Transitions Are Hard!

In my last post, I spoke about my mother-in-law taking ill and going to Binghamton to care for her. I am still here in Binghamton and my husband Matt is back in Rochester N.Y. He is frantically trying to finish my mother-in-laws room so she can move in as soon as possible. While I am here we are beginning the process of packing up her home. We have worked out a system. I clean up the items set them out for her to look at and she decides what to do with it. We are taking it slow not just because of her health, but the fact that these items represent her life for the past sixty plus years. I wish we could take everything, but she has a large old house and has been collecting for a very long time! To help in the process, we made categories; absolute’s ( can’t live without) , maybe’s ( not ready to let go) , and it can “go bye- bye”.

Meanwhile, the addition/renovation continues to move along. They installed the range hood (it looks good) and will be working on the hardwood floors this week. We saved the wood floors we already had and where there are now gaps, unfinished floor will be weaved in and the new areas will also get the unfinished flooring. Once it is laid they will sand, stain and polyurethane it all. This process includes the kitchen, dining room, pantry, powder room and my office. The floors are really the last major item of trades work. We still have painting, staining, building shelves, putting up wallpaper cleaning, more cleaning and putting the house back together! Oh and packing and moving my mother-in-law from her five bedroom home to her new space. I’m tired already!

My husband sent me some pictures via his phone so I can share them with you!

In my dream kitchen there was always a gorgeous range hood. Of course in dreams there is no concern about cost! Did I get a wake up call (ha ha no pun intended) the price was exorbitant! Thank goodness for Nick from VHI cabinets. He was able to show us hoods in our price range. We found one and truth be told I love it just as much!

I can’t wait to see it in person!

We ordered our new stove it will be installed next week. We have not had a stove for months. I can’t wait to cook!

Hopefully, the floors will be done next week and I can share them with you!

Sometimes the Unexpected Happens!

If you have been following my Blog, you know we are putting on an addition so my mother-in-law can live with us. We lovingly call the addition the “Audrey Wing”. When things are moving along and you have your goal in sight the unexpected can rock you to your core. On Friday November second, that is exactly what happened to all of us when we almost lost my mother-in-law. She was having trouble breathing and used her Life Alert button. Life Alert immediately called us to let us know she used it and in turn we called her. While we were on the phone with her, the EMT’S came and were checking her out. While they were examining her she got dizzy and collapsed. We were still on the phone and heard them calling her name to trying to get her to come to. And then we heard them reporting the use of CPR. We were beside ourselves, she was alone, we could not hold her hand or tell her we loved her, it was horrible. Then we heard her voice, and it was music to our ears! She was confused and did not know where she was, but she was back. They took her to the hospital and we jumped in the car to Binghamton. With Covid-19 we knew the possibility of seeing her was not likely, but we wanted to be there anyway. Audrey ended up having blood clots in her lungs that had traveled from her legs. The hospital said if she did not have Life Alert she most likely would not have made. We will be forever grateful to Life Alert, the EMT’S and Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton for taking care of Audrey. She is home now, but will need someone with her until her breathing regulates and strength returns. The doctors said it could take as long as two months. My husband took the first shift, and I am here for the second. Her primary care doctor is in the process of setting up nursing aides and physical therapy visits. In the meantime, we will be working as hard as we can to get the addition/renovation finished . We have a lot of wonderful times ahead of us and look forward to starting them soon!

Since we are talking about Audrey in this Blog, I am going to share a little bit about her and some of her completed space. With her permission of course!

Audrey is a four foot ten inch, sharp as a tact, Brooklyn born spit fire. She knows what she wants and usually gets it! She loves her family and friends fiercely! These are some of my favorite photos of Audrey. She had talked about getting a little girl statue for her garden forever. We surprised her with it on her birthday. As you can see she had no idea and was thrilled!

This is the shower in Audrey’s bathroom. I love the pebble tile she picked out for the floor and niche!

Audrey’s favorite color is blue. It looks amazing with the new dark wood floor!

Next week the hardwood floors in the dining room and kitchen will be weaved into the original floor and stripped and stained.

Cabinets and Counter Tops Are In!

The long awaited day has arrived! My white kitchen is becoming a reality. The cabinets were delivered and installed over a couple of days. First the cabinets against the wall, and then the island. I would come home from work and a new cabinet would be in place. It felt like Christmas everyday! As the cabinets were being assembled we had our last appointment to approve the slab of quartz we chose for the counter tops. I still found it hard to picture it in the kitchen, but there was no denying its beauty! As with all professionals that have worked in our home Mike from VHI cabinetry was fantastic. He answered any questions we had and made short work of the installation. I know I have been continuing to praising all the tradesmen who have worked in our home, but its true all of them have been great! Once the cabinets were finished it was time for the stone to be delivered. I took the day off for this. I wanted to be present while my dream of white cabinets and counter tops was becoming a reality!

They’re here! I am already trying to decide what to put in the class front cabinets. I know a bit ahead of myself…

This is Mike the cabinet installer. He was a beast! He put the entire kitchen together by himself.

Voila’, the first piece of the puzzle: Done!

Now off to approve our slab of stone!

This is our slab!

Approval definitely granted!

The stone has arrived! You can’t see me but I am jumping up and down with excitement!

Jeff, Rob, John and Sam from North American Stone make it look easy!

This sightline from the family room will be gorgeous!

The piece of stone for our island. It still boggles my mind to say the word island in relation to our kitchen.

I am not going to lie. When the stone was all in I started to cry. It was so beautiful and I have waited so long the moment just took over.

We were gong to get a pull down faucet, but it did not come in the color that we wanted. Now, I am glad I love detail in this one!

We decided on a taupe color for the island.

Instead of stainless steel we went with a SILGRANITE white sink. These are the things you have to take a leap of faith with. In this case I love it!

There is still so much to do before we are done with this project! But, every time I see this kitchen not only will it bring me joy it will motivate me to keep moving! At this point I honestly do not know what next week will bring, but I promise it will be worth coming back! Thanks for letting me share with you!

Odds and Ends Until The Kitchen Reveal!

I know I was suppose to share kitchen cabinets and counter tops in my Blog this week, but counter tops won’t be installed until Thursday. Instead I will fill you in on some odds and ends that have been going on. I finished the desk for my office, the chandelier was hung in the powder room and the barndoor was put up.

This is the server my mother- in-law gave me that I envisioned as a desk. I refinished the top only to uncover the amazing burled wood. Burled wood is from a tree growth where the wood has grown in a deformed manner. When the tree is cut, the wood grain comes out in a swirl pattern. Very unique and beautiful!

I decided to paint the base of the desk with Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint. The wood legs were beautiful, but it was a little dark for the direction I am going for in my office.

The color is exactly what I was looking for. It changes it enough to suit my taste, but does not deter from the beauty of the burled wood top.

Look at that detail!

Here is the desk in my office. I love it! Now I just need to make some decisions on color and décor to go around it.

I picked this chandelier up for five dollars at a garage sale. I knew some day I would find the perfect place for it!

I can not wait to see it with the wallpaper!

The barndoor to the laundry room was hung.

I love the way it looks with the herringbone tile!

If all goes well next week kitchen reveal!

Its all starting to come together!

Just when I thought I could not take anymore of this addition/renovation project things started to happen. The plumber was scheduled to come this past weekend and install the washer and dryer. This motivated us to hang the wallpaper in the laundry room. In turn, that started a frenzy of door and trim painting. We also found out our kitchen cabinetry will arrive tomorrow and we have an appointment to see our counter top slab for final approval also tomorrow. These are frosting on the cake items! After all the months of feeling like it would never happen, it’s happening! After all the years of looking at white kitchens and saving hundreds of photos of them, I am finally going to have my own white kitchen. I can’t wait to share it all with you! In the meantime I will show you how the laundry room is coming along. In my last post, the Herringbone Tile was laid down in the hallway and the laundry room. It is beautiful and has kept me on cloud nine all week! As I stated before, we put the wallpaper up in the laundry room. The Astera Grey Floral wallpaper, from Ebern Designs makes me smile every time I look at it! I may even begin to like doing the laundry.

The first strip went up and it was everything I thought it would be! Remember the utility sink I asked all your opinions on?

The majority of you wanted yellow, so yellow it is. Can’t wait to see it in the little nook!

We only went down halfway on the second wall because that is where the washer and dryer will be.

It looks fantastic with the Herringbone floor tile!

My painting frenzy spot! Half of my French doors.

That’s all I have for now. I need to go and make sure everything is ready for the arrival of my new cabinets!

Long awaited Herringbone Tile!

This is the fifth month of construction and the third week we have been sleeping in a tent. To say I am ready for the addition/renovation to be done would be an understatement! Tent life has been fun at times and a real pain at others. Like when it rained all night and our blankets got wet, or when the skunk was outside the tent and sprayed. Luckily for us in the other direction. On a positive note we also learned that we like camping in a tent. My husband is from Brooklyn and was never keen on tenting. Now he’s onboard with a camping trip with my son and his girlfriend in the spring. I also want to thank all my friends who graciously offered their homes to me. I appreciate all of your generosity. Knowing that I had a alternative place to stay meant a lot to me! But, I really like being home, seeing my family everyday and being part of the addition/renovation progress on a daily basis. Like being able to see how the herringbone tile was laid in the hallway and laundry room. This is an extra special part of the project for me . I had a vision for how the hallway and laundry room would look with a charcoal grey tile in a herringbone pattern. What I found though was that it was not so easy to find the tile I was looking for. All of the local tile shops had larger tiles that would not work in the space, but none in the size and shape that I was envisioning. We saw a TV commercial about Rochester Flooring and decided to try there. At first, it looked like they would not be able to help us either. But to the credit of the salesperson at the store, he would not give up on it. And voila! He found it for us. The perfect tile! They ordered it for us and when it came in, I knew it was going to look amazing!

It was done in sections over a few days. The tilers like everyone else who has worked in our home were so professional and talented. It took hours to work out the pattern on the floor. Watching them meticulously cut and create the herringbone pattern was a sight to see!

This is the beginning of the pattern. We were asked which way we wanted the direction of the tile. I chose to have it pointing toward the garage entrance showing people the way out.

Laying this much tile took them all day. That is how precise they were!

He was on his knees the entire time. The other tiler cut the tile and gave it to him. He was in the zone totally engrossed in his task!

When they started to go into the laundry room they used a board to walk back and forth. You aren’t suppose it walk on it until it sets. They also had little scooters. I wanted to try one!

We chose light grey grout so the tile would pop!

Both the hall and laundry room were completed today!

I am in love with this floor!

The rest of the grout needs to be cleaned off, but oh so pretty!

The laundry room will have the utility sink and washer and dryer put in this week. No more laundromat! Yeah!

In the next couple weeks our kitchen cabinets and countertop should be installed! Can’t wait!!

Vintage Finds On Craigslist!

I used to check Craigslist on a weekly basis but then Covid 19 hit. The last time I really went there was when I found my French chairs. Even though they were an amazing find, I decided that encountering strangers during a Pandemic wasn’t a good idea. As we are slowly reopening, I have started to look on Craigslist again. When I was scrolling through, two items jumped out at me. An old schoolhouse bench and an original seat from the Eastman Theater, an historic theater here in Rochester, NY. To my delight both were available. The schoolhouse bench will be for the laundry room. Because of the size of the laundry room and how it will double as a mud room for us, I needed something small for people to sit on while putting on or taking off their shoes. The bench fits the bill. It is not only small, but the seat folds up to give more space when needed. The Eastman Theater chair was a really cool find. Especially since I live in Rochester where Eastman Kodak was founded by George Eastman. When my husband and I picked up the seat, the seller told us his aunt had rescued it during a renovation of the theatre in the ’70’s. It has been in their family for fifty years and it was time to say good bye! I will put this seat in our front room. I love that we own a little piece of Rochester history!

This is the Old Schoolhouse bench. It has so much character. It will add a lot to the laundry/mudroom.

Having the option to fold it up is a great feature.

The wrought iron legs will tie in nicely with the black school house light and pendant in the room.

I’m not sure if I will reupholster it. I like that it is in its original state.

This is the only picture I could find with the original seats. That is definitely our chair!

I was curious about the metal rack under the chair. I researched it and found out it was a gentlemen’s hat rack.

I would say I had a successful vintage find weekend!

Addition finally takes shape (literally)!

We often wondered what the addition would look like on the outside when it was finished. In the beginning, my husband and I were both afraid it would end up looking like a box jutting off the back of our house. It was one of the first things we talked about with our architect, Chris Hennessey. We asked her if she could make the addition look like it was always there. We were introduced to Chris by our contractor, Vinny from VJ Construction. The minute we met her, we knew she was the one we wanted to work with. She was very down to earth and made us feel comfortable immediately. When we asked her about the exterior aesthetics, she suggested different roof lines to create interest and make it look purposeful. Everything she has done for us has been amazing. She was able to give my mother-in-law the space she wanted, fit in a first floor laundry room, relocate the powder room, and carve out an office for me, all while keeping the space feeling open. It wasn’t until now that we can appreciate her attention to detail on the exterior of the addition. It ties into our home beautifully and absolutely feels like it could have always been there!

Recap of where we started from:

We began the project with the laying of the foundation in June.

Once the foundation was finished then came the floor joists and sub floor.

Then came the framing with father son team Dan and DJ of Dan House Construction.

This is when the size of the project started to really sink in!

The trusses went up and we began to see the different roof lines our architect put in the plan.

Here it is! The finished exterior of the addition!

The siding is dead on! The far right is the old siding and the left is the new. They did an amazing job matching it!

I think our architect, Chris Hennessey, accomplished exactly what we asked for. I love how it looks!

I have good news and bad news on the interior part of the addition/renovation . First, the good news! The drywalling will be complete in the next couple of days! Which means, cross your fingers, I will be able to get back into the house soon. Yeah! The kitchen cabinets will be done about the first week of October. The bad news is the counter top and flooring are looking like the middle of November to install. Looking on the bright side, it will give us more time to finish all the details!

Rerouted pipes become an eyesore and then a feature! Plus: A new renovation video!

I have to say we have been very lucky when it comes to any unforeseen problems in our renovation/addition project. As a matter of fact, we have had some very pleasant surprises. Like the half vaulted ceiling in our dining room. It was suppose to be normal ceiling height like the rest of the house. When my husband saw how the framing was vaulted, he asked the framer if it could be drywalled like that. He said he did not see any reason why not. As an added bonus, it would not cost any more. That was a win all around! There were two more instances that brought about a change in a very positive way. Both happened when our architect Chris Hennessey came by to answer a question for our contractor. That visit resulted in the foyer and family room becoming even more open by eliminating the headers that divided the rooms. It made an incredible difference in creating a more cohesive family room and dining room. It also made the foyer feel more like a proper entrance. With all these unexpected positive things happening, I guess we were waiting for the other shoe to drop. The shoe dropped when we started rerouting the horizontal waste pipe (yuck) that ran through the soffit above our original kitchen cabinets and was now between the kitchen and new dining area. I had wanted to get rid of that soffit for years! However, after they rerouted, we were left with a big vertical pipe in the entrance to the new dining area. My initial reaction was there is a big honking pipe in my kitchen. What are we going to do with that! After talking to the contractor, and doing some research, we found a solution that would hide the pipe and not create too much of a distraction.

They were able to move the original pipe from the soffit into the kitchen ceiling.
Unfortunately, they were not able to fit all the pipe into the ceiling.
One of the suggestions was to build a wall out to hide the pipe. I really was not in favor of that plan. We had just opened the family room into the kitchen and I did not want close it off again. So I started researching ways to hide the pipe.

New addition update video!

Kitchen Cabinets and Countertops! Drywall dust and Allergies…Oh My

When we decided to do the renovation I knew there would be some inconveniences. But I had no idea I would be living in a hotel because of my allergies. I’ve been dealing with allergies for years and get injections regularly. I figured the construction would irritate my allergies, but I was totally unprepared for the extreme reaction I had to drywall dust. The minute they started drywalling inside the house it was unbearable. I ended up getting a sinus infection and started taking an antibiotic. When that did not work my doctor prescribed another antibiotic plus a steroid. At that point, I knew it was time to get out! I checked into a hotel for a few days and now I am at my mother -in-laws in Binghamton N.Y. The good news is drywalling should be finished this week! Hopefully, I can return to the fray where I belong!

I am going to admit that I have been collecting pictures of white kitchens for many years. One time I was scrolling pictures on my my phone and my friend noticed all my pictures . “That’s a lot of white kitchens”. She said. My reply; you can never have to many pictures of white kitchens! There is something about white kitchens. White is a universal color, it works well with any style. It can lend itself to sleek and modern or traditional and timeless. Its like the classic white shirt. Its perfect for weekends or at the office. A night on the town or a night in watching movies. Best of all it never goes out of style! When the moment came to finally start picking out cabinets and countertops we went to the local big-box store. We worked with a very nice young lady. She helped us pick out cabinetry and counter tops from their selections and made a mock up of the design. When we showed our contractor, Vinny of VJ construction he said he works with someone who makes custom cabinetry. The look on our faces must have said; “There’s no way we can afford custom cabinetry”. Because our contractor said they could work within our budget. We still were not convinced, but nonetheless made an appointment to see Nick from VHI CABINET. We thought we could at least hear what he had to say. Nick is a great guy. He worked with us and determined that we would be able to get custom cabinetry. We were pleasantly surprised. He even showed us where the cabinets would be made. Over the following weeks we made our final decisions on wall and island cabinets and a range hood. When it came time to pick out counters. You guessed it our contractor knew a guy. That what comes with working construction for years. Much To our benefit! So, we made an appointment with Sam of North American Stone. Sam was easy to work with. He helped us a make a decision that worked with our design and budget. So exciting!

The moment finally came to pick out the cabinets and counter top for our kitchen. All my white kitchen dreams are coming true!

There were so many selections at VHI Cabinets. No wonder it took us weeks to make a decision.

The door color is Hearthstone we chose that for the island. The smaller block color is designer white that is for the cabinets.
This is the quartz countertop we chose.

I will be sharing pictures of North American Stone in the future. When our stone arrives we are going to see it actually cut. I will take pictures of the entire process and post it on the Blog.