by Joe

Kitchen Rehab

February 16, 2014 in Kitchen by Joe

Nothing much has been happening around here lately so I haven’t been updating this blog as often as I’d like to be. I know, shame on me! I should probably be punished.

shaker cabinets

New cabinets coming!

However, a couple weeks ago something awesome happened. Wait for it…. We ordered our kitchen cabinets! That deserves a thousand exclamation points but I didn’t want to go too over board and break the internet. So with that news that means things are going to start happening as we near the undertaking of our first major home rehab project. Finally!

My original plan was to go with white cabinets. I just love how clean and bright a room with white cabinets looks. I wanted to go white also for the fact that it would make the room feel bigger. I quickly found out though that getting white kitchen cabinets made out of real wood would be an issue. They all seem to be manufactured with some crappy plastic overlay. If it chips, you’re pretty much screwed. No refinishing there. No thanks!

So instead of going with the white cabinets we decided to skip all the way to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and go with a nice dark coffee brown, shaker style. The kitchen will be mostly open to the whole house so I’m not too worried about going so dark in such a small space.

Before the kitchen rehab is even ready to be tackled we have so many other steps to take in preparation though. Yes, we seem to be stricken with road bumps at every turn. That’s what makes it fun, right? Right!? At least that’s what I’m telling myself. When you are basically changing the entire layout of a whole house though, I guess you can’t expect everything to go smooth and fast.

Step one. Remove the furnace chimney that runs through kitchen area. Wait that’s not step one, I’m getting ahead of myself already. First we have to get our new furnace and water heater purchased and installed. The type that can be vented out the side of a house rather than needing a chimney. So as you can see our first little bump is actually quite a large mountain. The new furnace and water heater will be at least 3grand or more I’m guessing. Then we have to traverse up on to the roof and start to disassemble the chimney. All the way to the basement ceiling at least. I’ve never done this or have seen it done so I don’t know how easy or quick this chimney removal is going to be.

After The chimney is gone, without falling off the roof hopefully, that’s when things will start to happen in a big way in the kitchen. The to-do list is long and pricey.

  • Remove 95% of wall between kitchen and dining room.
  • Put new back porch access in room next to kitchen
  • Seal porch access door in kitchen
  • Install wall studs
  • Install insulation
  • Run electric/gas lines/plumbing
  • New drywall on ceiling
  • Drywall walls
  • Painting
  • Install hardwood floors
  • Install cabinets!!!!!
  • Install lighting

Whew! That’s a lot of things to do, and I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of little things on that list.

The last step to our complete, brand new kitchen will be counter tops. We’ll probably have to live with plywood counter tops for awhile while we save up for the granite counter tops. Naturally every one we pick out and love is the top of line, most expensive stone. Crap! I cannot wait to cook in and enjoy our new kitchen. It is going to be awesome!

So who is coming over to enjoy a meal out of my fancy new kitchen when it’s complete?

by Joe

Happy Anniversary

July 14, 2013 in The Home by Joe

My how time flys! As of the first of July we’ll have been in this work-in-progress home for a year already. I thought it’d be an appropriate time to give the blog a face-lift in celebration. You like?

Sadly not much work has been done on the house, at least not on the inside. Right now my business isn’t doing as good as it use to so we’re just scraping by with no extra money to put towards home projects. Anyone looking to hire? Feel free to pass around my LinkedIn page ;) Or how about I shamelessly plug my glass art website and card shop

Even though no work is going on inside the home we’ve made great strides outside the home. I however cannot wait to get started on a big project on the inside of the home. Which will most likely be putting stairs up into the attic and starting to put things together up there.

If you forgot what things looked like, here is the before and after shot of the front.


by Joe

A Case Of The Flammable Grill

June 26, 2013 in The Home by Joe

I will start this post off with a warning. If you’re shopping for a new grill, don’t ever buy a Brinkmann grill. They look all shiny and high-tech but that fancy looking cheap grill may come back to haunt you. It certainly did in our case. We aren’t alone either.

We had this trusty Weber grill that was about 15 years old and still kicking. We are heavy grillers so it definitely got a workout. About 2 years ago we decided to replace it with something newer. We couldn’t afford todays weber grills so Barry settled on a gas Brinkmann that also had a smoker below the grill. Neat! I’ve always wanted to smoke stuff. Smoke food that is. Well as of a couple of weeks ago the grill has started on fire at least 4 times. With the last time almost starting the house on fire in the process of ruining 2 chickens that we had in the smoker part of the grill. The chickens were black as night but were still actually really good after I removed the charred skin.

All one has to do is google search “brinkmann grill fire” and you will see the thousands of people having the same thing happen. There seems to be some major design flaws in these grills and we finally had enough of this piece of crap insurance claim waiting to happen, and set off to find its replacement.

I still wanted a smoker but was thinking that maybe I wanted to get an electric vertical smoker, but then I thought “hey, electric, that feels like cheating”. As much as I like convenience for some reason I wanted to go through the pain staking process of baby sitting a grill for 6 or more hours. Maybe deep down I thought big-mouthed  Myron Mixon from that BBQ Pitmasters show would find out I bought a cheater smoker and endlessly ridicule my inept ability to make real smoked food.

We visited several stores to see what was out there for grills these days. I wasn’t all that  impressed with any of them in our price point. I would have been fine with anything that wouldn’t burn down our house but we also want something that will last more than a couple of years too. Not seeing anything we liked we obviously turned to the internet and see if we were missing something. As luck would have it we were!

Now I will preface with, I really really I mean really dislike Wal-Mart or SAMS club. I don’t like to support places of business that treat their employees like crap or aim to be the only game in town. Unfortunately the grill we found and wanted was at SAMs club. Drats! I suppose just this once I had to break down and spend my money at the only place that was carrying the grill that I had a crush on already.

smoke-hollow-grillWe had to assemble the whole thing which took maybe an hour or so. When it was all put together I stood back and took in what a magnificent thing was sitting in front of me. This grill was huge! It’s called a Smoke Hollow 4 and 1. This beast has a side searer, a gas grill, a charcoal grill next to that which also serves as the smoker for the offset smoke box. The smoke box can also be used to charcoal grill as well. As you can see this thing has it all and it was only $450ish. Now that’s some bang for your buck! It didn’t come with a cover so that was another $60. I’ve never gone all crazy over a grill before but for some reason this thing had my heart racing.

We’ve been smoking a lot of meat the past couple of weeks and we couldn’t be happier. Smoking with an offset smoker has a bumpy learning curve, as witnessed by a brisket taking me over 10 hours to cook due to wind, off and on torrential rains, but I still had fun. I will end with the fact that I will never like regular grilled chicken again after eating the smoked chicken we’ve made several times already. So juicy, so tasty. It is devine!

Oh and this grill doesn’t start on fire! Yay!

by Joe

Painting The Porch

June 14, 2013 in Porch by Joe

The one thing I love about bungalows are the porches. I’d prefer a huge wrap around Victorian or plantation style porch but that will have to be a future want. Our cozy bungalow porch is big enough to still enjoy it and worth spending a bit of time making it look nice. It’s kinda the part of the house that draws the eye from the street.

If there is one thing I detest, its glue-down anything. Whether its carpet, vinyl tile or what ever quick fix “upgrade” is all the rage that year. Hate it! The front porch had this gray carpet from probably 1960 glued to the cement the was torn, missing sections, and all together just looked horrible. Every time it rained hard the porch would also leak into the “cold room” below. That means either way the carpet had to come up so we could fix the crack that we knew was in the porch floor.

The carpet itself came off pretty easy. Actually it disintegrated like an old very loved quilt that was washed one too many times. The glue of course was another story. Thinking the glue is probably 10+ years old, gone through many a cold winters, that it was going to be chiseled or scraped right off. Of course that would be too easy. Maybe a grinder would work. Nope, that just melts and smears the glue. When all else fails, start shit on fire! With a roofing torch and a tank of propane in hand we went to work super heating the glue which allowed us to get the glue to release from the cement and scrape it off. The smell of burning glue was rather horrid, along the line of burnt hair smell. Good thing this was an outdoor project. I can only imagine the toxic fumes could kill a person.

Now with the glue gone we had a pretty well scorched porch. After some scrubbing the porch was ready for its makeover.

The stuff we used is Rust-oleum Restore concrete resurfacer and is like a mixture of cement and paint. It’s as thick as pancake batter and leaves a slightly bumpy yet smooth finish. Fills cracks up to 1/4″ so we that means we could fix two problems at once. No more leaky porch or ugly carpet, yay!

It takes two coats and the stuff isn’t cheap so it’s a good thing the porch isn’t bigger. 24 hours later and we have a shiny new non-leaking, not too bad-looking porch. It’s not perfect but it looks a whole lot better than it did.

I can’t wait to get started on some real major projects inside the house but for now we are making the outside look pretty and welcoming since it doesn’t take much money to make that happen. Especially when the house looked pretty scary to begin with.

by Joe

I Smell Progress Part II

December 12, 2012 in Kitchen by Joe

It appears I’ve been a really good boy this year and that Christmas has come early, and in a big way!

A very good friend of ours decided that us going on six months without an oven was long enough. He so very generously surprised us with an early Christmas present, an oven! When I found out I think I bounced off a couple of walls. I thought it was a bit much for a gift but when he sets his mind to something you can’t change it. We are so ever grateful and not sure how we’ll ever be able to return such kindness.

We asked if it was ok if we could throw a couple extra bucks at it so we could upgrade to a higher end model to which he obliged. Seeing as we also lost one of our fridges the day before we decided to get a fridge while we were at it.

It’s a Merry Christmas after-all! Say hello to our new oven and fridge.


GE Convection Gas Oven

GE Fridge

GE Stainless Fridge

Having been without the proper cooking appliances it probably goes without saying that I plan on going on a cooking frenzy! We had to go out-of-town these past two weekends so all I’ve been able to do so far was bake a cake, make a fabulous scallop and linguine dinner, and a dish called Tinga. If you like spicy chicken dishes stay tuned as I’ll be sharing my tinga recipe here soon.

So now that we have our temporary kitchen, a new shiny fridge and oven, I hope that means we can start saving our money again and move towards putting our house plans into action.

by Joe

I Smell Progress Part I

December 10, 2012 in Kitchen by Joe

I’m back!!!! Did you miss me? Of course you did!

Things seem to be getting better around here it seems. 7 grand later the truck is finally fixed, car is fixed, and I’m so ready to get back to putting money into the house. It pains me to think of how far along we could be right now if all that money didn’t have to go into our vehicles. We’ve had some pretty crappy luck the past several months. I feel a change for the better on the horizon though.

Lets get back in the kitchen…

I’m very happy to report that we have the temporary kitchen in. It isn’t pretty by any means but its functional. Some 2×4′s and laminated particle board and we have a counter and some much-needed shelves.

Kitchen Counter

Fancy New Counter!

With our temporary kitchen comes a sink and a dishwasher. I can’t tell you how old it was getting bringing all our dishes and such into the basement to wash them in the utility sink. We also had two fridges in the basement so that meant even more trips up and down the stairs, ugh!!!

Dish Washer

Hells Yes! A dishwasher!


Bad luck strikes again!

No sooner than when we move both our fridges up to the kitchen that both of them decide to quit working. Damn this luck of ours! One of them still works but has to be manually defrosted once a week for the fridge to work. A pain to say the least since the freezer has to be emptied and then we have to plug-in a hair dryer to defrost it.

Things can only go up from here right?!


by Joe

Nothing To See Here Move Along

September 8, 2012 in Kitchen by Joe

Sadly I have no new updates on the house. Everything right now is at a standstill due to money being needed elsewhere, like vehicle repairs. Barry’s work truck is out of commission right now to the tune of 4 or 5 grand, yikes! Which means he’s using our car which also means I am without wheels for most of the time. That certainly is no good! The sooner the truck gets fixed, the sooner I have a vehicle again, and the sooner we can start spending money and getting the house projects started…again.

As the saying goes “idle hands are the devils workshop”. So with nothing going on with the house I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and designing in my head in regards to the kitchen rebuild. I’m starting not to like the original idea that we came up with. Let me rephrase that, I love the idea of what we want to do I’m just not sure it’s the best way to go in regards to the flow of the house anymore. That and it may add a lot of unnecessary costs to the kitchen project.

Click Here to see and read about the original plans.

What came to me about the original idea is the design basically cuts the kitchen and dining room off from the rest of the house. I have a new idea that I actually think Barry mentioned the first time around, but we’ll just say it was my idea.

Another thing that popped into my head is putting the dining room in the back most corner of the house means the room will get zero use. That would be fine if the house was bigger but we need to make the most out of the square footage that we have. Any wasted space or useless rooms will be a waste of time and money.

Back to the drawing board!

I shall have a new blog post soon explaining all the changes and ideas. Stay tuned…

by Joe

Back In The Kitchen

August 26, 2012 in Kitchen by Joe

Couple of days ago Barry added up what we’ve spent on the house so far and it came to about 5 grand. Things certainly do add up in a hurry when you aren’t paying attention. If you saw the house in person you’d probably ask yourself “where?!”. That’s certainly what we’ve been saying when we look around. When things are so far gone, and there is so much to do I think it’ll be awhile before we can look at the house and say “ok, things are starting to look good”. I don’t expect Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart to come calling anytime soon.

Continue reading “Back In The Kitchen” »

by Joe

Change Of Plans

August 20, 2012 in Kitchen by Joe

The kitchen is now sitting empty, bare and lonely waiting to be filled with its fancy new look. Unfortunately we’ve run into a little problem in my design idea. Due to the small size of the kitchen the right thing to do would be use white cabinets and then bring in the richness with the flooring and counter. I’ve discovered there is no such thing as white cabinets made from real wood these days. Every “painted” cabinet is now pressed board laminated with some crap called thermofoil. I refuse to put fake wood cabinets in our kitchen. I really don’t understand the point. You spend thousands for a kitchen and once the cabinets start to show wear what is a person suppose to do if they can’t paint or re-finish them. Stupid I tell ya!

Continue reading “Change Of Plans” »

by Joe

Kitchen In Progress

August 14, 2012 in Kitchen by Joe

Things seem to be moving along nicely now with the in progress kitchen project. Or maybe I’m just saying that in hopes of trying to convince myself that this project doesn’t totally suck! What no sympathy?! Ha!

Last week I got most of the plaster down and out of the kitchen. Thanks to my awesome new window chute clean-up is so much faster now. Love it! I can make a mess fast and clean up quicker than it took me to make the mess. That is until I run out of garbage cans to fill anyway.

Continue reading “Kitchen In Progress” »