2009 April at John Mackey's Blog

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  • Design: The Austin House, part 1
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  • April 28, 2009

    Kitchen remodel – update 1

    This was our kitchen this morning:

    And this is the kitchen right now:

    This morning:

    Now:

    This morning:

    Now:

    So far, so good. They opened up a wall that has our master bath shower on the other side, and there was no water damage. (It’s the original shower, so I didn’t know what to expect.) The best thing so far: there’s already a gas line EXACTLY where we need one. Why the previous owners replaced a gas kitchen with a friggin’ electric cooktop is beyond me. Damn fools!

    Next up, they’re taking out the partial wall that goes between the family room and the kitchen. Now the real dust begins…

    1 Comment

    April 27, 2009

    The Last Cup

    I’m drinking my last cup of coffee from the old kitchen. This afternoon, the old coffee maker will be packed away to be donated to Habitat for Humanity, and tomorrow morning, our contractor will come and start demolishing the old (well, current) kitchen. Bye-bye, old coffee maker. You’ve started many a mornin’. Bye-bye, old toaster. You’ve toasted many an English muffin.

    The intention is that there won’t by anything on the new countertop. No coffee maker. No toaster. Not even any nicnacks. (Sorry, old ceramic friends.)

    The schedule is for demo down to the studs starting tomorrow, electrical and plumbing on Friday, and fresh drywall and paint starting on Saturday. I’m flying to Virginia next Wednesday for the premiere of “Aurora Awakes,” leaving AEJ here to deal with the remodel alone for a few days. The cabinets will go in on May 11-12, and the countertop will be ordered then. The counter will take at least 10 days, during which time the kitchen will be pretty much in limbo. (We can’t install the range, sink, or dishwasher without the countertop.)

    I don’t know what it’ll be like to be entirely without a kitchen for more than three weeks. We’re putting the refrigerator in the garage, but in order to get into the garage, we’ll have to go out the front door and around the house, because the only other way to the garage is through the kitchen, which we’ll have completely blocked off with plastic. We don’t cook much now, because we hate our current kitchen, but there’s a big difference between not cooking much and not having access to, say, a sink.  There’s no utility sink in the house, so the only sinks we’ll have are our slow-draining bathroom sinks. Fine for a glass of water, but not so okay for washing a plate.

    If our last major remodel was any indication, this could get messy.

    We’re using the same contractor for the kitchen who did the rest of the house before we moved in. We like him a lot, and his price was fair. Here’s a note for homeowners considering a kitchen remodel: Saying “kitchen” to a contractor is like saying “wedding” to a floral designer. Holy $hit. One of our contractor’s estimates came back over $25,000. Just FYI, that’s only labor. That doesn’t include cabinets, appliances, tile, tile installation, or flooring. This is the same guy who questioned our request to smooth every wall and ceiling (he wanted it to be textured, because that’s easier — WTF?), and suggested that our island was a bad idea. He, uh, didn’t get the job. (It didn’t help that his quote was significant multiple higher than our guy.)

    So, in 24 hours, no more kitchen. Thank god the new Panera Bread just opened…

    2 Comments

    April 25, 2009

    Kitchen remodel – part 1

    Our cat, Loki, somehow ended up with a Facebook page yesterday.  Loki already has more than 70 friends, including Jerry Junkin, and Loki has been appointed an officer in the I Love John Mackey facebook page. The funniest thing about this is that I’m not even the one running Loki’s page. (Seriously.)

    I’ll say one thing about Loki: his comments on Facebook are a little snarky (for example, his favorite music, according to his page, is Steve Mackey). You be good, kitty; I’m the one who feeds you.

    After some damn spectacular design and remodeling in our family room and living room, AEJ is now tackling the kitchen. The demolition starts on Tuesday. Why would we want to remodel the kitchen? What could possibly be worth being completely without a kitchen for at least 3 weeks? Well, part of it is the fact that this room –

    – looks into this kitchen:

    Where to begin? The formica countertops with overmount sink?

    Or maybe this ginormous peninsula that completely cuts off the room?

    Wait! What was that awesome lighting source in the last picture? AWESOME! It’s a huge florescent overhead light! And look how it accentuates the oh-so-hip popcorn ceiling!

    If you enjoy cooking as much as we do, you’ll appreciate what a joy it is to cook on this old electric cooktop. Who needs gas? Being able to immediately adjust cooking temperature is so overrated.

    How about this lovely shot of the backsplash (of sorts) with off-white ill-fitting switches and outlets, complete with some kind of weird permanent sap-like goo oozing through the cabinets above?

    And where the attached family room features this light fixture, an enormous 48″ black crystal 30-bulb chandelier…

    … the kitchen lighting currently features this.

    The remodel plan includes a new floor plan, new cabinets (going up to the ceiling), flooring to match the black-finished wood flooring in the rest of the house, an island, new ultra-thick countertops, a new undermount sink, a fully-integrated ultra-energy-efficient refrigerator, a fully-integrated panel-covered dishwasher, a massive dual fuel (gas and electric) range, a hood with warming shelf, a built-in (!!!) coffee maker (pretty excited about that — it even makes layered espresso and milk drinks), and a crazy wall oven that also serves as a toaster, microwave, convection oven, and warming drawer, and it never has to preheat. It’s going to be crazy-awesome, once it’s finally finished. More pictures to follow soon!

    In the meantime, AEJ and I are going to go pack up the kitchen, and Loki is going to play on Facebook.

    2 Comments

    April 15, 2009

    Cocktails and armadillos

    For my drinking dollar, nothing beats a Mexican martini at Trudy’s here in Austin. Tuesday is “Top Shelf Tuesday,” so a martini with Cazadores Silver tequila is less than $8. $8! There’s a two-martini limit, but I’ve never made it past the first one.

    In other news, an armadillo has been trashing our yard. I got a picture of him yesterday morning, scurrying past our front window. AEJ thinks he’s adorable (she also thinks the Hindemith Symphony in Bb sounds like music for a cartoon about cute forest animals, so she may have thing for animals), but the lawn disagrees. Is there any easy way to get rid of him — without traumatizing AEJ?

    7 Comments

    April 14, 2009

    Easter, blue bonnets, and dishwashers

    Did you know that Sunday was EASTER?!

    I figured it out when I came back into the bedroom after making my coffee. AEJ had this waiting for me.

    That’s one of those indoor/outdoor inflatable decorations. This one had a hole in it, so it wouldn’t stop inflating, and the noise was really something non-festive, but I loved it. The motor gave up and totally died (thank you, China) as I was taking pictures.

    AEJ — always thinking! — ran and got the hairdryer and gave our bunny friend an air enema. (There’s probably a name for this in some circles.)

    It was really very festive in the Mackey household.

    I drove out to Houston yesterday to rehearse with the band at Lamar High School. On the way, I passed a huge field full of blue bonnet flowers. Purdy!

    It was lovely, really, and I wasn’t even annoyed by the frolicking children.

    In other news… I took one of those Facebook quizzes the other day: Are You a True Texan? My result: Leave the State. Sigh.

    Gotta run and get back to the kitchen remodel project. If you’re interested in some lovely used appliances, let me know.  (And don’t be fooled by the “Ultra Quiet I” label.  I think to get something below 105 dB, one needs to spring for at least the Ultra Quiet II.)

    1 Comment