January 23, 2009

January 21, 2009

soapstone countertop installation

... the photos don't do the material justice... the counters are beautiful, especially after applying a coat of mineral oil. The mineral oil makes the stone darker and brings out the 'veining' more - it almost looks like a blackish greenish marble.

If we want the counters to be lighter, we should not treat the soapstone with mineral oil - the counters will then be a similar color/tone as in the installation photos above. However, if we want the counters to remain dark, we should apply mineral oil once or twice a week for the first month, once a week or every other week for the second month, then, starting the third month, as needed.

I prefer the darker stone, although both options look nice... it will be interesting to see how the material 'patinas'.

January 19, 2009

Dover White

The first (and only) paint coat went on today... Sherwin Williams Dover White. We're holding off on the second coat until after we tackle the living room renovation...

first appliance in...

... the oven/microwave unit.
Bryan tested out the microwave yesterday with some leftover Pad Thai... Result: Success!

January 16, 2009


Beautiful and serene photos by Michael Kenna, which help make this winter a little more tolerable...

January 14, 2009

white or birch?

Given the shape and spatial constraints of the house, our goal has been to redesign rooms in that they are equipped with ample storage and also so that they are able to serve double duty, i.e. guest room/study, dining room/library, etc.

Our original plan in the dining room was to have cherry shelves built into the north wall, floor to ceiling, so that there would be continuity/flow into the kitchen (the kitchen cabinets are cherry). Well... unfortunately, cherry shelves are not in the budget, for now. However, the Ikea
BILLY bookcase falls well within budget. PLUS, as luck would have it, 4 of the 31" BILLY bookcases fit perfectly, wall to wall, so that, almost, the bookcases could look built-in (minus the soffit detail). Question is.... do we go with white or birch?

I collaged a quick mock-up, in Photoshop, for both options:

Since the walls and ceiling will be painted white (Sherwin-Williams Dover White), I think I am leaning more towards the white option. I'm just afraid between the cherry kitchen cabinets and the white oak floor, adding another wood to the mix will just evoke visual chaos.

Call out for suggestions...

Happy Kitchen-less Anniversary!

4 months... We celebrated by not eating.

January 12, 2009

dog days of winter...

... at least somebody truly appreciates today's blizzard.

first coat of primer

January 8, 2009


After much deliberation, we decided to go with soapstone for the kitchen counters. Granite wasn't an option for us (even though it works very well in numerous applications, neither Bryan nor I were a fan for our own kitchen). We liked butcher block, however since we decided to go with wood cabinets in lieu of white, and since we have wood floors, butcher block would have been wood overkill. White Corian would have looked very sharp, but it is very expensive and a maintenance nightmare for a kitchen. Same with Carrera Marble. We thought about concrete, however several friends and co-workers have said the maintenance is not worth the cost. We also considered slate, however it just was too 'rustic'.

Soapstone is the material of choice for high school chemistry lab counters. It's extremely durable, temperature neutral and pretty much impervious to all chemicals. It has the subtle veining of marble, light grey when dry, however it turns a deep dark charcoal grey when treated with mineral oil (and in terms of maintenance, all you have to do is oil it every month or so, depending on how dark you want your counters to be...).

The soapstone in the photos below will be our kitchen counters (top photo is when wet, bottom is when dry)...

Installation should take place within 2 weeks. Woo hoo!

a little bit of inspiration

via Remodelista

thoughts on a dining room table...

Something about a table with benches (chairs optional) appeals to me...
UPDATE 01.14.2009:
Bryan nixed the bench idea. Something about a backless seat did NOT appeal to him.
... it looks good though.

January 5, 2009

kitchen cabinets - installation day two

Andrew returned this past Saturday with door, drawer and side panels, shelves, drawers, plus some shim and trim pieces. It was a full day of work (11 hours) but the cabinets look great! One really nice detail is the wall cabinet hinge - it allows the door to open 170 degrees.
We have one more weekend of work still ahead of us - we were short 3 shelves, plus 3 door panels were too big. Andrew also is going to bring down his router/jig so that we can flush-mount the hardware pulls. NICE!