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2/20/2011

Laundry Room Quick Change—Part 3

Last time you saw our laundry room it looked a little something like this…

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New paint, no more ugly HVAC ducts overhead, new washer and dryer… it was a great start!  But there was work yet to be done.  I hinted in my last laundry room post that we had plans to hang cabinets around the washer and dryer.  So here’s an update on how that went.

We were extremely lucky on this project!  Just like with the appliances, I had an inside scoop when buying cabinets for the laundry room.  You see, Lowe’s recently switched suppliers for their in-stock cabinetry… which meant that they had to do something with all of those old (yet still new) in-stock Woodgate cabinets that were lying around. 

But what in the world would they do with them?  Hmmmmmm…  Donate them to Habitat for Humanity of course!!!

I’m tellin’ ya’ it was just meant to be!  All of the Lowe’s stores in our distribution area have donated the remainder of their Woodgate cabinets to the Habitat for Humanity ReStores nearest to them.  Which means that the Resale Store for the affiliate I work at received about $35,000 worth of brand new (still in the box) cabinets (in oak, hickory, and white finishes) to be resold with the proceeds going to my office for the building of new homes for families in need.  And the price was most definitely right! 

So here’s what we bought to fill the wall around our new washer and dryer…

  • 2 – 24 in. wall cabinets in white
    • Original Lowe’s price $132 each for total of $264
    • Habitat Resale Store price $45 each for total of $90
  • 1 – 30 in. wall cabinet in white
    • Original Lowe’s price $156
    • Habitat Resale Store price $50
  • 1 – 24 in. drawer base in white
    • Original Lowe’s price $172
    • Habitat Resale Store price $50
  • 1 – 3 in. wide x 30 in. long filler in white
    • Original Lowe’s price $16
    • Habitat Resale Store price $6
  • 1 – 96 in. long toe kick in white
    • Original Lowe’s price $9.25
    • Habitat Resale Store price $5

So that makes the subtotals…

  • Lowe’s = $617.25
  • Habitat Resale Store = $201

And when you add tax (which is 9.5% in the state of Tennessee) the final totals come to…

  • Lowe’s (what we would have paid if we bought them regular price at Lowe’s) = $675.89
  • Habitat Resale Store (what we did pay!) = $220.10

Which means a savings of $455.79!  That’s enough to pay for all of our new lighting for the kitchen and then some… I’ll take it!!!

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So, if you’re in the market for some new cabinets… maybe for a similar laundry room re-do… or for your garage… or even for your kitchen… contact your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and see if they have any new cabinets from Lowe’s!!!  Even if you don’t have a ReStore near you and have to drive to a neighboring county it’s still definitely worth it for the money you would save!  To find a Habitat ReStore near you click here.

So now that I’ve properly plugged the Habitat ReStores and I’ve let you all know what a great deal is out there, let’s move on to what we did with the cabinets.

Now Craig and I have absolutely no experience hanging cabinets… just the idea of hanging cabinets sets me into a shear panic… but Craig was convinced that we could do it.  And with it just being a laundry room and not our soon to be new kitchen (which we’re leaving up to the pros) I agreed to give it a whirl.  Since neither of us have any experience with this sort of thing we relied heavily on the advice of Craig’s best friend… Google!  There are a ton of great tutorials out there and a few different methods to use when hanging cabinets.  We chose to use the French Cleat system since we didn’t want to have to move the washer and dryer and the cleat would support the weight of the cabinets while Craig screwed them in place.  So we sort of ended up doing a blend of this and this.

The first thing Craig did was find and mark the studs.

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Next we cut the cleats and attached them to the wall. (I apologize for the poor quality of pictures from here on… I dropped the camera in the middle of the project and broke it, so the rest of the pics were taken on my phone)

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Then Craig attached the cleats’ mates to the back side of the cabinets and hung them in place.

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Next he screwed the cabinets together and then screwed them directly into the studs.  And let me tell you… those cabinets aren’t going anywhere!

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After that he set the base cabinet using this site as a guide.

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We trimmed them out with fillers and moldings and then reattached the doors.

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So our finished laundry room cabinet project looks a little something like this!  Not bad for a non-professional, huh?

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We still have to put in a countertop on the drawer base, add hardware, new floors, move the HVAC, and a few other small projects, but definitely 200% better than before we started a few weeks ago.

2/18/2011

Kitchen Reno Checklist

So I’ve made reference to our renovation checklist a few times, but never shared the ginormous list with you guys.  So, without further ado, here she is:

  1. Finalize kitchen layout
  2. Interview & hire general contractor
  3. Interview & hire electrician
  4. Interview & hire drywaller
  5. Purchase & install cabinets
  6. Purchase & install appliances
  7. Purchase & install countertops
  8. Purchase & install floors
  9. Demolition
    1. Knock down wall separating kitchen & family room
    2. Remove built-in book cases in family room
    3. Remove old cabinets
    4. Remove old countertops
    5. Remove paneling in kitchen & family room
    6. Remove old carpet & parquet flooring
    7. Remove old appliances
  10. Build knee wall for peninsula
  11. Plumbing
    1. Disconnect & reconnect sink
    2. Move water line for fridge
    3. Install new fixtures
  12. Electrical
    1. Replace existing wiring in family room
    2. Rework all wiring in kitchen
    3. Upgrade electrical panel to 200 amp service
    4. Install new lighting
  13. Reinsulate walls if needed
  14. Drywall entire kitchen & family room
  15. Repair ceilings
  16. Paint
  17. Replace built-in bookcases & recessed area in family room
  18. Replace interior doors
  19. Install crown molding
  20. Install baseboard & 1/4 round molding
  21. Unexpected stuff (because you never know what we’ll find when we begin to get into the walls)

So, as you can see, we still have a looong way to go to be finished with the project, but we’re almost done getting all of our ducks in a row.  And if you’ve ever tried to get ducks in a row you understand how difficult that can be!

2/17/2011

Countertops…

...have been ordered!  Yahoo!!! One more thing off the ole' kitchen reno checklist!  Craig and I bounced back and forth when trying to decide what type of countertops we wanted.  We considered Corian, quartz, granite, and other solid surfaces.  As with everything, they all had their pros and cons.  Eventually we decided on granite countertops.  We figured that since this kitchen reno is going to be a once in a lifetime thing (hopefully) we may as well go all the way with it!  And in the event of resale, granite seems to be the best investment right now.

When pricing countertops we first asked for a quote from Lowe’s since we had already dealt with them to order our cabinets.  We looked over the granite samples they had in the store.  There were a couple colors that we liked—Santa Cecilia (Class B), Giallo Ornamental (Class C) and a couple others.  The pricing system at Lowe’s is broken down into levels and basically the higher the letter the higher the price.  After talking it over we decided that we just couldn’t stand the idea of paying an additional $7 per square foot (about $400 more)  for the next level up on color.  So we settled and asked Lowe’s to quote the more basic Santa Cecilia (Class B).  We also asked them to include a beveled edge, backsplash, and stainless steel undermount sink in their quote.  Well, in the end the number they gave us was, let’s just say, way more than we wanted to spend.  Naturally, we asked them to play “Let’s Make A Deal” with us, but the salesperson told us that “there is no room for negotiation on granite because the store’s profit margin on it is so small to begin with”.  Talk about a ZONK!  Boo Lowe’s!  Craig and I didn’t quite buy their excuse, so we decided to check around at a few local stone yards before making any final decisions.

We got the names of two reputable stone yards from Wendy, the kitchen designer that we had spoken with at Kitchens by Design.  Even though we didn’t end up ordering our cabinets through her she was still gracious enough to share her countertop contacts with us.  How cool is she! 

The first contact was for Mountain Empire Stoneworks in Blountville.  Craig took our square foot measurements to them and asked them to quote a price for the same specs as Lowe’s—Santa Cecilia, beveled edge, backsplash, and sink.  The price they gave us was way less than Lowe’s… about $1225 less!  How about them apples! 

The second contact from Wendy was for Appalachian Stone Works in Jonesborough.  Craig took our square foot measurements to them and again asked for a quote on the exact same stuff as the last two places (you know… to compare apples to apples).  Amazingly, the price they gave us was better than both of the other quotes we had received… about $750 less than Mountain Empire Stoneworks and $1975 less than Lowes!  Ha!  Take that Lowe’s!  And to top it all off they had a much wider variety of colors to choose from at their basic price and they don’t charge extra for the beveled edge that we want.  We just couldn’t believe it! 

So after comparing quotes from all three places we obviously decided that Appalachian Stone Works could provide us with the best deal.  Then the real fun began… we both went back and browsed the showroom and the stone yard to see what all of our basic color choices were (in the event we found something basic that we liked more than Santa Cecilia).  Oh what fun!

We had lots of gorgeous colors to choose from…

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…and they sent us home with samples of our three favorites…

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…which we compared with the flooring we chose (and took to Lowe’s and compared with our new cabinets).

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In the end we chose Giallo Ornamental (the one on top) which was one of the Class C’s we liked at Lowe’s but refused to pay an additional $400 for.  So, if you factor in what it would have cost us to get this upgraded color from Lowe’s the final total ended up being $2375 less at Appalachian Stone Works!  Talk about a deal! 

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Can’t wait to see it all installed!!!

*Oh, and on a side note… we decided not to do a raised bar between the kitchen and den like we described here.  Instead we’ve decided just to extend the slab on the peninsula so that there is a 12 inch overhang into the den.  We think that this will help to open up the space even more and make the space so much more accessible!

2/15/2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

As you can see there have been some changes around
the good ole' blog in the last few days.

I was tired of the old template, so now we've got a new one. 

And Craig decided that having tabs would be cool,
so we've been working on those too.

Bear with us as we work it all out!

2/13/2011

Sippy-holic!

I Think Bailey May Have A Problem...

...A drinking problem that is!


You see... I caught her double-fisting the other day...


And, as we all know...


...you're NEVER supposed to mix your milk and your water....


'Cause that's just asking for trouble! 


I wonder if there's a 12 step program for this kind of thing?!?

2/12/2011

Pedestals for a Steal!

Craig and I debated over and over whether we wanted to stack our new washer and dryer or install them side-by-side.  At the time we ordered our new appliances we had plans to stack them (so we’d have more space in the tiny laundry room), so we didn’t bother looking into buying pedestals through the special deal that Whirlpool was offering us.  Once the December 31st deadline for the Whirlpool deal lapsed we decided that we did in fact want to install the washer and dryer side-by-side (since we had plans to eventually move the HVAC unit into the attic and space wouldn’t be an issue). 

Once this decision was made we then had to make the decision of whether or not we wanted to sit the machines on the floor (which would mean that we would have to bend over to load or unload any clothes) or if we wanted to spring for the pedestals (MSRP $270 EACH).  There were pros and cons for each option, but Craig felt very strongly that it would just be too much of a pain (perhaps literally) to bend over to do the laundry.  So I gave in and agreed to consider the idea.

We began searching for a deal… because I refuse to pay $540 + tax (which happens to be 9.5% in the state of Tennessee) for something that I see more as a want than a need.  Unfortunately, when we first began looking the lowest price we found in our local stores or online was $249 per pedestal... a little better than paying $269 each, but still not great. 

Then one day, while searching the Lowe’s website for some kitchen reno-related items, Craig happened upon this…

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The pedestals were listed online for half of what we could buy them for anywhere else.  Although a great find I still wasn’t 100% convinced.  But I agreed to go to Lowe’s with Craig and look at them so that he could try to convince me. 

When we got to Lowe’s the price on the shelf was $249.  We talked with the sales clerk and told him about the online price of $124.50.  He seemed shocked at the thought that they would be priced so low, but checked it out online… and low and behold he saw we were right!  He told us that he would manually correct the price, put the order in on the computer, and have the pedestals waiting for us up front when we finished our shopping.  So I gave in and agreed to buy two pedestals.

We went to check out and the cashier looked up the sale in the computer.  He told us that the total for the 2 pedestals was $124.50.  Our jaws about hit the floor!  I asked the cashier if the total was correct and made him double check that it included both pedestals (I didn’t want to get accused of stealing or get the cashier in any trouble)…  he said that it did and even asked another cashier just to make sure.  I was still confused by the price, but decided to roll with it and see what would happen. 

Then I gave the cashier a 10% off Lowe’s coupon that I had picked up from the Post Office (In case you didn’t know… you can request a “moving packet” from the counter at any Post Office and they’ll give you a free packet of moving-related coupons… one of which is a 10% off Lowe’s coupon) that I had been hanging on to for our next big Lowe’s purchase.  This brought the final sales price for 2 pedestals to $123!  Let me put that in perspective… the final sales price for 2 was less than half the cost of 1!!! 

To top it all off we had Lowe’s gift cards (that we had gotten from cashing in our old Discover Rewards points) to pay for the whole transaction!!!  So not a single penny came out of our pockets to pay for any of it… AND we still had plenty of gift card money left over to put towards our cabinet purchase!

Definitely a steal… and we have the receipt to prove it!!!

So, the morals of the story are…

1.  ALWAYS check the online price before going to the store to buy something!  The stores don’t always get it right, but if you know the online price is cheaper they have to honor that.

2.  Remember to pick up some moving packets if you’re planning any major (or even not so major) purchases at Lowe’s!  10% savings can add up quick!  Plus, they’re completely free and you can ask for as many as you want! 

2/09/2011

Laundry Room Quick Change—Part 2

So, as promised, here’s a continuation of my last post on the laundry room mini makeover Craig and I tackled last weekend.  Here’s a reminder of what the room looked like after we cleared everything out (Better, but still pretty bad!).

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So naturally the next thing we chose to do was paint.  Since the current paint was so old and disgusting we had to prime everything first.

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Then we started to roll on our new paint color!  We already have plenty of yellows, blues and greens throughout the house so we decided to do something totally different… RED!!! 

We decided to forego the tinted primer route which had been recommended by a few different people.  Not sure exactly why, but I guess we just figured that the red would cover fine with a good base coat of Kilz primer.  WRONG!  The red did a horrible job of covering and in the end we had to put up 3 coats, using the entire gallon of paint, and there are still a few places that need a little touching up.  Needless to say, we won’t be making that mistake again! 

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But in the end it was worth all of the time and effort because we are very pleased with the end result.  The color has really helped add a little fun and brightness to the space! 

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By far the best part of the mini makeover thus far was Tuesday when our new appliances were delivered and our new Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer were hooked up!  I can’t tell you how exciting it is now to do laundry!

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Now… we’re still not done in there.  We have plans to put some new white cabinets in (hopefully in the next week or so!) and eventually we’ll swap out the floor, repair the ceiling, move the HVAC, hide the water heater, and install recessed lighting.  So, we’re definitely far from done, but we’re a lot closer than before we did our weekend mini makeover!

2/07/2011

Laundry Room Quick Change—Part 1

Craig and I are super excited that our new Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer (and other new appliances) are being delivered tomorrow!!!  Just the thought of being able to dry a load of clothes in 20ish minutes versus the 140+ minutes it now takes us makes me grin from ear to ear!  Amidst all of this new appliance, euphoria I guess we got a little crazy and decided to do a mini makeover of our laundry room.  Best of all… we decided to try to do it in just one weekend.

I know… crazy, right?!?

But we just couldn’t bear the thought of putting our new washer/dryer beauties in our old, cramped, disgusting laundry room.

So, the first task we decided to tackle was to remove the old, green metal cabinet in the corner next to our current dryer.  That’s right folks… our lovely green metal kitchen cabinets have a cousin living in our laundry room.  Aren’t you all jealous?!?  Anyway, between the green cabinet and the spearmint green paint on the walls we were just dying to rip it out… so we did!

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Talk about yuck… so glad that thing’s gone! 

With the cabinet out of the way (literally) we were able to move on to our second task… removing three of the four large HVAC ducts that criss-cross our laundry room ceiling like a spider web (don’t worry… we checked with a friend who owns an HVAC company and he said that the ductwork wasn’t necessary for our system and that we still would have plenty of air flow without them).  Just imagine walking into our laundry room and looking up to see these.

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Lovely, huh?!?  So, I’m sure you can understand why they too just had to go.  So we used a box cutter and wire snips to cut through the duct work…

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…and then we used 6” caps to close off the holes on the HVAC unit.  We used caulk to seal the edges of the caps after slipping them into place.  Then we used aluminum foil tape to cover the caps and make extra sure no air would escape the unit.

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Now instead of four giant ducts hanging over our heads and taking up valuable space in our laundry room we’re left with just one duct that travels into the attic and distributes air to the entire house.  Gotta love that!  Eventually, the plan is to move the entire HVAC system into the attic to free up even more real estate in the laundry room… but that’s definitely a project for another day!

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Once we capped off the holes at the HVAC unit we then moved on to the metal “duct pieces” that were left in the walls.

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Ripping these out left large holes in our living room and dining room walls (from where the vents used to be) that would need to be patched.  We cut out pieces of drywall to fit the openings.  Then we screwed some pieces of 2 x 4 inside the holes so that we’d have something to secure our squares of drywall to.  Then we whipped out the mesh tape and our our trusty putty knives and joint compound and got down to business!

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And while we were at it we decided to fish the cord for our satellite and internet down through the wall and properly wire it to a receptacle on the other side… you know, instead of just having it drape down the laundry room wall and come out of a random hole drilled in the living room wall.  You gotta love living in a house that was built before internet and satellite/cable became a staple in every home!  So fishing the wires meant that we were, of course, left with even more holes to patch… but no worries… we were up to the challenge!

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The last task we tackled before starting to try to put the room back together was removing the old washer and dryer.  I’d have to say that (just as with the green metal cabinet) I was very happy to see them go!  Maybe it was the promise of new, beautiful, energy-efficient appliances arriving in just a few days that made it all feel okay!

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We were left with a blank canvas wall on which our washer, dryer, and green metal utility cabinet used to rest.  We are so excited to get to start our laundry room over from scratch! 

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Please check back in soon… more on our laundry room mini makeover still to come!