House Tour
The Hobbit House Gets a New Kitchen!
Taa Daa!*
*Click on pictures to expand thumbnails.
The kitchen
So I think the before/after pictures speak for themselves, but we were sick
of the old kitchen. We couldn't keep the linoleum floors clean, the cabinets
and counters were ugly an battleship gray, which, by the way, should be
banned as an indoor color, and we needed to maximize storage space in
our 950-square-foot Hobbit House.

But what to do?

We briefly thought, after watching too many Saturday morning
Do-It-Yourself shows on cable, we could take a stab at doing it ourselves.
After all, two of our neighbors had redone their kitchens, and saved a ton
of money. And we must be as smart and handy as they are, right?

Then we had a second cup of coffee and laughed and laughed and
laughed, realizing that whatever money what we saved on the contractor
would be eaten up in divorce attorney fees anyway.

But a contractor! Ah! There's the rub. The first one we went to -- and we
brought diagrams and pictures of our tiny 10' by 11 ' kitchen -- estimated
$30,000 to $40,000, although he allowed that the price could come down

Somewhat! Yikes! If we had that much money we would've bought a bigger
house to begin with. Or, at least, ordered a kitchen plated with gold.

Later estimates started coming down closer to our budget and we finally
chose a guy whose estimate broke out specific labor and material costs.
Basically, he said, we could go nuts on the materials, but he guaranteed a
specific labor price for specific parts of the contract.

So he was our guy.

He also agreed to begin the work while Lori was away at a conference in
Los Angeles, so only one of the humans who live here was
inconvenienced. Of course, Moo-the-Cat was bummed because not only
was the prime human missing . . . and not only were men coming into the
house early in the morning and banging and scraping throughout her
critical morning and afternoon nap time . . . but half the house got cut off
when they needed to move the fridge into the hallway between the living
room and the kitchen.

After several valiant attempts to leap on top of the fridge and get into the
kitchen, Moo got over it and surrendered to her fate -- which means she
went back upstairs and went to sleep.

But, given the horror stories we've heard from other friends who've had
remodeling done, I was stunned that this job went off without a hitch --
given how many folks were involved. Our contractor (thank you Doug
Lewis!), Lowe's, Kraft-Maid and our granite guys at Plan-it Granite all did
everything on time and on the agreed budget.

Two problems, however: When the job was finally done, we went into a
complete cleaning frenzy. First, nothing could go back into the kitchen that
hadn't been scrubbed. Then the kitchen looked so good, the living room
looked like the common area of a college dorm on a Saturday morning
after a Frat Friday night. That had to be cleaned. Then the fever spread to
upstairs, where we scrubbed the bathroom and put in a new toilet seat.

But by then it was Sunday and we rested -- after 10 p.m.