Tuesday, April 23, 2013

wherever I am "put"

We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."
~ Oswald Chambers

Life is crazy. You'll have to ask me sometime about the two foster children living with us, semi-permanently, and the fact that they're 1 and 2 years old.

Yes, my life has changed drastically. No dancing. No extra reading. No house projects or crafts.
It is easy? No. Am I always having a good attitude about it? Not at all (just ask Bryce).
But this O.C. devotional from today is so challenging to me.

Whole-hearted devotion.
For His glory.
That is my aim.
Wherever I am "put."

(Notice I said "aim." Pretty far off the mark at this point but God is faithful and gracious.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Parsonage Kitchen {week six & reveal!}

Week Six
And the big reveal!
Alternate title: praisetheLordwemadeit!

What you've been waiting for.
The kitchen we've been planning for three years
has finally arrived.

Week Six--what we did:
Built inside cabinet shelving
Painted & installed under-upper-cabinet shelving
Put stove back together--finally!
Installed new light switches, outlets & covers
Loaded up those cabinets!

(Note #1: There are still a few items left to do: build and paint a step-stool, install shoe moulding, touch up the white trim, plus a little more touch-up paint on the cabinets. But we literally finished the above list just hours before 3 foster kids arrived for an 11 day stay. So the rest of it will have to wait until they leave.)

(Note #2: I'm still on the lookout for artwork and the perfect rug, so these "after" pictures aren't perfectly styled but you get the idea.)

I'll let the pictures do the "talking." Please comment with any questions you may have!

Connect to posts from all six weeks:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five

Friday, April 5, 2013

Parsonage Kitchen {week five}

Week Five!
Alternate title: In Love with the backsplash

By this point, we can taste the finish line and it's so exciting to think that we're almost there!

Week Five--what we did:
Completed backsplash installation
Sealed the backsplash
Repainted the stove pieces
Spray painted the light fixture for above the sink
Touched up cabinet paint

I'm trying not to give too much away with the pictures. Final reveal is next!

To make a long, frustrating story short: we had to paint the stove pieces again. I sanded them down with a drill attachment sander and steel wool. Bryce also took a turn sanding them and spray painted again.
I'm not sure that it's a long-term solution for how much they get used, but it works for now.

Counter = project central station. We lived like this for a few weeks.
I was so looking forward to being able to use my massive new counter.

Backsplash and "trim" going in!
Just a sneak peek.

It was like one big puzzle and Bryce worked over three days to finish it--he did an amazing job. By far, this turned out to be our favorite aspect of the kitchen. I used a matte finish polyurethane to seal it and brushed on three coats, two hours per coat.

Of course. The JD cute picture. I promise he doesn't live in those PJs.....just happened to be wearing them
for the pictures that I decided to post. :-)
Connect to posts from all six weeks:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Six / Reveal!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Parsonage Kitchen {week four}

Week Four!
Alternate title: Full steam ahead!

Week Four--what we did:
Prepped the backsplash
Painted the walls, a soft blue-green!
Painted the crown molding, white
Hung cabinet doors and put on hardware
Tore apart pallets & pressure-washed all of the usable wood
Built three new drawers
Put stove together . . . then took it apart again
Painted "window" opening between kitchen/dining room, dark gray
Touched up paint in the dining room, light gray

Lots and lots of painting work for me this week. And it started to look like a kitchen again, which was very encouraging.

Here's a glimpse of the "crown molding." Bryce built it with a piece of plywood + baseboard molding + 1x2 board + a small piece of "fancy" molding. It's one of my favorite parts of the kitchen.

Serious painting face.
I painted it the same white as the cabinets.

This was a fun day: finally, green paint!!! We've been planning on painting the kitchen green for over a year now and were waiting for the remodel. I wish we did it sooner....it changes the room so much.

It's a "cool" color (blue-based green) instead of the original "warm" yellow, and it just does wonders for the room.
I think you have to see it in person to truly appreciate the change.
This is my favorite view: dark gray, green, white, and black.

Wide angle view! This shows a good shot of the track lighting, crown molding and green walls.

I also painted the opening between the kitchen & dining room dark gray, to match the rest of the
openings (without molding) on the main floor.

Bryce hung the cabinet doors and put on the black hardware.
We "accidentally" found this hardware, on a super cleaning-out sale, when we were just glancing at styles at Lowes.
I had no idea what style I wanted, but this one seemed to work and I couldn't pass up the sale.
We couldn't be happier with how it turned out!

We collected 5 or 6 pallets and it took Bryce almost 2 work days to tear them apart.
That was a big job.
I pressure washed them, and that did wonders for their appearance and usability.
We let them dry for about 3 days in the garage.

Connect to posts from all six weeks:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Five
Week Six / Reveal!

Parsonage Kitchen {week three}

Week Three!
Alternate title: Are we done yet?

We started dragging a little bit during this week and there were a few issues/roadblocks. I started out the project on a "high" and then crashed during week three. To the extent that I had very vivid and terrifying nightmares that our kitchen would never be usable again. A little over-reacting, maybe, but the remodel definitely was to the overwhelming point! We just kept plugging away. Thank you, Bryce, for helping me stay calm.

We are definitely lacking in pictures for this week. The novelty was wearing off, I guess.

Week Three--what we did:
Finished the countertops (3-4 coats of ARDEX, 3 coats of concrete guard, 3 coats of concrete sealer)
Installed crown molding above the cabinets
Installed new track lighting
Prepped the walls for paint
Cleaned the house

Okay....so house cleaning isn't exactly part of the process, but it was very important for my sanity. Look at the dust (in the first picture)! Our entire downstairs was covered in this stuff. It took me almost the entire week to clean the house, spending about an hour on each room.

Look at the dust on the piano. Even the dining room walls were covered in that stuff.

Our little helper.  Justus wanted to help me paint.
Second coat of ARDEX completed.
The application did not turn out quite as expected, so time for Plan B.
(We just made this up as we went along.)
Here it is after the first coat of sealer--ARDEX Concrete Guard.
However, after talking to the ARDEX distributor, we realized that the concrete store sold us the wrong kind of sealer.
It was very rough-to-the-touch after drying and would not have worked as-is for a countertop.

Time for Plan C--we sealed the Concrete Guard with a clear, high gloss concrete sealer from Lowes.
That did the trick! This project took about a week and a half to complete: 9 coats + all of the drying time.

Cute picture time.

I took this when I was wiping the kitchen down--that darker area on the wall is just dust,
and the entire kitchen was coated in that stuff.
Note: We still think the ARDEX application--as we originally planned to do it--could work for a countertop. Please let us know if you are interested in attempting a similar project and we can definitely pass along what we learned! Click Here for the tutorial we attempted to follow.

Connect to posts from all six weeks:
Week One
Week Two
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six / Reveal!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Parsonage Kitchen {week two}

Week Two!
Alternate title: And the mess continues (i.e. concrete dust).

Week Two--what we did:
Finished drywall spots
Prepped wall where bulkhead was previously
Re-hung upper cabinets, 8 inches higher
Fixed electrical issues
Put in new-to-us microwave over the stove
Built countertops out of plywood
Started the ARDEX countertop application process

JD was blocked out of the kitchen for a few weeks and he did not like it.

Stove "before" picture. We spray painted the "bisque" top piece and the drawer on the bottom.

First upper cabinet hung! You can tell by the yellow paint line below it where it used to hang.
Also, on the lower left you can see the floor cut out and the duct work extension that Bryce added to bring the
vent to the front of the cabinet.

A friend helped Bryce fix some electrical issues that we were having, including new wiring that needed to be run for the microwave.
And Bryce moved a plug from the wall (that was getting covered up by cabinets) to the edge of the new cabinet (so smart!).

All of the upper cabinets are hung!
You can see my green samples over on the right.
Just some late night microwave cleaning.
A lot of our focused work was accomplished after 7pm when JD was in bed.
Oh yes--and the cleaning was my job, too.

This microwave is truly a godsend. A friend gave it to us after her friends redid their kitchen,
and it waited patiently in our basement for about 2 years.
What a thrill to finally be able to use it!

Cutting out the countertop.

And we're ready for the new countertops!
Please notice how the upper cabinets have now become tool storage.

Plywood countertops are installed--it's two thick pieces of plywood on top of each other.
My favorite picture from our entire project. This happened a lot: son watching father work.

Bryce is prepping for the ARDEX application. ARDEX is a concrete-type product that is usually used on
floors in industrial settings. I read about someone using it for countertops and we decided to give it a try.

Troweling it on. (Sorry about the blurry picture.)
Here it is pretty much dry, after just one application and before sanding.
More on this project during the post for Week Three.

Connect to posts from all six weeks:
Week One
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six / Reveal!