Stain and Poly and Cabinets, Oh My!

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: hard work, stick-to-itiveness, and common sense. ~Thomas A. Edison

The last two weeks have been all about the cabinetmaker (Bill), the painters, and Casey the tile guy. But, the cabinetmaker worked seven days a week and some very long hours in those days, too.

Let’s start with the tile. Casey worked on tiling the shower on Monday and Tuesday, March 10 and 11. He returned on Wednesday, the 12th, to grout both bathroom floors and the shower. Bill said he showed up again one day last week to do some caulking. As far as we know, tiling is done!

Shower tiling started

Shower tiling started

Tiling toward the bench

Tiling toward the bench

Casey at work

Casey at work

Decorative diamond shaped tile installed along with one of the corner shelves

Decorative diamond-shaped tile installed along with one of the corner shelves

Back part of the shower next to where the handheld shower will be installed

Back part of the shower next to where the handheld shower will be installed

Second day, Casey finished the floor of the shower

Second day, Casey finished the floor of the shower

And, the bench

And, the bench

And, all the tile above the decorative tile band

And, all the tile above the decorative tile band

Master bath floor grouted

Master bath floor grouted

Shower grouted

Shower grouted

Hall bath floor grouted

Hall bath floor grouted

I’m really happy with the job Casey did. He is a tile professional. However, I have to admit, I’m a little bummed out how dark this tile ended up being. It really makes the shower look so dark and I really wanted the decorative tile band to stand out more than it does.

If I can give any advice, don’t totally go by the photos you take from your phone or camera OR by photos on the web. Case in point. Look at the web snapshot of the Marazzi Vesale Rust tiles and the photo I took – both Rust – the color I chose. It looks a lot lighter than how it really looks.

Rust Tile

Web snapshot of Marazzi Vesale Rust Tile

Photo I took of the Rust color stone

Photo I took of the Rust color stone

I would suggest bringing the sample to your home and place it in the places where it is going. Honestly, I’m not sure why I didn’t do that with the tile. I had samples of everything else. confused

Don’t get me wrong – I still like the tile and it will go really well with the rest of the choices in the room. It will help when we have lights installed in the room to brighten it up.

Moving on to the painter(s) and cabinetmaker. Shayna worked every weekday the week of March 10. She is a very hard worker and very good at what she does.

Shayna the painter

Shayna the painter

Shayna ended up getting all the trim stained and poly sprayed and then she started working on staining the cabinets. Bill had finished building the island cabinets over the weekend, so he had Shayna start on those first. This was Monday, March 10.

Three drawer cabinet in the island before stain

Three drawer cabinet in the island before stain

Three drawer island cabinet with stain

Three drawer island cabinet with stain

Sink base island cabinet before stain

Sink base island cabinet before stain

Sink base island cabinet stained

Sink base island cabinet stained

One of the side island bookcases stained

One of the side island bookcases stained

Bill couldn’t get cabinets put together fast enough to keep up with Shayna. I offered to help Bill and he usually always says no. You’ll see why. This time he said I could help him sand doors. I said okay. Bill got out all the maple doors he made for the laundry cabinets. He told me to use the hand sander and sand the curved sides. Really? I asked him how I’d do that. He showed me. I tried it. I freaked out! Yes, I did. I told him I was afraid I would sand too much off and ruin the doors. He said then I should hand-sand the inside part. So, I did that for a bit. Then, he gave me the cabinet doors that he had previously stained the corners with the stain we thought we were going to use. All that stain needed to be sanded off.

Cabinet doors with stain

Cabinet doors with stain

Inside of doors with stain

Inside of doors with stain

Honestly, I have no idea how Bill does it! My hands were killing me sanding those doors. I bet I worked a total of 45 minutes! My hands were a mess for over a week. They were cramping during the night and I lived on Tylenol. I’m a whimp! And, that is the reason Bill always says no when I ask if I can help.

Bill and I weren’t sure what we were going to do with this cabinet for the laundry room. It couldn’t be re-stained. This was the first cabinet Bill built for the new house.

Laundry room cabinet with face-frame stained and finished (doors closed)

Laundry room cabinet with face-frame stained and finished (doors closed)

Laundry cabinet with doors opened.

Laundry cabinet with doors opened.

When he started building the cabinets in 2012, he thought he’d make one from start to finish (including staining and finishing) and then move on to the next cabinet. However, he found that it would be easier to make all doors at the same time, all drawers at the same time, all face-frames at the same time since his equipment would be set up for each procedure. It would be too much trouble changing out for each procedure for each cabinet. So, this cabinet had a stain and finish on it and it would be different from what we were going to use for the other cabinets in the same room. Bill said if he had time after all the other cabinets were made and assembled, he would think about remaking the face-frame and sides for this cabinet OR we would just use it in the garage. More on this cabinet later. This was the only cabinet we had the movers move as is.

Back to the laundry cabinet doors . . . So, we took the stack of doors over to Shayna so she could start staining them with the same custom mix stain we were using on the trim and kitchen cabinets. It was time for lunch and Bill said he would be coming up to the house. But, then he didn’t. About 1/2 hour later my phone rang and all Bill said was, “I need you come down here. We have a problem with the maple laundry cabinets.” Oh no!

It wasn’t good. Shayna started staining the maple doors and dark marks started showing up on several of the doors. By the time she got to the fourth or fifth door the stain was blotching.

Blotching stained door

Blotchy stained door

She stopped and went and got Bill from the pole barn to show him. That’s when he called me. Previously, Bill had tested the stain on two large pieces of maple wood he was using. One piece he had applied a stain controller before applying the stain. The other one did not have the stain controller. I chose to go without the stain controller. Live and learn. However, I’m not sure I would have liked the color of the stain even with the controller. It was lighter than without the controller underneath. So, I asked if we could do anything else about staining at this point and Bill said no – not without stripping the stain and re-sanding. And, to be honest with you, Bill was done with it all. I then asked if we could paint the cabinets. The answer from both Bill and Shayna was Yes! So without blinking an eye, I said, “Let’s just paint them.”

Good News: Bill said, “Well, now we can use that stained cabinet again in the laundry room since it can be painted!”

Bad News: I had to make a decision on what color to paint the cabinets, research paint brands, and decide whether I wanted a glaze technique or not.

While Bill continued to glue and clamp cabinets, Shayna stained, sanded, and sprayed poly. She lost one day’s work when the poly bubbled on everything she sprayed and she had to sand it off and re-apply it the next day. Bill thought there was too much moisture in the house from the tile grout since it was the same day as Casey grouted everything. The next day the poly worked fine.

Trim sprayed

Trim sprayed

Cabinet doors stained

Mahogany cabinet doors stained

Mahogany drawer fronts stained

Mahogany drawer fronts stained

More mahogany drawer fronts and cabinet doors which will have glass in them

More mahogany drawer fronts and cabinet doors which will have glass in them

One of my dish drawer cabinets before stain

One of the dish drawer cabinets before stain

Dish drawer cabinet stained

Dish drawer cabinet stained

Blind corner cabinet before stain

Blind corner cabinet before stain

Blind corner cabinet stained (the stained part is the only part that will show)

Blind corner cabinet stained (the stained part is the only part that will show)

Have I shared how we are using this cabinet? We purchased a Rev-A-Shelf Blind Cabinet organizer that will go inside. Here is how it works.

Blind Corner Rev-A-Shelf Organizer

Blind Corner Rev-A-Shelf Organizer

Nifty, huh? Neither Bill or I are big fans of Lazy Susan corner shelves. And, since we had no way around not having a corner cabinet, this is what we decided on. This was not a fun cabinet for Bill to figure out how to make. And, when we flipped the house before we started building, this was one of the cabinets that had to be remade. And, that upper corner cabinet had to be remade . . . well, that cabinet has been a pain from beginning to end. We recently made adjustments to door arrangement, too. I don’t have a picture of it yet as it has not been assembled. Poor Bill was doomed from the beginning with these cabinets. But, oh, how beautiful they are turning out! I am so proud of Bill! I am so lucky to have such a creative handy engineer husband!

And, just for something different to do, Shayna started to do some cut-ins with the family room paint.

Family room paint

Family room paint color – Dry Sage

Bill worked over the weekend (March 15-16) on assembling the large microwave/oven cabinet and the refrigerator cabinet because Mark and Shayna were planning on spraying poly on Monday and Tuesday, March 17 and 18. Shayna stained the two large cabinets first thing in the morning. Then Mark and Shayna started spraying poly on the interior doors. Tuesday they sprayed the large cabinets, cabinet doors, and some other cabinet pieces. Shayna was going to brush on the poly on the face frames of the other cabinets.

Line-up of interior doors in the garage

Line-up of interior doors in the garage

More doors lined up in the family room

More doors lined up in the family room

Refrigerator cabinet

Refrigerator cabinet

Microwave/wall oven cabinet

Microwave/wall oven cabinet

Lots of cabinet doors and cabinet trim sprayed

Lots of cabinet doors and cabinet trim sprayed

They went through lots of polyuerathane

They went through lots of polyurethane

It’s a long process for stained wood. For the interior doors and cabinet doors and trim, they could only spray one side at a time. Then, it had to dry for a day. The next day, they would sand it and spray again. The next day, they sprayed the other side. That’s where we are at. They still need to sand and spray again. We were hoping they would be done with that on Friday, the 21st, but it was a beautiful spring day with a high of 70 degrees. Neither of the painters showed up. Go figure! 🙂 I could hardly blame them.

I did help Bill again last weekend when he assigned me the job of puzzle piece organizer. We had stacks and stacks of cabinet parts. We thought we had marked all the pieces before we moved last summer. Guess not all of them. I was able to find the sides for all the upper kitchen cabinets and stacked them separately. That took a couple of hours. Again, it made me appreciate even more how much Bill had done in the last two years. There were so many parts to every cabinet, I was shocked!

As of today, he is down to two more cabinets to assemble! The last two are the upper corner cabinet and the huge pantry cabinet. He has Zach, a college student, coming tomorrow to help him with the pantry cabinet. The man has been a beast putting these cabinets together.

Bill assembling cabinets

Bill assembling cabinets step 1

Assembly step 3 or 4 or 5

Assembly step 3 or 4 or 5

Clamping up the cabinet

Clamping up the cabinet

My KitchenAid mixer lift cabinet (on the right) and small cabinet for cutting boards (on the left)

My KitchenAid mixer lift cabinet (on the right) and small cabinet for cutting boards (on the left)

Stack of cabinets assembled. I think there are 12 just in this area.

Stack of cabinets assembled. I think there are 12 just in this area.

Here are the parts for the huge pantry cabinet. Bill and Zack are going to assemble in the laundry room so they won’t have to move it in and out of rooms. Mark said they could paint it in there.

Pantry cabinet parts (not all of them)

Pantry cabinet parts (not all of them)

Pantry cabinet face-frame

Pantry cabinet face-frame

Although Bill is seeing the end of the cabinet-making tunnel, unfortunately, he still has a lot more to do. He has to lightly sand all the cabinet drawers. Believe me, I asked for lots and lots of drawers.

Drawers lined up

Drawers lined up

More drawers

More drawers

And more!

And more!

Yep, three more!

Yep, three more!

As far as the laundry/pantry cabinet color – I did finally make a decision. Since the darkness of the bathroom tile bothered me, I decided to go light and without a glaze! I always wanted the laundry/pantry room to be filled with light and cheerful looking. I decided to go one shade lighter than the wall color (which was natural elements) – Benjamin Moore’s snow on the mountain. Mark and Shayna assure me the cabinets will be beautifully painted.

Paint strip

Paint strip

I played around way too much on the computer before making the decision on what color for the cabinets. This is what I do. I have to visualize how it looks before making a decision. That’s me!

Playing with color for the laundry/pantry cabinets

Playing with color for the laundry/pantry cabinets

I hope that is the last of color choices I have to make for anything major in the house. Here’s a mood board of the house interior colors.

Interior house colors

Interior house colors

I’ll end today’s post with a new addition to our house. Our temporary cheap mailbox Bill installed last summer as soon as we moved down here had a hard winter. Every time it snow, it ended up like this.

Broken mailbox

Broken mailbox

On one of the warmer days when the ground had thawed out, Bill installed our new mailbox. The grandkids called it the fancy schmancy mailbox. This was all Bill – he picked it out and built the post (of course!). It’s big. It’s heavy-duty. I love it!

Fancy Schmancy Mailbox

Fancy Schmancy Mailbox

Slow Progress is Better Than No Progress!

Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time. ~Voltaire

The other day someone posted on a home-building forum the graphic below about the emotional roller-coaster of building a home. Click on the link to see the graphic.

The-Homeowners-Emotional-Roller-Coaster

Bill and I think our spike is still on the lower end with the painter since it seems to be taking a long time. But heck, in the last two weeks we did see some progress on the house.

The most dependable subcontractor has been the . . . cabinetmaker! Our cell voice service has been sporadic in the area, so Bill and I text most of the time.

IMG_3894
So, no subs showed up on Monday, February 24, except the cabinet-maker. 😦
Then, on Tuesday, February 25, we had a houseful of subs! The stone guys came and made our columns look better. Remember how I wanted the future columns to look?
Changing the columns

Changing the columns

Well, they did it!

Stone guys making the columns look better

Stone guys making the columns look better

Close-up of the new and improved columns

Close-up of the new and improved columns

As a reminder, that white trim part of the column is eventually going to be painted bronze.

The same day they delivered the ceramic tile for the bathrooms.

Marazzie ceramic tile for bathroom floors and master bath shower

Marazzi ceramic tile for bathroom floors and master bath shower

And a crew came to start working on the laundry room flooring. They had to install a sub-floor for the luxury vinyl tiles being installed in that room.

Sub-floor for the laundry room with samples of tile placement

Sub-floor for the laundry room with samples of tile placement

The painter and helper showed up on Tuesday, too. The painter said they probably would not be able to start spraying the poly that day since the guys doing the sub-floor were kind of in their way going back and forth between the laundry room and the garage. Sorry. 😳 So, the painters worked on staining other things – like windows and screens. Yes, believe it or not, we purchased the screens with the wood frames. We knew those were going to a pain to stain. But, unfortunately, Marvin Integrity doesn’t have a bronze frame and the other colors available clashed. So, I went with the wood ones. They came out nice!

Stained screens

Stained screens

Turns out that the painters did not come back the rest of that week. I guess they wanted the tile guys to get done so they could start spraying the finish. I don’t blame them.

However, before the painters took off for the rest of the week, Bill talked with Mark about staining and spraying poly on our cabinets! I guess Bill was satisfied with the job they had done with all the trim and doors. Mark gave Bill a price. Bill came up to the house after that and asked what I thought. Without batting an eyelid, I told him to have Mark do it! Then Bill said, “Okay, I’ll have him do it!” But, then he added, “There goes the saw I wanted to buy.” 😦 Bill’s big saw has been going out and he’s been holding his breath that it wouldn’t stop working before he got done with the cabinets. I looked at his sad eyes and said, “You can still buy the saw, for goodness sake!”

Knowing what Bill has had to go through these last two years making the cabinets and the stress to get them done in the conditions he’s working, in addition to working with all the subs and doing all the PITA jobs . . . Bill might have been better off stress-wise if we had just ordered the cabinets. Oh, don’t get me wrong . . . I LOVE the cabinets and they are as custom as could be. And, they are exactly what I wanted. And, I know they are going to be beautiful once they are done! They will be branded with Bill’s new stamp he just bought.

Bill's new branding stamp.

Bill’s new branding stamp.

If Bill were going to stain and spray poly on the cabinets he had planned to do it before the cabinets were assembled. However, the painter wants the cabinets assembled before he does them. So, Bill has been faithfully working every day making last-minute parts and sanding sanding sanding.

Top upper wall cabinets

Top upper wall cabinets

Cabinet doors and frames

Cabinet doors and frames

Sanding away

Sanding away

So while the painters took a break, the flooring guys worked their magic. The guys laying the laundry tile ran out of tile and they had to order another box. We are still waiting for them to finish up. They dropped off the DuraCeramic Dimensions tile this week and said they would be back to install it later.

Luxury vinyl tile

Luxury vinyl tile

Laundry room floor

Laundry room floor

Then another two guys came and started prepping to install the ceramic tile on the bathroom floors.

Underlayment in master bathroom

Underlayment in master bathroom

First tile piece in the hall bathroom

First tile piece in the hall bathroom

By Wednesday, Feb. 26, they had finished tiling both bathroom floors.

Hall bathroom floor

Hall bathroom floor

Master bathroom floor

Master bathroom floor

Matching up the tile floor with vanity sample, granite and the wall color.

Matching up the tile floor with vanity sample, granite and the wall color of the master bathroom.

Casey, the main tile guy, talked to us about how we wanted the shower and shower bench tiled and where we wanted the ceramic shower corner shelves placed and how many. Casey drew on the sheet rock. Not sure if you can see or not where we decided to put the decorative accent tiles along the wall. And where we wanted the shelves.

Shower wall

Shower wall

Diamond shaped decorative accent tile

Diamond shaped decorative accent tile

Here’s a sample of what the corner shelves will look like:

Corner shower shelves

Corner shower shelves

The drawing on the bench is not what we finally decided on . . . I guess I better make sure Casey remembers that before he starts tiling. 😯

Drawings on the shower bench

Drawings on the shower bench

Bill suggested putting the decorative diamond-shaped accent tiles in-between two rows of tile on the front of the shower bench. Casey said he could do that if they had enough accent tile left over.

Casey said he would be back Thursday night or Friday to grout the bathroom floors. Well, that didn’t happen! I guess there was a problem with I had not picked out a grout color yet. Oops! When Brian called from the flooring store, I told him to pick out a grout color that would match the tile. My only “want” was for it to be a darker color. I’ve had light-colored grout before and found it was hard to keep clean.

Sunday, March 2, brought yet another winter storm. This one involved freezing rain, ice, and snow. 😡 We didn’t get as much as they predicted but it was enough to cause traveling problems. Monday, March 3, school was cancelled for the 8th day this school year and Jill worked from home. Jim made it into work. And, Bill, the cabinetmaker, was the only contractor who showed up at the work site that day.

Here’s another text story. We kid about our mailbox. It’s temporary. But, it’s been down a lot this winter.

The saga of the cheap mailbox

The saga of the cheap mailbox

You would have thought duct tape would have kept it up, but Tuesday, March 4, it was down again. We kept wondering who was hitting it. As Bill was waiting to pull out of our driveway, the plow truck went by. The force of the snow hitting the mailbox, brought it down once again! Bill is sick of fixing this one. He’s waiting until the ground is softer so he can put up a permanent one.

Shayna, one of the painters, worked Tuesday through Friday this past week. She sprayed poly on all the stained pieces except the doors. Here is the huge spraying booth. It worked out well and contained the polyurethane within the booth area.

spraying booth

spraying booth

Shayna sanded everything and then started spraying a second coat on the trim pieces until she ran out of poly on Friday.

Trim pieces drying after poly spray

Trim pieces drying after poly spray

Stacks of trim pieces

Stacks of trim pieces drying in the garage, too

Wednesday, March 5, they delivered our hardwood floors. We asked that they be delivered as soon as they arrived as we wanted the floor to acclimate in the house before being installed. The flooring is engineered hickory lightly-handscraped 6″ width planks.

Stacks of hardwood flooring in front bedroom

Stacks of hardwood flooring in front bedroom

More stacks in the master bedroom

More stacks in the master bedroom

We went with the natural color hickory because everything else was dark. Plus, I had read where you should try and match the color of your hardwood floors with the color of the dirt around your house. 🙂 So, if you track in dirt from outside, it won’t show up at much as with darker floors. I’m such a matchy-matchy person, so it was out of my comfort zone to go with a light floor and dark trim. But, after looking on houzz.com I found I liked the look and so did Bill.

This was my inspiration photo from houzz.

Here is what our floors will look like next to our baseboards.

Hardwood floors next to floor boards

Hardwood floors next to baseboards

Friday, March 7, Casey the tile guy and his helper came back to start on the shower. They drilled the hole for the shower drain and installed the waterproof underlayment.

Looking into the shower after the waterproof underlayment was installed

Looking into the shower after the waterproof underlayment was installed

Maybe Bill talked with the Casey about me and colors because Casey said he needed me to pick out the grout color. 🙄 I even told Casey he could pick out a matching color that wasn’t light. He said he would leave me samples on the floor and would pull out the one he thought would match the best – but I still had to make the final decision. I decided to use Casey’s favorite as the grout color. Casey said they would be back on Monday to start tiling the shower. He said that will take a couple of days.

grout samples with Casey's favorite pulled out

grout samples with Casey’s favorite pulled out

Even though the progress seems slow, I guess we are making progress. I’m really looking forward to getting all the trim and doors finished. I’m looking forward to seeing the kitchen and laundry cabinets assembled. The painters will start staining the cabinets after they are done with all the trim and doors. They also have to paint the family room. Next on the list will be installing the hardwood floors. And then we can bring in the trim carpenter to start installing trim and cabinets. Time will tell whether we will be using the original trim carpenter we picked. He’s under a time crunch with the upcoming Parade of Homes.

I hope we have seen the last of the yucky winter weather. Time to March on!