Monthly Archives: January 2010

But YES, the Hippopotamus!

I’ve been having trouble sleeping off and on for the last couple of weeks.  This is different from my usual insomnia because I don’t wake up at witching hours (2:00am to 4:30am), but rather just wake up around 4:30 or 6 and can’t get back to sleep.   My brilliant solution for how to install the drawer fronts came to me at 4:30am last Saturday morning.

Normal drawer front attachments are done by taking the drawer out, clamping it evenly on the drawer face, making holes for the handles, installing said handles, and putting it back in place.  I couldn’t do this because the drawers themselves are uneven and the openings are also out of square.  I needed to mark off where to attach them while they were in place.

Since the doors below the drawers are in place and are level, I had a good starting point.  I needed to use a spacer of sorts to hold the drawer front in place while I used an awl to poke a hole through the holes for the handle all the way to the existing drawer front.  All my carpentry levels were too thick – I needed a spacer that was about a 1/2 inch thick.  Enter Sandra Boynton at 4:30am.  I decided to use one of the little girl’s old board books, figuring the thickness to be about right.  Went into the bookcase looking for “But Not the Hippopotamus” (my favorite, not hers) and found “Blue Hat, Green Hat” instead.  Impulsively, I decided I liked the irony of using a book where 25% of the words are “Oops”.

Blue Hat, Green Hat, Yellow Hat, Oops!

Used Goodnight Moon for the drawer next to the dishwasher.  I needed a little more heft on that side.

Goodnight noises everywhere...

Reading is FUNdamental. For carpentry.


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Filed under Cabinets, Kitchen

Don’t cook in the closet

So, how long have I been talking about having a broom/pantry closet(s) where I can tuck the microwave INTO the pantry closet on a shelf?  Hence having Lola move the electrical outlet to facilitate doing so?  A while.

In separate but VERY related news, I’ve been thinking about the fridge.  I don’t like this fridge.  It is a lemon.  The compressor has gone on it 3 times already.  We ended up having to continue to renew the extended warranty – something we NEVER do – because one day it will finally just give up and die.  And this is a fairly new fridge circa 2005 (I think?).  If we were to get a NEW fridge – only because this one dies – would we get a top freezer again?  No.  I’m tired of bending down to look into the fridge and our little girl is plenty tall enough to reach things in a bottom mounted freezer model.

We originally got the top mounted freezer because of the environment reports saying they are the most energy-efficient of all the styles of fridge – side by sides, the least.  The bottom mounted freezers are somewhere in the middle.  But.  They are all slightly wider than the top mounts – generally 32 inches wide compared to 30 inches wide.

Back to the closet.  I’d miscalculated how much space the fridge required when we laid the floor – I measured a generous 32 inches from the left side of the bottom cabinet.  Which was the one that I accidentally cut 1 1/2 inches from widthwise, forgetting that I couldn’t cut the same amount off its partner top cabinet.  So those two “generous extra inches” were sucked up by the top cabinet to the right of the fridge. Now I’ll need to set the right side of the closet in by another two inches to give me the flexibility of getting the fridge I want down the line.

Which makes the closet at least two inches more narrow.

Remember the IKEA Gorm closet system?  Of course I’m buying it.  If I were to build my own closet interior – it may or may not cost less but will certainly take 15 times as long.  GORM has two widths – 19 and 30.  I’m going to go with the 19 so I can still have a decent amount of broom closet space next to it.

I can’t fit my microwave onto the 19 inch shelf.  The door won’t open.

Yeah, so, it turns out the microwave is staying on the counter as far as the man of the house is concerned.  We go in waves where we use the microwave MANY times a day and then for months never touch the damn thing.  We are in a high microwave usage phase right now.  It sits on the counter above the dishwasher.  It is fine there.  It works there.

This isn’t a problem to solve.  Just keeping you in the loop on the circuitous thought process of this weekend’s project – the closet!


Filed under Cabinets, Carpentry, Closets, Electrician, Floor, Kitchen

I can hear myself think but the floor vibrates a little

Interesting development.  But first, the accomplishment!

I’d built the dishwasher side wall with a 2 inch wide piece of birch at the top – horizontally – to give extra surface for the soapstone to rest upon.  All well and good until we had the stone in place and then messed around with the dishwasher and realized I couldn’t level it to where it needed to be because of a square 3/4 inch of that piece of birch at the front of that wall.  I finally cut enough of it back yesterday to allow me to level it.  Did that part today and then attached the Granite Grabbers.  Super easy – if they really do end up working long term, I would totally buy them again.

So yea us – we don’t have to play catch the dishes with the tipping dishwasher anymore!  And putting the toe-kick piece back on the front of the dishwasher has muffled a decent amount of the sound, so I can hear myself think again.

Here is the interesting part.  Walk through this with me –  the floor acts as a single structure because of the underlayment beneath the tile; the cabinets are attached to the walls and sit on the floor; the soapstone is attached to the cabinets with silicone; NOW, the dishwasher is attached to the soapstone via the Granite Grabbers.  Do you know what happens now?  You can feel the vibration of the dishwasher along the tile ANYWHERE you stand in the kitchen.


Edited the title of this post on 01/15/10:  While I live in “earthquake country” aka California, and people make cavalier comments about the earth moving, the devastation in Haiti reminds us that the big one could hit at any time and any place.  This planet is a living entity and periodically needs to stretch its bones – many times, to the devastation of its inhabitants.


Filed under Countertop, Dishwasher, Kitchen

When does the dancing stop?

Ah, you think I’m talking about dancing for joy over the soapstone counters and the working dishwasher and flippin AWESOME sink.   Well, yes, certainly we are still dancing for joy in fits and spurts over that.

But really, I’m talking about the hilarious pseudo dance that results when you think you are reaching for something in the kitchen in its old landing place but you then turn on your heel in a Chubby Checker way and reach back in the opposite direction for where it is now.

Reach.  Twist.  Spin.  (woot! woot!)

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Filed under Kitchen, Organizing

The scary part is done now. Still tons left.

It has been a number of days/weeks since my last post and the last two weeks were a doozy.  This entire project has been peppered with me insisting that I’d planned enough time for any eventuality, doubled it, tripled it again.  And then still- pedal to the metal – we took twice as long to finish any one thing.  This last push was incredibly difficult with the overriding knowledge that it was the most expensive of the products going into the kitchen, the easiest to break, the heaviest to move.

We had hiccups at almost every step.  The initial movement of the slab in the garage, we broke the “arm” that made up the front of the sink (epoxy really IS my friend – whew!).  The faucet holes drilled easily in a few seconds with a paddle bit, but the hole for the dishwasher air gap took me, him, our next door neighbor, AND his drill almost an hour.  Building the dishwasher side was easy, but attaching it to the tiny area we left un-tiled wasn’t quick.  Attaching the false front to the sink cabinet took HOURS (and is crooked.  Whatever.  I didn’t notice off the bat and we can’t change it now.  It will be fine.)  Actually LIFTING the slab took him, the BEST UNCLE EVER, and our next door neighbor almost everything they had.  Much grunting, much heart pounding.   But it is beautiful!!

Unraveling the craziness of those two weeks will take me a few posts at least.  In the meantime,

Oh, and the dishwasher broke.  But it is fixed now.  Again, another long story.





Second view. The slab on the "L" is not yet attached.


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Filed under Countertop, Faucet, Kitchen, Sink