We're continuing to make/finish our home base. Funny how it's the little things that make your house (okay, our garage) a home. When we were in the thick of this project we were making absolutely everything by hand. I had grandeur dreams of that being true down to the smallest detail. We welded our own cabinet frames, laid up our own doors out of reclaimed material, and I honestly believed that I would even weld or bend some steel to custom make cabinet door pulls for each of them.
Over a year later, many of those things are still unfinished. Turns out, there are simply some things you need to give in on in order to keep progress moving ahead. Who knew?
Last week, upon arriving home I ordered a set of simple bent steel door pulls online. Probably cheaper than i could buy material to make our own, and without question- countless hours saved. Unfortunately, we opened the box and found that each of the handles was an uber shiny coat of chrome finish over the steel...a bit off from what we thought was coming.
I scoured the web again, but anything with a matte or brushed finish would cost us 2-3 times more, not considering our return fee for the current handles. No worries...nothing a bit of sandpaper couldn't cure. Jen sanded each handle before installing, and I must say- being able to open your own cabinet doors is truly one of those things that makes home a bit more convenient, and feel a bit more, well...home.
We also started popping the formwork off our concrete counters and backsplashes. No real surprise, but I didn't even make it a full day before breaking down and opening up the first one just to see what we had hiding beneath the form.
It wasn't until discussing our pour with friends that we did the math on how much each counter was going to weigh. Three 80lb bags each, plus water... that put our largest pour at somewhere easily over 300lbs. Ouch.
Luckily, a few days into the curing process some willing and gracious friends came over and helped lift and tilt the panels in place. Nothing like owing your friends...
I must say, the counters look exceptional even to my always critical eye; and that's before we fill any of the small gaps and bubbles and before applying any sealer. I'm thrilled to get the island counter poured and installed; and even more excited for them all to finish curing so we can do some finishing work and call this portion of the project- DONE!
Our attention has also been focused on our small outdoor space in front of the garage. Since the conversion began, our "front yard" has consisted of a mossy, steep sloped driveway...not exactly the zen outdoor space we would like our garage turned loft to spill out onto. During our trip I began playing around with some idea on how to reclaim a bit of the double-wide driveway as a more pedestrian friendly place, while maintaining the driveway required by the city.
We finally landed on a design we think will work, and will integrate with the pergola I designed and built for Serving up Style last year (in hopes of putting it on our house later). Last week we ripped out some lilac trees that had gone crazy next to the driveway and started looking for a contractor for the concrete work. This week that work gets underway.
We've had some bad luck with concrete contractors in the past (including the one we hired last year), so we're hoping this turns out as planned. Hopefully this week when the concrete work gets underway we can run full steam into the metal work, building planters and beautifying our less-than-great curb appeal.
We've been burning the candle at both ends, but feel the pressure to get things (at least mostly) wrapped up around here before our next big project begins in april. More to come on that one, since april is approaching faster than I'd like...