Last weekend’s story is brief. A wind storm came through and blew over 2 of my 3-stalked Juniper tree. The winds had laid it low, on top the side walk while I slept, but spared the dead birch, and the giant Spruce. The city had cut a path through it by the time I got home from work Friday, leaving the serious cleanup for Saturday.
I started on the dead birch that had been taunting me since I bought the house. Then my son and I filled, compacted, and stacked 3 loads in the pickup, ending on Sunday when we played hooky from church. Yep, that’s pretty much it! No damage other than a tree I was interested in removing anyway. I still have some work left to do, but it’s no longer an eyesore.
THIS weekend, was a whole other matter. It was my one weekend without kids. I took Friday off to attend a funeral and (with Valentine’s on Saturday and President’s Day on Monday) rarely would there be a more productive opportunity for home improvement!
The project that had been teasing me was the kitchen. It’s arrangement and usability was awful. While I couldn’t yet afford to give it the proper makeover it deserved, I had come up with a rudimentary solution, and acquired all the supplies needed. Now was the time to act, but there was one complication. I had plans to cook a nice meal for a someone on Saturday…
Determined, I started my work Friday afternoon, relocating the 240V stove receptacle from its current location (between a doorway and the pantry, see above) to a wall by the window, opposite the sink. Fortunately, my whole kitchen is above the cellar, which I can easily access to run wire. The range was relocated in time to make myself breakfast in the morning.
Saturday, I continued with the goal of placing the refrigerator in the range’s old location. There was no power there any longer, so I had to run that too. Drilling a hole near a stud, I found a thick crust of paint, over drywall, over multiple layers of wallpaper and cloth that was tacked to rough-cut lumber siding. Ah, old houses, so much character…
The single-gang box I had laying around was a nail-to-stud style used for new/open framing, so I had to make a run to the hardware store. Here, I got into a bit of trouble. I planned to pickup a simple box for my new outlet, and a small section of wire, but I ended up getting that Dewalt 18v impact driver I’ve been wanting. It was on sale for $90, including extra battery and charger. With a tax refund on the way, I couldn’t resist!
I took this opportunity to place my fridge on the same new circuit that I ran for my basement and office, which runs my internet modem & freezer. I installed a junction box at the split, hoping to some day have a bypass switch for alternate/backup power sources. With both appliances swapped, I was able to clean up and make a nice dinner on time.
Sunday I went to church, sang, attended the potluck, etc. I came home with a little over an hour to spare before attending a dinner event, so I worked on laundry. At dinner, I had some great fellowship time, but didn’t get home to nearly 11pm, so I made no progress on my ‘day of rest.’
Monday was a holiday for me, so I had a leisurely start before tackling the last phase, the counter. In my garage was stored an 8-ft chunk of cheap laminate countertop from Home Depot. I had taken me 6 months to get around to this project, and I was anxious to see it completed.
I took measurements and decided to set the height at 37”, while a little high, this would allow my portable dishwasher to slide underneath it. I carefully cut my segments outside on the saw horses with my circular saw. (Some day, my shop will have electricity, and a table saw in it, but for now this worked okay.)
Things had been going well up to this point, so naturally, it was time to learn a lesson! When I measured the desired width of countertop, I did so at the wall, seeing how much space there was to either side of the stove. What I didn’t consider was that the corner may not actually be square. Being a 100+ year old house, the wall deviated a whole inch over the depth of the counter. With the nice straight cuts I made, the counter could line up with either the back wall or the side, but not both. Argh…
If I had known, I would have cut at a different angle, but it was too late for that. Not having enough counter top to cut a new section, I resolved to trim a wedge off one side, to make the front an inch wider than the back. I succeeded, and now it meets both walls snugly.
I attached and supported the two sections with crude 2×4’s at 45 degree angles and along each wall. It is simple & ugly, but effective. The goal is not doing things too well, as I would never be motivated to properly upgrade. Finally, I replaced the existing 2-prong receptacle, and called it a day.
Hope you enjoyed this project, I know I will!