Fully Functional, if Not Quite Fully Finished

stveviewWhile I still have a few things to finish, my stove is once again hooked up, and the refrigerator is no longer in the living room.

I’d celebrate by using the appliances for the first time in almost three weeks by cooking a fancy meal…but that would require a trip to the grocery (the refrigerator is damn near empty; can I make anything out of hard cider, a bottle of wine, mayonnaise, milk and mustard? Oh – and a paintbrush wrapped in a damp cloth inside a plastic bag; I’m sure that would be tasty addition to any repast.)


Plus, it would require putting away all the crap that’s on the counters – and most of it is crap I still need.

Although I painted the baseboards last night and got most of them installed this morning (before my neighbor, Brian, helped me move the appliances back in place – thanks Brian!), the one on the back wall is going to need a few kerf cuts on the backside to more kerfeasily follow the serpentine plaster. While I might be able to force it in place with masonry nails, I’m worried the nails will eventually pop out of the soft brick…or pop out at one end as I drive the nails in at the other (as evidenced by that occurring on the sink wall behind the stove). So that piece will just have to wait until tomorrow. I’m not making a special trip out to the PWM shop for 5-10 kerfs (though I would were that run holding up real progress).

After that, there’s some paintable caulk to run at the top, a few small gaps to fill and sand at the corners and scarf joints, and plinth blocks to make and nail in place before a final touch-up with paint.

I also need to make transition strips for the three doorways, make and install the toe kick/feet under the cabinets, surface and install the beech I bought for the backsplash on the counters opposite the sink, make the island and come up with a plan for a narrow table with a top that follows the curve of the wall to the left of the stove (under which will be the cat-feeding station).

Ugh. Still a lot to do, actually. But at least I can boil the kettle for tea.

Oh, and I’ve decided to not sell just yet. I have too much else to do and don’t have time to deal with that on top of everything else. So I’ll get to enjoy my work for a while.

fridgep.s. I harbor longstanding enormous dislike of my refrigerator – it’s too big, plus the black sides and plastic handles are, to me, heinous (when I bought it 7 or 8 years ago, I thought the $450 I saved over the one I liked would render it acceptable. It has not.) Is it crazy to get a new, European counter-depth one (they’re narrower than the typical U.S. counter-depth models). I’m thinking the one at left (because the one I really want is three times as much…and that is indeed crazy). I’d get the somewhat reasonably priced one below, but apparently, I’d have to live in England to do so…which would be just dandy, actually.

Oh Ikea...why do you not sell this in the U.S.?

Oh Ikea…why do you not sell this in the U.S.?


About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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18 Responses to Fully Functional, if Not Quite Fully Finished

  1. pracofnia says:

    That’s funny, many people (at least in Austria, Germany and Poland) are buying in the last years these huge US-style double door fridges.

  2. I don’t know about fridges, but we have had a Fisher & Paykel washing machine for about eight or nine years now and have never had a mechanical problem with it (had to replace the lid because it cracked at one of the hinge points – about $85). The company seems solid.

  3. Wiktor Kuc says:

    Nice work, Megan! I am very impressed!

  4. John says:

    I really like what you’ve done with the kitchen, first rate! Your fridge dilemma hit a chord with me, though.

    Our house contains one of those very expensive counter depth refrigerators whose brand I won’t reveal (Sub-Performance is my nickname for it). It was here when we bought the place and it is a true work of art with some very neat features. It’ll hold most of an entire water buffalo, too, I suspect. When we bought this place 4 years ago I was looking forward to living with this beauty.

    Unfortunately it’s been a disappointment and the machine is only 6 years old (we’re empty nesters so no kid related “door left open” problems). The heat exchanger is on the top where all the heat in the room accumulates in our old house (1937). That means it really struggles to cool the contents during the warm weather months. That makes the compressor/heat exchanger work very hard and it’s constantly giving “I’ve been running way too long, HELP!” warnings on the control panel. The coils need to be cleaned often to keep it running well which involves a ladder and some decent upper body strength to remove the heavy stainless steel grille that covers the mechanicals so you can stretch the vacuum cleaner hose far enough to suck the dust out of the heat exchanger fins, 6+ feet off the floor. This happens at least 3-4 times a year and it’s a task my wife simply can’t handle. Wrestling an anaconda might be more enjoyable.

    The ice maker is finicky and has already been replaced once during our tenure and there was another problem that required a service tech visit to the tune of a few hundred dollars. In short, it’s a high maintenance beauty queen whose seductive looks belie her high repair costs and frequent operator maintenance efforts. In a house with better air conditioning this might have been a different tale. Perhaps I should look on this as “highly accelerated life testing” and be thankful for the lesson.

    This experience has taught me what to look for and what to avoid in a fridge given where it’ll be installed. This kitchen also came with F&P dish drawers (same age), they’re a very neat concept but also require occasional operator activity to keep them running at their best. I’ve never had to clean the insides of a dishwasher before, that’s counterintuitive to me, but this one jams up and shuts down until you’ve cleaned its underparts, tickled its belly and said nice words to it. They sometimes won’t close cooperatively and the spray bars won’t rotate, which you learn about from the annoying “diddit diddit” alarm-clock sounding trouble alert. Alerts are supposed to be annoying so you pay attention to them, I guess. I’ve owned less expensive American brand dishwashers that were a little noisier but cleaned quite well with zero preventative maintenance.

    I can think of marriage metaphors for how to select a proper fridge and dishwasher but that’s best left out of this discussion, everyone has their own ideas for what makes a good partner. Put your money into other things, I say.

    Best of luck in your search!

  5. Nice job!. If you’re going to buy a new fridge, go to Recker and Boerger and see what they have in scratch and dent. I bought mine there last year and saved hundreds of dollars.

  6. Kevin says:

    Great work! I think it turned out really nice, and that cork looks great.

  7. Nice work! I wish I had that much energy!

  8. Tom Dickey says:

    Looks good, very impressed with the floor.

  9. Russell Pitner says:

    Super nice upgrade/redo! You’re very talented, Megan.

  10. Ken Speed says:

    A big issue regarding refrigerators is the warrantee. My understanding is that refrigerators now have a one year warrantee while older refrigerators had a ten year warrantee. I helped a friend who had a repair issue with a refrigerator and she went through Hell until she found out it was protected by the manufacturer.

    You may very well hate your present appliance but I think you’d be really unhappy if you bought a new appliance and discovered you were on your own if something went wrong in a little more than a year.

  11. Mark says:

    Take some of your larger containers (pitchers, stock pots you might put in the fridge occasionally, pizza box, etc.) and try them in a counter-depth fridge before buying one. I have one and abhor it, due to the lack of space for some of that stuff, and the lack of room in the fridge overall (though I like to cook a lot, as does my wife, so we might just need more stuff in the fridge than you).

    • fitz says:

      Yes…I admit to having concerns about fitting my turkey pan in there…once a year.

      • Mark says:

        I actually find the most difficult thing is pitchers, soda bottles, milk containers, etc. There isn’t a ton of room for tall items (unless you remove a shelf), so if you typically only have some milk and a pitcher of tea or something space wouldn’t be a problem. But I have several tall things I want in there and it gets really tight really quick.

  12. fitz says:

    Thank you all for your kind words. (And if my second-floor bath is any indication, the piddly final bits are what will take the longest.)

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