11:51 p.m. — Saturday, March 21, 2009
Wow. This is the longest Raise the Ranch blog break I've ever taken. I feel a little guilty, but even more than that, I enjoyed my break! I guess life has been busy and the house has taken a backseat for the first time in a long time. As it should. Does that mean we're finally running out of projects?
Never! (Did I hear something about building a deck this summer...?)
We have, however, just completed one very important project: our kitchen island countertop! It's funny how few visitors realized it was made of cardboard covered with beadboard covered with a vinyl tablecloth. Even I got so used to it that I rarely thought about it.
But Ryan did not forget. He had a plan to finish the island by my birthday. (I did not know this was the plan...sneaky, sneaky.) True to form, he delivered on his promise.
Last month, we purchased the 3'x6' Numerär butcher block from Ikea in oak . ("Numerär" makes me think of Lord of the Rings...anyone else have this problem?) It was a few inches too short — one of the reasons we didn't buy it years ago — so Ryan solved this problem by adding strips of oak to each end. Norm would have been proud of his doweling and gluing. I know I am.
Next, he drew the curve on the wood using a clamp and a pencil attached to some twine (I thought his method was pretty ingenious)...
...And got to cutting.
Then there was lots and lots of sanding. Did I mention sanding? The smell of oak sawdust in the house was so nostalgic and familiar. It's funny how certain smells can bring you back. I have a feeling that for the rest of my life, home construction — be it sawdust, paint, a moldy fridge, what have you — will always bring me back.
Sorry I have no photos of the sanding or the planing or the edge routing. BUT I do have a photo after one coat of polyurethane:
And another after five:
Can you say, "Va va VOOM"?
Ryan's next project was figuring out how to get it upstairs without another strong guy to help. Because solid oak is stinkin' heavy. And his normal helper? Just recently had her gall bladder removed. Medical professionals tend to frown upon heavy lifting following organ removal. Strange, right?
Here's where I caught him trying to do it himself:
He somehow managed to get into the stairwell, resting atop boxes from when we unpacked and installed our cabinets three and a half years ago.
Wow. Did I just say that? Ryan, are you shaking your head in disbelief right now? I am. First, it was sawdust, now this post making me nostalgic. Well, maybe not so much nostalgic as I'M SO GLAD WE'RE NO LONGER SLEEPING ON PLYWOOD.
With the aid of several throw rugs, we slid the countertop into the kitchen.
See how shiny it is? The throw rugs are reflecting!
I took one last glimpse down into the island drawers. I definitely won't miss the tablecloth getting caught with the scissors and tape.
And just like that, it was out with the old...
...In with the new.
Ta-da! Isn't it beautiful?
It's held in place with six screws underneath:
Ryan wasted no time sitting down and placing an order at the counter:
"Pancakes and eggs, please!" See him tapping his fingers with glee? See his ridiculously happy smile in each photo? I feel the exact same way. This was the best birthday present EVER.
Here's my favorite view:
Or maybe it's this one:
I can't decide. All I know is...
This is love. Butcher block love.
3:05 p.m. — Monday, March 23, 2009
Our new Ikea TROFAST toy bins are right at home in our blue/green living room:
We actually meant to buy the unfinished wood units, but when we opened the boxes in our living room, lo and behold, we had brought home the white instead. At first a frustrating, "Oops," now I can't imagine it any other way.
11:59 p.m. — Monday, March 30, 2009
Occasional e-mails like this make all the years of hard work — both on the house and on the blog — seem so worth it. Thanks so much!
2:38 p.m. — Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Now that the island is done, I thought it would be a good time to do a kitchen "panoramic." Here's how it looks from every possible angle.(Click on any picture to enlarge.)
Wow. Just a little different than the last kitchen tour I posted.
I totally love this kitchen. I love the colors: the contrast of the dark cherry cabinets with the light oak island top, the orangey walls with the dark tile and the black/stainless appliances. I love how the windows flood the room with natural light and I don't have to flip a switch until near evening. I love my new shelf across the windows and the pendant light over the table.
I could not be happier with how this whole project came out.
Big things still to do in here: tile the backsplash, finish scraping grout off the floor tiles (ugh), and build the built-in-bench seating. But for now — and the foreseeable future — we're calling it DONE.