Construction: Progress Report 7

“What did you do Saturday night?” Typical answers might include, “We went to the movies to see the Great Gatsby“, or “We tried a really great new restaurant”.  But once you have kids, your answer to this question starts to change to something like, “We did movie night with the kids, and had some microwave popcorn”.  Hubby and I try to have a date night once a month.  Last night was one such night.  So, what did we do for our hard to come by date night?  We built closets.  Yep, you read that correctly, we built closets. I know, super romantic.

Once the kids were in capable hands we got to work and got well acquainted with the likes of Pax, Komplement and Algot.  If you recognize these names you know that this is no small undertaking.  We have two large master bedroom closets, 3 additional bedroom closets and two hallway closets that need fitting.  If left to the contractor, he’d probably put up a shelf and a hanging rod and call it a day.  But from experience I know that the more thoughtfully you optimize your storage, the better chances you have at containing clutter.

So, the master bedroom is getting a customized Pax system, the other closets are getting the Algot system.  When taking down walls, we considered building a walk in closet (WIC). However, after discussions with our architect it became abundantly clear that if we did a WIC, the master bathroom would loose considerable square footage and in the end neither of the spaces would be particularly large.  In fact the WIC would likely be puny?  I ask you, what’s the point on insisting on a WIC when what is truly matters is cubic feet of storage?  By forgoing the WIC, we gained a large master bathroom AND also have tons of closet storage. Win. Win.

Again, Ikea to the rescue.  Their Pax system has so many different options you can really create your dream storage.  However, same caveat as with the kitchen, it takes time to build yourself.  Hubby and I took on all the closets, because we want the guys working on the house to finish the stuff we can’t do, like plumbing the laundry room, or checking all the new electrical circuits now that many of the light fixtures are in.  I like the Pax system a lot, the Algot, not so much.  It’s the same principle as the Elfa storage system available at the Container store, but a) not as flexible, and b) not as easy to install.  Having installed the Elfa in 4 closets in our last house, I know the merits of the Elfa… however, I also know its cost.  So, I opted for the less expensive, less flexible Algot.  Not the end of the world, and probably about a quarter of the price.

So, if you were to ask me, “What did you do Saturday night?” my answer would be, “Hubby and I had a date and built closets” and you know what?  It was kinda fun.

Kirkhall - Now that you’ve had these for a bit, any advice about installation (specifically, for algot?) And, any evidence that they might be pulling away from the walls? Their spacing means the uprights won’t be secured into studs. How did you handle that, and are you satisfied with the Algot system (esp in comparison to the elfa that you’d previously had). Do the top/suspension rails do much for holding it all in the wall?
Thank you in advance for any advice!

isadorag - Great question. We were also a bit concerned that the Algot did not align with the studs. Our solution? We decided to drill holes into the top/suspension rails so that our screws would go into the studs. This way we knew the uprights would be hanging off of something solid. It’s an easy fix. So far we haven’t found it pulling away from the walls at all. How does it compare to the elfa. The drawers don’t glide as smoothly, but besides that for the cost differential, I’d say Algot gets the job done. BTW- I’ve been told that Hilti makes extra strong anchors. We didn’t use them, but perhaps if you want extra reassurance, this could be something to consider.
Good luck.

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Construction: Progress Report 6

The big story this week is that the kitchen is nearing completion.

I don’t think I mentioned this before, but we decided to go with an IKEA kitchen.  Several factors helped us make this decision.  First off, IKEA kitchen cabinets cost considerably less money than going custom.  Sure you don’t have all the options of a custom kitchen, but the savings are worth it.  Plus we bought our kitchen components during one of IKEA’s kitchen sales, so the discount applied not only to the cabinets but also to the quartz countertop we chose.  These savings are not insignificant.  A second consideration was replaceability.  OK, the latter isn’t even a real word, but by that I mean, that if something breaks IKEA stuff comes standard and so it can easily be replaced.  This was an important factor for me because our last kitchen was a mid-level custom kitchen, but after a few years of use, the door finish started to show serious signs of wear. I like the fact that if a door breaks I can just go buy a new one.  The last factor in our decision making process is related to doors.  IKEA cabinet frames are standard, so down the line if I decide to give the kitchen a whole new look, I know that I can choose a new door profile and just pop them in for an instant makeover.

The cons of an IKEA kitchen?  Well, you do have to assemble it.  We were originally going to use the IKEA installation service, but after they jacked up the price of installation by $1000 from our original estimate, to an a new estimate given to me when we were actually ready to install, we decided not to use them.  Our contractor’s team is handling much of the install at the price we were originally quoted.  The good thing about that, is that we stay within the budget we’d originally allocated for this aspect of the project. The bad thing is, they are not IKEA installers, which means they are not used to building these cabinets day after day… so the install is taking longer.

Anyway, enough about the kitchen it’s on its way, but not yet done.  This is probably the last you will see of it before it is completed.  At which point I will show you the dramatic before and after shots, that will hopefully look more like one of my kitchen inspiration shots.

By the way, speaking of doors, I tried to located the modern five panel door by Masonite, but apparently it is not a model they provide in California.  For your reference, you should note that not all doors featured on the Masonite website are available in every part of the country.  I learned that they contract with local fabricators and so each region has different designs.  I think the website should feature a search criteria that narrows your selection by geography, that way you can get a real sense of what is available in your area. Don’t you agree?

So, to conclude the door saga, we went with a solid core single panel shaker door. And, yes, it is the most expensive option, but the hollow core just didn’t feel right and the only other design I liked was the five panel door.  If I’d gone with the more traditional 5 panel door, our hallways would have started to look really busy.  In some areas we have seven door right next to each other 5×7=35.  That’s just too many panels.  Single panel lets you rest your eyes more.  Here they are in their hung and primed state.  Just wait until you see them with paint and glossy hardware.

Betty - We have a square kohler kitchen sink that looks very similar to yours in the photo above. =)

Kristine - I love that you went with an Ikea kitchen. We had an Ikea kitchen in our last place in Santa Monica, I don’t know if you remember seeing it. We loved it and we were there for 3 years and the cabinets still looked brand new. They wear very well. Hopefully these will be the same, you will be surprised. We also had kitchen cabinets in our bathrooms but no one knew. They looked custom to the bathroom. Anyhow, love the choice and love the new doors. Great job! I can’t wait to see all of the finished photo’s! xoxx K

isadorag - Betty,
thanks for your comment. The sink in our kitchen is from Frigidaire. How wide is your sink? The sink cabinet we have is 30″ and the Frigidaire was the biggest sink that I could get away with using this cabinet. The sink is actually 27″ wide, with a couple extra inches for the lip bringing it to 29″ It literally JUST squeezes into the space, but I think having a big, deep sink will be very valuable especially as we have wide open countertops.
-i x

isadorag - Kristy,
thanks for the comment an thank you for following along this journey. I’ve known a few people with Ikea kitchens and all have been happy, so I’m hoping to fall into that category. That said, I do think your kitchen needs to be fairly rectangular in order to accomodate an Ikea kitchen. Unusual angles wouldn’t work well.
-i x

Betty - Ours is 27″ wide and also have the 30″ sink. we did ikea kitchen and counters too…

The deep single sink has been working out really well esp with cleaning pots and pans.

Ashley - I am In love with your kitchen!! It is exactly what we want and helped solidify our choices. I do have a question though… what colour are your cabinets? We are wanting the bodbyn off white. Thanks so much!!!

isadorag - Hi Ashley, sorry for the late reply the Holidays got the best of me. Ikea no longer makes this door profile. It was the Ramsjo, but they discontinued it when they switched over to the Sektion system. I think in their current line the Bodbyn is probably your closest bet. Good luck.

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Construction: Progress Report 5

We gave the contractor a hard deadline because the lease on our current place is expiring.   That means things at the house have to get finished in the next couple of weeks.  I’m sure they are feeling the pressure, I know I am.  Between overseeing the renovation and packing, I am becoming quite forgetful.  Today, I no-showed for my dental appointment.  Tisk, tisk.

For this progress report I wanted to first highlight the highs… then get into the lows.  Below are pictures of the Boys’ Bathroom as it inches its way towards completion.  It’s so nice seeing it come together from what was once just a mood board.  The hardware gleams like jewelry, just the way I wanted it to.  Then I added a touch of unexpected with the sconce.  I had hinted at this light fixture earlier in the week in my instagram feed.  So far, so good.

They also hung the front door and fitted the new doorknob set.  I had had my eye on different hardware in my exterior inspiration but the price was a little to steep for my taste.  I found this one.  It has the clean lines that I think work well with mid-century design.  The door, from Crestview Doors, is a piece of art.  It is simply beautiful and elevates the whole experience of walking into the house. It was worth the special order. I can’t wait for it to be painted!

The bad news?  We uncovered this smashed toilet as the guys were getting ready to fit it into the half bath.  It’s been sitting in storage in the garage and I’m pretty sure it got abused while idly waiting for its turn to be of service.  I’m not happy about that a) it cost real money to replace, and b) with our deadline just around the corner I’m not sure how quickly I can get a replacement.  I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t uncover more items that got damaged in storage.

Last but not least, one of our full length leaning mirrors broke into a thousand pieces after the moving boxes that were leaning against it caused it to loose its balance. Fortunately, Monkey didn’t get hurt as he was standing just a couple of feet away from the mirror’s trajectory.

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Retail Therapy: Modern Angles

First off, before anyone decides to correct me, I know that not all of the above shapes feature hexagons.  Some are pentagons, others octagons.  But what they all have in common is cool, modern angles that can add interest to any home.

I’ve been going crazy for these shapes recently.  If you follow  me on this journey you might see these appear in our new home, in some form or another.  Until then, I’ve put together a list of the Top 10 Hexagons for the Home, in case you are just as enamored with these shapes as I am.

1. Origami Coffee Table

2. Stixx End Table

3. Polyedres Chandelier

4. Hexagon Towel Ring

5. Omnia Knobset with Octogonal Rose

6. Turning Triangles Terrarium

7. Pentagon Metal Vase

8. Octagon Mirror

9. Dodecahedron Table Lamp

10. Faceted Wood Block Side Table


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Vintage Finds: A Long Neck

To be fair, I didn’t just find these beauties.  I bought them at an Estate Sale a couple of months ago when things were less crazy at the house and they’ve been sitting in a box.  Aren’t they divine?  Geometric yet, delicate at the same time.

The tallest one is about 24 inches long!  I may be wrong.  I took the pictures but didn’t measure.  But trust me they are long and slender.  Just the way I’d like to look, but I’ll settle for beautiful vintage brass candlestick holders that aren’t remotely cheesy (if you don’t know what I mean check these out).  Because they are so elongated, they make me think of Modigliani.  On a side note, I’ve always wondered why his subjects were so stretched out.

Must find a nice place for them in the new house.  I think they deserved to be showcased. Do you like them?  What do they make you think of?

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