Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dishwasher Sound Insulation

Here is a quick pic of our old dishwasher.  It did the job dutifully for many years.  Its never been particularly quiet.  It has a plastic tub and minimal insulation that is covered in what looks like your average every day garbage bag.

Sound is where dishwashers have improved by leaps and bounds over the last 10 years.  This is the sound insulation on the top (yellowish) and back (black) of the new dishwasher.

The new one also has outer metal sides and has more of the fabric insulating material between the outer metal sides and the innter stainless tub.  The build quality on the Miele is remarkably better than our old machine.  Everything about it feels solid and well made.  My 17 year old son, always the funny guy, asked me if I was going to put a garbage bag over the new one to keep it pretty.  I could not convince him that the old one was actually MADE that way.  He thought I had rigged up a home made cover.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dishwasher Install

I found a new husband time out spot!  He spent a fair amount of time sitting in there pondering how he was going to install the new dishwasher.

Eleven years of crud under the old dishwasher looks like this.  The only thing that looks pretty good under there is the tile grout!  It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated - yeah!

The new machine in the spot.  We had a horrid time figuring out how to raise it up to the counter height.  The front legs were easy but for the life of us we coudln't figure out how to raise the back ones.  I google and I googled and finally posted on Gardenweb asking to see if anyone knew.  

Sure enough, they did!  There is a TINY little screw on the bottom front that you turn and the rear legs raise.  Its a brilliant design once you figrue it out.

We need to add a bit of trim to flush it out because the European dishwashers are a little narrower than the standard 24" wide hole in North American kitchens.  I'm glad we figured out the height thing because the top was a huge gaping hole!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Final Cabinet Step

After much debate, I decided to go over the cabinets with Minwax wipe on poly.  I have used it before in the past on small wood working projects.  I debated long and hard about going over the cabinet doors with it.  I pulled out my failed drawer front with the broken screws and wiped on some poly as a test swatch on part of it.  I asked all the kids and hubby and the the winner was the part with the poly.

Super sexy shot of my hand.

I had to take off all the knobs.  AGAIN.  It was easier than I thought wiping everything down with the poly.  It only took a few mintues.  Its almost impossible to photograph the difference.  It is subtle differenc but it does give the doors a polished more professional look.  I also think they will handle spills better with the coat of poly.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Do Knobs and Karma Have In Common...

What do kitchen knobs and karma have in common.  On the surface, seemingly nothing.  In my world however....

I have this funny shopping karma thing.  When I REALLY set my mind to find something, I generally find what I'm looking for on sale.  My friend Nicole SWEARS that the only time she ever finds deals is when she is shopping me with.

I had TWO such karma moments this weekend.

One happened yesterday.  Our kitchen appliances in this house are 11 years old.  I found our current Frigidaire dishwasher on SUPER clearnace as a scratch and dent at a Sears warehouse a few days after we bought this house.  I think it was 80% off the retail price.  It sat in stroage for three months at my in-laws because it was SUCH a good deal I couldn't pass it up. In its day, it was a pretty good machine.  It has features on it that I have never used.

Our current dishwasher has served 11 years of faithful service.  The other day, I went to load it and realized that the bottom seal of the door was lying spaghetti like on the bottom of the machine.  Its never a good thing when pieces of your appliances fall off.  It still runs but itss far louder than it once was and its only a matter of time before it leaks with a missing seal.

That said, I just helped my friend shop for a dishwasher.  She bought one she isn't entirely happy with.  I often thought that if I were to replace our dishwasher, I'd get a Miele dispite the outrageous price.

Now if you have EVER shopped for a Miele appliance you know that they just flat out don't go on sale.  Miele has fixed pricing at all of their dealers.  A bottom end Miele dishwasher is in the $1500 price range.

My shopping karma kicked into high gear.  I started googling Miele on friday morning and saw, much to my shock and amazement, that they were having their annual two day warehouse sale on friday and staurday!  I hopped in my car and drove straight there.  I waited in line for an hour in the freezing cold all the while telling myself I was insane to be doing this but it was the smart thing to do because there is no way we could wait another year for this sale.

When I got into the warehouse, a brand spanking new SUPER discount (more than 50% off) white Miele dishwasher that had my name written all over it!  I loaded her in the car and ran home.  I paid less for this Miele that I would have paid for an LG or Samsung.

We had to go to Home Depot to get an electrical box to install it.  While we were there tonight, karma slapped me in the face yet again.  Remember those knobs I was looking at on ebay?  Well there they were on sale for half price at Home Depot.  They were 5 for $8 and instead of buying them and waiting for a month to get them, I had them in my hot little hands with no shipping costs.  Four packages of 5 a whopping grand total of $32 for a whole lot of pretty.

I think they go quite well with the Gilmore cabinet pulls from Restoration Hardware. They have just enough metal on them that they compliment the pulls nicely yet are still nice and light looking.  My youngest son walked into the kitchen and asked me when we got the diamond pulls!  I wish I had 20 diamonds that size!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Contemplating Kitchen Counters

Its no secret that I am longing for marble counter tops for the kitchen.  I am having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around picking something else because we a sloppy and messy and I don't think that we can live with a delicate surface in our kitchen.  

I googled and found superwhite granite.  The online pictures I found were stunning.  It is suppose to the one granite that looks the closest visually to marble.  I realized I wanted to see it live and in person.  

I was a bit disappointed.  It was a lot darker grey than I was looking for.  This is the picture I took at the granite place.

They also had a venetian pearl quartz which I believe was actually quartzite (natural).  It was whiter than the superwite.  Both were in the $100 a square foot category.

I also looked quartz.  

They also had product that looked very much like the quartz that was made from recycled glass which the environmental scientist in me thought was very interesting.  It looks almost identical to quartz but is sustainable.  I have big ethical issues with granite and marble.  Granite was super popular 5-10 years ago and is slowly falling out of fashion for marble.  I went into Habitat for Humanity and was shocked at the "used" granite counters people had ripped out of their houses.  The dealer I was at, however, said that they had not used Geos yet.  I am waiting on a cost but they thought it would be similar to quartz.


I think I like the little hint of aqua in it from the glass.  It also has a bit of a beige undertone that I think would work well with my floor.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Farrow and Ball

I've tried a lot of different paints in my day.  I had a running gag with my neighbours at my last house that my living room walls had been every color of the rainbow.  You name it, paint wise, I've tried everything under the sun in regular home store paint.

I knew with the kitchen, that if I really was going to go through with this mammoth project, I needed to use a paint that was above all else durable.

I did a lot of googling.  I found several kitchens that had been pinted with Fine Paints of Euorpe paint.  More googling and I found it wasn't available in Canada and it was going to cost me over $200 a can with shipping.

So much for that idea.  I was on to plan B.

I had heard of Farrow and Ball paint from decorating magazines and had ordered a colour card in the past.  They have a wonderful palette of lovely colours that is very nicely edited.  There ins't a colour in their selection that isn't beautiful.  It would be really hard to make a wrong choice with their paint colours.

I spoke with a couple of painters and asked them what they thought of FB paint.  One said it was like painting with pudding.  Boy he wasn't kidding.  It is THICK.

FB paint is manufactured pretty much the same way as it was 100 years ago.  It is a natural, low VOC clay based paint.  I kid you not, I opened the can and I was transported back to gr 2 pottery class.  Its a very thick paint but its fairly easy to work with.  I was shocked at how well it levels when I used a brush.  The brused on finish looks almost as if it was sprayed on.  I used a high density foam roller on the first doors I did  but on the upper ones I used a brush and found it worked as well if not better.

I was worried about using expensive paint.  The shop assured me that even though it is spendy, it covers better than regular paint.  Ever the skeptic, I must say I was impressed.  A quart did all of my bottom cabinets.  I bought a gallon to finsih off the cabinets but I likely could have gotten away with just another quart.  It really does go farther than other paints.

Durability has been really good so far.  We have a kitchen stool that gets banged around.  After I primed the island, it had a big ding  in it from the stool.  So far (knock wood) the cabinets are perfect despite kid bangs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kitchen Color Questions

My friend renovated the kitchen in her 1960's bungalow last year. The part of the kitehn reno included taking down half of a wall beteen the kitchen and dinginroom. While she loves the ktichen and open feel, she is struggling with paint colors in her new open concept space.

Its no secret that when your in need of a paint color, I am your woman.  I LOVE color and can envision how things will look in all colors of the rainbow.

My friend, however, found herself in a brand new kitchen with a white problem.  She has the new white kitchen, white backsplash, a white framed window, white window trim and a white back door.

Love that clock and a stainless light switch cover would go well with that!

The window.

My frist instinct is go get the pretty Ikea Lidi doors color matched and paint everything that same white.  The door, the door trim, the window trim and the wall above the window and by the door.  That way your eye follows the white instead of seeing the different whites. 

Even with everything painted the same white, the window is still an issue visually because it is so much lower than the cabinetry.  I think the easiest (read cheapest) solution is to do a pretty fabric faux roman blind over the top part of the wall ending just where the glass starts   I think that a pattern like the Sanderson one that pays homage to the 60's nature of the house would be fun.

Of this swirl from Warehouse Fabric.

My photoshop skills are not all the fabulous but you get the idea.  It needs to be the same height as the cabinets and the full width between them.  It will draw your eye up and make the window look like its as tall as it should be.

The bits of wall around this window need to be the same color as the cabinets because there is only a strip of wall on the left hand side.  It needs to blend with the cabinets as much as possible camoflauge that it is off center.  

Lets see if I feel the same when I see it in person in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Whoops White Hammer ....

I was ATTEMPTING to prime the trim on the soffit today when my hammard fell off my ladder.  Really, I normally have really lousy aim but when there is a bucket of paint, I pitch with 100% accuracy.

And the reaction to my folly was priceless....

Its really warm and mild here today.  Carpe Diem.  Four more doors knocked off.  I decided to just prime and paint these ones and skip the wood filler because its a pain, a lot of sanding and I figured I could redo the doors if need be.

Big points scored for Farrow and Ball paints thickness and self leveling abailities.  It hid the oak grain almost 100% when I brushed it on.

You can see the brush strokes a wee bit.  Its really hard to photograph

I also managed to get one coat of paint on the soffit tirm too.  I'm loving how its all belding together and looking unified.  I will take a picture of it in daylight tomorrow.  My camera flash is a little too bright and really masks the trim detailing.

I am finding the white really makes my kitchen a whole lot brighter but its also made the ceilings seem taller. The soffit being all white brings your eye right to the ceiling.  The cabinets are hung at 8' and when they were wood stain, your eye naturally fell at the junction between the cabinet and the soffit.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Little Quilt Diversion

That pretty much sums up the weather here today.  COLD, grey and no need for a life guard.  Brrrr.  Its cold out there.  

In need of some pretty (warm) things to remind me of of warmer days, I dug out this picture of a quilt that I made for my cousin's 13th birthday.  I let her pick the fabrics and then told her I would surprise her.  I wasn't sure what to do, so I went with stripes!  Can you tell she is a fan of purple?

Not to be outdone by her cousin, my DD also wanted a purple quilt.  The initial idea was she would learn to sew.  The pattern we chose is called garden fence.  I thought it looked easy but this picture of her just about sums it up.

Its taken us way too long and its still not done.  It is coming along though but its been a long slog.  She does take pleasure in arranging and rearranging the blocks into seemingly infinte combinations.

Are LED Light Bulbs Worth It?

Over the years, we have installed quite a few pot lights in our house.  All but one take GU10 bulbs.  We installed the GU10 pot lights because the price was right ie cheap.

When we did our basement, I had a guy come in and drywall.  His english isn't great but he made a point of trying to tell me just how lousy the fixtures were that we had bought.  The bulbs in them burn out at a blistering pace and I am often doing laundry in the dark.

Not only are we plagued with constant burned out bulbs, the electricity consumption on 50W GU10 bulbs adds up to somewhat staggering numbers when you have more than a couple on at a time.  I don't think I have mentioned this before on this blog, but I am an environmental science professional by training.  I spent 15 years saving the planet from impending environmental doom yet here I am changing my light bulbs every week.

The final straw in this crazy house of cards came after we got hit with the tail end of Hurricane Sandy.  My youngest son started sleeping with the light on his his room.  A very large tree fell not far from our house and in falling, took out a street light.  The bottom of his school hard is also littered with various large branches from fallen trees.  Who can blame the kid for being scared?

Leaving on pot lights in his room burning 200 watts of dimmed light to keep him asleep pushed me over the edge.  I had to do something before I choked to death on my electricity bill and was swallowed up by the growing pile of burned out GU10 bulbs.

On a scouting trip to my local orange big box store for yet another package of replacement bulbs,  I was shocked and amazed to find GU10 LED pot light bulbs that use a miserly 4W each.  A quick calculation in my head made me realize that replacing the 4 50W bulbs in my son's room with four 4 W bulbs would mean we were only using 16W of power all night instead of 200!

I bought a staggering $70 worth of light bulbs and crossed my fingers.  When I got home, I started googling GU10 bulbs.  A little bit of quick and dirty research revealed that halogen GU10 bulbs are prone to early burn out often in as little as 200 hours.  They tend to run hot and ANY vibration will make them wear out early.  Given how my kids stomp up and down the stairs, I finally had an answer to my burned out bulb problem.

I am enjoying the LED's we have so far.  They are VERY cool to the touch but are not quite as bright or as clear a light as the halogen. They are, however, far superior to the compact florescent bulbs I have used in the past. If I get even half the estimated 25,000 hours of burn time out of the LED's I will be a happy camper.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Twinkle Twinkle Little Light...

A little diversion from the kitchen project today.  I confess, I have a thing for pretty light fixtures.  I always look up and so often, especially in bedrooms, I see something like what was in my daughters room.  A dome bubble light put in by a builder.

It screams BORING.  The quality of light from them isn`t anything to write home about either.  When my daughter outgrew the pink paint in her room and asked for green, I still wanted her room to have a girly factor.  Every girl, even big girls, need some girly in their lives right?

I started YEARS earlier, by scraping the ceiling cheese (stucco) off the ceiling.  I had primed the ceiling when I had pained the walls pink because I had ran out of steam.  With the green request, I wanted something that would make her dark room pop.  I had some left over pale blue.  I thought it would look pretty on the ceiling.  

I started by taking down the old light and adding a fairly simple $9 ceiling medallion.  

 This one gives you a good idea of the blue (sorry it was left overs and I don't know the color number) and the green (Benjamin Moore Gulford Green).

I found a very simple wedding cake chandelier at Canadian Tire.  It was on sale for $30.  I think it looks like a million bucks when combined with ceiling medallion.

Not that kind of wedding cake.... this kind.

When the light is on, it casts the prettiest pattern on the ceiling.  Its very girly without being too little girl cute.