Basement renovation – finale

Almost 7 months has passed since I last blogged about the basement. Well, it was really a labor of love and a marathon. During the moving-back-in phase, we completed a few major finishing touches.

IKEA cabinets redux

Hubby and I had a boat load of experience installing IKEA kitchen cabinets (at least for the discontinued Akurum series) from the kitchen remodel several years ago. For the basement, we installed a bunch in the study and the family room. Per the previous post, I made my own countertop for the study. Once the countertop was complete, we moved onto installing the drawers and doors.

The final frontier was an undercounter freezer. It took quite an effort to level the freezer because the entire basement floor is sloped towards the floor drain in the utility room. The other issue I ran into was the freezer door handle. The handle that came with the freezer is a piece of ugly plastic. I measured the distance between the preset holes on the door, searched online and found that a sliding glass door handle would fit. The piece I need is part of a package for the locking mechanism of a sliding glass door. It costs less than $20 so I took a chance on it and the black metal handle looks great.

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Basement renovation – part 5

Several months have gone by since my last post. We are at the stages of finish work and it feels like this will take longer than the rough-in. Partly because this is when decisions have to be made for everything visible. We sampled 6-8 paint colors before deciding on two of them. Other finishes are decided by looking at internet photos which often give me much anxiety. What if I don’t like the items when I finally see them in person? Returning internet orders incurs shipping costs but not so for the ship-to-store option like Home Depot as long as it’s not a special order item. Otherwise, I clicked the button to say “buy” and crossed my fingers that everything will work out.

We have ceilings!

One of such internet adventures was the ceiling grid and tiles for the family room and office space. We had contractors drywalled the ceiling in the bathroom but I want to keep the rest to be accessible for future upgrade of electrical or plumbing repair (a frozen spigot has already given us an important life lesson back in January). Traditional drop ceiling does not work well for the low ceiling height in basements so I did a lot of research on alternatives and decided on CeilingLink. This PVC product comes in a few different shapes to accommodate the room perimeter, stairway openings, and other box-arounds.

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Kitchen renovation, part 8

Did we really finish the kitchen? I have no idea. I can say the official completion was around mid-September. Since then, I had to tinker a few things here and there that it feels like it’s still ongoing. Before getting into all those finer details, let’s back up to where I left off last on this blog.

Trim – the 3rd time is the charm

The kitchen has two entryways. One is connected to the dining room that has hardwood floor. The new kitchen has marmoleum. After two tries of putting down a trim to cover the transition, I think the third trim is going to do it. What’s wrong with the first two? The first one was too thick for such a high traffic area. I could really feel it under the shoes. I messed up the second one while I was attempting to install it with nails.

The third piece is real oak (not sure what the first two was made out of), matching the hardwood floor. It has pre-drilled holes and came with screws. The holes were not countersink enough to hide the screws with filler so I enlarged the countersink a little. Before putting it down on the floor, I put on a coat of polyurethane on the bottom of the trim and also the newly sanded transition area of the hardwood floor. In case of any major spill, those areas are a little bit protected.

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Kitchen renovation, part 6

We started the kitchen renovation on July 18, 2009. Today is the first day of June. Can we finish before the one year mark? It’s doable I think, not impossible, considering all the little mishaps I created.

Oops, real Silicone caulk is forever!

I’ve lived in enough rentals plus my own bathrooms to have a huge dismay against moldy caulk. I was determined to find a mold-proof solution. It’s fairly simple actually. Get 100% Silicone caulk. Not the water clean up kind of Silicone Acrylic, that stuff gets moldy for sure.

When our backsplash was installed, the edges around the countertop were covered with Silicone Acrylic caulk. Since a portion of the backsplash is behind the sink, there will be a lot of exposure of water in that area. I decided to go over all the edges with 100% Silicone caulk. I got the GE kind sold at Home Depot with a 10-year mold free guarantee. It has to be the best stuff around, right?

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Kitchen renovation, part 5

It’s been almost two months since I dropped a few words here about the renovation. It’s moving along slowly but other things in life pick up speed. Before then, my body set off an alarm to tell me to rest.

When your body betrayed you

Back in February, I woke up one day with a severe case of muscle spasm in the neck and right shoulder. I had this problem before but I was usually out of bed before noticing the problem. This time around, I opened my eyes from a full night of sleep and I immediately noticed I could not move. Any slight movement was painful. I could hear hubby cooking breakfast in the temporary kitchen we set up in the bedroom next door but I couldn’t yell loud enough to get his attention right away. When the cooking noise subsided, I called out to him and finally got the help I needed. It’s still not easy to get out of bed.

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