Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Devil is in the Details

So I have been working several hours every day on various tasks as we try to tackle lots of projects around our home, but if you walked in the door you might be hard pressed to see much progress.

Revealing the beautiful wood below the layers...

Why? or even Why bother! 

Well, for instance, for the last few years, we have wanted to throw out our carpets and instead refinish our wood floors. So we did! We ripped out the carpet, pulled up the nasty staples and baseboards. We rented a floor sander and spent about ten hours sanding away. I was ecstatic! (I know, I'm a little weird.) Hard work, yes, but great progress, and what a difference!

Floor is sanded and ready for finishing

Sounds simple, right? What was left to do, just mop on a few coats of finish and tada!

But no. All the edges needed sanding with a hand sander. Then we knew we had to seal the wood before coating the floor with three coats of glossy finish.  Replacing the baseboard meant filling in the plaster gaps and that takes at least a day to dry. Next we bought lumber and custom fit new baseboards with quarter round trim. All the trim needed to be caulked. 

Trim is in and caulked and the doors are fixed.

We realized that our walls needed a fresh coat of paint so we kept going, even though we had to do three coats on the walls and then three coats on our new and existing trim.  Whew! We enjoyed when we could finally lift up the messy brown paper protecting our floors.

But what about the hallway next to the livingroom? Yup, had to repeat all those steps but on a smaller scale. In that hallway are four doors, and none of them closed properly after the shifting of everything after our house lift. So I took off all the door hardware, sanded each piece for a quick shot of paint and replaced them. Not sure if you have ever tried replacing door hardware but without fail something always seems off when I install doorknobs. Our house has plenty of wear and the doors show it, but after a little wood filler, caulk and paint, they look great again.

I was tired before I started writing this blog, but now I'm exhausted after reviewing some of the work!

But I won't bore you with more. Yes, we did put off a lot of home improvements that our house really needed but we planned to tackle them once our house was lifted onto new walls and that's where we are now. 

Figured out how to transition from hallway to bathroom
I read somewhere recently that homes really need to be updated and repaired at least every fifty years, and we can see why. So many details! 

I need to go and scrub my fingernails - I'm tired of seeing the paint on them...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Throwing Out Our Gas Stove - For Good!

Today's view of the ocean along Virginia Beach

Today, I am high above the beach watching surfers ride the waves and listening to the constant crashing of the water onto itself. But that is not want I want to talk about.

Who doesn't love watching the sun rise over the water?

"Let's just rip it out!"

Eric loves demolition

That was Eric's bold suggestion for starting the change in our kitchen...and that is exactly what we did, or he did while I watched and tried not to worry.

Yup, we ripped it down in one stage revealing high peaked rafters and then in the next stage, the rustic ceiling joists.

In the beginning...

I just wanted to put up a few shelves, but he said we couldn't do that until we redid the floors which meant getting rid of all the old cabinets, which meant removing old baseboard heaters and the baseboards and so on. You know how it goes when you start one thing and it leads to the next.

Just getting started...

He just loves the demolition part and then we try and figure out a way to clean up and rebuild.

Well, there are so many phases to our kitchen work that today I only want to talk about our cooking appliances.

Here is our old gas stove still in use during construction.

Yes, we threw out our stove. We bought a gas range when we moved into the house in 2005. It served its purpose and we used it daily quite heavily until the kids all moved out and we knew we needed to make a change. When we realized our house was going up, we decided to remove the stove while we could just walk it out the door, and not have to go down a flight of stairs. No problem.

Our new stove only uses one square foot of counter space

We bought a small induction burner (Duxtop 8100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burnerto use in our sailboat and used that in our kitchen until we could buy a new stove.

I can use a large stock pot for canning tomatoes on this little burner

Well, that was over a year ago, and we still have not bought a new stove and we are not going to. Why not? Well, we learned a few things about the induction method of cooking:

  • It is seriously efficient - much more so than regular electric or gas
  • We can cook things faster
  • I love cooking with a timer that shuts the stove off
  • I can set the cooking temperature
  • I can still use cast iron cookware
  • I can cook in metal mixing bowls
  • Off is completely off - no residual heat
  • No greasy film coating the kitchen because there is no flame lifting the grease
  • I can move the burner off the counter when I need space
  • If I need another burner, I can just buy another one
  • It is so much easier to clean
  • We can move the burner and cook in any room of the house or outside or the basement
You can read more about induction cooking here.

Love being able to use my mixing bowls for fast cooking

So, what about baking? Yes, we have always been asked that question since I am a fan of baking hearty breads. We bought a small oven for use the in sailboat, and again, found it to be sufficient for 95% of our baking needs once we moved back into our house. Yes, we do plan on purchasing a commercial small oven that will fit larger pans and heat up to 500 degrees, but until then our home cooked meals are quite easy to prepare in our small and efficient appliances. Now the thought of using a full-sized stove and oven seems so wasteful of the space in our kitchen. Most of all, I don't miss the daily chore of cleaning the greasy stove top.

Our kitchen is taking shape