Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Hi Everyone!

You might have notice that I've added a new button along the side of this blog.  It'll take you to a my new travel blog, Happy Trails We Two.  I'm still tinkering with this new site, but I have posted a view pics of one of our trips to get it started.  We'll see how it evolves.

We had been planning for years to start touring the country once we retired.  Well retirement came and went and we had busied ourselves downsizing into our new home.  Then, a few years ago we purchased a Pleasureway campervan and started out, but as many of you know, right away I came down with a bad case of cancer which stopped us in our tracks.  Yet, we did make quite a few short trips and enjoyed the van very much.  Last year however, we ended up selling it to free up some room in our driveway.
Pleasureway Along Skyline Drive, Virginia

Well, last September we decided to try again, and we bought a small fold-up camper....a used A-liner (12 foot long).  We took off right away and headed out West.  During that trip (and subsequent ones, too) I took hundreds of pictures of the beautiful places we visited.  So, I decided to share a few with you guys. 

A-liner at Prarie Lake State Park, Oklahoma
Right now we're at home making more travel plans.  Yep, there have been changes again.  If you're interested in where we've been and where we're going, hop on over to Happy Trails We Two and check it out.

Until next time.....Happy Trails    ---Karen---

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Kitchen Remodel

Hi Again.  Yes, I'm still alive. HA!!! Yeah, I decided I should finally finish up on my last post.

As you may recall, my last posting on our home's renovations was Year One's projects which included replacing the bathrooms, replacing the paneling in the closets with drywall, replacing the wet subfloors in the bathrooms and installing new, and then painting the bathrooms, closets and hallway. 

Year Two we tore into the kitchen and living room.  We removed the kitchen's new tile floors (which were covering rotting soppy subflooring), cabinets, and tore down the hall wall separating the foyer with the kitchen along with the half-wall separating the kitchen and living room.  We scraped off the popcorn ceilings throughout the house, removed the carpet and vinyl flooring, and installed crown-molding throughout the house.  Before all those projects, I painted the fireplace which I posted about here.

So, let's begin the tour...

My dear hubby scraped all the pop-corned ceilings and we both worked on prying up the kitchen tile floors after knocking down two walls:

Living room before - note hallway door and pony-wall on the right which opens to kitchen.  This room had vinyl floor.  the Hall had new carpet.  And the Kitchen had new ceramic.

Hallway before - I'm standing in the living room doorway.  The wall to my right will be torn down...the door to left leads to garage and has 9 panes.
Kitchen (before) looking toward living room - We're starting the teardown here
Don't worry....we had 2 engineers and 2 contractors look at that long hall wall to make sure we weren't  removing a load-bearing wall.  Even so, we checked the level of the ceiling daily for 3 weeks before continuing on.
Lets destroy some stuff...

Here's the kitchen before...these cabinets are just doors placed over shelving.  Behind the shelves are the original wall papers from 1985.  The entire house's walls were papered without any kind of sizing or even a coat of paint which makes it impossible to strip.  Attempts have been made through the years,  especially in the hallway, but the drywall paper just peals off...what a mess, ugh.  Why the builder did this???? Who knows.  But we couldn't afford to replace all the drywall even though the wall paper was starting to peal away at the ceiling joint.  So, we decided to infuse some more glue and then cover up the seams with crown molding throughout the house....something more substantial than the puny stuff the previous owns used in couple of rooms.  You can see their attempt in the following before picture of the kitchen.

Kitchen (before) looking from ponywall's window in living room

Hubby scraping off the popcorn in the foyer

Using our new hall bath as a storage room...we used the two bedrooms and garage as well.

Wallpaper behind the "cabinets"

Hall and pony walls removed (garage door on right)
Now, lets build stuff....

We decided to build a cubby along the hallway and move the refrigerator from right side of the kitchen (next to the backdoor) to this spot.  Boy that was a great idea.  It gave us so much more area and storage, too.

Hall wall removed, New wall (straight ahead) to house the refrigerator.  

New subflooring painted with mildew retardent for good measure, new cabinets going in, new stove and a make-shift coffee bar.  Awaiting the new dishwasher.  New sink light installed.

View from kitchen into the living room.  Note new crown molding and the ceilings are all painted.

 Let's do some lighting.....

So, here's what we chose for our dining table light. It's on a rheostat to tone down any harshness (Note I tried to hide the chaos of the garage with some window decorations on that door).  I like the way this fixture is a minor intrusion in this new space.

Dining Area light (Note new wood floors)
Bedrooms Lights replacing old grimy ceiling fans.  Huzzah.

Under-cabinet lights.  Countertops and backsplash in place.  We used the bronze hardware from the original cabinets.
We finished up with new wood floors in the living room, kitchen, hall and master bedroom.  We kept the newish carpet in the other two bedrooms.  We also decided to replace all the ductwork which was falling apart and pretty nasty.  While we were at it, we replaced the heatpump, too.  Big expense, but a necessary one.

Now, I wish I could share the TA-DA picture, but I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't finished painting the kitchen yet....yeah, I know, I know.  So, I'll have to share that at a later time, but I think you can get a good idea how we changed things up.

Would we do it again?  You betcha!  It has made this place so much more livable.  PLUS...its done, and we don't have to live with cramped and musty conditions.  Even though it was not easy living amidst the construction zone for over a year, and we were pretty broke after all was done, it was well worth it. Financially, we've rebuilt our emergency fund again after being here 3 years, and an added benefit is that we have built-in equity if we should need it in the future.