Sunday, November 29, 2009


There hasn't been much to blog about lately. Since finishing the kitchen we've been mainly tidying up the house, cooking/baking, and keeping busy with school/work. We also took a weekend trip to Quebec as a break from the house.

One project that did get us to pick up a power tool (ok the one of us who was determined to be the only house on our street with Christmas lights) was hanging Christmas lights on our porch. When we got our house rewired the electrician offered us external GFCI outlets on the front/back but we only got one on the back since we couldn't think of why we would need one on the front. Then came Christmas time and we realized why having a GFCI on the front of the house is a good idea (lights!). Luckily by now we're confident enough with our electrical skillz that we were able to add the new outlet ourselves. And here is the result:

Much more festive than last year :o)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kitchen Is Done!

Yes, the kitchen reno is done. We've spent the weekend moving back into the kitchen and unpacking quite a bit of kitchen stuff that has been sitting in our basement for the past year.

Here are some before/after pictures of it. Overall we're really happy with how it came out. We found a lot of good inspiration online that made putting the whole thing together a lot easier. In particular we found the kitchen at Rambling Renovators to be a good resource. We also spent a good amount of time watching Sarah's House 2 on HGTV by Sarah Richardson.

This is a collage we made when submitting our kitchen to CityTV's 48 hour renovation contest. It does a pretty good job of capturing the hideous "old lady peach" that the room used to be.

... and here is the kitchen now:

The fridge is a 33" counter depth by Samsung that we got a great deal on.

Given the lack of counter space we have we decided to dedicate a drawer to being a spice rack. We cook alot and digging through 24 jars to find cumin gets old fast. This drawer is right next to the stove, super convenient.

We went with a Fridgidaire dishwasher because it was the cheapest dishwasher that was all stainless (on the outside anyways...).

Here is the tiny eating nook we made where I am typing this right now :o).

This is our coffee station, super close to the eating nook. We pretty much optimized this side of our kitchen for getting breakfast/coffee in a hurry.

We started demolishing our kitchen on Sept. 19 and are now working in a finished kitchen on Nov. 8. Note that we are the exception and not the rule, but we think it's important to mention that, yes, if you have the skill/motivation a 100% DIY kitchen renovation can be had in a timely manner. One advantage of DIY is that you can work as fast or as slow as you want on your kitchen. In our case, we worked quite hard on the kitchen (this means getting up early even on weekends and pulling a solid 10+ hr day to make up for the fact that you are not a contractor that can do 8 hr days each week day). I'll admit it wasn't always easy or fun, but doing it ourselves also meant that the work was up to our standard. We (ok one of us in particular) is quite anal. Doing it ourselves mean knowing that the drains/wiring were all up to code. Also on the aesthetic side we got to include little details such as putting returns on the end of runs of baseboard. We also were able to give our Ikea kitchen a more custom look using backfeeds and hardwired undercabinet lighting. We also had the advantage of not having to wait on other people's schedules to get the work done.

Design/cost wise, we followed some advice we saw HGTV from Sarah Richardson. Her advice is to save on the cupboards and floors and then splash out on counter/backsplash/appliances. We went with this approach and especially as a result of the Ikea cupboards we ended up with a much nicer kitchen than if we had gone with similarly priced home depot cupboards.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finishing up...

... is as always dragging on. The little bits that finish a room always seem to take so long relative to the major stuff. Hanging drywall, plastering, flooring, all take about the same time as the finishing but seem to give so much more pay off in terms of "progress" it seems.

Here's what we've been up to this week in pictures. We've been busy with trim, backsplash and enjoying our new toy (a dishwasher!).

Still a lot of caulking, under cabinet valence, painting trim, and much needed handles (!) to go..