Friday, March 22, 2013

Home Improvement

We are continuing improving our house this year. Though I am still stuck on what to do about the kitchen counter we are merrily moving along on other improvements. We've selected the new vinyl flooring for the kitchen/living room/dining room space. It's made by Congoleum and is called Terrace Midnight. It's from their Luxury line. Not quite the most expensive but not bottom of the barrel either. I picked up samples from the local appliance/flooring store 3 different times and these were the final 2. Both Hal and I could go with either sample but decided on the left. The one on the right is called Iced Mocha. The photos aren't the best but better than the other ones I took. We'll be ordering when the store has their semi-annual sale at the beginning of April.

Another thing we bought this week, though it doesn't qualify as home improvement, was to buy a pair of recliners for the living room. Hal's old La-Z-Boy is more than 20 years old and has been repaired so often it no longer rocks or swivels. The material held up fairly well which was nice and probably why he was so reluctant to buy a new one. However, we hit that on going grand opening sale at the Art Van in Alpena and got a pretty good deal on a pair of cheap store brand recliners. I am certain they won't last more than 10 years but we got 2 for the price of a new La-Z-Boy.

The left chair, mine, looks a little squashed but I think it's just the camera angle. Though it's possible being on the low end of the quality scale there is something bizarre about it. Feels fine when I sit in it though.
I ordered "fern green" as the color and I swear the color I got, though the box says "fern", is not the color of the model in the store. It appears more gray-green. I suspect their current batch of material is from a different dye lot. No big deal it's still a nice color and should go well with the new floor. It's also nice that I now have my very own recliner. My favorite gliding rocker and foot stool now sits off to my right.

Another interesting little tidbit are the concealed pockets under each arm. There is a cup holder on each side and on one side a pocket for magazines or remotes and on the other buttons for massage and heat.

So that's it for spending money this week. Later this year we hope to put on new roof shingles and fix the wrap around deck which has rotten boards and iffy joists holding it up. I will be sure to post photos when things heat up.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2 Years with Ziggy

May I have a biscuit?
Two years ago today I (and my neighbor who held him on the way home) picked Ziggy out of 7 puppies, all nearly identical at the Iosco County animal shelter. He's been a joy to have around, Luna seems to adore him, and he adores her. He seems to like me and Hal, too. Haven't taken any photos of him today but here are some of the more recent ones.
He really loves running around outside, wrestling with Luna and chasing squirrels. He has yet to catch any but he has come close. He still very much acts like a puppy and has way more energy than I know what to do with. we take multiple walks in the woods daily and he is in fact whining this very moment to have walk number 2. So I'll just publish these and get to it.
It's up there and I want it.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Little February Snow Storm

Right at the end of February we had a mini snow storm and the next day Hal and I went somewhere in his truck. Don't remember where or why, but we were out before all the main roads were plowed. Here are some photos taken through the windshield on this rather overcast day. I played around with the contrast and brightness on some of them in post processing. Otherwise I felt like I was squinting.

Not too bad for hand held photography while in a vehicle traveling around 40 mph.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mini Kitchen Remodel

I have a small kitchen. Not as small as the one in our house in California, but no where near the size of the one we built in Virginia. However, it is a nice enough little kitchen. Hal built an island for it which I'm pretty sure I showed in an older post. I tiled the top. It helped with the usefulness of the room but I've never liked having the refrigerator next to the stove. Besides having grease splatter all over the side of the fridge, the fridge itself stood next to the landing to the basement stairs with about half an inch of floor space to spare. So an 18 cu ft refrigerator was the largest fridge that would fit in the space.

I found the original realtor's photo of my kitchen. That dark space to the right of the refrigerator is the first step down into the hall/basement stairs. There was no dishwasher then, either.
original kitchen 2000
closeup tiny counter between stove and fridge
There was only one foot of counter space between the stove top and the fridge which didn't leave any real room for moving pans around (and of course, lent to the grease splatter problem). On top of that the piece of counter was made from a cheap piece of scrap Formica that didn't even match the rest of the counter, nor was it attached. I had to slide it back against the wall every few days. I've been dealing with this for 12 years. You get used to things, don't you?

The vinyl flooring is also in very bad shape. It was not installed by professionals and was obviously pieced together from left overs. It's peeling up in places and missing in others. Because the kitchen is part of a "great room" including the dining and living rooms, the plan was to replace the whole floor, including the crappy carpet that is literally glued to the floor without any type of padding. I was going to do that last year, had the vinyl chosen in fact. Then I had an epiphany and it wouldn't cost a lot of money. Why not switch the fridge with the cabinets on the other end of the kitchen? Those cabinets share a wall with the sliding door that leads to the back deck. Lots of room for a bigger refrigerator there! Brilliant! I'm not sure Hal thought it was so brilliant but he agreed to do it in February, after hunting season and after he'd already cut plenty of firewood. So the new flooring was put on hold and last month Hal went to work.

removal of cabinets
First he removed the upper and base cabinets. Then he had to cut off a piece of the counter. He was very careful, first scoring the surface with a knife to prevent chipping, then at the backsplash he had to use a hacksaw since the circular saw wouldn't fit. We actually left a 15" overhang of counter to slide the trash can beneath. At long last, a trash can I don't trip over!

hacksawing the back splash

After moving the refrigerator he had to switch the hinge from the right side to the left. Note the counter overhang that the trash can will go underneath.

Here is the completed cabinet/counter wall where the refrigerator used to be. I've got a nice expanse next to the stove now. Unfortunately, though I planned to tile the counter to match the island, the store where I bought the tile no longer carries anything but white 4" tile. So this is how things stand till I can track down tile somewhere else, or do something entirely different. I still like this much better. And now that the kitchen is set up the way I want it, when the flooring goes on sale in April, we can finish things up.