Kitchen Remodel – Part 4

In Kitchen Remodel Part 3, we removed the popcorn texture from the ceiling and put up the beadboard. We were ready for the next steps: cabinets, counter tops and tile. This post will tell the story of our first time acting as our own contractor and the coordination needed to get these installed.

We started with the cabinets. We wanted custom cabinets, rather than getting them from a box store, because of the changes we were making in the kitchen. Friends of ours had recently redone their kitchen and recommended the company that made their cabinets. We liked their cabinets, and after reviewing the company’s website, we contacted them to come out for an estimate. The salesman came out to do the measuring on May 23rd. We visited the showroom on May 27th to select our wood and door style and signed the contract and made our down payment on June 1st.

We also wanted granite counter tops and needed to hire a company to make and install them. We started looking at counter tops immediately. We received estimates from a box store and from an individual we selected with great Angie’s List ratings. We liked the Angie’s List guy because he also had a plumber that worked with him and we got a great price on the new kitchen sink. We hired his company and signed the contract on June 9th. That was also the day I heard from the cabinet company that our cabinets would be finished and ready to install on July 1st. I notified the Granite Guy and he scheduled the template for July 5th.

We wanted the cabinets professionally painted so we needed to get a painter hired now that we had a date for the cabinet install. We contacted a painter through Angie’s List and he was already booked to the end of July. I had received a couple names from the cabinet company and I attempted to contact them. The first one never got back with me, so I reached out to the second. He said to let him know when the cabinets were installed so that he could come for an estimate. He said he would block that time for our job.

We continued to work on the kitchen, getting it ready for the cabinet install. We contacted our salesman on June 15th to check on the install date and verify if they would be installed in one day. I let him know that we were attempting to get our granite template and painter scheduled. We were still scheduled for the 1st of July. Andy contacted him again on the 21st to be sure the plumbing for the sink would be okay for the cabinet install. Andy sent a picture and was told it was fine. I reached out to him again on the 28th to confirm the install date of July 1st since I had the granite template scheduled for the 5th. He replied on the 29th that he would have to check on it, and on the 30th, he let us know that there was a delay and they would NOT be installed the next day.

We were both surprised and disappointed. He had also replied to us using a forwarded email from the owner. The owner had said there was no way and to check with the shop foreman because “the big jobs were kicking their ass”. Our salesman indicated that the shop foreman said maybe delivery next Wednesday (which would have been 7/6) and maybe install next Friday (7/8). He also let us know the shop was working on cabinets for million dollar homes and they would also be working over the holiday weekend.

As I said, we were surprised and disappointed. We were also confused regarding the lack of communication. I knew that getting mad at the salesman and going off on him would not make our cabinets suddenly appear. But I did send an email response asking him if he would have contacted us if I had not reached out on the 28th to confirm our delivery. I left him know we understood that dates change, but that we needed to be kept informed due to needing to schedule the template and the painters. I then contacted the guy that was scheduled for the 5th to do the template and told him I would let him know ASAP regarding a new date. The same with the painter. Both of these gentlemen were understanding.

The cabinet company called me at 3:30 on the 8th and said the cabinets were being delivered. Within 30 minutes, they were there. When they called, we started moving remaining things from the kitchen. We did not get the stove and refrigerator out before they arrived. We did get the oven out before the install. However, we could not move the refrigerator over the threshold into the living room, so it remained in the kitchen throughout the process.



7/8/16 – It was pretty crowded in the kitchen. Getting food to transfer to other fridge

The cabinet installer arrived on the 12th. It was a busy day because we also had an air conditioner repairman there at the same time. And I was still working full time from my home office. It was also noisy, but the cabinets were 99% finished by the time he left. He returned the next day to install the crown molding.


microwave cart in dishwasher space


just need counters!


bench on half wall

We were not able to get the original painter and I had to search again. Rather than continue to put off the counters, we had the template made on the 13th and the counters were installed on the 19th. If we had tried to get the cabinets painted first, the counters would have been pushed back to August.

Since we had the weekend of the 16th available, we removed the old sliding glass patio doors and installed new French doors.

The only thing I will say about that experience is that expandable foam is NOT Andy’s friend!


7/16 – Old door down


7/16 – New door up

We were able to locate a painter and he came to do the estimate on the 19th, while the counters were being installed! He was able to start on the 23rd and finished on the 26th.


7/26/16 – Counters done, sink and dishwasher installed and cabinets painted


7/26 – Bench painted

The backsplash tile and grout were completed on July 31st and the cabinet hardware added on August 1st.  We still had the beam to install and some painting touch up to do, but we no longer had workers coming to the house and were on our own to finish up.


7/31 – Tile and grout completed

Here is the completed beam. 20170424_155020 (1)

I wanted to share this story so others could possibly learn from our experience with this type of remodeling. It was definitely a learning experience for us.

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Kitchen Remodel – Part 3

At the end of Kitchen Remodel – Part 2, we had completed the removal of the cabinets and soffits and put up the new sheet rock. The next step was removing the popcorn texture and installing the new beadboard ceiling.

We did research on the pros and cons of installing the beadboard over the existing popcorn texture. What we found was some people left it there and installed over it, and others scrapped it off. Because the beadboard we were using was a thinner product, and we wanted a good adhesion, we decided to remove the texture.

We tried some of the methods we had seen, such as attaching a vacuum hose to the scraper to keep the mess to a minimum, and spraying water on the popcorn first to soften it. The vacuum was cumbersome to use. Since the floor was wood, we just let the debris fall. The water spray did help to loosen some of the tougher pieces. For the most part, it scrapped off fairly easy. It was just messy.

We put up plastic to keep the dust inside the kitchen and we wore masks to keep the dust outside of us.

Scrapping ceiling


It took the two of us a few hours to scrape it all and clean it up. After a quick break, we were ready to start putting up the beadboard ceiling. This was a bit trickier.

We purchased a light weight MDF beadboard from Home Depot. We bought the recommended adhesive and used it as directed. We also planned to use finishing nails to be sure it was there to stay!

Andy determined the size we needed for each piece and we cut them using table saw. We also needed to be sure we were cutting from the correct edge so that the pieces would fit together and match. That was the easy part. Getting it up on the ceiling was a bit trickier.

Andy marked the joists first and saw that they were not evenly spaced as they should have been. That made it harder to use the nail gun to secure the panels. The joists didn’t always line up like we thought they would. After the adhesive was applied according to instructions, we placed the beadboard on the ceiling. Holding it in place with our hands and various tools, Andy used the nail gun along the joist line for extra hold. We did this because we were applying it to the ceiling. If using it on a wall, we probably would have only used the adhesive.

first piece up

6/25/16 – First piece up

Since we had started putting up the beadboard after scraping the ceiling, it was almost 6:30pm when this first piece was up. We moved along, getting better with each piece. Hitting the joists remained a challenge and we had a few extra nail holes to fill in when it was all done. Overall, it went well. We worked a few hours that Saturday evening, then finished up on Sunday.


6/26/16 – Beadboard up


6/26/16 – The tools used to hold beadbaord in place while working

A few days later, we painted the ceiling. We used Sherwin Williams Popular Gray on the majority of walls in the house, including the kitchen. For the ceiling, we chose Versatile Gray.


6/29/16 – Ceiling painted

We couldn’t place the beam until the cabinets were up. The cabinets were originally scheduled to be delivered and installed on July 1st. However, we got notice of a delay from the cabinet maker on June 30th. So after hurrying to get ready for them, we went another week and a half using a makeshift kitchen in the living room and walking back and forth from the camper to use the kitchen out there. Check back for Kitchen Remodel Part 4 where we will tell about the cabinet adventure and installing a new patio door.

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A year in our downsized house

by Peggy

When we moved in, I had hopes we would be almost finished with all the remodeling by the first anniversary of our move. We have certainly made a lot of progress, but we are not almost done. It has been good to look back at the kitchen remodel, the carport move and other work we have done since last April.

However, it has taken me this long to start to feel at home. I think it is because our house has been in a constant state of remodeling. Up until recently, there was a path through the finished basement to the laundry area. It had not been touched and has just recently not looked like a store room. In honor of our first year, we invited out of town family to vist and stay over last weekend. This was the first time we had done this. Other than our children and grandchildren, no one has been over.

Suddenly, we were in a frenzy to get working on the house again. We had slacked off a little during the colder months, and on the warmer days, we had been working outside on the fence or clearing brush. Finishing the jobs that just needed final paining got moved down on the list. Unpacking boxes in the basement just kept getting pushed back.

In preparation for our guests, we unpacked a few boxes that had pictures and we hung some on the walls. We cleared out the unfinished sun porch and set it up to be used as a dining area. We cleaned up the guest room and moved some furniture around. Andy finished the new fire pit and prepared for a fire on Saturday night. It felt good to get ready for company.

We had a very nice visit. We walked a trail in a nearby park, attended a granddaughter’s soccer game and enjoyed dinner and sitting by the fire. Today, as I look back and think about the weeekend and the preparations we did for our guests, I feel at home.

It is not perfect. It is still in various stages of remodeling and unpacking. But our downsized house has become our downsized home.


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Kitchen Remodel – Part 2

In the first blog post about our kitchen remodel, Kitchen Remodel –  Part 1, we showed what the kitchen looked like when we moved in. The pictures reflected how we made it even more crowded by adding wire rack shelving as makeshift pantries to hold food and appliances.

After the half wall was completed, the next step was removing the cabinets. The dishes that had been put into the cabinets were removed, put back into the moving boxes or addded to the one wire rack that was placed space bedroom. No sense calling it a guest room at this point. There was no where to sleep in it!



Yes, it was messy. Looking back, I can laugh about it. At the time, it was frustrating. Especially when the item I wanted was behind the black dresser and I had to carefully climb behind it to get it.

Andy did all the cabinet tear out. The cabinets themselves were in good shape and he did his best to remove them without causing damage. We were able to donate the majority to the Habitat for Humanity Restore. The bottom cabinet under the sink and the cabinet on the sink side of the oven were actually one large cabinet. Due to the number of nails holding it in, and the pipes under the sink, it was more difficult to remove than the others. It was destroyed in the process. The small section that was to the right of the stove was the perfect size for a place in the garage next to the workbench.

The cutout you see in the soffit was the ‘peep hole’ Andy made to see what was hiding back there. Prior to removing the soffits, we did a lot of research regarding what we could find behind them. Good news – no wires or anything on this side.


Cabinet removal started – 6/15

The upper cabinets have been removed, along with the drywall from the fronts of the soffits.


Soffits removed – 6/18

The soffit over the window and refrigerator had some exposed wiring and a vent pipe.


Vent pipe – 6/18

This was the vent pipe for the sink. There was also a branch from it that went to the basement – on left side of picture. We tracked it down to the small closet where the sump pump was located. However, the pipe was capped off at that end. What we did was cap it off at the top as well, and relocate the sink vent pipe into the ceiling. This sounds a lot easier than it was. I didn’t take any pictures of Andy with insulation all over him as he was cutting into the ceiling. I think he appreciated that.

The pipe has been relocated so that the cabinets can go to the ceiling! The wire for the light over the sink was moved up into the ceiling as well. These were the only things and both were resolved with a few hours work.


Vent pipe relocated – 6/18

The next step was replacing the drywall. Almost all of the existing drywall would be removed in preparation for the new cabinets and backsplash. In this picture just the top half of the drywall has been removed and the bottom cabinets are still there. Which meant I could still use the kitchen. 🙂 As long as I had a sink and counters, I used them.

top half drywall removed

Top half removed – 6/18

Because we worked on the kitchen in the evenings and weekends, it took several days to get the cabinets all removed and the new drywall up. When the sink and bottom cabinets were removed, we saw that the wood floor was added over the original linoleum, making the floor under the cabinets lower than the rest of the floor. Which explained why we thought the counters seemed a bit lower than normal. Here is the cabinet under the sink that had to be broken to remove. We left this drywall in place.


Sink cabinet – 6/20

Andy had a large section of 3/4″plywood in his lumber stash that could be used to fill in the missing floor. I always complained that Andy saved all that lumber from other projects. Hanging onto the lumber saved us both money and time on this project. No complaints about that!

This was taken 15 days into the project. See the gold curtain on the right side, covering the patio door? Since there were no curtain rods left in the house, we made a curtain with a sheet and safety pins and hungs it on a shower curtain tension rod.


Cabinets & drywall removed – 6/20

We started installing the new sheet rock on June 21st and had it taped and mudded and ready for the next step on the 25th. The next step in our project was scrapping off the popcorn ceiling and installing the bead board.  We will tell you about that experience in Kitchen Remodel – Part 3.

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Kitchen Remodel – Part 1

When we made the decision to purchase our smaller home, we knew we would be remodeling the kitchen. We were used to built-in microwaves and dishwashers. We knew we wanted more counters and cabinet space. We also knew we would be working within a budget and would be doing a lot of it ourselves. Which meant, we were not going to remove walls or relocate water and gas lines.

Here are a few pictures that were taken the day we took possession.

Looking from living room into kitchen. This shows the rails from the living room side. Also a good picture of the iron bars on the sliding patio door. The light fixture hanging in front of the patio door fell off when the movers bumped it. We hadn’t realized that it was barely fastened to the

Here is a picture from inside the kitchen. Kitchen

Looking into the room, standing at the sink. The rails looked over to the stairway to the basement.20160327_174718

Before we started on the kitchen, we worked on a few other projects, so we made it work as best we could. Because we were planning to remove all the cabinets, I put away as little as possible, to avoid having to unload them later.

Wow, it was a mess! All horizontal surfaces had stuff on them. We used a small table as an island. The kitchen table was too big and didn’t stay there once we started the remodel.20160424_125450

We moved in April 6th and used the small refrigerator in the garage and the one in the camper until we got tired of hauling stuff up and down stairs and inside and outside the house. I also used the kitchen in the camper to do some cooking. This picture was taken on April 24th, after our new fridge was delivered. As we progressed with the kitchen remodel, we sometimes regretted having the fridge in the way. We were not able to move it into the living room, as we had hoped.20160424_125439

We cleared furniture and shelves away from the railing and got started with the project in early June. The first thing was to remove the rails and build a half wall.

This picture is showing the rails partially removed. We pushed the shelves in front of the opening until the new wall was framed in.20160605_165825

About 5 days later, we had the wall started. We knew that we wanted a bench along that wall and wanted to be sure the wall was high enough so little grandchildren couldn’t fall over it when standing on the bench. We made the wall 3 1/2 feet tall. 20160610_163515

You can see the wood floor on the stair side of the wall and where the rails where placed. We will cut those off in a later project when we do something with that paneling in the staircase.20160610_163535

With the drywall in place on the half wall, it was time to move everything over so we could place the drywall on the other side of the opening into the living room and get started on removing the cabinets and soffits. There was also a lot of sanding that needed to be done, and we needed to get the remaining shelving out of the kitchen and into the guest room.20160615_153357

We cleared out the kitchen, put up plastic and started the sanding. When we were done sanding this wall, we moved on to the next part of the kitchen remodel – removing the cabinets, sink and soffits. We will tell you about how we worked that part of the project in the next post: Kitchen Remodel Part 2.


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First time out in new 5th Wheel

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How to Move a Carport

One of the upgrades we planned to do when purchasing our smaller home was replacing the carport with a metal building. It would need to be large enough to park our truck in and have space for storage and tools. I know this sounds like we are not really downsizing, but the truck would not fit in the garage, and we still needed a good portion of the tools for our remodeling projects. After we finish removing non-needed items, a part of the metal building will be used as a workshop.

Before having the metal building, or what we now call the Upper Garage, built we had to remove the carport from the new building site and have a concrete pad poured.

Actually, prior to doing either of these, we researched different companies that install the metal buildings, which we like to call carports with sides. We decided on Tri State Carports. They had the options we wanted and pricing was competitive. (We are NOT receiving anything for this recommendation, it is our opinion, based on our experience.)

We were not especially thrilled with the prospect of removing the carport and put it off as long as possible. We were busy with other remodeling projects and knew we would get it done when the concrete pad was scheduled. Also, we were using it to park our car, because there was no way to get it into the garage. One side was storing our stuff and the other was being used to paint kitchen cabinets. (More on the kitchen project later)

We hired the same company that had done concrete work for us at our previous home, K & K Concrete. They are local and we were happy with the previous job. They were pretty busy and agreed to work our small job into their schedule. Due to a very rainy spring, it took several weeks before our pad was scheduled.

If we were only removing the carport, this would have been a different project. We would have just disassembled it, and taken the metal to the recycling center or called the neighborhood guy that picks up scrap metal.

We had a different plan. We wanted to keep it as intact as possible and relocate it to another part of our property to be used as a pavilion.

Here is a picture before the move:

Carport before

Prior to actually starting the move, we were trying to determine if we could move it ourselves, or if we needed to get help from as many strong guys as we knew and carry it to a temporary spot. The final spot we wanted was not quite ready. While talking to another neighbor about the metal building and concrete pad and wanting to move the carport and how we could do it, he suggested we borrow the 18 foot flat-bed trailer from our next door neighbor. And that is what we did.

On a hot Saturday at the end of July, the two of us started to move the carport. It was 10 am. We planned to use the flat-bed trailer to transport it. We just needed to get it on there. The poles were marked to match back to the top and bottom supports for reassembly, then the screws were removed from the support poles that connect to the roof of the carport. Using an engine hoist (yes, we have one), Andy started at one end of the carport, and raised it up enough to start removing the poles. We removed  4 poles, leaving the 4 corners and a center pole on each side to support the weight. I am not saying this was easy. Sometimes, the engine hoist slipped off the roof support and hit the roof. Luckily, we didn’t have any punctures in the roof. Some of the poles were more stubborn than others and took some coaxing with a mallet to loosen.

Here it is with one side pole on each side and the corner poles left. This picture was taken around 1:30 pm. We took a short lunch break after we got to this point.



Next, Andy backed the trailer into the carport. We couldn’t lower the roof onto the rails around the bed of the trailer because the roof would then touch the ground and we couldn’t pull it.

Andy had an idea. Using boards we already had from another project, he made platforms for the roof supports to rest on. This was done by screwing two 2x2x12 boards together. Starting at one end, and placing the hoist in the middle, we slowly raised the carport, and removed the corner poles. Then the hoist was moved along the carport to the next support. Raising the carport, the next supports were removed. Slowly, the hoist was then lowered until the roof support closest to the corner rested on the wooden supports. From this picture, you can see the supports on the boards and that the far corner poles are still touching the ground.


Here Andy is getting the other board support in place and ready to remove the final posts.


At last the carport was on the trailer and ready to transport to the other side of the yard. Well, almost ready. First several ties were attached to keep it in place. Andy pulled it onto the street and around to the front side of the property to the driveway that is used for the RV.

Here it is being backed into a clearing until we are ready to put it up again. This picture was taken at 3:20 pm. A little over 5 hours after we started. I must admit that I had my doubts the two of us could do this by ourselves and was very pleased when we were finished. The carport stayed on the trailer until mid-February. Will share about getting it up again in another post.


.Here is the driveway without the carport.


A little over a week later, the pad was poured.


The next week, the metal building was built. They started in the evening, and came back and finished up the next morning.







The completed Upper Garage!




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