Monthly Archives: February 2014

Asking a favor …

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been nominated for a Homies Award from Apartment Therapy. If you have a few minutes and you’d like to help my blog get a little recognition, please go to Apartment Therapy and give me a vote. Chances of winning against some mighty stiff and professional competition are slim, but you never know—I could make the finals! Voting ends at 5:00 a.m. EST, Feb. 22, —so hurry! Yes, I AM the queen of procrastination. Just checking to see if you’re out there! 🙂

Thanks from Our Bungalow’s 2nd Century!

our house

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Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall …

While I was busy stripping and repainting Old Mother Hubbard’s doors, Eric had his own project going in our mudroom. (We never call it “the mudroom,” even though that’s what a Realtor would call it. In our parlance, it’s “the back hall.”)

This room started as a covered back porch. It may have had half walls, and probably a corner post. As I imagine it, it was a charming spot to look out over the backyard, and part of me wishes it was still a porch. I assume it was enclosed as part of the kitchen’s 1940s remodel. Now, it’s the laundry room, and I find it exceedingly charming NOT to have to go downstairs to do laundry. If I had to do laundry in the basement (like my mom did when I was a kid), I would simply throw out my dirty clothes every week and buy new ones.

The back hall is part of the kitchen project because it’s been torn up a bit due to installation of our new electrical panel, and it shares flooring and paint treatments with the kitchen. A couple of years ago I painted it egg-yolk yellow with white trim. That’s when I realized I’d have to tone down the yellow to a buttercream for the kitchen.

Eric had to take the interior wall down to the studs to have the new panel installed.

wall open to studs

When you last saw the back hall we were having the linoleum installed. Here, you can see the wall on the right has been sheathed with plywood.

mudroom before and after

Up in the first photo, you can see some of the house’s original cedar shingles. I want the two original exterior porch walls to be shingled once again as a nod to the room’s past. (I plan to paint them the same color as the house’s exterior to complete the effect.) Eric indulged me by patiently sanding, cutting, and applying shingles to match the original three-over-seven (inch) courses. Then he created a beautiful frame around the electrical panel to match the trim throughout our house. We’ll have to produce some sort of art piece to fit inside the frame to cover the panel.

wood frame around electrical panel

With the wall completed, the real fun began. I bought my washer and dryer a few years ago. I was tempted to buy pedestals with drawers to go underneath them, but I didn’t feel like paying and additional $500 for the set. Instead, Eric built a platform with drawers underneath, and it worked quite well, except for one disadvantage: If we needed to move the appliances, the big single platform was difficult to contend with. I had to make up my mind—did I want to invest in pedestals at last, or should we simply put a counter over the washer and dryer? I decided I want the storage that the pedestals offer … and my old back doesn’t want to bend so far to scoop clothes out of the dryer. Off to Sears we went to track down matching pedestals.

WARNING: If you’re buying a washer and dryer set and are considering buying pedestals, bite the bullet and spend the damned money NOW, because for no good reason other than to annoy their customers, manufacturers change the footprint of their appliances every year. My W&D are from 2008 (eons ago), and while the salesman didn’t exactly laugh at our request, an online search turned up one used pedestal on Craigslist … in Wyoming. Rats! (That’s not really what I said, but it is a four-letter word.)

I had nearly given up on the pedestal idea when I spied two Samsung pedestals at Lowe’s for a mere $199 apiece. They were plain white and looked just fine. How much different could they be? If our washer’s feet didn’t fit in the right spot, Eric could just remove the attachment hardware, couldn’t he? Yeah, sure.

Duke was concerned about the dryer taking up his usual kitchen-island spot, but pleased that a blanket appeared on the floor.

dryer on pedestal

Eric didn’t have much trouble making new attachments for the dryer, and hefted it solo onto the pedestal (lifting a dryer singlehandedly amazes me). But the washer, which weighs a ton, was a totally different story. First, we attempted to muscle it up a steep plywood ramp. Nope. We didn’t have enough maneuvering room in the tight back hall, so we used the ramp to ease the washer over the threshold and into the kitchen.

washer and plywood ramp

I am no longer of much use when it comes to lifting heavy objects, so we teamed up: Eric lifted one end of the washer at a time while I stuffed random objects underneath. Paint cans. A 4×4. Isn’t this how you would lift a washer?

washer lifted onto paint cans

At this point I must have blacked out, because I have no memory of how we finally got the washer onto the pedestal, but it happened. Then, once it was attached, we had to get the whole thing back into the back hall. I remember being told to push (kind of like childbirth??), but I was wearing bedroom slippers on linoleum, and the washer pushed me. In the end, Eric persevered. I don’t know what we’d do if he weren’t so strong!

We immediately threw in a load of laundry. Several minutes later during its spin cycle, the washer was rockin’ and rollin’ on its new pedestal, dancing like it was in an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. We had left the little felt scooter disks under the pedestal! And they are still there.

So here’s where it stands: The washer sits slightly higher than the dryer because, unlike the dryer, its feet do not fit the pedestal hardware. Eric substituted two pieces of plywood for the original hardware. He’s going to replace the plywood with thinner metal … but that means dragging the machine back out and lifting it off and back on again. Eric says he needs a stronger wife. I plan to be out of town that day.

washer and dryer on pedestals

Our shy tuxedo, Fred, says “Heh-woe” from his dryer-top aerie. Yes, the kitties really do rule the roost around here.

Fred in laundry basket

And finally … a nice surprise!

My friend Jessica at Cape of Dreams nominated my blog for an Apartment Therapy Homies Award for Best Home Project & DIY Blog.  I am honored! I’ll let you know if I make the finals!

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When good cabinets go bad

We’re getting so close to the finish line! Some days I feel like if we stopped now, I could live with it. Of course, that’s crazy—I still have to finish Mother Hubbard’s transformation, tile the backsplash, and paint the doors and trim. And when all is done, there will be a few things I need to touch up.

This past week, Eric finished the narrow bank of drawers between the stove and the fridge. Because the space is so narrow, the drawers overlap the frame, and are not inset like the rest of the kitchen. It looks a little odd to me, but if we’d included side stiles, the drawers would be too narrow to be of much use. I am happy that I now have someplace to store equipment that I use at the stove, barbecue tools, kitchen towels, and long rolls of foil and plastic wrap.

open drawers

BUT … somewhere along the line, this cabinet took a wrong turn, fell in with a tough crowd, and allowed itself to be skewed. Our countertop installer mentioned that it was slightly warped on one side, and sure enough, we could see the left side was a little cupped. Hmm … Well, no one will see that when the cabinet is snuggled in between the stove and fridge. Eric attached the face frames and the drawer glides, screwed the pulls onto the drawer fronts, and attached the fronts to the drawer boxes.

What the hell?? The top drawer tilts down ever-so-slightly to the right. The second drawer tilts a bit more, and the right edge isn’t flush with the frame. The third drawer tilts down a little to the left, and its left edge isn’t flush. The bottom drawer hangs out to the left, too. It’s all … wonky. When I look at the uneven drawers, I imagine a snaggletooth jutting up from a bulldog’s crooked jaw.

looking down at uneven drawers

Somehow the whole cabinet not only warped on one side, but took on a slight helix twist. It was square when Eric cut and assembled the pieces. And the Caesarstone counter is square. Sigh … Eric will rebuild it (and I will paint it and polyurethane it). Again. But for now, I’m going to use it as is, snaggletooth and all, because I’m not sure when its replacement will appear. Maybe I will grow to love its goofy face … but I doubt it.

front view crocked drawers

Update: Mother Hubbard is recovering nicely from her cosmetic surgery, and is very eager to get out in public again. For now, she’s still curing, I mean healing, in seclusion. Soon, Mother H, soon! (Okay, truth be told, we’ve been a little distracted by our fantastic Seahawks and that incredible Super Bowl!)