September 01, 2010

Special days all the way around

Today is September first... A day of special note for two reasons. First, it happens to be my birthday. Second, two years ago I received the best birthday present I could have ever wished for, Phillip and I were legally married September First 2008. Prop 8ers can stick that up there butts and shove it!

Ooops, did I say that out loud? I am sure that was inside voice.

We are striding toward moving in. A few rooms, but moving in we will. The past few weeks have been all about things we have never done before, and we started by turning our focus to the kitchen. Blocks between studs were first. Blocks for the bottom edge and top edge of the upper cabinets. Blocks for wainscot in the breakfast room and powder room. Blocks for baseboard, blocks, blocks, and more blocks, I was dreaming about two by four blocks night after night. The blocks for baseboards are the worst of the group as they are twelve inches off the floor and must be nailed really tight. Crawling around on hands and knees dragging the nail gun behind me was not my idea of a really spectacular time, especially when it dawned on me that this has to be done through out the entire house, every room, every wall. Do we really need them?... well,.... I have seen all too many baseboards applied to old uneven walls and only nailed where the studs happen to be. Holes and gaps, and lots of hunting for the two by four studs is what you are left with. With the addition of a continuous nailing rail we can have really tall baseboards that conform to the shape of every wall.

Kitchen and breakfast room getting a sprinkling of 2 x 4 blocks

And then the Pink stuff. I do wonder why it is that insulation materials just happen to come in a myriad of Pepto Bismal pinks? But pink it is! Pink and lavender. Two inch rigid foam in a lovely shade of lavender is applied to all soffit openings and then sealed around the edges with spray foam. This is to create an envelope around our living space that keeps the cool air in and the warm air out in the summer, and the opposite in the winter. This is so exciting. I am sure that as you read this you are on the edge of your seat! Well hang on and buckle in, cause it gits better!

Garry was with us again for a week and hand cut the foam to fit exactly in its new home.


There is yet again another rumor running around Healdsburg that a delivery of plaster board was made to 227 North Street. We rushed over, with our camera in tow, just in time to witness the truth unfolding before our very eyes. The rumor is true! Below is a photograph of the first piece of blue board being lifted into its place as part of the kitchen ceiling.

And drywall we did. After days of carefully cutting and applying insulation to the wall cavities our first piece of plaster board made its way into the kitchen. We really had no idea how long these processes took. We really thought that insulation was really quick and easy, and that drywall would go up in the blink of an eye. An entire twelve hour day for two of us was devoted to insulating just the kitchen. Perhaps we are too anal (hee hee, I said "anal") about fitting the insulation, but its our home and not a contractor special and it will pay off in the end. Remember a moment ago when I said that drywall would go up in the blink of an eye? ok, two and a half days worth of blinking to be precise, and that was just one room... 16 spaces to go... arrrg!

And then it happened.... months of planning and drawing, researching and thinking, considering and reconsidering, came to a head. In they marched, box after box of custom made cabinets. There was no fooling us this time, we knew this was  going to be a big, and painfully slow job. Go ahead, I dare you, put a marble on any one of them and that marble will stay perfectly in place! The cabinets are more level than gravity itself.

Crown molding and three surface molding yet to come, but the reality of the kitchen dream is amazing


Far from finished, but the space feels exactly as we wanted it to. Open and modern, yet classic with a historic feel. The cabinets will all be painted in a pale tone on tone treatment with white trim and finished off on the bottoms with tall baseboards. The counter tops will be honed white marble and the farmhouse table in the photo is our version of an island, it was built by the same cabinet maker who did the wall units and now waits for the same marble as the counters to grace its top.


Many of the blogs that I read and follow speak of the cost of things and how to reduce the dollar amounts involved. I quite often forget to mention that we are so out of money for our home and we are huge Suzy Savers! Take our Kitchen for example... All custom made by a very high profile and respected cabinet maker to our specifications. How could you possibly save money there? Well, you convince the cabinet maker that you are qualified to do the finishing (painting in our case) and the installation. "of course we know what we are doing!"... Not! But like everything else involved in our home, if we don't know how to do it we hit the books and ask every trade professional we come across lots of questions, and they do love to talk about themselves and what they do. I estimate we saved roughly forty percent on the cost of the cabinets, and we have a very nervous cabinet maker who has never, and I mean never, not installed a kitchen he created.



  1. Hey, happy birthday and happy anniversary.

  2. Happy anniversary! :) Love the table you'll be using as a kitchen island.

  3. This is SO EXCITING!!!!!!!! I am sitting here with a giant smile on my face as I scrolled down the page, watching the photos document the kitchen evolve from an empty room to a..... KITCHEN!

    The cabinets are classic and absolutely beautiful. You should both be so proud of this wonderful reality that you've accomplished by all your hard work, sweat and sweaty hard work.

  4. I've been reading your blog for a bit but this is my first comment. I love your kitchen it's going to be gorgeous! The extra time you've spent getting the cabinets level is so worth it. Our kitchen guy wasn't as concerned and years later it's still driving us insane. It's neat to see everything really coming together. Happy birthday and anniversary as well!

  5. So fun to watch all of your hard work and love transform this house. It really is amazing. (and I love the blog!)


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