Thursday, June 28, 2012

No Drama Just The Facts

I think I've learned a lesson about blogging.  That lesson is:  Never mention a follow up post before you have it ready to publish.  Twice I have promised a post on the vanity for the new powder room and again....I'm still waiting to get final pictures.  There have been some delays and a rearrangment in priorities.  With that said, I am ready to tell you what has been happening with this project.  The vanity post will more predictions as to when!
We left off with this butler's pantry being removed and the upper cabinets being reinstalled in the basement.

After demo of the wall, we are now able to walk from the pantry area into the alcove of the dining room.

Here is the view from the new powder room looking into the pantry and past that to the kitchen.  The powder room door will be just this side of the window you see in this photo.  So, basicly, I will still have the same size pantry but without the cabinets.
The framing for the door is now up with a transom planned for above the door.  To the left of the door I will have about 32" for some kind of storage. (details to follow)

Getting everything in that goes behind the walls is time consuming, but we are getting closer to drywall.

From the dining room side the alcove looked like this.  The wall to separate this alcove from the dining room was installed before the demo to minimize the dust to the rest of the house.  The dining room side of this wall was drywalled and the bathroom side left open for plumbing and electic.

 The effect of no longer being able to have the light from that window in the dining room and the feel of losing that space was dramatic but acceptable. 
In the foreground you see a radiator on a dolly.

Originally that radiator was in the alcove and backed up to the pantry.

It was disconnected and moved along with the marble slab beneath it. (Yes, the marble had a crack so it is in two pieces but they will fit together perfectly and all will be fine.)  PS: Previous dining room wall colors can be seen on the wall behind where the radiator stood.  The chair rail was removed in the alcove and in the dining room.

A niche was created in the dividing wall for the radiator.

That wall has been primed.

And the baseboards are being installed so that soon the radiator can settle into this spot and the system can be filled with water and set to go....not that it's is predicted to hit 107 degrees today!

It's progress folks, and, as with any remodel that's what we cling to day to day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

First things First

I promised the story on the vanity as this next post but I am still waiting on the quartz top and showing it without would be, in my opinion, not satisfying.  So, soon, very soon, I hope.  In the meantime we are moving forward.
Step one of this new powder room was to remove the pantry cabinets and relocate them to the basement.  So to refresh, here it is...

and here it isn't.

I should have documented the removal with photos but I was helping where I could and it was too late when I thought of taking pictures.  The doors and shelves were removed first.

Then the trim at the top was removed.  At that point we attempted to remove the entire upper cabinet frame.  Remember, we are in tight quarters here.  It was quite tricky as there was no wiggle room..this was wall to wall cabinet but my brother, Dan, managed it beautifully.  Once it was on the floor some of the top braces had to be cut just to get it through the pantry door.  There was more cutting involved in an attempt to get it down the basement stairs and, finally, as a last resort, one side had to be removed.  This small paragraph does not do the process justice, but only a video could tell the real story.

 Here it is being reassembled in the basement.  There was no back on this cabinet so I backed it with a piece of toile fabric I had on hand.  I didn't realize we would be going straight from tear out to reinstalling the cabinet, so this was a spur of the moment decision.  I measured out the yardage and stapled it to the frame before it became permanently attached to the wall.
I couldn't just use the wall as the back because there was an opening in the wall with a door that opened to reveal chicken wire stretched over the opening. (don't ask!  I have no idea why) 

I think it's going to work out well.  Before I could only reach the bottom two shelves and now I can reach them all.  That's a big plus right there.  There is some trimming out to be done, a little painting, and it will be back in service.

There is a small storage area in the room behind the cabinet wall.  The cabinets overlapped the entrance to this room by 1 1/2 inches so we decided to remove the door and extend the wall to fit the cabinet. 

The entrance to this room is to the left of Dan's hand.  The removal of the door was no big loss because it has never been closed in the 35 yrs. I have lived in this house. (somewhere in the history of the house,  a light was installed in the storage room while the door was open and resting against the wall.  After the fact, I suppose, they realized the door hit the light fixture when it was swung around to close.)

This is the door we removed.  I asked Dan to save the doorknobs for me and he said, "I suppose you want the lockset too."  I shrugged from my observation deck at the top of the stairs.  Then he handed it to me.

My jaw dropped.  Can you believe the detail on something like this?  And it was installed in the basement!

My second shocked response was, "This was here all this time and this is the first time I'm seeing it!" 

My friend, Vicki's, response was, OMG, it's Ralph Lauren.

So what happens to the bottom half of the pantry?
It will not survive although I will save the doors, the drawers, and the piece of wood that forms the counter.  It has the patina of 110 years of use and I know I'll find a way to recyle it.

I did find this advertisement behind the bottom cabinets.
It shows a housewife in her ruffled apron looking out the window at her clean clothes drying on the clothes line.

A  Blue Bird electric clothes washer for only $7.00 down.  They even offer a free demonstration in your own home with your own clothes.  The ad reads: Clothes washed by Blue Bird wear five times longer than when washed on the rub-board.  And if that's not enticement enough....Even the daintiest garments are washed by Blue Bird without the slightest harm.

The back of the card was lined for frequently used phone numbers.  Notice there were only four digits with an exchange as the prefix.  I was hoping to find something interesting (ok, valuable would have been nice) behind the pantry cabinets.  I wasn't disappointed.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Purchasing the Products

One thing I knew for sure is that I did not want a traditional vanity in my new powder room.  What I didn't know is how hard it would be to find a piece of furniture that would accomodate a sink, be the right height, and fit into the 42" space allowed by the plan. I'm pretty familiar with the shops that sell used furniture and I hit them all. One of these shops might have that piece next week or next month but I was not waiting until they did. I was ready to go now.
I finally found this piece that was scheduled for an auction.  I could have waited 3 days for the auction and possibly gotten it for less....or more, depending.  But I had a bird in the hand and I was not going to risk it.

Next mission was to find a sink that would fit and a faucet as well.  I lucked out by checking online.  I found this sink on Amazon and had it within three days.  It is an undermount and with some slight adjustments to the furniture piece (fingers crossed) it will drop into the space behind the top two drawer faces.  That nasty necessity called a drain pipe will eat up a little more of my drawer space.  In this case, I didn't have an argument.

(sorry, forgot to take a picture of the faucet before I dropped it off to be fitted for the cutout in the countertop)
 I bought locally because I wanted to see the finish (brushed nickle) and I also wanted to be able to exchange it easily if we ran into problems.   The faucet will have to be mounted to the right of the sink because there is just not enough room to place it in the traditional location.  That really doesn't bother me as I'm nontraditional when it comes to decorating.

Next task was to find a material for the counter top.  I knew I wanted a solid surface material.  Because of the sink cutout I was looking for something with a consistent pattern rather than the randomness of some granite pieces.

 After some debating I chose a quartz called Kenai by Viatera.  I found it early in my search and ended up coming back to it in the end.

The floor tile was the easiest choice of all.  I found it at the first tile shop I visited and knew it was "the one."  Although I need very little for this small room, it was nice to find a tile at a reasonable price. (Made me feel a little better about spending more than I wanted to on the quartz.)  It is a 1x1 inch tile by Mediteranea called Hera.

I was pretty sure I wanted a chandelier for the lighting.  I recieved a tip about a liquidation sale at an electrical supply and repair shop and dashed over to check it out.  I was given a pretour through the warehouse...well, where you could squeeze through.  It was/is jammed packed with what you would expect: bulbs, lampshades, lamps, boxes and boxes of light fixtures, and then a multitude of lighting in various states of disrepair. 

It was tough to restrain myself when items like this were begging for my TLC.

This one caught my eye and I still love, love, love it but...during price negotiations, I had them bring it down where I could see it better.  The wiring was brittle and breaking and not a rewire I was willing to tackle.  The price was already a little steep and tacking on the cost of rewiring was too much for me to swallow.

I found something much simpler, newer and cheaper.

It is a swag light but it will be converted to hang from the ceiling and light with a wall switch.  The plan is to add a few crystal prisms.  More on the outcome of that later.

With these purchases behind me I was now ready to select the finish for the vanity.  That will be in my next post.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Convenience Wins Out

After 35 years in the same house, I have finally decided to put a powder room on the first floor.  Why did I wait so long?  The simple answer is that there was no place to put a powder room that didn't require giving up parts of the house I liked just the way they were.  But the decision has been made and demo begins tomorrow!

This is the layout of the first floor.  Obviously, if money grew on trees, there would be some really fancy solutions that would probably include an addition and a bigger kitchen.  All of which would be lovely but not in the budget. Realistically, I needed to do this within the parameters of the exisiting footprint.  I mapped it out in my mind in a varitey of places but it always came back to putting it in the alcove of the dining room.

The entry to the powder room would be through the existing panty.  The door  would start at the wall on the right (just out of the photo...very hard to get a good shot of this small room) and end just about the center of the two pairs of doors.  That leaves room for cabinets to the left of the bathroom door...just not these same cabinets.

The table with the lamp on it sits in what will soon be the new powder room. 

(Dining room in stripped down version in preparation for demo)
The downside of this plan is that I lose the light and the view from the alcove window.  I still have a window on each side of the fireplace but I will need to paint the dining room a lighter color to compensate for the loss of the southern exposure. Secondly I will  lose some of the cabinetry in the pantry.
But the scales are finally tipping in favor of a first floor bathroom over all previous objections and I'm doing my best to turn this renovation into a win/win.

This is the planned layout for the half bath.  The window will now be in the powder room.  The radiator will be turned 90 degrees so that it ends up on the dining room side of the wall that separates the dining room and the powder room.  The plan is to move the pantry cabinets to the basement so they can still store infrequently used kitchen items. (Please excuse the direction of the black arrow and the slightly crooked drawing.  If you only knew how many times I redid this to get this far you would understand my not trying one more time to get it just so. Learning curves abound when it comes to electronic gizmos.)

(Just for clarification, the existing pantry cabinets are on the wall to the left of the stool and the door to the kitchen starts right at the end of the telephone shelf. That shelf, by the way, may stay or be replaced by a small piece of furniture.)

This little room has been the life center of the first floor for 35 years.  Dispersing it's contents throughout the house is going to be an adjustment but it has to be done.  Besides the normal kitchen bowls, muffin tins, pie plates, etc., it held vases, napkins, tea towels, phone books, recipe books, candle holders and candles, address labels, greeting cards, business cards, and menus from my favorite carry out restaurants. One large drawer was the "junk" drawer.  You know the one. (stapler, ruler, pens, screws, picture hooks, wire, outlet adapters, rubber bands, thumb tacks, flashlight, safety pins, extra keys, markers, scissors, tape measure, glue, scotch tape, and more)  I have moved some of these things to the second floor in my newly designated "office" space.  Now if only I'm on the second floor when I need it.  All those trips I made to the second floor to use the bathroom will be replaced by trips to get an envelope or a hole punch.

But, the decision has been made, and as with most hard fought decisions there are trade offs.  The biggest trade up might be the increase in resale value of the house.  Whenever that does happen, the new owners will never miss the "hub of the house pantry" they never had.

In the next post I will talk about selections for the new bathroom.