This House is Like a Rollercoaster: Cabinets, Carpentry Mayhem, Paint, and Rain

*Note: I have given additional details and descriptions on almost all of the pictures. To read those, just click on an image.

Once of our daughter’s favorite things is Laurie Berkner’s Song and Story Kitchen, which is an Audible original. In chapter one, the mouse in the story has a very up and down kind of day, and exclaims, “This day is like a rollercoaster!”

Our house story sure has felt that way, and moreso recently. As I mentioned in a previous post, June is shaping up to be a very busy month for us. We had trim and doors, flooring, cabinets, and painting all on the agenda, and were hoping that the septic system outdoors would be added as well. Some of these things are going very well, some have been a huge headache.

Starting off on a positive note, the cabinets for the kitchen (and vanities for the bathrooms) were delivered, and then installed. We ordered our Smart Cabinetry cabinets through Carolynns Cabinets in Armada, MI. We wanted powder coated cabinets, which are harder to find, as many companies like Kraftmaid use a plastic coating/lamination instead for their non-painted white cabinets. We had powdercoated cabinets in our previous residence, and they are very truly scrubbable, peel-proof and fadeproof, keeping that bright white despite the hard work I tend to put my kitchen through.

Carolynn and her designer Tammie were really great. They didn’t balk at our selection for our cabinets, even though they usually use the builder’s grade line from Smart and haven’t done custom orders from that company before. I can’t recommend them enough really, and their installer Brad was wonderful. He installed them quickly and with care, adapting to issues with our strange angles and not-to-spec soffits. He even corrected a difficult manufacturing defect on the pantry cabinet as much as possible so we wouldn’t have to send it back and delay everything. I was pleased to see him using a laser to establish a level line so all my cabinets are the same height on the nose. Carolynns is also doing the countertops on the vanity cabinets in the master and upstairs baths.

For the kitchen countertops we are using Geos recycled glass in “Kona” on the perimeter cabinets and butcher block ash countertops on the island. Both are through the home depot, with the ash going to be a DIY install of two 6’2″x2’1″ slabs. The ash countertops we actually got when they were on special buy as well. The countertops should all be delivered and installed by the end of the month.

The next thing on the list for the month was the installation of trim around the windows as we awaited the delivery of the doors. The carpenter our GC has been using we have had so many problems with (see Send in the Engineers, among other issues) and T and I were very hesistant about using him for our trim work. Our GC didn’t want to bring in another carpenter/company so we agreed to let him try. Well our reservations were well grounded, as the work on the trim left large gaps between the casings and the walls and was just really really unprofessional and unpolished. We fired him, horrified at the thought that when the doors were delivered they would receive the same treatment. Taking matters into our own hands, we sought and obtained quotes from several companies and decided on using D’Angelo Finish Carpentry out of Saint Clair Shores to finish the trim and install the doors. Chris D’Angelo is scheduled to begin the last week of June. We are breathing much easier that we won’t have to deal anymore with the surliness and shoddy attention to detail we have been plagued with in the carpentry arena since the beginning of the job.

The wood flooring install is scheduled to begin this week, and Richmond Interiors, our flooring contractor, has already begin preparing the flooring by stacking it and have installed the vinyl flooring in the laundry room. The wood flooring will be covering most of the house, and is the “fossilized” eucalyptus in “mocha” from Cali Bamboo. The hardness and durability of this floor is amazing. It is solid wood that has been impregnated with a proprietary resin or some such. We have take hammers to samples of it and left it to soak in water overnight with no effect. It should last a very long time.

Richmond Interiors is another company I would wholeheartedly recommend. They took on a material that they did not carry from a company they had never heard of and not only agreed to install it at reasonable cost, but handled all the ordering of the material right from Cali Bamboo directly. If their handling of the vinyl flooring install is anything to go by, their installers are great too. Bob, their installer foreman, looks at our house like a challenge to be figured out and has shown a great attitude and willingness to solve problems. I have found that clear communication and a “let’s solve this” attitude is incredibly important for a contractor and/or company to have, and makes all the difference between a part of the build going smoothly versus it being a difficult slog.

T and I have been working furiously for a week to try to get primer on the drywall before the flooring install begins. We are not yet painting the wood interior surface of the dome, as it needs to have wood filler placed in the seams and sanded before it can be primed and painted. The size and scope of that job means it will have to wait. We’re using Zinsser 123 Primer for everything and it seems to work well. It is bright white, thick,and easy to roll. We got most of the way there, and will continue as we can until it is all done. A few more evenings of rolling and we can cross it off the list.

The other source of frustration, spanning this entire spring, has been the unrelenting rain. It just seems to pour down every few days, preventing any site work on the septic field. Our contractor that will do this work, Keith of Superior Surfaces, was able to get the septic tank in, but the field and fill will have to keep on waiting until we get at least a week of dry weather. The forcast still doesn’t look good going into the next couple of weeks. We are praying for it to cease, and I am sure the local farmers are praying right with us, as I can’t even remember a time when so many fields remained unplanted this late in the season.

T has also been working hard on installing electrical fixtures, switches, and outlets. The giant 80″ fan we bought for the top of the dome has been installed and is beautiful. Fans with light kits have been installed in each of the upstairs bedrooms and every room has light now. Onward and forward in the drowning rain we go.

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