Sunday, May 10, 2015

In which....ouch, this place is killing us.

Seems all we do these days is work on the apartment and then recoup in bed, feeding sore muscles and backs with Doane's back pills.  It is Sunday and we are sick of the apartment and of working on it.  It will be great when we are done, but it feels like that will be never.  We are getting into the land of being busy again in our other lives, and every day or several days that I have to take off to go look at a painting or a high chest feels like a day wasted at the building, but we do have to continue on our paths of making paychecks!

We spent much of the week procuring things for the apartment, which is my favorite part, naturally.  We hit Marden's which was selling the last pieces of furniture from a salvage operation at Scandinavian Designs warehouse in Chicago. To date we have procured a side board, a side table and a few chairs. All in all about $3000 worth of furniture (if SD's website is to be believed) for the low, low price of $420.00.  The chairs are all leather and the sideboard and side table are elmwood veneer with nickel plated steel


We also found a wood mill on Craigslist that was advertising 12' long x 24-26" wide pine slabs that we could potentially use for a bar top.  We borrowed Dan Waldron's trailer and drove 250 miles, hitting the saw mill first and then a record three Marden's in one day.  
We thought it would be a good idea, since we had the trailer, to go pick up the five rolls of carpeting, and padding that we'd purchased several months before in Brewer.  

The wood mill was the best part of the day.  The guy does this as a hobby and had taken out three slabs that he thought we might like.  

Upon reentry into Belfast some eight hours later...we had the foresight to text our man with a new toy, David Carlson, and asked him if he and his new bobcat could meet us at the building.  I think David should start driving the thing around town, like the guy in the John Deere tractor who drives up and down Main Street in the mornings!


Thank the gods for David and his crew!  The slab, which weighs probably around 175 to 200 lbs (its still green) fit beautifully on the forks of the lift and all the carpet rolls went right on top!  David expertly placed the goods right up on the second floor porch.  

Thank you David, Jared, and Davey for all your help.  These tired boys and their bulldog are mighty grateful!


One can never have enough practice and David guided his bobcat like a pro!


Here is the $800, swivel,leather chair on which Greg talked the guy at Marden's down to $125.00 because it was wobbly.  I wanted to protect the leather...its a gorgeous chair.  Going up!


Once we got all this in the apartment, Greg and I moved it upstairs to the master bedroom.  Each roll of carpeting is 13' long.  

I really like this carpeting, but I did realize yesterday after moving the 1000 square feet of it that will line the upstairs, how very hotel like it is.  Crossing my fingers that I didn't make a mistake

Our new breakfast bar top.  The grain is beautiful.  I am thinking a hand rubbed waterlox finish would be gorgeous on here.  We have enough left over from the first floor bathroom floor.  We are supposed to let it sit flat for 6 weeks and turn it to slowly dry....

Needs a nice sanding and the grain will pop.  


The padding rolls waiting to go up the stairs with the stair felt.  We bought the rest of the roll of carpeting to finish the main stairs to the apartment...they gave us a great deal and loaded all the carpet onto the trailer.  

Our haul so far.  We just bought another load of stuff from a friend's sister this morning, The elm tables are totally not my taste, but they are cool.  

I picked the sign up at a local flea market directly from the artist.  Perfect for the stairwell.  

Got the appliances and hooked the fridge up.  A major accomplishment.  


We realize we are one countertop short if we want to have as much seamlessness as possible.  We are looking for a 6 x 2' piece of black or gray stone for cheap if anyone can think of something...otherwise we will pick one up when we go back to IKEA in a few weeks to return stuff, and pick up a trundle day bed for the upstairs living room.  Still waiting for those 8 freakin' drawer fronts to arrive!

I spent yesterday on a ladder, on this staging, not looking down, painting the cathedral ceiling-ed stairwell.  Whose idea was that??   


Finally, the second floor painting is finished.  Carpeting could go down, but casing windows first is probably a better idea.  


I spent a bit of time the other day down at Saturday Cove beach looking for pebbles and interesting small treasures for Greg to glue into the cracks and creases of the downstairs vanity top.  It looks so great..I was doubtful after the first crack appeared in the wood, but now I am a believer.  The vanity looks great, love it.  


Today is our day off, and we started out shopping for the apartment.  Greg found the lights for the master bath and we bought some furniture.  Now off to start getting the boat ready for the season and to open up Sunny Side for our first renters on Tuesday....thanks to Bonnie Pierce for doing all the hard work there!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

In which the last floor is laid in the apartment

Well. my back tells me we did it.  Yesterday marked the day of the last floor being put down (save for the carpeting, but we aren't installing that.)

The mudroom at the entrance to the apartment now has a floor! 
Instead of looking like this....

The space has been transformed with the revolutionary new product that softens foot falls (in blue) and the grey ash / oak (?) flooring.  


It makes a beautiful entry way and we are hella excited its done.  Took one day of the two of us laying and stapling, but so much better than a week to put down a tile floor.  Now to get the closet doors (today), and wait for delivery of the kitchen appliances.


We were finally able to order get delivery on the rest of the kitchen, which should be here next week.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

In which there is fast progress now that the race is on!

Phew, what a week!  We are taking Sundays off these days, so last Sunday, on our procurement day, we found ourselves looking at hardwood flooring for the mud room, to try and save us time.  We came back to the building and unloaded and at that time, the kitchen looked like this. No floor, no cabinets, and the wall in the center of the space still unpainted.

I took the stain we used on the risers and for the trim in the living room and had it made into a paint.  I can't stop looking at the color because it is so rich and has such a great depth of intensity to it.  The darker gray is being used on the central wall and the stair core and really adds a nice cozy warmth to the space. You'll notice the first cut out of the walls in the kitchen...this is for adding a new plug for the stove. We thought we would do a gas stove, but never put in the propane tank for it.  So now with an electric oven, we've had to tunnel under the wall and the floor of the mud room to get it over to the electrical box. 



I think I posted last week about the great find on ash flooring.  It is beautiful, and made in North America.


By Monday, we were flying....Took us all day and into some of the wee hours of Tuesday morning, but we installed the floor, overtop of the blue Thermoquiet layer and also a moisture barrier paper.  The Thermoquiet does seem to muffle the sound of someone walking above...just not someone running a table saw!!


We finished Tuesday morning around 8:30 am, just in time to get the floor stapler and air compressor back to the rental place in under 24 hours.  Note that we also have wiring for under cabinet lights now too....hence the other hole in the wall!  The color of the floor is just perfect.  We love it!


By Wednesday evening, we had all the easy cabinets installed.  Greg took the last two cabinets and had to retrofit them around some plumbing pipes.  IKEA recommends that the rail onto which the cabinets fit is screwed into the studs every 12".  For an old building like this one, that was a tall order, so Greg tore out some more wall board and added nailers... these cabinets ain't going nowhere!


The same day the cabinets went up, the door fronts on the upper cabinets were put in place...fairly easy, most of the doors just snap in place on the hinges and all of them have soft close hardware....I love it!

This kitchen has some storage too!  I love this bank of drawers, and will love them even more when IKEA decides to make more drawer fronts!  We are short six drawer fronts at the moment. It was eight, but we have to convert the set of drawers next to the fridge into a cabinet with doors because of the large pipe coming through from upstairs.


By Saturday Afternoon, about 115 boxes of kitchen had been installed.  We will wait to put the side panels on the cases until after the backsplash is installed.  Appliances come Tuesday and then we can fit the counter tops.  We could have running water by Friday of next week!

All in all a great week.  We are installing another wood floor (same color) on Monday in the mud room.  


Saturday, April 25, 2015

In which the push is on!

We have been on the go since I returned from New York with more kitchen parts.  The push is on to finish everything by the end of June.  If the gods are willing than so am I!  There is so much to share, but some of my photos are on another device which I keep leaving at the building, so at some point you will see the new stairs and all the IKEA cabinets put together.  
For now we have to go back several weeks to show you the progress, oh readers not on facebook:

The tiles in the master bathroom came out beautifully.

 The shower is four feet square

 The floor of the master bathroom.  With the Deco double vanity that now hangs on the wall, this bathroom is killer!


The bathroom provides a nice entrance to the the master bedroom and also provides a great privacy barrier between the master bedroom and the rest of the apartment.  

Speaking of vanities, our downstairs slab and copper vanity is almost ready!  



While the tiling has been fun and the bathrooms look gorgeous.  Greg and I made a decision to scrap the tile projects for the mud room and the kitchen floor in favor of hardwood floors in those areas.  When we added up what the tile, grout, mortar, Hardie backer board, and caulk cost us as well as the time (we estimated that it would probably take at least 4-5 days per area to prep and execute more tiling.  We made this decision lightly and worried about it all the way home with 350 square feet of flooring in the back of the truck.  But we love the floor...pre-finished ash in a gray wash with lots of texture.  

I think the tiles worked out to 2.29 a square foot, which is a great deal.  Add the mortar and the rest, and we got ourselves up to almost $4.00 a square foot for the floor, without our time.  The floor, which is a premium grade flooring, was on a manager's special from Lumber Liquidators for $2.49 a square foot.  Going by the time it took us to put down the hardwood floor on the first level, it should take us a day to install each floor, saving us probably four days of work on each.  So, we are essentially trading the kitchen floor tile and materials in for enough materials to do both floors plus saving all that time.  BOOYAH!!!

It took us a few weeks of experimentation to figure out trim colors for the living area downstairs.  Big surprise that we picked a gray color!  We originally wanted to use old weathered boards for the trim, but we couldn't fine enough of what we needed, so we decided to make our own!  I found a "slate colored" Minwax stain that I cut 1:1 with water and ragged onto the boards.  After letting them dry for a while, a single coat of poly was applied to help with upkeep.  The boards below were used as the stair risers.  


And finally, the winter took a toll on the property, so Greg and I spent a couple of days raking and cleaning the lot, re-raking the pea stone, etc.  I don't know where all the pea-stone went, but I am sure a lot of it has been tracked into various spaces in the building...perhaps not the best treatment for the parking lot, but so far, better looking than hot top.  




For those of you who live out of state, here is a photo of the back lot around 11:30 in the morning on a Monday .  Meanwhile in Belfast, the pizza kitchen located in the lower level, opens at 11am every day and the place is packed out by 11:30


 I finally had occasion to leave all the lights on last night on my way to dinner so that I could see the ole' girl all happily lit up...first time in years, I think!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In which I get to visit Red Hook....Brooklyn

I am leaving on the road tomorrow, round about 6am.  I am headed to New York for some meetings, but I am more excited, not to run around the city seeing shows and exhibitions on my down time, but rather traveling over the bridge to Red Hook, Brooklyn, to the Ikea there.  Out of all the stuff we need, Red Hook has the most.  I am still going to be 5 drawer fronts short of a full deck, but its better than 8 drawer fronts, some side panels, and the drawer pulls!  Greg has also sent me off to buy the vanity for the master bath....of course, they are out of that style in Brooklyn, but they do have it in New Haven, so I am golden!  Of course New Haven doesn't have any of the other stuff I need.....so I am spending my Friday night getting my car out of hock and driving over the bridge.  I figure if I left at 7pm, I would have a good chance of getting to Red Hook by 8pm and have an hour to get my shopping cart together before the doors close.  Perhaps I'll wait and have dinner there....Swedish Meatballs, mmmmmmmm.

Have spent the last several days cleaning.  It finally reached into the low 60s here yesterday and Greg and I decided to spend that time outdoors, repairing the back lot at the Ocean House from the winter of snow plowing....peastone was probably not the best choice for Maine, but it didn't take all that long to rake the driveway and surrounding areas.  My question is where did half the pea stone go??

We've had our first confirmed rental of the season.  A nice couple who are building a house here have asked to be the first tenants of the Ocean House starting the 30th of June..We have 10 weeks from yesterday and it is time to kick it into high gear.  I finally finished grouting the last bathroom, so next is the stairs and the kitchen.  We'll make it, or at least we'll get far enough that our guests are comfortable.  But, as regular readers of my blogs know, we love deadlines.  Everyone shakes their heads and says "they'll never get it done in time." and then we do.  Simple as that.

We also had a blog reader stop in yesterday to introduce himself.  A nice young man from California who is thinking of moving here to Belfast.  Welcome Tim and Frank and thanks for stopping by the Ocean House to introduce yourselves. Good Luck with your endeavors!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In which I ponder our IKEA experience

About three weeks ago, Greg and I locked up the building, threw the dog in the back of the station wagon and headed down to Connecticut via Boston and Providence, RI.  One of our tasks was to go to Ikea and scope out their kitchens as an alternative to what we had planned to spend a lot of time creating.  We got there and were immediately put in front of a computer kitchen planner.  The planning tables are surrounded by examples of cabinets, counter tops, accessories, etc. and after a little fumbling around, we laid out our room dimensions and started plugging away.  The planner allows one to put in window and door openings and walls, etc.    Below is our kitchen space.


Now keep in mind, we are trying to save money, but also have a kitchen for our rental until that reflects a certain high-end sensibility.  We actually had a good time with the process, but were overwhelmed after several hours of switching out colors, countertops, styles, etc.  We were told that once we saved the plan on our planner in their system, we could finish it at home and then order the kitchen we wanted.  We assumed that we could call up, order a kitchen and then come back down to Boston and pick the whole thing up...simple as pie, if we wanted to go that route.
As we were leaving the store, we heard the announcement that any kitchen planned and purchased by the end of April would be on sale.  If we spent $4500 we would get 20% off.  Not too bad, and that would pay for the upper cabinets that we thought we could do without in our previous plan.
We got home and didn't look at the planner because we were not really sure if Ikea was the way we wanted to go.  After a couple of weeks we jumped back on and rearranged some things and decided that this was the way to go.  One great thing about the planner is that you can save your changes and then see what the final cost will be.  It took me about four tries to make it from $4300.00 to $4500.00 so that we could be eligible for the discount.

The photo below does not show our kitchen...too bad, but it does show the cabinet style and color we chose.  

What I love is the hardware we got for the drawer fronts, 16" silver handles that match our Maytag appliance handles pretty well.  See them here in this photo.
I hopped on the phone to call and order our kitchen....which is not what happened at all, much to my surprise.  Ikea has what is called a "first come first served" policy, meaning that pretty much, the company wants you to come to their stores and order what you need.  The operator on the phone told me that he could ship me about 50% of what we needed for the kitchen, but "the warehouse" inventory was pretty much sold out of the type and style of kitchen we wanted.  He told me we had probably designed the "it" kitchen that everyone wanted, (see above) and that grey was the "it" color.  If he didn't stop saying that we had the "it" kitchen design, I was going to hang up!  He discouraged me from having my idea of an all drawer kitchen rather than doors on the lower cabinets and said that if I changed a few things (the color, the configuration, and the cabinet doors), I could have my kitchen in about a week....otherwise he was not sure when I would be able to take delivery.  He asked where my closest store was and then checked their inventory, telling me that my best bet to get the kitchen I wanted was to go to the Boston store again and order it from them because that particular store had more in stock than the distribution warehouse in NJ.  I told him I would have to reconsider and then I got off the phone, more confused than ever.  How were we ever going to get this done!!

We spent a few days in Florida for the Easter weekend and decided that after getting home Monday night, we would simply load the dog in the back of the pickup and head back to Boston the next morning, leaving at 6am.  By the time we got to the store, there were already about five people on the computers ahead of us.  It was probably best that we went back in the end because the planner is in animation, so if one hasn't seen the countertops in real life, one is going to be disappointed when they arrive!  We had chosen what I thought was a black stone counter top on the planner, but what was, in reality, pressboard with a photo laminate of stone on top.  YUCK!  
We chose a beechwood butcher block counter instead, which bumped our overall price up a bit, but we also chose not to add cornices and case trim to the upper and lower part of the wall cabinets.  Once we saw them in place again at the store, we realized we didn't need or want them.  We also decided against going with IKEA under cabinet lights as they turned out costing about $100 a cabinet and we can probably do the same thing for less money ourselves.  

Once we finished tweaking our design in the store, a kitchen planning employee came over to help and she was GREAT!  She spent time going over the design and tweaking a few more details here and there.  When it came time to find out what they had it stock for our kitchen, they found about 80% of it in the store.  661 lbs of pressboard kitchen in 111 flat boxes, which took almost 90 minutes to put together for us so that we could take it down to the truck to load.  

Our kitchen planning helper told us that a further 12 boxes of items would be shipped to us, including the four 8 x 2' sections of butcher block for the counters, but that another 11 items (including 6 of the drawer fronts, the corner cabinet, and a few other things were out of stock and we would have to find them ourselves by continuing the check back on the website over the next week or so to see what store had what items in stock! 
Oh, and then the system said that they couldn't deliver the 12 boxes to us because we were outside their range of delivery and did we know someone who lived closer, was over 18 and who would be home the whole day they scheduled to deliver the packages.  We ended up sending them to my sister in Yarmouth, ME and we will go down and wait for the packages to arrive so that she doesn't have to do so. 
Ok,  since I am headed to NY in few weeks, I have been checking the IKEAs in New Haven, CT, Elizabeth NJ, and Hicksville LI for the missing pieces.  (I found that the Long Island store has 8 of the 11 pieces we need in stock today...but their stock probability table (no, really) shows that they will not be in stock by next week!  The Ikea website lets one store their "shopping list" on the site for a year  (a year??) and I can periodically go into the list and choose a store location to see if that store has the merch available.   I have also taken to checking the Kansas store....one never knows when one will be contacting one's favorite in-laws for a little shopping and shipping trip!  

Fingers crossed that the IKEA in Gnu Haven has the items I need in stock in the next 10 days as that store is right on my route to NY.  


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

In which we try to scrounge a kitchen.

The boys at the Ocean House took some time off this weekend and flew to Clearwater Florida for some Easter time on the beach in Sarasota.  We arrived home last night to snow swirling around.  After a frustrating last week of trying to order our kitchen cabinets and being told that not everything we want is in stock and it would be better 1. to order different color cabinets because gray is the "it" color right now, 2. that if we went to a store, (four hours away in Boston) we might be able to get more of the stuff we want and 3. we should order under cabinets with doors and not drawers to get the stuff faster....everything at IKEA is on a first come, first served basis.  The online e-commerce site has less choices for stuff than going to an actual store....meaning that it was almost impossible to order a kitchen online.  Guess where we are off to this morning???  Boston and back by dinner time!