Snow, snow and a little more snow!

I’m sitting here in my kitchen dining area (on that lovely bench made by the Heck Construction carpenters) getting ready for yet another winter weather event. I am so glad that our project was completed long before this crazy winter. It’s been about two months since our job was done and here’s what has been happening:
1. We are still unpacking boxes each week. Now that the holidays are packed away, we have a better sense of how the kitchen works for us. I’m moving things around to more logical spots, and making decisions about what doesn’t need to return to the cupboards. It’s very freeing to have less stuff in my workspace.
2. We finally hung some pictures. It’s no secret that our family loves to have artwork and photos everywhere. But we were very slow to put things back in place. We didn’t want to put nails in those pretty blue walls, I guess! Curtains have now been bought–and will go up soon, I promise!
3. My husband is diligently sorting and organizing in our storage room. I see a yard sale in our future!

The snow has delayed the stone wall project–no surprise there!

One last thought–we are sooo glad that the kitchen is better insulated. This room was always drafty but it is now a pleasant, warm spot all day long.

Working on the wall

Today was the start of another project–rebuilding a stone wall that borders the creek next to our house. We actually contacted a stone mason almost a year ago about this job, and they are finally getting started. Apparently skilled stone masons are in great demand. We had hoped to do this project in the fall…and it’s now January.

Our little creek had a stone wall that stood the test of time for decades. However, construction in our neighborhood led to erosion that in turn washed out our wall. I was so sad when this happened a few years ago. The pile of rocks had fallen in the creek and there was no wall any more. My husband and sons did manage to get the less heavy rocks out of the creek, but the task of rebuilding required professional attention. I honestly stopped walking around that side of the house because the broken wall just bothered me.

What you see here isn’t just a pile of rocks. It’s a start of something new. Hurray!

Note: this is a separate project from the kitchen…through a masonry company.


Week 7 in review…and we’re pretty much done!

We’ve officially reached the end of seven weeks of work. Did you notice that I’ve stopped counting days? That’s because we are pretty much done! Here’s what “done” means:

• The Heck Construction group has officially moved out of our house. Last week, our project foreman Matt coordinated the wrap-up/ clean-up of the project, removing their supplies, equipment, and other stuff for the last time. Much of this was happening on two miserably rainy days. Many thanks to Matt, Brandon & Corey who were here much of the time these past few weeks.

• Matt constructed and installed the bench for my window seat in the kitchen. My original idea was a seat that had a hinged top so that we could store things inside. Due to the location of the baseboard heat–on the outside walls which was the most appropriate place–we had to go with more of a bench than a box for a seat. I like the finished product and the final step will be upholstering the seat with the fabric that I picked up at JoAnn Fabric. Image

I love picking out fabric, and I took a chance on this one, as I was shopping without my paint swatch. Driving home, I looked at it and thought it might be the wrong shade of blue. Putting it next to the paint, I really like it! I have to buy some kind of batting or foam to pad the seat and then we’ll use a staple gun to put it all together. I’m hoping to do that before the end of the week.


• The painter made yet another Saturday visit to paint the bench. That task did not look like much fun–he was laying on the floor painting under the seat, where the brackets are located. He didn’t paint the top, since it will be covered.Image


• The coffee station and pantry are done, with some nifty drawers installed in the pantry. Those are really deep shelves and I’m filling them up with the groceries that have been kept in odd places these past few weeks. If you’ve wondered why these cabinets are brown, it’s because I thought white cabinets would look odd in a location about 10 feet from the rest of the kitchen, and we wanted that area to be kind of a separate space. We also planned to move an antique piece of furniture out there and I think it’s turned out pretty nice.



• Outside, deck, siding and stairs are done too. One of these days, there will be photos, I promise!

What remains? One more visit from the electrician to switch out the pendant lights. The ones that were installed are not the ones that are supposed to be there. The “good” ones are supposed to be here in two days and if they arrive intact they will be switched out. Also, there need to be a few dimmer switches installed. I’m hoping this is easy stuff. We’ll also have sort of final meeting and conversation with project manager this week.


We’ve pretty much moved in and unpacked all that we want to unpack for now. The house is back in shape for the holidays and I’m feeling very happy, very thankful and very pleased with our new kitchen.

And guess what? No early morning wakeup is happening around here tomorrow–for the first time in two months. Hurray!



Day 34: Wow, what a nice deck!

Today’s work was all outside, finishing the railing on the top and along the stairs. it is such a solid deck and very nicely crafted. It was kind of drizzly and dark when I got home so I didn’t get to really explore every angle. It also looked like other outside work was done on siding and trim, but I don’t know the details. These dark early evenings don’t allow the blogger/ photographer to get great photos,

I think tomorrow is inside work again. We are anxious to see the loose ends tied up very soon, and I’m sure the construction company feels the same way. So close…

Day 33: Starting to feel at home!


This isn’t the best of photos–I took it in the evening, using an iPad–but I wanted to show you a bit about how we are settling in to our new super nice kitchen. I have not done much more rearranging or unpacking since the weekend but I’m getting used to working and living in this new space. Unloading the dishwasher and putting dishes away feels a bit less awkward each day and hallelujah, I love just having a working sink and dishwasher again! We are enjoying eating at the counter and the little kitchen table too.

In the next two days, the brown cabinets at our coffee station and pantry will get their finishing touches and we can finally put our food back where it belongs, and unpack a few more boxes. We will also be relocating either our Hoosier cabinet or dry sink to the kitchen area, and I can’t wait to have a more spacious dining room again.

Today was a quiet day here–the crew was working elsewhere. Work resumes tomorrow and we are nearly done. Feeling thankful and ready for Christmas decorating!

More pictures coming soon–I’ve been too busy to take any outside pictures for days, and that looks great too!

Day 31: Lights are arriving a little late

We are so close to the finish line on our project…but we’ve hit a very minor snag. The pendant lights that we selected for above the counter and sink are late. We’ve been so very lucky (blessed is a better word) with great weather, great progress and the project has been pretty close to the original schedule. We can certainly function quite well in the kitchen without these lights, but we’re now working on some other options. The electrician will cap the little holes where the pendants would have been installed today and we’ll see if we can get a suitable replacement quickly. I really wanted things to look “done” for the holidays, and I think we’ll be able to achieve that.

I guess the lesson learned is this: select and order light fixtures as early in project as possible. Our project manager told us that light fixtures can be problematic, with things sometimes arriving broken or not on time. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that the lights that I ordered last night get here on the day they are supposed to arrive, and in one piece!

Week 6: Almost done!

Hurray for a holiday week…and a few extra days off from work. This was the perfect timing! On Friday, the painter was here for most of the morning (yes, another early morning wake up, but no worries) putting on a second coat of pretty blue paint, and finishing the trim painting. It looks terrific! Then Matt stopped by to check on progress and we were given the green light to move things into our cabinets. So, instead of Black Friday shopping, I spent the day bringing boxes up from the basement, unpacking and arranging my new kitchen. I also made a terrific dinner for the family! It was good to have the time to start to get my bearings for working in the new space. I LOVE IT!

My husband and son spent some time moving all the old cabinets off the patio and down to his fabulous new storage room. We are all happy to not see them in front of the house anymore!

The process of getting back to normal continued today, with more boxes unpacked and more stuff put away. I’m sure I will move things around many times until I’m satisfied with the arrangement. We actually excavated enough of the basement to make it possible for # 2 son to use his basement bedroom for the rest of the weekend. He’s been a good sport about sleeping on his brother’s futon while home on break, but I felt bad about that (hey, I’m a mom).

According to Matt, things should be done by Tuesday. That seems hard to believe–as there is a little more electrical, carpentry, siding and deck work to be done. But I’ve seen these guys get a lot accomplished each day. We are close to the finish line now!





Day 27 & Day 28: Feeling Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving eve! It’s been a very exciting two days. Here is what has been happening around here…

On Tuesday, the guys installed door handles, and continued to work on the coffee station/pantry area. This was no easy task–that particular area of our house is so totally crooked with no right angles. Please note: we all knew this was not something that could easily be fixed, so the challenge was to make it look as good as possible. And, they did!

The electrician was here and we were finally ready to move the appliances into place! Hurray! The light fixtures–with the exception of the outside lights–have not yet arrived. They should be here next week. My goal all along was to be able to cook a few dishes for Thanksgiving, and that is happening. I cooked dinner tonight and made several other things. It was WONDERFUL!

Today, it was pretty apparent that we are in the home stretch. It was a really ugly weather day, and despite that, the guys began the clean-up process. The painter was here for the first coat on the trim. Late in the day, the truck came to take the final dumpster away. Watching that process was downright scary. I had visions of that big red dumpster crashing into the end of the house, but it is GONE!

There are still a few loose ends…siding, construction of the window seat, more painting, lights, a bit more fine tuning. However Matt & Matt tell us that we will likely be done next week.

So, as we sit here with all the boys home for a few days, we are so very thankful for things both large and small. God has certainly blessed us and we wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!