So, at that point, we were going to change out the countertops and backsplash tile, and that's it. Ha ha ha ha ha (that's my Maniacal Laughter, by the way).
That's what the back of my boomerang-shaped kitchen island looked like up until New Year's Day. It's just sheetrocked with a frame of white-painted 2x4 lumber holding up the Baltic Barf countertop. That raised bar is only 12" deep, by the way, instead of the standard 18" depth, so it's not really enough space to actually sit and eat there. I don't remember why there is a patched hole there, either -- it's one of those things that was all fixed except for painting it, but my darling husband forgot about the paint before he got around to doing it. We won't be too hard on him, though, because he has been very busy over the past couple of weeks...
Ta da! The ledge and the funky framework supporting it are gone by the end of the day.
So far, we have ordered new granite countertops and beveled marble brick backsplash tile, a pot filler, a new sink and a new faucet (because who wants to install the scratched up old sink and old faucet into a lovely new countertop?), as well as a new disposal unit that is supposed to be quieter than the one we have now. And we're done, right? Wrong!
On January second, Bernie moved my car out to the driveway and transformed the garage into a woodworking palace. See how happy he is to see the table saw again? After lamenting the absence of even MORE large tools that are still in his parents' garage in New Jersey, and improbably claiming that if only those tools were here, he could complete the entire project in ten minutes without spending any money, Bernie rolled up his sleeves and went into carpenter mode.
This is what the back of that same island looked like by the end of the day on January 4th. Quite a difference, don't you think? In designing the back of the island, I wanted to kick things up a bit, but I was careful not to go overboard so that when all this is finished, hopefully all of the trimwork in the kitchen will make sense together and look like it was all done at the same time. I could have just ordered more raised panels like the cabinet doors, but I wanted to be a little bit more custom, so we did flat panels with quarter-round maple rope molding along the inside edge instead.
Bernie told me what the tape was for, but I've forgotten. It was temporary. Maybe it had something to do with wood glue drying or something. The acanthus leaf corbels are bringing in a new decorative motif to the existing trimwork, but the acanthus leaf is repeated on the light fixtures so it's not totally out of left field. Also, smaller versions of these corbels will be incorporated into the design of the new fireplace mantel in the keeping room just off the kitchen. Shh; don't tell my husband! He hates it when he's in the middle of one project and I start hatching additional grand schemes that involve his labor and ingenuity.
On January 7th we went to the Tile Collection's fabrication facility and spent FOUR hours moving templates around on my three granite slabs until I got the layout the way I wanted it. The template you see above is for the raised island bar. I've added some curves to the outer edge that are not reflected on the template. See how I got a balance of light and dark areas, and incorporated as much of the cool multicolored swirls as I could without necessitating a seam? When I got there, they had this template taped on upside down so that most of my countertop was going to be black and white and neutral and tame, and most of the cool stuff would have ended up as someone else's scrap treasure. That's why it's so important to be involved in the layout process when your stone has this much variation. The little square you see below is for a tiny cubby where my purse lives near the door to the garage.
This piece is for the lower portion of the island countertop. It's getting cut from a separate slab that is bookmarked (mirror image of the first slab) so that the movement of the granite will be somewhat continuous from the countertop, up the backsplash, and across the raised bar. The section with a notch at the top is where my sink will get cut out. Isn't it a sin? Again, my objective was to have as much of the complex, multicolored portions of the stone as possible, yet retain enough of the lighter areas to have the contrast and dramatic impact that I loved so much in the larger slabs. Also, with a stone like this, if you're not careful you could end up with some countertop pieces looking mostly gold/green/black, and others looking mostly black/white -- there is so much variation in the stone that it might look like you used completely different granite from one countertop to the next. So I tried to keep things as balanced as possible. There's a long stretch of countertop to the left of my wall ovens, adjacent to the island, that will be cut from the area beneath the template in the photo above.
There goes my granite, getting put away until it's time for cutting! Granite installation is scheduled for January 24th, provided we (I use that "we" very loosely) get everything else done in the kitchen by then and we're ready for the countertops to go in.
Now, as much as I hated the Baltic Brown granite in my kitchen, I really thought it would look good in the little en suite bath off of Bernie's home office. All the black in that stone gives off kind of a masculine vibe, the busy blotchy pattern would not be so overwhelming on a small vanity, and the brown and pinkish-brown tones complement the horrendous builder tile in the office bath shower that I have no intention of ever replacing (that shower is only used once a year). I had originally arranged with the Tile Collection to recut one of my old countertops for this bathroom for $150 labor. Maybe if I hadn't been calling it Baltic Barf for the past three years Bernie would have felt good about this plan, but alas... He has been working so hard on the kitchen, and he looked so forlorn at the granite shop, looking at all of the other stone, so we selected this Madique granite remnant for his office bath instead:
Slip, sliding away...
Lars's laser tag birthday party with his school friends was on Saturday the 8th, but we had snow days in Charlotte yesterday, today, and again tomorrow due to ice on the roads. Bernie had to cancel a scheduled business trip, which was good news for the kitchen project!
Goodbye to the hated backsplash tile, once and for all! Don't you love that hole in the wall behind the stove? This part reminds me of the scene in The Money Pit when Tom Hanks comes home at the end of the day and says to his contractor, "They destroyed my house!" and the contractor smiles and says, "They sure did, didn't they? I tell you, they're work ANIMALS!!" We love that movie.
This is a very misleading picture that makes it seem as though I was actually helping with all of this. Bernie left the last two tiles behind the range hood for me to remove, stuck his night time Harley Davidson glasses on me in case I sent shards of tile into my eyeball, and sent me up the step stool so I could feel involved. Thanks, Lover!
Here we are at the end of today, with all of the tile and sheetrock removed and the range hood gone. Apparently the range hood was installed by Dingaling the Previous Homeowner rather than by the builder, because he used the wrong screws and the hood that should have popped off fairly easily instead had to be wrestled with for quite some time. We also found dangling live wires behind the range hood once the sheetrock was down. Lovely! We had originally planned to reinstall the same GE Monogram range hood we had before, but we ended up ordering a new one for several reasons. First and foremost, Dingaling scratched the front of the range hood, either when he installed it or by cleaning it against the grain with something abrasive. The scratch on the front of the hood has always bugged me. Second, the thing was filthy through and through, and not just the parts that come out and that are easy to clean in the dishwasher. But the main reason we ordered a new range hood is that the one we had before was so loud that even on the Low setting, you can't have a conversation with anyone in the kitchen when the fan is running. The new fan is going to have in-line ventilation, which means the noisy fan part will be down in the crawlspace under my house where I don't have to listen to it. Slippidy-doo-dah, slippidy-ay!
We also found some dangling live wires behind this wall, apparently for undercabinet lighting that never got installed. This is so unbelievably dangerous! Pardon what appears to be snow; I got sheetrock dust on my camera lens.