Remember how I surprised Michael last week with his birthday party? Well last Thursday night HE surprised ME.

I walked into the kitchen after work to discover that unbeknownst to me, the kitchen countertops had been INSTALLED!



We’d been working on picking the counter tops and the guy came out to make the template for it a few weeks ago. Apparently, Michael’s plan was to surprise me with it being installed last Friday (the day before his party) but the material had been damaged and they had rescheduled. He hadn’t told me any of this!


There have been many, many stages for our kitchen remodel. The first stage was the beginning–the ugly, 1970’s decor and dark cabinets with powder blue counter tops. Michael and I were starting to date when the kitchen remodel began. I remember many, many weekends spent at his house demolishing the old kitchen together. It was back-breaking labor but very fulfilling! Demolition was a blast. And there were many Saturday nights where we realized it was almost midnight and we still hadn’t eaten dinner yet because we were so busy with the remodel.

After demolition–complete with removing the floors down to the sub-flooring, then painting, there was redoing the kitchen pantry, and there was also the assembly if the IKEA cabinets. Here is a photo of mid-gutting:

If you look carefully you can see the old cabinets (next to the fridge). And after painting:

A few years ago we installed the upper cabinets as well as the stove vent and the microwave. Then one summer we laid the tile in the humongous kitchen and dining room. Then we hit a wall. We lost steam for a lot of reasons. We got busy with other stuff, training for the Portland Century, traveling, and Michael’s back issues have kept us from finishing. There was also another barrier: there were some DIY mistakes that had to be fixed before we finished the floors.

With Michael losing his job a few years ago, he had time to finish some of the house projects. We hired a professional to fix the tile mistakes and finish the rest of the project: the grout, sealing the tiles…everything! Then…all the construction stopped for like 2 years. Part of that was planning a wedding, going on a honeymoon, etc. We just didn’t have it in us to do house projects amidst wedding planning.

But the last few months we’ve gotten back at it and now we have a kitchen that is 95% DONE!


What’s next? The backsplash, which we’ll be doing ourselves and then we need to paint and install the baseboards and the trim around the pantry. At some point we’re going to replace all the windows in the house but that’s in the future.

I couldn’t believe that I walked into this surprise. It was amazing. I was so happy to see it done and it feels great to have one thing crossed off the list! It looks amazing and I’m just in shock. And it’s funny that he did this secretly.

Mid-day our dog walker had texted me a picture of Bella:


I should have known right then and there that something wasn’t right because usually when the dog walker is over playing with Bella she sends me goofy pictures that look like this:

Apparently Michael had cancelled Amy, took that first picture of Bella and sent it to Amy who texted it to me so that I wouldn’t be suspicious! I seriously had no idea that Michael was home all day preparing this surprise for me!

When I got home the kitchen sink hadn’t been hooked up yet so we had to go out to dinner. We went to Cha Cha Cha for Mexican food:


I ate half of it and saved the rest for lunch the next day. When we got back to the house Michael worked on installing the kitchen sink and I had to meet up my friends (previously planned) for Book Club. Even though I kinda wanted to just stay home and admire the kitchen counters. 😀


The book club met at Wine:30 and I had a glass of Pinot Gris, we chatted (sometimes about the book LOL) and then shared some chocolate covered blueberries:

I’ll post more about the book we read soon. Anyways, I got home and the kitchen counters were still there! I hadn’t dreamed it. I can’t wait to finish up the rest of the kitchen projects and be COMPLETELY DONE!! Woohoo!!!

What Have We Been Up To?

It’s been a crazy, busy time for us these days! Michael is working really hard on the remodeling projects that took a back seat for awhile. Since he has time now to do the projects, he’s trying to get them all done. First, Michael put together the new cabinets from IKEA for our two bathrooms. The cabinets for the bathrooms are the same design and color as the kitchen cabinets.

Next, Michael hired a tile guy to finish the kitchen floors. DIY projects are HARD, expensive, time-consuming and often lead to mistakes. The tile guy was hired to fix our mistakes and finish up the DIY project we started. Here are some scenes from our kitchen this week:

Where’s the fridge?!?! It’s on the opposite side of the room temporarily. It’s been a challenge cooking breakfast this week–but totally worth it. The construction of the kitchen floors is messy and gross. The entire house is covered by a layer of dust! The cats are also freaked out with all the chaos, of course. And of COURSE Fat Kitty had to roll around in the dust. Gawd!

There are paw prints in the dust all over the house. I cannot wait for it to be completed so I can clean! The next project is hiring someone to install the kitchen counters. That MUST be done by a professional and it was the goal all along when we started the remodel four years ago. If done incorrectly, the whole kitchen would be ruined and the materials Michael bought would be wasted. He’s had the slabs of paperstone product for the countertops for as long as I’ve known him. We just need a professional to cut them. And no, the powder blue counter top is NOT staying! 🙂

He’s also working on the backyard when the weather is decent. We’re getting ready for this year’s garden in baby steps. We’ve rotated the soil in our beds and mixed in the compost into them. And Michael has been doing the backbreaking work of shoveling bark dust. Oooof!

Here are a few “before” and “middle” pictures:

Look at how pretty it is! The new bark will make is sooo much easier this summer to maintain our humongous yard. Pulling weeds is one of the worst “yard chores.” I pull a weed and a few days later it’s back. Hopefully this will prevent the weed pulling. Then we can concentrate on the veggie garden.

I’m so excited about the yard taking shape. It’s going to look so great when it’s done. Since the yard is so huge, it will take awhile to complete the whole project.

I got home from work last night and Michael and his friend Jeremy were finishing up the bark project for the day. Michael had burned 4,400 calories! Wowza. The three of us went to Foster Burger for dinner and Michael and Jeremy both ate one burger each and then split a second (oh my god). It was pretty hilarious.

I will be posting more photos soon as the projects progress. I cannot wait to to post that “Before and After” THE KITCHEN IS DONE post!!!!! 4 years in the making!

QUESTION: Are you DIY-ing any projects?