed the new stuff in a jiffy.     

Finally it was time to sit back and let someone else take care of the hard stuff.  We temporarily moved in with Chris' parents while they worked on the floor (because we couldn't access the bathroom), and totally expected to be out of our little abode for about a week.  Since the polyurethane took so long to dry when we refinished our bedroom floors, we assumed it would take awhile for these floors to dry as well.  Not the case.  It took 2 measly days.  Apparently they use some sort of hardening chemical in the poly to encourage faster set and dry time.  It easily would've taken us a couple weeks to do this by ourselves.
As much as I would have loved to stare at these bodacious boards for all eternity, we needed to cover them immediately so we could continue working in the kitchen.  We purchased ourselves a big roll of red rosin paper from Home Depot for $13.  Money well spent considering it will protect our investment from falling tools, straggler screws, dirty paws, and other commonalities of our current life.  Then I got weird and made it look like a track.

So there you have it -- stunningly beautiful new hardwood floors.  It's definitely a monumental change, and we're both incredibly excited that we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Here are the last few "crazy" changes we have left in the journey that has been our kitchen renovation:

- Prime the walls and ceiling
- Paint the ceiling
- Paint the walls
- Prime and paint the trim
- Delivery of our new fridge
- Assemble and install cabinets along the wall
- Install counter top
- Install the new sink and sink hardware
- Tile the backsplash
- Install the new microwave
- Reinstall the stove
- Install the new dishwasher
- Plumbing for fridge, dishwasher, and sink
- Reinvent the corner hutch
- Install new lighting
- Paint the table and chair set
- Assemble and install the kitchen island cabinets and counter top
- Assemble the island stools 
- Build new pantry
**Some of these things have been checked off already!  We're behind on our posting...

I'm not saying any of the things on that list are easy, but man, are they exciting.  And just to highlight what we've done so far, the nitty gritty or "line", if you will:

- Remove door frame between kitchen and dining room to relocate refrigerator
- Remove cabinets, sink, counter tops
- Remove tile backsplash
- Remove old kitchen floor (layers, and layers, and layers, and layers...)
- Tape up plastic to keep dust out of the rest of the house
- Demolish wall between kitchen and dining room
- Demolish old kitchen pantry
- Repair plaster and patch holes with drywall
- Cut holes for new ceiling lights
- Run wires for new ceiling lights
- Have french doors installed
- Even out and patch walls with drywall compound
- Sand drywall (painstaking!)
- Vacuum up sanding dust & remove plastic
- Replace old kitchen subflooring
- Remove old dining room carpet
- Remove old carpet tacks and staples
-Have hardwood floors repaired/installed

And I'm sure there's some blood, sweat, and tears that I forgot to list.  Onward!

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