Kitchen Remodel: Week 4

It is now the end of the 4th week, and the counter tops arrived today.  Beautiful green Vermont slate — the best way to describe it is that it is mellow, though it is difficult to photograph “mellowness”:

The Kitchen, 27 January 2011: Slate Counter Tops!
Vermont Slate (yes, it looks grey, but it is a greener grey in real life)

I hope The Kid doesn’t drop anything on it; she is at that age when things just drop-all-by-themselves-without-any-help . . . .

Kitchen Remodel: Week 3

It was too good to last, this remodel that has been going on for three weeks with nary a hiccup.  Until today, that is:

20 January, 2011

The walls are now a pale grey-green, and the upper cabinets — one for the microwave, the other for a “coffee center” — are up.  The island, with open shelves for my cookbooks (Julia Child’s The Way to Cook came today!), looks great.  Or it did, until The Contractor put the Zodiaq quartz top on it . . . .  and realized that The Designer had measured out a cabinet that is too big for the existing top:

20 January, 2011: Overhang? What overhang?
20 January, 2011

On to Plan B . . . .

Kitchen Remodel: Weeks 1-2

“No Style” is apparently a house style, according to our state historical society’s  lexicon of allowable architectural styles.  For the last ten years or so, we have been remodeling bits and pieces of our late 20th-century No Style dwelling, with the bulk of the work during the last 5 years.  The latest project, the kitchen, began January 3rd, and has been progressing remarkably well for the last two weeks:

1/03/2011: Before

Soffits gone!  Fluorescent light fixture on the way out, with holes for the new can lights!


I’ve always wanted a hood that vent to the outside — apparently this was the easiest part of the remodel, according to The Contractor.  Much easier than fixing the somewhat bizarre wiring scheme done by the original crew: instead of drilling a hole to run the wires, they used an extra 9 feet of wires to drape up and over a joist, and for some reason, half of the formal dining room is on the same circuit as the refrigerator.


Half of the new maple cabinets (by Custom Wood Products).

The most important lesson: Find a contractor you like, and don’t let him move back to Oklahoma 🙂

Insanity is …

The other historian called and said, “I didn’t realize there was so much junk to fill out on each survey!”  Or words to that effect.  And his dogs were smart enough to realize that much of what we do is indeed junk — and ate his homework.

Project Manager reminded us that we should do more searches in her files because there were probably more even older surveys  in there than the ones she had already given us.  And indeed, there were: our project area had architectural surveys in the early 1990s,1999/2000, 2004, and now … 2011.  If this isn’t insanity, I don’t know what is.

When property owners ask me what the city plans to do with all that information, I used to tell them that the information go into a database which then could be used as part of the planning process, and then of course, they get riled up because it’s a Big Brother sort of thing, isn’t it?  What I should tell them is, “No worries, it’s just busy work.  Every few years they hire people like me to gather basically the same information, and it gets filed away in some virtual  folder, never to be seen again until the next time.”  Really.  The surveys from 2004 have never even been photocopied/scanned, let alone entered into the master file.

I guess that is what history is . . . .  going over the same ground again and again, perhaps hoping for a different result.  This is my personal moment of disenchantment: why did I become a historian?