1970s Shore Home, DIY and Decor

Window Treatments Are The Worst

Guys can we talk about window treatments for a minute? Most of the aluminum / vinyl mini blinds that were in the shore house were in pretty rough shape. And the curtains were not to my taste. So now that the house is painted and nice looking I’ve started to turn my attention towards window treatments. At home in the bedrooms we have cordless cellular shades (which came with the house) and then curtains hung over the window. This way it can be super duper dark in the bedroom even with the sun decides to rise at 5:30 or some horrible hour. This has been essential in getting my kid to sleep past dawn, and it works great.

Shopping for curtains is sort of fun, and not too intimidating. There are a good number of inexpensive options at Target and Lowes, so it doesn’t feel like that much of a life commitment. I even snagged some from Woot.com that like.

I find these totally acceptable at $20/pair
I find these totally acceptable at $20/pair

Aside from needing to hem the ones for the upstairs (damn you, not-even-eight-foot ceilings) curtain shopping went pretty well. Until today.

For some reason I am in curtain limbo. I set out this morning in search of curtains for the 2 downstairs bedrooms, and came up empty handed. Since the downstairs have colored walls (upstairs is gray) I wanted to see stuff in person to make sure the color looked good. Everything I found that I liked was mysteriously out of stock. Target was super weird: none of the display curtains seemed to be anywhere on the shelf. But I made a note of the styles I liked and figured I’d order them online. Except my notes must not be good enough because I can’t find any of them online. So now I’m just curtain-less.  Good luck keeping up with the glaring summer sun, new AC system!

Next I went to Lowes to look at shades/blinds. Holy shit you guys, those cordless cellular shades I love cost a fortune, it turns out! Thanks, person who we bought our house from, for buying nice things I am way too cheap to ever purchase on my own. I mean I guess if I was doing one or two windows I could stomach the cost, but I have ten. Then I looked at vinyl/aluminum mini blinds, which are cheap. And ugly. So ugly. I hemmed and hawed for about 10 minutes before turning to the display of disposable stick-on paper accordion shades. And bought ten. That’s right, I bailed on this decision. I’ll return to it in 6 months when the paper shades start falling down.

The other thorn in my side is the sliding glass doors. They’re problematic for a number of reasons. First, the seal is busted. Water is trapped inside, and the only way to really fix that is to get new doors. They are also really hard to open and close. And also I hate pretty much every window treatment option available for sliding glass doors. Curtains are bulky and annoying, vertical blinds are ugly, and a nice multi-layer drape system is too expensive to spend on a door that has to be replaced in the next year anyway.

Not convinced this is an improvement over the vinyl ones
Not convinced this is an improvement over the vinyl ones

So don’t be surprised if you come to visit and find that all my curtains just have a sheet tacked up over them, college style, because I am incapable of making any decisions about window treatments.

1970s Shore Home

All done with painting and flooring!

At long last, all the rooms are painted! We painted the upstairs ourselves, but after 4 months of nonstop work I am exhausted (and also 5 months pregnant) so we decided to hire a painter to do the downstairs. But before we could have the walls painted we had to get the new flooring installed in the two downstairs bedrooms.

The bedrooms came to us with some fake parquet stick-on vinyl tiles (which tested asbestos free, thankfully). We replaced it with the same click-lock waterproof vinyl we used in the kitchen and laundry room.

Old fake parquet floor
Old fake parquet floor
IMG_2256
The smaller bedroom with a chair rail (??)

The tiles came up easily but getting the sticky goo leftover was nearly impossible. It dissolves with mineral spirits, but I didn’t really have a mop capable of getting the slick goo up efficiently and wearing a respirator for long periods of time sucks. I ended up scraping it with a putty knife and then putting paper down to just contain the adhesive.

Flooring is half installed in the big bedroom
Flooring is half installed in the big bedroom

Apparently I did some math wrong when I ordered flooring because I came up short about 6 square feet. The flooring company warehouse is out in Trenton, about an hour from me. My dad saved the day by volunteering to drive to pick it up on Tuesday, my mom and I came down on Wednesday to finish installing it, and since my father-in-law had pre-cut all the quarter round molding we were able to get everything done in time for the painters on Thursday.

The first day the painters prepped all the walls. They were in pretty rough shape. It took two guys a solid 8 hours of working to get everything spackled and smooth.

2015-08-20 18.19.49
Bedroom chicken pox

The painting itself took a crew of 5 or 6 guys ten hours. They managed to sand and put two coats of paint on the ceiling, walls, and trim all in one day. The change is dramatic, the house feels much brighter and more open now (admittedly some of that openness also comes from finally having the house clean).

The house is finally starting to look good. Gone are the piles of debris everywhere (except the laundry room and downstairs bathroom). The carpets need a professional cleaning but at least they’ve been vacuumed. There’s a ton of little finishing to do all around the house, but the major stuff is very close to being done. My last big kitchen task is to tile the backsplash.

One slight unrelated aggrevation: the hot water heater has been cutting out periodically. After a phone call to tech support (yes, my water heater has a tech support line) it was determined that the flow rate isn’t high enough for the burner to kick on. The next debugging step is to figure out if the problem with the flow rate sensor, or the plumbing elsewhere in the house. I would not be even a little bit surprised if the problem is the plumbing, the water pressure upstairs seems lower than it should be. Sigh.

Oh well, plumbing can be fixed… and I’m finally approaching the fun part of this whole project… decorating! I’ve logged more hours on Pinterest lately than I’d like to admin. And I might be seriously considering getting a tide clock (but only if I can find a pretty analog one that doesn’t have to be manually set every week).

But whatever that can all come later. Painting is done! Flooring is done! Hooray!

Crafting

Let’s Talk About Coloring Books

This week has been sort of irritating. Nothing has gone wrong, but few things have gone as planned. So yesterday when I saw that Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt was back in stock AND available for same-day Amazon Prime… I impulse bought it along with a set of Prismacolor pencils. Yeah.

coloring

Adult coloring books (which is not risque in any way although I’m sure there are some NSFW coloring books too) are a huge Thing right now. We did an article on them for Offbeat Home and then NPR and every other major media outlet in the world also was like GEE, COLORING IS FUN.

Originally I bought a brand new pack of Crayola colored pencils, and then I found out that they were kind of not awesome. Were Crayola colored pencils always this shitty? I felt like half of them had really weak color saturation. I rummaged around and found a half-empty box of Prismacolors leftover from college, and then decided that I’m an Adult and it’s time for an Upgrade. I gave the Crayolas to my 3 year old. She loves them, please don’t tell her they’re really just my cast-offs.

My hunt for Prismacolor pencils was initially thrown off by the fact that they have updated their packaging sometime since 2002. Yes, 13 years later I was still looking for this box:

prismacolors

To me this is what Prismacolors come in. A cardboard box with a radial arrangement of pencils. That is the way the world is, and it is good. But apparently they’ve innovated sometime in the last decade, and now NOT ONLY to they have different packaging, but they have two separate lines. A “scholar” line which is less expensive and has a slightly harder pigment core. The price difference is significant ($30 for a set of 60 Scholar pencils, $60 for a set of 72 not-scholar pencils) so I went with the scholar ones. And put the fancy ones on my Christmas list.

Then I stumbled upon someone who is truly insane; a woman who used one of the Secret Garden illustrations as an embroidery design.

secret-garden-embroidery-328

I have a profound love of tedious art projects, but this is just nuts. And gorgeous. And nuts. And her website is FULL of tutorial information if you’re insane enough to want to try it yourself.

I also found out that my favorite pens, which I plan on using for at least a few of the pages in the coloring book, are available in a 36 color pack. This is even more exciting than the 20 color pack I already own.

71EEwSy4eRL._SL1200_

 

So yeah. If you need me I’ll be in the kitchen, coloring. And not sharing my fancy pencils OR my coloring book with my 3 year old. Whatever she has plenty of her own coloring books.

1970s Shore Home

Hot Water! Plumbing! Electric!

Today I very begrudgingly went down the shore to babysit contractors. To be totally honest I am pretty sick of working on the house right now, and would really like to take a break for a bit. But today was the last big contractor push, so off I went.

The biggest and most exciting thing is WE FINALLY HAVE HOT WATER. YAAAAAAAAY.

2015-08-04 18.13.12

It’s gas powered, tankless, and up and running. I can shower forever!!!!! The tankless is perfect for our use case because we often have many people needing to take showers in a row, and we don’t want to pay to keep a big tank heated when no one is around. But mostly WE HAVE HOT WATER. I CAN TAKE A SHOWER NOW. OH MY GOD SO EXCITING.

The sink was also installed, but not without some headaches. The kitchen design has a pull-out trash drawer under the sink. Unfortunately my $15 sink from the habitat restore is pretty deep, and by the time you add the garbage disposal it’s too deep for the trash drawer to clear. So now I have a couple of problems: I need different, swing-open style doors for the sink cabinet, and I need to figure out where the trash can is going to go.

But whatever! I’ll figure it out later! For now I’m just happy I have hot water running to the sink!

Sink!
Sink!

Then the electrician came to fix the upstairs outlets. Despite having some 3 prong outlets none of them were grounded. It turned out the electrical panel wasn’t wired correctly, and fixing that fixed all of the upstairs outlets. Unfortunately it was also discovered that due to the age / decay of the conduit carrying the mains from the street to the house, water was accumulating in a bend just below the electrical panel. This is bad, but not an emergency, so it goes on the list of things to fix when we tackle the siding and windows.

The closer I get to the end of the current to-do list, the more big projects appear for the future. None of them are critical, but all will have to be addressed eventually.

Windows. A number of the windows, including the sliding glass door, are no longer sealed. This means they’re inefficient, and condensation forms between the panes of glass. One also has a busted sash. All of this we knew about when we bought the house.

Siding. Strictly speaking we don’t have to do anything to the siding. But if we’re doing the windows they’ll have to remove a lot of the siding anyway. And the siding is asbestos. So if we’re going to touch it at all, there’s a strong case to be made for removing it. But it’s in good shape for now so as long as we don’t touch it then we’re fine.

Electric Meter Replacement. We need to replace the lines that to from the street to the electric meter, which wrap around the side and back of the house. BUT the city doesn’t allow meters in the back yard anymore, so if we replace the lines we’d have to move the meter to the side of the building. While that’s kind of annoying, with the meter moved forward the mains connection can be run under the crawlspace. This would shield it from the sun and rain, which is what damaged the old one in the first place. This is another one we can ignore for a little bit, but if we replace the siding we’d have to get this done then since they can’t just shove the old crappy line (which is attached to the siding) back into place.

The Joists. We took care of the worst of these, but there are still a few sad joists under the house. Or maybe the house was just poorly engineered in the first place, I’m not sure. Either way the floor in the bathroom bounces way more than it should. We have a good structural guy, but he’s on tour with his band for the summer.

The Bathrooms. Both need new tub/showers. The upstairs one is downright unsafe, and the downstairs one is really gross yellowing plastic with missing enamel (and it’s not worth refinishing). It’s not urgent by any means, but it’ll definitely need to be taken care of eventually. I also strongly suspect the subfloor in the downstairs bathroom is rotted.

Anyway, all this stuff is for later. Way later. Spring at the earliest. The house is now sort of livable (we have beds, a fridge, and hot water) so I’m gonna back off the breakneck pace to restore my sanity some. I really need a weekend that does not involve installing cabinets or flooring.

1970s Shore Home

We have counter tops!!!

On Friday the stone company came and installed our counter tops. The kitchen looks 75% more like a real kitchen now!

New counter tops!!

The next steps for the kitchen are installing all the plumbing for the sink / dishwasher / fridge, and having the painter come paint the walls. There are a lot of detail items for us to finish (cabinet doors/handles, toekicks) and of course the big task is the tile backsplash. You can see a few of the tiles chilling behind the faucet. But we have counters and it’s starting to really feel like an honest to god kitchen.

The living room is finally cleared out and we’ve started on the flooring in the downstairs bedrooms. My friends and parents came down this week / weekend to help.

Left: the larger bedroom with the subfloor showing under the old flooring. Right: The smaller bedroom with the new flooring in place, awaiting finishing trim.

The last big exciting thing is that our gas lines were FINALLY approved by the inspector. The HVAC company is coming Tuesday to install… something. Honestly I’m not 100% sure what. Maybe the furnace, maybe the hot water heater, maybe the kitchen plumbing. They’re supposed to confirm on Monday. I’m really hoping it’s the hot water heater.

2015-07-30 12.48.04

The to-do list is still long… very long. But we’re inching closer and closer each week.

1970s Shore Home, DIY and Decor

Starting to feel homey

Had a fairly relaxed weekend down the shore with some work, but not the usual breakneck pace. A couple friends came in to visit from out of town which means I actually set foot on the beach for the 2nd time this summer.

Most of my effort went into painting the cabinet doors, which I primed last time I was down there. Unfortunately the painting did not go as smoothly. I kept getting all these tiny air bubbles in my paint despite using a conditioner which is supposed to eliminate those sorts of problems. Eventually I found that thinning the paint with a little water helped, but I only figured that out 2/3 of the way through the process. I have 5 doors that are done, another 7 or so doors that need their final coat of paint, and then another 10 doors that have irritating bubbles I must sand down and recoat. So overall paint progress is about 60%.

Two twin not-ikea beds
Two twin not-ikea beds

I set up the two twin beds we got from Wayfair. Honestly they made me appreciate how easy Ikea stuff is to assemble, the Wayfair beds were a pain. The manufacturing tolerances were clearly too great and a lot of stuff just didn’t fit together well. The bed on the right has two drawers for storage, and the bed on the left has a trundle bet I have yet to assemble. Also is ironing sheets a thing? Because I could not for the life of me prevent the Ikea duvet covers from looking like a crinkled mess.

I might eventually turn the beds so they come out into the room, but with the HVAC system still mid-replacement (it’s located in that room’s closet) I figured having the beds out of the way was good.

Our fancy hipster bed
Our fancy hipster mattress. I put off making it until next time. Also I need a bed.

The snazzy new Tuft and Needle bed arrived on Friday. Unboxing it was surprisingly dramatic. I didn’t take a video of it because there are dozens on instagram already, but it is surprisingly fast to go from a 2″ thick thing that looks freeze-dried to an actual 10″ thick queen mattress. It feels like a mattress. I’m not sure I like it drastically better than the ikea mattress + foam topper from Amazon combo, but they net out to similar prices anyway.

The pink tile in the bathroom is sort of growing on me, which is actually a shame because that whole bathroom has to be redone. There’s no way to fix the deathtrap shower without ripping up the tile, and the tile is also not in great shape. I can’t imagine putting fresh pink tile back in, but I’ll be kinda sad to lose this stuff.

While we still don’t have hot water the bathroom now has a little cart to hold things, and there’s a hand towel hanging on the towel rack so you can dry your hands. The kiddo helped assemble the cart and she’s actually pretty good with an Allen wrench.

Bathroom!
Bathroom!

Another big task for the weekend was ripping up the stick on tile in the small first floor bedroom. The tiles came up easily but they left behind a gross sticky residue that we weren’t able to get up satisfactorily. We tried both water and mineral spirits. When I say “we” I really mean my friends because they did all the work in that room. Since the goo won’t totally come up I’m just going to put some paper down over and it and lay the new flooring on top. It’s that or replace the subfloor (lol no).

Leona tested out the new mattress by jumping on it repeatedly
Leona tested out the new mattress by jumping on it repeatedly

As sort of a progress update, here’s the major stuff still left on the to-do list:

Kitchen

  • Finish painting the doors and put them on
  • Get a painter to fix the ceiling/walls the last guy did badly
  • Get the counters installed (next week maybe?)
  • Get the plumber to connect the sink / dishwasher / fridge
  • Tile the backsplash
  • Add various trim so things look nice

Downstairs Bedrooms

  • Pull up the tile in the big bedroom
  • Remove / paper over the gunk on the floor
  • Lay new flooring (same stuff that’s in the kitchen)
  • Get the painter to paint
  • Put up curtains

Upstairs

  • Get a bed for the Tuft and Needle Mattress
  • Get some sort of nightstand-like things for the bedrooms
  • Maybe get an electrician to add another outlet to the landing
  • Finish painting the trim in the one bedroom.

It’s actually starting to feel like a manageable list. I’m REALLY hoping to have hot water by the end of the month, but I’m not holding my breath.

1970s Shore Home, DIY and Decor

Beds! Beds! Beds!

Kitchen stuff at the shore house is mostly back on track. The inspector is coming out on Tuesday, which should clear us to get the hot water heater installed (!!!!) later that week or early the week after. Chris and I got the fridge cabinet raised to the correct height, and in theory someone will call me next week with an install date for the counter tops. The front bedroom is making an OK spray booth for the cabinet doors. I can’t fit nearly as many in there as I could fit in the backyard, so I’ll have to do it in more stages, but no bugs landed in my paint job so that’s nice. Ikea is still out of stock on my damned parts but in theory they’re getting a shit-ton this weekend. FINGERS CROSSED I can start cutting down my Ikea trips to like… bi-monthly.

Now I can move on to more fun stuff… beds!

Right now the plan is to have two twin beds, one trundle, a double bed, two queen beds, and a twin daybed that pulls out into something sort of resembling a short king bed (or a wide full bed, depending on how you look at it). The double we already have, the rest we still need to accumulate. I’ve been scouring thrift stores / yard sales and coming up empty, so we’ll probably end up buying them new.

I got two of this bed, one with a trundle and one with storage, for the "kids room" at the shore house.
I got two of this bed, one with a trundle and one with storage, for the “kids room” at the shore house.

At the same time we are also upgrading the toddler’s crib at home to a “big girl bed.” After a failed trip to a “real” furniture store she picked out an Ikea bed that honestly I think is pretty ugly, but it’s one of the cheapest beds so whatever. At that price you can have whatever ugly bed you want, kiddo. It comes with an optional trundle which we’re planning on getting… but is out of stock until next week. WHY DO YOU HATE ME IKEA STOCK GODS?

It has that cozy, mental institution vibe.
It has that cozy, mental institution vibe.

It also occurred to me yesterday that between the two twin beds, Leona’s bed, and two trundles… I am in the market for five twin mattresses. That is a lot of twin mattresses, and mattresses really aren’t the sort of thing you want to pick up secondhand unless you know the person. Even then… kids mattresses… probably best to buy new. Thankfully because these mattresses are for kid / guest use I can get away with the cheaper options. Right now I’m planning to get the cheaper-but-not-cheapest Ikea models unless anyone has suggestions.

For one of the queen mattresses I decided to give Tuft and Needle a try. They sell a 10 inch foam mattress and are apparently “disrupting” the mattress industry… whatever that means. They are comparatively inexpensive, made in the USA, and have a solid return policy. They have lots of promo photos of hipster-looking people unboxing their mattresses. I hope this mattress turns my small sloped-ceiling room into a magnificent brick loft with original hardwood floors.

When all is said and done we will be able to sleep 4 couples and 3 singles in the house on real mattresses. There aren’t any immediate plans for pull-out couches but down the road we could potentially expand the number of non-air-mattress guests even further. WE WILL BE MATTRESS BARONS.

BTW if anyone sees good deals on bed linens, let me know!

1970s Shore Home

Aaaaargh

The past week of work down the shore has been incredibly frustrating.

First up, the gas line finally got installed and now I’m in a holding pattern waiting for the inspector to come inspect. I haven’t even gotten an expected date yet. I even saw the inspector on my block this week! But he did not come to my house. None of the gas appliances can be hooked up until he signs off on the lines so… more waiting.

Chris and I got the over-the-fridge cabinet installed and pushed the fridge into place… only to realize that when I measured the fridge I did not take into account the door hinge. Which is a solid inch and a half taller than the rest of the fridge. So now I have to pull out the fridge, take down the cabinet, move the mounting hardware, etc etc. It’s a solid couple hours of work and it requires another person to help. Mostly I’m just mad at myself for mis-measuring.

The painter we hired to do the kitchen and living room was just awful. In theory he was supposed to come back and finish up but I decided I don’t ever want to see him again. So tomorrow another painter is coming out to give me a quote for fixing what the other guy screwed up. And while they’re at it I’m going to have them paint the two remaining bedrooms because I am so incredibly sick of painting. Also I’m really not loving the color I picked out for the living room. I’m debating having them change it. PAINT EVERYWHERE.

2015-07-05 14.16.19

I got the kitchen flooring installed. You can see a cutout in the middle for the island (since it’s a floating floor nothing can be anchored to it directly). Unfortunately I effed up my measurements ever so slightly and the holes in the back are off by about an inch. Which means that the holes will peek out from under the island. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to deal with that yet.

On Tuesday someone came to measure the cabinets to fit the countertop. Then I got a call from Ikea: there’s a $1000 upcharge. I’m sorry, what? Yep, it turns out that the person who calculated the initial cost was off by 15 square feet of material. Because he entered 10 inches into one of the measurements instead of 10 FEET. So they quoted me for 25 feet instead of the 40 this project requires. Even with a 20% discount it’s a surprise expense that is not fun.

I might have got the grass a little.
I might have got the grass a little.

On Monday I sprayed the primer onto the custom wood doors. Overall the painting went really well, and the sprayer gives a really nice even coat of paint in no time flat. Unfortunately I did not account for bugs and bird shit, both of which are in abundant supply in the back yard. Immediately after I sprayed bugs got themselves stuck (and then died like the dinosaurs) and birds took dumps on my freshly-primed doors. I have to give the doors a quick sanding  before I can enamel them anyway, but this means that for the final coat I need to find somewhere free of living things. I think I’m going to turn one of the downstairs bedrooms (which is getting all new flooring) into a spray booth. Yes I will wear a respirator.

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While assembling the cabinets I realized I was missing more parts from Ikea, parts that were never on my order in the first place. So back to Ikea I went, and of course they are still out of stock on some parts that have been back ordered since I placed my order in April. More are expected to come in at the end of this month, but seriously Ikea GET YOUR INVENTORY SHIT TOGETHER.

I ordered two twin beds from Wayfair for one of the bedrooms. When the boxes arrived two were damaged and one was the wrong box. Wayfair is replacing them for free, but it’s still one more thing to deal with.

So right now I’m pretty fed up with this whole process. I’m heading down tomorrow to meet with a new painter, but no major projects are happening this week. I have to fix the fridge cabinet before the counters can be installed but I should have two weeks before they’re ready.

And someday, maybe someday, I’ll have hot water.

1970s Shore Home

Status report: a place to sleep, still no hot water

I’ve spent a ton of time working on the house lately. There isn’t a ton of visual progress but stuff is slowly inching forward.

Upstairs

A bed! In a bedroom! With curtains!
A bed! In a bedroom! Which has curtains!

The upstairs is edging very close to being finished! Over the past few weeks the following happened:

  • I repaired an 8 inch by 1 foot hole in the wall of one of the bedrooms. I didn’t do a very good job so don’t look very closely.
  • Two bedrooms and the hallway are totally done with paint
  • The third upstairs bedroom was primed and the ceiling was painting (thanks to my father in law) and the first coat of wall paint is on
  • I replaced 2 of the 4 illegal/dangerous ungrounded 3 prong outlets with GFI outlets. This won’t protect your laptop from getting zapped, but it will keep the house from burning down.

Still remaining are the other two outlets and having a professional carpet cleaner give the carpets some love. Then we can put beds in the other two rooms and start having guests! That is, as long as they don’t mind not having hot water. Oh and I have to put the doors back on, but first I have to chop an inch off the bottom because they drag on the carpets.

HVAC Stuff

I'm really enjoying my Nest, and its API
I’m really enjoying my Nest, and its API

The gas lines were run to the furnace, stove, and hot water heater. Now we’re waiting on a city inspector to come by for the rough inspection (next week if I’m lucky). After the inspector signs off they can connect the appliances. So assuming the city doesn’t drag their heels we could be a mere two weeks from endless hot water! What’s cool is the new hot water heater is tiny and mounted high on the wall, so we’ve gained space in the laundry room where we could put a utility sink or cabinet.

The bad news is the HVAC guys uncovered more shady electrical work in the house. I haven’t yet gotten a quote for fixing it, but since the inspector will be coming I don’t really have a choice. Even though the bad wiring was there before the inspector could pitch a fit about it now if we don’t make it right.

Kitchen Stuff

Look! A microwave!
Look! A microwave!

The kitchen has been a lot of back and forth. We got a bunch of stuff done…

There is still a ton to do. Next week they are coming out to make the template for the counter top, so I have to make sure everything with the cabinets is 100% done and in place by then. I don’t think I can get the cabinet doors painted in time (at least not if I want to enjoy the holiday weekend) so I may just install the doors unpainted and then take them off after the counter top people come.

I also have to finish the weird hutch thing I am building to go above the fridge. The short version of the story is that the fridge is 30″ deep and the cabinet that goes above the fridge is only 24″ deep. Because a cabinet set 6 inches back above a 5’8 fridge would be pretty unusable I am building a little hutch thing to space the cabinet from the wall. This also lets me deal with the fact that the vent for the drain line sticks out of the wall near the ceiling (there used to be a soffit there). A cover panel will hide the ugly mess of 2×4 lumber I’m building it out of.

I think we’re actually nearing the home stretch. After this weekend the upstairs will be done and once we get the appliances out of the living room we can start thinking about that space. I’m so sick of painting I think I’m going to hire someone to do the two remaining bedrooms on the first floor. I still have to do the flooring in those rooms as well.

1970s Shore Home

Ikea Undercabinet Lighting

The past few weeks have been a lot of two steps forward / one step back in the kitchen. While tidying up the remaining boxes of kitchen stuff I came across the cabinet lighting, and thought “huh I wonder when I’m supposed to install these.” I’ll tell you…. before you secure the wall cabinets. Oops.

It took a while to figure out how to route all the wires. Then I had to unscrew and take down some of the cabinets, cut holes where appropriate, re-hang them, and then use a combination of fishing line and my tiny hands to fish the wires through. When the cabinets were off the wall I threaded fishing line through the holes. I secured it with painters tape to keep it from falling out, and then once the cabinets were mounted I taped the ends of the wires to the fishing line and dragged them through.

Wires coming out of a hole in the backboard
Wires coming out of a hole in the cabinet above the oven

 

Omlopp undercabinet light before securing the cord/cover
Omlopp undercabinet light before securing the cord/cover

Installing the  Omlopp lights was kind of a pain. There are 6 light strips under my cabinets and getting them all lined up right was surprisingly tough, despite measuring everything. This is one place where oblong mounting holes that let you adjust would have been greatly appreciated, but weren’t provided. I also found that the directions are sort of backwards. They tell you to install the cord cover first, then the mounting strip,  then clip the light to the mounting strip. But it’s much easier to clip the cord cover loosely over the cord, mount the light, and then just stick the cord cover to cabinet wherever it lands.

I think most people put the transformers and cords above the cabinets. I don’t have the clearance up there so everything is going in the cabinet above the stove and I’ll put a shelf near the top to keep it mostly hidden away. There’s already an outlet in that cabinet for the microwave so the lights will be on the same circuit.

There are also two round recessed lights inside the end cabinet (which has glass doors and shelves). With the cabinet on the ground I used a 2.5″ hole saw to cut holes and then pushed the lights up into them with the cord coming out the top. I used some painter’s tape to keep the wires from flopping around and getting in the way when we put the cabinet back on the wall.

I opted for the plug-in lights because I didn’t want to deal with hardwiring them in. The transformers they plug into have a remote, but the transformers buzz whenever the remote is off. They don’t make noise when the light is on. I don’t know if I just got two duds, or if this is a widespread problem with the Ikea Ansulta transformers. Hopefully replacements will fix the problem.

I’m happy with how they turned out but a little discouraged by the buzzing issue, which I suspect is due to poorly engineered circuits in the transformers. I don’t mind losing the dimmer if it means getting ridding the noise.

Undercabinet lights installed
Undercabinet lights installed