Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Kitchen: Before and After!

So my cabinets are finally, FINALLY completed! After waiting for MONTHS for Knoll to send a sample of the new acrylic material, we determined that the new product was too different to use. It wouldn't transmit enough light, so Julia and Polina decided to go with a plain, translucent acrylic, which I could have bought at any time!! Ugh...

Even though I bitch and moan about this, the Knoll product was way, way more expensive. I would have had to purchase a full sheet, which would have been about $1,000 including tax -- even though I only needed about one-third of a sheet. The plain ol' acrylic I ended up with looks great and cost... only $165! And I was able to buy just the amount I needed! So I guess it worked out in the end.

So here is the BEFORE picture...

And here is the AFTER!

Vladimir came over and he did a great job installing the cabinet doors -- check out the creative cabinet pulls. He basically drilled a hole into the acrylic, so you can pull them open with your fingers. Julia came up with this idea so we could minimize hardware costs. And I liked it because it's so unique (and cheap). Here's a close-up of the cabinets...

It is a great relief to be done. I took today off of work so I could put everything away and get things a little more squared away in my kitchen. It is nice to finally have drawers for my silverware!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The New Bedroom Area

It's kind of lacking in personality at the moment, but here are some pictures of the bedroom area... I think I need some area rugs and pictures and stuff.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Lights

Anatoly worked until well past 10 o'clock last night to finish all the lighting. It looks fantastic!! My place is now brighter than it has ever been. Considering how little light there was before, this is definitely a good thing. From top to bottom: the three can lights above where my bed will be (before there was one of those hideous lights usually found in closets with the pull-string); the puck lights in the kitchen cabinets; and the drop lamp in the living/dining area (looks really cool in person).

So now I'm just waiting on cabinet doors and handles, and the cover for the overhead kitchen light... and then this phase of the remodel will be all done!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Running Water

...Just one picture to post. My new faucet. Seems like such a small thing, but with the faucet comes RUNNING WATER. Yes!! This is progress. The sink is a little dusty in this picture, but it's a super cool matte, black color (in some kind of material that I can't identify).

And the other development for today was that previously unpainted areas with new drywall are now painted and I can't tell that it was just a patch job. So little by little things are coming together......

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pictures of My Half Kitchen!

Here are some pictures of the progress. It's been a whirlwind of activity. I knew mentioning the possibility of a TV crew filming would light a fire under everyone's arses. (I have neglected to mention that we already filmed the bit on Wednesday -- I wouldn't want people to not feel the pressure.)

In any case, they won't be done tomorrow as we hoped, but maybe some time next week. Things are looking good in spite of some miscommunications today about when the countertops would be installed. (They need to be installed before the cabinet guys can finish putting in the drawer fronts, etc.)

One of the surprising touches that I really like are my new light switches. I didn't take any pictures yet, but they are really kind of cool looking. I'll try to post some pics later. In the mean time here are a few of my countertops, cabinets and appliances, and new paint in the entryway.

The countertops right now are a light gray. Once they are oiled, they will become a dark, dark gray. (The sink, which isn't installed yet is also very dark - almost black - so it will blend in and look almost like it's the same material as the countertop.)

The entryway is now a dark gray... Maybe hard to tell in this picture, but it's a cool color. Almost a blue-ish gray.

And finally, here is my half completed kitchen!! The refrigerator and dishwasher (on the bottom to the right of the range) are actually fully functional right now. I don't want to start loading up the refrigerator yet though because I think they might need to move it to paint the wall next to it. The range might be, but it's all dusty. The gray wall in this picture is the same color that's in the entryway. It will go really well with the countertops I think.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Countertops

Forgot to add before... since the slate countertops and stainless steel sink were supposed to come from the same company as the cabinets, Julia had to come up with a new concept for these items as well. She decided on soapstone tiles in gray for the countertops and a sink in a similar-looking material. Looks good to me!

The Cabinets - Finally!!

I haven't updated the blog lately so here's what ended up happening with the cabinets... The cabinet company offered Julia a refund on the deposit she'd put down, so she took it and hired the contractor she'd lined up. His name is Vladimir and he is my HERO! Seriously. Julia brought him over last Monday to take measurements and look at the space.

He said that he could not build the same cabinets because he doesn't have the equipment and machinery involved in creating the kind of glossy finish we were going to go with before. But he said he could build them out of a walnut veneer plywood pretty cost effectively. So we said OK.

Anyways, that was last Monday. Julia said she'd get back to me in a day or two to let me know the timeframe, etc. Well, I didn't hear back so I gave her a call last Thursday to find out. I was expecting her to say like two or three weeks (or more). I was shocked -- SHOCKED, I say -- when she said, "Oh, I'm sorry -- I thought I already called you! The cabinets should be done this week and they will be installed some time next week."

Now, I've learned not to believe such words, so I was pretty skeptical. But I got the call today that Vladimir would be coming by with the cabinets and would install them this afternoon. I was so excited!! I'm still kind of in disbelief. It's been such a long ordeal that I didn't even really believe it until Vladimir actually arrived with the cabinets and moved them into my condo. They look fantastic -- he did a great job. Not only did he complete them quickly, but he also added some features that we didn't request (and I don't care if he charges extra since I ain't paying a cent above the amount I'd committed to on the original cabinets--thanks to the designers!) like a pull-out drawer below the sink; two extra upper "cube" compartments; and two low, flat drawers instead of one deep drawer. The last feature was especially thoughtful, because I had just mentioned totally off hand that I hadn't had a good silverware drawer before when he came over last Monday.

Anyway, Vladimir totally saved the day!! And after the cabinets are installed, Luis will be able to install the appliances, countertop, sink, and finish mudding and painting. Yes!! I see the light at the end of the tunnel! Now I just need to borrow a digital camera so I can start taking some pics!!

One more little update: We won't be able to film in my condo for the Halloween party, but I was able to get the TV crew to throw in a free day of daycare for Sidney tomorrow so that they can film me putting some Halloween outfits on him when I go pick him up. Yes, we are getting a taste of the good life and all the freebies that celebs manage to get vendors to throw at them!!!

Oh, and speaking of TV: I was watching "The Wire" not too long ago on DVD and they showed some crackheads squatting in this abandoned building with mattresses and a bunch of crap all piled into this room and dust all over the place. It was kind of shocking how similar it looked to the room that Sidney and I are currently living in.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Normally, I'm not horribly put out by delays and such... even as extreme as this remodel delay has been, I'm not too upset. Yeah, living in squalor is kind of a pain, but it's tolerable. BUT my mood has suddenly changed. This is primarily because Sidney has aspirations to become a TV star. He's already a star in his own mind (he's confused when people don't stop to pet him on the street), but now a TV production company wants to film him in his home environs while getting ready for a Halloween party. Sidney has a more active social life than his owner, as Ally pointed out today. (But to clarify, I am also invited to the Halloween party as Sidney's guest. Sigh.) Of course, our home is not really in a state that would allow for this. So I've had to get really bitchy -- I've been crackin' the whip today with the interior designers and general contractor.

[The backstory on the TV deal: A year ago, a production crew was taking footage to make a documentary about a doggie daycare: Sidney's daycare! They shopped it around to various cable networks and had no takers on the documentary. I know - shocker, right? Anyways, they re-cut some footage to make a 6-minute funny short about life at the daycare from the dogs' perspectives. And they made Sidney the star of the show!! They shopped the short around as the pilot in a potential series and after getting a lame offer from Animal Planet -- AP wanted the daycare to advertise some crap commercial dog food -- they got an offer from the Women's Entertainment Network (formerly Lifetime) to make the series! So now they're shooting a whole bunch of footage at the dog show and Sidney is getting all kinds of airtime.]

So on the remodel -- very little progress to report. I called the contractors to come back to keep working (mudding, painting, etc.) in spite of the delay with the cabinets. Not much has been accomplished. Supposedly they will finish by Monday. Yeah, right.

Meanwhile, the cabinets are lost at the Seattle port somewhere. God only knows how long it takes for stuff from China to clear Customs (I'm assuming there were no women trapped in the shipping container waiting to be forced into the sex slave industry) but the cabinet company has been really non-responsive to the interior designers' requests for status updates. So I talked to Julia today and she said that if we don't get word by tomorrow, she will get her lawyers involved and hire another cabinet company (she has a contractor already lined up) to do the work -- and MUSA will cover any cost differential. THANK GOD!!

Anyways, I am doubtful that things will be complete by the time they want to film, but I'll just have to rearrange the furniture so they can film in some small area.