Friday, September 30, 2011

The Fall... My New Place of Work

The first months of Murphy's Cabin could be defined as my new place of work.

We discovered the septic tank had failed prior to closing (fortunately), which means I at least received a credit in the sale to help pay for this repair. Without a useable septic tank though, it was not possible to move in. So the cabin was a place I visited on a daily basis to supervise the septic tank repair, and do the one "major" renovation I had planned.

To back up a bit: just prior to the cabin purchase, I had just completed a total gut job of a townhome in the near by ski resort. In this case, I took a very well maintained but never once updated 1977 townhouse, and overhauled it entirely. Out went the shag carpet, in came hardwood floors; out went the original kitchen, in came Caesarstone counters, solid wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances; out went the original single bathroom, in came two completely new bathrooms with laundry. It was a labor of love, and quite well done if I say so myself.

So that aside was just to explain how completely nuts I must have been to decide I needed a new project, and to pick yet another one that "needed" work....

Of course, I did not *think* this cabin needed much work -- just the septic tank, and then, because I love to cook, the kitchen.

Little did I know....

So while the septic tank guys dug up and hauled out my old septic tank, and then very very carefully brought in a brand new solid pre-cast concrete septic tank (actually rated for a four bathroom house, so huge!) and set it in place and covered it up -- I thought I would get to work on the kitchen.

And yes -- for those of you thinking along these lines, this meant I was working there without being able to use the bathrooms. Fun! Fun!

The kitchen was a gut job. Once again, an original kitchen. It was actually not in bad shape at all, it simply just had only two feet of counter space, no dishwasher and no oven. When you have a tiny kitchen -- and this kitchen is definitely small! -- you need to do what you can to maximize storage and counter space.

And oh yeah, I was supposed to be hosting my family for Christmas, so no oven was NOT going to work.

I tore out all the cabinets (with a bit of help for some of the more stubborn upper ones), moved electrical outlets due to the new configuration I was creating (moving two outlets on one wall over 4 feet since the stove and microwave were being moved over, and moving one outlet up 4 feet since I was putting in a base cabinet in that location), and then rewiring several that had been wired incorrectly (ie, they were not GFCIs, required by code in water areas like kitchens). I also took down the door between the kitchen and "pantry" area, removing the door and frame, drywalling, and then taping and mudding to return it to simply a wall. In addition, I decided a small "passthrough" or "window" from the kitchen to the dining room/living room area would be key to ensuring the cook stuck in the small kitchen would still be a participant in gatherings. So I opened up a whole in the wall, moved wires out of the way, and framed and drywalled it in.

I then hired painters to get the kitchen smoothed over and painted quickly prior to the cabinets arriving. And with help, began installing cabinets (again solid wood). The countertops were installed (again Caesarstone), and I had a contractor hook up the sink, gas stove, and properly vent and install the microwave.

Finally, with help, I got a new stackable washer and dryer installed, with the refrigerator moved into the "laundry" nook to ensure more counter space.

And so I had a new kitchen -- after many bumps, bruises and a few shocks during the wiring process.

At the same time, the septic tank finally was installed -- after a huge boulder and a wedding (of the contractor's) slowed us down, and they cut my electric wire to out back.


The place was done, it could be lived in now....

What else could go wrong?

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