how_to_install_recessed_can_lights

Kitchen progress is definitely moving along (hooray!!!) We now have recessed lighting in our ceiling and it really helps even out the lighting in the kitchen. Plus getting rid of the semi-flush light fixtures makes the ceiling feel taller.

We debated about installing new construction recessed lighting:

Install Recessed Lightsor remodel type recessed lights:

remodel_recessed_light

We could have installed either because our ceiling was already full of holes. Ultimately, we decided to install the old work (or remodeling type) lights because they clamp tightly to the sheet rock for less vibration. They also have a built in junction box with easy to wire connectors. (Did I mention that my son’s bedroom is right over the kitchen and there is a lot of jumping and bouncing that goes on up there!)

My electrician let me pal around and help him install the recessed cans after he ran the wiring. You know I took careful notes so I could share with you how to install your own recessed lighting fixtures. Read more

how_to_survive_without_kitchen

I’ve been asked many times how we’re surviving without a kitchen. I have to admit, there were a few weeks of adjustment for us, but now things are humming along relatively easily. We have a makeshift kitchen and a dishwashing set up that works for us. But, living without a kitchen is a bit like being on SURVIVOR. Come on in and I’ll show you the behind the scenes peek into our lives and share some tips to help make your kitchen remodel a little easier should you choose to take on the challenge! Read more

building_permit_office

When and Why You Should Get a Permit

Have you heard the horror stories about filing for a permit and the subsequent inspections? Did you hear the tale about the inspector that made the electrician pull everything out and start over? Have you been warned not to file a permit because you might “open a can of worms”? What exactly is a rough-in? And why do people say “pull a permit” instead of file for a permit? Don’t let misinformation put you and your family at risk. I have the answers to these questions and why you would want to file for a permit before starting your next home improvement project.

Last week I drove downtown to file for a building and electrical permit with Wake County, NC, but found out we are in the Raleigh City Jurisdiction for building permits (but that’s another story for another day.) Before I went to the permit office, I asked Barry Mooneyham, Chief Code Official of Wake County if I could have a little of his time to ask him some questions. It was a very informative 3o minutes, which completely changed my perspective on permits. I left his office with a new found appreciation and understanding of permits and inspectors.

Before I get to Mr. Mooneyham’s answers, I want to answer a recent question that some of my readers posted on Facebook:

Facebook_shot_pull_permit

Laura, Alyssa & Holly, thanks for asking. I was unsure of the origin on the term “pulling a permit” myself, so I did a little research.

Why do people call it “pulling a permit” instead of filing for a permit?

  • The joke answer: Ever try getting a building permit? It is like trying to pull a tooth!
  • The possible real answer:  It’s called “pulling” a permit because the people in the office have to “pull” the paper work out of a filing cabinet.

Having “pulled a permit” last week I can tell you that it really wasn’t hard. I did print out the paperwork online before heading downtown. This was invaluable because I was able to answer all the questions ahead of time. Some of the information that was required for the permit is: Read more

seriously_what_else_can_go_wrong

That’s what I was thinking today. Ever have one of those days, where you feel like life sucker punched you in the gut. And then when you started to stand up it pulled the rug right out from underneath you? Well, sometimes that’s how my past few months have felt. But, in the grand scheme of things, it could be MUCH worse (as my plumber said after telling me a horrendous story about a couple that hired a house sitter who proceeded to burn the house to burn to the ground.)

But, let’s back up a bit to recap some happenings with our kitchen saga. And we’ll focus on some positive kitchen progress (so I can ignore the negative for a brief moment.)

First, can I get a little applause for my success in getting a building permit for our renovation? I was so nervous, but it was really no big deal and it only took about 20 minutes of palm wringing and nervous leg shaking (as I wondered if they’d kick me out of the office because I’m not a “professional” contractor.)  Plus, I was also able to interview the director of Building and Planning of Wake County and asked him a ton of questions about permits. I’ll be sharing his answers to my inquiries soon. Read more

Do I need to pull a permit for this? What happens if I don’t pull a permit? What can I expect? What surprise could come up? What happens if you fail the inspection?

These are just a few of the broad questions I have for Mr. Barry Mooneyham, Director of Wake County Planning, Development and Inspections. I’m not sure Mr. Mooneyham knows what to expect, but he was genuinely glad to let me come talk to him this coming Wednesday morning. I have a list of questions for him about building permits and about why people are so hesitant to file for a permit.

Please add your own questions to my list by asking them below in the comments. I’d love to help you get your questions answered. Be on the lookout for the follow up post after my interview. 😉

Happy New Year! What did you do to ring in 2013?

Every year we have a New Year’s Day party. It’s our annual tradition. This year we almost didn’t have our party because our kitchen was in such a disheveled state. But, I remember someone wise asked if you wait until your house is perfect to invite people over or recognize that your true friends will come to see you and not your house. Of course in our case, I’m sure there was a few curious people as well.

But, honestly, this was one of the most memorable parties we’ve had! The guests drew on the floor: Read more

How to Remove a Soffit - Kitchen Renovation Update

How are y’all doing this week? Getting ready for the holidays? Instead of decorating, we did some demolition in the kitchen this past weekend. And it involved buying myself an early Christmas present:

DEWALT 10--Amp Keyless Variable Speed Corded Reciprocating Saw DW304PK 1V

I snatched up this DEWALT 10–Amp Keyless Variable Speed Corded Reciprocating Saw that was on sale at Lowe’s. I actually held each and every reciprocating saw in the tool department. Those saws are not lightweight by any means. And since I had to hold this over my head and make repeated cuts, I wanted to make sure I bought the lightest one I could find. However, I had one other factor to contend with. Battery life! The lightest weight saw was a Ni-Cad battery saw and I didn’t want to deal with losing power in the middle of the job and waiting for the battery to charge up again. So, I chose this mid-weight fighter because it has a cord and it won’t run out of power…ever…well unless your power goes out. I’m thrilled with its performance, this prize winning middle weight really knows how to throw a knock down punch to soffits.

AND, in a pinch, it works great as a turkey carver (LOL!)

How to Remove a Soffit - Kitchen Renovation Update

I also took advantage of those fabulous Black Friday sales at Lowe’s and bought two of these Read more