09 September 2011

Kitchen Remodel, Week Three

After a delightfully calm and quiet three-day weekend, Tuesday morning brought the sheet rockers. They worked almost 12 hours, at the end of which we had recognizable interior walls. Taping and mudding followed; Dave will finish that up next Monday.

Southwest corner
Stovetop,  oven and pantry wall
Ceiling (with can lights)

Meanwhile, Les made good progress on the deck. He hoped to complete it this week, but there was a glitch in delivery of the door, which meant that he couldn't finish the siding and framing of that giant rectangular hole in the side of our house. The supplier promises the door will be here on Monday. If not, I suspect heads will roll.

Then he resumed work on the basement stairs. It was a case of one step forward -- the deck -- and twelve steps back. We knew that area would present some issues. For instance, this is the tradeoff we had to make, load-bearing-wise, for raising the kitchen ceiling to a uniform height:

We haven't lost any below-stairs cabinet space, but right now it looks ugly, weird and awkward. We'll make it work somehow. It's actually less intrusive on the rest of the room than I'd feared.

I explained earlier why we're messing with the stairs at all. Scroll toward the end of my August 28th post to refresh your memory. (Yes, this will be on the test.)

The first problem came to light when the carpeting came off. That charming linoleum riser wasn't confined to the first step; nope, it went all the way down. So much for my clean-and-simple vision of varnished wooden treads and painted risers. The linoleum would probably take paint, but: uck. No, we'd have to either remove it all or cover it with wood. We opted for the latter.

Working our way up
Side view (note fiber art hangings)
After (with wastebasket)

The second stair problem compounded the first. Les discovered that the original risers weren't quite perpendicular; each was off by about 1/4 inch. In addition to raising the height of each riser slightly so it would all come out even at the top, Les had to shim each one to square it up. It looks very patchworky right now, from both front and side. I'm not sure how we're going to make the funky-looking profile (below) look decent. Maybe putty and paint will suffice. After all, they're just basement stairs.

Stair risers (side view)

We'd been contemplating a carpeted runner but, even after patching and painting, the exposed portion of the risers would look kind of shabby. The dark sections (below) are the original treads, which are bullnosed and will have to be firred out. (I love construction terminology; actually, I love the specialized vocabulary associated with any given profession or pursuit.)

Then we considered running the kitchen Marmoleum down the stairs, but the unevenness of the pieced-together risers --  even after firring, filling and filing -- would likely lead to buckling and sagging down the road. And I don't love the look of those anti-slip strips that typically go on the edges of linoleum-clad stairs, and that we'd be foolish not to put in place for when we get old and unsteady.

Stair risers (head on)

So, after all this, we're going with fully-carpeted stairs again. The cats will be thrilled. Jer and I returned to the floor 'n' wall store today, surrendered the Marmoleum samples we'd had out for way too long, and chose a commercial grade carpeting that should bridge the transition between the new kitchen floor and the blue-green wall-to-wall downstairs. You can judge for yourself when it's installed.

Between the late door and the escalating (no pun intended) stair problems, it's been a difficult week. I asked Les if this was the worst set of stairs he'd ever worked on. "It's right up there in the top two," he smiled.

Hopefully next week will be less fraught. The schedule calls for painting, cabinet installation, countertop template and fabrication, and finishing up the deck, siding and stairs. What could possibly go wrong?

Our block party is this Sunday. I wondered what we could possibly contribute, given our primitive food  prep facilities. Whatever it is will involve tomatoes. Here's yesterday's harvest:


Anonymous said...

I just love that you are looking forward to when (and if) you and Jer might get old enough to worry about footing on stairs. A true optimist! I am impressed. And you are in the top two of all time tough stair design and construction.

the tomatoes look wonderful. My daughter-in-law lives on the ridge and has a dozen different robust tomatoes and I got almost as lovely a selection from her yesterday as you show in your picture. Aren't we lucky!

Revalani said...

Indeed we are!

Mary said...

Your project is moving so FAST -- by New Mexico standards at least. Wow! Those stairs are a feat-- feet-- of engineering!