First things first, we totally owe you an update on the hall bathroom project, but in normal Whitney and David fashion, the project has more delays. This time we’re waiting on shower and sink finishes and we PROMISE to share those updates when we have some. However, we aren’t ones to only have one home project going at a time. So before Christmas, while we waited for bathroom finishes to arrive, we tore apart our kitchen to take care of some infrastructure we missed two and half years ago during the original remodel.
You may or may not know that Whitney and I took on tiling the kitchen floor ourselves at the end of 2021 because our favorite tile contractor was swamped. We dove into demo and had the kitchen down to slab and studs in no time. After laying the subfloor and making the necessary electric and plumbing changes, we shifted to laying the tile we’d had on standby for a few months. We excitedly started opening boxes of tile to start planning the pattern, only to find out we received the wrong tile format. Instead of getting started, we had to call an audible and go find new tile locally—the same day we planned to start laying tile. We incorrectly assumed that if we chose a larger tile (24” x 36”) it would be easier and faster to have the kitchen up and running by Christmas. I mean, if you do the math, less pieces to lay would be less time, right? We figured it would be done in two days, max! Not so much.
We quickly learned that larger tile is harder to handle, harder to level, and you need a saw the size of a small car to make quality cuts. Worst of all, larger tile breaks very easily. As the days wore on, our frustration mounted, and the quality of the work suffered. In the end, the flooring was “usable” and we agreed we would “make do” until the opportunity arose to have our favorite contractor come help. Cue the 1200 lb piece of marble for the island. As soon as the rolling cart holding the marble hit our tile, you’d have thought fireworks were going off in the kitchen. POP! POP! POP! Every single tile the cart rolled over gave way to cracks and shards, which began the complete unraveling of all our hard work. On the bright side, the marble top island was gorgeous and we had a working kitchen, which brought a little normalcy back to our home.
Fast forward to the Summer of 2022. Little did we know that while we were fighting through the demo and install of a new kitchen, a little gremlin was lurking underneath the house and he wanted attention. You see, this house is 50 years old, which means the sewer line that runs underneath is too. On top of that, 50-year-old sewer lines are made of cast iron that seem to go brittle and gets bent out of shape very easily. Especially when the home builder over-poured the slab right on top of the aforementioned sewer line. A little settling here and an earthquake there made that sewer line look like a roller coaster of peaks and valleys. Peaks and valleys are not conducive to proper flow of the stuff that needs to be removed from this house and I will spare you the results of those problems. As we headed into the fall of 2022, it was determined that we can no longer wait to replace that sewer line. So, one year later, here we were, looking at a repeat of Christmas 2021. Remembering our lesson from the first go-round, we made sure our favorite contractor would be available. While we waited our turn on his schedule, we went ahead and tore up half of the kitchen floor to access the portion of the slab that covered the sewer line to be replaced.
After some serious thought on the process and order in which to schedule contractors to come do their parts in order to open the slab, replace the line, and close the slab in time for our tile guy to arrive, the concrete cutting contractor arrived the Friday after Thanksgiving (even though they were supposed to be on vacation) and made quick work of the slab. The plumbers arrived on Monday to replace the line and close the floor. Phase 1 of “New Floors by Christmas 2.0″ was off to a great start.
But true to form, Phase 2 didn’t kick off quite as smoothly as we’d hoped. The plan called for finishing the floors with concrete pavers. The concrete pavers were stuck at the freight transfer facility because the freight company didn’t have a lift gate truck that could handle the weight of the pallets, plus they managed to damage a full pallet during transit. (Note to self here: more pallets with less weight next time.) Meanwhile, the tile guy is on-site to start his work and we have no tile! Another audible….drive to the transfer station and split the pallets by hand in order to have them delivered. Our tile guy graciously jumped in to help and even went so far as to stop and load up tile on his way in every morning! He was already at the top of our list and has been officially honored with G.O.A.T status, in our humble opinions. His hard work and willingness to do what needed to be done redeemed Phase 2 and allowed us to complete this beautiful kitchen floor on time. You can see the quality of work in the finished product and he even tiled the backsplash while we took a quick trip to the mountains!