Kitchen Remodel

July 30th, 2014

My kitchen remodel is complete!

The challenges of this kitchen on its own architecturally and my own limits (time frame and no knocking down walls) meant I had to keep the same footprint. The house is on a slab and the roof is flat – which means electrical really needs to go through walls. We did the work to California code which meant some upgrades but not as many because we kept the footprint. Anything else would have opened a huge can of worms in time, labor and expense.

I think we made great use of the existing space. There is now much more cabinet and counter space. There are specific cooking, cleaning and prep areas. It is so much more efficient and functional. We enlarged the total useable countertop area, added more cabinets that were efficiently designed for the space, replaced the window, made space for the microwave, installed a functional range hood so that it actually works and increased the number of electrical outlets. The granite is a great improvement over the tile counters. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking but this makes it so much nicer. Decisions were also made to try to make things easy to clean so I wouldn’t be spending my days scrubbing and dusting everything. While I knew I would really enjoy the granite counters and more drawers I have found myself surprised at how much I like the slightly larger sink, high arc faucet, new refrigerator and just having the microwave off the countertop. I also enjoy just staring at the backsplash.

The remodel began with interviewing contractors in the fall. We signed a contract in January. We agreed to use a custom cabinetmaker because of some of the strange configurations in our kitchen. We had seen his work and knew it was good. We also knew he was slow and has several projects in the works. So, we didn’t start the tear down until the cabinetmaker was close to done. The time from the tear down to the last day the contractor worked here was 8 weeks. One week we were on vacation so the work itself took 7 weeks. I did a LOT of grilling during that time!

The biggest snag in the remodel was the floor. We found we had moisture issues and the floor had to be leveled in spots. Fixing those issues were time consuming and expensive. We also learned the venting to the outside for the range hood was done improperly but that didn’t require much additional work.

At some point we will replace the stove but this is it for now.

Cabinets – White (KM Swiss Coffee) custom made
Countertops – Blue Pearl GT granite
Paint – KM Swiss Coffee and SW Crisp Linen
Backsplash – Pratt and Larson, 6 X 6 Motif H, 4 X 4 field and 1 X 6 field
Faucet – Moen Haysfield
Sink – Kohler Bakersfield
Range Hood – Windster WS5830SS
Refrigerator – Whirlpool French Door WRF532SMB
Luxury Vinyl Tile – Armstrong Alterna, Mesa Stone, light gray


The “before” photos:







The “after” photos. First, the view coming in from the living room:


The cooking area:


The clean-up area:


The food prep and baking area:


The area around the peninsula is the snack/quick food area. I love having the microwave off the counter. The shelves have been an aesthetically better choice and useful in many ways.


New sink and faucet in front of the pass through to the family room:


Backsplash tile. I feel in love with that flower motif and couldn’t find anything else I wanted to use so I figured out a way to make it work for my space.


A close-up of the granite. I searched several granite suppliers to find one I really liked – just the right amount of blue/grey/gold.

10429233_705084796238057_1266643564326962251_nWainscot added to the wall that goes between the living room and the family room (kitchen in between the two rooms):


New tile that my dog enjoys while I am cooking:


Finally, cooking a meal!



Sweet & Soft

February 8th, 2011

Layout using the kit Sweet & Soft from Nina Scrap Designs.



The Latest

December 26th, 2010

Merry Christmas to all!

Cody enjoyed Christmas. His present was in a box which he opened in order to get to his stuffed squeaky dog.




Afterwards, he was a very tired puppy.


Mike’s family came to visit us for the holidays. We went to the beach, Marine Mammal Center and Huddart Park for archery.


Cody enjoyed all the family time but also really likes just snuggling at the end of the day.




December 5th, 2010

More Cody photos ’cause he’s really cute.


Resting at home.


Outside climbing and exploring.


What a beautiful expression!


More Cody Photos

November 9th, 2010

We went and hung out in front of the library today. He’s so good with children. He sits even without a command and never jumps. Here is some more Cody photos!


Rope toys are the best.


OK. Squeaky toys are really good too.


Cody outside at normal speed.


Cody outside at “puppy crazy” speed.



He wasn’t very happy when he first saw Jennifer’s soccer ball. He’d bark at it and jump all around. I put a soccer ball in the house and played with him around the ball. He bumped into it a few times but continued to play his favorite game. Then, I click/treated any movement toward the ball. Finally, he was playing with it and now he’s making Jennifer work extra hard to use her ball in the backyard.


I’ve gone Creative

November 9th, 2010

I got asked to join the Creative Team for Ninascraps Designs at Oscraps.  I am very excited to get asked and to join this lovely team. Nina has a variety of wonderful products including her awesome “simple” templates. You can find her products and layout samples at Ninascraps Designs at O’Scraps.



Welcome Cody!

November 4th, 2010

As many of you know we lost our beautiful 13-year-old black English Cocker Spaniel Arthur to lymphoma in August. We had been thinking about getting a new dog before we even knew he was sick. At first when he departed us we didn’t know if we were ready for a new dog. Ultimately, we were and November 1 Cody joined our family.

Here are some photos of Cody. It’s hard to take photos because he’s always trying to mug me or stands too close to me. I look forward to a solid “stay” command. 🙂


On the porch swing:


He loves to chew and munches on sticks and pinecones and chases leaves outside:


He’s asleep. Ahhh…. Time to catch up on other things!



Cut and Color

September 17th, 2009

OK. It’s been so long I have to refigure out how to post on here!

I got a cut and color today. It’s the first time I’ve every colored my hair. It was getting full of quite a bit of white. For inquiring minds here it the new look:


It was called Light Brown. Lots of people are commenting on how the like it but I am thinking it is darker than what I want.


Adventure Photo Book

June 8th, 2009

I finished the digital scrapbook of our family vacation to San Simeon and Disneyland in November. Here’s the Shutterfly book of the trip:

Click here to view this photo book.


European Vacation Photos

May 31st, 2009

A few photos from our trip to northern Italy and southern France.

We started in Florence, Italy taking in Brunelleschi’s dome for the Duomo of Florence, Santa Maria del Fior. The cathedral complex includes the Baptistry and Giotto’s Campanile.


We also did a lot of walking the streets of Florence and visiting the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world which is housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi.

One of my favorite aspects about being in Italy (and France) was eating Gelato every day – OK, maybe twice per day. Gelato stores are readily available with an incredible array of flavors.



From Florence we took the train to Vernazza. On the way, we stopped at the quiet Renaissance town of Lucca, which still has its city walls intact. Much different from the chaos of Florence!

Maybe my favorite time on the whole trip was the two nights in Vernazza and the wonderful Cinque Terra. There’s only one real street in Vernazza where cars and trucks come down in the morning for deliveries. The rest of the day it and the side alleys all over town are pedestrian areas. This is the “road”/alley to our room in Vernazza.


One day we hiked the Cinque Terre trail from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare. Then, we rode the train to the far end of the hike, Riomaggiore and walked back to Vernazza. The trail was easier in some areas than others. The hardest parts were the thin terraced trail from Vernazza to Monterosso and the climb up the 450 steps to the hill town of Corniglia. The views at every turn were fabulous and worth all the effort.




Every day we ate a simple breakfast that we bought ourselves at a local store. We usually ate croissants, another bread item and orange juice. Lunch was often eaten quickly while we were changing trains or hiking. It was usually a hearty bread with meat and cheese. Dinner was always at an outdoor cafe. The weather was always perfect for an outdoor meal.


Cafe in Nimes, France

From Italy we spent a long day traveling to Avignon, France. We took a trip to Nimes to see some Roman ruins including the Colosseum.



In Avignon we visited the Pope’s Palace, the Pont d’Avignon and the city park. The old city is surrounded by a wall such as seen in this photo.


We also visited the laundromat in Avignon, figuring out how to read French directions and use the machines.

Next, we visited Arles, France – just a bit south of Avignon. There were Roman ruins there as well as a Colosseum. We got to enter this Colosseum and see it from the inside as well. The outside is being restored. Look at this picture. Can you tell which side has been restored?!


We headed back to the southern coast and visited Cassis, France. Here’s the view of the harbor from our hotel balcony. The Mediterranean sea is to the right.


Our goal in Cassis was to relax and visit the Calanques. We had planned to hike but our tired feet needed a rest so we took a boat tour instead to visit the calanques.


We set off next for Nice, France. We were derailed by a French train strike. We had to be re-routed and the trip took longer than planned. The main consequence of this was that 1) we didn’t get to go to Monaco and 2) we were getting really tired of train travel.

Nice had a great old town with a wonderful market.


The promenade in Nice is also a great way to walk and view the ocean.

From Nice we took the narrow gauge railroad Chemins de Fer de Provence to the medieval looking town of Entrevaux in the French Alps. We climbed the 500 feet uphill to the old citadel.


Today is our anniversary. Happy 20 years!!!


In this photo we are standing on the bridge over the Var river, which is the access to the town of Entrevaux.


When we exited the back of the citadel, we found a marked trail. We decided to do some hiking and followed the trail about another 500 feet uphill. We had a great view of the Var river and the countryside around it.


We finished our trip by returning to Italy. We spent a day in Milan, shopping for gifts, walking the shopping district and climbing to the top of the gothic Duomo.


We had a great vacation. It was tiring but we saw lots of cool things and ate great food. Our airplane ride home was the most disappointing part of the trip. One piece of Mike’s luggage got left in Italy by the airlines and we had to wait 3 hours in D.C. for a thunderstorm to pass. We got home at 10:30 p.m., very tired. The girls were very happy to see us return. Jennifer would not let go of me when she hugged me at the airport. It is nice to be missed.

These are 21 of the over 400 photographs I saved from the trip. Happy scrapping to come!