It's been an amazing year in Heck's Kitchen. The guys are cooking. Kris is
gaining her kitchen-mojo back, and better still, we had an update.
If you're interested in understanding why we had to do this, go to the
before page. Just a reminder. It's a buyer beware
market. When you buy a place, check everything and trust no one.
Click here for the most recent blog.
- July 30th, 2008
- Hi everyone. It's been just over a year, and we finally have something
cool to report. After some 15 repairs and 2 field service bulletin
installs, the fridge manufacturer has finally agreed that the unit should be
replaced. We're getting a new fridge. It's been way too long, and we're
still wondering how we got to this point. Amazing isn't it? Well, aside from
that, Kris is happily into her new diet and has regained much of her
kitchen-mojo. She's had me assist in her creations and I'm pleased to no
end. Our four-person kitchen is sure to have some interesting times ahead
and some amazing meals. Maybe we'll even post some pictures when the new
fridge arrives. Stay tuned!
- July 11th
- We had the senior service reps show up today to look at the fridge.
There were three separate issues that were all addressed. The flooding was
caused by the ice-maker being stuck in the flood-the-kitchen setting,
apparently. We have a repaired unit now, with a new one on order. The fridge
is finally quiet and functioning. Amazing. Maybe we can have the Gala now,
especially since I've been honing my skills in the meantime.
- July 8th
- The new schedule date for someone to show up is July 11th. This person
is supposed to be the senior repair technician. In the mean time, I was
updating the kids bathroom and found that the door frame was not connected
to the wall by anything but the casings. Sheesh.
- July 5th
- Well, we had the service person come out for the fridge today and guess
what. He wasn't authorized to work on our particular brand/model. What a
surprise! You'd think they would have checked first, given that it was the
manufacturer who set up the appointment in the first place. There aren't
enough cusses in Chef Ramsay's vocabulary to express how I feel about the
- July 4th
- We received a response today from the Better Business Bureau.
Apparently, it's acceptable to them that a fridge with a built-in ice maker
that does not work constitutes a fully functional unit. We are not amused.
So, instead of closing off the renovation, we're still in fridge hell. In
fact, we think the Hell must have frozen over. We're supposed to have a
repair person come out tomorrow. We'll see what happens, if and when that
- June 24th
- It's now been two weeks since the water adventure with the fridge from
Heck and no one has shown up to do anything about it. I have been looking
around for a good lawyer. Both the retailer and manufacturer assure me that
things are moving along, but I have yet to see any
real progress. Most of the renovation was
completed on time, but the longest and most painful part of this whole mess
has been the fridge. It's now been 16 weeks since it was delivered, and that
long, less three days since it failed. For those of you waiting for the
Opening Gala, we've been delayed since the beginning of April with a
marginal refrigeration unit. You can blame them for it. At least I've found
a dry-ice supplier just in case.
- June 10th
- After a week of rather difficult phone calls, and a report to the Better
Business Bureau, I've managed to get a report from the fridge retailer that
the Director of the manufacturer is looking into it. Oh joy. We'll see if
anything comes up. The good part is that the water damage seems to be
relatively under control. I am so glad we went with Jatoba for the floors.
It seems to be relatively stable. Thanks, Mark and Steve, for not fully
levelling the floor under the fridge so that the water had a clear path to
the basement. Seriously, it probably saved us from a major mould problem,
and you know how I am about mould.
- Just as we were leaving for a charity event tonight, the ice maker in
that wonderful albatross called a fridge, blew. Gallons upon gallons (litres
upon litres) of water flowed into the floor and basement. Of course retailer
is closed, but we filed an insurance claim, and they recommended legal
action. Looks like we'll be seeing more of our contractors to fix the
problem creating by our fridge retailer. In the meantime, the water to the
fridge is off and we're all very stressed here. The floor is all warping and
cracking - fortunately, we got advice to keep a whole lot of the wood, "Just
in case". If Mike Holmes is listening, please contact us through the
feedback page, and we'll give you information about this disaster.
- June 10th
- Just as we were leaving for a charity event tonight, the ice maker in
that wonderful albatross called a fridge, blew. Gallons upon gallons (litres
upon litres) of water flowed into the floor and basement. Of course retailer
is closed, but we filed an insurance claim, and they recommended legal
action. Looks like we'll be seeing more of our contractors to fix the
problem creating by our fridge retailer. In the meantime, the water to the
fridge is off and we're all very stressed here. The floor is all warping and
cracking - fortunately, we got advice to keep a whole lot of the wood, "Just
in case". If Mike Holmes is listening, please contact us through the
feedback page, and we'll give you information about this disaster.
- June 1st
- I think we may have finally finished. Coco's installer did a great job.
The skin is finally staying put, and everything seems to be working, except
the fridge, which is still having noise issues in the ice maker and
accumulating a glacier under the condenser. At least it's holding
temperature. I think we can declare a victory, finally.
- May 25th
- Get this, the contact cement used to put a new skin on the inside of one
of the cabinets is dissolving the skin. It's all bubbly and icky. So, we're
going to try something else next Friday. Coco's also bringing the cabinet
installer for a final adjustment. While I didn't want to get to June, we're
- May 19th
- So, after many weeks of waiting, here's the latest update. Our
contractor is paying us one more visit early on Tuesday to finish up. It's a
minor fix, so no worries there. Coco is bringing in another installer the
following week to finish up the cabinetry and embellishments. I'm working on
hallway wainscoting this long weekend - yeah, I've been just too busy. It's
finally moving again. Heck's Basement or Bathroom may be in sight soon.
- May 4th
- 2300h: Well, we finally got the plumbing inspection signoff.
About time! All the inspections are now done. Ok, so, now I only have to
have the cabinets finished (hint hint, Coco), and get a working fridge. Yes,
that's right, the fridge failed again. We're getting nowhere quickly trying
to get a resolution. Let's just say that the warranty doesn't appear to be
worth the paper it's printed on.
- April 28th
- 1100h: Here's another huge surprise. The city decided to change
the water meters and lo and behold, ours is buried (by a previous owner) in
a wall, somewhere. Now, I have to put out more time and money to have my
water meter replaced for free. It's times like this I feel like I should
have stayed in my old townhouse. I didn't want to put May up on this page,
but it looks like that's required now.
- April 27th
- 1830h: Here are three big surprises. First, the plumbing didn't
pass inspection, again. The changes required will mean destroying the
cabinet that the sink is in, and completely ruining that area of the
kitchen. Second, the cabinets are still not complete. Wow, big surprise
there. This renovation will never end. Third, the refrigerator situation
continues to be unresolved, with no one actually taking any visible action
to resolve the situation. We're so close, yet so far, and I'm at the end of
- April 25th
- 1900h: Finally! Plumbing corrected. Inspection is on Friday.
Hoping hoping. Still no update on the fridge. Surprised? I'm not.
- April 24th
- 1300h: What a day. The plumbing failed inspection. To their
credit, the contractors will be here tomorrow to fix it. I don't want to
know what else can go wrong.
- 1115h: I just got told that the cabinets won't be finished. The
popping sound you just heard was my head exploding. Remember what I said
about Finishing Up Day? Not gonna happen. And now, I'm going to have to wait
another few days/weeks until we clean the living room and reload the kitchen
<insert lots of bad words here>.
- 1000h: Cabinet guy is here for the final install.
- 0945h: Electrical inspection changes are done and signed off.
Another bit completed.
- 0800h: The flooring repairs were done really fast. No more
- 0730h: It's Finishing Up Day!
- April 23rd
- 1700h: After a long day of negotiations and being blocked at
every turn, it's not looking good for our fridge. The service tech is not
sticking to a consistent story and, while the fridge is still accumulating a
glacier inside, no one is taking ownership of dealing with it. The retailer
wants to get another - third - opinion, this time from a different company,
before they do anything. I want the unit out of my kitchen because I can't
load it with food.
- April 22nd
- 2110h: Well, I just had to blog on my birthday. The plan for the
week is to finish up everything. Tuesday should see all remaining contracted
work completed, and I hope to finish the wainscoting during the week as
well. I'll be very happy to close the books on this one.
- April 14th
- 2200h: We got our replacement table today, and it's way better
than the other previous one. It actually closes. Have a look at my blog
today for some interesting stuff.
- April 11th
||2300h: Here's where we are. The
lights are up, island sink plumbing has been fixed, we've got a new
kitchen table - although it's in need of replacement, because it arrived
scratched and doesn't close when you take out the leaf - and, as you'll
see below, a big surprise!
||Here's our stove, in all it's finished
glory. The heat lamps are on, and the stainless warming shelf is in
place. The awesome tiles are also pretty, aren't they?
||And finally, here's my Grammy Alice's
chandelier all refinished and mounted. Isn't it just incredible?
- April 6th
- 1900h: After the technician showed up, it turned out it was a
leak in the condenser drain pipe. There was a glacier just inside the top
panel of the freezer. Yikes. Good part is we have the kitchen chandeliers
for installation and inspection on Wednesday!
- 1500h: Apparently it wasn't a good proof, because the fridge has
malfunctioned. Same issue. Water related. I'm off to the retailer to deal
with the situation.
- April 5th
- 1515h: Fridge update. A new ice maker is being installed on
Tuesday and that, according to the manufacturer will fix the problem. This
one will have to be proven to be a good fridge. And only a proven fridge is
a good fridge and that's how you know.
- 1200h: Another oopsie today. Valentino was here, and the side
skins for the stainless shelves weren't the correct size. This is now
scheduled for next Wednesday. He did all the prep work, though.
- April 4th
- 1900h: Get this. The technician who came to service the fridge
found nothing wrong. There's a storm coming at Heck's Kitchen.
- 1345h: Oh cool! The kitchen chandeliers are in!
- 1300h: Well, the fridge is being serviced this afternoon. We'll
see what the outcome is.
- 0500h: Randy is sick right now. Please leave a message at the
- April 3rd
- 1830h: Even worse, the fridge decided it was done, and turned
itself off. When I just looked, the refrigerator side was at 11C while the
freezer was at -12C - not the settings they were supposed to be.
- 1700h: And now for the fun. The defectively designed part for the
fridge was never, in fact, ordered by the repair company, according to the
appliance retailer. It's being flown up, hopefully First Class, for
installation on Monday. None of this changes the problem that the water pump
has been running almost constantly since the fridge was installed, and is
way outside it's design tolerances by now. This puppy is being returned.
Kris is currently looking for a replacement manufacturer.
- 1115h: Silence at last. It looks like the thermal cut-off kicked
in, and I've got some time before the noise starts again.
- 1030h: Coco and Robert have been told about the freezer situation
and we're working on solutions. The appliance retailer is also working on
trying to figure out why the manufacturer can't repair the unit in a timely
- 0800h: So our dream kitchen is turning into a nightmare. Our
freezer is now officially dead. It ran a defrost cycle, I guess trying to
fix it's own dead icemaker grinding cycle, and all the food in it is ruined.
Depending on the response by the distributor and manufacturer, we're going
to probably have to take some form of major action. This just goes to show
that it doesn't actually matter what you spend on an appliance, you're lucky
if it actually works.
- April 1st
- 2200h: Oh, so we had a not very nice April Fools joke, played on
us by someone. The island drain got so stopped up that nothing would unplug
it. I had to remove the clean-out cap, and run a
plumber snake up the waste side of the trap. I'd be seriously surprised
if this one gets past inspection. If it does, I think the building code
needs to be amended. Time to go into politics?
- March 27th
- 1830h: I'm back at my client tomorrow, so the frequent updates
are doing to subside. Stay tuned for more, though. The wainscoting is going
well, but I have to work out the right layout. Robert appears to have a line
on French doors for the back of the house, which will mean that the Heck's
Veranda project will get launched. So much work, so little time. I also just
got word that the place has to be new cat proofed by about April 10th. You
know, a proof is a good proof, if it's proven.
- 1530h: Finally a nice day. I was out there cleaning up the messes
left by the various contractors/trades that was hidden by the snow. Yuck.
But Randy's Basement Millworks got moved to Randy's Garage Millworks. It's
much nicer working outside. Kitchen cabinets are all vacuumed and ready for
loading. I'm even doing some wainscoting in the hall today. It's like I got
motivated or something.
- March 26th
- 2230h: Since I'm going to be home tomorrow, I think the plan is
to clean up. It's Spring, after all. We have a new cat probably joining us,
and I don't want two little plastic bag collections. The sawdust
bunnies are multiplying again, and if I don't get a handle on them, we'll be
- 1615h: Well, I got a couple of baseboards done, and managed to
fix the garbage bins, with Coco's help. We went over what's still needed on
the cabinets. I need to get off my butt and do some mouldings, don't I?
- 0545h: Today's plan is putting up the facing, remaining door
casings, and baseboards. I may even get to the hall wainscoting - been
stalling on that one, but it'll depend on how heavy the rain is today, since
I've got to mill the boards. I've also got to run out to get some more
drawer pulls for Kris' desk.
- March 24th
- 1645h: I think the pressure of the renovation has finally gotten
to me. It's like being a prisoner in your own home, and no one else around
here really gets that.
- 1200h: The best parts about today is that we have guests coming
over, and Christine is here cleaning. The place looks spectacular. I
couldn't wait for the next kitchen company visit for drawer pulls, so I
installed a few myself. So there! I'm going to try the facing/riser between
the family room and kitchen later today. We'll see how it goes.
- March 23rd
||2100h: Here's a picture where we are
now. The chances to come are reinforcement of the magic corner.
Corrections to the recycling bins, final door delivery and alignment,
chandeliers, baseboards, paint touch-ups, and the warming shelf. It
never does end, does it?
- 1800h: The magic corner is almost in, but still needs a bracket.
It works, but can't be loaded yet. Jothy is working on the crown mouldings
and will definitely have to come back. The next time we see our general
contractor will be for the final electrical installation and inspection
toward the middle of April. I'm sure going to miss them all, particularly
Mark, Steve, and Matty. Of course, Robert will be dropping by to discuss
other stuff, and we hope to meet his boss too. I've got the second coat on
the face plate between the family room and kitchen, cut the baseboards
(which have to wait for some cabinet and other trim work before I can nail
them in), and have marked out the hallway wainscoting. Tomorrow is the first
time guests are showing up for dinner - you know who you are!
- 1230h: Well, things are going slowly. The magic corner
apparently needs some serious conjuring to work, but I expected that. The
problem is that the instructions are very sketchy, and not entirely
complete. I'm glad I'm not paying time and materials on this one. Another
lesson learned. I've got one of the facing
plates installed and am waiting for the glue on long one to set before
sanding and polyurethane.
- 0700h: With some luck, this will be the last current blog for a
few days, but you never know. We're hoping to complete a number of small
tasks today, plus some major cabinet finishing touches. I have some issues
with the polyurethane on the facings, and have at least one more coat,
probably two. A finishing technique I was taught early on in life for
polyurethane just doesn't apply anymore, and caused some irritating lines in
the finish. Reminds me, I have to go wipe the grout again.
- March 22nd
- 1845h: Oops. Even the best sometimes miss something. A couple of
tiles didn't get any grout. They were hiding up and away where no one,
except me, would see them. Randy to the rescue, and they're now grouted.
- 1530h: The dishwasher is done and working again. The place looks
just amazing. Tomorrow's plan includes adding drawer hardware for towels,
oils, recycling, and the dreaded magic corner, that everyone's been
avoiding attacking. I've been working on facings between the family room and
kitchen, in Jatoba, of course, and will probably do the hall wainscoting -
power tools and thunderstorms don't mix. My job tonight is to clean the haze
off the tiles a few more times. I'm pretty happy.
- 1300h: We've dismantled the dishwasher and are reinstalling it
with a stronger support. Another hour on that.
- 1045h: The stainless steel shelve has been ordered for over the
stove. Cool cool cool. or Hot hot hot, since it's under the heat lamps. Two
weeks on that one. Grout looks fantastic and we're putting cover plates on
- 1015h: The grout is in and looks fantastic. It's even the same
colour as the metallic flecks in the granite. I think that was a bit of
luck. A few more washings and there we are! Robert was here taking
measurements for designs for later phases.
- 0630h: We're officially entering into the second phase of the
renovation. If the first phase was "Build a Four Chef Kitchen", this one is
"Now Make it Look Awesome". To be real, we'll declare official victory on
Friday for phase one, once all the bills are paid, and we can close the
books on it, but the go-live goal was achieved this past Tuesday. We even
have our laundry room back, after Mark finished the tile cutting yesterday.
Now, if we only could find Neville, so the island eating area going to
- March 21st
||1900h: End of the day - kind of like
overtime - and the tiles are all glued in place. It just looks awesome.
Tomorrow will be grouting and finishing the hardware installation, with
Friday being the completion of the cabinets. I ordered the lighting,
which is a phase two task, and we're about four weeks from delivery. I
feel like I've just run a marathon. I think we've agreed that we
finished phase one yesterday, with a few tweaks required, that are part
of phase two. Good show people. The best part is that the key goal of
supporting four chefs in the kitchen was achieved, demonstrated with a
full teppanyaki dinner.
- 1330h: The kitchen tiles are glued and waiting for tomorrow's
grout. Kris' desk area is just starting now. Our contractors have taken on
some of the responsibility of finishing up some of the details of the
kitchen hardware (magic corners, special drawers, etc.), and I'm pretty
happy about that. Coco was uncomfortable with the awesome tiles, until the
final wall was done. Then, it all came together for him. Of course, we just
have to have the stainless shelf soon.
- 1100h: Kris wants a diamond tile pattern on the back of her desk.
I shouldn't have mentioned the diamond grinder, huh?
- 0900h: I'm barely ahead of Mark, arranging tile patterns. This is
- 0700h: More tiles today, but finishing up laying them. I need to
get in touch with Coco about the remaining cabinet work. News to follow.
- March 20th
||2130h: Well, it's probably easier to
declare victory after the meal we just made. All stations were fully
functional, and very efficient. The kitchen design worked out extremely
well, and the dance of four chefs in the kitchen worked exquisitely. It
was worth it. Tiles and cabinets still to be finished, but we're pretty
good otherwise. The tiles are hard to see in this picture, but really
make the kitchen pop. That's Joseph, at the plating station.
- 1830h: It's hard to declare victory when there's still so much
finishing up to be done. The cabinets are still at least a day from
completion, which has basically been the same state for about a week. The
new cabinet completion is Friday. However, all the appliances and stuff in
the kitchen are functioning. Unfortunately, we're missing doors and drawers.
This is a job for Coco. We'll see, but I think we're still not quite there.
At least Kris has her dishwasher functioning.
- 1330h: Continuation of tiling and cabinet finishing. Jothy is
changing the finish colour of the pantry, but ran out of edging. Oops. I'm
actually helping (please do change me for helping), by laying out the tile
pattern one section ahead of Mark, who's laying the tiles. It's working
well. I get to give preferential treatment to the really cool tiles, to be
in the most visible areas.
- 1230h: Tiling is on the go now. We've been shuffling tiles and
picking the best for behind the stove, by far, the largest area.
- 1000h: The main sink is now operational! And solid as a rock. The
rail system for supporting this type of sink is the way to go. Amazing.
- 0800h: It's phase one completion day, hopefully. Mark is already
here working on the main sink. I'm so excited!
- March 19th
- 2045h: I did the first official load of dishes was done tonight
in the island sink. The make-shift area in the laundry room is officially
closed. We're now working entirely in the main kitchen area! Hooray! Tiles
didn't start today - we just ran out of time - but they don't contribute to
whether we're functional or not. They're actually part of the second phase,
which has a separate completion date (sometime in June).
1515h: Oh the trouble. We had a funny time with the P-trap from our
not-so-favourite big-box store. The threaded part didn't seat well, and it
leaked. Mark has taken a Mulligan, and is redoing that part of the island
sink. Still, we should have that part operational today.
||1600h: We're live on the island!
Tomorrow is dishwasher, main sink, and tiling. Woo hoo! Eight days ahead
of schedule. Note the pot filler and huge whisk on the island, and the
- 1340h: I still haven't had lunch, but at least the granite guys
are done and gone. The sinks are still not completely finished, but I'm
- 1215h: So, the beach sink is installed and all other plumbing for
it is in the works. No more laundry room vegetable washing. The new granite
guy has much steadier hands than the previous team did. Corners are much
better and backsplashes are being installed.
- 1015h: Well, it's official. No full function today. The
dishwasher can't be hooked up, because the granite job wasn't complete. In
fact, we're finding more variances. Coco is going to have an issue with the
sink, when he arrives, because it should have been 1/2 inch farther back,
for the doors. Uh oh.
- 0945h: Another lesson learned.
Have a better equipped workshop than your contractors. We had to do some
creative adjustment on some of the rough resin-epoxy used for the granite
seams. The underside was so sloppy, that I had to pull out my diamond
grinder to smooth edges.
- 0900h: Work is progressing. Cabinets have moved off to the
afternoon - hopefully, that'll be enough time. Coco will be here later this
morning, and I have to be patient not to put another clear-coat on too
early. Must... sit... on... hands. I actually wish I was at work right now.
- 0845h: Mark and I have contrived an interesting rail system to
slide the main sink in place. We'll see how that plays out, but it looks
- 0800h: It's the forty-third day of renovation, and we're about
nine hours away, hopefully, from being fully functional. Stan is here doing
the final electrical hook-up. I've got another clear-coat to put on the
columns, now that they're in place, and am moving onto baseboards and door
casings - but I better keep out of everyone's way. It's going to get pretty
insane around here around 11am, when we'll have granite, tiling, plumbing,
and cabinets all going at once. Chevey has made himself really scarce right
now, in anticipation. I'm really seriously tense, expecting lots to go
wrong, as this is by far the most complex day. It's a go-live, and we, in
the Computing field, know how those are.
- March 18th
- 2200h: Goodnight all. We're at t-minus zero days, nineteen hours.
If we keep to this, the kitchen renovation will be nine days early on a six
week renovation. Fantastic! Unbelievable! I'll only believe it when the
dishwasher works. I'm supposed to sleep tonight?
- 2140h: We had an interesting day today, at the Toronto Home Show.
Lots of perennial favourites, including the people who did our front yard
landscaping. I met up with the sales guy from the granite supplier also
today, behaved myself, and we'll be working to resolve the situation.
Hopefully. In the meantime, the columns are looking pretty cool. We'll see
what the design team has to say tomorrow, but I've become a big fan of
water-based spray polyurethane. Robert and company are showing up early
tomorrow for plumbing, tiling, sink installation, and electrical. I can't
wait. If you'll notice, the number of days remaining for phase one, ticked
over to zero today. We're down to hours before full functionality in the
kitchen. Heck's Kitchen 2.0, is about to be launched. Kids, get ready, the
teppan (鉄板), works great, and I've nailed an
interesting technique for twice cooked beef on the grill and teppan.
- 1130h: I just completed the clear-coat on our columns. It'll be
fun later, and I try to actually construct the things. Pictures to follow.
- March 17th
- 2230h: After watching the Habs beat the Leafs, we found that the
island sink accessories to not actually fit properly, because of the granite
company's errors. While I'm not prepared to say who this company is, they
are going to be hearing from us tomorrow, regarding this situation. Let's
just say that the wheels are in motion to have the situation fixed, and,
failing that, their work is going to be brought to the attention of Mike
||1815h: So here's the situation. The
back-splash was omitted from the original quote, so we now have to pay
an additional $610+tax. At least, we're going to get Robert's people to
install the sink, back-charging the granite people for lack of
completion of that task. Given what's happened, the granite company has
lost face with me, and will not be used for any project again, within my
control, and that includes the bathroom, which was next. Sorry, people,
you blew it.
On the upside, we're still close to schedule. I've hooked
up and flushed the faucets, so they're ready. I'll get the plumber to
check my work, but it seems ok. The water filter is a bit sensitive to
leaks, and we may need some creative sealing. The picture on the left is
where we are tonight. Note the missing sink on the right. Progress, but
real stress today. The granite people are at the Home Show, and guess
where we're going tomorrow <evil grin>.
- 1600h: Here's a really interesting news flash. The granite people
walked off the job site. Apparently, they don't know how to install the main
sink we have and forgot the granite back-splash. Just wonderful. I wrote
"Not complete" on the work order. Good luck to them. I'm working with the
general contractor to take up the slack.
- 1445h: The granite guys have been here for three hours today and
are almost done. They're just polishing the seams, and will be installing
the main sink shortly. Oh wait! Backsplashes!
- 1100h: Well, we've been antiquing this morning. The columns,
pilasters, and corbels look pretty good, and I'll clear-coat them tomorrow.
The big issue is waiting on the granite folks, again. I sure hope they show
today. I have this really ominous feeling about today.
- March 16th
- 2300h: This wasn't the smoothest of the tasks. We don't exactly
have the biggest kitchen in the world, but somehow, things moved very
slowly. About 1/2 the granite is in place, and one piece had to be re-cut.
Fortunately, Nathan from the granite place, arranged for this to happen ASAP
and the installers will be back in the morning - I hope. It means we'd still
be on for plumbing, tiling, and electrical on Monday. I'm keeping Robert in
the loop on this, and if there's any slip or problem, he's the first one who
gets a phone call - they're his people for Monday. The project manager in me
is pretty sceptical. In the mean time, the ice cube maker in our brand new
fridge had a water line freeze. This is sounding like a design defect. We'll
have more details, if we can get the manufacturer to actually support the
product, which, to this point, hasn't happened. They've got until Monday
to get it fixed or the fridge takes a walk in the snow with the ducks. No
pictures tonight, because I can't bring myself to do that.
- 1730h: They're here! They're here! They're complaining about
measurements! They have power tools.
- 1700h: So far, no granite. I'm beginning to worry. Are we there
yet? What was that noise? The problem now is that a delay in the counters is
going to hit next week's resource availability. We're booked for Monday for
plumbing, electrical, and tiling. I'm worried, but only 67% worried (we have
a 3 hour deliver window for the granite, which is 2/3 used up). We've
written off making dinner, though, tonight.
- 1245h: The column pilasters are coming along nicely. I'm now
getting ready for priming.
- 0900h: It's granite day! I hope it goes well. So far, it's
started with a real bang. The freezer is leaking so I have that to deal with
now. Of course, the appliance supplier was warned that I expect the highest
performance from the appliances, so, I'll get people out shortly. Lovely way
to start the day.
- March 15th
- 2030h: Have I mentioned that I love cooking in this kitchen? It's
performance is so much better than the crap we had before, I can't even
express it in words. Grilled wasabi salmon. Yum!
- 1700h: I'm back with more paint. The columns are coming along
nicely, but no rush. That's part of the phase 2 renovation. It's decorative
now. Our remaining drawer hardware arrived today by Canada Post. One day
delivery from Ottawa. Nice! Time to relax.
- 1200h: Sadly, the granite people are coming in the afternoon.
They also said that plumbing shouldn't be installed until 24 hours later to
allow the silicone to cure. Makes sense, and we're still on for a Monday
- 1000h: I'm being lazy today, but that will end soon. It's almost
painting time. No update yet from the granite people, but I'm hopeful about
the next hour or so. I can't help looking around behind my back, from time
to time, though. Maybe it's just the date.
- March 14th
- 2000h: I actually am going to take the night off, if you can
believe it. The paint for the columns is drying in the garage and should be
ready for antiquing tomorrow. I'm planning on drafting my kids to help with
that. It should be fun with paint, and I'm sure they'll do a good job. I
even found spray urethane for the top coat, but that's Saturday at the
- 1645h: I'm still hoping for a morning appointment for the granite
on Friday, but that's up to fate, at this point. Or maybe Nathan. The
priming is done, except for the corbels - I need Kris' opinion on their
placement. Once primed, I can't return them, and they're hand-crafted
(that's why they're big bucks, Hun).
- 1100h: Idle hands and all that. I'm off to the lumber yard again.
Randy's Basement Millworks is going to try to get some work done outside
while it's 16C today. That or spray painting.
- 0900h: Got a phone call from Robert today. If we can muster the
granite people to get here in the morning on Friday, I might be able to get
some plumbing functional in the kitchen for the weekend. That would be so
cool. I'll know tomorrow morning. Patience is not my strong suit.
0600h: Chevey, Heck's Kitty, woke me up early today, having lined up
all of his toys in some weird hieroglyph. I'm not sure what it says, but I
can't stop laughing.
- March 13th
||2345h: Here's a picture of my own
hard work over the past few weeks. I think we may have to call it the
dining room, Synergy, or Coincidence, or something like that. The wall
colour is exactly the same as the antiquing on the cabinets in the
kitchen. The seat upholstery has a gold/brown that's also that colour.
The burgundy in the seats is the colour of aged Jatoba, which is the
flooring we used. It's pretty amazing. Hopefully, the next dining room
picture will have Grammy Alice's chandelier up, so you can see the full
dining room. But for now, I think it's time for bed. "Good night,
- 2300h: With a quick break for dinner, I managed most of the
second coat in the dining room and should finish tonight. I'm just waiting
on the first coat to dry in one corner. Pictures to follow.
- 1830h: I spent the day trying to avoid painting, but couldn't. So
the dining room is half-done, and I've at least taped the window casings for
priming in the kitchen. Remember the nasty primer? Yeah, well, I have to use
that again. What I'm planning on is priming a whole batch of stuff tomorrow
in one go, while it's warm, so I can have all the windows open.
- 1400h: Coco was here to drop off the doors and we fine-tuned the
faucet placement. Friday is going to be a really fun day. Thanks also,
Robert, for the advice on the back-splash and tiles. Beef (nickname of the
contractor's driver) picked up the last load of garbage. We're now in a
clean state, I hope.
- 1130h: Here's what's been going on so far. Coco is coming over
with more doors for the cabinets this afternoon. The hopefully last
dumpster load is being taken away also this afternoon. I've been to the
lumber store for column material and paint store for antiquing supplies.
Interestingly enough, the colour for the cabinet antiquing is exactly the
same as Marie-Anne picked last night for the dining room. Is that fate or
just cool? I've been spring cleaning Randy's Basement Millworks, and have
transferred it outside to the garage. While I can't guarantee a dust free
home, it sure will keep the sawdust bunnies under control. Robert is
arranging to move the Zee-Lites on Monday, and patch the remaining
sheetrock, in preparation for tiles. I just can't wait. Pictures on Friday
and Monday, for sure!
- March 12th
- 2200h: Marie-Anne was here, and we got started on some colours.
The casings and baseboards are going to get primed first. The other trim
items are good to go. I made the mistake of asking what mauve was. What I
got was, "A pinkie-greyish-brown that's nice" and something about Venetian
plaster finish. Nothing good will come of this. Of course, I checked that
Internet thing for details on the technique. What's this four step
process over 72 hours thing? Oh my.
- 1800h: These are really cool tiles. Definitely dramatic.
Unfortunately, some (all but 2) of the Zee-Lites were mounted too close to
the wall for tiles. We’ll have to have them moved outward between 1/8” and
½” depending on the lights - and that just bites - before tiling. You
wouldn't believe how awesome the tiles look with the stove and all the
brushed stainless steel. Oh, and Joseph, the teppanyaki grill arrives on
- 1430h: "Captain, there be tiles here!"
- 0915h: Well, it's off to the tile place today. We're a bit scared
that the colours won't work, but we'll know soon enough. Also, Marie-Anne is
coming over tonight to do colours for the dining room and hopefully other
stuff. More later.
- March 11th
- 2300h: Oh man, I tried out the grill tonight. Steaks and sea
bass. Yum. I'm happy. Working without counters and sinks is hard, but not
impossible. The old island from the Heck's Make-shift Kitchen, is officially
dead and buried. Now, if I could only convince someone to come and take it
away (hint, Robert)... We've also started a varianc e list, for issues to be
resolved before people disappear and declare this all done. Be afraid
- 1800h: I just finished boxing in the microwave and the plumbing
for the island. Somebody tell me to get some sleep, please. This has
probably been two of the hardest working weeks I've had since the first June
I was in Des Moines. I'm so looking forward to a few days of down-time while
waiting for the granite installation on Friday. There will probably be a gap
in the blog for a couple of days - sure there will - but you never know what
will happen at Heck's Kitchen.
- 1130h: We're back from breakfast and the hardware store. I think
I'll need to go elsewhere for one of those special fittings (male/male
1/4"-3/8") to hook up the pot filler, but I have a week. No problem. I'm
hoping to finish the microwave box before lunch.
- March 10th
- 2200h: I've been putting a nice finish inside the microwave box.
The cabinet installer put serious fear in me about cutting the skins, so
I've been very careful, putting a 2x4 over the cutting area so that there's
no way anything is going to fly off and puncture any body parts. It worked
great, but I ran out of glue. Oops. Guess where I'm going tomorrow morning.
- 1500h: We got the door hardware! All 25 Kg worth. I wonder
whether the walls are going to be able to support the hardware, let alone
the doors. I think I've probably used more fuel going back and forth to HD
than anywhere else lately. I need a few 90° copper
elbows to complete the plumbing rough-in. Guess I'm going out again
tomorrow. In the mean time, I think I need a nap. Definitely work avoidance
- 0845h: It's cleaning day, at Heck's Kitchen. Most of the dirty
construction is finished, and other cutting can probably be done outside,
including hallway wainscoting (Randy's Basement Millworks) that is a
post-online task. We may go out to get the door and drawer hardware today,
and I'm definitely going to finish the microwave enclosure. Not critical
path items, but I want them out of the way.
- March 9th
- 2200h: We've entered the countertop holding pattern - a typical
situation in kitchen renovations. All work is basically done, except for
some creative plumbing by yours truly, waiting on the counters to show up.
The great part for tonight was our first sense of normality, with a family
Friday night dinner. I'm not sure Kris gets the whole Microwave/Convection
thing, but 45 minutes for a tasty juicy crispy chicken? Who can beat that?
- 1130h: The island is now in position and the finishes are going
on. Looking good! I think we make have to get creative with the GFI socket
placement, but we'll figure it out. At least we have everyone saying "Line
the island up with the right side of the stove". So, it's not just me. I had
to move the plumbing over anyway, but that's done. I also got word that the
electrician is on his way up.
- 1030h: Sadly, I had to pay the general contractor again today.
That's not the best part of renovating, I'll tell you that. However, on the
good side, the tiles will be ready for pickup on Monday! Thanks Marie-Anne!
The cabinets are well on the way to completion, but we're waiting on the
electrician to wire in the puck lights over the pantry.
- 0700h: Well I'm off to get more supplies before the traffic is
bad. Hopefully we'll get as far today as possible without the granite. I
can't believe that we're only at the end of the fifth week of the
renovation. Amazing progress.
- March 8th
||2230h: Well, I managed to get some
cleaning done, and Kris and I had veal scaloppini marsala and capellini
bolognaise tonight on the new stove and microwave. What a relief! We
sure are moving along. Visually, the kitchen isn't going to change much
for the next week, until the counters are delivered. So, I may not be
posting photos until then, but we'll see.
We had a chat with
Marie-Anne tonight, and she wants us to maximize space in front of the
fridge. So the island will be positioned to align with the right side of
the stove. No problem for me as it means not having to move the supply
- 1730h: I'm just too nice, apparently. The cabinet guy was making
joking that I'm making the plumber's life way to easy, because I'm running
copper flex and drain hoses through the cabinets for the dishwasher hook-up.
Nice? Call it enlightened self-interest. When paying time and materials
(T&M), if I can do something to reduce both, so be it. Cheaper for me,
earlier completion too.
- 1630h: The drill bits were found, but the island supplies are in
the wrong place relative to the lights. We're going to have to do some
creative plumbing rework to make this happen. I'm not sure why the
positioning was that far off, but I just know I'm going to get blamed for
it. I'm actually declaring a set-back today. While progress was made, I
think the estimates on how long the cabinets were going to take was way way
off the mark. Original estimate was two days. We've already spent three, and
I can clearly see at least another two days. Between this and some client
issues, I think I need to be avoided tonight.
- 1200h: Maybe the spirits of renovation are telling me to have
lunch. Guys? Where are my drill bits? Later: they were put away in a
kitchen cabinet, and here I was, blaming the sawdust bunnies again.
- 1130h: It was a sad good bye to some of the contractor guys
today. They'll be back in a couple of weeks to finish up after the counters
are in. See ya, guys. The plumbing supplies are 50% completed, with just the
island to do, once it's in position. The cabinet installation is proceeding
now, with the new pantry going in.
- 0900h: New pantries and crown mouldings are arriving right now.
They look much better.
- 0700h: So, here's the plan for today. Three C's: Cabinets, Casings, and
Clutter. I'm hoping that by the end of today, the kitchen will actually be
pretty much done, with the exception of the granite, back splashes, wall
post-construction elements. Ok, the last one involves:
Call those, the Non-Functional Requirements
- a stainless steel
shelf over the stove, for our fantastic warming lights
- an island
seating area, done in Jatoba
- decorative appliqués on the panel
above the stove
- hallway wainscoting, which I'm not doing until all
possibility of damage is out of the way
- pillars, columns, and
- March 7th
||1950h: What a day. The Heck's
Kitchen Dining Room is now online. Ok, a bit of dusting and organizing
is probably needed, but all the stuff is back in place. I hate to admit
it, but a nice rug would be really good in there. Marie-Anne, we need
colours. Quick! The microwave is also live too, although it will be
disconnected tomorrow briefly for final positioning. It's really looking
great in there.
- 1500h: News Flash! Granite will be installed on March 16! This
means an early completion date! I am so excited.
- 1415h: It's been a busy morning at Heck's Kitchen. We're now
cooking with gas! I think we're actually going to have steaks on the inside
grill tonight, in the first unofficial meal cooked in a partial kitchen.
Right now, we have the fridge and stove operational. Our window casings and
under cabinet lighting are currently being installed, and I'm putting the
final touches on the dining room wainscoting paint. Don't tell Kris, but I'm
going to move furniture in there tonight when she's not looking. Now, if I
could only get Grammy Alice's chandelier back from its repairs and
- March 6th
||2300h: I got the microwave box
built, but we need to come up about 3.5cm on the inside floor of that
cabinet for air flow. No problem, but I'm out of gas. The stress of the
day has everyone's nerves really on edge. We're all walking on eggs with
each other right now. The good part is that Joseph approves. That's a
good thing, seriously.
Here's a picture of the place finally taking
shape. The good part is that we're running out of tasks on the project
plan. The bad part is that the tasks are way bigger impact at this
point: gas, hook-ups, counter tops, etc.
I just want to make myself some French Canadian pea soup, which, by
the way, is far easier to make on a gas stove, than an electric.
- 1500h: Great. The stove doesn't fit. The day has been on a bit of
a downward spiral since the 1100h update. We're now having cabinet issues,
and worse, the gas line is in the wrong place. I feel like I have to check
absolutely every piece of work done. Fortunately, Robert is arranging to
have the gas fixed tomorrow.
||1100h: Yikes! Who invited all these people? The
picture only shows a few. We have the contractor (3), granite people
(2), stainless steel person, kitchen designer, phones, and everyone
wanting me at exactly the same instant. Is it possible this is Heck's
Kitchen? Great suggestion on the warming shelf, Valentino, we're looking
forward to your concepts.
- 1000h: So far, so good. The guys successfully installed the vent
hood, and sucked out a few squirrels and racoons in the process. Seriously,
I could do some wind tunnel testing with this thing.
- March 5th
||2100h: Here's the official pizza in
the new fridge picture! Hey, it had to happen. I think it's the law.
||1700h: Well, we got the hood
in place, but the blower cord accidentally got unplugged. That's the
project for tomorrow first thing. Here's a picture of the guys trying to
put the hood in place.
The fridge has power, but no water
yet. It needs to be balanced and set in place, but that depends on what
Coco had in mind for its position. Coco?
In the mean time, I'm still painting the wainscoting, with all the
interruptions to help, including finding fittings and stuff from
my own workshop. Robert, if you're reading this, remember, please?
||1300h: We now have two holes in the
wall, one for the old vent hood and one big honker for the new one.
Fortunately, somebody saved old bricks, so the old hole is going to be
patched up without any traces, other than fresh mortar. I got a blog
from Joseph this morning, and
it's now posted. Thanks Joe. Don't worry, we'll have the stove
- 1200h: And now for some partial scores: Toronto 3.
- 1100h: And now for the morning update. The contractors are here
doing electrical for lights and mounting the vent hood. What a big job.
Bricks are going to get cut today, because we're finally going to have a
proper hood. Size does matter! 10" diameter. I think we could probably do
wind-tunnel testing in the vent. The wrong pantry removal is scheduled for
1430h today, and I can't wait to get some clutter out of the kitchen. Kris'
idea of getting some plywood to protect the cabinets has happened, and I'm
going to put those in place and reinstate the cooking area in the new
kitchen. The dining room is almost ready for reloading.
- March 4th
- 2230h: Today was one of those days. I spent it sanding,
filling nail holes, and priming. A little (read: BIG) spill occurred when I
knocked over a can of primer. Remember the primer I use? It bonds to
everything. Well, panic ensued. Fortunately, the contractors had put paper
down on the floor. That caught most of the spill. Unfortunately, the primer
happily ate right through the paper and was on its way to our wonderful
hardwood floors. The spill was cleaned up and paper removed. No damage other
than to my ego. Chevey decided to get into the act also today. He decided
that the wallpaper in our bedroom had to go and was actually tearing it off
the walls. Being the consummate project managers that Kris and I are, we're
trying to figure out how much a cat's time is worth so that we can add
Chevey in as a resource on our project planning software. If you ask Chevey,
he'll say something like, "Fresh litter: $29. Bag of food: $55. My time?
Tomorrow's plan: two coats of paint on the wainscoting and
managing the project. That's not mutiny, is it, Kris? I'm becoming decidedly
nautical in my outlook, being in the right in the middle of Melville's Moby
- March 3rd
- 2230h: With Kris' help, we were able to finish mounting the
wainscoting today. Whew! This was just brutal. Tomorrow is sanding, priming,
and painting. But that's ok. I'm going to get some rest now, and dream of
good food. Oh, Joseph, think "Wok Grate" on the new stove
||0945h: They came. They saw. They
left stuff. That was something Julius Caesar said, you know, in 47 BCE
during his own kitchen renovation following the
Battle of Zela. It's true!
The picture on the left shows our
appliances left in place. Good job on the delivery, guys. Not a scratch.
Monday is installation time for all but the stove. That's Wednesday. I
- 0920h: Stove is in! Stove is in! What was that noise?
- 0900h: They're here! And nothing fits through the doors. Uh oh.
Serious Prayrie Dogging going on now.
- 0830h: Today's the big day. Appliances arrive. We're all cleaned
up and ready for them, and, we're the first delivery today. With luck, I'll
get to run down to the lumber store for more wood before they close, because
I've been chewing through wood like a ... uh oh... critter alert. I was up
early putting down temporary thresholds. I just love working with Jatoba.
It's an amazing wood.
- March 2nd
- Today was a continuation of yesterday's cabinet installation and
wainscoting. A couple more quirks in the cabinets were discovered: the
insides of two of the already installed, immovable cabinets are the wrong
colour. So now I get contact cement fumes as the skins are replaced inside.
Cool! I must've spent 2 hours chasing down a 2-5/8"
hole saw for the cabinet lights. <sarcasm>Thanks to all you big box people
who don't carry full product lines</sarcasm>. I managed to find one, just in
time, at a local hardware supply store up here in Richmond Hill. Whew. What
would this project do without me.
- March 1st
- 2300h: News Flash! The
container carrying the tiles for our backsplash arrived in Toronto today,
yes today! Ok, so it took a bit of detective work to track it down,
by container number, through a few leases and such, but thanks to That
Internet Thing, I was able to track it down. The container left Italy at
the beginning of February, arrived in Montreal few days ago, vacationed at
the Canada Customs Bed and Breakfast, and then took the train to Toronto. I
can't wait to see them.
||1700h: Remember the sinking feeling?
The pantry, on the left side, was delivered at 90" instead of 84". Guess
what won't fit. The top cabinets. Doh! Nonetheless, the kitchen is
already looking absolutely awesome, and pretty close to the original
vision. Should I start singing You've lost, that sinking feeling?
I can't wait for tomorrow.
- 1600h: Well, I finally finished milling baseboards. Not my best
job, but nothing a little sandpaper won't fix. Tomorrow is mount the
baseboard and wainscot day.
||1300h: Coco was here and briefing me
on all the stuff to come. Too much to blog. The grilles are up and look
absolutely fantastic. I'm debating whether to leave the screws brass
coloured or black. Opinions? Oh, this is work avoidance, by the way. I
don't want to finish milling the baseboards.
- 1100h: Uh oh. Why am I getting a sinking feeling in my gut? One
of the cabinets wasn't adjusted during a review. Oops. It's an upper corner
cabinet too. Yikes. Then, there's Robert who called and we have to juggle
lots of stuff around next week. The granite people were really cool and said
they could accommodate, so no slippage! Woo hoo!
- 0930h: Cabinet Installation Day! It looks like a major puzzle in
the kitchen, with every box being about as far from where it's supposed to
be as it can be. I've already been to HD to get mounting hardware for the
antique air return grilles. I hope it won't take all day. I also hope I
remember to shut off the furnace when I'm spray painting, otherwise, we'll
have Heck's Kitchen One - Cooking in Space.
- February 28th
1700h: Where to begin. The wainscoting is progressing slowly. I
forgot how long it takes to mill the baseboards. To the right is a picture
of what's left of my kitchen. It's kind of a where's kitchen moment.
Maybe that should be the new name instead of Heck's Kitchen, huh? The good
news is the floor survived the delivery of the cabinets. It's incredible
that we're coming to the end of the fourth week, and in serious construction
mode. The next few days will show some radical changes. Wish us luck.
- February 27th
- 1930h: Coco just called and the cabinets are on the truck and
will be delivered tomorrow. Fantastic! I can't wait.
- 1800h: What a day. I think I've created a whole lot of sawdust
bunnies in the basement today. Mouldings and wainscoting are all in
production and about 25% complete. The flooring people sent one of their
senior people and the owner dropped by too. They did make it right. Thanks
guys. I'm so wiped out I can't even come up with a good blog, although
Chevey did today. The cabinets arrive tomorrow!!! And, amazingly enough, we
are are the half-way point in the project, looking at the calendar.
- February 26th
- 2220h: So, in between periods, watching the Leafs lose again, I
managed a pretty credible oil-rubbed bronze looking finish on our freshly
stripped cast iron air return grates. Pretty cool what you can do with a can
of spray copper and black rust paint. They're ready for mounting tomorrow on
the wainscoting in the dining room. Ok, so I'm on the critical path again
and have to get that done before Wednesday. Coco and Robert are all aligned
with the schedule, and it looks like I may actually have a working stove and
fridge next week! I'm not looking forward to dealing with the floor people
tomorrow. I mean really guys, this is the almost the most expensive wood
around. You got it right the first time, what's the problem now? Maybe
sub-contracting rules are different in the renovation world. They got it
right when it was a direct contract.
- 1700h: Well the grate stripping is going really slowly. I've used
the really nasty powerful stuff, and that got the bulk of it, but now I have
to get subtle with even more really nasty stinky stuff. Yuck, what a
horrible job. Tonight, perhaps, I'll get some wainscoting done. I've also
picked up most of the new casings, so I can start on that, after the floors
are repaired tomorrow.
- 0945h: The flooring people were just here and are going to make
corrections in the next two days. This keeps us on schedule. I can only hope
that the floor tightens up a bit as summer hits and the moisture content
rises. The wood for the wainscoting is inside now, acclimatising to our
environment. I'm going to probably start milling tomorrow, while dust is
being generated by the floor people. Robert is bringing over the faucets and
sinks this week. Yay!
- February 25th
- 2130h: Kris and I spent today looking for hardware at antique
stores. We got lucky! There's a place out in the Beach that happened to have
cast iron air returns, and pullies, and door handles that are perfect. Very
cool stuff. I'm planning on working on the wainscot in the dining room
tomorrow, now that I have sizes. We also have our mouldings picked out. More
progress! There's a bit of a delay, though, because both Chevey and I are
not feeling too well. I was hit with an allergic reaction today, check my
own blog, and Chevey isn't feeling too well. Cabinets arrive on Wednesday -
I can't wait!
- February 24th
- 1600h: Today was spent negotiating dates and picking door
hardware. Thanks to Robert and Coco and being understanding and able to move
forward. Imagine that: dates actually getting earlier in a renovation. Holy
Duck! Check out the KrisBlog for projections now.
Good news all around. The new projection for the kitchen being online is
March 22nd, which, for those keeping
score, is five days earlier than the original projection. We are now
four days from the mid-way point in the project.
- February 23rd
||2000h: Just when you thought things
were going well... The flooring people did a real number on us today.
Here's the issues list:
- The workspace was covered in sawdust.
- We have a chunk knocked out of our wall.
- The floor boards are not all lined up.
- There are already irregular gaps in the floor boards, which is
totally unacceptable considering it was just installed.
- There's a missing board at the back wall.
- They managed to place small boards right in front of a doorway - a
big no-no for hardwood floors.
- They even used my own vacuum instead of theirs. That just burns my
Needless to day, the contractor has been contacted and we're going to
deal with this situation first thing Monday morning. That I have to stew
about it all weekend is not helping me be predisposed to being nice to
the flooring people, but I'll do my best. What's upsetting is that we've
dealt with them before and they were consummate professionals the first
time. See lessons learned.
There is an upside. We're back in the eating area as you can see from
the picture on the left. That is a big help.
- February 22nd
||2300h:What a difference a day makes.
The floor is half installed, and the pot lights in the kitchen area are
done. The paint is dry and we're about 8 hours away from being able to
accept delivery of the cabinets. Fantastic stuff. Kris and I spent the
evening at the Chef's Table charity event at the Boiler Room this
evening for the Children's Emergency Foundation. I got my ear bent by a
few really nice chefs, sous chefs, and aspiring student chefs. It was
quite the experience and all in a good cause.
- February 21st
||2359h: Well, I'm now the critical
path, apparently. The kitchen has its first coat of paint (all tonight).
I think the flurry of activity of flinging brushes and rollers scared
Kris and Chevey off to another corner of the house. Tomorrow is floors,
and, with the exception of one nasty wall in the dining room, we're
ready. I'm going to have to be really careful covering the floor while
priming. That nasty primer will bond to everything. In fact, I leaned up
against the wall yesterday, and was stuck there for an hour calling for
help, but no one came - I thought I heard laughing though from Heck's
Kids. It's a big relief to have the first coat done though. Here's a
picture of me doing panic priming at 5am.
- February 20th
- 2330h: After a little sleep I was able to finish priming the
Kitchen. We're on track. There's almost no dust. Who would have thought it?
Chevey has successfully killed off all but one drywall dust bunny and is
looking forward to the sawdust bunny hunt
on Thursday. Just take a look at the project status
page. We're green across the board!
- 1500h: End of phase one! The contractors finished up the drywall
and installed the lintels. The gas supply lines were done and attached.
We're now waiting for a gas inspection. We're actually on one day slack time
now, with the flooring people coming on Thursday, on schedule. I was trying
to sleep, but have been on the phone with my client the whole day. Next
call, and I launch the phone to
Earth Orbit. Now, if I could only convince Enbridge to come out and
inspect this place. After all, I don't want the house ending up in Low Earth
- February 19th
- The guys were here today doing the drywall mud. Nice job, guys. I
patched holes in the dining room and made myself pretty sick doing it. Then,
I had to work until about 12:30am for my client. I feel icky.
- February 18th
- 1900h: After a day of wall repair and priming, I'm feeling pretty
woozy. Whatever is in that primer makes me really weird, but it covers
absolutely anything, so it's worth it. I'm 90% done the kitchen, and 25%
done the dining room. We'll make it before flooring. No sweat.
- February 17th
- 1800h: The final bits of wallpaper are gone. Finally. I've been
so putting that off. Tomorrow is hole patching day and maybe, if I
can sneak it in, a bit of priming. The more priming now, the less of a panic
I'll be in the night before the floors are installed. Enough work. Time for
- 1200h: The second coat of drywall mud is going on now, on the
seams. I'm really happy with the progress. We're tracking very well to the
schedule now. Great job, Steve and Matty for getting us there. Kris and I
are going out to pick our granite slab and door hardware. See you later in
- February 16th
- 1800h: Well, most of the drywall is now up and the floor is screwed down. The whole house smells of foam fumes and I'm a
still a bit giddy. There's still a bit more drywall to board to go up, and
that'll be tomorrow at 8am. Then taping. It turns out that the gas line
couldn't be completed today. The gas guy needs to disassemble the existing
lines and link in a 3/4" pipe for the stove. It's more complex than he
expected. That's rescheduled for Monday followed by an inspection. Then, the
really dirty bit happens Tuesday when sanding happens. Yuck. The place is
still too cluttered for me to patch the any of the existing walls, but I'm
hoping that by this Sunday it'll be ok.
||1400h: Services are all in, and so
is the insulation. Check it out, Mike! Blue Spray Foam! Drywall is on
it's way up. YAY! I just found out that I'll be up all night working
with my client. Argh. So, I'm trying to snooze a little. Like I've ever
been able to in the day time. I think I'm a bit space-out from the foam
fumes. Weeeeeeeeeee. Looks like taping is today too, if we're lucky.
Sanding isn't until next week, so Kris, we don't need to cover stuff
yet. Kris went out and bought cheap sheets to cover the entire house
from drywall dust. I think I saw a
drywall dust bunny peeking out from the pile of sheets. Uh oh.
- 0800h: Just spoke to Steve. The gas and foam are going in soon.
- February 15th
- 2030h: We just got home. The gas
installation was put off until tomorrow, as was the finishing of the lintels
and patching of walls that were already patched once. I'm posting pictures
of what we came home to tonight. I know, I know, mid-job stuff. It happens.
- 1000h: Electrical inspection passed!!!
- February 14th -
- 1530h: The new sub-panel wire has been run, and the guys are gone
for the day. Tomorrow is gas and inspection day. If all goes well, we
insulate on the 16th, and we're back on track for floors on the 22nd. Whew!
Maybe Kris and I can go out and have a nice dinner tonight. Must
remember to shut down computers before the power is switched off tomorrow.
- 1300h: Plumbing inspection passed!!! So that means two
things: I don't have to be charged for "helping"; and another task
- 1000h: The snow storm actually helped. The electrical inspector happened to be in the area and
dropped in. Guess what? The wire used for the sub-panel for the kitchen was
insufficient. And, they used the old stove wire for it, which has to be put
back, because code requires a stove outlet even if it's not used. Now, tell
me again why I'm paying for this? On the up side, we'll pass inspection
tomorrow and be able to move ahead. Hopefully.
- 0845h: Remember the unsupported beam? Well, we have another one.
Bloody marvellous. At least I caught that one too. What would happen if I
wasn't here? Huh? Thank goodness for snowstorms. Lots of banging and sawing
right now. The sub-floor is being finished. More
holy ducks were found today.
- 0730h: Still no snow plow, so I'm stuck here today. Grrrr. Wonder
whether the plumbing inspector will make it here.
- 0600h: Now this is what snow blowers are for. I can clean my
driveway, but can't get farther than the street, unless the city wants me to
do the whole circle. Kris is still resisting waking up.
- 0400h: It's snowing and Kris' alarm went off early, so I'm up.
- February 13th
- 1730h: So, the picture doesn't look a whole lot different than the
8th's picture, but the joists have been levelled, and sub-floor has been
replaced. Now, let's hope the snow doesn't do us in. And I thought last week
was a slow week.
||1615h: The guys left, and the new
floor is tacked in place waiting on inspectors. It's nicely level now,
and the walls are actually supported properly. Plumbing inspection is
tomorrow - snowstorm not withstanding. The electrical inspection may
happen Thursday (!) and insulation on Friday. If that happens, we may
get to start the drywall on Saturday. Can I help? Can I help? I'm
actually pretty good at drywall, and if the contractor doesn't look, it
may get done by the time they show up on Monday <hiding box of drywall
screws and screw gun behind back>.
- 1430h: Well, the floor in the kitchen is being put down now. It's
all level, within about 1/2", which is pretty good. Someone stepped on a
holy duck, so there was penance to be paid. My
new GFI is in, so I'm happy that way. The dry-wall guy has offered to work
the weekend, assuming we can get the inspection done Friday, so, there's
hope. We're definitely in heroics mode. I think we may need to have an
Stables Dinner once we're done.
- 1100h: It's the 13th, and guess what. The interior walls aren't
supported by anything other than the sub-floor. Mike, where are you when we
need you. I want to know who bribed the building inspector when this place
was built, and with that? The good part is that all the corrections to fix
these variants aren't impacting the schedule, because we're waiting on the
electrical inspection. The bad part is that it's costing me money. I hear
the scope creep alarm going off. Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
- February 12th
- 2145h: Back from dinner, feeling like crap, but going into work
tomorrow. I taped the holy ducks.
- 1845h: I can't convince the project management software that
we're going to be close to schedule. Uh oh.
- 1330h: Arrived home today to find mouldy insulation covering my
make-shift kitchen work area and the floors pulled up. So now, we have to
get a new sub-floor. I also had to discuss, with the contractors, the
electrical code and tell them to put a GFI circuit in where I knew we
wouldn't pass inspection. So, I'm now without a place to cook, very worried
about whether the schedule is going to fall apart like a house of ... mouldy
insulation, and now the contractors want a mid-point payment on Friday.
Well, only if we pass all the inspections. I'm going out to eat tonight,
because I can't face another moment looking at the mess, and I'm sick as a
dog. Wonderful. The place is such a mess that I can't even make any headway
on finishing any of the patching or priming. I may get to patch up more holy
- February 11th
- 2030h: Just so you'll know, it's possible to do a chocolate
soufflé in a toaster oven.
- 1145h: I'm prepping the walls for a coat of primer. This is more
icky stuff that Kris doesn't like one bit. Washing down walls with TSP, the
a good rinse, then patching, sanding, and priming. It'll be a while. I need
a shower, badly.
- February 10th
- We removed wallpaper today. Finally. I've been putting this one off for
months. I actually started back in December, but finally removed the last
bits today. Tomorrow's plan is to get out the patching compound and do
repairs. No pressure, but I've got to get it done before the floors go in.
The funny bit was that three of us spilled entire buckets of water on the
sub-floor at three separate times. Kris was not happy that all the towels in
the house are now soaked. I have to admit, it was pretty funny. I just
wonder where all the water went. Methinks humour has returned to Heck's
- February 9th
- 2025h: Kids are here! Kids are here! Wallpaper is now at 25%
removal!!! <laughing>. Official wallpaper ripping party is tomorrow.
- 1445h: We now have the plumbing inspection scheduled, and
electrical inspection in the works. Everything went critical on the project
plan, and the floor installation had to move to February 22nd.
I'm getting a bit edgy about it, but reassured that the contractor did step
up to the plate on this. I'm feeling like the humour has left the building.
- 1200h: For an off day, a lot of things are happening at Heck's
Kitchen, especially considering that Kris and I still haven't recovered from
whatever virus has us in its grip. The owner of the contractor company,
Clayton, has been a huge help in getting the permit stuff sorted out, and
we're not looking at a significant delay at this point. The floors may slip,
or we may slip on the floors, but cabinet delivery is still on track, and
that's sort of the keystone of the whole project plan. If that moves, so
does the end date. I've also ordered a small surprise for the team, which
should be here after the drywall is done.
- 1100h: We're trying to work out the new schedule. Ontario has
been very helpful in getting our permits worked out. They've said that the
plumbing permit can be done by us, electrical needs to be done by the
contractor, and Consumer's Gas gets to inspect afterward. We're enroute to
the permit office now.
- 1030h: The screeching sound you hear is the breaks being put on
the project. Turns out that permits are missing and we can't proceed with
insulation on Monday. This is definitely a Mike Holmes Moment, but it's the
law. There's no question about it anymore.
- 0730h: It's an off day, today. Our contractor called and said
that the remaining electrical outlets and floor level will be handled, so no
- February 8th
- 1800h: That's it for today. The project plan was updated. Our
slack, which we were so happy about having, went buh bye. From here on in,
we're on the critical path. That means wallpaper stripping this weekend, or
- 1630h: The flooring company came by to make sure that everything
was ready for them on the 19th. Guess what. Another problem. Where's that
scope alarm? There's a big raised spot in the floor that feels like it's
about 1" higher than the rest of the floor. The good part is that it's in
the eating area, so our measurements may not get completely messed up. The
bad part is that it's money to fix. We'll see what happens in tomorrow's
- 1600h: Tomorrow's an off-day for the construction people.
Everything's done, except for a bit of dusting and cleaning, and some
electrical outlets that can be done later, waiting on the insulation people.
It will give us time over the weekend to remove the last wallpaper bits. The
current pictures are below.
Facing into the kitchen, note the microwave frame-in on the left.
Facing the eating area, and the fridge on wheels.
- 1500h: Coco was here with revisions. Seems like everything's ok.
We got the microwave box positioned and framed.
- 1200h: Noon update. The wiring is proceeding. We've got some of
the breakers in the new sub-panel, and my workshop is being patched. New
task for tonight: prime the walls in my workshop. Wonderful. At least I
won't be able to smell the primer with a head full of snot. Still waiting on
Coco to come by with revised drawings.
- 0900h: Well my workshop is trash. They had to dismantle it to run
wires without trashing the rest of the house. I guess I can live with that.
Kris is going to freak out when she sees the mess. I hope the progress in
the kitchen offsets it. And, for those following this, yes, there's no
vapour barrier in the basement. That explains a whole lot of stuff. Mental
note: When the basement is redone, we're going to have to rip down the walls
here too and redo the insulation. We probably should have just gutted the
whole place. To all of you thinking about doing the basement yourself: Do
it right or don't do it at all.
- I have no words for the original builder, nor the people who created this
mess at our place, nor the home inspector, nor any of the real-estate agents
involved. Just don't knock on my door asking for anything. Ever.
- 0800h: We'll it's day 4 of the renovation, day 2 of construction.
The priority today is electrical. The electrician just showed up and wire
planning is going on. I'm resisting the temptation to
stick my head up through the holes in the
floor, not that that's hard. Kris and I are both barely able to talk today.
We're both pretty sick. I don't even know how I can be up typing.
- February 7th
1600h: End of day 3. We've
actually increased the amount of slack to 7 days until the floors go in
on the 19th, so that makes me feel good. The place is still dusty as
Heck. The wires are all in place for connecting the sub-panel to pot
lights, and that's for tomorrow. The mouldy insulation on the East wall
is gone. The South wall is still icky. I can actually relax tonight and
just be sick. Did someone mention soup?
- 1450h: Just got off the phone with Coco. It looks like he built
in fillers into the plan, so the measuring may be a non-issue. More to come
tomorrow when he's here and checks things out.
- 1415h: Just when we thought things were going well, the kitchen
plan was measured wrong. So we're 6 inches off in the width of the cabinets
across the East wall. I don't know what this is going to mean as far as
delays to the cabinets, but I think we have a problem.
- 1200h: The plumbing rough-ins are complete. Wires are now being
strung to the sub-panel. Looks like the wire fish
have been very busy today. Too bad they're going to probably be eaten
tonight. I heard Chevey hunting earlier this morning. Looks to me like we're
tracking close to schedule. I'm sure there will be some priming and painting
heroics until all hours a few nights over the next couple of weeks, before
the floors are installed.
- 0900h: I think we have the lights positioned and the drain
rough-in looks like it will complete today. Super. Electrician is due later
today. So far, the contractor hasn't added any extra fees for my helping.
What was that noise?
- 0700h: We're up early this morning to confer with Robert about
the decision to move the pot-lights. He agreed that the move was needed, so
away we go today.
- February 6th
- 2200h: I just finished roughing in the water supply to the
island. Do you have any idea what it's like trying to get a hot solder joint
done when there's water in the pipes that you can't drain? I also taped up
the air ducts, which were leaking into the floor.
- 1845h: Ok. I just lost it due to plumbing issues. Where's that
snake?. Have to make another run to HD to get supplies and a work light, because there
are no lights in the kitchen anymore.
1600h: The drywall is down,
and the vent for the island is being built. Right now, it's
mid-construction. I have more soldering to do tonight. As you can see
from the picture, we're down to almost nothing now.
- 1530h: We got the lights sorted out, I hope. Now what was this
about wanting to put the sub-panel were it would violate code? Hum? Uh NO.
- 1230h: Kris is feeling like crap and getting worse. I'm coming
- 1100h: The lights don't line up with anything. Fantastic. Who
- 1000h: Insulation? We have insulation? Well maybe a little.
What's that black mouldy stuff. I've already decided on blue foam, no matter
- 0730h: The guys are here for another day of something. The
drywall is supposed to come down. Let's see what happens.
- February 5th
||2230h: I'm done for the night. All
supply valves have been soldered, just waiting for T's, positioning, and
cabinets. All except one. I think Chevey took one valve, and it's
plastic bag, and hid it, the brat.
1630h: We'll we're done for the day.
The guys have left, and we've decided to pull down the drywall.
Apparently, "It's an R2000 Home" is now the fourth great lie. The vapour
barrier is totally trashed and the insulation is missing in spots. Kris
is having to calm me down.
The dust in here is just terrible.
- 1445h: Now if I could only get off these conference calls and get
to the store for supplies, maybe we could make some progress. I need marble.
- 1400h: The tiles are all broken up and they're shovelling and
sweeping. Man oh man is it dusty in here.
- 1215h: Guys have taken a break. 1/4 of the tiles are gone. I'm
figuring mid-day tomorrow before that's done. Kris has gone for lunch.
- 1100h: Cabinets are gone. I had to re-cap the plumbing lines,
because they wanted a standard rough-in, so the outside faucet is
disconnected for the duration. Mental note: plumbing before sink install.
- 1000h: MICE? WE HAD MICE? Found lots of peanut shells under
the old cabinets. Glad the home inspector didn't find this (Sarcasm, folks).
Anyone want his name, so you can avoid using him or his company?
- 0730h: A good sign. Everyone's here early. I should have
stopped hitting the snooze button.
- February 4th
||1830h: Well, we made it. The kitchen is
packed and vacated (mostly), and we're ready for the cabinets to be
Here's today's image of our kitchen.
Packing has just completed, and we're going for dinner. Take-Out.
- 1700h: I was going to sweat a new set of shut-offs under the sink, but, given
the corrosion on the pipes, I'm going to put fresh copper in after the
cabinets are gone. It'll be easier to do then anyway, and I can tie into
clean pipes. The caps are on, so the kitchen sink is now out of commission.
I think the stress of this renovation has hit the boiling point. We're
trying to get ready and get things out of the kitchen. We've realized that
there are things missing that we should have done but can't do anything
about it. I'm pretty ticked off and Kris is so sick she can't move. Is it
the stress? Possibly, but she's sure sick. Can we do anything about it?
Nope. Are we going to have to work through the night? Uh huh. I'm going to
be very glad when this is over, assuming I survive it.
- February 3rd
||The Scope Alarm is going off big time.
Aside from spending any time at all blogging, which I shouldn't today,
we went out for boxes and came back with all sorts of stuff. At least it
doesn't need to be packed.
Here's today's image of our kitchen.
Packing is going on, and Kris is hiding behind the chaos.
- February 2nd
- It's Groundhog Day and Wiarton Willie predicted an early spring. In a
related story, Prayrie Dog Papa (a.k.a. Randy) poked his head out the
window, and didn't see his shadow either, thereby predicting an early
completion of the Heck's Kitchen Renovation.
- February 1st
- We had our launch meeting today. The electrical stuff is all set up. The
project plan is ok. Here we go! Pray for us.
- January 31st
- Chevey and I are spending the day together avoiding working on the
renovation - big surprise. He's asleep under the kitchen table, and I'm
working on my client's stuff. Later on, more pantry packing. Too bad there's
no "empty box delivery service", because, do I ever need boxes. Robert
called to confirm tomorrow's meeting. Hopefully that'll happen without a
hitch. More later. If anyone is interested in the mess the old fridge is
making, it's alive and making ice sculptures.
- January 29th
- We're frantically cat-proofing the place. He'll be here in less than 24
hours now, and we have lots of chachkahs that need to be put away. Kris is
running off to an out of town meeting the first day Chevey will be here, so
I get to play "catch the breakables". Yikes. That and more packing. It's
about time for the pantry.
- January 28th
- Today was split into two parts. the first was packing the dining room
for the renovation (Thanks Kris for all of the work you did!!!); and the
second was spent out of the house on a cat hunt. A new member, Heck's Kitty,
has joined our family. Please see his page for
- January 26th
- Juggling between client conference calls and calls from our supplies, my
ear is hurting. A bit (a lot) of panic set in on a possible change to the
floor date, but that was resolved. I'm sure Kris will say something about it
in her blog soon. I'm still waiting on drawings and project plans (you know
who you are), and the name of the ship our tiles are on.
- January 25th
- Maybe if I could lick this virus, I'd be able to start moving stuff out
of the kitchen (Kris, I know, it's not on the critical path until mid-next
week). The floors are officially scheduled for Feb 19th, so we're well on
the way to having the plans firmed up. We have our sinks and faucets on
order now. I even got my pot filler! Destruction starts Feb 5th, and we just
need to work out lighting positions and the heating rack - yes, I got my
heating rack. Not a warming drawer, this
is something better. Of course, finding one is a different story. I also got
drafted into putting valves on the water lines before destruction, so that
the sink can be torn out. The next big meeting is February 1st, where all
big decisions should be finalized. Appliance delivery is set for March 7th.
I am so scared. What's scarier is that the bill for the flooring for the
other rooms came today... [the blog ends for the day as Randy passed out]
- January 24th
- Well, I'm home again today, pondering what to do next. The water supply
valve for the fridge was installed yesterday, and so that's good to go. No
self-tapping valve for me. It's a proper soldered supply valve. I'm eyeing
the valve on the humidifier wondering whether I should replace it too.
Robert was off yesterday, but I'm hoping for an updated project plan from
him tomorrow. <scared look> We're still waiting on new drawings from Coco so
that I can post the cabinet finals. In the meantime, Kris and I have been
looking at retired SBT Bengals. Just what we need, a Chef Kitty blog. Come
to think if it, isn't that what ends up in the litter box?
- January 23rd
- Oh dear. We've already had to change the cabinet arrangement. Somehow,
our magic corner didn't fit, so we have to reduce the size of one of the
cabinets. At least it was caught in the manufacturing stage. Like I need
this? I wonder whether the throwing up today was from the virus I have or
sheer terror of what's to come.
If that wasn't enough, the cabinet people now said that they had to redesign
the doors above the refrigerator. In hindsight, going from two to four doors
over a 48" fridge is probably a good thing. Thanks Coco. New drawings are
expected tomorrow, so I'll try to post them shortly after they arrive.
- January 22nd
- Panic is definitely starting to set in. I'm already worried about
schedules (See the KrisBlog). We're still waiting
on a project plan from our general contractor; with two weeks to go, I'm
seriously worried about not having it. Of course, Kris and I both to project
management as part of our jobs, so our plan is pretty detailed and we're
tracking slack pretty accurately. There's about a week of wiggle room up to
the day the cabinets come in. Then, we're real tight. On that subject, I got
told today that there may be a 3-4 day delay for the cabinets. That got
quickly negotiated down to 2-3 days for the doors, but the cabinets will be
on time. <deep breath/>
- January 19th
- In preparation for the renovation, we're starting to pack up the
kitchen. This means moving all the stuff into "other rooms". Unfortunately,
the kitchen renovation is also hitting the dining room floor, so that has to
be packed up too. Wonderful, huh? So, in the middle of all this, we are
arranging the living room. How? Step one: Use proper
Feng Shui principles.
Step two: After all the good Ch'i has filled the room, displace it with
boxes from the packed kitchen. At least our all our kitchen and dining room
stuff will be permeated with good Ch'i. I'm pretty sure there are critters
lurking around just waiting for hiding places to be made.
- January 18th
- All the stuff appears to be coming together. Materials and resources are
all lined up. We have our cost estimates together - gasp - and work is about
to start. The task of packing up the old kitchen contents begins pretty
soon. We're planning a big closing dinner next weekend to say good bye to
the old kitchen. I think breakage of equipment is likely in celebration:
plates; appliances (whatever still works); glasses; etc. A garage sale is
already in the planning stages and we'll probably have news about it here.
- January 13th
- We had our meeting with Robert from the general contracting firm today.
Everyone's lined up. Why do I have the feeling we're still missing
- January 11th
- We had another design meeting today with Coco and Marie-Anne. Colours
are picked. The wainscoting has been mostly agreed on (Randy: guess who gets
to custom make that). We're worrying about scope creep, as usual. The good
news is that the cabinet installation has been cut down to three days, and
that moves the kitchen online date to March 27th!
We'll post the final drawings this weekend.
- January 9th
- The tiles have now been ordered. Hopefully we'll be able to figure out
what ship they're on and track it. The sinks and faucets are now also on the
Here's what the a recent plan looks like. It's changed a bit since we
started. The fancy hood over the stove has been replaced by a standard 48"
stainless wide hood, primarily for cost reasons, although there are some
features of the new hood that make it way too tempting. There's also a new
raised extension on the island, in Jatoba, coming outward on the side opposite
the stove. New drawings are expected soon.
We'd love to mention the manufacturers of the appliances, but then, nothing
in life is free, is it? Let's just say that the stove/oven was made by a company
that has real canine teeth.