Sunday, October 13, 2013

The problem with countertops

I was impatient to get the countertops installed, as we had to wait a few weeks after the cabinets were completed.  In the meantime, Mark topped the countertops with plywood that we covered with a tacky wood-veneer Contact paper.  We figured that if we were going to have plywood for countertops, we might as well go all-in on the tackiness factor.

The installation of the countertops revealed some flaws in our construction that would require some ingenuity and adaptation of the custom pre-cut Silestone.  Namely, the wall that was built to divide the kitchen from the dining room was not quite square.  This dilemma also affected our cabinet installers, but they found a way to get the cabinets to fit the space.

The majority of the countertop installation was done in a day, but the piece that was to go across the top of the half-wall between kitchen and dining room (yes, the one that wasn't quite square) couldn't go in that day.

Some miscommunication had one person returning on a different day to complete that section, for a job that required two.  I wasn't able to offer my assistance in lifting that heavy piece of quartz composite, so the resourceful man found some guys doing some painting across the street and asked one of them to kindly stop over and help him lift the slab into place.  Thank you, random painter across the street, for helping out our countertop installer!

View of our kitchen, without countertops or dishwasher installed.

Another view of the kitchen, with island in foreground.

Countertops are nearly finished.  Now when can we get that dishwasher?
The piece went in, but there was a 1/4 inch opening on one side.  The countertop was cut straight across.  So, our contractor used some polymer glue to fill in the gap.  I wasn't loving the look, but he assured me that it wouldn't be noticeable.  I notice it, but I don't think others do.

The other issue was that he should have moved it further toward the dining room before setting it into place, as our stove has to be pulled out about two inches from the wall to accommodate the countertop. Again, it's likely not noticeable to anyone except Mark and myself.  And observant guests who notice these types of things.

Aside from these minor annoyances, we were very happy with our functional kitchen and I enjoyed unpacking dishes, cooking tools and small appliances.  I found new joy in washing dishes while standing upright, not leaning over a bathtub, though I was still looking forward to that dishwasher!

We lived exclusively on the main level of the house for a long period of time, while construction continued on bedrooms, bathrooms and living space upstairs.  When our daughter was an infant, her bedroom doubled as a home office for my husband.  There was no cute mural on the wall, matching nursery furniture, or closet organizers to organize our newborn's clothes, toys and gear.  As someone who has been referred to as "one of the most organized people I know," this life stage was extremely stressful for me. Having a newborn is challenging enough without being given the added stressor of living in a house that's under construction.  I wouldn't recommend it.

Add to that stress the fact that my husband, our primary contractor, has a job that requires regular travel.  Mark traveled two full weeks of each month during the year after our daughter was born and our house was a dusty construction zone.  But we lived to tell the tale!

What's the next installment in our adventure?  How about the radiant heat installation project on our second level?